le Vendredi 31 mars 2023
le Mardi 23 mars 2021 11:59 Covid-19

Family History : Pandemics, Wars And Natural Disasters, Part 3

Follow up from last week’s part 2 about a child born in 1914 and all the tragedies that he lived through his life.

The new millennium opened with another type of virus that sent the world in a state of panic! The Millennium bug or Y2K in short, refers to a computer bug related to the formatting and storage of calendar data for dates beginning in the year 2000. Problems were anticipated, and arose because many programs represented four-digit years with only the final two digits – making the year 2000 indistinguishable from 1900. The assumption of a twentieth-century date in such programs could cause various errors, such as the incorrect display of dates and the inaccurate ordering of automated dated records or real-time events. Companies and organisations in some countries, but not all, checked, fixed, and upgraded their computer systems to address the anticipated problem. Very few computer failures were reported when the clocks rolled over into 2000. The total cost of the work done in preparation for Y2K is estimated worldwide at over US$300 billion.  (Now 86, but computer-illiterate, so could care less about K2Y or whatever it was…)

CORONAVIRUSES are a large family of viruses ranging from the common cold to severe diseases such as MERS, SARS, COVID; some are transmitted between animals and humans, some are a milder and treatable form, others are deadly.

2003: SARS (Covid1): 250 identified cases with 44 deaths in Canada, half are health-care workers, 774 worldwide (Now 89)

2004: AVIAN FLU: found in poultry originated from Hong Kong; in Canada, a British Columbia poultry farm saw its birds all slaughtered after virus was found; two farm workers were contaminated; very low transmission (Now 90)

2009-2010: SWINE FLU: first reported in Mexico and owns its ‘swine’ appellative to the fact that the virus was often found in North American pigs; more than 18,000 victims worldwide, 428 of whom were Canadians.  (Now 95)

2012: MERS: originated in Middle East countries; 935,000 deaths worldwide; 1714 identified cases in Canada with 645 fatalities. (Now 98)

2014-2016: ZIKA: virus transmitted through mosquitos; this type of mosquito is not found in Canada, so the only reported cases are travel-related, especially from Mexico and the Caribbean; very few cases in Canada.  (Now 100! Will most probably die from a multitude of old-age related factors after surviving all of the above. He/she was definitely born under a lucky star!)

2020-2021: COVID 19: Human beings may show different reactions when facing danger or uncertainty: panic, depression, anger, frustration, patience, denial,… Whatever our reaction, the actual Covid situation forces us to modify our lifestyle and adapt to the situation as it progresses. Covid might be our first ever experience dealing with a phenomenon of such world amplitude and it may prove to be the only one in our lifetime;  by comparison, our parents and grandparents survived several pandemics, wars and disasters, natural or man-made. We may consider changing our perspective and our approach in dealing with possible future events of this type and appreciate life for what it has to offer, with its occasional challenges.

On a more humorous note, let’s demonstrate empathy for our Americans neighbours who had to face two serious viruses simultaneously: one (the one with an orange hairdo) has now moved to Florida’s warmer climates and playing golf to brighten his moods, but may very well surge again if face of complacency, the second one is handled by vaccine treatment but may also still linger for a while if we don’t show it consideration; it’s unfortunate for them the same vaccine couldn’t treat both viruses permanently! And let’s hope we don’t have to deal with an ‘Easter Ontario variant’!

(This article was inspired by an unsigned Facebook post in general circulation)

A great follow-up reading: PEACETIME  KILLER by John Lorinc                                                                     https://www.canadashistory.ca/explore/science-technology/peacetime-killer