On Est Capable

Unfortunately, this issue of T'ES CAPAB' is brought to you by Covid-19. It is literally the end of the world as we know it. The keywords here are: AS WE KNOW IT. But I am not exaggerating.

Hi. Consider my smile a little hug.

Things might be looking a little dire right now, maybe more than a little scary and stressful. If they are not—you're not paying attention. And if you are not paying attention—ALLUME, DUDE. Everyone needs to pay attention. The best information for Canadians is here, and it's summed up as this: know what to do if you start to get a fever or a cough (self-isolate at home), have food available in canned goods and pasta and avoid going to grocery stores or pharmacies during busy times. If you are over 60, you should not be going out at all. Older family members who need meds or foods should make a plan with other family members to get it to get them. Wash, wash, wash your hands more thoroughly than you've ever washed them. Under the nails and everything.

Because right now there are several epidemics happening around the world—all thanks to the coronavirus known as Covid-19—which means we are facing a pandemic.

Epidemic: a widespread occurrence of a disease in a community at a particular time.
Pandemic: prevalent over a whole country of the world.

Pandemic is also a cooperative board game. If you have ever played it, you'll know that it is a very hard game to win.

The prefix Pan- means "the whole of".

Here's another great word, panacea: a universal remedy, a cure for all ills.

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Now is a GREAT time to read those books you've stockpiled on a dusty shelf. It's also a wonderful time to pull out your old home videos or video games. Also the most important time in our lives to use the Internet. This global crisis will prove a few things and the first one will be that the Internet is indispensable and should be protected. Do not get your news from Facebook. Use it only to touch based with your family and friends. And remember birthdays.

Want to explore new music?

Here's "You Are Not Alone", thanks to Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy.

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So if wasn't already clear: don't go out in public unless it's absolutely necessary. For background, here's where I got my information and sense of where we're going. (Because it should be said, although I don't want this to be the point, that this is far from over and it's going to get much worse before it gets better. What happens in the United States in the next week will set the tone for the next few months, if not year, on this planet.)

On March 4, I received tech expert Jesse Hirsh's Metaviews newsletter. It's always very smart and interesting, about Internet, policy, and people. The March 4 headline was: "The calm before the Covid-19 storm" and its subhead was "Now is a good time to check your emergency preparedness". The article was about the social pandemic (and the pandemonium) that can occur when real crises take place. We saw that this weekend: people panic-buying toilet paper. The article stressed me out enough to buy some canned goods but not enough to say: "I should stress out my family and friends with this too."

On March 11, I covered the Kesterton Lecture on Carleton campus in the evening. My computer died that morning—the hard drive simply crashed. I wrote my client at the Department of University Communications (DUC) to ask if they had a computer I could use to write the story the next day. "Sure, come on in."

On March 12, as shit began to hit the fan, I was surrounded by communications professionals during a very hectic news days. I was writing up a story about a nice little lecture while the world was shaking around us. Sports: cancelled. Celebrities: have the virus. March Break: extended. A second confirmed case showed up in Ottawa. It was both surreal and historic. That evening, I called:

My sister, Annie.
My mother, Joan,
My aunt, Brigitte.
My best man, Ami.
My grandfather, Keith.

I was worried about stressing people out. So based on the person, I said a version of: "Things are about to get very serious. Please be aware. Get ready with food and Tylenol." I was still afraid to make the mistake of alarming people. I am no longer afraid of that—because it's much past that.

Hirsh had a video link that said something relevant to my "fear of making a mistake" at the end of a new Metaviews newsletter from March 15: "Finally, here’s a relevant answer from the latest WHO press briefing from this past Friday regarding the necessary response speed required by Governments to properly address this pandemic (should start at the 30:37 mark)."

Basically, people and governments need to act quickly. The time for "being afraid of making mistakes" should be over. When we see numbers of "confirmed cases" growing, no matter how slowly, we can be sure there are more that will not be confirmed until much later.

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While there is information out there about only certain age groups getting sick, everyone needs to put that part out of their minds. This is not about who is at risk and who is not dying. This about stopping a virus in its tracks which has already ended the world. How far do we want the world to end? This is not a drill.

If you need someone to talk to, holler at me: 613-614-6384.

If you want to get a sense of where we are going, if you need to understand how we got here, here you go, in the form of podcasts and written news:

  • On March 13, Donald G. McNeil Jr., a science and health reporter for The New York Times, explained on The Daily why he saw this coming and what he's doing (as an American citizen) to keep his family and his neighbours safe.

  • Today, Canadaland released their interview with The Globe & Mail health columnist André Picard from last Thursday. Picard, like McNeil, saw it coming. The podcast episode came out today.

  • National Observer is making all their coronavirus coverage free.

  • You'll have a friend in CBC.ca, but...

Don't overindulge in news.
Definitely DO NOT get your news from Facebook.
And don't forget that Canada.ca is the best place to know what to do and when to do it.
And, really, don't hesitate to reach out to me (via this Tinyletter, email or call) if you have:

  • Something to say,

  • Something better to offer than I just did, or

  • Something that can help us feel better.

I'm going to write my award-winning Dalton Camp essay this week. You better believe it's going to change with this new world we are living in. I'm also going to be reading many books as I can, and I will share the best parts with you here, if you want.

I'm going to do a lot of push-ups, crunches, planks, and stretches.

What are you going to do?

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Okay, I want to leave with this:

You are not alone. Even as we are socially distant (I will not be visiting or seeing my grandpa or mom for a couple weeks) we can stick together. Call your people, make sure they know how important this is. And how important they are to you.

Much love,
Joe

PS: T'es capab'.
PPS: Feel free to send this newsletter to anyone who still needs waking up.

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