When the long-awaited warm sunny weather arrived in Toronto over the weekend, hundreds flocked to Trinity Bellwoods Park in the city’s west end. Ontario Premier Doug Ford said it looked like a “rock concert,” but added that he understood people wanted to be outside and enjoy the outdoors.

These days, with social distancing rules still in place, it can be difficult to get outdoors and to know whether or not to. High-rise apartment buildings have elevator limits. Neighborhoods may have more parking lots than parkland. Or it could be that you are caring for someone with a high risk of developing severe illness from a Covid-19 infection.

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Language always tells a story. As COVID-19 shakes the world, many of the words we’re using to describe it originated during earlier calamities – and have colorful tales behind them.

In the Middle Ages, for example, fast-spreading infectious diseases were known as plagues – as in the Bubonic plague, named for the characteristic swellings (or buboes) that appear in the groin or armpit. With its origins in the Latin word plaga meaning “stroke” or “wound”, the plague came to refer to a wider scourge through its use to describe the ten plagues suffered by the Egyptians in the biblical book of Exodus.

Widespread media coverage of antibody testing for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has generated high hopes that we will be able to readily identify individuals who are immune to this virus.

There has also been coverage about developing immunity passports, which employers can use to let people return to work. While these are all tantalizing thoughts, the idea of using antibody testing as a true measure of protection is something that requires much more research.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, we are being warned of a “second wave” of mental health problems that threaten to overrun an already weakened mental health service.

As we emerge from this crisis, while some people may need specialist help with treating mental illness, everybody can benefit from strategies to improve mental health.