Appy Viral ‘Olidays
COVIDchic: the newest fashion. pic by Per Correll

Back to school! Back to work! It’s COVID’s turn for a holiday!

They’re about to loosen the restrictions. Everyone’s got cabin fever. Lockdown fatigue.

‘Nobody much has died. Nobody who really matters, anyway. So why are we still locked up? It’s overkill.’

So now we can go out, within 50k. We can have picnics. We can go “non-essential” shopping. That’s a revealing phrase, isn’t it? You can go and do something useless and pointless, even at the risk of sparking another outbreak. Once more unto the malls, dear friends, once more, or choke the stores up with our Aussie dead! We must shop or die! Or possibly both.

We don’t have a cure. We don’t have a preventative. But we have an app!! Lordy lordy, we have an app!! App, the Great and Powerful! App will save us!! All hail the Almighty App!!

Well, maybe.

Send the kids back to school! It’s safe! They don’t need to do the social distance thing. They don’t get the disease! Well, only a little bit. Doesn’t make them really sick. Mostly. Only a few get Kawasaki’s Disease and stuff.

Well, maybe. Sure, they might give it to a few pensioners on the buses and trains. Their parents and relatives and their friends. Their friends parents driving the school pool.

‘But at home, they’re driving their parents crazy!’

And, much more importantly, we need to get the parents back to work! We need to get people earning and spending. Open the shops and the offices and factories! Put your trust in App! App will track the bug down, a bit better, a bit faster, probably. We hope.

And if we’re not fast enough, well, we’ll just shut down again. We’ve done it once, we can do it again. And again. As many times as necessary. Easy!

Let everybody out, hooray, hooray, we’re getting back to norma… ooops, no, quick, run, hide, everybody get back… quick, before too many get sick, too many die… OK you can come out again now… Watch out, there’s a cluster over there!

‘But we can’t stay like this forever!’

Like what? Even with this easing, the only thing that’s changing is the level of risk we’ll be accepting. The danger hasn’t gone away.

Even the PM says we have to keep our distance for ‘many many months’ to come. No church services, no footy matches, no cinemas, no theatres, no pubs, no clubs, no restaurants, for ‘many many months’ – unless you can keep everyone six feet apart at all times.

Going out for a meal is about to get much more expensive when you can only allow a third of your previous number of diners in at one time.

Flying is about to get much more expensive, too. No more flying around packed in like sardines. Even in economy the rule is: six feet apart. To the right and the left. Fore and aft. Or maybe the airlines can issue us all with logo-spattered hazmat suits?

No flying overseas at all (“I can’t see it”, says the PM”) – and no-one from overseas flying here – maybe not for a couple of years. Or more. Unless on your arrival/return you go into solitary isolation for 14 days.

We’re aiming for “suppression, not elimination”, says the PM. Translation: we’re giving the virus a holiday from isolation, not the people. A ‘controlled release’ into the community (with an App to keep an eye on it) until there’s a cure or a preventative.

We hope not too many people get sick, not too many people die. At least, not all at once. Can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, eh?

Vulnerable people like me aren’t being freed. We will have to stay locked down.

Good thing I have a nice view.

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)