In the New Year, our worst fears were realised -- planes and cruise ships brought thousands of people into Australia in a very short time, and some of them already had the virus. Sadly authorities were inexperienced in coping with the situation, isolation was not strict enough, or in the hands of experienced people, and the virus had a hold.
New rules for living were put into place for this disease spread by droplets. Everybody was to social distance, no socialising in groups and masks to be worn in public. Sadly this meant family gatherings like funerals and weddings were very limited, theatres and restaurants closed as well as sports venues and markets. Schools needed to be closed to all but special needs children, so lessons were done at home via internet.
Sadly, numbers kept climbing, and stage 3 restrictions came into play. People in the cities were allowed out only for urgent reasons eg. Food shopping, medical and banking, and travel was limited to a short distance. Active cases and deaths still rose, so stage 4 was activated in Melbourne. This meant 1 hour exercise daily, and a curfew between 8pm and 5am, and only 1 family member allowed out shopping. Of course essential workers and those still lucky enough to have a few hours work were exceptions. Masks were to be worn at all times in public and fines handed out to those people who took the rules lightly.
In a short time our lives had changed so much. We wondered is this the future, continual isolation and masks, and worst of all, no face to face contact with our families. At times it seems like something out of a science fiction movie.
The world has had plagues in the past. Especially in the Middles Ages, when villages shut themselves from the rest of the world. There have been serious influenza epidemics, Spanish flu took 1000’s of lives (more than ww2), Asian Flu, Sars and Aids have all been very worrying. Influenza mutates and is difficult to keep up with, but yearly injections have helped. COVID 19 will also mutate and if and when a vaccine is found, it will most likely be a yearly event.
We are old and vunerable, and have had a good life, but I feel for our children and grandchildren. What will happen when our borders are opened again to overseas travellers. My husband and I being farmers are used to relative isolation and growing our own vegetables, but the future generations will need to alter their style of living. A vaccine is the only hope, but from past epidemics eg. Polio, we know this can take time.
On a brighter note, we have computers and mobile phones to keep up contacts. How I look forward to video chats with the family, birthdays celebrated by video (even Thomas and Caitlin’s toys have birthday parties).
Perhaps by Christmas we will all be together again.