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The Coronavirus Pandemic the biggest crisis to hit the world in 100 years

Covid-19 has transformed nearly every aspect of our world.

We have all experienced the benefits of waking up 10 minutes for online school, being able to wear PJ pants in a zoom, and spending more time with your family. However, our friends, families and communities have had their lives changed in critical ways that promise to have much longer-lasting effects. From work and play to mental health and our sense of community, the coronavirus crisis has brought huge changes to the way we live.  Telemedicine is a permanent part of Australian healthcare, Working from home has become normalized, and we awkwardly bump elbows (with the occasional guilty hug). Many countries have formed plans to get over this pandemic, such as enforcing a lockdown, stay at home orders or banning overseas travel. Together we will look at the effects of Covid-19 on Australia and our world, and how it brought light and funding to science, opened areas to research, helped create new technology, innovative stances, political problems, and caused false belief.

COVID: THE APPEARANCE

A pandemic is an outbreak of disease that affects the whole world. There have been very few pandemics which are the Black plague, smallpox, bird flu, and Covid-19. The World Health Organization declared the Covid-19 outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020, and a pandemic on 11 March 2020.

This image is just to explain the difference between an Endemic, Epidemic, and Pandemic, Sourced: Google.com. (2011). covid 19 graphs australia - Google Search. [online]

Covid 19 (or ‘severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 {SARS-CoV-2} ) Is a virus which is airborne, highly contagious, and can be extremely fatal. Covid -19 has evry similar symptoms to the flu, the most common symptoms including sore throat, fever, and cough, mainly attaching the upper airways. The risk of complications or death is low but that doesn't mean we shouldn’t be concerned. Covid-19 is caused by infection and can spread quickly through droplets when you cough, sneeze which is from saliva or the nose. You could also receive the virus by touching surfaces that were contaminated with the virus by others who were infected. Because o this, many health precautions were put into place including the importance of sanitization in order to remove the contact from the virus. The covid-19 variant that is currently spreading is the Delta variant which is much more contagious and fatal.

Sourced: Adobe Spark Free Photos, shows how Delta is the 'most dangerous' variant.

The pathogen that causes Covid-19 is a viral pathogen. The Covid -19 type that infects humans which have caused the pandemic is Sars-CoV-2. We are still unsure how the virus originated, however the first case waa recorded on the 31st of December 2019. The World Health Organization (WHO) was informed of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan City, China. The 'coronavirus' was identified as the cause by Chinese authorities on 7 January 2020, and was temporarily named “2019-nCoV”. Coronaviruses have been around for a long time now and can cause other viruses other than Covid-19 such as the common cold.

These are the different types of Pathogens. The pathogen causing Covid-19 is a viral pathogen. A pathogen is a type of germ. Pathogens are microorganisms that can not be seen without science technology. These pathogens can cause sickness and we can come in touch with these pathogens and become sick at any time. The pathogen causing Covid-19 is the Viral pathogen. This pathogen can cause the common cold and diseases such as chickenpox. Sourced: Google.com. (2011). pathogens types - Google Search. [online] Available at: https://www.google.com/search?q=pathogens

At the moment if you are infected with Covid-19 you are to stay home and isolate while sick. The virus lasts from 5-14 days once recovered it is required that you recieve another Covid-19 test to make sure you are no longer positive. As for recovery stay home get some rest and take panadol or other equal medication for symptoms. It is very important if you feel lightheaded, have chest pain, and have shortness of breath you go to the emergency and seek medical help as these are fatal complications. Your body will use its immune system to fight off pathogens and try to stop them.

Covid-19 in infectious but your 3 lines of defense will help you to fight off the disease. Your first line of defense includes chemical defense from your nose hair, skin, mouth, throat, lungs, urine, and bowel. The physical barriers are salvia and tears. These will try to keep you safe however if they fail, you have your second line of defense. The second line of defense uses non-specific defenses. It uses 2 different white blood cells to defeat the pathogen. Two white blood cells are Neutrophils and Metrophils which help stop the pathogen to make you better. The final line is not usually needed as the first to can help. The third line also uses white blood cells called lymphocytes which target pathogens and are stronger than the other white blood cells. This is the immune system that will help protect you from Covid-19 but you can still get it which is why it is important to wash and sanitize your hands. There is an image and explanation below that will help explain the immune system. You can still get Covid-19 though so you should wear masks and sanitize your hands.

