Things were looking so rosy. Australia was the envy of the world, with very few active covid-19 cases and very few deaths, mostly of elderly residents in aged care homes. Sport was happening, albeit with restrictions. Pubs and clubs were reopening.
And then the wheels fell off.
Hot spots flared in Victoria, with hundreds of new cases being discovered every day. Several towers of flats in the Melbourne inner city were placed into lock down when a flurry of positive cases was identified among the residents. An Islamic school in the outer western suburbs reported positive cases in the teaching staff and the student body. As a result, all of Greater Melbourne is in lock down, with the Premier warning of stage four restrictions.
Now, the virus has spread to NSW. New cases in Sydney have been traced back to one man who arrived from Melbourne. The result is that a list of Sydney suburbs are now identified as hot spots.
Queensland was ready to welcome interstate visitors – but now, Victorians and people from known NSW hot spots are being turned away.
Where to point the finger? Well, inadequate supervision of people in mandatory hotel quarantine is a part of the story. The Victorian Government refused a Federal Government offer of military personnel and used security firms employing untrained staff instead. The guards took people shopping or to fast-food restaurants and testing was inadequate. More will come out after an inquiry reports its findings. It seems the Black Lives Matter march was another source of infection because social distancing was not practiced and most people did not wear masks. And the outbreak at the Islamic school involved many immigrant families. The Victorian Government is taking steps to ensure that people from non-English speaking backgrounds are kept informed of covid restrictions.
This is all wonderful in hindsight. Lots of people were suggesting the BLM marches should not have happened. The NSW Government tried to ban the march in Sydney but its ruling was overturned at the last minute – by a judge, for pity’s sake. One has to wonder about the inadequacy of security at the quarantine hotels. There are anecdotal reports of guards being urged not to have a covid test because then they’d have to self-isolate.
I’m beginning to think we’ll never beat this virus.
People have become complacent, or bored, or tired of the restrictions, or they’ve decided it’s just another flu, or “it’ll never happen to me”, or it only affects old people. Or that totally idiotic stance that having to wear a mask in public is an assault on peoples’ freedoms. Which ‘freedom’ is that? The right to pass on a potentially fatal disease to other people? Are these the same idiots who won’t wear crash helmets or seat belts? Or won’t vaccinate their kids against polio, whooping cough and the like?
Oh dear, I’m descending into rant mode. <takes deep breath>
There are no easy answers. Even a vaccine won’t stop covid. After all, we haven’t stopped herpes or malaria or the common cold. So we wait and watch, do the social-distancing thing as best we can and wear a mask in public (if we’re in Melbourne or Sydney) and hope like hell it doesn’t happen to us. It looks like a particularly nasty way to die.
Still and all, the world’s still a beautiful place. I’m particularly partial to reflections. Here’s a few I really like.