Coronavirus – The Curious Case of Australia

The Curious Case of Oz

For some reason Australia seems to be bucking the trend to completely lock-down its population. That’s not a bad thing, but there are some odd peculiarities about Australia’s response and reaction to the current global panic-demic. Curious to say the least…

Australia should be in as bad a state as anywhere. Given the number of Chinese who live here and visited family in China over the kids’ summer holidays back in December 2019 and January 2020. If only a small fraction of the stuff that has been put out by the media (both mainstream and ‘social’) is to be believed, then Australia should be in deep. Yet the numbers of cases of coronavirus (and related deaths) refuse to go through the roof over here. Why is that?

Here is one theory.

Every year it is claimed that between 1500 and 3000 die of the (normal) flu here. In 2019 Australia actually had a fairly serious seasonal winter flu outbreak. That flu season ended in about October, only two months before coronavirus hit the news. It turned out that the 2019 flu season was not as bad as another outbreak in 2017 but it was still considered a biggy.

Could it be that most Aussies have been toughened up by recent flu? Two big flu seasons in the last two and a half years may have just made all the difference.

The government is stubbornly refusing to go into full lock-down. Holding out, it seems, as long as possible. What are they waiting for? Every other (western) country has totally panicked and gone for it. In that respect (at least) there is nothing to be ashamed of. Are they really that brave? Are they really not falling for all the doom scaremongering like the countries in Europe have (for example)?

Waiting for that rise? Or Worse?

Could it be that they are just waiting for the statistics to rise? Worse still, have they been (almost) trying to increase the numbers of infected by allowing the situation to fester? If you think that is a crazy accusation, then look at some of the recent actions and/or knee-jerk responses…

  • Flights from all the supposedly high-risk countries were allowed to continue until very recently. The same goes for foreign nationals arriving from these places.
  • No quarantine for arrivals from (supposedly) infected areas such as China, Europe and Middle East until just now.
  • Suddenly (only yesterday) deciding to quarantine all flight arrivals in hotels! How many hotel beds are there in and around Sydney airport? Anyone know? Because within the 14-day quarantine period, at present rates of arrivals, they could well need over ten thousand rooms! (see below for more analysis on this). And who is going to clean them all -properly- afterwards?
  • Allowing cruise ships with known cases of the virus to dock in city centres and disembark thousands of tourists who would be either infected or potential carriers.
  • First allowing some schools to close then telling them to re-open. Then telling parents to keep their kids at home but making it ‘clear’ that schools will remain open.

It is hard to see what they have achieved or hoped to achieve with some of these actions.

What the hell are they waiting for?

So, what are they waiting for? Any ideas? Is there some magical number of confirmed cases required before they say “Aha. See; we told you what would happen. Now we are locking you in your homes until further notice.”

Or is there a death count figure they need to reach? It really is a curious case in Oz.

In some ways what the government here has already done is as bad as total lock-down. I mean closing the beaches! It couldn’t get any more un-Australian could it? I am sure there are plenty here who would accept lock-down if their one permitted daily exercise was a walk to the beach. Taking into account ‘safe social distancing’ of course. That would include surfing,  which naturally requires keeping a safe distance.

It seems people are already getting fed up. Before they even lock them up! So why don’t they just get it over with?

Fortune Favours the Brave

On the other hand, this could all be seen as a good thing. Maybe the Australian government is actually trying to tough this one out. If they can hang on in there for just a couple more weeks, the countries in Europe may declare the virus is on the way out and lift their totalitarian, martial law rules. Then Australians do not have to follow the trend like sheep.

I am not very optimistic when it comes to politicians, and I have been expecting a lock-down any day now for well over a week. But maybe, just maybe this is what is happening. If I am correct (and I hope I am) then the present Prime Minister could become the biggest Aussie hero of all time. The man who went against the global mass hysteria and won. The bloke who held his nerve. The world leader who rode the wave of bullshit and came out clean. Suffice to say I won’t be holding my breath on that one…

Doing the Maths…

OK folks. No rocket science here, just simple arithmetic. Working on a 14 day (2 week) quarantine period here is a reasonable example:
On the first day of quarantined flight arrivals (last night) the police stated there were some 1500 people put into hotels near the airport. They expected a similar number on day 2. If the average number for the first week is say, 1200, then that makes 7 x 1200 = 8,400.
The second week, just before the first lot of arrivals can be allowed out, would be a 6-day period. Let’s assume the numbers would be less as most would have got back home during the first week. Say, 800 per day on average; 6 X 800 = 4000. Total needing quarantine will be about 12,400.

There are simply nowhere near enough hotels in any one area to house so many people (in this case near the airport and without encroaching into residential areas and the city). There are about 14 large hotels in that area which have on average about 150 rooms. (Many have large suites but you cannot mix people as it defeats the object of quarantine. Some arrivals may find themselves with a lot of space!) That makes for approximately 14 x 150 = 2,100 rooms. Way short of the required number. And who is going to pay for all this? Free meals and hotel rooms for two weeks?

As usual the numbers do not make sense and the ability to cope with such numbers just does not stack up.

On the plus side however, if you feel like putting your feet up and having two weeks of free meals you could always turn up at the airport (with luggage) and pretend to have just arrived. Simply hover around the “Arrivals” door looking lost. The wonderfully kind Australian border staff and police will escort you to your hotel room – free of charge! And I am sure there will be toilet paper!

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