23.8 C
Byron Shire
December 3, 2022

Comment: Happy Christmas (COVID-19 is not over)

Latest News

Follow the school buses

In Byron Shire and beyond, we have a regular, convenient and reliable public transport system moving thousands of commuters...

Other News

Blue-green algae at Clarrie Hall Dam

Low levels of blue-green algae has been detected at Clarrie Hall Dam, Tweed’s main facility for water storage. A green alert has been issued for the dam.

Ballina ‘Steps Up’ against domestic and family violence

The Ballina community came out in force to ‘Step Up Against Domestic Violence on Friday.

Vehicles on beaches

Some Ballina councillors have their heads in the sand about vehicles on beaches! I ask them to think about...

Byron Shires wildlife corridor 

Byron Greens congratulate Byron Shire Council on its commitment to wildlife corridors and to developing wildlife corridor mapping. We...

A festival for film BUFFs

Building upon last year’s electric event, the Byron Underground Film Festival (BUFF) returns to shake things up, expand the...

Gulihl Art exhibition – bringing First Nations artists and their connection to Country to you

Byron’s ‘pop-up’ Firefly Art Gallery is presenting the work of local First Nations artists in the upcoming Gulihl Art exhibition in Marvell Hall.

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’.

Phew, huh?

Andrew P Street. Photo Daniel Boud.

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?

BOOOOORING, right?

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?

YAWN!

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.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

27 COMMENTS

  1. Hey, when you were a kid and you had nothing to do did you ever get an old empty tin can and just for kicks kicked that can down the road.
    The can went clang, bing, clang, bang, clang as you kicked it 20 metres. then you walked after it and you gave it another kick and you walked after it again.
    The saying “To kick the can down the road” is a political saying meaning to kick the responsibility onto someone else to pick the can up and put it in the rubbish.
    Another one is “The buck stops here”. That is a phrase that was popularized by U.S. President Harry S. Truman, who kept a sign with that phrase on his desk in the Oval Office. The phrase refers to the notion that the President has to make the decisions and accept the ultimate responsibility for those decisions of all people of the United States until they eventually arrived at the presidents desk. Then the buck stops at that desk as there is no one higher. Well it is very doubtfully if the NSW premier of theNSW Dominic Perrettet will ever b3ecome a US president.
    Here is NSW regarding the Health of the people of NSW the can is being kicked down the road to every one of us to be personally responsible to stop the virus getting to us and entering our immune system. Are we up to it, because our premier Dominic Perrettet has stopped his responsibility of being the responsible one for our own health.
    Ok, are you up to it? The way to guarantee it is to stop breathing. That is one way. The other way is to wear a mask so all air is filtered, and hopefully all COVID microbes will be filtered out of the air we breathe.

  2. Imagine if we had spent the last three decades since COP1 taking personal responsibility for climate change, and got our carbon footprints down to a tonne or two of CO2 per annum.

    Then we could have confidence that we are a people up the task of taking personal responsibility for covid too

  3. In all my 72 years I have not seen any governments so misguided, ignorant and down right dangerous as the LNP Federal and NSW present administrations handling of the Covid crisis.
    What do they hope to achieve by ignoring the unanimous medical advice to act cautiously and reinstate social distancing, mask wearing and QR coding in the face of exponential growth in covid infections?
    After spending years salivating after the Premiership of NSW one of Dom Perrottet ‘s first acts is to throw his hands in the air and absolve himself of responsabilty for the handling of the Omricon outbreak
    Meanwhile Prime Minister Morrison sensing his re-election hopes evapourating, does a commendable Boris Johnson impersonation, dithering and blathering in an effort to avoid a screaming U turn on opening up for Xmas.
    What is it about these publicly declared religious politicians that they lack all empathy and compassion for their constituents ?
    Is it that political power trumps everything else ?
    As a wise Teacher once said ” It is by their deeds, not their words , that you will know them.”

