Your view on The Age’s editorial on lockdownSeptember 2, 2021
Credit:Illustration: Jim Pavlidis
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Your view on The Age’s editorial on lockdown
Risky exponential growth
Your editorial (The Age, 2/9), as with all such “reduce restrictions” messages, conveniently does not mention what are “acceptable” numbers of cases, serious illnesses or deaths, nor what are “acceptable” levels of stress for our ICU wards, nurses or doctors before “full vaccination”. State a figure, work out the effective reproduction number (Reff) implied by that, and then justify trade-offs for the “damages of lockdown” against that context.
Exponential growth has nasty consequences and it is even more important to keep Reff down when case numbers are rising than when they are falling. The effects of small differences in growth today – be they the health orders or levels of compliance – will not still be small in mid-October.
Yes, I would prefer fewer restrictions and mental health consequences. Who wouldn’t? Yes, I would prefer we had hope to get back to zero. But I would prefer not to end up where New South Wales’ hospitals and morgues are headed – and the best way to avoid that is not to let Reff creep up one “minor” relaxation at a time.
Mick Beasley, Sunderland Bay
We need some normality
It was so refreshing to read The Age’s editorial. It gave me hope that there may be more voices expressing concern regarding the overbearing approach to the pandemic in Victoria. The recent rule relaxation applying to playgrounds is tokenistic. Vaccinated people should be able to meet with members of their own family – for example, at a picnic. Victorians need hope that there will be a return to some degree of normality in our lives in the foreseeable future.
Dr Lisa Bendtsen, North Melbourne
Vaccination rates too low
What a horrid, unbalanced editorial. The Victorian government had a good go at getting back to zero COVID-19, and now is trying to limit the damage from a logjam in hospitals. Not enough people are vaccinated. I would like us to have a concrete plan for opening up, but we still need these horrid and damaging restrictions. We also need flexible plans to react, because at the moment the virus is boss.
Andrew Gunner, Brunswick West
The numbers are too high
On the day The Age called for an easing of restrictions, Victoria’s case numbers jumped by nearly 50per cent. On average, since our sixth lockdown began four weeks ago, case numbers have doubled every seven days. This is with very harsh restrictions. Ease restrictions, and case numbers will double more frequently. I am not looking forward to November.
Andrea Bunting, Brunswick
Reaching tipping point
I have agreed with most of the state’s decisions to date, and understand the need to stop the spread of the virus and that vaccination is the key to living with it. However, when I heard Dan Andrews promise more freedoms but also say this did not mean we could all flock to the pub, my tipping point was reached.
I, and many Victorians, do not want to just flock to the pub. As a priority, I would like children to attend school for learning and social interaction and return to sport. I would also like to visit a parent who turned 89 this year and lives interstate. Social interaction with many friends is also on the wish list.
Ten kilometres versus five kilometres is really quite pointless. Whoever thought that was a positive announcement is so far removed from the Victorian state of mind, it is laughable.
I agree with The Age’s call for the government to share more data, treat us like adults and give us hope for an exit to living with this disease.
Andrew Crane, Richmond
It seems that The Age has jumped on the Michael O’Brien and libertarian bandwagon. Be careful what you wish for.
Alan Tiller, Caulfield North
Ease up for all our sakes
If only Dan Andrews would heed your editorial. Victorians cannot continue in an environment of harsh restrictions. The Age argues the case for easing restrictions which are of minimal risk. This makes good sense. For the economy to flourish, businesses must be able to continue to earn an income. For the wellbeing of our population, people must be permitted to live.
Trish Young, Hampton
We’ve tried so hard
It is a difficult, and heartbreaking, shift to a new mindset after so long believing in, and working towards, COVID-19 zero. With the Delta variant, it seems that is no longer realistic or possible. Daniel Andrews, Brett Sutton and co must be feeling so defeated. I know I certainly am, and I am not the one in charge. But guess it could have been so much worse. We have managed to hold it off as well as we could, while waiting for this ridiculously inept vaccine rollout to get enough coverage. It is a miracle there is a vaccine at all. We are so lucky.
