Well the holiday season is over but COVID-19 is hanging around like that irritating relative who just wont take the hint (sidenote; according to my parents that relative is me). It's been a little difficult to write about because after months of steady gloom things have been jumping about like a roller coaster. First we were fine, then half of Sydney got locked down, then things improved then we were told to staple masks to our faces and encase ourselves in concrete. Various parts of my home state have been walled off from other states, opened up again and then shut down again. Apparently one of the symptoms of COVID is bureaucratic schizophrenia. Then, just as everything seemed a little calmer word came out that a new and even more virulent form of the virus had made its way from the UK to our shores. At least that should reassure anyone who was afraid British exports would take a hit post Brexit.
To make matters worse, or at least not better, a couple of government MPs have taken to social media to parade their idiocy in front of the general population. Snide comments about masks and vaccines and generally trying to ensure that the United States doesn't have a monopoly on cretinous internet commentary. One went so far as to say that making your offspring wear masks was a form of child abuse. Whereas I presume dying of COVID is a gift from god. More irritatingly still the more formal, leadership parts of the government have twisted themselves in knots trying to avoid criticising these clowns. If we have learnt one thing from the recent history of America it is that when someone in power says something stupid it is very important for the remainder of government to call them out on it. Or rather, apparently we haven't learnt that.
However there are encouraging signs on the vaccine front. A number of people are starting to worry about whether the particular vaccine we are getting our hands on will indeed confer herd immunity. This is a big improvement from "will there ever be a vaccine?" Suddenly apparently we can afford to be picky. Obviously herd immunity is desirable, nothing good comes from an infected herd, but just at the moment any sort of immunity would be good at least for the people so immune. The rest of us will just have to spend a few more months hiding under the bed with a pillow strapped to their head.
Unless we're tennis players of course. The Australian Open is due to kick off in a few weeks which means that a horde of sweat crazed string monkeys are descending on our nation. Of course strict quarantine measures are in place and of course no sooner have they arrived than some of those involved have starting breaking that quarantine. At this point it is fair to ask how seriously we're taking the entire thing.
The same questions which were asked about the cricket are now being asked about the tennis. Those questions being variations on the general theme of "what the fuck?" No doubt all precautions are being taken and hopefully it all goes off without too many infections. As to the wider question of "why are we permitting this at all?" the answer is a simple one although I doubt if it will be explicitly spelled out. For the sake of their mental health humans need diversion. They need to be entertained and entertainment has been a little thin on the ground during the worst of the lock downs. Tennis and cricket are incredibly popular and it is quite likely that someone, somewhere has decided that a bit of infection and the possibility of a few deaths is a reasonable price to pay for keeping all of the surly, isolated and generally grumbling members of the population from blowing their tops.
At least I hope that's the reason. I much prefer to believe my government is making cold eyed decisions and weighing up the likely cost in deaths from providing bread and circuses as opposed to simply being reckless and irresponsible. I could go further on this topic but I need to go and watch the cricket.