How’s everybody going? Managing okay I hope?
How’s the working week going? Well I’m spending it at home.
How was your weekend? Mostly at home.
What did you get up to last night? … I was at home.
It’s been an adjustment, but we’re managing in my family.
Working from home (now in the fourth week) is not, I think, ideal – but is unavoidable at the moment, and I and my colleagues are getting used to that too. Modern technology makes it easier than it once would have been.
Look on the bright side
Overall I get the sense that Australia has handled this well. No doubt we had the advantage of being a bit isolated from and behind some of the other countries, and learnt from them.
After some false starts, near-misses and screw-ups – the Federal and State governments have just about got their act together. This article goes through the timeline of when the wheels finally started turning.
The restrictions for Victoria (for individuals, and for businesses) are having a huge economic impact, but are seemed to be fairly well designed to reduce the rate of transmission, given what is known about it:
[Research found that infection was passed] almost always [by] people with whom they had close and prolonged contact.
… Covid-19 is passed on when coughs and sneezes spray droplets of mucus and spittle onto nearby surfaces. When we touch those surfaces, we may transfer them to our face, allowing the virus to establish infection. This is why we recommend handwashing, avoiding facial touching, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, and keeping a physical separation from others.Inside Story: So you want to wear a mask in public?
(The whole article is worth reading. It gives me hope that, with a little care, I’m not about to be infected by going to the supermarket.)
It’s funny to think that when the Chinese government locked down Hubei province, some of us thought “well that’s the kind of thing they can do in China – it wouldn’t work here”. A few weeks later we got our own variation.
The restrictions are working
The rules aren’t ideal, and there’s been some confusion. Hardly surprising given how quickly they were introduced.
There are some oddities – they say to only shop for essentials, but many shops selling non-essential goods are open – and you won’t be fined for shopping there. This is tricky though – where do you draw the line around what’s essential and what isn’t?
Overall, despite some issues, the restrictions seem to be working. New cases each day are reducing.
Where to from here?
Even if the infection rates continue to drop off, it’s hard to see all the restrictions being completely removed until there’s a way to ensure it doesn’t result in the virus rapidly spreading again.
For all the talk of herd immunity, the cost of achieving that – large numbers of deaths – is unthinkable. Likewise is an early return to normal activity to get the economy back to normal – making government relief very important.
Even if things are brought under control in Australia, the fact that many parts of the rest of the world have huge problems may mean international travel is not possible for a year or more.
To get completely back to normal, we may have to wait for a vaccine to be tested, verified, mass-produced and administered.
Not that I’m an expert of course. But it seems like this will be a long battle.
Stay well, everyone.