One month later: COVID-19 in Australia

Just over a month ago, when the reality hit for many that COVID-19 was a real and immediate threat to Australians, I wrote about choosing to approach it as optimistically as possible, given what little we could do about the virus, besides following the appropriate health advice.

Now, a month later, I feel that I should share an update on where I think we, as a country, are at.

By all accounts, we’ve done well. Exceptionally well. Much better, I think, than anybody could have possibly expected a month ago. The vast majority of Australians have honourably followed the directions given by all levels of government, and thanks to that we are now in a position to begin slowly reopening our country — something which will certainly be one of the dominating themes of political discourse in this country over the coming months, and rightly so. After all, if we reopen too quickly we risk another outbreak; while reopening too slowly risks unnecessary damage to the economy. These are such tough decisions to have to make, and I certainly don’t envy those in government right now.

When it comes to keeping the spread of coronavirus minimal, I think it’s crucial that we harness the power of modern technology. For that reason, I’ve downloaded the COVIDSafe app, and so should you. There are few people more concerned about the increasing trend in government surveillance worldwide than I am. When I first heard about the app, I immediately refused to even consider it. In fact, I was opposed to it almost all the way up until its release. It’s a very technical thing (better explained in this thread by Matthew Robbins on Twitter), but in short: the app does not collect location data on you. Misinformation surrounding the app is rife, so please take the time to educate yourself.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve been taking my normal school lessons online via Zoom. For me, it’s been great. With a bit of extra effort, and thanks to the brilliant work of teachers (who I cannot possibly thank enough), I’ve been able to keep on top of my work, and minimise the impact of remote learning.

That being said, not a day goes by where I don’t think how difficult it would be right now for students not fortunate enough to have access to the resources that I do, and I think that decisive action in one form or another is going to have to be taken at some point to ensure that every child in Australia, from Ascot to Aurukun, has the right to access safe, high-quality education.

In my post last month, I placed particular emphasis on looking for positive things right now. To that end, I want to share my two favourite things from over the past month. One is quite funny, and the other will surely be the most heartwarming thing you’ll see all day.

For now, that’s all I’ve got to say. To keep track of my thoughts, head over to Twitter and follow me there. To conclude by saying ‘stay safe’ has become quite a cliché, so I will instead make a simple request of you: as life returns to a degree of normalcy, please don’t become complacent — we’ve made it this far, and it would be such a shame to erase that progress now.

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