Bill Bowtell’s “Price of living with covid must be understood before it is paid” published in the Sydney Morning Herald (August 3, 2021) is the most reasoned and welcoming commentary to be read in a very long time. It stands in complete contrast to the rubbish (policy failure) peddled by the federal government through its roadmap “Living with Covid”. Not so long ago, we were not living with Covid but thanks to hotel quarantine with its myriad risks of leaks, and a non-too committed New South Wales government that has been shattered. A solitary leak has led to a pandemic. Two things come to mind: a belligerent federal government that wants every state and territory to be on the same page as New South Wales – ‘proof’ that zero is impossible – and self-centred people who contributed to the spread by refusing to comply with restrictions.
Reading between the lines, it looks as if the Victorian government caved to pressure from the federal government to give up on “zero”. This is a pity. The irony is that lockdown in Victoria, coupled with high public compliance, would have given us ‘freedom’ far sooner than the long drawn out one, with no end in sight, that we now embark on until vaccination rates meet the federal government’s (dodgy) target of 70%. The reality beneath living with Covid is “dying with Covid”. But that’s a hard sell. Bowtell is right. There will be a price to pay for what, in essence, amounts to policy failure. We only need look elsewhere, where the rush has been to open up, to see that. Alas, too late now, there is no going back.