Column like I see 'em - When it comes to COVID, hindsight is...


By Eoin Devereux

Neepawa Banner & Press

Well, 2020 was quite the year, wasn’t it? I’m sure we’re all glad to be looking at it through the proverbial rear-view mirror right about now. With that in mind, I wish you all a happy New Year and, hopefully, a 2021 that is full of joy, vaccinations (if you want one) and a bit more hugging. 

Now, while the state of the world is not magically better just because we’ve changed a 0 to a 1, it still feels just a little bit easier to see the light amongst the darkness. The road to get here, though, over the past 10 months, has taken quite a few twists and turns. 

The initial fear and confusion 

Hey, remember back in March when a couple of cases of COVID-19 scared the heck out of all of us? On Mar. 12, the news just started pouring in from across the globe; The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced it was shutting down after a player tested positive. Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau went into isolation after his wife, Sophia, tested positive. Then, Tom Hanks announced he had the COVID. I think that last one was when everybody went, “Oh jeez, this might actually be something after all.” 

I remember talking to my co-workers and saying that, “Spring appears to be cancelled, but hopefully this doesn’t screw up the summer too badly.” Well, looking back…hindsight is 20/20. 

Short term triumph and overconfidence 

Let’s fast forward to July, when we were feeling pretty darn good about ourselves. There was that near two week stretch where there were no new COVID-19 cases anywhere in Manitoba and we had just a single active case left. We were wearing those results like some sort of badge of honour, weren’t we? Because of this positivity, the Manitoba government started to power ahead with its #RestartMB campaign, centred around restarting the economy and promoting tourism to the province. 

I remember speaking to my parents at the time and saying that, “The province has really done an outstanding job handling this situation. Brian Pallister has me feeling optimistic that we’re through the worst of it.” Well…hindsight is 20/20. 

Losing our way 

As we shifted into the autumn, the active COVID-19 numbers started to grow. Some people had themselves a nice little freakout on Aug. 22, when the province announced it had shattered its largest single day case count, with an unimaginable 42 new cases! Things just can’t get any worse, can they? Well, we didn’t have to wait long for that answer, as there were 72 new cases the very next day. Over the course of those two days, Prairie Mountain was the hot spot and we ended up paying the price, going into a restricted Code Orange. 

I remember speaking to my friends and saying that, “This is our fault. We, as a collective, got a little too smug about our early success and now we have to pay the price. I’m not worried, though. This will be the wake up call the entire province needs to get back on track and ready for Christmas.” Well…hindsight is 20/20. 

A silent night 

I remember on Christmas Eve, being alone in an empty room because the entire province was stuck in critical Code Red. I sat there, saying to myself that, “2020 hasn’t broken me, but it has taught me several valuable lessons. It taught me to take nothing for granted. To cherish family. To embrace the simple things, like meeting up with friends. Because you never know when it will all disappear. But this upcoming year is going to be a new beginning. In 2021, it’ll get better. And I’m positive that’ll all start with the provincial restrictions most definitely being repealed in January.” Well… 

Disclaimer: Column like I see ‘em is a monthly opinion column for the Neepawa Banner & Press. The views expressed are the writer’s and are not to be taken as being the view of the Banner & Press.