As my home state, Victoria, warms up and prepares to finally emerge from their strict Covid lockdown bubble (of a crazy 100+ days), Europe heads into winter, and what we all suspect would happen is happening. On Saturday, Austria clocked an astounding 3000+ new infections. There are measures in place, and talk of more, but when I think back to March, when new infection numbers were in the low 100s, it seems crazy that no one is freaking out now in a much bigger way.
I have heard in the last days about some low-level panic buying, but there doesn’t seem to be anywhere near the same amount of anxiety there was the first time… even though things are significantly worse. In some ways it’s good – being prepared and being safe is one thing, but full on panic helps no one. But in other ways it’s terrifying – have we all become complacent – do we not believe there was ever any danger, or are we just adapting to living in a world during a pandemic?
In the last weeks I have seen more people hugging and kissing in greeting than I have since March. I’m not in favour of a second lock down – as they say, the economic and mental well-being impact of Covid could well be much higher than the death toll. But then I’m not willing to be the one that has to make that decision. Because either way there’s blood on your hands. When hospitals have to turn away people over a certain age or with medical conditions because they aren’t eligible for care, that’s when things get really messed up. It’s about balance, and that’s what the government is trying to achieve (or at least that’s my opinion), but we don’t really know where the line is.
I’m not freaking out – and I don’t really understand the way I feel either. It’s good that there’s not this catastrophic aura hanging over us this time (though who knows, it could be on its way) – but we still need to be careful. I went into the office last week, but it was almost as a farewell… because as the numbers increase, so will my working from home days (and let’s be honest, an hour drive each way doesn’t make a lot of sense). I have a friend visiting me this week – a visit we brought forward, because to be honest, we’re not sure if in two weeks we’ll be allowed to, or will personally want to.
This whole thing just sux. I am preparing for a long cold Austrian winter with no visit home to Oz, but I’m looking on the bright side – I can still chat to my parents and friends over Skype as normal, I don’t really have more than six friends that I want to hang out with at any one time, and I can work from home as normal.
I don’t want anyone to freak out. But I don’t want them to get complacent either. And as for the next few weeks and months… well we’ll just have to wait and see.