Here we go again

I went to sleep late last night and woke early this morning. It was still dark when I made my first coffee, and for a few moments, I considered taking an early walk with Rigby down the beach before anyone woke up. But then, the light sprinkle of rain falling dissuaded me from that, and back to bed, I went.

Much of the conversation online and in the news I listened to was about the Covid outbreak in Victoria and whether we’d go back into lockdown. Most thought it was likely, as did I. When the news came through of another 12 infections recorded overnight, it seemed a sure thing – though no announcement has been made yet.

By then, I was sitting down for breakfast. I’m scheduled to catch up with my manager for breakfast tomorrow, but that seems unlikely now, as do other things. I’m hoping it’s just a short lockdown, but I thought it wise to get out and smell the roses while I still could.

It’s a chilly morning. There was a thick band of low, white cloud suffused with the morning sun. Quite striking, really. A stiff breeze blew. I posted a letter and then moved onto a nearby cafe by the railway station. I checked in under the watchful eye of the waitress, then sat down for eggs and coffee.

The prospect of a lockdown – which has just been confirmed for 7 days – is unfortunate and unwelcome but probably necessary. I know many will take this hard after the lockdown last year.

I’m more philosophical about it. I recognise its necessity, though it shits me. I’m weary of these things, as is everyone else. But, get it done, do it right, and I’ll deal with it.

In some ways, we’re quite unlucky. This infection originated in Adelaide – a quarantining traveller, on his last day in quarantine, opened his door at the same time as an infected traveller did, and bingo! Show’s how fucking deadly this thing is.

He travelled back to his hometown, Melbourne, unaware that he was infected. A few days later, he presented as ill. This was about two weeks ago. At the time, it looked like we might have dodged a bullet. The contact tracers followed up, people self-isolated, and It seemed contained. Then it pops up about 10 days after.

Most likely, from what I gather, it was passed onto someone during a train trip into the city. No one checks into trains, so it was hit and miss picking up who might have been in his vicinity.

It’s the virulent, highly infectious Indian strain, and unfortunately, those who’ve been reported as infected were active in the period before being diagnosed. Two went to footy matches – a combined crowd of about 60K. Another had a night on the town in bars and on the dance floor. Lots of opportunities to pass it on, and virtually impossible to trace every contact. So here we are.

It could have been avoided, though, as people been at pains to point out. If we had proper quarantine facilities, as we’ve been crying out for, it would never have been passed from one to another. And if the vaccination rollout had performed as forecast, it’s much less likely it will have caught on within the community. As it is, it’s basically June, and we’re still short of the four million vaccinations the government promised would be delivered by the end of March.

Belatedly and somewhat ironically, this latest crisis has led to a rush on getting vaccinated. So that’s what it takes. Several of those infected were entitled to vaccination but held off – and now they’re sick. It will be too late for others.

Let’s see where we’re at in 7 days time – hopefully, preparing to be released from lockdown.

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