By Camille Aubin
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More than a year has passed since the first case of COVID-19 in Canada – the first case of the novel coronavirus (as the virus was initially termed) was confirmed in a laboratory on Jan. 25, 2020, and reported by Health Canada. A year? ‘Already’ some will say. ‘Finally’ others will say.

The virus did not take long to appear in B.C., with the first reported case in this province announced on Jan. 28. The virus then made its way closer to the Columbia Valley on Feb. 14, when the first case was confirmed in the Interior Health Region.

Looking back on the timeline, we realize now just how far we have come, how little we knew and how much our lives, everyone’s lives, have changed since then.

Businesses had to adapt to new procedures, as did customers. Many employees had to transform their guest rooms into home offices in the short term, and then for the long term. Our social lives have been turned upside down, restricted to sharing human contact with people in our household only. As a result, the elderly in the long term residences have seen, for the most, the number of visitors coming to see them reduced to zero. There have been so many more difficulties than we ever could imagine. People did what they thought was best for themselves and their loved ones.

Always agreeing with one other person can be difficult, let alone with a group, a community, a province or the whole country. It is normal for lively discussions to occur within any community, given everything that has happened to us since last year. And indeed, people from our community have exchanged ideas, opinions and facts. For the past several weeks in the Pioneer, the two ‘camps’; of believer and non-believer; are bantering back and forth in our letters section.

We are already sufficiently separated from each other that turning our backs (too often with anger) on those who do not share the same opinions does not help matters more. Let us accept doubt, let us accept questions, and let us accept uncertainties. Allow the difference to be – accept other points of view, while respecting the provincial health recommendations. A peaceful exchange of ideas and opinions will make us grow as people and as a flourishing community.

Be curious and open-minded with your neighbours. We are all in this together, despite different opinions.