If you’re looking to get a bet on to pick the date of the next federal election, put your money on it being earlier rather than later. Because nothing sours a politician’s chances like killing babies instead of kissing them.
Having utterly bungle-fucked pretty much everything in the Delta phase of Coronapalooza, there’s a diminishing number of things for the Morrijiklian homunculus to fuck up now. But it looks like they’re gonna give it a red hot go and kill an unknown number of adorable little Vegemiters. (Along with their vaccine hesitant, Ivermectin-curious, Facebook-addled grandparents).
Having let the virus rip through Sydney and seed out through the rest of NSW, across the ditch to Jacindaville, and maybe even down into the reigning world champion of ultra-lockdowns, Melbourne, you might have thought Gladys might at least nibble on a wafer thin slice of humble pie.
Yeah. Nah. Not so much.
Her cruel and unusual kink as the Mayor of Plaguetown seems to be boasting that Plaguetown is leading the way in teaching everyone else how to chant ‘Bring out yer dead’ as the gold standard for Living with Covid.
And there’ll be plenty more to bring out as Glads and Scotty bully the other states into following their lead.
Opening up, or even just chilling out a little at levels of 70% or 80% vaccination among the eligible population, means that somewhere between twenty and thirty percent of the people you pass on the street, or sit next to on a train, or line up with at the supermarket are unvaccinated.
It means that somewhere between roughly one in three and one-in-five of the adult population is vulnerable and dangerous. Vulnerable because they have no defence against Covid 19; dangerous because when they do meet the Delta strain, and we will all meet Miss Rona eventually, she will have her way with them, filling them with a viral load that is up to one thousand times greater than the earlier strains of the pandemic.
Imagine yourself underground during rush hour at Sydney’s Martin Place train station, or squeezing and shuffling through the tunnels at the MCG on game day knowing that every third, or fourth, or fifth person in the human crush around you is a viral bomb, waiting to go off. You might be doubled-vaxxed and so protected from that bomb. But they’re not, and many of your favourite people won’t be either.
I mean, fuck those guys who choose not to get vaccinated, right? But they’re not the whole story.
Because even those 70-80% numbers are a fudge. Delta’s potential host population in Australia is all twenty-five-and-a-half million people, not just those aged 16 and over who are currently eligible for a vaccine – if they can even get one. ATAGI has recommended pushing the age of eligibility down to 12, but as of today there is no timetable for doing so.
I’m sure SloMo will get right on that.
I’m sure there’s no way he’d preference his own political survival over the literal survival of the millions of Australian citizens under the age of 12 who cannot get vaccinated because there is no vaccine for them. None has been authorised anywhere in the world.
There’s an awkward discontinuity between the PM’s smirking certainty that she’ll be right—where by ’she’ we mean he, and by ‘right’ we mean re-elected—and the brute reality of just how grotesquely pear-shaped everything is about to go. Morrison is betting that if he can get his tradies back on the job and the shoppers back into Westfield before he calls the election, everything will be tickety-fucking-boo.
But it won’t.
It wasn’t tickety-boo when Berejiklian tried to game the Delta variant with Alpha tactics.
And it won’t be tickety-fucking-boo when the pair of them insist on exposing about thirteen or fourteen million people, mostly the very old and the very young, to Miss Rona’s charms.
They’re making the same mistake that they made back at the start of this latest outbreak. The paradigm is shifting but they’re not.
One of the few happy mysteries of early corona was why it mostly left children alone, and why those young adults who did catch it mostly shook it off like Tay Tay.
But we don’t get to kick back and unpack that metaphysical turducken at our leisure anymore because Delta does infect children and it does occasionally kill them.
Looking to the US where the fourth wave is much gnarlier than here, according to Dr Ashish K. Jha, Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, we can see a 900% increase in cases in 5-11 year-olds since July 1.
And as the case numbers go up, so do the deaths. Most of them are still wrinklies, but increasingly Covid is killing children too. Their case fatality rate is lower than the CFR for obese eighty year old smokers, for sure, but the rate ain’t zero.
That’s the problem with big numbers like thirteen or fourteen million, even small percentages of them can get scary, quick.
None of this is to advocate staying in the cave, as Scotty sneeringly put it. But it does sort of imply it might be time for some hard, honest talk about what ‘living with Covid’ actually means. About who gets to live with it, and who gets to die from it. We’re not likely to have that talk with SloMo and Glads leading the choir, though.
When Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk tried broaching the subject this week, Morrison’s enforcers piled on. The feds’ reaction was furious, but also fearful.
For once, they know what they’re doing, and they might even know know what it means.
Maybe they can get away with just a couple of dozen dead children. Maybe a hundred or so in a worst case outbreak?
But if they can just get those ballots in the box, before the little caskets start dropping into the earth…
Then she’ll be right, mate.