The lines of immunity defense, protect you from pathogens so you don't get sick. ‌Google.com. (2011). covid 19 graphs australia - Google Search [Accessed 20 Oct. 2021]

Covid 19 can affect everyone differently. Some people may get mild flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, runny nose, and sore throat when they are infected. 14% of people may have complicated symptoms such as Chest pain, shortness of breath, and loss of speech and mobility, or confusion when infected with Covid-19. Some people may also be asymptomatic which means you will have Covid-19 but not show symptoms. Most people who are infected with Covid-19 will have the mild/moderate version and will recover at home isolated from 5-14 days.

These are all the symptoms of Covid-19. Sourced: Healthdirect.gov

The first case of Covid-19 was on December 31st, 2019 in China. The first case of Covid 19 in Australia was on January 19, 2020. We then went into our first lockdown in March 2020. We then shut our borders on the 20th of March 2020. The Covid-19 is one of the biggest pandemics to hit the world. There have been 219million cases and 4.55 million deaths. As of right now in Australia Victoria, the total covid cases are 52,902 cases and there have been 905 deaths. In the whole of Australia, there is a total of 127k cases and 1,432 deaths. Most have come from Victoria and NSW.

The above image is a timeline of Covid-19. As we can see the first case was in Wuhan China and it then spread to The Grand Princess cruise ship which had passengers from all over the world on it. This spread the virus to multiple different countries. Countries all over the world then shut their borders. We then started to get hope as vaccinations started getting tested. We now are hopefully near the end of the pandemic. We are getting vaccinated all over the world as quickly as we can. Sourced: Yalemedicine.com

From the below graph we can see that in Australia Victoria has had the most cases and Tasmania has had the least amount of cases. We can also see the age group with the most cases is 20-29 year old females and then 29-29 year old males.

Graph explaining the statistics of the virus. Sourced: Australian Government Department of Health, https://www.health.gov.au/.
COVID: THE CRISIS

WHAT IS CONSIDERED A CRISIS?

A crisis is considered as a time of intense difficulty or danger where difficult or important decisions are made. Covid fits this broad definition of a crisis however this term can be used for many things that have little to no long term impact or only impact the individual.

WHY IS COVID THE BIGGEST CRISIS?

The Corona Virus is not limited to just affecting some countries heavily or in just some types of countries/ climates around the world It is in fact causing a large impact on every continent and has a moderate to severe impact on all countries around the world. There are no countries which have been unscarthed from this disease. Moreover even countries that have not had severe or much at all coronavirus in their countries are still heavily impacted by its effects.

map showing different countries and their covid cases; National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, N. (2021). Graph of covid stats [Graph]. Worldwide map of COVID-19. https://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/map

The effects of Covid are far reaching to all the corners of the world through its effects on individuals as a virus and on communities and countries as an economic disaster. Covid being a crisis from the standpoint of it being a virus is undeniably disastrous, it is a highly contagious virus that has around a 2-3% death percentage with non vaxxanatied people and it had already spread to most countries before most had heard its name. Although North Korea and Turkmenistan both dubiously claim to be COVID-free according to ABC news. The reason behind covid being so far reaching is due to its much larger infection rate than the common flu, one of the most well known viruses because everyone gets at some point in their life making it highly contagious. And due to this it has caused 219 million to be infected worldwide within 2 years killing around 4.55 million.

HOW HAS IT AFFECTED AUSTRALIA?

Moreover for within Australia the country is struggling with the amount of cases 116k in total and 23,300 cases active roughly as stated on the 7/10/21 by the Australian department of health. Moveover Covid has caused large economic damages to many countries. Example being Australia becoming a Two speed economy in NSW, VIC, QLD mostly.

Graph showing the amount of cases on day in all Australian states Victorian COVID-19 data | Coronavirus Victoria. (2021). Retrieved 7 October 2021, from https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/victorian-coronavirus-covid-19-data

WHAT IS TWO-SPEED ECONOMY?

