We Are The Future - So Listen To Us!

Social distancing or social disconnect?

COVID-views from the perspective of a 26-year-old.

By Brittany E. Pembroke - 14. May 2020

How did we, the Australians, get ‘Covid-19’ so wrong?

The response of the government of Australia to the ‘Covid-19’-crisis seems to be destroying years of ‘post-war freedoms’ and the very essence of what makes our country so great.

I believe Australia has gone too far in an attempt to be a ‘global hero’ and this very action will be to our detriment.

I understand that we needed to renounce some liberties to ‘flatten the curve’ due to this ‘unknown enemy’. But I do fear this has come now at an unbelievable cost to the Australian livelihood, all in an attempt to be abiding global citizen.

Today ‘Covid-19’ is playing out to be more a political issue than a health issue. And this has me thinking about the deeper issues at play.

Australia is unique

With unique and advantageous qualities, Australia is fundamentally different to other ‘high risk Covid-19’ nations.

For example, Australia has a relatively small population size of 26 million compared to the USA (331 million), Italy (60 million) or UK (67 million), while our continent is the size of the whole of Europe.

We have just come out of a long summer, while others came out of a long winter. Our immunity is mostly strong, theirs low.

Australia’s health system is extremely capable – that of others rather debatable. Italy, for example, has a high elderly population with a culture of hugging and kissing, and New York is a metropolis with a huge tourist population and a crowded urban landscape.

These nations also have higher co-morbidity rates.

Therefore, due to these obvious differences, the implementation of similar measures here in Australia was ill-advised and unnecessary.

Australia should have placed less restrictions initially amid favourable warmer conditions and given the virus the chance to spread in a normal manner in order to achieve a swift population immunity to some extent .

Literature Review (Indoor Transmission of Sars-Cov-2, 7 April 2020) suggests that ‘sharing indoor space is a major [coronavirus] infection risk’ and in defence ‘the outdoors and sunshine are strong factors in fighting viral infections’ (Tufecki, 2020). So, why on earth are we deterring Australians from going outdoors?

The government and its citizens are endorsing the tagline ‘stay home, save lives’ only based on misconstrued scientific evidence and misleading vernacular.

In Australia, the chances of contracting the virus and actually needing medical intervention are statistically insignificant.

We know it is the elderly and medically vulnerable who succumb to complications and death from Covid-19, but they are not the majority of us here in Australia and it is most unlikely that lifting some restrictions would overload the Australian healthcare system.

This suggests we can still protect citizens and keep society functioning by preferentially protecting the elderly and medically vulnerable. So why aren’t we doing this?

This leads me to the underlying political issues surrounding Covid-19.

Politics and political correctness

You could not go to the beach, but you could still go to Bunnings?

You could not sit on a park bench, but schools are to be reopened?

If the government can allow authorities to fine people for sitting on a park bench or walking down the street, how on earth can we trust them with the bigger decisions?

I admit it is a tough time to be a strong politician - you are dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t, have limited time to act, and must gain and retain public trust, and it could be argued that to succeed in Australian politics you must abide by the ‘rules’, be politically correct, rebuke your own ideas, and agree to illogical thinking.

Initially, our Prime minister Scott Morrison was determined to keep schools open but then the political pressure got to him. Morrison couldn’t stop the state governments following international “orders” and closing schools despite the virus threat remaining very low in Australia. The consequences of this have been massive.

This brings to light a greater issue.

Australia has lost its independence and the ability to think and act without international influence. So, by making kneejerk reactions such as those mentioned above, politicians become unstuck and now more than ever need to justify the illogical measures they put in place.

And herein we find the paradox.

https://media-exp1.licdn.com/dms/image/C4D22AQE54pjFqxvl-Q/feedshare-shrink_800/0?e=1592438400&v=beta&t=mjO9awZ7GhsRBetpaOvZ1f2M1jq8S5SQ72mtOljcvVE

What politicians in government dream of is an amendment to the law to achieve this "illegality" to expose them.

Of course, the government can always justify these measures by saying we have to "save every Covid-19 life!” - how could the public argue against that?

But I anticipate that more lives will be lost because of the impacts of Covid-19 and these lives will have little political value or community attention.

Such hypocrisy is one reason why individuals who seek to challenge the politically correct are discouraged from entering politics.

Then there are citizens, at fault or no fault of their own, that ignorantly believe what these politicians say and comply to rules without thought.

I mean it is all well and good for some individuals to happily comply with the Covid-19 rules in place – their justification lies with the notion of contributing to ‘the greater good’. But these people are most likely those working in a privileged position with no ‘skin in the game’, disgruntled (chip on the shoulder) or not interested in looking past the news’ headlines. Such individuals will agree to blanket rules because they are not at the forefront of the greater impacts.

