Today Victoria marked 15 straight days of no new Covid-19 cases. It’s taken a long, hard lockdown to get here, and I can’t deny that stretches of this year have been really tough (not being allowed to see family, but especially when my grandma and my mum were gravely ill, and suddenly we were no longer allowed to visit either of them). The federal government and the state opposition – i.e. the Liberal Party – were relentlessly critical of our lockdown, insisting that it would never work and we had to get back to business as usual ASAP, so big business could go back to making mega profits and they could go back to demonising the unemployed for their own predicament instead of having to acknowledge (albeit temporarily) that there are structural reasons for unemployment. But what do you know? Despite the undeniable hardship (and the heavy-handed policing of the lockdown in lower SES communities, which the state government should not be let off the hook for at all)… we’re now in an enviable position, certainly compared to many other countries. I can actually go out tonight and celebrate Diwali with my partner’s very immediate family, while I know in the US for example, people who are responsible are facing the prospect of Thanksgiving with no one beyond their own household. It’s a sad, lonely time for many people in the world.
Hopefully soon there’ll be a vaccine that’ll get us much closer to normality. But in the meantime, I think it’s pretty clear that lockdowns work, and the “economic damage” is a small price to pay considering the actual human cost you could be facing instead (or realistically, as well). It’s a disgrace that so many governments around the world (including Australia’s own federal government, which has had to be dragged by the state governments literally every step of the way) value money so much over human life.