I cannot believe the last time I sat down to write a Covid Chronicle was back in July.
Melbourne was at the beginning of it’s second wave, while the rest of the country held it’s collective breath. Would the outbreak spread? Would we all have to go into another lockdown?
Numbers steadily increased around the three hotspots in Sydney and by August most of the states had closed their borders to each other. Anyone coming or going from one state to the next, would have to self-isolate for two weeks. A very tricky situation for long haul truck drivers, in particular, to manage.
Melburnians went into a hard stage 4 lockdown on the 2nd August when their Premier announced a state of disaster. They had a week or so of 600+ positive cases a day, before the restrictions started to take effect and a steady decline in positive cases set in.
I began wearing a mask to work and anytime I had to be in a shop. It wasn’t mandatory in NSW, just highly recommended by health officials. I was dealing with the public every day, so it seemed like an easy and simple thing to do to keep me from catching a virus that I’d rather not catch.
By the end of August the few hotspots in Sydney were all under control, with contract tracing and self-isolation doing the trick.
Interstate travel was still almost impossible, so we all enjoyed our spring break closer to home. Mr Books and I had a lovely week in the Port Stephens area, walking along the beach, reading and relaxing. We have been holidaying in this area for over 20 years now; it was the busiest we have ever seen it.
Our holiday home in the Blue Mountains has been booked out every single weekend since July when state-wide travel reopened. We have never been busier.
By the middle of September, NSW basically had zero community transmission. I was able to leave the mask at home again, much to the relief of my hearing impaired colleague who had been unable to lip read during the whole mask-wearing phase.
Melbourne was getting on top it’s second wave and it seemed like their tough approach was turning things around. By the end of September, they were able to finally ease restrictions.
A Trans-Tasman bubble came into effect in October between New Zealand and NSW, the ACT and Northern Territory. There were a couple of hiccups at the start, but it seems to be working well now.
On the 24th October, Victoria recorded 98 active cases; this was the first time since the 19th June in which Victoria had under 100 cases. Two days later they recorded zero new cases and zero deaths – a double doughnut day – as another new phrase entered our Covid-normal world!
November saw most of the states reopen their borders to each other as state by state we continue to achieve days and weeks with no new locally acquired cases. Melbourne has had no new cases since November 23rd and Sydney has enjoyed a similar story…until this week (see below).
A scare in Adelaide a couple of weeks ago, reminded us how quickly things can change. Lockdowns were announced and borders closed, before officials discovered that one of the key new cases in their cluster had lied about where he was and for how long. They were not dealing with a new, more virulent strain of the virus after all; just a quarantine hotel worker who didn’t want to declare that he had a second job elsewhere.
Once again, government officials, and the media, were caught unawares by the economic realities of one of our citizens.
But we can never completely breathe a sigh of relief.
We watch in horror as Europe and the US descend back into a Covid disaster zone. We may grumble about our government officials at times, but most Australians are happy with how our Covid crisis has been handled. Overseas travel may not be a sensible thing to do right now, but as long as we can travel interstate, we’re happy. Business is booming in every single holiday area – coastal, mountains and the outback. Towns known for their wineries, food, water activities or bushwalking are booked out months in advance. The local tourism industry is back in business with a vengeance.
Will this last?
Three days ago, a community case of Covid popped up in and around Avalon and Palm Beach, on the northern beaches of Sydney (home of ‘Home & Away’ for those of you in the UK).
Yesterday, the number of positive cases jumped to 28 with the areas of concern stretching into Cronulla (down south), Penrith (western Sydney) and Woolloomooloo (city). Residents of the Northern beaches area are being urged to get tested and stay at home for three days, to give the authorities time to track down the source and ramp up the contact tracing for those being identified as positive.
Our fragile borders with other states became apparent once again, as WA quickly quarantined any incoming flights from Sydney while the other states nervously consider what to do next. Our Christmas guests from Victoria, planning to stay in our holiday home, cancelled last night due to the uncertainly of the situation once again. Northern beaches residents planning to go interstate for Christmas, will no longer be granted entry to other states. Anyone who has booked a holiday house to play in ‘Summer Bay’, will no doubt be seriously reconsidering their options too.
This is how we roll now. Plans can change in the blink of an eye. We are all learning to be uber-flexible. Any reprieve is short-lived. We all live in hope that the new vaccines will be successful, with no side effects. Although, it will be March 2021 before we start any vaccination proceedings in Australia.
Take care; take heart.
- Allambie Heights
- Avalon Beach
- Balgowlah Heights
- Beacon Hill
- Bilgola Beach
- Bilgola Plateau
- Church Point
- Coasters Retreat
- Collaroy Plateau
- Cottage Point
- Curl Curl
- Currawong Beach
- Dee Why
- Duffys Forest
- Elanora Heights
- Elvina Bay
- Frenchs Forest
- Great Mackerel Beach
- Killarney Heights
- Ku-ring-gai Chase
- Lovett Bay
- Manly Vale,
- McCarrs Creek
- Mona Vale
- Morning Bay
- North Balgowlah
- North Curl Curl
- North Manly
- North Narrabeen
- Oxford Falls
- Palm Beach
- Scotland Island
- Terrey Hills
- Whale Beach
- Wheeler Heights