Did anybody seriously believe that the ACT lockdown would not be extended this week, with cases oscillating between the mid-teens and 20s, cases lighting up in the regions around Canberra and Sydney still reporting more than a thousand cases a day and people dying every day?
Yes, we are all disappointed. Yes, we would all love to have some semblance of normality restored.
And yes, there are businesses facing a desperate struggle to stay afloat.
The mental health and economic impacts would have played on the minds of the Chief Minister and the Chief Health Officer as they mulled the data, but the numbers – both the vaccination rates and the case numbers – meant they had little choice.
They are in no doubt what would happen if the government let the pressure off – an explosion in cases, more in hospital and health services facing overwhelm.
Maybe not, but is that a risk you would want your leaders to take?
It’s a case of all care and no responsibility from some of those who have been calling for an end to lockdown and speeding up a full reopening along the lines of NSW, although the rhetoric there does not seem to match what may actually happen.
This kind of debate has been going on since the start of the pandemic and has been characterised by a lot of loose talk, Trumpian distortions and misrepresentations.
Fortunately, our health has not been in the hands of commentators, showboating journalists and Social Darwinist economists.
The row over vaccination rates and the National Plan boils down to a matter of weeks. Why risk a surge in cases and possible deaths for such a short space of time?
The ACT also has to take into account that its hospitals service the region around it. About one in four patients come from across the border. During any escalation in COVID cases, that would place enormous pressure on the ACT health system.
Perhaps then the sceptics who called the Garran Surge Centre a waste of money would feel better about it.
Managing and balancing risk is what governments have had to do since the start of the pandemic, and some have made mistakes.
It must be remembered – and memory seems to be a diminishing commodity – that the ACT’s situation is not of its own making.
After buying time last year, the nation is where it is because the Morrison Government, which stands commended for its initial response, failed to spread its risk when it came to vaccine supply and effective quarantine facilities.
This is not even a judgment made in hindsight because plenty of experts warned the government last year about these two issues.
The limitations placed on the AstraZeneca vaccine due to rare blood clotting concerns may have been unfortunate, but with new vaccines, there are always risks.
Australia should have been fully vaccinated before the Sydney outbreak, not squabbling now about when it is safe enough to open up.
When the Delta COVID cases emerged in Sydney, that state, caught up in its own ructions about how hard to clamp down, hestitated, and its half-hearted response let the virus out into the regions, the ACT, and Melbourne.
The other disappointing element of the Sydney response has been the divisive way it has managed it – the pitting of Local Government Areas against each other, the poor treatment of the south and west, compared to the affluent east and north, and the rough deal for the regions.
The idea of privileges for the vaccinated also sets people apart from each other when many may not have even had the opportunity to be vaccinated.
Mr Barr, maligned by some for curtailing our freedoms, is clear that this discriminatory policy is not something the ACT will pursue and is concerned about the long-term human rights implications of such approaches.
It also reeks of an ‘I’m all right, Jack’ attitude that is a long way from ‘we’re all in this together’.
This week, there has also been much talk about Mr Barr’s clash with certain journalists who came down from the Hill to bless us with their presence to take him on about the lockdown decision and hog the microphone.
Mr Barr deserved to be asked the tough questions but belligerence and shouting at the podium is no substitute for a query grounded in fact.
The Chief Minister has fronted these press conferences for five weeks, has patiently answered many repeat questions and explained the detail of policy, including that contentious National Plan and the intricacies of vaccination rate thresholds.
He wasn’t about to let a few grandstanders, whose interest in the fortunes of the ACT is fleeting at best, have it all their own way.
In any case, Mr Barr and Dr Coleman are not making decisions for journalists, individual businesses, upset families or people whose travel plans are on hold.
They have to consider the safety of the entire ACT population and be accountable for their actions.