Six weeks into covi iso (as Gen Millenials would say) now, we’ve had some unexpected benefits, along with the expected costs. But some things have surprised me – things we wouldn’t have expected.
1. Reading has not increased
I thought we’d do a lot more reading. In fact, I’ve read less and no one says they are reading more. Book sales are significantly down, confirming this. We haven’t played the games we expected to, nor have we done jigsaw puzzles (though I know some friends have).
2. Flu levels are way down
In Australia, flu declined from 7,000 cases in February to 100 in March. Perhaps covi replaces flu… Presumably this is because we are paying a lot more attention to hygiene and, of course, not being close to other people. So now we know the cure for flu in future…social distancing every winter…
3. The sense of ‘holiday’ is over
After 6 weeks of wonderful ‘holiday’ free from responsibility, I’m over it. I want to do something, almost anything, but not nothing! Who thought we’d get tired of having holidays??
4. Free TV viewing has increased
i thought we’d all be binging on series and pay TV. But, even though there is virtually nothing worth watching on free TV, viewing figures are significantly up!! What are we/they watching?? I guess it reveals that I don’t watch much reality TV and I’m not finding replays of footy or unstated Australian Open tennis matches attractive. There are lots of good old movies on, but I’ve realised I like new movies, not repeats. Obviously my tastes are not those of most.
5. ‘New normal’s are emerging
Whod have thought online school, working from home, befriending neighbours, Zooming with groups, families cycling, or 5-star takeaways would become ‘normal’, or even that anything would become habit-forming in such a short period? Even Anzac Day rituals may change to commemorating it in the street, with a candle, with neighbours and the radio, rather than going to a big central event.
6. Innovations can arise quickly in a crisis
All the ideas just mentioned are innovations we would not have imagined. There are many more. Choirs performing, yoga online, online bridge, playreadings, virtual tours of arts and beauty spots, linking all over the world around interest, regardless of physical location, are a few of the things we’ve been doing, but there are many, many others. And aren’t we lucky for the technology(Ives) that we take for granted (and, it seems, somehow we aren’t being charged for the massive increases in downloads we are all undertaking…how is that possible Mr Telstra??).
It’s clear, though, that the restrictions should be loosened within Australia. Most of the new cases come from a hotspot (aged care, hospital, medical clinic). There’s hardly any local transmission. We’ll need to lockdown hotspots as they appear, use physical distancing and practise good hygiene, but we don’t need to lock down the whole community. Great to see WA and Qld starting this process, and SA has schools open anyway (scientists say there is very little transmission by or through children). We need to do it cautiously, and there will be setbacks and we won’t be able to travel overseas, but a ‘new normal’ is emerging. Thank goodness.