Some of you might have noticed I didn’t write a blog last week. The news is full of the covid disaster in India and the never ending war between the Palestinians and the Israelis, while at home it’s about the latest covid stuff-up and people wondering when the borders will finally reopen. It all becomes wearisome and a tad repetitious to write and to read.
This week was a bit more interesting, though.
In the larger universe of which we humans are just another vanishingly insignificant subset, events roll on regardless. The other night the Earth, the Moon, and the Sun performed one of the more spectacular phases of their perpetual dance around each other. A lunar eclipse. Of course, in our media world of OOOH AAAH it was billed as a “super flower blood moon”. The moon’s ‘super’ because it’s a tiny bit closer to Earth than usual since its orbit is elliptical, and the flower thing is because a particular flower comes out at this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere, and it’s only blood red because it’s going through the Earth’s shadow. Ho hum. In fact at my house the moon didn’t really look very red at all until it reached totality, at which point it was virtually overhead and much as I tried, I couldn’t pivot the tripod, or my elderly bones, enough to get a shot. It was spectacular, though. Just before totality there’s a a point on the moon’s cusp that is still bright, like a diamond on a ring. But you’ll just have to use your imagination.
Back to more mundane matters on planet Earth. Have you had your vaccine jab yet?
The vaccination roll-out in Australia – especially Queensland – is much slower than it should be. Complacency is part of it. After all, Australia has managed to be pretty well covid free. For those who have thought about it, many are choosing not to have the vaccine because they do not think the drug has been tested well enough, or they’re worried about possible side effects, or because of something else.
One stunning example of “something else” was a Queensland hairdresser who informed the world via social media that people who had been vaccinated were not welcome in her salon. She said that the vaccine caused thousands of side-effects and “just by me being around you (people who have received the Covid-19 vaccine) … I could get this disease”. [source] Mind you, this woman also paints her face with menstrual blood to soothe cramps. Go figure.
Nutters aside, the media is responsible for much of the reluctance to vaccinate. Many people have believed the hype and are worried about getting blood clots. However, the chances of developing blood clots from use of the contraceptive pill is far higher than it is from AstraZeneca. An article from Patient Info explains the risk in a succinct and understandable way.
“Put simply, the vaccine blood clot risk is much lower than the general risk of getting a blood clot. What’s more, more than 1 in 6 people with COVID-19 who need hospital admission develop a blood clot in the form of deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism etc. And the risk of the [particularly rare clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis] is 8- to 10-fold higher among people catching COVID-19 than among those who are vaccinated.” [source]
In other words, the media has amplified the risks associated with the vaccine out of all proportion to come up with a shock/horror headline. It’s an unfortunate fact that just about anything written in too many ‘newspapers’, let alone Facebook and Twitter memes, needs to be fact checked.
However, while the media bears a lot of responsibility for the slow pace of vaccination, it’s time the government and its bureaucrats tried a few tactics to encourage people to get the vaccine. Overseas, people are being offered incentives like free pizza, or even a chance at a scholarship, as well as cash incentives, to bare their arms for a jab. Here, the government is being urged to do the same. Anything to get us to ‘herd immunity’.
As mentioned above, Australia has managed to be pretty well covid free and while our international borders remain shut to most people, that status should continue. But viruses can be downright sneaky, so someone who did their two weeks of quarantine in Adelaide after coming from India, then went to Melbourne and the disease appeared. So now we have a cluster of covid cases in Melbourne. The last count was twenty-six. Would everybody in the US and Europe and India and Brazil etc stop laughing, please.
When the total was five, Victorians had to dust off their face masks, and restrictions were imposed on gatherings, and people in other states who visited the places in Victoria where infected people have been in the last two weeks must self-isolate. But the situation was escalating. From Wednesday Victorians were getting out of town while they could, expecting a new lock down. And they were right. A seven-day state-wide lock down was declared from midnight on Thursday. Despite the three previous lock downs, Victoria’s contact tracing system is STILL well below par and judging by the comments in the newspapers, the locals are NOT happy. I suppose the excuse for locking down the whole state, not just Melbourne, will be because venues like the MCG have been listed as hot spots. Maybe it’s time the Victorian Government got its act together to do its contact tracing properly. You know, like NSW?
Escaping to NSW was relatively risk-free, but every other state has (predictably) brought down the shutters. And Victorians who managed to get out before the lock down didn’t escape, either. Victorians on the Ghan tourist train were rounded up and bussed back to Adelaide to quarantine. Those who entered WA between 16th and 25th May have been told to self-isolate until they return a negative covid test. So much for a little holiday away from home in your own country.
Meanwhile, Fortress Australia and Fortress New Zealand are maintaining their closed international border stance but at least we can travel between the two countries relatively freely. It’s called a ‘travel bubble’ where people can cross the Tasman without needing to quarantine. Needless to say, NZ-Victoria is in hiatus for the time being. We’ve taken a punt and booked for a NZ holiday next year. Fingers crossed.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record (remember those?) it’s time we learned to live with covid, just as we live with the ‘flu.
We can thank the Chinese Communist Party for all these inconveniences. The consensus of world opinion is that the virus did, indeed, escape from the lab in Wuhan. It first appeared in November 2019 in Wuhan and was quickly covered up, while Chinese nationals continued to travel around the world. The results of this behaviour by the CCP has become a long overdue wake up call to the West about the leadership’s long term intentions.