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You may be done. But COVID is not.

Jody Vance: It’s okay to be frustrated and angry. But that has to end at lashing out, or acting irresponsibly.

Recently, I spoke to a woman named Sandra, from New Westminster, when she called a radio show I hosted to ask a question of microbiologist Jason Tetro.

Her voice broke as she spoke of about her son “coming home for the first time in two years to see a couple double-vaccinated-and-boosted 70 year olds, a 90 year old who’s also fully immunized…and a two-year-old toddler.”

Sandra is doing everything right. Her son will be PCR tested as he’s returning from abroad, and she has a stockpile of rapid tests she purchased online. She’s so scared to do the wrong thing and doing all she can.

Last year at this time, I wrote about not being okay – and how that’s okay.

Well, the 2021 year-ender Middle is about being done. Sandra in New West is so many British Columbians right now. People who have every reason to be done – but know they can’t.

I’m done. You’re done. Your neighbour is done. Your doctor is done. Your grocer is done. Your pharmacist is done. It’s normal to be done. But COVID isn’t done.

We simply cannot be so done that we give up.

How horrible this is, to have wept at a late summer press briefing where it felt like we had rounded the turn to the final stretch…only to see the path extend indefinitely.

It is worse, but we also know what to do.

Sure, no one wants to: staying away from one another; staying home; keeping distanced; wearing masks — all in the name of protecting our healthcare system.

The only place to lay blame is at the spike protein of this evil virus.

The human tragedy here is the lost time in being asked to not gather for a third Holiday Season. COVID is cruel.

The toll of years of restrictions, in one form or another, is unrecoverable – like catching up on lost sleep. The time slips away, leaving emptiness. From the young person losing out on a chapter of their lives, to the elder in the winter of theirs, not allowed to connect with family in a tactile way.

Then there are those who want to fight over this. Mad at it all and ready to be mad at anyone who wants to rally together around what we know works in this pandemic.

Those feeling frustration, and looking to lay blame, please know this: the virus doesn’t care if you’re pissed.

This constant emotional albatross, the non-stop trauma, and relentless stress is not normal. It’s okay to be done – but it’s not okay to give up.

Winter isn’t coming, it arrived yesterday, when we were told to once again “go home and stay home” like never before.

To blame a single person is counterproductive. To lash out at anyone trying to calm the waters is worse. Don’t be the mudslide blocking the COVID highway, get behind clearing the way to that finish line.

The most important message of this Middle is that THIS WILL END. It feels endless for you and me, imagine how it feels to those caring for patients in hospital.

Hospitals were busy before COVID. Before the pandemic, the stories were about ER wait times, parking fees, elective surgery scarcity. All of those underserved needs still exist – and now, all but the most urgent must wait.

Omicron is not about the severity of illness you might suffer, but how hospitals might crumble under relentless waves of patients.

Let’s get this done. If not for us and our loved ones, for THEM.

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.