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article imageOp-Ed: A second wave, of sorts, in Australia — Warning for the world

By Paul Wallis     Jul 11, 2020 in World
Melbourne - Australia did OK in the first onset of the pandemic. Now, Melbourne is the unwilling recipient of a semi-second wave. Several public housing blocks have been quarantined, isolating 3,000 people, and a major lockdown is quite likely.
The Melbourne outbreak is hardly amusing. These towers have been called “cruise ships”, and that means something. In Australia, one cruise ship was responsible for a large percentage of cases. Melbourne has a population of nearly 5 million people who’ve had quite enough of the lockdown, and this is not what they wanted to hear.
The Victorian government, understandably, has been scrambling to shut down the new outbreak. That’s not easy. The virus has been popping up around the affected suburbs, too. Less appealing is the fact that most of the cases are local infections, with no foreign input. This is a home-grown outbreak, the expected second wave, if in a very muted form so far.
Reassuring, it isn’t. Prior to the outbreak, Victoria was thought to be much like the rest of the country, more or less virus-free, with a few remaining cases. So now we know better.
Due to the mysterious Australian belief that viruses don’t read press releases and will keep right on infecting, the reaction was automatic and pretty savage. When the Victorian outbreak occurred, other states shut their borders. The border closures were pretty chaotic, with many travellers not even sure what they were supposed to do.
A model of a second wave? To a point, but not for everywhere.
This local outbreak is in effect a second wave. There was a brief period when infections were flatlining, but this put an end to it.
The profile of this outbreak is pretty much standard epidemiological data, exactly what you’d expect:
• Multiple outbreaks in adjoining/close proximity suburbs.
• Outbreaks in very similar high-density environments, big housing tower blocks.
• Peripheral cases around those suburbs.
• Instant local quarantine and lockdowns in adjoining areas.
Pretty negative psychological effects on the residents of the towers.
There are plenty of cities with more than 5 million people. Melbourne is also a physically much larger area, so the population density isn’t quite the same. The city area is just under 10,000 square kilometres.
The Los Angeles city area has about 80% as many people as Melbourne, and is about 1/8th the size of Melbourne at 1302 sq. km. In an environment like L.A., a second wave could travel through the population a lot faster.
The only real common factors are predictable:
• The virus is following population densities to the letter, as expected.
• The speed of response dictates the spread of the pandemic.
Doing nothing is definitely not an option; The number of cases in Melbourne is now a working percentage of our entire national cases, now at 9,359 and counting.
The other problems may be more familiar:
• We still have people who think the pandemic is a hoax.
• We still have people who think it’s like the flu.
• We still have people believing a word coming from the most infected countries on Earth.
• Even a mention of the emerging threats from the virus is minimal.
Ignorance and not observing basic common sense like social distancing are still happening. (They stopped during the initial outbreak when people started getting hit with $1,000 fines.)
Suggestion: Any news media or public figure that spreads that dangerous disinformation resulting in sickness or death should be charged and heavily penalized. Might at least shut them up.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Melbourne pandemic second wave, COVID19 second wave, COVID19 emerging threats, Melbourne suburbs lockdown 2020
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