16 January 2022
Though we’re only two weeks in, 2022 has already broken Australia. In fact, I’d go so far as to call it the worst year since 2021.
I’m talking about Covid of course, the mismanagement of which has people more
scared and angry than ever. Why? Well, I’m not an immunologist. But 100,000 cases a day does seem high.
Back when Coronavirus first hit Australia in early 2020 I idiotically announced that social distancing was pointless because “we’re all going to catch it anyway.” But despite this bravado, it turns out I’m really, really keen to keep my virus virginity.
Obviously Covid is way less dangerous to me, a relatively healthy 30-year-old, than the elderly or immunocompromised Australians. I really should be able to cop it on the chin if and when the time comes.
But I dread to think just how dysfunctional my seven days’ quarantine could be. I have zero survival instincts. When snap lockdown number one was first announced, I opened my refrigerator and just started bawling. Containing nothing but a bag of two- week-old broccoli, its emptiness forced me to confront just how little security and stability was underpinning my almost thirty-year-old life. I had no food. I had no savings. And I had nobody to save me from myself. To make matters worse, I was getting hungry.
You might recall grocery stores were in fact open during lockdown(s). And I did eventually snap out of my existential crisis and find food, even stocking up with enough to last the recommended three days. But iso-boredom saw me consume the whole lot on day one.
I still suck at planning ahead. Case in point; I know I need to stock up on rapid antigen tests in case symptoms come on. I’ve known this for months. But the short-term annoyance of finding any has felt like a good enough excuse for putting it off indefinitely. This approach comes from a philosophy I call “avoiding easily-solved problems for so long they snowball into life-ruining catastrophes.”
Over past few weeks quite a few of my friends and workmates have tested positive. Thankfully all cases were reasonably mild. Thankfully. I can’t think of many scarier things than seeing a loved one attached to a ventilator.
However. Every time someone I know loses the Covid-lottery I end up treating them like a leper from the 1800s. I hold the phone far from my face when they call. I mentally calculate how many days since I last saw them. And when I agree to post-iso celebration drinks, a voice in my head hisses “Not fucking likely.”
Two years on, it’s interesting to look back on the highs and lows of Australia’s pandemic management. For example, remember when double donut days were a thing? Now we have sextuple donut days.
Or how about the time the NSW government told us to stop being pussies and hit the town- blatantly ignoring contradictory expert advice and fucking up our one shot to contain Omicron. Wild!
I’m not sure what to make of the current “let ‘er rip” strategy. It seems a little counter-intuitive to solve a health crisis by encouraging people to get sick. Kind of like closing the oncology ward and calling it a cure to cancer.
But if I know this government, they’ve got everything under control and have fully considered the consequences of half the population being in quarantine or hospital at the same time.
Honestly, Morrison just seems bored by the whole thing. He doesn’t like being the pandemic PM anymore. Which raises the question of which we’d rather see end- Covid-19 or Scott Morrison as Prime Minister. God, it’s like Sophie’s Choice, isn’t it?!
At the end of the day, things won’t be bad like this forever. They might be bad in a different way. But not quite like this. One day, we’re going to look back on the pandemic years as a dark but mercifully closed chapter of history, just like the Trump presidency.
And just like the Trump presidency, it will probably make a surprise comeback in 2024.
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