Life in the age of the virus-131

Wasn’t going to write but two things.

1. Clementine Bakery is now an exposure site while I was there (or close to).

2. The USA has now recorded more deaths from COVID than the Spanish Flu.

And one more thing…Qantas changed our flight from Tassie to home from 2 November – to 6 December! Sure, I’ll go interstate and then get stuck there for another month! How the tourism industry is going to get back in its feet if that keeps happening I just don’t know. Totally ridiculous.

Life in the age of the virus-130

Half the town is shut because deep cleaning is happening and the other half because staff are isolating and getting tested.

Some day it will be funny!

Victoria has announced its roadmap out and expect 26 October to be when they reach 70% and 80% by Melbourne Cup Day. Vaccination is the key.

Meanwhile NSW has something similar but there is still nothing about what the rest of Australia will do to allow free travel again.

Nothing really convinced me that living with COVID or COVID normal, is going to be anything other than a ducking mess with lots of people getting sick and dying and everyone pretending that life is OK.

That’s not even counting the loss of the revered productivity while people get sick, and hopefully recover without getting long COVID.

Kids are battling through COVID with home schooling and lockdown. Seeing stressed parents can’t be helpful. Experts say they will recover from the disruption to their schooling so not to worry too much if home schooling isn’t working.

It’s not Afghanistan though, so there is that. And Women’s reproductive rights (or not) are still in the hands of doctors who say no to self choice of sterilisation here is Australia.

In no other time is two apps on my phone has such prominence and use as the sign in apps. Can’t wait until one day they will be redundant.

I may take a break from writing this week. And possibly the news as well, although that is harder.

Life in the age of the virus-129

The weird thing about lockdown is that it’s not that different to regular life for us. The main difference is the mask wearing requirements and the inability to go anywhere.

This meme is totally true. At the same time, I feel like we are very privileged to be where I am and to still have a job.

At the same time S had her birthday in lockdown and I’ve had two bucket list events canceled. I’m sad about that actually.

I miss my kid and my parents and my friends. I’m tired of not being able to travel and see new things. The additional stress has derailed my diabetes changes and I feel like I might be in trouble there. My wife is super stressed and a few weeks ago she broke down badly. I had to take her to the hospital she was so distressed.

Poor Mental health is a major issue at the best of times but it has massively increased and it’s not getting any better. Services are stretched.

I’m so tired. I know everyone else is too. And still we will take one day at a time and be grateful for not getting sick. Watching the UK Ambulance show and there are so many Covid patients and it seems pretty bad. The service is so stressed they can’t make all the calls.

Spring is here again because the weather doesn’t care about COVID.

Life in the age of the virus-127

Another positive today in Yass but it’s not us! The lovely wife and I popped up to get tested and have already got our results back. We literally drove in and got tested,as opposed to the crazy wait times on Tuesday!

Meanwhile kangaroos have taken over Canberra.

Globally, as of 4:34pm CEST, 15 September 2021, there have been225,680,357 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 4,644,740 deaths, reported to WHO. As of 12 September 2021, a total of5,534,977,637 vaccine doses have been administered.

Life in the age of the virus – 126

I’ve been screen shooting to remind myself of stories and there are so many I don’t know where to start.

It’s been five days since I’ve written and so much happens it’s crazy. In lockdowns, out of lockdowns, in lockdowns.

On 13 September we went back into lockdown here in Yass when a person became a positive case. There are now two more, all the same household. Yass Public School has also been shut because of the infection. Many many people are isolating as close or casual contacts and lots of people getting tested up at Walker Park…the first day people were lined up all the way down the street.

Speaking to our neighbour who works at a school, she expressed anxiety going back to school with kids there. A lot of rules and guidelines teachers have to follow. Ultimately they did one day and then boom, down again.

Gladys decided not to do the Presser anymore but not much has seemed to have eventuate from that. The Health Minister was always there anyway. The numbers SEEM to be coming down…potentially the curve is actually flattening. But don’t talk too loudly yet. Still daily deaths between seven and twelve.

Short bites:

Guy Sebastian supported a vax campaign for musos then came out publically to say he wouldn’t tell anyone how to run their life then got slammed for that and had to say he was pro vax. Bad day for Guy.

Professor Sarah Gilbert who was part of the vaccine creation confirmed that you were more likely to get blood clots from COVID than from AZ.