But for others, their chances, opportunities and dreams have been thwarted by these blanket rules.

In this social media driven world, it is now too easy to be reprimanded by individuals, states and global institutions for taking ‘inaction’.

So perhaps this is the exact justification the Australian government needed to implement extreme measures, and it is this global political correctness that may have created the conditions for our downfall. It is political, political, political.

Or, is there something else at play?

Mainstream news and social media – a virus itself?

Mainstream news and social media are evoking unnecessary fear and anxiety around Covid-19.

These platforms have given journalists, their subscribers, influencers and general users the opportunity to quickly jump on herd-following and obtain their social status. These media influencers then suddenly dictate if we are morally good citizens or not.

As George Orwell said, “anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness”. While this statement was made in light of free speech during WWII, parallels emerge.

As a platform for free speech, are mainstream news and social media ironically becoming places where “unfashionable opinion” is not tolerated?

To succeed in the world of main-stream news and social media, like in government, you need to be politically correct at the right time – the time when your comments ‘matter’.

For example, do you remember the wave on social media of people exposing their donations to the bush fire appeal, and if you didn’t you would be reprimanded as an unworthy citizen? Well, hey, where has that conversation gone? Where has that money gone? Those on social media quickly change their stance without thought to reflect the latest crisis. Subconsciously or not, this is done to be politically correct, which gives them the social status they need.

The exact same thing has occurred with Covid-19.

Firstly, the main-stream news relies on social status to uphold ‘power’. When ABC Seven-news reports, “the number of ICU admission from coronavirus is rising at a staggering rate” because “26 people have been admitted [at the end of March]” and the ABC journalists say, ‘We must thank our heroes – the frontline health workers’ and showcase stories of health workers fearing work and not having time to go the supermarket, I question the accuracy of this reporting and the underlying reasons for these inaccuracies.

Health care workers have actually implied that they are having a reprieve because there are very few Covid-19 hospital admissions, fewer elective surgeries, less day-to-day trauma victims and less common infections due to better hygiene.

The Australian media, as usual, distort the truth, but the general public believes these lies, so as to stand politically correct and maintain power and influence. These distortions are then re-published on social media and go viral.

Secondly, people are too quick to follow the rules and judge those who go against the mainstream norms. For example, social media comments and logos such as ‘stay home, stay safe’ are probably published without thinking about the larger repercussion at play like domestic violence or mental health issues.

That then come later and media influencers are now using this time to say ‘we must protect all Australians’. Again, this is the notion of being politically correct in the time they need to be.

The result is that death, avoidable death, now occurs every-day.

It is the social media that is the infectious virus, and it has taken over people’s ability to think independently.

This makes it easier for people to condemn those who are not so willingly embracing political correctness.

In the case of Covid-19, that is ‘saving every life’ i.e. “the 96-year old woman with multiple health issues” – (Sydney Morning Herald).  When on average, let’s remember, that aroound 300 individuals in the 70+ age group die every-day in Australia (Government statistics) under normal circumstances.

The instantaneous nature of social media and main-stream news cycle has so much to answer for - it has created and exacerbated fear, it has extrapolated the truth, it has been the means to condemn “unfashionable opinion”, and has made individuals forget the simple power of individual ‘thought’.

I do understand that time was needed to gauge the true impacts of the virus and I do empathise that the human trait of fear in the face of uncertainty is not easy to overcome, but that will also not be overcome by tracking apps or by making our society less free.

I actually do understand the moral and ethical dilemma governments faced earlier until the ‘facts’ were known.

But now they are known and I am praying that calm reasoning will retun and prevail. All I ask is that, you, the people take the time to delve deeper into the underlying issues, reflect, and truly question the situation at play.

We have the time, don’t we ? 

Author:

Brittany E. Pembroke graduated from the University of Sydney with a Master Degree in International Relations. She has extensive field eperience in Africa and Asia and can directly be reached via 

===

READ ALSO:

How Australians distract themselves and avert thinking about their miserable situation:

Ozzy Self Isolation Compilation

===

COVID-19

Get the latest information from the real Ministry of Health about COVID-19:

George Carlin - Germs and Immune System

(R.I.P. George, you will always be our favorite comedian.)

===

And in another Fascist Crown Jewel - Canada:

RCMP sent to enforce Quarantine Act on 80-year-old cancer patient

https://thepostmillennial.com/resource/images/2020/05/97791255_283941242639091_8841306490825342976_n.jpg

An 80-year-old cancer patient in North Vancouver was visited by the RCMP to enforce quarantine. The officers were not wearing face masks despite her illness.

By Collin Jones Minnesota, US

An 80-year-old woman with stage-4 cancer who lives in North Vancouver, British Columbia, was visited in her condo building by members of the RCMP last week to enforce quarantine, despite having answered phone multiple calls to ensure that she was where she was supposed to be. Of additional concern was that the officers were not wearing face masks, despite her compromised immune system.

