Editorial – One day at a time

Jeff Burgar

It’s now about five months from the time most of the Western world really started taking notice of Covid-19. Besides the scramble to find vaccines and cures, there is a mad rush to take political advantage of this in any way possible.

American president Donald Trump suffers a constant barrage accusing him of mishandling the pandemic. He stopped passenger air flights from China at the end of January. For this, he was roundly criticized. Political opponents said there was nothing to be alarmed about in this disease. Opposing party leader Nancy Pelosi, encouraged people to gather, party, and visit and dine in New York’s Chinatown as late as early March.

In Canada, the Edmonton Sportsmen Show was shut down the afternoon of the same day it opened, Thursday, March 12. This began a litany of spring and summer events, big and small, being cancelled. Although it seems “sort of normal” here in northern Alberta, life has not been the same since. The rest of the world is much worse.

So, some businesses stayed open. Others are re-opening. Yet, sadly, some are closed for good. Even among those which weathered this storm, there is still doubt what the future really holds.

Finning Equipment, Western Canada’s major Caterpillar dealer, says federal support has so far allowed them to keep their employees. They also say, if business stays as bad as it is right now, they will be laying off staff if the federal wage support programs run out, as scheduled, at the end of this year.

Despite others making optimistic projections, Microsoft’s Bill Gates says the end of this year, and probably a few months longer, before a viable vaccine is approved and ready. Then, he says, it will be another six months before enough product can be built and delivered for the whole world.

The head of BMO bank says his company is operating on what he calls a “contingency basis.” “It’s just day-by-day, reacting to things as they happen,” he told Bloomberg News last week. Sounds like most of us. “Experts” change their minds from one week or month to the next, as they have since early this year. Nobody really has an idea if, or when, we will be back to any kind of normal, if indeed that can ever happen.

Some companies enjoy growth. Streaming television services, shop-from-home companies, food delivery outfits, companies supplying renovation services, building supplies, forestry and so much more are doing well. So far.

Meanwhile, airline companies, cruise lines, tourist and travel companies, oil companies and much more continue to be hammered. It is a world right now of haves and have-nots.

Besides fortunate industries, government employees, from clerks to truck drivers, equipment operators, administrators, health workers, teachers and more aren’t worried about their next pay check or having to meet a payroll. This is probably good. It means money is flowing and gives leaders time to figure out the next steps.

Because that is where we are. Baby steps. Baby steps everywhere. To a new world.

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