Remember 25 January 2020? Things were different then. The country was on fire, you couldn’t see the sky and we were wearing masks – not because of a virus – but because of the smoke that was clogging our cities. And yet, they seemed like simpler times...
But then things really took a turn when we all started saying things like ‘wet market’, ‘aerosol transmission’ and ‘what the hell is JobKeeper?'
At first, we weren’t really sure how seriously to take the pandemic. For the first few weeks, comedians were taking to the stage and saying: ‘I reckon the cure to Corona is just a slice of lemon!’ They say laughter is the best medicine, but it turned out a vaccine was going to be more useful for this situation.
So what have we learned from the previous 12 months? Quite a lot actually.
We’ve learned that every social media commenter is a qualified epidemiologist. Don’t bother listening to scientists who have spent their lives studying pandemics and viral transmission; Keyboard Warrior from Cragieburn reckons it’s just like the flu.
We’ve learned that when you’re within 1.5 metres of another person you’re constantly breathing in their disgusting germs. That’s something you cannot unlearn.
We’ve learned that Wuhan is a place.
We’ve learned the names of all the premiers of the states. Except for the one for Tasmania, we still have no idea who that is.
We’ve learned that the staff at Bunnings are incredibly patient and polite, even if they don’t know the intricacies of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights and its application to state-mandated health precautions. But, we also learned that neither do Karens.
We’ve learned that we didn’t actually have to go into the office to get stuff done; that we can actually do most of our jobs from bed.
We’ve re-learned how to do algebra because we had to teach it to our kids so that they wouldn’t fall behind in school. In doing so, we really learned that teachers are grossly underpaid for the service they provide.
We’ve learned that celebrities handled lockdown much worse than anyone else. They were so deprived of attention they made a video of themselves singing ‘Imagine’ after three days of being in lockdown.
But, by and large, Australians have learned how to follow science and listen to experts. It’s the reason why we’ve been able to do a pretty good job controlling the virus, unlike other countries (*cough* America *cough*), which is why tomorrow on Australia Day we’re allowed to go outside.
We’ve learned a lot and, even though it’s not over, we’ve come a very long way from where we were 12 months ago. Oh, and the Therapeutic Goods Administration has just approved the Pfizer vaccine for people over 16, so hopefully we can all get back to hugging, kissing and licking handrails soon.