COVID-19

Coverage of COVID-19

Second World War veterans on the frontlines, again
COVID-19, Front Lines

Second World War veterans on the frontlines, again

Margaret McDonald served overseas in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War, but no homecoming could match the reception she received on her 102nd birthday. Surrounded by colourful signs and balloons, the centenarian sat outside her residence in Vancouver’s west end on April 28, watching fire crews and mounted members of the city police horse unit parade past while dozens of neighbours and friends cheered her on—at a safe distance from each other. Daughter Catherine Houston said her mother, a lifelong horse lover, has enjoyed watching the mounted horsemen patrol past her home for years. The unit, based nearby, organized the party. “These guys, the horses, the mounted unit, have been amazing to her,” said Houston, embracing her mother in her wheelchair. “They’ve b...
Social Distance
COVID-19, Front Lines

Social Distance

At the time this is being written, the world as we know it has changed dramatically. In many ways, it resembles wartime mobilization (except most of us have been instructed to stay home). And as in wartime, much uncertainty exists. The exponential spread of the coronavirus—COVID-19—has affected every part of society—including Canada’s military and veteran community, of course. By the time you read this in May, many measures will have been implemented to slow the spread of this highly infectious disease. First identified in China in December 2019, it is essentially a lung infection that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome. Common symptoms include fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. The fatality rate is estimated at 3.4 per cent per number of diagnosed cases (lower when unre...
Under siege, businesses can take lessons from military in crisis
COVID-19, Front Lines

Under siege, businesses can take lessons from military in crisis

Agility is the ability to adjust and adapt to changing circumstances. Militaries rely on agility in times of crisis. Agility is always at the heart of long-term business success too, and businesses are learning this anew in the time of coronavirus. Officer cadets attend military college to learn the fundamentals of leadership and fighting strategy; enlisted ranks train repetitively until the skills to execute are second nature. But the battlefield, like life, is anything but predictable. Success in battle, as in business and other endeavours, depends largely on one’s ability to adapt. You can’t teach agility by itself. It is largely a product of preparedness, resourcefulness and resilience. In this time of illness, death, shutdowns and stay-at-home orders, with a public gripped ...
Rumours of a viral war
COVID-19, Front Lines

Rumours of a viral war

If the rumours are to be believed, the current pandemic that has locked us all in our homes began in a Chinese laboratory. Or is that an American one? Both stories are out there. The fact is that medical researchers from all over the world who have no stake in global politics—including the World Health Organization— say it’s neither. They say they have traced COVID-19 to a wet market in Wuhan and it likely came from a bat. It’s as simple as that. Nevertheless, the rumours and the actual source of the virus has been exploited by racists, nativists and xenophobes intent on driving a wedge between ethnic groups. “Such rumours may have even jeopardized the working relationship between Western scientists and their Chinese counterparts searching for a COVID-19 vaccine,” wrote sociolog...
Prime minister invokes memory of war in stirring pandemic speech
COVID-19, Front Lines

Prime minister invokes memory of war in stirring pandemic speech

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked memories of Vimy Ridge, his grandfather’s role in the Second World War and the sacrifices and contributions of “the Greatest Generation” in a stirring speech about “the trials that shaped our country” delivered prior to a critical vote in the House of Commons on April 11. “I rise here in this moment in this House as our generation faces its greatest challenge yet,” said Trudeau. “We all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. Of all of those Canadians who saw our nation through difficult, tumultuous times in our history.” As he spoke, the COVID-19 pandemic was escalating in Canada, approaching 26,000 cases and 800 deaths. Canadians from coast to coast were shut inside their homes while doctors, nurses and other health-care workers wer...
COVID-19: War is not the answer
COVID-19, Front Lines

COVID-19: War is not the answer

Politicians, health professionals and news people have likened the challenges, responses and prospective solutions spawned by the coronavirus pandemic to a war. But is it? “I am a soldier in this battle, I am fighting my piece and I ask you to fight yours,” wrote Prateek Harne, a resident physician working at SUNY Upstate Medical University Hospital in Syracuse, New York—the front lines of the pandemic. “Breathe and keep fighting.” Leaders have called on their nations to rally to the cause of defeating the virus, not by getting out to fight, but by staying home, en masse. Many of those still working are cut from the same cloth as the grunts who fight real wars: grocery store clerks, pizza cooks, delivery people—minimum-wagers, unsung heroes, all. “Not since the Second World War...

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