As the world continues to spin and the novel coronavirus continues its spread around the globe, in Australia we have been extraordinarily lucky to avoid the incredible numbers of infections and deaths seen in places like the United States, India and Brazil.
For comparison, let's look at some recent statistics per 1 million people, which is a great way to look at it in context, given our populations are wildly different.
- Cases: 26,565
- Deaths: 688
- Cases: 6,219
- Deaths: 94
- Cases: 26,168
- Deaths: 762
- Cases: 1,202
- Deaths: 40
As much as certain parts of the media like to demonise those in power who listen to the science and act accordingly, this is absolutely the right way to go about it. Don't listen to the FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt).
Lockdowns and restrictions works, this isn't a 'communist plot' whatever that means, it's just the best way to protest as many people as we can. Like seatbelts and other laws designed to protect you and others.
Listen to the science and listen to the people who have devoted their lives to research in these fields, not some guy with no qualifications except a degree from the 'school of hard knocks'.
And on that note...
Whatever happened to 'Keep Calm and Carry On'?, the motivational poster produced by the British government in 1939 in preparation for World War II.
That poster has gone on to become a cultural icon, emblazoned on every product imaginable. A beacon to the hope and stick-to-it-iveness that those who lived through a war had.
Now of course we aren't talking about a world war here, but we are talking about a worldwide pandemic. One the like of which we haven't seen since the Spanish Flu that infected roughly 500 million people in 1918. About a third of the entire world population at the time.
We like to romanticise those decades gone by and think it was better back then, 'if only I lived then I'd fit right in'. Maybe that's all it is, hopeless nostalgia. Because - and I'm being broad here - people are not living up to the attitudes of their ancestors.
They knew there was a job to be done. Sacrifice for the greater good, stiff upper lip and all that. But instead we're choosing to focus on the negative. 'Bunnings Karen' and every nut job out there who believes COVID-19 is all a hoax or a ploy by the government or something.
Maybe there were people around like that then, who knows? I certainly don't. Will future generations look back at this time and go 'wow, those people were strong and resilient' or will they look back like we do at societies that gave into mass hysteria like the Salem witch trials or a fictional alien invasion broadcast on the radio?
Lockdown for our friends in Victoria has been incredibly tough, here it was certainly less so. But still, it was serious enough that we wouldn't want to do it again. Yet people are being complacent and really rolling the dice when it comes to everyone's safety.
It's been said a million times but it's always worth repeating. Social media gives an equal platform to everyone, which sounds great in theory, but as with most social thought experiments you can never assume the behaviour of people online.
Why this doesn't work is because as we've seen over and over, what this does, especially at a time like we're living in now with COVID, professional medical advice is given alongside fringe and quack beliefs from people who have no other qualifications other than a self-given degree in online trolling.
Misinformation is annoying at the best of times and extremely dangerous at the worst. How many people have died because they read that COVID is a hoax or that vaccines are actually dangerous? (They aren't). And these social platforms, namely Facebook, have been so slow to react to the firehose of misinformation, both political and scientific that anyone that isn't sufficiently savvy has no way of knowing what they're reading can be trusted.
So they either believe the wrong thing or even worse, they dismiss all news outright and don't inform themselves at all.