A two speed economy is where one sector of an industry or business grows at a much more rapid rate than another, often making the rate of growth in the smaller sector slow down. In this case we have people during covid making the most money they ever made in their lives and people struggling to get a job or to keep working.

Example the retail trade grew in total profit by 27.4% ($6.3b) in 2019 to 2020.

While accommodation services including hotels, motels and more as well as food services including restaurants and pubs together declined significantly by 13.1% (-$5.6b) from 2019 - 2020. This is all according to bureau of Australian statics.

Australian Industry, 2019-20 financial year. (2021). Retrieved 27 October 2021,

EFFECT ON GOVERNMENT APPEARANCE

The severe effects of the Coronavirus are also affecting the way some people think about the government in Australia as many are unsure about the way that the premiers and acting governing bodies have response and tried to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. This untrust in the acting governing bodies is mostly to the Victorian, new south wales and queensland Premiers and their cabinet as well as towards Scott morrosian and the federal government. Victoria and new south wales governments have lost some trust and gone under strutane due the multiple long lock down and failure to contain covid outbreaks and the queensland government has gone under judgement due to their in ability to deal with covid efficiently and just closing the borders.

This inturn has caused more extreme politically placed people to lose more trust in some of the parts of governments or let them gain more reason to support their ideology. This can be seen in Australia where people are spreading their ideology and ideas through the internet to those who aren’t sure what to believe. In addition this can be dangerous with people spreading incorrect or dangerous information.

THE PUSH AGAINST THE GOVERNING BODIES

Melbourne descends into chaos as police arrest 62 and fire rubber pellets at anti-lockdown protesters (2021). Available at: https://www.theguardian.com (Accessed: 13 October 2021).

Moreover, there have been recent protests in response to the double vaxxed to work rule which has been implemented in Victoria . It is stated in this rule on the vic.gov website that “Workers in residential aged care facilities, Workers at construction sites Workers in healthcare settings Workers at school, childcare and early education services (plus outside school hours care services) Authorised Providers and Authorised Workers. There have been other recent cases of false information being spread around on the internet. For example the more recent cases of a small part of the community eating horse dewormers and while there are human versions of the horse dewormer they are using the horse one which is for horses. This was due to a laboratory experiment showing ivermectin could to an amount stop covid from multiplying in animal cells under a microscope. However this was one experiment that was done and was not proven to work on human cells. Instead people have only read the title of a documents and took the information that they wanted to see.

Link to article explain the situation

(more of this mentioned below)

COVID: CONTROL AND CONSPIRACY

Even with the current resources and enforcement, Covid-19 is still not being controlled in Victoria and many other parts of Australia. But what are these resources and rules and why do people choose not to obey?

THE IMPACT COVID HAS HAD ON UTILIZING RESOURCES AND PROGRESSING SOCIETY.

Covid-19 has enormously aided in advances of future technology and science. Governments around the world have funded for research and innovation conducted by universities, public research institutions and firms in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis. STI, which stands for science, technology and innovation, plays a critical role during the pandemic in building a more resilient, sustainable and inclusive future. As a result of the Covid-19 virus, new and improved forms of scientific communication have evolved. One example is the amount of data being published on social media platforms by Scientists and other people of authorization in the field. They are are reviewing, editing, analyzing, and publishing manuscripts and data speedily, for quick access and collection into research. The public are also learning so much more about Science and Technology as they are forced to be faced with it every day. More people are tuning in to the news, reading articles and conducting research. The vaccine was also created, using new and improved technology, however some of the population is still skeptical on how safe it really is.

THE VACCINE:

Australia began receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in February. The Australian Government’s first priority was to protect our most vulnerable Australians first, as well as the frontline heroes who are protecting all of us. This includes aged care and disability care residents and workers, frontline health care workers, and quarantine and border workers. The first vaccine available to Victoria specifically was Astrazeneca, this was given priority before pfizer came along. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are at least 13 different COVID-19 vaccines currently in use around the world, including the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Vaccines are one of the safest and most effective health interventions for infectious diseases. They have had a staggering impact on reducing the burden of infectious cases worldwide. However, a vaccine is only effective if people are willing to receive it. With rapid research development, many Victorians are concerned that the vaccine was rushed, and with these concerns comes vaccine hesitancy.

