Sooo, we're at... what, week 2 of the shutdown / lockdown / quarantine / whatever you want to call it? I've lost track.
I do know that last Monday the Gubbmint shut down all non-essential services which was done in a ham-fisted way where "non-essential services" were defined as "well, it's a service that isn't, like, essential, innit?" Because that wasn't in any way confusing and didn't at all leave lower paid and casual workers wondering whether they had an income this week.
We have been instructed to practice social distancing, which is what this family seems to be doing. In Britain this goes further; I saw a video recently where the police were ordering people back to their homes from a common. You know, a big area of grass? The people were out there taking in the sun... tens of metres away from each other. I suppose that there is a risk that the virus may spread by teleportation, of course.
Back in the land of Oz, cafes, restaurants and bars can do delivery or takeaway only. Beauty shops are closed unless they are hairdressers or barbers, where you have to maintain 4 square metres per person (and the stylists presumably therefore cut hair with a hedge trimmer), and you had to limit visits to 30 minutes, except that 30 minutes wasn't enough so that restriction was lifted a couple of days later. Most of the places just opted to close instead. So did cinemas which, for a brief time, were only selling 50% of their seats. Hopefully Hoyts Warrawong will use the opportunity to fix the bit of the damn ceiling that is hanging down in Cinema 3, I think it is.
Retailers have closed by the dozen and as we know workers always get rich working in retail and will have tens of thousands of dollar... oh wait, the teleprompter has malfunctioned.
Funerals are limited to 10 people, notwithstanding that the elderly may have kids, grandkids and great grandkids and that "10" is not based on medical science so much as a round figure that some health authority bureaucrat wrote on a whiteboard.
Weddings are limited to 5 people - couple, witnesses and celebrant- because parents don't need to see the people that they have raised for two decades take a major step into adulthood, and there was no space allowed for a photographer because it's not like the couple would want their special day captured so that they can share it with their friends who can't attend the wedding. I assume that the limit of 5 is because you're twice as likely to contract the virus at a wedding as at a funeral. Or something.
Well-off opposition politicians who will continue to receive incredibly generous taxpayer funded salaries try to play gotcha with the government parties by demanding "Total lockdown! Now!" as if the existing measures won't already reduce the spread. They talk of shutting down the whole country for 6 months and... hello, exactly how long can this virus survive in people's bodies? Are you seriously telling me that we have to wait months for it to be knocked off by the immune systems of anyone who already has it? OK, if you say so.
But still, none of this counts against the fact that we now have about 2800 confirmed cases, shriek, panic. So... there are only about 24.6 million who DON'T have it, and with the restrictions that are already in place the opportunities for it to spread are getting less and less.
The problem is less to stop it spreading than to slow its spread rate to a level that can be managed by health authorities. I'm not completely convinced that trashing every single casual and low paid worker's livelihood is 100% essential to do that. But then, shrieking, over the top hysteria is omnipresent on social media. One idiot talked about "a thousand people a day" dying in Italy. The peak, which occurred on one day only, was just under 800, but what's 20% out when you're Making! A! Point! Another idiot talked about how each person with COVID will pass it on to 10 people per day. Every day. This was just given as "fact" because it was on a Twitter post. According to an actual immunologist, the actual rate of transmission from a case of regular influenza is 1.3 to 1.4 people. In total. In the case of this virus, it's 3. The difference may not sound like much but it multiplies out ridiculously. Except... that 3 per person would have been calculated for a "normal world". With the restrictions that we already have in place, no sporting matches, no restaurants, no cafes, 1.5 metres apart at the supermarket, etc, etc, there is no way in hell that it will be that contagious.
I for one would like our leaders to get a fricking grip and start looking at ways out of this BEYOND keeping people in their living rooms for the next 6 months, and beating their chests about how best to LOCK! Us! Down!, and hoping for the best.
At least the G8 have pledged to accelerate work on a vaccine. China promised to use all of its expertise. Gee, thanks China, but I think you've done enough already. But if you want to napalm your fricking wet markets and ban the sale of wildlife meat like you should have done after SARS, I'm sure everyone else on the planet would be grateful. Alternatively the next time a doctor tells you that yet another respiratory virus has started there, instead of accusing him of spreading rumours, just shut your borders and keep it to yourself. The rest of us promise we won't peek.