without any fear
How are things back in Australia? A monumental shit show would be putting it mildly. The train wreck of our federal so-called ‘government’ continues unabated albeit unravelling at a pace of knots as Morrison watches his approval ratings plummet flaying about in hi-viz market testing 3-word slogans in the hope that one might resonate with voters. The latest was how he was going to “shake and bake” the economy, which was lost on pretty much everyone save for a few meth dealers. It’s too depressing to recount anything else. All we can hope for is that he and his mob of self-serving dullards will be ousted at the next election tout suite!
And another thing: when Omicron started two weeks ago, there was a tide of QR pings amongst people I know. But then last week the Dept of Health stopped using the QR checking to alert people, so now we live in ignorant bliss. I can see that they can’t possibly ping 10,000 people a day or it would just lead to paralysis. Perhaps we are in the transitional state from ‘control’ to ‘living with Covid in a vaccinated state’. And maybe that’s necessary. There are no easy answers and Covid has many tricks up its sleeve.
I’m in Sydney. Things are certainly escalating here. (Though perhaps I speak as someone not in the LGAs of concern during the lockdown.) Anyway, I’m in a small workforce (20 staff) and in the past week 2 colleagues’ households have had Covid cases. My partner who has a service business with around 25 clients has also had 2 clients with Covid cases this week. People are cancelling social events all over the place. The major shopping centres aren’t crowded. I see around 90-95% of shoppers wearing masks. Sometimes 100% (the Apple Store mandates masks as do chemists.)
During previous waves there was a strong sense that we were being led and looked after. Berejiklian and Chant were very visible. That has gone. It all feels amorphous now.
It’s clear that there is quite a way still to run in this pandemic. I’ve felt down about it this week. We had started to spend time in the office again, now it’s going to be working from home for the foreseeable future. Although there is always the beach (and I went to the theatre last night - vaccine passport!) it feels like a semi self-imposed lockdown is called for and life will continue in a very small orbit.
Hi Tim! Lovely to get a long post from you.
Here in Sydney it's hot and stupidly humid and the days alternate between the stultifying glare of the sun and furious storms (La Niña is here with a passion). Humidity, heat and masks are an unhappy combination, so I guess some are content with Perrottet's determination not to mandate them again. I am less than content. His mad libertarian tendencies are risking everything. It seems that having laid out his schedule for opening everything up, the minor issue of the most infective flavor of COVID sweeping the globe isn't going to dissuade him. Personal responsibility amirite.
We're off on Christmas day to spend time with friends in the Central West. We've got hold of some of the increasingly scarce rapid antigen tests (many chemists and supermarkets are running out of stock within hours of getting new kits in) and will test ourselves before we go. Since we're pretty much in seclusion we think it's pretty safe. Daughter Maxine has taken time off from her retail job. With her health issues, it's just too dangerous. And as I noted elsewhere, you can be pretty much guaranteed that the people who aren't wearing masks and breathing all over you are ill-informed (so risky) or COVID-denialists (so risky) or anti-vaxxers (so risky) or your basic selfish gobshites (so risky).
I know the sample of folks I talk about this with are not representative, but I don't know anyone (even Liberal-voting black-sheep-of-the-family-brother) who thinks that the health advice is being followed by the NSW govt. So lots of incredulity, frustration and anger that all our hard work locking down and taking precautions over the last two years is being pissed away by politicians who really do seem to want to experiment with herd immunity.
It's interesting seeing how this is going to play out with the forthcoming election. I imagine Morrison had hoped that we'd have a carefree summer and then he'd drop by the GG and he'd be reelected by a grateful nation. That scenario seems increasingly unlikely... but as you French would say, "on voir".
All the best to you and your family, Tim. Take care!
Hi Tim, another great post, thank you. I completely agree with your view on the anti-vaxers, and what you say about the libertarian bullshit which seems to be Perrotett's modus operandi. From outside NSW it looks like an approach bordering on lunacy. Yesterday Domicron (as he is referred to on Twitter now) asked all other Premiers to not require COVID testing for NSW residents visiting their states/territories because the NSW testing system is overwhelmed. 3,700 new cases there yesterday.
We usually spend our time in regional Tasmania and St Kilda East but my partner and I are visiting her family in Perth for Xmas. Here it seems very lax compared to even Tasmania. Most people don't bother to check-in although every retail/commercial site has a QR code. They aren't as obvious as they would be in Tasmania or Melbourne but they are everywhere. WA has been so COVID free for 2 years (1 case, 1 death) I don't think people here understand what its like in the rest of Australia. We were able to get our booster shots (Moderna but Pfizer was also available) at a chemist in Fremantle with no appointment and no queue. WA is opening its borders on 5 February and the low rate of vaccination here is almost certainly going to result in a huge number of cases.
We're returning to Tasmania (14 cases yesterday) on boxing day so I might post a follow up comment when I see how things are there.
Hope you and your family have a wonderful Xmas together! Take care.
Thank you for these great posts, Tim. I will be sharing this one to Twitter because I think you make some excellent thoughts. And, having recently dipped my own big toe into the world of Substack newslettering, I am also impressed with it as a platform. Merry Christmas to you and yours and I look forward to reading more of your stuff next year.
In Murray Bridge, pretty much everyone is still checking in with the QR codes and wearing masks, which encourages me.