Why do people oppose vaccines?

Refusing vaccines started back in the early 1800s when the smallpox vaccine started being used in large numbers. The idea of injecting someone with a part of a cowpox blister to protect them from smallpox faced a lot of criticism. The criticism was based on sanitary, religious, and political objections. Some also believed that the vaccine went against their religion. Although vaccine hesitancy across Australia, and Victoria, continues to steadily fall, from 15% on 23rd September to 13.3% on the 10th October, there is still much that the state needs to combat.

The current hesitancy rate suggests that Australia can achieve at least 87% of the population fully vaccinated, consistent with the steady rise of first dose uptake across states. Most diseases prior to Covid-19 had very little conspiracies surrounding them. Things such as measles vaccine and flu injections, however, the covid-19 vaccine was one of many debate between whether science is to be trusted, the government is to be trusted, and if the vaccines are safe.

Vaccine Hesitancy Report Card (2021), Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research. The Above image represents the proportion of the adult population who are vaccine hesitant on the 5th of February 2021. Victoria comes second, shortly under Queensland at 32.03%
Vaccine Hesitancy Report Card (2021), Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research. The Above image represents the proportion of the adult population who are vaccine hesitant on the 10th of October 2021. All state's vaccine hesitancy has dropped as it has become a requirement, and there is much encouragement to have it.

Since we witnessed covid-19 being slowly brought into the world, first starting in China and moving to Australia, we formed beliefs along the way as we saw the virus grow and mutate along with us. With the newfound importance of media that is being available, it is very easy for unreliable information to be spread around. Even when it doesn't come to covid-19, there are conspiracies behind companies, famous actors and more. It isn’t a surprise that those who lack ability to trust jump to try and find faults in the virus and vaccine. Health professionals and physicians have been combating misconceptions about the vaccine for over twenty years, there are many excuses and conspiracies in order to not receive the vaccine, some popular ones include:

CONSPIRACY/EXCUSE 1: Vaccines cause autism.

During a 1997 study published by British Surgeon Andrew Wakefield, it was suggested that the mumps, measles, rubella (MMR) vaccine was increasing autism in British children. The article was published in a prestigious medical journal named The Lancet, and rised fear in several that vaccines caused autism. The 'study' has ebem discredited several times by many scientists and doctors who say that the paper includes ethical violations, procedural errors and more. Due to the falsehoods of the paper, Wakefield lost his medical license and the paper was retracted from The Lancet, with many who still shame upon what he published. Even though it was claimed as false, the hypothesis was taken seriously, and several other major studies were conducted. None of them found a link between any vaccine and the likelihood of developing autism, but the public who do not wish to take a vaccine still use it to support their argument.

You can read more about Andrew Wakefield's Paper below:

Sourced by: The Guardian, Photograph: Daniel Berehulak/Getty (Andrew Wakefield and his then-wife Carmel in 2007, flanked by supporters ahead of an appearance before the GMC)

CONSPIRACY/EXCUSE 2: Natural immunity is better than vaccine-acquired immunity.

The most famous reason for the population to oppose vaccines is because they believe their bodies can combat a virus more beneficently without the need to inject an antibody in their systems. In some cases, natural immunity does result in a stronger immunity to the disease than a vaccination. However, the dangers of approaching the virus without a vaccine far outweigh the benefits. The chances for death when retracting covid are much higher than death when receiving a Covid vaccine. If you wanted to gain immunity to measles, for example, by contracting the disease, you would face a 1 in 500 chance of death from your symptoms. In contrast, the number of people who have had severe allergic reactions from the vaccine for MMR, it is less than one-in-one million! After vaccination, some side affects are common side effects, such as soreness and fever are common, but this is only a fraction of what the real virus would feel like if you were to contract it. According to CHOP, HPV, tetanus, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), and pneumococcal vaccines induce a better immune response than natural infection. The official science.org website informs that even though natural immunity is an extremely powerful shield to the virus, the vaccine is vital.

A Jerusalem health care worker in January prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine designed to prevent COVID-19. (Sourced: Science.org, Picture: ahmad gharabli/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES)

CONSPIRACY/EXCUSE 3: 'The AstraZeneca vaccine could give me a blood clot.'

