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Magic words

Jody Vance: British Columbia has been a comparative success story. As tensions and fears rise, we should stick with the formula that works.

You know that part when Glinda, the good witch of the north, tells Dorothy “you’ve always had the power, my dear”?

That’s where I see BC with regard to COVID-19.

No, I’ve not lost my marbles; today’s Middle does indeed draw parallels to The Wizard of Oz. Let me explain.

You’ve always had the power. What if we looked at masks and social distancing as POWER against COVID — the power to keep this virus at bay?

Stay with me.

In the early chapters of BC’s COVID-19 pandemic experience, we navigated terrifyingly turbulent waters. Most petrifying, perhaps, politicians actually agreeing across party lines, in the name of facing unprecedented danger united. (You know things are dire when…)

We all went home and stayed home. We listened.

We proudly bent, then flattened, our curve. We were ONE. We won.

Then, we counted our chickens.

When we opened up a bit, we found some freedom, and new worries. We doggedly limped back to the new normal, or at least some semblance of normal. We were missing a LOT: hugging, hand shakes, family dinners, travel…and definitely NO PARTIES.

Everything would have been fine – if Phase 3 had meant the finish line. As we continue our battle, we’re on the right side of this race — unless we allow extremist mindsets to ruin everything.

Exhibit A: The COVID Cops.

Why are there US license plates here?

Why are planes still landing at YVR?

Why are there seven people at that table on the patio?

Exhibit B: The COVIDIOT.

It’s not that big of a deal, I’m over it.

It’s just hyped up by the media.

It’s only the flu.

It might feel like there’s no Middle to be found here, but there is.

Every day, Dr. Bonnie has been providing the road map to survive this pandemic emotionally, and physically:

“Be calm, be kind and be safe.”

Share that philosophy with family and friends. Spread the word to those who might not engage in news, those mimicking awareness without actually doing the work.

Let's hope. (Lucie Filipi /

This is not Dr. Henry’s first pandemic. She knows exactly where we are, what we’re feeling, how we’re reacting, and what we need to do to get through it.

She also knows exactly what happens if we let ourselves freak out, and become either COVID Cop or COVIDIOT. Neither is at all helpful.

We all know people who think they are doing all they can, but absolutely are not. Instead of obsessing over them, model better behaviour.

Walk past the denier; getting angry just backs them further into the corner.

Don’t berate the anti-masker who’s scared as hell and just can’t manage the reality of where we actually are.

Don’t be baited by loud whataboutism: “What if she’s wrong? What about Sweden?”

We aren’t in Sweden, Dorothy. Or the US, Japan, China, or Italy. We aren’t even in Ontario, Quebec, or Alberta. While some places count new infections in the hundreds or thousands, even millions, we don’t. For now.

We have an opportunity to keep this virus at bay by doing what works and following the science

Be kind, be calm, be safe.

Say it out loud. Take a breath.

We’re at a crossroads. Choosing our battles should be easy: fight the virus, not one another. We have the power, my dear.

Jody Vance is a born and raised Vancouverite who’s spent 30 years in both local and national media. The first woman in the history of Canadian TV to host her own sports show in primetime, since 2011 she’s been working in both TV and radio covering news and current affairs.