With spring now upon us, we’re now almost 18 months into this.
Last month I had another birthday in lockdown. A nice dinner and a video call with family made up for it. I don’t enjoy being in lockdown, but it seems to be the least bad way to keep the virus under control while everybody gets vaccinated.
At first, watching Sydney’s second wave was, to some Victorians, myself included, somewhat distressing. It’s not a competition, but we went through genuine pain last year, and to see the NSW leadership seemingly stubbornly ignoring our mistakes is upsetting.
It seemed like every other state apparently was able to learn from Victoria’s 2020 experience: lock down hard, lock down early. (This ABC article has a good interactive chart comparing state lockdown times.)
But now – despite my best hopes – Vic seems to be heading the same way as NSW. And we seem to be catching up – the Vic 7-day average for cases today (13th September, outbreak day 64) is 348. NSW got there on day 60 (14th August).
Why is it spreading despite lockdown?
There are some people in big intergenerational households who can’t work remotely – they have to attend work in person in essential jobs.
And frustratingly, there are those who simply won’t follow the rules.
I had a sense that traffic levels were higher than during the theoretically similar lockdown in 2020.
It turns out I was correct – one data point put traffic at around 61% of normal, compared to 51% last year. Other data shows it is higher in some areas than others.
While the virus continues to spread, the key difference from last year is that many people, particularly in aged care, have been vaccinated. Treatment is also better. Which means thankfully, hospitalisations and deaths are not as common.
But meanwhile some other vulnerable groups such as indigenous people have not had their vaccinations, which is a disaster waiting to happen. I really hope authorities are doing everything they can.
I last got tested in June due to mild symptoms. The negative result came back in 16 hours. It’s interesting to see the cost. You’ll find it in your MyGov Medicare account. A test costs (for the government, not for individuals) about $93.
In contrast, a vaccination dose costs $31. My first dose was in May, the second was in August. Two doses of the Astra Zenica vaccine – just under 12 weeks apart.
I know some people don’t feel so good after the AZ jab, but happily the only thing I’m feeling 24 hours later is a slightly sore upper arm where the needle went in.💉💪 pic.twitter.com/KKZDHG9AJB— Daniel Bowen (@danielbowen) May 30, 2021
There is minor risk of side-effects. All I had was a slightly sore arm for a few days after both doses, and a minor headache after the second. It’s just a relief to be fully vaccinated.
After months of the vaccine rollout being a complete mess, it’s finally making good progress, and most of my friends and family have also got one or both of their doses.
That’s the silver lining. I know I’m not the only person feeling drained and dispirited by all this.
The way out
Given the Delta strain is so infectious, vaccination seems to be the only way out of this mess now.
There’s still the question of the long term impacts on society.
I’m particularly interested in the transport network impacts of course.
The longer office workers are at home, the less likely it is they’ll go back to offices fulltime. And that’s going to have huge ongoing impacts on things like public transport patronage. I’m planning another blog on this soon.
Stay safe out there, folks. And get vaccinated if you can.