Little did I know when I started posting these chronicles of our times back in March last year, that I would still be doing so nearly two years later. It was December 2019 when we first started hearing about a nasty flu virus in Wuhan in China (although apparently our governments had been talking about it quietly for a month before that). Some reports suggest that a case (or cases) have now been identified, from as early as November 2019 in Brazil, France and possibly Italy as well.
Since the beginning of Covid-19, I have read numerous books about previous plagues, pandemics and epidemics. Two – three years was the norm for such things to make their way around the world and wreck their havoc. Many of the health officials are telling us that five years is more likely with this one.
I’m sure as time goes by, more testing and research will be done and the epidemiologists will be able to pinpoint the various stages and progress of Covid-19, and it’s variants, as they made their way around the world and back again. I go through personal phases of wanting to know the nitty-gritty details, and phases when I want to bury my head in the sand and pretend it’s not happening.
After a long winter lockdown in NSW, we have been gradually opening up and ‘learning to live with Covid’, as our politicians keep saying. December 15 was a milestone day in NSW with nearly all the Covid mandates being relaxed.
The state is just shy of 95% double vaxxed (94.9% first vax; 93.3% double vaxxed).
Freedom day was not exactly what we thought it would be though. The Omicron variant put paid to that. On Wednesday, businesses and shops happily took down QR check-in codes and many people gleefully flung off their masks. By Thursday though, we all woke to the news that 1742 new cases of Covid-19 had been detected in the state (mostly Sydney and Newcastle and most likely Omicron).
Our politicians were not backing down from the no masks/no check-in stance, but they and our health officials started talking about personal responsibility. Our new Premier insisted it was up to the individual what measures they took to protect themselves, while our health officials were clearly telling us that the best way to protect ourselves and others was to wear masks inside and practice social distancing.
Maybe this is a good thing in the end. The last few days have seen around 90% of people in my local area choosing to wear masks when they enter shops and a number of customers have asked shops and cafes to reinstate a QR code. On Friday the daily numbers jumped up to 2213, Saturday another 2482 and today 2566 more cases, which means we have just had a five day period were the new cases jumped to a total of more than 10 000. The first time NSW has seen such Covid numbers. It’s rather confronting.
However we have been told that these numbers are not the ones to watch anymore, now that we are so close to 95% vaxxed. The numbers to keep an eye on are hospitalisations. Today there are 227 people in NSW hospitals with 28 in ICU. Six people have died from Covid-19 this week in NSW; 42 in the same period across all of Australia. Which is pretty low compared to other countries. I hope they still look like that in a week’s time.
The streets and shops in my area are unusually sedate for the last shopping weekend before Christmas.
Anecdotally I can also tell you that many people have cancelled events leading up to Christmas, including B21 who chose not to go out with his mates clubbing this weekend. He does not want to risk being sick and missing Christmas with the family, and perhaps more importantly for him, being forced to go into isolation or lockdown again.
This is living with Covid.
I hear that travel bans, mandates and lockdowns are reappearing across Europe as Omicron quickly moves in. If this is you, please take care; take heart. And let us know how you are doing.
Take care; take heart.
- The Covid Chronicles #1
- The Covid Chronicles #2
- The Covid Chronicles #3
- The Covid Chronicles #4
- The Covid Chronicles #5
- The Covid Chronicles #6
- The Covid Chronicles #7
- The Covid Chronicles #8
- The Covid Chronicles #9
- The Covid Chronicles #10
- The Covid Chronicles #11
- The Covid Chronicles #12
- The Covid Chronicles #13
- The Covid Chronicles #14
- The Covid Chronicles #15
- This post was written on the traditional land of the Wangal clan, one of the 29 clans of the Eora Nation within the Sydney basin.