Hunter COVID case numbers rise as policy makers concentrate on vaccination
ONE positive - or relieving characteristic - of the coronavirus pandemic, is that it's come at a time when the extraordinary powers of digital technology are there to exploit for all the right reasons.
Much is made of the "fake news" and disinformation that is without a doubt rife across the internet.
But there's a strong argument to say that whatever problems are created by bad actors and the misinformed, they pale into insignificance beside the contribution the internet and its associated technologies have made to fighting the pandemic.
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Imagine if this virus had hit before the turn of the century, before the days of Google and instantly available, real-time information from around the world?
Or before email, when researchers would have to fax each other, or make expensive long-distance phone calls, or write letters that might take weeks to arrive?
Instead, jurisdictions everywhere can formulate nimble policy, based on a continually expanding global knowledge base that enables each state and country to help the other along the road to "living with COVID".
Some road maps are more detailed than others, but all point towards maximum possible vaccination as a bedrock solution.
As the three accompanying graphs from Johns Hopkins University show, the Delta wave has passed its peak, globally, at least for now.
Case numbers will likely rise again when restrictions are eased and borders reopened, but vaccinations should greatly reduce the burden of death and illness.
Higher case numbers will provoke controversy in Australia, where our relatively mild bout with COVID has allowed us to maintain a suppression/eradication model, with welfare to cushion the financial damage.
In the Hunter Region, six weeks into hard lockdown, case numbers are again on the up, with a record 27 cases announced yesterday.
This is an annoying, but not alarming, number.
Our vaccination rates are below the state average, but they are climbing.
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The choice will remain, but the unvaccinated may find themselves banned from the pub, or rejected at the airline terminal.
Exclusion is a blunt instrument, but vaccination aims to disable the virus by protecting the group as much as the individual.
It's your choice.