The messaging received here in the Pontiac, year after year, is that everything is better in the city. Flyers and ads tell us this (amid the weekly sales), and we drive for miles to buy the very stuff available locally. Kids return home from CEGEP or a new job, relatives visit … everyone, it seems, knows life is so much better when it’s not lived on a farm or in a small town. They’re so much better, those tree-less
subdivisions, machine-like condo towers, mini-homes crammed on mini-lots … then COVID comes along.
The very crowds which were once so exciting suddenly became The Threat. And now, in the Pontiac, six months later we see no one has died here, infection rates are so low our hospital can function as a hospital and not solely an
anti-COVID fortress. We’ve followed the guidelines, displaying an intelligence and a trust in our authorities the cities can’t quite achieve.
COVID shows us that good times are not always linked to congestion and proximity with others. It has taken this calamity to make it clear that the great feedlots of the cities are dangers to humanity, not only entertainment-parks. Does the entertainment offered by city life outweigh death on a ventilator?
And Pontiac’s achievement in keeping our infection rate low shows a level of social intelligence which isn’t so obvious in COVID’s urban hot-spots. We aren’t awash in mask-deniers or conspiracy addicts, as it seem in the cities. Maybe we lack the numbers to give the deniers substance, but there seem few signs that Pontiac residents are hostile to science – nor distrustful of their governments’ best intentions. Pontiac grasped the urgency early on, followed the rules – and we now find ourselves in a relatively safe pandemic situation. Relatively safe.
However, past pandemics have brought second, even third, waves of infection. Some re-occur for years. And the later are often more destructive than the first wave. So can we assume that we’ll keep our wits and not rush
into exposure and contact with others through sheer impatience, or hysteria?
We have still to face school openings. We have still to recognize the mental stresses this isolation and fear bring, and how easy it is to burst into extremes without notice.
The story so far tells us we’ll resist any temptation to slip past a future lockdown, and we’ll continue matching our steps with the marching orders from our health authorities.
We’ll stay safe, alive.
We’ll also come out of this pandemic, I expect, more self-assured, more confident in our own judgement and in our neighbours’. Like all feedlots, the cities seem to be preparing their residents for the worst. We live in farm country; we know feed lots. And we’re keeping our distance.
Good work, Pontiac. Keep it up! And keep on keepin’ on!