The Unreliable Guide to…F*ckwittery
The Unreliable Guide is pissed off. At the time of writing, Sydney has been locked down for a week and we have at least another week to go. And we are not alone. More than half of the Australian population are currently locked down.
While it seems clear that this is a sensible precaution to prevent a massive outbreak, I have to ask why the hell are we in this position in the first place? Time and time again these leaks from quarantine have caused massive social and economic disruption. Politicians have used public fear for their own agenda. And nothing changes. Well, I have had enough. For what it’s worth, here’s my solution for the long-term prevention of this chaos.
As you may well know, the word ‘quarantine’ comes from Venice in Italy. During the years of the black plague all newcomers to that fabulous floating city were obliged to spend forty days (the Italian for forty is quaranta) on the island of Poveglia, outside the city limits. Those who survived this were allowed to enter. This worked very well. So why, some two-hundred and fifty years later, are we being so obtuse? Australia has many offshore islands. We are quite happy to fling our poor refugees onto them, so why not use some tax dollars and build a purpose-built offshore quarantine facility with healthcare facilities? This seems so obvious to me, but then I’m not a politician. If we had a quality offshore facility we would not have to cap the number of poor Aussies desperately trying to get home. We could allow people in, they would stay on the island for the requisite number of weeks, get their COVID-free certificate and then be flown onshore by a fully vaccinated crew. Then there would be no chance of guards, cleaners or limousine drivers spreading the virus into the community. Why is this not possible? Sure it would cost, but what has been the cost of all these lockdowns? COVID isn’t going away any time soon. We need to have a way to deal with this before the next pandemic arrives.
Our other weapon of course is vaccination. But with the current levels of vaccine uncertainty coupled with a government that couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery, we seem unlikely to hit the required herd immunity any time soon. The US have noted this vaccination resistance within their own population and are pushing forward on rolling out the Novavax vaccine. This has shown no serious side effects whatsoever and uses tried and tested methods to vaccinate. We have ordered 51 million doses of this and it has been declared the most likely vaccination for 2022 due to its high efficacy versus the virus and its lack of side effects. Yet the government are still pushing forward on the contentious AstraZeneca and the mRNA Pfizer/Moderna vaccines. Why? Maybe because they are made by high profile multinationals? Who can say? But the mixed messages about these vaccines, especially the AstraZeneca, which was deemed fine for over fifties one week, only over sixties the next, and then under forties the next, does not inspire public confidence.
Finally, The Unreliable Guide suspects you are all having these thoughts right now. We feel like a flock of sheep whose shepherd appears to have taken a huge dose of some psychedelic drug and is wandering around talking to moonbeams and flowers. Meanwhile, the sheepdogs are in charge and they have no idea what to do either. I guess we just have to mask-up and hunker down and see what happens next.