SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JULY 07: A man tilts his head back to have a nasal swab test conducted at the COVID-19 Bondi Beach drive-through testing centre on July 07, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. Coronavirus testing continues across NSW as the state recorded seven new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours. Six of the new cases are returned travellers in hotel quarantine, while the seventh is a recently r
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JULY 07: A man tilts his head back to have a nasal swab test conducted at the COVID-19 Bondi Beach drive-through testing centre on July 07, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. Coronavirus testing continues across NSW as the state recorded seven new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours. Six of the new cases are returned travellers in hotel quarantine, while the seventh is a recently r

COVID-19 data doesn’t lie, and that’s what's scariest

I'M SCARED.

I think a lot of us are, as we seemingly plunge back into a world of lockdowns and second wave, but we might not be saying it out loud yet.

The COVID-19 figures out of Victoria made a lot of people who were back out in the community like nothing had happened - me included - take a step back and put our hand on the brakes.

I'm not shaking hands now, though it's become acceptable - and I'll be damned if I'm elbow bumping anyone. I've watched enough MasterChef this year to know it doesn't do a damn thing.

I'm also back to washing my hands properly. You know you all did it too. Scrubbed like you were performing open-heart surgery for the first two weeks, and then brushed them with the token gesture you always did. The signs were there nearly a month ago when a local doctors' surgery said they'd seen an increase in respiratory tract infection they linked to lax hand hygiene.

I'm not overly worried about my health. The chances are that even if I did get COVID-19, I'm healthy enough to survive it. Given the death rate is still around 0.3 per cent, I perhaps should take that more seriously. If you told me there were 1000 jelly beans in the jar and three would kill me, I wouldn't touch the beans.

Shopping at Casula Mall in Sydney where there has been a known case.
Shopping at Casula Mall in Sydney where there has been a known case.

What worries me is how it's affecting what we know as our ordinary life. I was looking forward to getting out and playing music again. I've played one gig since the lockdown, and it was glorious. But as pubs again get restrictions put on them in NSW due to the most recent scare, I fear that a return to that is getting further away. Even just a quick drink down at the pub is complicated, and for health reasons, it probably should be, but it's killing our service, arts and entertainment industry.

I fear for the business owners who struggle on meagre margins which may have to put it all on hold again - the stop/start nature of business slowly wearing down their will - and their reliance on what will undoubtedly be dwindling government support.

I'm afraid because this seeming second wave has no real known source. It was easy to point to overseas travellers, shove them in hotels and forget about it the first time around. The lockdown didn't take that long to get through at the end. This time, though, with the infection seemingly at more random places, we'll grow to be suspicious of everyone and everything - and we're not the most tolerant society as it is.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JULY 13: Tests are carried out at the Bondi Beach COVID-19 drive-through testing clinic on July 13, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. Nine confirmed COVID-19 cases have now been linked to the Crossroads Hotel in the southwest Sydney suburb of Casula. All visitors to the pub from 3-10 July are now being urged by health authorities to self isolate and get a coronavirus test. A pop-up t
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JULY 13: Tests are carried out at the Bondi Beach COVID-19 drive-through testing clinic on July 13, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. Nine confirmed COVID-19 cases have now been linked to the Crossroads Hotel in the southwest Sydney suburb of Casula. All visitors to the pub from 3-10 July are now being urged by health authorities to self isolate and get a coronavirus test. A pop-up t

I'm fearful for my children, who showed incredible resilience to had their educational world turned upside down from March. If we're straining under the lack of emotional support and human contact, it's killing our kids. They have no concept of the greater picture, instead of seeing an adult world they're growing up into becoming less tolerant, and more stressed.

What I'm not afraid of is the actual data presented to me. Every day I see on social media, someone telling me that mass media is feeding hysteria, and needlessly scaring the population.

I can tell you, as a person who has analysed the excellent data sources from NSW Health for days, and written thousands of lines of code to extract it into meaningful information is that it's rubbish.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JULY 14:  NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant speaks at a press conference in Homebush on July 14, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced stricter social distancing restrictions will be reintroduced in response to the COVID-19 cluster outbreak linked to the Crossroads Hotel in southwestern Sydney.
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JULY 14:  NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant speaks at a press conference in Homebush on July 14, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced stricter social distancing restrictions will be reintroduced in response to the COVID-19 cluster outbreak linked to the Crossroads Hotel in southwestern Sydney.

Every day, an Excel spreadsheet updates with the list of cases in our local postcodes, and in every instance, it matches what I'm seeing and hearing. Data doesn't lie, and while there are whispers that cases are being "hidden", and "every town has cases" - the fact they told the entire country about a pub with two known cases shows you this is rubbish.

Every time that data updates, I feel a bit more secure, because it's one more piece of information I have to help me get through this.

Because I'm scared for the future, but if I'm going to face it, I want as much knowledge as I can.



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