/ 11 March 2021

Happy pandemic day…

We didn’t know what to get you… It was 11 March last year when the World Health Organisation declared the novel coronavirus outbreak 2019-nCoV was more than a ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern’ – it was a pandemic. At that time, WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was alarmed by the spread and severity of the virus outside of China. And he was worried by the levels of global inaction. A year later, epidemiological concepts like suppression v elimination strategies and viral mutations just roll off the (preferably masked) tongue…

Since the declaration of a pandemic, COVID-19 has spread to almost every corner of Earth. Globally, more than 117.5 million cases have been reported, and 2.6 million people have died. The US has recorded the most number of cases (29 million) and deaths (528,000). Australia has reported 29,075 cases, which means we’re had fewer infections than 113 other countries. We’ve also reported 909 deaths – 685 of those people were in aged care facilities. The last death from COVID-19 in Australia was reported on 28 December last year.

It’s all about vaccination. More than 319 million doses have already been administered across 118 countries – 94 million of those have been administered in the US. In Australia, more than 100,000 people have received their first doses of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, and health officials say they hope to have 4 million Aussies at least one shot down by early April – a big ask, some say. And look, if the virus doesn’t mutate too much and 5.5 billion people worldwide get immunised, things will start to get back to normal. Well, after smashed global economies are repaired. And we work out if lasting changes have been made to work and play, how we educate the kids and dress. COVID has also strengthened some political leaders and weakened others. It’s been the best of times and the worst of them. So maybe it’s about a post-emergency normal then – whatever that might look like…

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