Covid-19 Has Changed Us

And some of those changes may be for the better.

March 31, 2021 | | Over the Next Hill

When the Covid upheaval began a year ago, who would have predicted we would still be wearing masks and launching yet another round of clearing out closets, spice drawers and garages?

Tough times tend to obscure the tides of history while they are buffeting us, but we all know this past year has changed some things forever. Getting on top of this virus has been a process, not an event, but I’d like to check in with some improvements Covid has brought to my life. Surprisingly, there are quite a few.

Before lockdowns, for instance, a yoga morning consisted of showering, finding my yoga duds, dressing for class, making a cold 15-minute drive to the studio, and then setting up and settling in. Now I roll out of bed, flip out my yoga mat in the sunroom and turn on my computer for an online class, still in my pyjamas. My yoga instructor has managed to keep her thoughts on my attire to herself, for which I’m grateful.

And what about the new ways we tap in to the delivery of medical services? Pre-Covid, how often had you experienced a phone consult with your physician?

Research carried out by ICES, an independent, not-for-profit research institute, and Unity Health Toronto compared Ontario medical billing data from March to July 2020 with data from the same period in 2019. The study’s authors found that the number of office visits dropped by nearly 80 per cent in 2020, while virtual visits jumped by an eye-popping 5,600 per cent.

Though not everyone will agree that virtual visits are an improvement, for most medical appointments I much prefer the ease of talking to a medical professional over the phone to the hassle of showing up and waiting my turn in a doctor’s office.

And having test results available online is a huge step forward. Now, will the medical system please work on assimilating each patient’s bits of information into one central place? This can’t be very far off.

In addition to all this, the speed at which the latest vaccines have been developed is no small miracle. “The science behind vaccine preparation is light-years ahead of previous vaccines,” said Karen Peirce, a retired Caledon family physician. “I have huge faith in Health Canada and absolutely no concern that it might appear to have been done on the fly. The science leading to the production of these vaccines has been in the works for many years.”

Though getting vaccines into the arms of those who want them is presenting challenges, the job will get done, and we’ll all be better off for it.

We have also became proficient at understanding and using online stores, and we’re now at ease with the process of curbside pickup and even grocery home delivery.

Online courses are available in everything from dog training to web design. We can tune in to choral concerts and watch theatre performances. I’ve even heard there are thriving online knitting communities.

National and international multigeneration family online chats enable us to see people we rarely get to visit without using our passports and enduring the inconvenience and expense of air flights. Though these chats are often chaotic as we adapt to the technology, we still manage to connect and celebrate special events with people thousands of kilometres away. And we can take pride in reducing our carbon footprint through reduced air and vehicle travel.

For decades the city of Toronto has been dithering about repurposing a few traffic lanes for bike and pedestrian use. This finally became a reality when the city realized it could no longer ignore the fact that people need safe ways to move around outdoors.

And people are getting outdoors much more. Those of us living near conservation areas are well aware of the huge jump in the number of people enjoying our woodland, bike and rail trails.

My anxious thoughts and occasional nightmares are likely similar to yours – forgetting to mask, unwittingly finding myself in a crowded setting, hugging a friend spontaneously. I often wonder how long it will take us to recover after all this is over, as well as how difficult it’s going to be to stop moving our lips in sync with our thoughts when we can finally chuck our masks.

The Covid experience has most certainly left us all a bit ragged. But the end is on the horizon, and in at least a few areas of our lives, we will be better off for having foundered, fought, recovered and persisted through it.

About the Author More by Gail Grant

Gail Grant is a freelance writer who lives in Palgrave.

Related Stories

Bruce Wanless won three MVP awards in Ontario lacrosse leagues and played on four national championship teams. Photo by Rosemary Hasner / Black Dog Creative Arts.

Bruce Wanless

Mar 31, 2021 | Gail Grant | Over the Next Hill

Humble beginnings for Bruce, who is considered one of lacrosse’s all-time great defensive players.

Quarantini with a twist: Writer Gail Grant settles in for a Skype chat with a distant friend. Photo by Pete Paterson.

Home Alone

Jun 25, 2020 | Gail Grant | Over the Next Hill

Living solo in the era of Covid-19.

Friendship is the Secret to Longevity

Nov 24, 2020 | Gail Grant | Over the Next Hill

As we’re well aware, the Covid pandemic has taken a toll on both our connectivity and wellbeing, placing our social lives on semi-hold – but friends matter.

Cleaning Out the Closets

Jun 16, 2015 | Gail Grant | Over the Next Hill

As each decade has clicked into the next, one thing in my life has remained constant: lack of adequate closet space.

On her first solo trip, Barbara McKenzie had the pleasure of feeding a koala at the Sydney Zoo in Australia.

Faraway Places are Still Within Reach

Nov 22, 2017 | Gail Grant | Over the Next Hill

Travel helps us see things from a different perspective and lean away from old age.

Hanging Up My Apron

Sep 18, 2020 | Gail Grant | Over the Next Hill

After turning 70 Gail Grant found cooking a chore. Here’s how meal kits, poached eggs on toast and guilty-pleasure dinners have kept her happily fed.

After her husband’s death, Kathryn MacDuffee determined to make the best of the new phase in her life. Hiking expeditions with friends included a trip to the Grand Canyon in 2015. Photo by Rosemary Hasner / Black Dog Creative Arts.

Senior and Single

Mar 19, 2019 | Gail Grant | Over the Next Hill

Living alone doesn’t have to be lonely.

The New Normal: Pill Dispensers and Replacement Parts

Mar 24, 2020 | Gail Grant | Over the Next Hill

Somehow I thought growing old would take longer.

Kay MacDuffee, 80, of Caledon has been taking time to meditate twice a day for about 15 years. The goal is to become grounded in the moment. Photo by Pete Paterson.

The Benefits of Meditation

Mar 21, 2016 | Gail Grant | Over the Next Hill

Stress relief also aids memory and it’s like pressing the reset button on your computer.

Friends, old and new, are a bulwark against loneliness and loss.

The Importance of Companionship

Sep 16, 2016 | Gail Grant | Over the Next Hill

Friends, old and new, are a bulwark against loneliness and loss.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By posting a comment you agree that IN THE HILLS magazine has the legal right to publish, edit or delete all comments for use both online or in print. You also agree that you bear sole legal responsibility for your comments, and that you will hold IN THE HILLS harmless from the legal consequences of your comment, including libel, copyright infringement and any other legal claims. Any comments posted on this site are NOT the opinion of IN THE HILLS magazine. Personal attacks, offensive language and unsubstantiated allegations are not allowed. Please report inappropriate comments to vjones@inthehills.ca.