We’re not locked down in Australia. Life is kind of returning to normal, with the only major restrictions being for travel and groups of people in one place. In a month, I expect everything to be as before, apart from international travel, which is a real pain considering my line of work.

We won’t need to isolate, wear masks or do any of the things if the virus isn’t here, and so long as we keep our border controlled pretty firmly, it’s not going to come in. We are pretty strict on border controls anyway, mainly to keep biological hazards out. New Zealand is even more protective. Once we’re clear of cases for a fortnight, that’s it; it won’t be here.

The big difference with this disease is no vaccine. Leave it alone, infections go exponential. That doesn’t happen with the seasonal flu strains, which are far more easily managed.

But time will tell. I think America’s in for a horror year, and I’m sorry, because I have many American friends. I’m also sorry to see the end of American leadership in world affairs. That’s eighty years of solid investment in the Australia/America alliance winding down, and without America behind us we’ve got to face China alone.

B

Britni Pepper has always enjoyed telling stories. About people, places and pleasures.

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