We wiped out community spread and bought a bunch of vaccines… now what?

There’s been a lot of talk over recent months about the failures of the Australian Government to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, from their abortive, clumsy, most-eggs-in-one-basket approach to vaccine supply, to a so-obviously-racist-even-Andrew-Bolt-noticed decision to lock out Australians trying to return home from India, to a complete lack of vision or willingness to outline a plan for how we even begin to reopen Australia to the world.

There is plenty to criticise the Commonwealth Government for, but in light of their flawless track record of incompetence in every area for which they are responsible, it would be better for…

… and so am I

Over millions of years of evolution, our brains have become extremely efficient at responding to perceived risk. The reason why is pretty straightforward — if you were slow to detect and respond to an actual risk, you died. Therefore, you didn’t have a chance to have or raise offspring, so your “too slow” genes died with you. In the evolutionary landscape, there were plenty of different magnitudes and intensities of important-enough risks (“will that animal eat me?”, “will falling from that edge break my leg?”, “will those fast-moving waters sweep me away and drown me?”, “am I going to freeze…

Is zero good for you?

A few weeks ago, I had a quality piece of parental misunderstanding. I had got the impression, in a conversation involving my 9yo son and one of his friends, that he was dissatisfied with our state government retaining tight restrictions in an effort to continue to bring down coronavirus numbers. I later discovered that his concern was over the restrictions not being cautious enough, rather than being too cautious, but anyway… while I was labouring under the misapprehension that he thought we should have opened up more already, I set him and his friend a mental arithmetic challenge:

“What’s 1…

How can we think and talk about the months that lie ahead?

A road through the Australian outback with an emergency airstrip marked on it
A road through the Australian outback with an emergency airstrip marked on it

Yeah, I know… it’s been a hell of a year already. As a friend commented on a recent FB post of mine, “today is the 172nd of March 2020”. It sure feels like it. We’ve made it as far as September — by the calendar, just six months since the WHO officially declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic.

Those of us in the southern hemisphere have made it through winter (but without seeing snow unless it fell in your back yard). Even as those of us in Melbourne continue to endure a protracted lockdown, the warming weather, lighter evenings, and…

How insecure work has undermined Australia’s battle against the pandemic

Four and a bit months ago, I posted on Facebook this prediction for how the battle against COVID-19 would be lost in Australia.

I was wrong on at least two counts:

  1. I thought that folks in insecure work that involves a lot of indirect contact with others (such as couriers and delivery riders) would become major vectors. This turned out to be wrong for two reasons: the first wave of the virus in Australia was mostly brought in by people who could afford to travel internationally — community spread was very limited, and was not chiefly affecting low-income earners at…

… and how to understand what the experts mean when they talk about them.

This story originally appeared as a public post on my Facebook account, where I have written a number of lengthy posts on the topic of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly as viewed from an Australian perspective. Although it has already been published there, I have chosen to publish it as my first story here, since I intend to refer to it in my next piece of writing on the topic.

It’s time to discuss the latest hot topic in Australia’s COVID-19 saga. No, I’m not talking about the Daily Tele’s “Dan-Made Disaster” headline, or Star City casino being hit with a…

Robin Darroch

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store