Okri wrote:I'm gonna challenge you a little, Precious, on this one. I think there are two or three "outbreaks" going on. I look at a country like Australia or New Zealand and think you guys have done a stunning job at keeping this from becoming a disaster. Your seven-day-moving-average is increasing, yes, but you guys kept it below 20 cases per day for two months (that's a little less than 1 per million people per day)! I think that merits praise.
Then you have much of the Western World. We all underestimated it, didn't learn quickly enough from Italy/Spain, but looking at the way the disease spread has slowed down, I don't think you can say it's getting worse every week. Normality is a long way off and will look different then normal previously looked, but I'm not even convinced that's a terrible thing. That said, I also believe that the desire to return to normality could override proper decision making. I’m thankful that in Canada, the provincial and federal governments are largely operating in sympatico. This isn’t to say I’m wildly optimistic about the next 6 months, but I think caution rather than dread is my feeling right now.
Then you have countries like the USA and the UK (I'd group Sweden here as well, but for different reasons) who's handling of the pandemic is nothing less than criminal. Now, the UK seems to have gotten a better grip on it, but what can be said about the USA that hasn't been said by minds far more knowledgeable than mine? I expect them to hit 100K cases per day before their election. Meanwhile, the USA just purchased the world’s next three -month supply of a drug that improves healing, leaving basically nothing for everyone else. Now, the American approach is unsurprising – Trump’s life is strictly zero-sum. And frankly, given the way they’re headed, I think they probably need it more anyway. It inspired a moment of rage (and I genuinely wonder, based on comments I’ve read here and elsewhere, if Americans understand the damage done) but that passed.
Thanks for your post Okri though I probably should have said 'most of the world in getting worse each week'.
The US, the UK, Russia, much of South & Central America, parts of Africa, parts of the Middle East, India are all in a terrible state. I have to hand it to India in that they put up a hell of a fight and they are not giving up or in denial but with a population of over a billion people spells a disaster unfolding.
As Heksagon has stated below Europe to seem to be getting their second wave. The opening up to tourism is extremely worrying. I understand that it is being done for economic reasons and I may be mistaken and somebody please correct me is this assumption is wrong but I believe tourism is one of the most important 'industries' for much or Europe. A country like Greece that did a great job in limiting the spread of virus are inviting trouble. It just takes one person, particularly a 'super spreader' and the flow on effects are dreadful.
Things continue to deteriorate in Melbourne. There were 73 new cases today of which on one was from a returned traveller in enforced hotel quarantine. Sydney has 14 cases today all of which were returned travellers in enforced hotel quarantine. The Melbourne clusters have now been linked back to some (I don't know how many) security guards at two of the hotels in the Melbourne that are quarantining returned travellers. That's how the virus got out into the community. Melbourne case numbers rose by 578 in one month of which just under 100 were from returned travellers in enforced quarantine. On the other hand Sydney had 105 news cases in June with about 100 of them being returned travellers in hotel quarantine. Both cities have and continue to undertake massive testing.
From midnight (pretty much when I actually post this) a number of suburbs in Melbourne which house about 300,000 to 400,000 people are to go into lockdown for 4 weeks. International flights due to fly into Melbourne with primarily returning travellers in the next two weeks are being diverted to other cities. Huge numbers of people are being flown into Melbourne from other states to assist with the lockdown and the Army will also be used. If it is found with further testing that the virus has spread to other parts of Melbourne those suburbs too will be locked down. Basically the plan is to crush the virus out of existence and do whatever it takes to achieve that. The lockdown is probably somewhere between what China have done in Beijing and South Korea in Seoul.
I do think what has happened in Melbourne illustrates just how easy this virus can spread and take-off. By international standards the numbers are very low but the breakout potential is huge and lethal. Further tightening up of procedures and processes for quarantined people is now under urgent review. Interestingly Sydney sought assistance early on for the army forces to be involved but Melbourne choose not to so that make me one of the weak points (armed services personnel tend to be more disciplined then civilian security officers - just an assumption on my part).
On an optimistic note I do think that the virus will be contained in Melbourne. But I'm also acutely aware that it can pop anywhere at any time. From today things have gotten back to as normal as they are going to be for a long time in Sydney. We have been able to dine out and mix with more people for the last 6 weeks and tomorrow cinemas are re-opening. The French Film Festival I was attended when we got placed into lockdown will also resume but a number of country themed film festivals (German, Scandinavian, Spanish) have been postponed until 2021. Don't know how long the dinning out and cinema going will last but hopefully we can learn from the mistakes made but going into lockdown at some point in the future is going to become the new normal.
Oh, and we've been formally told that there will be no international travel (excepts for diplomats, essential business & for compassionate reasons) until sometime in 2021 though the general belief is that is may late as 2023, subject to a safe and reliable vaccine.
"I want cement covering every blade of grass in this nation! Don't we taxpayers have a voice anymore?" Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole) in John Waters' Desperate Living (1977)