The Corona Crucible – Tues 28th July

World 16.6 million    Spain 320K+              UK 300K+     

This pandemic is transforming the world. Trying to ‘get back to normal’ seems like a futile exercise. As soon as you open up again, infection spreads and you have to lockdown again. It’s happened in a number of places. Here in Victoria and currently in Spain where case numbers are again rising.

An interesting article in The Age recounts the situation in Victoria during the flu pandemic of 1919. After closing down many businesses, hotels and the like, we reopened too soon after the first wave and the second wave hit hard. Sound familiar? The virus spread rapidly across Victoria, reaching a peak in July of that year. Mask wearing became common across the state. With no government support for the unemployed, or sick, volunteers took it upon themselves to help those in need, making soup and delivering food. Those who were sick hung white sheets in their windows to let people know they needed assistance.

By October 1919 the worst of the second wave had passed, but overall a total of 3,500 Victorians lost their lives, somewhere between 12,000 and 20,000 across Australia. It’s estimated that as many as two million people were infected across Australia. Due to our isolation, we saw it coming and were luckier than most countries.

The decade that followed, the Roaring Twenties, was probably seeded by the relief people felt at being free and healthy again. I imagine that we’ll see a similar surge in creativity, celebration and excitement once this pandemic has passed. Something to look forward to. For now we really have to get on top of this second wave before we get totally out of our depth and swept out to sea.

Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton said yesterday the modelling suggests we may have reached the peak now, but he isn’t confirming that. Victoria had another 384 infections in the past 24 hours, a lower number, so hopefully his assessment is correct.