Friday afternoon, I was able to leave work early. There was no one on the inpatient unit and all the urgent calls had been managed and the patient appointments completed by phone.

As I walked home, all I could hear was the sound of tramping, my own feet. There was a gusty wind that rippled the puddles on the streets and created mini waterspouts over them. A tempest in a teapot? I thought this and then recoiled away from the expression, averse to any metaphor that suggests an overreaction. I am tired of the people who are still staying this.

On TV, you can watch 3 dimensional pictures of the novel coronavirus whirling around an imaginary host. Everyone must have seen by now the image of 2 graphs used to demonstrate what “flattening the curve” means. You can see bar graphs, line graphs, and pie charts that show the extent of the spread of coronavirus in Canada. It’s difficult to believe that there are still people who cannot see in these pictures how serious the situation is.

It’s difficult to believe that the level of scientific and math literacy in Canada is as low as this interpretation of the graphs I am looking at seems to suggest. I prefer to believe that people are living in denial. They see the numbers, charted every which way on graphs, but they don’t quite believe what is happening.

Those graphs and charts seem frighteningly clear to me, but not to everyone. It’s as though the COVID-19 graphs and charts are not black and white, as I see them, but rather like those black and white optical illusion pictures, the ones in which some of us see 2 faces looking at each other, while others see a vase.

As I walk home on a blustery, warm Friday afternoon in March – on the weekend that spring will start – the beginning of my favourite season doesn’t register until I am on my doorstep. I turn sit on the step for a few moments, breathing in the fresh, damp air and wait for the sun to break through the clouds.

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