Let’s hope for the best and prepare for the worst
The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a devastating blow to mas’ makers in 2020 but as we face the prospect of a second wave of the deadly virus, the Festival Management Committee (FMC) which runs the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, is looking forward to better days ahead in 2021.
In his recent announcement of the appointment of new board members, Joe Halstead, chairman of the FMC, noted that “these are very difficult times…we need to deal with a very uncertain future.”
A very uncertain future indeed as mas’ makers plot and plan in the ” new normal.”
As one optimistic bandleader boldly put it, Mr, Covid will not be allowed to put an end to our spectacular annual display of mas’.
However, while we cannot predict when the pandemic will be over, the news of late has not not been encouraging.
As media reports indicate, COVID-19 infections have surged in Canada and health officials have warned that if we do not take stringent precautions, the number of cases could balloon to exceed cases seen during the first wave of the pandemic.
On Monday, Canada had reported 145,415 cases and 9,228 deaths. And according to a worst-case scenario outlined by the Public Health Agency, cases could rise more than 1,000 per day to 155,795 by October 2 with the death toll reaching 9,300.
So whether one is a mas’ maker or a reveller in Canada, Trinidad, Jamaica or elsewhere, one has to exercise great caution and protect oneself against COVID-19, even as we look forward to a big JUMP UP in 2021.
Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam has warned that ” with minimum controls, the virus is capable of surging into a very sharp and intense peak … (that) could overwhelm our health system capacity and significantly impact our social and economic systems as well.
And clearly, that will put an end to any major celebration such as the Toronto Caribbean carnival.
Band leadersd point out that it is diffcult to plan for an event which may not happen.There certanly can be no social distancing in a massive street parade on “de Boulevard” next summer, as the FMC, carnival bandleaders and revellers must be fully aware.
But the FMC has its work to do and the planning continues, even though the celebrations may be a scaled down version of the events of past years.
Of course, we can hope and pray that by early next year, the pandemic will be over.
So let us hope for the best and prepare for the worst.