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There’s never been any doubt that human beings are an adaptable species.

Ever since our distant ancestors arose in Africa and spread to every corner of the planet, Homo sapiens have been able to deal with whatever nature has thrown at them.

It has not always been pretty, but we have obviously always survived as a species, and even flourished in the face of what might seem to be insurmountable challenges.

Human beings are again proving that invaluable ability to adapt in the face of Covid-19, which is far from the first pandemic the world has known.

Just consider that Covid-19 was only first recognized as a new disease in December of last year, just over eight months ago.

Yet in that time, people around the world have adjusted their lives to combat the pandemic. Of course, some countries and even regions of countries have done better than others, and some have done quite poorly, such as the United States.

Hay River and the NWT have been successful in keeping Covid-19 at bay. There have just been five cases in the territory, all travel related, and there has been no known community transmission here.

That is quite remarkable when you think about it. But it didn’t happen by accident. It was the result of concerted action by government, communities and individuals – all demonstrating adaptability.

So now because of those collective efforts, Hay River and the NWT are earning a slow return to something akin to normalcy.

After things basically shut down in the NWT in March because of concerns about Covid-19, there has been a slow and cautious reopening, which has recently been picking up steam.

Of course, the biggest thing has been the reopening of schools on Aug. 31. So far, that seems to be going well.

The Hub previously expressed concern about the reopening of schools, and we still have to admit we’re worried. However, we also admit that the reopening of schools was inevitable.

Now, there is a move afoot for a staged reopening of the Hay River Community Centre. A detailed plan has been drawn up by the Town of Hay River and it has now been sent to the territorial government for approval.

That will be another big step back to something resembling normalcy in Hay River.

As many people have said, Covid-19 is creating a new normal in our lives.

We have all gotten used to the ideas of physical distancing, social bubbles and self-isolation when required, and many are starting to wear facemasks.

None of that was part of our lives at the beginning of the year, but it just goes to show that people are adaptable.

While the world awaits for a vaccine against Covid-19, human adaptability is the best defence against the pandemic. In fact, right now it is the only defence.

By our actions, we can get through the pandemic. Even if there is never an effective vaccine found, because that is not guaranteed to happen, human adaptability will allow us to survive Covid-19 and even allow us to return to something resembling our pre-pandemic normal lives.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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