Disabled people know a lot about social isolation. Many – including those with intellectual and psychiatric disabilities – are relying on the success of COVID-19 containment strategies, and lives are indeed at risk if they are not taken seriously. However, public health measures that restrict visiting rights to those in institutional settings are putting many at risk in other ways.
Many governments, including Canada’s, have taken too long to recognize the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic when even days of delay can have large effects on the ultimate death toll. Our governments are only now recognizing that successfully flattening the epidemic curve means that we could be self-isolating for more than just a month or two.
In troubling times, sound and timely science advice matters. It helps if you have trusted structures and institutions to rely on for such advice. Canada has been fortunate to have a public that largely trusts its knowledge and science actors.
Core Member, ISSP
Professor of Evolutionary Biology, Faculty of Science, uOttawa
‘Don’t panic’ says the cover of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Sage advice in any time. Especially now. To say COVID-19 has changed our lives seems a gross understatement. We are all feeling the impacts of social isolation, whether it is as benign as working from home or as drastic as quarantine, and wondering how long this will last. Anxiety is the new normal. Panic feels just steps away.
Pandemics are far from new in the history of science fiction. Which is why familiar novels such as The Stand (1978) by Stephen King and movies such as Contagion (2011) by Steven Soderbergh were sought as references when lockdowns began.