We’re worse at pandemics now than ever

3 minute read

Colour me paranoid, but there’s nothing encouraging in the covid data, or government responses to the data.

I have an unpopular view, readers. It’s about covid … *waits for vast majority of readership to disappear*. 

I know, I know. Who cares, right? It’s endemic, don’t you know. It’s mild. We’re soooooooo sick of vaccines and masks, and don’t even mention the L-word, right? 

Chief health officers don’t want to talk about long covid any more, either.  

Over on Twitter – no Elon, I’m not going to call it X, you muppet – smart people are trying to keep covid in the spotlight, because they see trouble ahead. Not even ahead – right now. 

Professor Brendan Crabb, boss of the wash at the Burnet Institute, has been steadfastly vocal about the consequences of our governments at all levels deciding that covid is not worth worrying about. 

On Monday he tweeted this: 

Yep, it’s American data. But if we don’t think the same thing is going on here, we’re kidding ourselves, frankly. 

The way hospitals care coping … or not coping … with rising numbers is finally starting to cut through into the mainstream media.  

“Victoria’s ambulance crews were pushed into serious code-orange situations 20 times in May due to the rising rates of respiratory illness, as the number of covid patients in hospitals doubled in a month,” Nine newspapers reported on Saturday. 

“There are 361 covid patients in hospital, more than double the 170 patients who were hospitalised with the virus at the same time last month. Twenty-one of those patients are in intensive care, with eight on ventilators.” 

That sounds a bit familiar, doesn’t it? 

Hospitals in Victoria have been told they can mandate mask-wearing “if they wish”. Most won’t though.  

Here’s what really worries me. It’s not covid, not even the latest variant, FLiRT. (There’s a name designed to be taken seriously, amirite?). 

It’s H5N1. Bird flu.  

It scares the bejebus out of me because it feels like our governments are less inclined to act decisively about a possible emerging pandemic now than they were back in March 2020. 

Can you see anybody in government standing up at a press conference and saying “we’re mandating mask-wearing in public, and by the way, stay in place if you’re sick or tested positive”? 

Whether it’s a vote-killer or not, it’s perceived by politicians as a vote-killer, and that’s the problem. 

Maybe I just have all the paranoia of a covid virgin who wants to stay that way. It’s been pretty easy so far. I get vaccinated every six months, no matter what. And I wear a mask in public indoor spaces, no matter what. 

A senior member of ATAGI was amazed at my virginity.  

“Oh wow,” he said. “How have you managed that?” 

“I followed your advice.”  

He sounded genuinely surprised that anyone had. And that was almost two years ago now.   

I have serious doubts that we are in a better position now, even with four years of pandemic experience behind us, than we were pre-covid. 

That’s a big, big problem. 

Send your fun and FLiRTy story tips to penny@medicalrepublic.com.au. 

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