As the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, spreads through Canada and the world, everyday life is being affected in several ways. Some might notice their office is less populated than usual as their co-workers self-isolate, and others might have a hard time finding a bottle of hand sanitizer on store shelves. To the average person the impact so far has been low, however that may very well change as the situation escalates. In early March 2020, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw made this clear:

One of the first reactions to this “new normal” has been a mass-cancelling of public gatherings. Locally, this means that the Edmonton Flamenco Festival and the Mental Health Foundation’s fundraising breakfast in March will not go on as scheduled. Across the country hockey teams are talking about playing in empty arenas, and Tim Horton’s has modified its Roll Up the Rim campaign to run strictly digitally. E3—the annual conference where new video games are showed off—has been cancelled and there’s talk that the Summer Olympics will share the same fate.

The virus was officially designated a pandemic on March 11, further feeding the hysteria—but is that hysteria justified? Officials have maintained that the risk to Canadians remains low and suggest frequent handwashing as the best way to prevent infection. Even Canadians who don’t fall ill are not immune to the far-reaching effects on the global economy, particularly those who work in the beleaguered oil and gas sector. It remains to be seen exactly how large an impact the virus will have on the world… For now, cough into your sleeve, avoid touching your face, and don’t go to work if you’re feeling under the weather.