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Wrong moment to talk about “opening up”

August 26, 2021

Comment by Greg Ray

They’ve been vaccinated. They are staying out of harm’s way. If they get sick they will get the best care our money can buy. And all they want to talk about is when we can “open up again”.

Here in NSW we are looking down the barrel of Covid disaster, just like we’ve seen it overseas, and opening up is what matters?

If you wanted still more evidence that the nation’s leaders aren’t working for us then here it is. I mean, it’s no surprise. Here’s a bloke who, in a bushfire crisis, doesn’t hold a hose. When there’s a drought crisis he appoints a piece of silly putty called Barnaby Joyce as drought ambassador. When there’s a pandemic and two of the biggest priorities are quarantine facilities and rapid vaccination he flaps his chicken wings, spins in a circle and tells us it’s not a race.

And now the delta variant is starting to rip into us all he can do is read the script his big business owners give him and jawbone the state premiers about opening up. I bet Gladys is so glad she listened to that advice early on, when locking down hard could have saved the day. The genie is out of the bottle now and she knows it. If the experts are right (and I hope they aren’t) then we are not far off having all our intensive care beds full and some of our trained hospital staff breaking down from stress and grief.

The numbers and the trends are not great and it looks like our health system is going to be facing some tough times. It would be good to be able to rely on something resembling leadership but the clown car parade we call our federal government hasn’t got any of that stuff. It never did, and if it hasn’t found any by now then it never will. Instead we have that flea Canavan wasting his breath whingeing because the Wiggles recruited some people with dark skin. We have Morrison poking his nose out of Mr Murdoch’s shirt pocket with a little song about opening up and something about the Croods. ?#@*&!!!!!! And maybe worst of all is that floppy collection of failed souffle – the loyal opposition – doing and saying nothing that matters in any way, shape or form.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry I’m so angry. I know there are still some people who think Morrison is somehow OK. I know lots of people still think Gladys has worked as hard as she could to shield us from the Morrison-Murdoch let-it-rip agenda. But the evidence isn’t there for either theory, as far as I can see.

When the alpha strain hit we got a dress rehearsal. What did we do? We didn’t make purpose-built quarantine facilities, that’s for sure. Instead, we went for a half-arsed system using hotels where if you didn’t come in with Covid might leave with it. We paid some lucky caterers big bucks to feed people cheap lousy food and we let international airline staff swan about all over the place. Good job there.

Income support so that people who tested positive didn’t have to panic about paying their mortgages and rent? Yeah well we gave billions to big companies who then turned around and reported big profits and paid their executives fat bonuses.

Vaccination? Oh, it wasn’t a race, remember?

So here we are today, with the delta variant to deal with and not enough shots in the locker. Literally. We are buying a million doses of vaccine from Poland, for goodness sake. Fair enough I guess if Poland had too many doses and not enough takers for it. But it’s a measure of the problem, surely.

It occurs to me now that, if I had anything to do with government decision-making (God forbid!) I’d be on the phone to those folk who think they’ve got a nasal spray that might save lives among infected people. I’d be asking my top scientists to tell me if there’s any chance it’s a goer and if it was I’d be asking the developers what I could do to help get it ready for use.

Because this doesn’t look like the world’s most winnable race, just at present. So if vaccines aren’t going to be able to stave off the disaster then anything that might have potential as a life-saving treatment needs some close attention.

And I tell you what I wouldn’t be doing at a time like this: jawboning state premiers about “opening up”.

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