“No Man is an Island”

The title is a well known quote that firstly ignores about half the human race, and secondly is at odds with new laws.  The governments around the world realised that much to their dismay, isolating each person is not practical, , so have compromised in trying to make each family an island.  Except of course for those who have been overseas, over states, contacted somebody who might had contacted somebody with C-19, caught j-walking on Bondi Beach, or otherwise met the displeasure of authorities.  These people are to be banged up in solitary and fed through a hatch.

So the government has not achieved the ideal of everybody a ‘Robinson Crusoe’, but rather ‘Swiss Family Robinson’, where a family is marooned for a long TV series.  What torture.  Obviously a take off of Robinson Crusoe, but the producers realised there would be a shortage of dialogue with the original story.  So, how are you going?  Doing weird things with the wheelie bin?  Making dumb posts on social media?  Resorting to domestic violence or just getting pissed.  The coping strategies that are emerging either highlight human ingenuity, or provide evidence why our species is doomed.  On the whole, I like most of the silly posts, because a sense of humour has always been the most successful coping strategy.  Make something ridiculous and you re-frame the problem.

The economy up here in FNQ has been devastated by the total closure of the tourist industry.  The tourist operators that were sweating on a 10% reduction because of the exchange rate, are now closed down.  Zero income.  For most of the workers, zero income.  For most of the suppliers for the tourist industry, much reduced income.  And how long will this perilous state continue?  Ask epidemiologists, and they would say not until a vaccine has been developed, tested, and distributed maybe a year, or maybe never, because for many diseases a vaccine has been sought for years and not found.  For businesses, as little time as possible.  For schools, universities, social workers, mental heath workers, people waiting for “non-essential surgery” which they consider essential, ASAP.  Ask the entertainers, restaurant and cafe owners, tomorrow is not soon enough.  For parents jammed up with children not able to blow off steam raging outside with friends, an ordeal.  So I suspect epidemiologists are in a minority of about 1 to a million.  But in the present circumstances, I think they are the people to listen to.  There has rarely, if ever, been a disease as contagious as C-19.  Even bubonic plague which killed 30% of Europe at various times, was not as human to human transmissible as C-19, as it was spread via rat fleas.

There is no hope of eradicating the disease.  Anywhere.  It will come back and come back and continue to knock off vulnerable people like me being in the ‘elderly’ range.  But I could be lucky and develop immunity.  And the community could develop ‘herd’ resistance so I am not exposed to it except every now and then.  And a vaccine could be developed and deployed to mimic herd immunity.  So putting off the onslaught of the disease is the only option right now to avoid perhaps half a billion deaths worldwide.  If you are comfortable with that, as they will mostly be the old, then nothing needs to be done.  If we can limit the current outbreak to half a million deaths worldwide in the next year, then have an effective vaccine, we can call it a victory, though the disease will continue at a low level and probably at a lower death rate.  Social distancing, self-isolation and washing hands is all we have got at this time to make a difference.  Stay safe.


  1. Peter says:

    Yes, it spreads easily. It is regarded as nastier and deadlier than influenza, which itself can be deadly to those particularly vulnerable. But the main departure from the flu is the lack of a vaccine or drug treatment. Either of those things, or better still both, would restore economic activities until the next zoonotic virus reaches the wild /exotic meat markets. If we could keep up with the mutations and successfully guess which strains to vaccinate against with each successive wave, as with flu, then we could, as with flu, more or less ignore it as yet another endemic disease that we must live (or die) with. We may have to do that anyway, although various research avenues show promise.

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