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Have you ever woken up and wondered if you are living in an alternate universe?

I am continuing to document this roller coaster they call Coronavirus via my blog so that I can look back in 20 years and read about this extraordinary period of time since New Years Eve 2019. That’s when word snuck out of China about a terrible, deadly respiratory illness that was causing the people of Wuhan to literally die on the streets and to be barricaded in their apartments if they were infected with COVID19. In Australia we became acutely aware that this may be serious in March, when our borders were closed and life as we knew it literally changed forever.

The alternate universe relates to the subtle and not so subtle way the narrative about this pandemic has changed rapidly over the past fortnight.

By the way, this is not a political blog or political statement.

This is a statement coming from my position as a health care professional of 44 years who just can’t believe what is being suggested at present.

I never thought I would see the day when the leaders of our states and their Chief Health Officers, who are doing an amazing job of keeping the numbers low – in Western Australia, Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania and my own home state of Queensland – would be bullied, humiliated, ridiculed, verbally jostled and denegrated for keeping the said virus out of their states. Harrassed and hassled for keeping their citizens safe and healthy until everyone who wanted the vaccine, was able to get a chance to get the vaccine. Here is an interesting read about this change in narrative

Those people who don’t want the vaccine can readily say no. But there is still a huge lag getting the jab for our younger population, plenty of indigenous citizens in regional areas, heaps in our disability sector and others who may have English as a second language who don’t necessarily understand the prolific utterings of some of our leaders day in and day out.

(About this situation of having English as a second language – I am acutely aware of the frustration of not understanding a goddamn word that the people on the TV are saying. When we have travelled to Italy, in the good old days, we would often turn on the TV and flick from station to station trying to find something we understood. I can empathise when good people who would love to do the right thing, but due to the language barrier, have no idea what the right thing is. In NSW I also reckon there would be many people who scored an A for English at school who can’t follow the regulations because they are chopping and changing on a daily basis.

We can’t leave those people behind, just because some are impatient to break free early. We can’t risk their lives for economic pragmatism. 

I have said before that I worked in Intensive Care for 4 years (a long long time ago in my working career). It’s hard, intense work and I was just a physio. Did you know the majority of nurses work 12 hour shifts. !2 hours. Think about it. Dressed up in PPE, sucking out chests, turning COVID patients prone onto their tummies so they can breathe a little easier, doing half hourly obs, dealing with relatives who are having ghastly, distressing phone calls with their loved ones. Maybe angry phone calls. Maybe nothing is being said by the loved one- just silence or whimpering or wailing with grief.

The argument is that if we stay in lockdown and with the borders closed the economic losses would be huge. Productivity is lost. But we all know that the worst productivity is when people actually die. And in the states when there is no COVID at the moment – there is no doubt that people will die who may not need to if we let the virus rip before those who want to be vaccinated can be.

And what about the children?

Thank you to the Qld Premier for questioning and trying to clarify: “Are our children actually safe if we let the Virus rip?” It’s a fair scientific question.

I thank the leaders in Qld, SA, NT, WA and Tassie for striving so hard to keep the virus at bay on behalf of my grandchildren who have no opportunity to be protected from the virus. I thank them on behalf of those people with other health conditions who have not yet had clearance from their specialists to have the vaccine. I thank them for their diligence on behalf of the homeless who would be ravaged with an outbreak.

It’s abominable to think that the media, the NSW premier and our very own Prime Minister would shut down debate about the possible effect of a mass outbreak of COVID on our children. There are other countries such as Indonesia where huge numbers of children are suffering. You might argue about the different health systems between Australia and Indonesia, but there are plenty working at the coalface in NSW who are saying the health system is in big trouble already.

You can’t just dismiss the fears of those with no COVID and casually say (some days sort of almost gaily) each day …… there’s 700, 800,1000, 1500 cases per day….there’s 4 dead, there’s 6 dead, there’s 8 dead one was in her 30s with young children … there’s 172 people in ICU. There are people dying at home. This alternate universe scares me.

I mean people – get a grip. We have no COVID – you should be saying don’t let us spread it to you. Stay safe until we get control of this virus, until you are all vaccinated.
What is wrong with people such as economists and politicians? These are real live people we are talking about.

It must be truly an alternate universe if we dare let this rip before vaccines are available to all .