Spring is the time of renewal. Last weekend there was actually warm spring weather. This prompted a venture into the garden and the pre-requisite trip to Bunnings, together with a not surprisingly large group of others. Reticulation parts and some assorted hardware items were on the shopping list.
The backyard now has a new olive tree and blueberry bush. A miniature lemon tree and lime tree are waiting transfer into their pots. Down the track we have the basics of a Mediterranean feast.
The changing of the seasons has been going on since time began and predates humans on the planet. It reminds us that all is transient. The cold and damp of winter gives way to the warmth of spring which in turn paves the way for summer sun and then autumn’s (fall) preparation for the next winter.
No, I am not going to win any poetry prizes!
Given the extraordinary events of 2020, it is timely to be able to step back and remind ourselves that everything is indeed temporary. The Spanish Flu of 1918 ended, as did World Wars, SARS and Swine Flu. This means that Covid19 will also end.
Clearly this is not much comfort to those currently forced to restrict their lives under onerous lockdowns. Increasingly though, people are questioning of the need for and benefit of harsh restrictions. The acceptance that “the experts” and “the science” are infallible is fading. Furthermore, it is becoming clearer each day that assorted politicians are using medical advice as a cover for their decisions which are not based on medical advice at all.
Our knowledge in September is far greater than in March. Predictions by Imperial College of half a million deaths in the UK alone, or that Australia would run out of ICU beds by April 4 did not come to pass – not even close.
Computer modelling is just that – modelling and based on the data fed in. We now have real world data. This shows us that certain demographics are at risk of serious infection from Covid19. That is those over 80 and those with existing medical problems. Some 94% of deaths have been with rather than strictly from the virus, In Australia the median age of death is 82 which is the same as the average life expectancy.
For everyone else, the risk of serious infection is small and the chance of death minimal. The belief that the virus can be eradicated is false. The original purpose of restrictions was to “flatten the curve” to enable the health system to cope with cases. This has been more than achieved. New “cases” which are actually positive test results rather than actual illnesses are not a failure.
Europe has shown that it is possible to live with the virus. Life is getting back to normal in countries such as Italy and France which had far more actual cases and deaths than Australia. Many are travelling not only within their own country but across international borders! In contrast Australians struggle to cross arbitrary state borders.
Talking with many people, there is a sense that the mood is shifting. Harsh measures which were popular in April and even through to July are now being questioned in September. The inconsistency which allows council workers to mow lawns but not independent contractors and an 8pm curfew being changed to 9pm tells us that the rules are not based on “the science”.
Pressure can only build up for so long before there is an explosion. Citizens have gone along with what was asked of them. The failings have been where government had responsibility – most notably quarantine in Victoria.
The renewal in Spring may coincide with a renewed desire of people to live their lives. This includes accepting a degree of risk, as we do every day when getting into cars or walking downstairs.
We need to, as best possible, protect those who are most vulnerable to Covid19 and we know who these people are. We need to allow everyone else to get on with life in a sensible way.
Until then the old Persian adage “This too shall pass” is apt.
Medical Doctor, author, speaker, media presenter and health industry consultant, Dr Joe Kosterich wants you to be healthy and get the most out of life.
Joe writes for numerous medical and mainstream publications, is clinical editor at Medical Forum Magazine, and is also a regular on radio and television. He is often called to give opinions in medico legal cases and is an advisor to Reed Medical Conferences.
Joe is Medical Advisor to Medicinal Cannabis Company Little Green Pharma, Chairman of Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association and sits on the board of Arthritis and Osteoporosis WA.