    • So well said, SImon.
      No wonder we are so disenchanted with politicians…at all levels of govt, but especially the current Federal politicians occupying the vacuum at the top! It’s handling of Covid has been laughable. This time last year, the priority of those to receive vaccinations meant that us plebs had to wait, and wait our turn.
      This year, suddenly, it’s all hurry, hurry, all must be vaccinated. Not once. Not twice. Now a booster. Or another booster?
      Now mandating vaccinations is causing key workers like teachers to be unable to work. These decision makers do not live in the real world!
      Locally I’ve been feeling why am I even registered to vote? Our voices amount to nought. The voting system is so elaborate, even someone with above average intelligence can end up casting an informal vote.
      Decisions about important issues were made years ago behind the scenes, without community consultation. And then the local council has the hide to conduct “community workshops” about minor matters. Oops, getting sidetracked…& mad…mad as hell…& I’m not going to take any more, haha! (Apologies to Peter Finch in “Network.”)

  4. Can the can; Perrotet is not the polly the state’s in dire need of & his
    idiotic counting of sheep is quite frightening. I do wish that Dr Kerry
    Chant could step up as Premier. Hi-Ho. We need all the help we can get.

    • Yes his iDONTcare fiasco, matched and raised by his Transport Asset Holding Entity (TAHE ) accounting fiddles. The LIEberals. too smart for their own good.

  5. The biggest virus we have to deal with is politicians! If we could inoculate against those we’d be at least halfway toward sanity.

    • According to the Dominicron Doctrine, Jesus cured some lepers but told others that they would have to accept death because there’s a limit to how long he could give jobkeeper to the money lenders if he had to throw them out of the temple again – plus the Pentecostalist in chief was facing an election!

      Oh, and he said they might as well just keep sinning!

  6. I reckon it’s good he is taking a step back. We need the govt to totally roll back the SOE powers, mandates, govt surveillance etc
    And to all the scarred frightened people living in fear, you have probably got the vax. So what are you worried about? Oh yeah, it doesn’t work. And if you think a mask will save you, then wear a mask, and get a plastic bubble to roll around in. Or better yet, stay inside under your doona with your mask on and a HEPA filter going, with your windows closed and a do not disturb sign on your front door.
    The two jabs didn’t work, But you will still go and get the booster which is just another dose of the same failed medical procedure.
    And that won’t work, or the 11 more Greg has bought for you.
    Next, just like UK, it will be boosters every three months for ever. And the scarred people living in fear will line up for that too.
    There are fools in ATAGI now saying to shorten the period to every six weeks.
    Doing the same thing over and expecting a different outcome is sanity.
    But don’t worry. Hazzard is saying if you have your booster, you can at least be in the cool club.
    So far, the evidence is showing that omicron is mild and will act like a live attenuated virus and wipe out this pandemic.
    But the fear is being ramped up,cause Greg Hunt bought 280 million doses, and he has to get rid of them some how.
    So line up and get your doses, I meant boosters!!! Lmfao…

    • The Doherty Institute modelling – yeah I know what would they know – The Byron Shire Bureau of Sceptics ( BSBS) know way better – suggests that without any measures in place at all, Australia could reach around 200,000 cases a day. Even if the Omicron strain has a fraction of the virulence of Delta, that means pretty scary consequences for anyone needing hospital care – for anything.

      That science has developed vaccines that work (and yes the data shows they do work) against a totally new virus is our amazing good fortune. Sure, it would be great if the virus didn’t mutate and the vaccines that had only the wild strain for design, worked just as well for this one. But it’s nature we’re dealing with here, in all its unpredictable power. I know that’s really scary and it’s way less scary to believe it’s all the ruse of a few shadowy humans we can overcame by shouting “FREEDOM,” and feeling smug. My bets on the science and mRNA technology to get this vaccination tool right.

      Btw, ATAGI said absolutely no such thing. When you can’t even get this basic bit of info somewhere near correct do you think you are in a position to call the eminent medicos on ATAGI “fools”? 🤦🏻‍♀️

    • Agreed. It must be very difficult for some to take responsibility for their own health. If people are hoping for Govt to save them, they might be in for a surprise.

