Podcasters ponder pandemic in latest episode

Thompson’s homegrown Snow Day Podcast, produced by one current resident and three former Thompsonites, tackled the biggest topic in the world - the novel coronavirus - in their latest episode, released March 24.

Recorded on March 19, the episode touches on working from home, toilet paper hoarding, the impact of the pandemic on people’s psyches and, of course, social distancing.

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“It’s what everybody in the world is talking about right now, almost literally, so if we were in a basement there’s noway we wouldn’t be talking about this,” said Krentz in the episode’s introduction.

The episode about a natural disaster is sort of a return to the podcast’s genesis, which came when the Krentz and the other four  podcasters - Dr. George Alvarez, Stephen DeGroot and Les Hansen, were stuck in Thompson following a funeral by the blizzard of March 2017.

For Hansen, who lives in Toronto, the biggest city in Canada and in one of the provinces hit hardest by the pandemic so far, said it has flipped his world upside down.

“It has changed completely on its head in a very fast-paced, short amount of time,” he observed. “I shut down my office for my software company last week, sent everybody home, everybody’s working from home.”

The pandemic has also prompted different reactions for the four, with Kretnz saying he feels unsettled because the uncertainty of what is going to happen conflicts with his tendency to be a planner, while Alvarez, an intensive care doctor, is feeling calm.

“I feel uber-focused,” he said. “I have this weird serenity.”

Hansen said his trips to the supermarket and driving around a mostly-deserted Toronto were eerie.

“There was a palpable tension amongst people in the store, people lining up to hoard toilet paper and bottled water,” he said. “It’s unsettling.”

The podcasters also talked about how it is important for people working from home or not working at all to maintain some sort of a routine, with Krentz noting that he gets up at the same time as he did when he had to leave his house for work, puts on work clothes and starts working at the same time.

“It’s so important in a time like this when you don’t have control to have a routine,” said DeGroot.

The nearly daily announcement of policies like school closures and limiting public gatherings are unrolled the way they are on purpose, says Alvarez.

“If everything in the last 10 days was done in one day you could imagine the true panic that would ensue,” he said, though they will still have a long-term impact. “This will be tattooed into the psyche for quite a while.”

Krentz said the initial compliance with social distancing measures will be difficult to maintain as the pandemic drags out.

“Staying the course is going to be the harder part,” he said. “Three months of that is really hard for me to picture. How do we keep that up and I hope that we can and we do. That feels like a long shift.”

To listen to the podcast, search for Snow Day Podcast on a podcatching app or go to https://snowdaypod.podbean.com/e/snow-day-e32-covid-march-19-2020/.

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