There was new information released that the AstraZeneca vaccine has been linked to an extremely rare blood-clotting condition called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS). But really, the risk is extreme small to contract. there were 87 cases of TTS in Australia by early August, from 6.1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Five of those people have sadly passed, however, this means the average number of deaths from TTS caused by AstraZeneca is less than 1 in a million. TTS can be dangerous, but since it was found health professionals have became trained well to recognize and treat TTS, and the chance of survival has became much higher. If you are worried about the Astrazeneca vaccine and the chance of blood clots, there are several other safe and secure vaccines, just like the Astrazeneca vaccine that are available.

(Sourced; BBC article, https://www.bbc.com/news/explainers-56665396, (Cuffe, 2021)) Above is a table to represent how dangerous are the risks of the astrazeneca vaccine compared to others we are currently experiencing, in reality it is much less and even benificial.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and low risk. In fact, you're more likely to get a blood clot from COVID-19 itself, and from many other things, such as oral contraceptive pills, which 1,200 out of 1 million women will develop a blood clot, for every 4,500 flights over 4 hours, there will be 1 incidence of blood clotting, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and many others. It is a personal decision on whether or not you would like to take the atsrazeneca vaccine (unless of course it is the only one available to the age group), however it is not an excuse to invalidate the vaccine or discredit a need for it.

CONSPIRACY/EXCUSE 4: 'I don’t trust the vaccines because they were developed quickly'.

There is much speculation amongst how quick the vaccines were created. As it does seem that they were just created 'overnight' scientists and health professionals have worked with manufacturers to develop a vaccine as soon as the pandemic occured. For example Oxford University in the UK had years of research to create the AstraZeneca vaccine. The technology it has been developed over the past 10 years. It was tested on diseases like the flu and other coronaviruses, such as MERS. The funding helped the vaccine trials to be fast-tracked yet accurate. All of the Covid-19 vaccines approved for use in Australia have been through the same trials as any past vaccine. As more vaccines are developing around the world, such as the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Pfizer, Moderna, COVAX and Sputnik V, the new and improved data is showing the importance of the vaccines, and how they are highly effective for protection the population.

This data by (Our World in Data, google.com) shows how many people have received at least one dose of a vaccine in Australia. People who are fully vaccinated may have received more than one dose.

CONSPIRACY/EXCUSE 5: 'Forcing me to wear a mask violates my human rights'

Many Victorians may have seen the video of the woman arguing with Bunnings staff members who have nicely asked her to wear her mask, as per the Victorian Government’s emergency directive. The woman refuses, crying discrimination and claiming it is a violation of the “1948 Charter of Human Rights”, which to where she is referring to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed by the UN in 1948. However, Victoria also has its own Charter of Human Rights, which sets out the basic rights, freedoms and responsibilities of Victorians.

Like all states, Victoria has legislation which enables the State to make lawful directives when a state of emergency is declared. These emergency laws essentially give the government to make directives they usually wouldn’t be able to make in normal circumstances, in order to protect the community. Masks are effective and may be uncomfortable, but they are not a violation to human rights. Face coverings limit the volume and travel distance of expiratory droplets dispersed when talking, breathing, and coughing. A face covering without vents or holes will also filter out particles containing the virus from inhaled and exhaled air, reducing the chances of infection.

news.com.au, Nationwide News Pty Ltd © 2021. Are masks effective? Graph.
news.com.au, Nationwide News Pty Ltd © 2021. Are masks effective? Graph.

WHAT ARE THEY DOING TO COMBAT THE CONSPIRACIES?

Victoria is trying to combat the several conspiracies/excuses every day. Daniel Andrews speaks about at least one or two every time he comes on his press conference, to again remind Victorians that what they hear on the media is not always true, and actions are not justified that are against the policy or new roadmap. On several occasions he was required to call out those who did not follow the policy, and share to the nation the consequences. The consequences of the 'beliefs' of people opposing to wear a mask or get vaccinated are fatal, in order to put an end to them. Victoria now requires all workers in Melbourne and regional Victoria, on the Authorised Worker list will require their first COVID-19 vaccine dose by Friday, 15 October in order to continue working onsite. They will need to be fully vaccinated by 26 November. If they fail to meet these standards or refuse to be vaccinated, they will be fired from their job. Daniel Andrews talks about how it is a 'choice' to be vaccinated, but because of the current protests and misinformation, as well as spike of cases, he must do what he can. Although labeled a choice, here is really no choice for Victorians to not get vaccinated, and if not obliged, they can be faced with great trouble.

