As the year comes to a close we are again for the second time in the grip of Covid-19 through the Omicron virus, another variation of Covid. This time it appears to be affecting many more people and it seems that our health-care prevention network is behind the eight ball in this one.
Reading the New York Times daily update this week refers to a report that explores our present time as in a state of ‘languishing’; the mode ‘between depression and well-being’. No doubt this probably describes the feeling of many Ontarians at this time. When we think and dwell on Covid and its consequences for the past 21 months; we are in the BLAHS!
Just now with all the practice (experience) we have had in managing this Covid pandemic; this alone: There are long lines of people waiting to get a ‘test’ as they feel the need (are told) because of sudden symptoms or work/visiting requirements, giving assurance they have not been exposed to the virus. Self testing kits are few (‘they are on order’ we are told) and not easy to obtain. There is a list of sites on the Gov website but they are in different Ontario locations on different specific dates. Businesses can order free kits via this website and pick them up at Chamber of Commerce office in their local area. (not available right now!) Pharmacies can administer tests but they cost anywhere from $30.00 for self tests to $199 for Travel use tests (Antigen type) which are available in 24 – 48 hours. On website Express Rapid Test costs can be $145.00 for 5 tests with pick-up Test kits only at Steeles Ave. Toronto location and ready in one hour. Some people are even now questioning the need for self-testing unless one is a frequent visitor at places of work or for instance visits with elderly or other needy persons or has a job that could put others at risks. Those staying mostly at home do not need to self test as they are infrequently in contact with others.
The usual isolation time of 10 days has now been cut back to 5 days as it appears the Omicron variant although quite contagious does not appear to have severe health issues for those having had their vaccinations. (2 shots and a booster) They say 10 days will harm our ability to function as a society. Ther will be less workers especially health workers if we maintain the 10 day rule.
The experts have different takes on what will serve us the best in fighting this virus. There are many questions and sometimes it seems the answers are like: to quote a popular song ‘the answer is blowing in the wind’.
So what will the new year 2022 bring?
I believe there will be business flow as we have seen in the last 2 years. Full lock-downs will be fewer and people will take the mask-on and other distancing methods in their stride. It is hoped that the Omicron virus will slowly die out but there will be over-caution-ness in the Health-care sector well into the next year or so. ???? Will there be have many indoor events restored? Visits indoor with friends and relative in the usual way? Church meeting and worship services and other family and social gatherings in our usual accepted manner? How will school function? Can our kids manage with fewer and more difficult interactions needed for healthy Youthful living? Travel without restrictions and will vaccination proofs documents be obligatory? Shaking hands and hugs in public? Probably not much, at least till we are sure the cases of infections are mostly eliminated. Will we need to have proof of vaccinations in order to enjoy and enter certain venues? Yah, we probably will need to have those documents handy.
My hope is that our neighbourhoods and coming together events will slowly be restored but the practice of healthy cautions will be front and center for a while. May Covid develop into a mild flu like 21st Century nuisance.
Let, I say, the feeling of ‘languishing‘ be banned and let’s make an effort to look forward into the new year 2022 as a year of trust and well-being. As the slogan goes ‘we can do this together’.
May this enthusiasm for the new year for those who profess to be Christ followers not go without echoing and owning the words of the Heidelberg Catechism. This Catechism is a list of Questions and Answers from the Bible what Christians believe about our lives and our future. It always asks the BIG tough questions: What do you believe about the Providence of God in 2022?
Questions and answers 27 & 28: What do you understand by the providence of God? God’s providence is his almighty and ever present power, whereby, as with his hand, he still upholds heaven and earth and all creatures, and so governs them that leaf and blade, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, food and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, indeed, all things come to us not by chance but by his fatherly hand.
So how does knowing this help us to face issues in 2022? We can be patient in adversity, thankful in prosperity, and with a view to the future we can have a firm confidence in our faithful God and Father that no creature shall separate us from his love; for all creatures are so completely in his hand that without his will they cannot so much as move.
Happy New Year 2022 to all!
JS December 30, 2021
A Hymn that speaks of disconsolate people (sad, bleak and dismal emptiness, unhappy) and languishing (stagnation, weak, neglected) but yet believing in the the Lord’s goodness where ‘earth has no sorrows that heaven cannot heal‘. This can be sung for the 4th Sunday of LENT.