Those ‘green shoots’ actually aren’t too far away.
If you’d told us in March 2020 that we’d still be locked up in August 2021, we’d probably have cracked up laughing. Eighteen months on and it feels like we’re no closer to ending this pandemic.
Australia is in the midst of some of the toughest lockdowns we’ve ever seen, and case numbers just keep rising. We tune into a daily cacophony of angry voices (also known as a press conference) debating the minutiae of health orders, and to be frank, while it’s important, it’s also pretty stressful.
Not sure about you, but we’ve long stopped guessing case numbers and the colour of Gladys Berejiklian’s coat. It’s just not a laughing matter at this stage (not that it ever was but at least we tried to make light of it while cases were low).
But among the daily doldrum, it’s not all as depressing as it sounds.
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We recently saw this video of newsreader Brooklyn Ross explaining our road out of the pandemic, and it prompted us to remember that we actually have a lot to be positive about.
In fact, those ‘green shoots’ the government have been harping on about actually do exist, and they’re just a few short months away.
So, let’s take a moment to disrupt the bad news cycle and celebrate some of those wins that are coming our way. We all need it.
There are massive positives about Australia’s position to tackle covid, which remind us that while it pretty much sucks right now – we’ve had it pretty good, and it won’t be forever.
1. Our sacrifice has saved so many lives
There’s no doubt that living through these lockdowns has been hell for Australian citizens across the country, but particularly for those in Melbourne, which was particularly hard hit. Yet, we have saved so many lives.
For reference, the UK hit their highest daily case total at over 68,000 cases in one day on 8th January 2021, with their deadliest day being over 1,800 lives lost (also in Jan).
At the time of publishing, Australia has tragically lost a total of 984 people during the entire pandemic (across 18 months), which is half of what Britain lost in just that one day alone.
If that isn’t a testament to what our hard work and labour has achieved, we’re not sure what is. It’s been a big sacrifice, but for the lives of tens of thousands of Australians, it’s worth it.
So, pat yourself on the back guys, we damn well deserve it.
2. Vulnerable Aussies are protected by vaccines, and it shows
Unlike the first wave, where we saw covid ravage nursing homes and care units, this time the main transmission of the Delta virus has been between younger Australians – at work and in the home.
The NSW Epidemiological Report has consistently shown that 18-29 year olds are making up the most cases per age bracket of confirmed covid during this outbreak.
While it’s true that this age group is likely to be more mobile due to essential work, it is also less protected by vaccinations.
According to the Department of Health, 85% of over 70’s have had one dose of vaccine and 58% have had two. That’s massive compared to 16-50’s, which are sitting at 54% with one dose and just 31% with two doses.
The great news is, the vaccine is working. The silver lining is that we hope to see that same protection our vulnerable Australians have experienced from their vaccinations extend to younger Aussies who are now being vaccinated by the thousands.
3. The death rate in this lockdown is much lower than in Melbourne’s 2020 lockdown
Melbourne recorded its deadliest day after the 2020 lockdown on September 4th, with 59 people losing their lives to covid. That came about a month after the day with the worst cases, which was 725 in August.
While we will continue to see deaths rise in Australia, one glance at the below chart and you can see that the vaccine is having its intended effect – reducing the instances of hospitalisation and death in covid positive patients.
In the above image, you can see the death rate at the moment is significantly lower than it was in 2020, despite high numbers of cases in both outbreaks.
4. Australia’s vaccine rollout is moving at a hectic pace
Today NSW reached over 6 million jabs, and Australia as a whole is moving towards a much higher percentage of vaccinated residents.
We’re also doing it quickly.
“1.8 million vaccines in just the last seven days on a per capita basis. That’s on par with the best ever week in the United States and better than the best ever week in the United Kingdom. Australia is hitting those records,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in his press conference yesterday.
Unlike the rest of the world, which was forced to live freely with a lower percent of the population vaccinated, Australia has the opportunity, set out in the Doherty Report to wait for 80% of the population to receive both vaccines before restrictions are fully eased.
Current projections out of Melbourne University show that by late November we could be hitting that 80% vaccinated target – although this will of course depend on how many people come forward for vaccination during that time (visit NSW Health to book your vaccine now).
We are about to enter September, so it should follow that in just two or so months, we will have a LOT more freedoms than we do now.
For everyone who is stuck at home, that’s some pretty amazing news. It makes you think differently about this seemingly ‘never-ending lockdown’. It does have an end – and it’s soon.
5. What will happen once we’re vaxxed?
To add to the positivity – we now have a bit of a road map of what will be allowed once we achieve the high rates of vaccination we’re aiming for.
- Phase 1: Vaccinate the 16+ population as quickly as possible: We’re in this phase now. It’s about suppressing the virus with lockdowns and restricted international travel, while racing to vaccinate the population.
- Phase 2: 70% vaccination: This is a transition phase where there will be less restrictions but they will still be used to curb larger outbreaks and protect hospitals. International borders will remain tight but there will be special freedoms for the vaccinated.
- Phase 3: 80% vaccination: This will be our largest step back to normal life so far, with only highly targeted lockdowns, no caps on returning vaccinated Australians, lifting of restrictions on outbound Aussies, new travel bubbles for candidate countries.
- Phase 4: Treating covid like any other infectious disease: Boosters will be necessary and there may still be quarantine measures for high-risk inbound travellers, but this will essentially be a return to normalcy.
It’s important not to open sooner, as there will still be too many unprotected Australians the virus can spread to. But, there is a potential we could be up to phase 3 in just a few months.
6. So, there’s not long left guys
Lockdown fatigue is hitting hard in Australia right now. We’ve been living with the constant fear of restrictions for far too long – and it’s getting us down.
There are already rumours of what “extra freedoms” those fully vaccinated in NSW might be able to have as early as next week – the rumour is haircuts might be on the agenda and our roots couldn’t be happier.
So the light is at the end of the tunnel, and we’re almost there.
Please encourage those around you to get vaccinated and follow the restrictions, so that we can all come out of this more safely, in less time.
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