The Reality That COVID-19 Isn’t Over


Published: 08 July 2020

COVID-19’s continuing ability to evolve and spread is a troubling reality we must face head-on.

As the northern hemisphere enters into July and the height of early summer, we’re now seeing the reality that the summer panacea of diminished COVID-19 cases was just that - a panacea.

Australia and neighbouring countries were not immune during hot weather, and while Australia has controlled the spread more successfully than others, the virus continues to emerge in new hotspots.

Amidst this uncertainty and trepidation, how do we adjust our thinking, reassure others, wait calmly for the second wave and remain vigilant?

Facing the Wave

nurse sitting on hallway floor looking tired

As healthcare professionals, we are the trusted people to whom many citizens look for leadership beyond government officials or media sources. Nurses, physicians, social workers and others all have roles to play during this ongoing global emergency, and our ability to remain focused is paramount.

Being involved in healthcare at this time can be gratifying in terms of contributing to the overall COVID-19 response, whether our roles are clinically oriented or not. The double-edged sword is that just like everyone else, we’re worrying about finances and vulnerable loved ones, not to mention the impact of social distancing and isolation.

Along with grocery store clerks, food servers, postmen and others, those of us in healthcare often find ourselves the public face of the pandemic response. While we worry about our sister with a disability, our hospitalised grandmother or our children suffering the deprivations of social isolation, we simultaneously may find ourselves having to reassure patients and put on a brave face for our loved ones, even as we anxiously examine our bank accounts three months after our spouse was furloughed.

Despite the bleak situation, we must pay attention to our own wellness and seek calm amidst the storm.

Knowledge, Focus, and the Unknown

Remaining educated and updated about the latest statistics is one way to promote calm within ourselves and those around us. Being informed allows us to look at the facts objectively, come to our own evidence-based conclusions and then use our knowledge to educate others and alleviate their confusion. When we educate just one person, their newly increased clarity may encourage them to, in turn, educate others.

If we resist falling into denial and fear, we can think more clearly, be more objective, filter media reports and medical evidence through a clear mind and stay in touch with ourselves. This will give us the mental and emotional capacity required to face the unknown.

The reality that this virus is here to stay for some time is sinking in for people around the world. It didn’t go away completely during the Australian summer, and it’s certainly not taking a break now as cases continue to increase. Amidst concerns that COVID-19 and influenza will circulate simultaneously in the months ahead, we have even more reason to remain vigilant.

We should endeavour to stay healthy, think clearly, maintain work-life balance and remain aware of the world around us, no matter how out of balance it may seem right now.

The battle against COVID-19 is far from over; therefore, our roles as purveyors of information and calm are crucial. Until the resolution of this pandemic, inner strength is called for. If we can summon it within ourselves, we can encourage others to also remain strong as we walk this bumpy path united.

nurse reading on smartphone

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