Australia, Community, Environment, Mental Health

Corona Fallout

When I looked at the stats for countries being hit with this pandemic, it struck me as surprising that the number of cases/deaths due to Covid 19, in some places, did not correlate proportionately with the level of population.

It would be easy to assume hygiene levels and santization practices might be lower in underdeveloped countries, as compared to say, Australia. And that spread of disease would be faster. In countries with higher levels of health care, the contagion might have been anticipated to be slower. This does not appear to be the cases if you look at the current statistics. Places like Malaysia and Thailand, are doing remarkably well, with a small number of Covid 19 cases, in regions with populations far greater than others. Why? Is it their level of preventative measures?

Here are the current stats country by country, if you are interested.

Why is Covid-19 so prevalent in Italy?

Then there is Italy – why do they have so many Covid cases? Some suggest that many Chinese and other businessmen, have been visiting the north of Italy, in greater numbers of recent times.

Starting in Codogno, a small town in southern Lombardy, one of the wealthiest, most densely populated, and most globalized areas in Europe, the coronavirus circulated very fast and easily…. The Codogno economic district hosts large companies and multinationals – making it a hub for production and international trade. Workers, salesmen, managers, and consultants of all sorts travel daily to their workplace, many of them commuting to nearby cities. International partners visit from abroad. And of course, Milan is a mere 70 kilometer drive from Codogno. Although “patient zero” has not been found yet, it looks increasingly likely that the virus had been circulating in Europe weeks before “patient one” was identified in late February.

https://thediplomat.com/2020/03/covid-19-hits-italy-a-test-for-china-ties/
singapore

Singapore

Singapore, to its immense credit, appears to be managing the crisis well. They were well prepared, quickly instituting pro-active measures after having previously learnt valuable lessons in pandemic management, during the SARS outbreak.

A New World Order?

The current crisis highlights just how connected and how vulnerable we, as a society are. Our financial and business sectors, recreation and travel mean a contagion can and does travel fast and far, throughout the entire world. Not even in a small village in Iceland are you safe, from this virus. Whether we care to admit it or night, we do live in a global village. We can no longer live and conduct affairs without considering the rest of the world.

iceland

The economies of the Western developed countries are suffering, just as China is beginning to recover. Many Western democracies, including mine, will inevitably head into a deep economic recession, in coming months. We need to have in place new and different strategies and policies for business, health care, education and technology in order to appropriately respond to this contagion.

Some Chinese communities are questioning whether they should move back to China, from their new bases in Italy. What effect would this have?

“About 100,000 people from Wenzhou, and another 100,000 from nearby Qingtian county, live in Italy, according to official Chinese data, with Milan also hosting a sizable Chinese community. “We definitely feel safer in China. The government is more efficient … Hospitals here can treat patients well, but the government’s ability to respond to an emergency is not ideal,” Wu said.”

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3073987/stay-or-go-tough-call-chinese-italy-coronavirus-crisis-hits

The social fallout from this virus also highlights the disparity between European countries, with high levels of health care against the economic might of America, who has almost no universal health care. [Let me know if this is wrong].

I wonder why Universities and Schools are only now moving to E-learning in response to the viral threat. Why didn’t the education facilities, fully implement this mode of delivery, earlier? Can I attribute the reason to their penchant for keeping a social interactive community on university campuses alive? Wouldn’t E-learning be far more profitable to them?

Climate Conspiracy?

If I believed in conspiracy theories, which I don’t, my cynical self would also suggest that the release of the virus, if it was deliberate, is a discrete way to circumvent and divert debate and action, on action against climate change.

Continuing and ever increasing school strikes successfully highlighted issues of climate change. Now that schools are closed in many countries, except Australia, the strikes cannot happen.

Moreover, we cannot gather in groups of more than 100 in Australia. Some countries ban gatherings of less than 50, and in Portugal, gatherings must be less than 5 persons.

Food and Job Security

Adding to this, is the issue of global food security. The shops across the world are emptying, and people are staying home, for the most part. Food is becoming harder to obtain. If transport is halted, how do we all access food?

Many have already lost their employment or will lose it in coming months. Many will become homeless or develop mental health issues.

How Fragile is our existing World Order?

leaves

A Positive Effect

If there is one postive to be found in self-imposed isolation or government quarantine and in business shut-down and potential failure, it is that some parts of the planet and nature, get a break from human intervention and destruction.

  • Global rainforests may not get burnt this week.
  • Fewer carbon emissions from reduced transport services.
  • That precious koala habitat may not get cleared/logged this week.
  • Industries may refraim from discharging their poisonous effluent into the sea this week, due to shutdowns.
  • The lake near my Home by the Sea might not have pieces of plastic litter from building supplies contaminating it this week. {we are on track so far}
  • People may re-discover making ends meet – growing their own food, cooking for themselves, entertaining at home, chatting with family.

