Sunday, November 29, 2020

Coronavirus wipes out 2020


The year 2020 is both memorable and one to forget. It's memorable for having the first global pandemic since Spanish Flu in 1918-19.

It's forgettable for stifling travel, recreation, arts, culture and all the good things we enjoy in life like socialising, dining, sports and entertainment.

I feel fortunate in some respects and cheated in others. My partner and I were due to leave on the trip of a lifetime to Europe on 27 March. If it had been a week earlier, we would have flown from Brisbane to Lisbon via Dubai.

As it happens, we're probably lucky it was a week later or we might have been stranded there.

We've missed out on some long-planned, amazing experiences but escaped the worst impacts of the pandemic.

Regional Queensland is probably one of the safest and best places to be this year. We've had fewer than 10 cases of COVID-19 in Bundaberg and they were related to overseas travel or the Ruby Princess. There's been no community transmission.

As I write this, however, my nurse partner is locked in the "warm room" at Bundaberg Hospital wearing full PPE and watching over a solitary patient.

In some respects it feels like a wasted year.

In the sixth decade of life, one appreciates every day because it's one closer to your last.

While health is good now, it should never be taken for granted.

I haven't seen three of my four children or my seriously ill mother since January because the Queensland Government set up border controls to preclude most interstate travel without going into quarantine on return.

The world's reaction to COVID-19 has been interesting to observe. In Australia and New Zealand, we've effectively pursued elimination because we're island nations. Europe, Asia and America can't do that.

I have questions around the governmental response. Sweden and South Korea have been held up as alternative models but their case numbers are much higher. Will they come out stronger at the end?

The data I'd like to see is how many people under 70 die from COVID-19 without having a comorbidity? I suspect it's not very many.

Meanwhile, deaths have increased from suicide and domestic violence as people deal with social isolation, not to mention the generational economic destruction.

It will be interesting how historians judge this period in 50 years or 100 years.

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