QLD has very slow vaccine take up

South America on the other hand has a really fast take up that help drop cases there.

Professor Mary-Louise McLaws says it’s not likely we will be interstate for Christmas. Rapid Antigen Tests are the recommendation (and I agree…they need to be released from needing a health professional to run to reduce the cost. Get clever with an app says Prof McLaws).

Talk is all about vaccination passports. The UK has decided not to continue with theirs. We still might not be able to go overseas even if we have one. Just now the Question Everything show is talking about how dodgy they are and how they can so easily be racked. The passports proposed are not for travel within Australia.

PNG has a lot of vaccine hesitancy and even leading to violence.

Craig Kelly MP keeps spamming people with dodgy texts talking COVID conspiracies. I’ve had two. So have other people I know. It’s annoying. Piss off Craig!

A Sydney social housing location in lockdown has seemed to be discriminated against by over policing and confiscation of alcohol coming into the building.

40% production cut for Toyota in Southeast Asia because computer chips are now scarce due to COVID restrictions.

Australia has reached 40% fully vaccinated (double jab) of eligible residents.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was fined $500 for not wearing a mask. Complains that it is unAustralian to dob.

Nicki Minaj did not get invited to the MET Gala because she won’t vaccinate and that’s cool, but then she tweeted some crazy shit about her cousins friends balls swelling up after the jab and we all judged her.

On the whole, Yass has COVID, it was only a matter of time before we got it once a person infectious visited Super IGA here. It was a count down over the weekend as they kept giving us special mentions (even Dr Kerry Chant did ) that they were worried because of COVID remnants found in the sewerage. As it ground on through Sunday, we tried to enjoy ourselves and I took the kid for lunch at a cafe – masks on unless eating. Then the announcement was made Monday that a positive case had been found and boom, lockdown from midnight that night for two weeks.

Crying emoji

The ACT government announced it was going to extend it’s lockdown by four weeks on Tuesday. It’s been a great week so far! I’ve been working a lot of hours trying to keep up at work and can’t even go out to dinner to celebrate. (Queanbeyan also has a number of cases)

OK I’m tired now so I’m going to finish up with Singapore news. 80% vaccinated and they opened up and how they’ve reimposed some restrictions as cases went crazy again. They are saying they now need 90% with the Delta strain. It happened in Israel and we are just waiting for Denmark’s results as they went back to no restrictions on 10 September after they reached 80%. PS. They say 90% is not possible because of refuses or hardened anti-vaxxers but there is also the point that not everyone can be vaccinated.

P.S. The boys both got vaccinated yesterday. They are both gaming again now so nothing too drastic, although one slept most of today and the other complains of a sore arm.

Life in the age of the virus-125

Today is the 20th anniversary of the World Trade Centre/Pentagon terrorist attacks in New York. It changed the world forever. Just like this pandemic has. Although please note in Afghanistan, everything old is new again because the Taliban is back in power.

Last Wednesday the New York Times reported that America had hit 40 million coronavirus cases since January 2020. They are on the hunt for patient number one (have narrowed it down to four people). Not that it will make any difference really. Today they were nearly at 42 million cases, with 175,000 on 10 September. They are at 677,000 deaths and still getting between 1000-2000 deaths per day.

They have some COVID payments too, but they are drying up, just like here in Australia. 800,000 New Yorkers lost their Federal unemployment benefits last week, according to the NY Times. Those people are probably not going to the weddings where you wear bands to indicate your status with vaccination…physical distancing made easy!

Credit NY times

Dr Fauci says the numbers of infections are still way too high – they need to be close to 10,000 per day instead of 15 times that amount before the country can start to feel ‘comfortable’. President Biden is getting cranky with the anti vaxxers. Hesitancy patience has run out, according to his messaging now. Get vaccinated America! Then you can deal with the shit things happening in Texas.

Back home, as reported, we in regional NSW (but only the LGAs with no COVID cases) have come out of lockdown (Stay at home orders). Due to our proximity to the ACT, I’m quite surprised but also pretty happy. We made immediate plans to see my parents today. Later we realised that as both parties had been in the ACT in the last 14 days, we should not be doing anything of the sort (stay at home orders).

As a I sat there in my parents house with them, I realised I had been pretty judgemental about all the breaches to date. Because we were literally breaching the restrictions. We made the call, both parties, to have the visit and it was lovely. There was physical distancing (it’s a decent sized lounge room). Mum even offered to put a mask on but I said no. Maybe I should have said yes to protect them?

