I suspect the fear generated by massive numbers of deaths from Covid-19 pandemic, and severe illnesses with subsequent malfunction, results in inability to cope with the reality of this pandemic, poor decision making by many national leaders and denial by many of the public.

In Australia it was clear what had happened already in China and Italy, and how our health system could be overwhelmed with multiple deaths of health workers on the front line.

Fortunately our leaders were open to seeing what could happen and correct decisions were made and we have a very good result in Australia compared to many other countries. That does not mean the danger is over.

Facing reality is not easy. Many of our colleagues in USA are coping with grief and guilt and other painful emotions because they could not save their patients including health workers and families of health workers who were infected with COVID-19 and died. This could have been us in Australia if not for a significant effort by those who could face reality and understand the exponential nature of the viral transmission. It is similar to the physics of the atomic bomb.

We now have a vaccine being tested in the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. Many other vaccines are in development. There is research on factors enhancing immunity to infection. Antivirals may also help. We have succeeded in saving lives and buying time while this essential research proceeds.

As far as the economy is concerned there were significant problems before the COVID-19 pandemic. We had entered the AI revolution with the consequence of loss of traditional jobs which particularly affect employment for younger generations. The global economy with sale of Australian assets, and export of jobs to third world countries and our manufacturing industries to China had set Australia up to loss of independence and vulnerability.

The pandemic and its consequences highlighted the vulnerable situation Australia is in due to poor decisions in the past. The need to be more independent with more manufacturing in Australia and with more balanced trade and other economic decisions has finally penetrated political awareness.

Thus although factors in the Australian economy have suddenly changed and it has been a big wake up call, it is likely to have come whether precipitated by the pandemic or some other unexpected situation because of the pre-existing factors described.

Understanding the pandemic, the Australian public have mainly tolerated and cooperated with the restrictions and economic changes often in altruistic and creative ways. There has been a big increase in volunteering, patience, and kindness to others. Although there are people who have been severely stressed, many are grateful for the job keeper and job seeker allowances and rent reduction. Others appreciate the ability to work from home, more time with family, less commuting, less traffic, more time for walking and bike riding.

Anyway that’s my two bobs worth.

Shirley Prager
Director ADF
Past President NAPP

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