In short: we get a chance to pause and breathe too.

Australia, Community, Travel

Coping with Covid

beach

Latest Update

475 deaths from Corona, in Italy yesterday. 140 new cases overnight here, in Australia. No new cases in China – that they are aware of. Some good news from China, at last.

Iceland had its first death, possibly attributed to Covid 19! Iceland!

A sparsely populated area in the north of a country of only 250,000 people. An outpost in the very north of the Atlantic!

And who was it that perished in that tiny village in the north of Iceland?

An Australian tourist!

Unbelievable, but true.

RIYADH: The Saudi Health Ministry announced 67 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the total in the Kingdom to 238. The ministry said that highest number among the newly recorded cases was 45 arrivals to Saudi Arabia during the past two days. These cases arrived from UK.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1643431/saudi-arabia

It begs the questions of how much international travel, for business or pleasure has contributed to spreading this virus, albeit inadvertantly?

Hong kong

The Australian Airline carrier, Qantas, has reduced flights by 90%. International travel has been curtailed indefinitely, for most people. The Government has now banned foriegners from visiting our country. If you are a foreign citizen living here, you may leave, but you cannot return.

Is the sun setting on the future of passenger cruising and travel? Along with companies whose sole business is tourism, holiday accommodation, hospitality, and recreation?

Supermarkets sales are booming, whilst every other business languishes, rots or dies – Death by Corona.

Toilet paper, rice, pasta, other staples and curiously broccoli, fly off the shelves as soon as they are re-stocked. Why just Broccoli?

Broccoli and Spinach Soup

Nurses, Doctors, Hospital staff such as Cleaners, Ward Admininstration staff and Service folk, Ambulance drivers, Paramedics, Police, Fire, Laboratory testing staff, Security Personnel, Emergency services, all continue to work. Thanks goodness they do.

A friend works in a Hospital laboratory conducting more than 1000 Covid 19 tests a day! His work is usually only URGENT specimens for the hospital. One hospital. How many more are being conducted at the major high volume blood laboratories in each city. That statistic staggers me.

Gyms, sporting clubs and Yoga studios have closed.

Cinemas have closed.

Social Clubs have closed.

Universities have moved to online delivery of lessons.

Fiestas and Public festivals and events are canned.

We cannot gather together in a group of more than 100.

Yet the Government refuses to close the schools – children are safer in the germ- riddled playground and public toilet than in their family home,according to our fearless leader!

TV ratings must be up higher than ever before, or perhaps residential internet data usage is?

I remain at work, by direction. Everything but essential appointments are cancelled. Essential means an appointment that is vital, for safety reasons. So there will be very limited community visits for me – I will be spending my days at work, filing!

Quite frankly, I would rather stay at home, on unpaid leave and write, or paint. One consolation is the traffic is better. And I have my podcasts to listen to. There is no Covid 19 news on them.

microphone
Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

Driving to Podcasts

As I drive the long drive to and from work, I listen to stories of history, of what it was like to endure life in years gone by, scientific advances, the wars, heroic tales of people who overcome adversity or those who achieved success. I listen to philosophers and researchers – those who study the past to find answers to the future, who create our future. It interests me and is much preferable than listening to Corona updates.

Corona Anxiety

My daughter is worried. A 20 year old girl should not have to worry about whether she will live or die by the hand of a virus. She worries about having money to buy food and essentials; she works at a hotel, empty of guests, so her shifts have been drastically cut. There is a pitiful amount of money coming in.

She worries about paying rent. The landlord will no doubt still collect every last cent that is due. There is no relief for those who pay for their accommodation, or who have a mortgage. We help her, of course. We are her parents and willingly help. What if we weren’t here?

Traffic light control boxes

I reassure her worried teenage young adult mind, by telling her that humans are a resilient species. We have survived famine, years of food rations in the Great Depression and The World Wars. People ate rabbits, for the most part! I don’t tell her that part.

Yet in all this, life feels like it’s on hold.

I am flooded with daily emails about the extra precautions industry and businesses are taking, offering hand santizer, cleaning door handles, countertops, using gloves to handle food, only taking credit cards for payment, in order to avoid ‘dirty’ cash. I wonder: did your business, never ever clean your products or benches, door handles or ATM’s buttons before?

The mood at work and throughout society now, is solemn. And it can only become worse. People are worried, talking constantly about the latest media updates. It is hard to remain joyful and optimistic when everything is so uncertain.

– and the schools still remain open.

The Government must have shit for brains.

How are things in your area?