Last week, Anthony S. Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, singled out Australia’s response to the covid-19 pandemic as an example of success. “They really do get the cases almost to nothing,” he said. “We’ve never had that in the United States.”
Indeed, local transmission in Australia is limited to the occasional, isolated case. There are just 43 people in hospital. With 909 total deaths since the pandemic began, the rate of death per 100,000 in Australia stands at 3.6, compared with 163 in the United States and 188 in Britain.
Australia is hardly a perfect country.… Seguir leyendo »
Government officials from Western Australia announced on Sunday that millions of people in the southwest part of our state would plunge into a strict, five-day lockdown after the first case of community transmission in 10 months was detected in a hotel quarantine security guard. The guard had unfortunately contracted the new strain of the coronavirus first identified in Britain.
It may seem strange to act so aggressively for a single case, but we Australians complied. There were no complaints of infringing on freedoms. No marches against masks. My city of Perth came to a standstill. The roads were quiet, and our beaches were deserted.… Seguir leyendo »
Until four months ago few leaders seemed more influenced — even inspired — by President Trump’s worldview than Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison.
Mr. Morrison’s government was climate-denying, globalism-bashing and displayed an increasingly authoritarian bent. His rhetoric, even if it lacked the sriracha of Trumpetry, riffed on Trumpian themes.
And given a good crisis, Mr. Morrison’s administration seemed as determined as the White House to miss no opportunity to make matters worse — as it did with its grossly inept response to Australia’s summer of apocalyptic wild fires.
Having seen this almost impossibly low bar set for government action, many Australians have felt relief tinged with astonishment knowing that their country is today among the world’s most successful in dealing with the coronavirus epidemic.… Seguir leyendo »
Australians like to see themselves as rebellious people, distrustful of authority — but the coronavirus has changed that.
While small protests against the lockdowns have erupted in the United States, and some in Britain have insisted on their right to party, in Australia we’re mostly doing what we’re told.
In Sydney, public transport use is down to levels not seen for nearly 100 years. Attendance in government schools in Victoria is down to just three percent. In parks, walkers and joggers dutifully arc around each other like passing ships.
Australians have been told to stay at home, apart from a list of designated tasks, including exercise, seeking medical help, buying supplies and performing necessary work.… Seguir leyendo »
In the Old Testament, the Bible recounts the 10 Plagues of Egypt, disasters inflicted by God to force the Pharaoh to release the Israelites from slavery. In the past few months, Australia has been forced to endure plagues of its own, afflicted with terrifying bush fires, drought and smoke pollution that choked the skies. Now, the emergence of a global pandemic feels very much like another plague lapping at our shores after the summer that destroyed so much.
As of Thursday, there were 5,133 confirmed cases of covid-19 in Australia. Most cases have been in returned travelers — people who have traveled by plane or been passengers on cruise ships — rather than from pockets of local transmission.… Seguir leyendo »