The Prime Minister has finally acknowledged that Australia will eventually have to learn to live with COVID.
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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has finally laid out a roadmap covid exit plan, which will include the end of the lockdown and travel restrictions for vaccinated Australians – but it is unclear when.
Perhaps a mix of a road map and uncertainty about the timing of our travels was always inevitable, but I’m still wondering whether a glimpse of a future without lockdowns and travel restrictions is enough to make most Australians celebrate or scream.
Stuck in the first phase of where we are now, the cost of that is becoming increasingly apparent. Many of us are locked at home mourning canceled holidays or missed weddings and funerals, while businesses are once again thrown into uncertainty and deep debt.
Worse yet, the transition plan that suddenly appeared today after weeks of intense public pressure was too late to arrive, and may have been slow-moving for one painfully obvious reason – as vaccination rollouts remained disrupted and slowed. Has happened. I keep thinking a bit about Richard Holden, an economist at the University of New South Wales, he told me this week, when I was reporting on Australia’s tireless effort to “Covid Zero”.
“Vaccine rollout is 9 to 12 months behind,” he said. “The costs we’re seeing now — if we hadn’t been much slower, we could have avoided all of them.”
It seems very disappointing. Even when we follow daily news conferences and the number of new COVID cases; Even when we call and call again to schedule vaccinations, even if we’re eligible, we can’t help but think: This didn’t need to happen.
With a different bet on individual vaccines by the federal government a few months ago, with more diversification of options, more people will be vaccinated by now and the delta variant will not move through the population as quickly, nor is it as frightening. Will happen .
And yet, as any psychologist will tell you, there’s no point in looking back on things that can’t be changed. Looking ahead, stamina is needed, but there is also reason for hope.
The good news begins with some current COVID math: During the outbreak of the past few weeks, no more than three people have been in intensive care at a time, and no one has died.
As Professor Stuart Turville, a virologist at the Kirby Institute, told abcThe delta variant is more contagious and not nearly as deadly.
“Given the 28-day follow-up after infection, the mortality rate for the original forms was 1.9 percent,” he said. “So far, the delta version is showing a 0.3 percent mortality rate.”
Over time, there is more room for confidence. Peter Collignon, a physician and microbiology professor at the Australian National University with whom I often talk about pandemics, reminded me this week that Australia is better now than it was a year ago because even though vaccine rollout has been slow Yes, more than 7 million jobs have already been given.
And the people with the highest rates of vaccination, he said, are the most vulnerable – Australians over the age of 70.
Over the next three months, if more vaccine supplies reach Australia as scheduled, death and hospitalization will likely continue to decrease as more people will be protected from vaccines. And then, as the prime minister announced today, a vaccine would be offered to everyone, and life would begin to return to some form of “normal”. We’ll probably still have to get a covid test before we can travel internationally, but hey, at least we’ll travel.
Is this all too slow? Yes. Is that anger-inducing? Absolutely, and even more so if you’re paying attention. For example, people like Mr. Callignan and Mr. Holden warned months ago that this winter would be worse if vaccine rollouts were not accelerated. And they were right.
But at the same time, finally, there is an endpoint in sight – a horizon, as government officials have called it. And so that even anger may be fermented with longing and hope.
In other words, even though the road out of COVID still seems long, with the Prime Minister talking hopefully about the next year as it is just around the corner, it is worth remembering that there is a need to feel better along the way. There would be many reasons.
We are officially and slowly, ever since the jab, non-stop and less complacent.
Now here are our stories of the week.
Australia and New Zealand
Whistling has almost ceased to be an art form. Can Molly Lewis keep it alive? The 31-year-old has whistled in tournaments in Dr. Dre’s studio and at his Los Angeles lounge show, Cafe Molly. Now she is releasing her debut EP.
The Best Movies and TV Shows in Australia in July New to Netflix, Amazon and Stan. Our streaming picks for July, including “Fear Street,” “The Comeback Trail” and “The Tomorrow War.”
Australian officials are divided over the AstraZeneca vaccine. With the spread of the Delta version, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is making the AstraZeneca vaccine available to young people who want it. Some state officials say it is a wrong call.
Concerns over the delta variant trigger lockdowns in Asian and Pacific countries. Australia, Bangladesh and Malaysia are among countries scrambling to contain the outbreak as sluggish vaccination campaigns leave populations vulnerable.
Sydney outbreak grows tied to Delta version. Nude sunbathers fleeing deer were fined 44 people for violating stay-at-home orders.
Sydney, Australia, enters complete lockdown for the first time in more than a year to fight the Delta version. A cluster that began with an airport limousine driver has jumped to nearly 100 cases, with dozens more expected in the coming days.
Tennis stars of the future get off to an early start at the Junior Championships. The events often involved future stars, such as Stefanos Tsitsipas and Denis Shapovalov. “I couldn’t believe the level of the game,” said one observer.
Sydney will enter complete lockdown as the outbreak escalates in Australia’s largest city. Officials warned of several more cases of Delta Edition as hair salons and a child’s birthday party emerged as potential superspreader locations.
around the times
The Communist Party of China turns 100. Cue the (state-approved) music. A wave of nationalist music, theater and dance is sweeping China, part of Beijing’s efforts to improve the party’s image and bolster political loyalty.
Inside the Capitol riot: an exclusive video investigation.The Times analyzed thousands of videos of the January 6 attack on the US Capitol building to understand how it happened – and why. Here are some key findings.
Some tennis professionals make fortunes. Most barely by scrap. The superstars of pro tennis get paid a lot more than everyone else. Can a new player association help level the court?
I write about the law. But can I really help free a prisoner? Over the years as a journalist, I have covered efforts to acquit people in prison. But a letter from Yutiko Breli gave rise to a different story.
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