Dominic Perrotet, Premier of NSW, said, ‘This is all about taking personal responsibility. And the people of NSW are doing just that’.
‘The government can’t do everything. It’s over to the people of our State.
‘It’s the people of our State that have got us through the last two years, and it’s the people of our State who will get us through the next two’.
Remember back when we were all in this together, doing what was necessary to ride out a brutal pandemic that had already killed millions worldwide, and ensured that 2,146 families were going to have a very different Christmas to the one they’d expected?
That stupid ship has thankfully sailed off to Idiotland, to be replaced with a strategy of just not bothering anymore that has already worked so very well overseas that… um, the Netherlands are back in lockdown and the UK are having to consider doing the same, in fact the northern hemisphere is scrambling to contain a fifth wave of the virus which, for some reason, doesn’t appear to give a damn about personal responsibility.
Remember back when everyone was talking about what Living With The Virus would involve things like; a national vaccination rollout, plus continued use of masks in public settings, social distancing, reduction in indoor capacity, restrictions of risky activities, case tracking via QR code data and the flexibility of localised lockdowns, among other things that everyone hated but thought necessary to save lives and protect our communities?
Thankfully, it would appear that medical advice has changed to picking one, and then not worrying about all that other boring stuff.
Although, weirdly enough, the Chief Health Officers seem to have been oddly absent from most of those upbeat press conferences – or, in the case of NSW’s Dr Kerry Chant, standing masked and at a social distance from the barefaced premier and then contradicting him by imploring everyone to keep wearing masks, almost like vaccinating people is a necessary public health measure that’s insufficient on its own, especially with the current strains of the virus.
And sure, Omicron is reportedly less severe, but more virulent than Delta, and our leaders seem to be focussed on the former bit, without acknowledging the latter part, much less calculating that a strain that is five times less severe but also five times more contagious needs precisely the same number of ICU beds.
And the government has learned the lessons of the much-maligned vaccine strollout, in that they’re no longer bothering to come up with excuses for why people are finding it hard to book in for booster shots owing to localised vaccine shortages.
Because, whether or not people can get a third jab is not the government’s responsibility, apparently; it’s yours, personally. You’re welcome! Get a rapid antigen test, you cheapskate, if you can find and/or afford it!
Never mind JobKeeper or rental moratoria; we’re now all about personal choice and individual responsibility for a global spread of COVID-19.
Similarly, government-supported COVID-19 leave has been rolled back, meaning that if you chose to be a close contact of an infected case, because you chose to go to work since you chose to not be evicted for non-payment of rent, then you can expect to take your mandatory quarantine time out of your sick leave, or your annual leave, or go unpaid, or maybe just get sacked. Freedom!
Meanwhile, the restaurants and bars, which were hammered in lockdown, are still struggling, since people are cancelling their end-of-year parties for some reason – it’s almost like this virus doesn’t care that our leaders are bored with dealing with it.
Why won’t you take some personal responsibility for us, you stupid novel coronavirus? What are you, some sort of self-replicating ball of nucleic acid surrounded by a protective envelope of proteins or something?
So let’s enjoy Christmas as best we can, friends, assuming we get to have one with cases spiking and spreading while our naive hopes of getting back to anything resembling a pre-COVID-19 normal retreat back over the horizon.
Also, get vaccinated, wear masks, and try to socially distance – because we’d like you and all the people around you to be around for an even better Christmas next year.
Andrew P Street is a journalist, columnist, author, editor and broadcaster: www.andrewpstreet.com.