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Listen to the Scientists: The Continuing March of SARS-CoV-2

It has to be said that Victoria, AU, has managed something quite impressive. Faced with what could have been a disaster, we've taken a hardline on movement and tracing, and have flattened a massive "second wave" which was peaking at 723 new cases a day in late July and is now down to zero, which being recognised, as a world standard. Slowly, and with appropriate caution, the state is easing restrictions based on the medical advice being provided. I am, of course, less than happy with the attempts to politicise the issue with various cries to "open up" earlier (they're curiously silent when it is pointed out that nearly 80% of the fatalities were in Federal-government run aged-care facilities). Of course there is a short-term economic cost. But the data is clear; the greater the death-rate per capita, the worse the economic effect.

Whilst my home state has had some successes, the prognosis for the rest of the world continues to be grim. Throughout July and August the world daily rate was relatively flat, around 250K to 300K per day. Then, in September and now into October, the rate began to climb again, from 300K to 400K and now at c470K, as the total number pushes towards 50 million. The daily death rate, which passed a million since my last major post on this subject, continues at around 5.5K to 6.0K per day. It does so because we have better contact tracing, better hospital care, and a better idea of what drugs to use. It is notable, for example, that President Trump received dexamethasone, remdesivir, and regeneron, not hydroxychloroquine or injecting disinfectant. And yes, it has all become very politicised. Once there was a time when the left and the right would argue about ownership of the means of production; now it's whether or not one should listen to the scientists or not.

But all of this has a personal, very individual cost. I know of people who have contracted SARS-CoV-2, and they speak about the recurring loss of smell and taste, the sudden brain fog and so forth. It affects the heart, it affects the kidneys, it affects the brain¸ and it will stay with you. But now I sadly have to say I also know of a person who has paid the ultimate cost; one Karen B., well-known among Australian science-fiction circles as a regular visitor to conventions. I can't say I knew this "flying penguin" (as she liked to refer to herself) particularly well, although we did meet a few times, and even visited The Asylum once, but certainly, one could not help be impressed by her good spirit, her intellect, and her very sharp sense of humour. The world is a lessened place without her, and as much as we may think what a terrible event this is, the balance of probabilities were weighted by some very real public health policy decisions of where she was. That is the real tragedy.

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