Everything we do in life is a risk. Right now, for me, the risk is that my mug of tea may spill and flood my laptop and I shall be very cross. But this is a risk I have decided is worth taking because I want to drink my tea and write this opinion piece.
Soon after the mask mandate was enacted in the ACT earlier this month, I came across a photo on Facebook of a Canberra man in a grocery store surrounded by a couple of police officers. Apparently, so the caption read, he was not wearing a face mask and was either being cautioned or fined for failing to comply with the rules.
Police are here to maintain law and order. That’s all good. The thing that I take issue with is that someone posted a picture of this guy to a public Facebook group for all to see and shame.
The comments rang with “Good” and “Stupid idiot”, along with other things that shouldn’t be typed anywhere. I left less perturbed by what the man in the photo was guilty of as I was by the mud everyone else was slinging at him.
Another post asked the question: “Would you dob someone in who didn’t use the Check In CBR app?” The comments were ripe with, “Oh heck yes” and “In a heartbeat”.
I know Facebook is the famous meeting place of the world’s most agreeable people, but all the same, what happened to “we’re all in this together”? Now it has become a case of “everyone else can get stuffed”.
Politicians are pointing fingers at each other. Borders are going up and down like those hydraulic doors in Star Wars. And so what if some poor sod is in the way? Such as a pregnant Ballina woman who lost a twin when she couldn’t get to a hospital in Brisbane as childbirth wasn’t classified as a medical emergency.
Far less dire are the frequent examples of passengers being told mid-flight that they’d have to go straight into two weeks of hotel quarantine at their own expense. Elderly people are dying, their families are not able to be with them. Mental health issues, suicides, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence – the tragic numbers are all rising.
We’re not in this together at all. It’s tearing us apart.
COVID-19 has been an unknown enemy from the start.
The vaccine is perfectly safe, but no, hang on, young people shouldn’t take the AstraZeneca jab. The Delta variant is deadly, but its typical symptoms are shared with the common cold.
The place is swirling with facts; none of them seem to add up, though. So each of us takes a side.
Bringing in the science hasn’t cleared the confusion.
Think back to when the World Health Organisation (WHO) tweeted, “if you do not have any symptoms, you do not have to wear a mask, because there is no evidence that they protect people who are not sick”. But then we had mask mandates. Did the science change or the politics?
If you do not have any respiratory symptoms, such as fever, cough, or runny nose, you do not need to wear a medical mask. When used alone, masks can give you a false feeling of protection and can even be a source of infection when not used correctly. ??https://t.co/0nyHux1SgN pic.twitter.com/JDQhnowx3p
— World Health Organization (WHO) Western Pacific (@WHOWPRO) March 26, 2020
The deaths, the uncertainty, it has us cowering in fear, begging our government to just shut us out from all of it. And they’re dutifully obliging.
When I was younger and in bed with a tummy bug, sipping water and nibbling crackers, my brother would come in every so often with a bottle of disinfectant and proceed to soak the place until it was literally dripping. He’d then leave, shutting the door behind him.
This is exactly what governments are doing, but not just to the sick. We’re all being locked down and squirted in the eyes with Pine O Cleen – sick, healthy, vaccinated, and non-vaccinated alike.
The alternative ‘Freedom Day’ approach looks to be incredibly cruel to the less able-bodied among us. And it is very tricky ethical business to weigh two evils in the hope of finding the lesser. But look around. It isn’t a matter of economy or lives. The economy is lives and they’re being ruined.
So here’s what’s should happen. We’re going to secure enough vaccines to go around and then this is going to end. And I mean end. No ‘new normal’; there will be normal normal.
Risky? Yes, but here’s a thought. We’re adults. We elected these governments, so surely we can summon the mind power to decide for ourselves whether or not it’s safe to go to the shops or visit Nan.
COVID-19 is here to stay. We have to live with it. But more importantly, something that will outlast any pandemic – we have to live with each other.