Jeannette Geoffrion's daughter, Rachel Geoffrion, reached out to The Post Millennial on behalf of her mother, explaining the complex situation in which they have found themselves.

Geoffrion's parents live in North Vancouver, where most of the infections are among the elderly at nursing homes. Many of these homes are near where Geoffrion's parents live, and she has already been substantially concerned due to her mother's vulnerability as a result of the cancer.  

Geoffrion's mother suffers from stage-4 cancer, and has had to commute from North Vancouver, BC, to Bellingham, Washington, in order to receive cancer treatment that would otherwise be too expensive in the province. Her mother says she is too old (around 80 years of age) to "qualify for the enhancing pills even if I could afford them."

Normally, when Geoffrion's parents cross the border back into BC from the US, they are asked to quarantine for two weeks, per the Quarantine Act, and her parents always comply. Their primary concern is for Geoffrion's mother's health and safety. The couple goes so far as to have groceries delivered, and to wipe down anything before it enters the house.

Despite being called by law enforcement to ensure that they were where they said they were, the RCMP paid them a visit. The officers showed up on their doorstep without protective masks, and standing "within spitting distance of them."

The following is the timeline of events, drawn out by Geoffrion's mother to her daughter through an email, including the multiple confirmed phone calls that should have kept the RCMP from visiting the home of someone with a compromised immune system.

On Monday, May 11: "We missed two calls from the Canadian Government (Toronto) as they called very early, being 3 hours ahead of us."

On Tuesday, May 12: "The Government called again and Papa answered their questions about whether we came right home, etc."

On Wednesday, May 13: "The Government called me and I answered different question."

On Thursday, May 14: "Late morning, our front door condo phone rang and they said it was the RCMP coming to check on us. I signaled Papa to come to talk to them. He suggested they call on our cellphone in order to hear better but they said they wanted to come in. Papa said we couldn't have people in the condo but they said they would only come to the door. He let them up.

"The two officers stood back (no masks) and asked if we realized we were in isolation until May 21. Papa told them that I have cancer and am going for a CT scan in Bellingham tomorrow and for a bone scan on Tuesday.

"They were very apologetic and said of course we have a reason and left."

Geoffrion noted that the RCMP had asked her parents when they were going to complete a self-isolation plan online, but said that she was not going to "be looking up a self-isolation plan to fill out. I am really tired of this harassing people nearing 80 years of age."

She added: "Is it really necessary to send RCMP officers when they've already confirmed they were home, to send officers within spitting distance of them? My mom said they were nice, but I don't think this is very wise."

Geoffrion continued by saying that the RCMP had put her mother "in danger, she's fighting for her life, even her own family is staying away."

This raises the question of the efficacy of law enforcement overstepping its bounds in the name of safety. There was no reason, according to the self-isolation protocols, for the RCMP to show up to someone's home without wearing appropriate protective gear, thus putting the resident at risk.

Geoffrion challenged the purpose and motivation for such actions by the RCMP, by asking, "Is that even necessary? We're letting prisoners out of jail." And this speaks to the government's inability to establish and maintain consistent protocols in facing the pandemic.

Of the Trudeau response to the coronavirus pandemic, Geoffrion said that "they let the flights in from China and Iran until we're nice and infected, and then put on the restrictions and stopped the economy. It's communism."

Geoffrion contacted the North Vancouver RCMP about the incident, and received a call back from an inspector, who told her that "he can appreciate" her "concern, and the position that they're in." He noted that they are not provided personal history on those they are required to visit, and that all they knew was that her parents were frequent travellers for medical necessity.

He said that he "checked with the members, and that they ensured that were compliant with the national directives that's have been posted on our website with regard to PPE and social distancing requirements. They did go into the building.

"My members maintained their adequate distance, six feet, for sure, they didn't approach your parents whatsoever, they spoke to them. They had just a visual confirmation as is required by the Public Health Agency of Canada that we to perform not only a phone check and a physical check as well. And then what we do is we deem whether or not further physical checks are deemed necessary, or not necessary in this case.

"They would still be contacted by the provincial health authority, because they're separate from the federal, and we take our direction from the federal Public Health Agency of Canada. If the province of BC invokes a separate check, we have no control over it."

The Post Millennial reached out to the RCMP for comment, and were told that the regulations mandate the phone call as well as the home visit to ensure that people are where they say they are.

"In every interaction with the public our officers assess whether they require PPE," wrote Cpl. Chris Manseau, Division Media Relations Officer for the BC RCMP Communication Services. "If they were able to properly social distance the masks likely would not have been required."

According to Geoffrion, her parents have received two federal government phone calls, a call from the provincial government, a visit by two RCMP officers at their home, and an additional call from Vancouver police.