With the lifting of restrictions, lots of groups of people were out and about today. As we gardened, I saw groups of teenagers walking down the road. B2 is off and out to his mates place (surprised it took him until the afternoon to be honest) but the rest of us are here still. It’s more of a mental lockdown (aside from the non visiting of parents).

Of course our ACT family and friends are still in lock down so no change for them. It will be interesting to see what happens early next week with announcements. It is set to lift on 17 September. The numbers are still bouncing between mid teens to mid twenties to mid thirties (although mostly the former two). They are now more than 200 COVID positive infections and some are in hospital with at least one on a ventilator. Having said that, they have more outside time now and have hit the 50% vaccination rate (of two doses) – the first State or Territory in Australia to do so. It’s around 430,000 people, and this is for Canberran’s over the age of 16 at the moment. Plus throw in a few randoms from the regions like me!

Those crazy marketers at ACT Health!

Regional Victoria has also had it’s restrictions lifted, while today’s number for infections was 450, the biggest yet for them in this wave. It was 221 last Wednesday, so you can see how quickly this Delta variant is lifting the numbers.

NSW passed 200 deaths from this wave also on Wednesday. They’ve had eight deaths just today so it’s probably shifting more to around 230 now. Today’s numbers were 1599 – the biggest number yet. They say there will be 2000 a day in October.

All of this opening despite the massive numbers and health systems nearly at breaking point. It’s the ‘living with it’ strategy but will 70% vaccinated be enough?

Life in the age of the virus-124

Yayayayayay our town is coming out of lockdown!

So on Saturday we will go and see my parents and give them hugs and stay for ages.

Today was RUOK Day and the answer for me was no, I’m not OK today. Hopefully tomorrow I will be. Today I felt shit.

More people infected and more deaths. That is the story all over the world a d here in Australia.

Get vaccinated.

Life in the age of the virus – 123

A QLD man is contacting the UNHCR to complain about being locked out of QLD – it’s a humanitarian crisis according to him. Some perspective would probably be good. I get he is frustrated but seriously, I think there are few Afghani’s ahead of him in the line.

There is a similar situation for people stuck in NSW and wanting to get into VIC. NSW is not the place to be if you want to get into another state. Tasmania is looking very far away right now for us.

The last couple of days NSW has continued to record numbers. There are more than 150 deaths in this wave and we’ve had two Indigenous deaths now in Wilcannia.

Australia now only has the Delta variant of the virus here. Fortunately 70% of ACT residents over 16 have received their first jab. Today, 19 cases in ACT.

NSW Police will now be required to be vaccinated in full by November, which is probably good since a whole bunch of them are getting exposed right now. One lot on a search for a three year old boy who was lost for three days in the bus (found safe and well thank goodness) and the other lot (that made the news) were searching a Comanchero bikie’s home who tested positive shortly after.

I may or may not have mentioned booster shots will be needed at some point – it’s a no brainer and they are starting to talk about it here. No details but the conversation is on the table. The US is already rolling them out but lots of places haven’t had their population vaccinated enough the first time around yet.

Speaking of vaccines, go get one and stop buying Ivermectin. Vets are reportedly getting asked for it (and I’ve talked about it previously) but as someone pointed out, people seem to be happier to ingest animal medicine than a vaccine that is tested. PS. Apparently it is an apple flavoured paste. Mmmmmm yummy.

schadenfreude

People are still pretending to be someone else to try to get across borders…in this case a 22 year old man going from VIC to TAS. He got a $3000 fine for his trouble. Plenty are getting turned away from the ACT according to the local Police FB page.

Overseas: Vietnam has jailed a man for five years for spreading COVID after breaching quarantine regulations. Eight people got infected and one died, so he sounds like he’s lucky not to get longer. It has certainly been a topic of conversation in this house about people who wilfully ignore lockdown and restrictions and either knowingly or unknowingly infect people.

India looks like it has made it through the Delta wave, with COVID deaths from 4000 per day to 500 per day (crazy numbers still). They have had more than 439,000 deaths but people are saying they might have reached ‘endemicity’. Meaning everyone has either had it or has been vaccinated. Time will tell.