      Empathy required though, especially while we have constant fear mongering, there is obviously plenty who succumb to the drum of fear.

      This week, the NSW Premier said this “We need to move away from fear and move to hope and confidence”.

      I find it difficult to respect the present crop of politicians or political parties, but that single statement is probably the most extraordinary positive message from any politician I have heard since this drama started.

      As for “unanimous medical advice” perhaps Mr St is not aware there are other medico’s and scientists with differing opinions.

      Imagining living in a world where you think everybody thinks the same…. Might be an idea to hit the streets of the Northern Rivers for an awakening.

      • Oh yes, our illustrious new libertarian evangelist said some heart stirring stuff. I’ve never known such a confident man – to decide he knows better than just about every respected medico in the country, including Dr Poster Boy. When Nick Coatsworth starts says masks and sign-ins should be brought back you know things are grim.

        Unfortunately I don’t know that hope and confidence are proven defences against pathogens. Thanks for the empathy though.

        • Wow, a bit negative on the positive Liz.

          Might be time to turn away from the news and enjoy some time away from the keyboard.

          Here’s to a better 2022 with less fear.

          Merry Christmas!

          • Always so full of concern and helpful advice Steve. I thought you advocated staying informed?

            I’d love to have some time away from the keyboard but people on here keep writing stuff like how deeply moved they are by the simplistic, empty, dog-whistling rhetoric of politicians.

            And how they equate a belief in public health initiatives and a role for government with not wanting to take any personal responsibility.

            But I agree, Dom P’s statement was extraordinary.

            Merry Christmas to you too and here’s to a new year with plenty of room for sharing comments! 🎄 💻

  7. Andrew “virulence” does not equal “contagiousness”. Virulence means the ability to cause severe disease, its’ better understood as “harmfulness”. But anyway what do you propose is a better way forward right now? More lockdowns, more mandates? How about get vaccinated, get your booster, be aware that the virus is now out and about and choose whether you want to wear a mask, keep your distance, avoid close inside gatherings, get tested if you have symptoms or if you have had contact with a known positive case. There is room here for self determination after nearly 2 years of often non sensical, haphazard rules that have resulted in more misery for more people than the virus itself.

  8. Maybe it’s all by design – let it spread so they can justify the next wave of draconian measures … seems to be working in the UK and US .. time to wake up to the bigger picture

  9. I think Norman Swan says it best:
    “Remember this is the Govt. that gave us the Northern Beaches last Christmas – gave us the June outbreak which then spread to Victoria – and the failed LGA strategy. Despite the hero status of NSW they don’t have a great track record. This rhetoric at Federal and State level now is of individual responsibility and that is against all public health principles- we don’t have individual responsibility when it comes to drink driving-childhood immunisation-when it comes to seat belts- we insist you have to have rules in place.” ABC News

  10. It seems the good Premier has had a bit of a road to Damascus moment this afternoon. I wonder what spurred that? Sane members of his cabinet? Feeling a little out on a limb? A jump of 2000 cases overnight?

    Ah politicians! Ideology is one thing – losing personal credibility and popularity is quite another.

  11. Road to Damascus is spot on. He was put in a sack & sent back
    to hide in a corner of his own choosing. Alex – no measures
    needed. The world’s got what its got. This aint a dolly-wood
    movie.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

NSW Forestry challenged over failed forestry practices in precedent-setting case

What makes bushfires worse, causes native species collapse and creates forest dieback?

Urine sample test: new way to detect and screen for early stages of Alzheimer’s disease

When it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, an early diagnosis – one made well before signs of irreversible dementia are apparent – is key to providing effective intervention and treatment.

Gulihl Art exhibition – bringing First Nations artists and their connection to Country to you

Byron’s ‘pop-up’ Firefly Art Gallery is presenting the work of local First Nations artists in the upcoming Gulihl Art exhibition in Marvell Hall.

A gentle day for refugee and asylum seeker families

Promoting community awareness, assistance and support, for asylum seekers and refugees, the Pottsville Refugee Support Group recently hosted refugee and asylum seeker families from Logan at a fun day at the beach.