The Delta variant of COVID has a lot to answer for. It has blocked half the country and the government is changing the rules on the fly.
We were never meant to be in this mess. For most of 2021, in most of Australia, life was mostly normal. So normal that we lost our sense of urgency about launching the vaccine. Still, we assumed we had figured out how to keep the virus at bay until a sufficient number of the population is vaccinated.
Then came Delta, the bestial, fast-moving, and most infectious variant. Delta is harder to stop because people who contract it have higher viral loads before they become infectious. They eliminate more viruses sooner and are infectious for longer. That left us with a strain up to 60% more infectious than previous variants.
And once it reached Australia’s biggest cities, it would always leave governments and health authorities catching up. Now half the country is on lockdown and the Morrison government is fighting back. In a matter of days, Delta has forced him to throw promises out the window. It is rewriting the rules on good management of a pandemic in real time. And it leaves Australia facing a winter of discontent, where we are even more divided and uncertain about how we handle the next phase of the pandemic.
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