Will Australia’s exit from the Covid-19 pandemic make you cry out in anger or in joy?
As Professor Stuart Turville, a Kirby Institute virologist, told ABC, the Delta variant is both more contagious and less fatal.
“Looking at the 28-day follow-up after infection, the death rate for the original variants was 1.9% mortality,” he said. “So far the Delta variant shows 0.3% mortality.”
Over time, there is more room for trust. Peter Collignon, doctor and professor of microbiology at Australian National University, to whom I often speak about the pandemic, reminded me this week that Australia is doing better now than it was a year ago because although the deployment of the vaccine has been slow, more than 7 million jabs have already been given.
And the people with the highest vaccination rates, he noted, are the most vulnerable – Australians over 70.
Over the next three months, if more vaccines reach Australia as planned, the likelihood of death and hospitalization will continue to decline as more people will be protected by the vaccines. And then, as the Prime Minister announced today, everyone will have received a vaccine and life will begin to return to a semblance of “normal”. We’ll probably still have to take a Covid test before traveling overseas, but hey, at least we’ll be traveling.
Is everything too slow? Yes. Does this cause rabies? Absolutely, and even more if you’ve been careful. People like Mr. Collignon and Mr. Holden, for example, warned months ago that this winter would be bad if the vaccine rollout was not up to par. And they were right.
But at the same time, finally, there is an end point in sight – a horizon, as government officials have called it. And so that anger may as well be lifted with desire and hope.