I am just worried about our young people now. Meanwhile, in other parts of the world, not only are 12-year-olds eligible for a vaccine, they are lining up for booster shots. We may be an island, but we are not immune, and our children are now at risk.
Samantha Morgan, Altona
Saving our hospital system
Dan Andrews’ hands are tied and he is in a no-win situation. If he does not ease restrictions, he will be pilloried (as in your editorial). If restrictions are eased and the virus numbers surge, he will be crucified. Commentators are long on criticism, and short on meaningful solutions. Vaccinating the majority of the population will help, but in the meantime restrictions are necessary to keep our hospital system from collapsing.
David Mitchell, Moe
Where the blame lies
Your editorial sounds reasonable, and reflects what many of us feel. But in truth, we could keep going, if that is what health authorities believe to be necessary.
My young neighbour will not get her first jab until the end of September. That is Scott Morrison’s fault. The draconian health response to the Delta outbreak, given most of the population is still unvaccinated, is also Morrison’s fault. Yet he has refused to supply adequate compensation for the economic effects of his own bungling.
Very unfairly, the editorial shifts the frustration for the economic and social suffering caused by Scott Morrison onto the efforts of the Victorian health authorities to keep us safe despite our lack of vaccinations.
Patsy Lisle, Elwood
Your editorial says Victoria needs hope. This overstated, pathetic virtue is considerably less than what people really need. Rather, it is faith that the federal government will act to set things right – and this can only be achieved by mandating vaccination for all.
Peter Drum, Coburg
A need for compromise
The Age’s editorial makes good sense: we need to lift those restrictions that are of “minimal risk to health but maximum benefit to Victorians”. It would be a pity if Daniel Andrews’ undeniably successful approach, in the past, to achieving COVID-19 zero with lockdowns, were undermined for want of compromise.
Dawn Evans, Geelong
The reckless rule breakers
It seems that many are keen to blame the Victorian government and state authorities for the rising number of COVID-19 cases. In fact, it is that cohort of citizens who do not follow restrictions, either through ignorance or willfulness, who are to blame.
John Simmonds, Fitzroy
Our divided state
With Delta now declared to be ineradicable in Melbourne, how will the Victorian government manage the inevitable opening of the relatively COVID-free regions to Melburnians? Will the regions welcome fully vaccinated visitors (and their unvaccinated children), or nobody at all?
As case numbers double every couple of weeks, do we reimpose the “ring of steel” around Melbourne and check vaccine certificates? Or just allow the virus to escape everywhere, NSW-style? This is a microcosm of the issue Australia, almost uniquely, faces at its state borders as a result of its localised success in eliminating COVID-19.
Ian Black, Essendon
Such a ray of sunshine
Regardless of whatever heartache this pandemic throws at us, Victorians know that we can always rely on opposition leader Michael O’Brien to erase the gloom with some little nuggets of sunshine and positivity to help us through each day. If only.
Erica Grebler, Caulfield North
Ugly truth of lockdown
Geoff Combe (Letters, 2/9), I dream of being as well groomed as the wild man of Borneo. What with lockdown weight gain, no hairdressers and with the light behind me, I could pass for a particularly hairy woolly mammoth.
Rob Willis, Wheelers Hill
So much appreciation
To Anonymous – “Nursing on COVID’s front line takes a toll” (Opinion, 2/9) – a heartfelt thank you to you and all nurses. You are valued, you are appreciated and, yes, you should be paid more for the incredible work you do.
Kim Hurley, Glen Iris
Force recipients to repay
The scale of JobKeeper payments made to companies whose turnover increased is reported as a staggering $13billion. How simple would it have been to add a condition to the claim form committing to repayment if turnover did not fall? What makes it even more astonishing is that the generosity of the JobKeeper program occurred at the same time the federal government was trying to penny pinch on vaccines. Now, the Treasurer is denying the public the right to know who the beneficiaries are. Outrageous.
David Lamb, Kew East
Why the double standard?
A person receiving JobSeeker income support is obliged to report fortnightly on any income received and job search efforts. Is Josh Frydenberg seriously telling us that companies which received JobKeeper support are not so similarly obliged in accounting for public money? Such inconsistencies are immensely unfair and unfathomable.