Many do not follow the order to vaccinate or wear protective gear because of personal reasons such as religion or culture. However, many pastors and leaders in faith have came together with the aid of government officials to encourage their religion or culture to take the right steps in order to protect themselves, not lose their jobs and help the community, including the pope.

The above video shows Pope Francis urging people to get vaccinated against Covid-19, calling it an act of love toward others. This is produced to encourage Christians to get vaccinated because of their hesitancy due to their beliefs. (Vatican News - English, 2021)

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE PFIZER AND ASTRAZENECA VACCINE:

There is a main difference between the more popular vaccines, Pfizer and Astrazeneca, that make people in Victoria and everywhere around the world wonder which one to choose. The Astrazeneca vaccine created by Oxford was introduced to Asutralia from the 8th of March 2021. It was beneficial to our country as 'Australia is in a unique position because importantly this vaccine gives us the ability to manufacture onshore.' It was originally only targeted to priorities. This includes health care workers and people over the age of 60. Professor Alison McMillan, Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, states that the reason that it was given to those over 60 only originally, was that the TTS condition that we spoke about prior, (thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome) was more frequent with the younger age groups. For people 60 and over, the benefit of the vaccine in protecting against severe disease and death is much greater protection than if you were to get COVID-19 virus, as older people are much more vulnerable, according to The Australian Government Department of Health (and video attached below!)

The Astrazeneca vaccine uses the traditional method and old technology that was used when creating the past vaccines. The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is known to be a "chimpanzee adenovirus-vectored vaccine". this uncommon term means that thecreators of the vaccine took a virus that normally infects chimpanzees, and genetically modified to avoid any possible disease consequences in people. The modified version of the "chimpanzee adenovirus-vectored vaccine" also known as Astrazeneca, carries a portion of the coronavirus called the “spike protein.” When the vaccine is injected and makes its way into the human cell, it triggers an immune response against that protein, producing antibodies and memory cells that will be able to recognize the virus that causes Covid-19. This method is used in other vaccines such as the Malaria and Ebola vaccine. However, the Pfizer vaccine is different.

Sourced: RACPG, (NewsGP, 2021), A photo of the Pfizer and Astrazeneca vaccine being held beside each other.

The Pfizer vaccine (as well as the moderna) use a new and improved technology instead of sticking to the traditional method. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine uses mRNA technology that scientists have been working on for many years. Some of the earliest successful mRNA vaccine clinical trial results were published in 2008.

How the vaccine enters your body, according to healthline.com:

  1. After you receive the vaccine, the mRNA that it contains is taken up by nearby cells.
  2. Once mRNA is inside of a cell, the mRNA remains outside of the nucleus and doesn’t directly impact your DNA.
  3. The mRNA in the vaccine provides instructions to the cell on how to produce the spike protein that’s found on the surface of SARS-CoV-2. The virus uses this protein to bind to and enter cells before it begins reproducing and spreading the virus throughout your cells.
  4. Using the information provided by the vaccine mRNA, the cell makes spike protein. When this process has been completed, the mRNA is then destroyed.
  5. The spike proteins that the cell has produced are then displayed on the cell surface.
  6. Immune cells in your body can now recognize the spike protein as a foreign substance and work to build an immune response against it.
  7. Your immune system can now produce antibodies and other immune cells that specifically recognize the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. These tools can help to protect you from becoming sick if you’re exposed to the novel coronavirus.

We don't know how this will be in the long run, but it is 5% more effective than the Astrazeneca vaccine, and is targeted to (now) all age groups. Many who are skeptical on the vaccine but must take it by law usually lean towards the Astrazeneca vaccine, as it follows a traditional method. We have not determined the new technology but it has been conducted with much research to support, and we will most likely use this method going forward. According to Forbes, both Moderna and Pfizer, whose vaccines use an mRNA platform, found their vaccines to be about 95% effective. The AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine showed a somewhat lower efficacy, but is less expensive and poses fewer issues involved in distribution and administration.

