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Lockdown: ‘Embarrassing’ reason we’re back to Covid, circa March 2020

Lockdowns, restrictions, mask mandates – it suddenly feels very deja vu virus. It shouldn’t be like this; the government and us are to blame. Well, here we are again. Covid wise, it suddenly feels a lot like March 2020 across Australia. We thought we had seen the back of nationwide restrictions. Now tthey’reall the rage, it seems. In Sydney, where the vast majority of residents haven’t had a lockdown for more than a year, baking has begun in earnest; activewear has been rediscovered as people decide, en masse, that midwinter is indeed the perfect time for some outdoor exercise; Zoom passwords, long forgotten, have been reset. And it isn’t just Sydney; cases are popping up like hibachis on MasterChef.

In the Northern Territory, a snap lockdown has been announced; masks are now the must-have accessory in Perth, Brisbane, and even Canberra, the latter of which has precisely zero cases. Melbourne, the lockdown expert, must be feeling a bit left out. Within a week, it sad from everyone telling Sydney, “you got this,” to “We’re all in this together.” It was all very deja vu virus. But it shouldn’t be. This shouldn’t happen. We are here because of laziness and complacency. And to be honest, iit’skind of embarrassing. Look around the world. In many countries, a level of normalcy is returning. Americans, you know, those people that live in the most Covid ravaged nation on earth? They’re sunning themselves on Greek beaches.


Meanwhile, Sydneysiders are banned from sunning themselves on Gold Coast beaches. Several fingers can be pointed at the recent spate of cases. Did NSW fail by locking down too late? Why was the aircrew driver not vaccinated? Should Queensland have forced a Covid-free Victorian traveling to Covid-free NT to spend time in hotel quarantine, where he got Covid? All relevant questions. But all of this would matter far less if it were not for two things: hotel quarantine fails and a lack of vaccines. Hotel quarantine first. Undoubtedly, tthat’swhere most of the virus outbreaks have come from.

Depending on who you speak to, hotel quarantine is either pretty good at keeping COVID-19 at bay, considering the number of people who have flown in, or it iit’sa a leaky shambles. A recent paper from Melbourne University and New ZZealand’sOtago University found 4.9 failures per 1000 positive cases in quarantine, reported The Conversation. Not all of these lead to a lockdown, but it’s clear hotel quarantine is imperfectect. The Bendigo miner can attest that the system designed to prevent COVID-19 can also deliver it. And as we now know from the aircrew driver, HQ can be let down by its methods. All these problems have been raised before. And yet, where’s the solution? HQ continues to fall between the planks of the federal and state governments. Decisions to improve the system have been shamblingly slow and protracted in the void.

Vaccine purgatory

Yet even this wwouldn’tbe as much of an issue if Australia had enough vaccines. How has WWE wwe’vegone from being the world leader in combating Covid-19 by keeping cases down to a laughing stock for vaccinating so few people? On Monday, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said that 24 people out of 30 at a party in western Sydney became infected. They were vaccinated. Only six are negative thus far. What do those six have in common? If you look at the Group of 20 leading economies, Australia ranks 18th on the job ladder. We have fully inoculated just 4.7 percent of the population. Britain and America are at 48 and 46 percent, respectively.

Only India and South Africa have a more dire record. It smells a lot like complacency from both the federal government and, well, us. Last year, those nations torn apart by coronavirus moved heaven and earth to secure vaccines. Australia seemed to take a more pedestrian approach. Sure, we had some bad luck; our homegrown vaccine wwasn’tapproved. But we then had only two left on the shelf. Only one-and-a-half: AstraZeneca with a light dusting of Pfizer. Even the UK, the home of AstraZeneca, had more vaccine variants on order. The minimal side effect of blood clots hampered AZ.

That scared off some people. But can we blame them when the prime minister decided to call an emergency press conference on the evening of an April weeknight to announce it was being restricted? Was all that drama necessary? Many rattled Australians who could get AZ are “waiting for Pfizer” as if the right thing to do is pick shots like we do shaved ham at the deli counter. They have judged that the risk of getting COVID-19 is less than that of clots. Well, now the Delta sstrain’son the loose, and some at higher risk are unprotected. Good job, all.

Vast chunks of the British population got AstraZeneca because they recognized the chance of falling ill from COVID-19 was far more likely than from a jab. Yes, the UK is having a rise in cases. However, hospitalizations are far below where they were during any previous waves. Many Brits are readying themselves for overseas summer holidays just as many Australians prepare for weeks of sourdough baking or calming cab cabin-feverish while in lockdown. Much of the world must be looking at Australia in puzzlement right now. Lockdowns due to low rates of vaccination are so, well, 2020. It was inevitable that Covid was going to leak out again. We should have spent the time building up our defenses. But we didn’t. Australia was lazy. So now WWE is staring deja vu virus in the face.


I have always enjoyed writing and reading other people's blogs. I started writing a journal as a teenager and have since written numerous books and articles. My blog is a place where I can write freely about my personal interests and those of others.

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