Controlling COVID is up to all of us

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: CHRIS MISZCZAK
"It's a new year, but the message hasn't changed," London mayor Ed Holder said of COVID-19.

It is a New Year, and a new semester. Just as this has been a challenging past year, the New Year brings its own set of unique challenges.

Premier Doug Ford enforced a state of emergency on Jan. 14.

“Stay at home and save lives,” Ford said. “Hope is on the horizon.” However just as there is this new sense of hope for what lies ahead, this includes how we should approach the circumstances that we are still faced with. Ed Holder, mayor of London Ontario, discussed this with Interrobang. “While the calendar has changed to a new year, our circumstances — both here in London, and across much of Ontario — remain exceptionally dire. It remains to be seen if lockdowns will have an impact on driving our numbers lower. We know it will be many months before enough vaccines have been administered to notice widespread results,” Holder said.

Navigator. Londons student lifestyles magazine.

“In the meantime, however, we are far from powerless. We are anything but victims of circumstance, incapable of influencing or steering the course of events. We have as much opportunity now as we have ever had to control and subdue the virus. This, as it always has been, is up to us. You, me, your family, my family, our friends, all of us.” This was the message that Holder wanted to communicate. “This isn’t just about COVID, and COVID alone. This is about the viability of our entire healthcare system, and the stress being placed upon it by the virus. Too many people in hospital beds, or the ICU, mean fewer spaces, doctors, and medical supplies available to assist you, your family, or friends if — heaven forbid — they require specialized treatment for any number of reasons: a car accident, heart attack, stroke, a bad fall, you name it. Regardless of your age, or how healthy you may be at this very moment. COVID impacts all of us, either directly, or indirectly. That is why we absolutely must take this seriously and exercise the very real control we have over the trajectory of this pandemic. Avoid large gatherings, stay at home when you are able, wear a mask, wash your hands, and physically distance. It’s a New Year, but the message hasn’t changed, and it won’t change until we bring this virus under control.”

While it is important to remain vigilant, it is also important to maintain strong mental health in a time that is extremely uncertain. Life continues to have a unique set of challenges in discovering who you are, knowing what to listen to, training yourself to think critically, and managing stress. This is not easy considering the environment that we are in.

Do not be afraid to reach out to a friend, at a safe distance of course. To ask for help when you need it, remember that you are not alone in this journey. There is no need to isolate yourself, remember that Fanshawe College has counselling services if you ever need someone to talk to.

“Fanshawe students can schedule an appointment with a counsellor by contacting counselling & accessibility services at or at 519-452-4282. Counsellors are available to Fanshawe students at no cost and can provide coping strategies and support with mental health issues, including stress and anxiety, depression, addictions, self-esteem, and relationship or family issues. Appointments are confidential and same day service for urgent issues are also available,” said Jennifer Dowsett, manager of counselling & accessibility services at Fanshawe College.

It is important to lead by example, and no team is without those who work and aspire to that same example. I would emphasize to practice a sense of leadership, and to keep the big picture in mind.

Keep ourselves informed and always think critically while staying safe. I am reminded of a conversation that I had with someone close this past week. To keep working, to stay focused on what matters and to not let go of that hope. We can and will get through this.