“We can only hope that together with Pfizer and also Moderna and also Astrazeneca, we will manufacture enough doses.” Dr. Ruud Dobber, president of AstraZeneca U.S.

LOCKDOWN:

In Australia, the government took measures with Covid-19 by enforcing a lockdown every time there was a strike in cases. In victoria, this method was used several times. From the first lockdown which started in March, to the current one, which now holds the title of Victoria’s sixth lockdown, it isn’t turning out great for the state. The current lockdown we are experiencing of September and onwards 2021, the state was put in immediate lockdown after just a small spike in covid cases. Victorians were sick of this as they have already been the most locked down state in the world, counting on a total of 256 days (so far). As soon as one case started and the state was put into lockdown, people couldn’t take it anymore. Many were questioning why we were required to be placed in lockdown with just a few covid cases when states in America are fully open with thousands of cases (so far). The ignorance to follow lockdown restrictions and the struggle to handle the cases after the 6th attempt, didn’t work out for the better. Even though past lockdowns ended up successful, Victorians are tired of repeating the same process and breach lockdown rules for their own personal ‘freedom’. For the 6th and current lockdown, the cases reached a new high and tallied a total of 2,297 in 24 hours.

SHOULD WE HAVE BEEN WORRIED ABOUT VACCINES, OR FOCUSED ON GETTING CASES DOWN?

After speaking to La Trobe University Scholar Jeff Yeoman, we asked the question below above. Should we still worry on getting cases down, or getting everybody vaccinated?

Dr Yeoman states that while it was crucial to keep cases down, getting people vaccinated is more of a reasonable option as of now. The more people vaccinated, the less severe cases meaning hospitals won’t be overflowing and running out of rooms for patients. It is proven that this method is starting to become efficient, at the moment, with around 70% vaccinated with a double dose in Victoria, the numbers are still increasing, but sever cases are declining and risk is getting smaller. There is only .1% of severe Covid cases if you are vaccinated, so based on these statistics we should continue vaccinating.

"The vaccines are definitely benefiting the risk of contracting a severe covid case, with the majority of the population being vaccinated, we can reach our targets of herd immunity."
Dr. Jeff Yeoman, (Sourced: www.latrobeuniversity/scholars.com)
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews captured discussing the new Victorian road map, setting for lockdown to lift once 70% vaccinated. (Sourced: abc.net.au)

In Melbourne’s sixth lockdown the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, has formally abandoned most Victorian's hopes of getting to zero daily cases. Instead, he has replaced it with a new goal, to get at least 80% of Victorians over the age of 16 double vaccinated.

Lockdown is expected to lift once the vaccination rate gets to 70%, expected around 26 October. Support for the Victorian government’s handling of the pandemic is waning. In fact, last week’s Essential poll for Guardian Australia found approval of the Andrews government had dropped to 44%!

Calla Wahlquist from 'The Guardian' states:

"Speak to Melbournians and the overwhelming majority say they support the decision of the Andrews government to lock down hard at the first signs of an outbreak, However there is still much opposition to the health measures, while still a minority movement, is growing and has erupted onto the streets."
COVID: WHAT WENT WRONG?

6 key points of what went wrong:

  1. Not placed in lockdown quick enough, multiple times
  2. Ordering too little of the vaccine and not fast enough
  3. Placing inexperienced workers in hotel quarantine
  4. Not mandating masks until months too late
  5. Not closing borders fast enough multiple times, the most recent causing the third wave
  6. Cross use of staff in nursing homes

HOW HAS THE MISTAKES EFFECTED VICTORIA IN THE LONG TERM?

In ways the mistakes are not still negatively affecting Victoria, as we have learnt from them and used them to help with what we are dealing with now. Our mistakes have taught us far more knowledge about the virus. We now have scientists who are experts in covid and treating it correctly, because everytime we do something wrong we are able to figure out what the error was, and adapt to fixing that for the future.

