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Joe Hildebrand: Unvaccinated Aussies no longer decent members of society

Any eligible Aussie who hasn’t gotten the jab at this point is no longer a genuinely decent member of society, writes Joe Hildebrand.

On Wednesday this week, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews posted a single word tweet: “Zero.” Hemingway himself couldn’t have conjured a declaration of more dramatic brevity. Sadly the scenario it described was just as brief.

Andrews was, of course, referring to the number of new daily Covid cases in Victoria. At that moment, it looked like Victoria’s hard and fast lockdown strategy had worked – in stark contrast to the more relaxed and gradual approach taken by NSW.

But that moment was fleeting. Twenty-four hours later, Andrews announced another seven-day lockdown, just one week after its previous two-week lockdown ended.

Likewise, the vast majority of the Queensland population has also been in lockdown for a week. It will remain so until at least late Sunday, with the possibility it could be extended – as it was in Victoria – if overnight case numbers are not infinitesimally low.

And even if restrictions are lifted, citizens will be plunged into lockdown again at the first sign of a new outbreak — just as they have been now in Victoria. And this brings us to the cold hard truth that even the most fervent and fearful lockdown enthusiasts must surely be coming to realize — no matter how much you restrict or constrain the population, this virus is not going away.

Naturally, this will cause a lot of coughing and spluttering – and not of the Covid kind – but it is a simple unfortunate fact. Even when other states were shutting down and locking out because of the far less contagious earlier strains, they weren’t actually eliminating it; they were merely hiding from it. With Delta, it is clear that even hiding isn’t an option.

The NSW response has proven all this with both great pride and great disappointment. Our contact tracers were able to suppress all previous outbreaks without resorting to significant lockdowns – the Casula, Northern Beaches, and Berala clusters, as well as countless quarantine leaks, were all beaten by the best.

Other states and cities had to shut their borders or lock down their residents in far lesser circumstances. We never did. The Delta strain, however, has beaten us. Even with both widespread and targeted lockdowns and a record number of the world’s best contact tracers working around the clock, we can barely keep it at bay. We had every reason to believe we could contain it as we had the others, and we were wrong.

Perhaps Victoria and Queensland will fare better having gone harder, and earlier or maybe the Delta variant will eventually overrun them too. Either way, they will be captive to stop-start lockdowns until we get honest about beating this, not running away from it.

Australia’s former deputy chief medical officer, Nick Coatsworth, an infectious diseases specialist who is now spearheading the national vaccination campaign, made all of this abundantly clear when he described elimination as a “false idol”.

But it seems the “listen to the experts!” lockdown warriors weren’t listening to the most prominent expert of all. Indeed, just three weeks ago, Dr. Coatsworth told The Australian Financial Review that Australia needed to learn to live with Covid. A 50 percent vaccination rate should be enough to start easing restrictions.

“You can’t say no Covid death is acceptable,” he said. “2021 has to be a transition year where we get the Australian community used to the idea of Covid in our community through a successful vaccination program, and 2022 needs to be the year we have Covid in Australia.”

The eliminationist position is made all the more ridiculous because many lockdown activists refuse to get vaccinated. A stance only rivaled in idiocy because so many anti-lockdown activists refuse to do the same.

Ironically, the solution is simple for both — if you’re scared of getting Covid, get vaccinated. If you’re afraid of getting locked down, get vaccinated.

But the problem is the rolling waves of lockdowns and border closures send the opposite message. We are crushing our society, our economy, our relationships, and our children’s future, all for the sake of a selfish few – indeed a selfish many – who simply won’t do the most minor possible thing to make this all go away.

Every adult in Australia has now had weeks or months to get their first dose of the vaccine – something that will give them a 70 percent chance of protection against severe disease from Covid-19 and immeasurable protection for their loved ones.

Gemma Broadhurst
Gemma Broadhurst is a 23-year-old computing student who enjoys extreme ironing, hockey and duck herding. She is kind and entertaining, but can also be very standoffish and a bit evil.She is an Australian Christian. She is currently at college. studying computing. She is allergic to milk. She has a severe phobia of chickens

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