Back at home, Yass town now has some exposure sites. It’s taken a while and probably jinxed it by saying that to a friend the other day. Yesterday the local IGA and the highway Caltex servo were added to the lists. So far no one here has been exposed – we were there four days later. It creeps around us. The boys are still in line to get their vaccinations so fingers crossed they do follow the guidelines and keep us all safe.

Don’t go near ScoMo though, he just did a flying visit to Sydney and then back to ACT again. It’s not illegal and he is exempt, but it probably isn’t a good look when people are separated by hard borders in Coolangatta (also not particularly a good look with little mask wearing and physical distancing) and just separated in general because it’s not essential (again, we did a flying driveway handover of present and pavlova – full disclosure). People are pretty shitty about it and the panel on the Drum is saying the risk is that people just go ‘stuff it, I’m going to visit my family as well’.

Happy news – dogs are being trained to sniff out COVID here in Australia. They’ve already been doing it for a bit overseas but we’ve got three doggos in a pilot now. Woof.

Life in the age of the virus – 122

I might move this blog to it’s own site one day – we will see.

In the meantime, NSW has topped 1500 daily cases (yesterday, on a day that also saw the ACT have 32, one of its highest days also). VIC is doing around 200 per day since I wrote last.

On Friday some arborists door knocking for work in the Hunter in late August have been found to have been infectious during that period. The owner and relative of the employees was very apologetic as he was treated in hospital. This was a second group of arborists found and fined in the Hunter for door knocking (breaching health orders). This man was genuinely sorry, and said he had to feed his family and that’s why he went out (he didn’t know they were infectious). And while you have to stay home, it’s pretty hard if you can’t pay your bills and eat because you can’t work from home. Which is why the government of all flavours and levels have to help people.

Our family has been mostly fortunate to either work through the lockdowns (last one or this one) or receive benefits (also both). Different people at different times working and claiming. It’s a bit easier when you are single and/or living at home to do either of those things though. We are all very lucky.

Today is Father’s Day here in Australia and it was a bit of a weird one. We’d been having a bit of fun with Dad’s present, which came from the UK in record time (as it turned out – wasn’t scheduled until next week but not complaining!). Hard to buy for the person who doesn’t really need anything and I am privileged to be able to afford some fun. We took a short run there to deliver that and a pavlova, which is one of his favourite desserts. We stood awkwardly on the driveway at 1.5m apart – no hugs today. Just a short few minutes but special none the less. Should we have done it? Technically I don’t think so, we were delivering food and a welfare check.

NSW has more than one in ten people in hospital with COVID, which is not good for the State’s health system. From 232 in early August to almost 1000 on Friday. I wouldn’t want to have any sort of accident right now…the beds are taken.

Meanwhile we’ve done a deal with the UK and they’ve sent us some Pfizer vaccines – about four million doses. ACT is getting about 86,000 of them this week.

The truckies have continued their run and infected a four year old girl and her mother in QLD. Logan will be running to get tested no doubt. Meanwhile WA is introducing a rapid antigen test on the border for drivers to take before entering. Probs should have been doing that for a while now but hey, 20 20 hindsight. It seems this whole period is 20 20 hindsight before people actually do what they need to be doing. Also, a truckie has now tested positive for COVID in NSW after driving around QLD while infectious. Those cheeky monkeys!

I saw my son and we had dinner in the car again on Friday night. It is hard to know if this counts or not, but I combined it with essential medical appointment as part of my trip into Canberra. I shouldn’t have to justify seeing my 15 year old but I feel like I have to. This pandemic is special like that. I’m hoping he might come out for a few days next weekend but he is nervous so we will see.

Mmmm Korean snow cheese chicken!

In other news –

Tasmania is mandating vaccinations for healthcare workers. They have to have had at least one shot by 31 October. Which is when we would be there, if we go. If we can go that should be.

On vaccines, Moderna is approved for 12 and over in Australia now. It’s not here yet but it will bump up the supply.

Thailand is making PPE out of plastic bottles because they’ve run out. It’s a good idea since the PPE is very much trash as soon is it’s used.

Another variant from South Africa has made the news but it’s too soon to say if it will be a problem yet. C.1.2 is not yet Insta famous – stay tuned to see if this influenza will capture us or fade away in Delta’s shadow (see what I did there?)

And in the ACT you can go and have an outdoor picnic – not that you would have this weekend as it was so rainy, but that’s what restrictions have been eased this week. Doesn’t make sense to me but anyway, good for Canberrans!