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COVID-19 Exposes the Deplorable State of Literacy in the Eastern Suburbs

By Keiran Blake, on July 6, 2020 in Satire

Social distancing, Bondi style. Photo: Anthony Fauci

The desperately poor rates of literacy among residents of the Eastern Suburbs are being blamed for the alarmingly high number of COVID-19 cases in the region.
The suburb of Waverley recorded the most cases in all of Sydney during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, something locals attributed to their propensity to travel and to the hordes of outsiders invading Bondi Beach. Experts, however, lay the blame squarely at literacy levels.
“Eastern Suburbs residents took health warnings literally,” claims study lead Dr Novell Crown.
“When they read signs saying ‘Observe Social Distancing’, they did exactly that – they watched other people obey the directions without actually doing it themselves. Residents took the word ‘observe’ to mean watch, monitor or study, rather than the more nuanced form of the word meaning to practise, carry out or implement.”
The misunderstanding did not surprise observers, who have tracked declining literacy levels in the region for some time.
“We know local dog owners are illiterate,” stated Dr Crown.
“They fail to understand written or visual signs advising them to keep their dogs off parks, beaches, BBQ areas and playgrounds. Councils did offer free literacy lessons to all dog owners in an effort to rectify the problem, but all to no avail. As a result, the scourge of illiteracy remains in this region, and now we are suffering its disastrous consequences.”
Questions are now being asked as to how standards of literacy could have fallen to such embarrassing depths in one of our most affluent regions.
“Too many early marks,” stated Dr Crown.
“Local residents have been receiving permission to leave school early for many years, and this has led to declining standards of literacy and numeracy. Early marks are a long-standing tradition in the Eastern Suburbs, and explain why students in uniform could be seen, before the lockdown, wandering aimlessly around Bondi Junction at any hour of the day.”
“It also explains why Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who was born and bred right here in the Eastern Suburbs, took it upon himself to grant the entire nation an early mark after weeks of COVID-19 restrictions.”
Another costly misunderstanding concerns the message, ‘Stay at Home’. The straightforward phrase and its attendant hashtag were designed to keep people indoors except for essential outings, but failed to contain the virus in the East.
“Locals also interpreted this literally, because they believe that they are entitled to inhabit every patch of turf in the region. To locals, the beach, the park and their favourite surf break is their home. This also extends to any piece of street furniture that sits at least 1.5 metres from their favourite café.”