- by Casey Davidson
- The Guardian
- Issue #2008
Photo: Chris Fithall – flickr.com (CC BY 2.0)
It is hard to believe that after over two years of harrowing fears of COVID-19 that people in Australia would be experiencing the worst situation in the whole pandemic. Forty Australian citizens per day are dying from the disease, a number much more significant than through all restrictions and lockdowns, after the government decided to “let it rip.”
This means that there has been a 2.5 time increase in deaths this year compared to the previous three years. The working class of Australia are still experiencing the fear and experience of the COVID-19, with their loved ones, their colleagues and themselves contracting it, despite being fully vaccinated and wearing masks. Workers are forced to self-report with RATS, leading to underreporting of positive cases. However, the silence from the mainstream media would not make this immediately obvious.
The recently defeated government’s aim to have the spread of the disease and response to it fit their political aims has clearly not worked. The result is that while 2000 people died over 2019 and 2020 in Australia, over 5300 people have shockingly died as a result of COVID-19 this year. Those working in health care services, including medical staff, emergency services, and nurses are overworked, with hospitals and facilities exhausted. Health workers are still working under front-line conditions while mask-wearing in public is ignored.
Although the severity of COVID-19 differs in the variants, most Australian citizens are most likely experiencing one of the less detrimental ones. Omicron, which generally presents with relatively manageable symptoms, can still be very dangerous for vulnerable people. Those who do not or cannot get vaccinated, or their children have a much higher rate of hospitalisation. Those who contract it who are elderly or with pre-existing conditions can potentially lose their lives. While there are some situations in which people may be vulnerable to vaccinations, many people have chosen to opt out due to fears of side effects exacerbated by misinformed and right-wing sources.
Even if the symptoms are not deadly, workers who find out they are COVID-19 positive are expected to self-isolate, and in better circumstances, work from home. Unfortunately for many workers this is not an option, and they may lose their job if under casual employment. Small businesses are in situations where they are unable to continue work as usual due to employees unable to attend work. Even the electoral commission could not function properly because so many people have had COVID-19. The whole Australian economy is under intense pressure.
Workers are divided in their desires to be free and over fears of not making ends meet and over their family’s or their own health. The reality is that the Australian public is still in the middle of a major health and economic crisis, and this is being largely ignored. It is time for the workers of Australia to unite in action to have health and work security to be pushed to the forefront.