James Henshall, Richmond
More details, Treasurer
Josh Frydenberg’s performance on 7.30 (ABC TV, 1/9) hit new lows. Sharing the Lodge with Scott Morrison (Opinion, 2/9) has done nothing to improve his respect for voters. Failure to provide any claw-back provision for profligate, unnecessary JobKeeper payments is surely one of the worst and most inequitable public policy failures in Australian history. His “explanation” was puerile and insulting, and Leigh Sales was far too gentle.
Norman Huon, Port Melbourne
Please explain, Gerry
Gerry Harvey, using public funds should require public accountability – “Silence speaks volumes about JobKeeper mess” (Business, 2/9). Asking for an explanation is not “bullying”, and to suggest this simply encourages suspicion of your motives.
Ian Greenshields, Malvern East
Alpha male behaviour
Perhaps Greater Western Sydney footballer Toby Greene might be more able to rein in his intolerable behaviour if alpha male, former players such as Matthew Lloyd and Jonathan Brown stopped giving him encouragement with introductory statements like: “We all love Toby Greene”. Many female AFL fans in particular have no love for him.
Sue Currie, Northcote
Pick your towel, please
Nick Kyrgios objects to having to walk to the corners of the tennis court to use his towel (Sport, 1/9). I have played tennis for more than 60years and it has never been a problem for me or my opponents. So what’s his problem?
Frank Stipic, Mentone
Scooter, a true champion
Wouldn’t it be great if Nick Kyrgios and Toby Greene had a one on one with our Paralympic medallist, Grant “Scooter” Patterson. They might understand how fortunate they are to have their natural gifts, that the breaks do not always go their way, and that there are rules they must follow.
Peter Connell, Highett
A broader perspective
Ouch. Jessie Tu’s critique (Opinion, 21/8) struck a nerve with Julie Szego (Opinion, 1/9) and readers (Letters, 2/9). But I do not understand Tu to be asserting that Rooney’s novels should be unrealistically populated with token minority characters, or that other people could not enjoy them. Her objection is to an elevation of Rooney’s work far above its literary significance.
Most people derive pleasure from seeing themselves reflected in the stories they read. It is therefore no surprise that novels depicting the experiences of a privileged, white majority might be disproportionately successful in our society. With that comes greater attention and, in Rooney’s case, the “reverence and veneration” that Tu calls out.
It is fine for white people to enjoy books about white people. But we should not expect that people from different backgrounds will share our enjoyment, and we should read and discuss novels that reflect the experiences of others within our multicultural society.
Mark Summerfield, Northcote
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding
What happens if we don’t get to 80per cent fully vaccinated?
Pete Sands, Monbulk
When we open up and let the virus run riot, we’ll see our loved ones – but it might be in heaven.
Breda Hertaeg, Beaumaris
Daniel in the Lion’s Den of Delta. Who will win?
Carmel McNaught, Balwyn North
Gyms closed. Three hours of outside exercise allowed. A dermatologist’s dream.
Pauline Christenson, Brighton
Dummy spit over, The Age? Now get on with reporting the news. Talk about an ill-informed tantrum. We expect better.
Raeleene Gregory, Ballarat East
Many people are getting sick of COVID-19 as well as sick from it.
Doug Springall, Yarragon
So it’s “No Plan Dan” according to “Missing In Action” Michael.
Peter Campbell, Newport
I agree with O’Brien. D is for despair. I despair every time he opens his mouth.
Uschi Felix, South Melbourne
COVID: coming, ready or not.
Michelle Leeder, Trentham
Andrews is the classic example of a successful general … fighting the last war.
Roger Mendelson, Toorak
In view of our good behaviour in lockdown, they’ve given us another four weeks of hard labour.
Greg Tanner, Elwood
It’s not that hard, is it? Wear a mask, check in, get the jab.
Peter Rooke, Hawthorn
Just because we already live with deadly diseases we can’t control doesn’t mean adding another one won’t hurt.
Julia Thornton, Surrey Hills
Does Morrison have any tips for the Melbourne Cup, that other race that stops a nation?
Greg Lee, Red Hill
Re the importance of ventilation. It’s time to bring back the ″red rattlers″.
Kerry Tsonis, Alphington
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