The Australian government is in denial.
It’s becoming clear that the global health crisis from COVID-19 is very likely to worsen quite quickly. From information I have come across from reliable medical sources (mostly from the ABC), it seems that our government is probably not doing enough to slow the growth of cases, and that the health risks to all age groups are significant, not just the elderly or vulnerable. Similarly, it feels like our health system has every likelihood of being overwhelmed by the increasing case load of critically ill people.
Because I have the “luxury” of being able to work from home (and still be gainfully employed), I am now doing so; additionally we are keeping our children home from school. Whilst there is probably very little practical risk from any two students attending one specific school, every person you come into contact with, and more so every person you remain in contact with for a significant period of time is an increased risk.
Other countries have been recommending that gatherings larger than 5 people are sufficient to continue the spread of the virus, and whilst it may seem that Australia (and Adelaide specifically) has less risk right now than some European and Asian countries, we have already seen Victoria declare a State of Emergency. Yet our government maintains that 500 people is still safe.
The number of confirmed cases in Australia has reached a higher proportion of the general population than that of the United States, which has many states and cities implementing strict shutdown policies.
The actual number of confirmed cases has started to grow exponentially, with an increase of almost 50% in one day (20 to 29 on March 16th). The school 400m away from where I live has a confirmed case - the principal of my children’s school has a child that attends there. The school where my niece attends school has a confirmed case.
Around 4000 doctors sent a petition to the government asking for strict lockdowns, fearing that our outcomes could be worse than that of Italy.
The government continues to maintain that this disease is just not that risky for young people.
This is just a flat-out lie.
The only reason we have not had deaths in Australia of young people is just a matter of numbers. Currently, anyone who has had severe respiratory issues has been able to receive artificial respiration. This will change, as there are only so many resipirators in Australian hospitals. As more people are infected, more will get serious complications, and some of them will miss out. Either on a respirator altogether, or later in the epidemic, perhaps even a bed.
Children appear not to be having severe complications, or even especially strong symptoms, but there is evidence that asymptomatic people shed a higher amount of the virus, and children continue to have the virus in stool samples well after they are deemed to be “clear” according to a throat swab.
So, my kids, partner and I stayed home today. I think it’s still fun for them - we have tried to help them understand the scale of this problem (“We could be here, just the four of us together for at least two weeks, maybe even longer”), but the novelty (oops) of being home-schooled has yet to wear off.
I’m thankful I have the means and opportunity to work from home, and have my immediate family here with me. We aren’t going to see the boys’ grandparents for some weeks, and I’m sure we’ll all go batshit insane from being around one another non-stop for an indefinite period of time.