HOW HAVE WE IMPROVED FOLLOWING THESE MISTAKES

As written earlier, without the mistakes that have been made, Victoria definitely would not be going as well as we are now, even if it seems like we are struggling immensely, we would be in a far worse situation had we not taken the time to study the consequences of each action. As an example, in the beginning of the pandemic it was believed that masks would not make a difference against this virus, however now mask wearing is almost a constant restriction. ‘Research shows that face masks cut down the chances of both transmitting and catching the coronavirus, and some studies hint that masks might reduce the severity of infection if people do contract the disease.’ This is written in an article by nature.com, claiming scientists have confirmed that evidence. It helps citizens to see that victoria has been educated hugely in comparison to thinking masks didn't work in the pandemics beginning.

WHAT DID WE DO WRONG TO STILL BE IN LOCKDOWN ALMOST 2 YEARS LATER?

One mistake we made towards mid this year was not working hard enough to keep the delta strain out of Victoria. This is far more infectious than the original covid strain (alpha), and that is why although we are still in an extremely harsh lockdown, cases are still multiplying and infection rates are growing extremely. The delta variant is roughly 5 times as infectious as the alpha variant that was spreading around in 2020.

There are multiple reasons why Victoria could be struggling far more than other states. For example, Victoria has the second highest population density out of all the Australian states. This obviously makes it easier for a virus to thrive, and therefore harder to get rid of it. Many people also believe that it is the government behind the severity of Victoria's lockdown, however there is no evidence to prove this is true.

STATISTICS OF COVID'S EFFECTS ON VICTORIA?

Covid has killed 826 victorians so far, and 1102 australians. As of october 18th, 64.1 percent of victorians are fully vaccinated, and as of october 20th the whole of australia is 70 percent fully vaxxed.

WHY DID VICTORIA AND NSW STRUGGLE THE MOST?

Victoria and NSW struggled the most as they are two most populated states in Australia, and have lots of tourists and planes leaving and arriving each day. Before borders shut cases emerged from international travel and travel from both states to each other.

Altogether Australia has had 75,342 cases compared to the USA 41,853,362 cases so why is Australia still struggling and having lockdowns for half the year?

America and Australia approached Lockdown differently, Victoria went into more lockdowns as they were originally trying to reach a 0 case target instead of a vaccine target. Victoria locked down at 50 cases, and had several snap lockdowns whereas America and other countries are not locking down until reaching high number cases.

WHY DOES AUSTRALIA, SPECIFICALLY VICTORIA, STILL HAVE SO LITTLE PEOPLE VACCINATED?

Australia did not order in enough vaccines as soon as they came out, meaning we didn't get enough to start vaccinating the whole nation immediately. ‘Melbourne GPs say they are being forced to turn away huge numbers of vaccine-seeking locals, including busloads of vulnerable residents from care facilities, because the commonwealth’s supply of doses has not increased to match the explosion in demand.’ This is a sentence from an article by theguardian.com, and it is proving the knowledge that in the beginning of the pandemic it was very difficult to get a vaccine. Victoria also ordered far more astrazeneca than we did pfizer, which was a mistake as astra has now been proven to sometimes have fatal blood clotting side effects, and is much safer when only being given to older people.

53.8m doses of astrazeneca were initially ordered into Australia, while only 20m of Pfizer were ordered. Since then, another vaccine named Moderna has arrived in Victoria, which is very similar to Pfizer. On the 21st of October 2021, Victoria hit the milestone of 70 percent fully vaccinated, after having to work through multiple vaccination shortages.

a picture of Australia's original vaccine rollout plan. Since then this has been edited multiple times. Source: victoria state government. 2021. covid 19 update. [online] Available at: <https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/covid-19-chief-health-officer-update> [Accessed 20 October 2021].

How has victoria ended up in such a bad lockdown TWICE when almost every other state have only been in small lockdowns?

If we think back to last year, Victoria came out of lockdown when we had zero cases, and were out for about a month, however when cases started worsening again, we didn't go back into lockdown until we were getting 700 new cases daily. This was a huge mistake as it meant it would take months and months for us to be able to reverse the continuous effect. Since then, we have learnt from this, evident when we look at the amount of snap lockdowns Victoria has been in during 2021. Snap lockdowns are created when small case numbers begin to arise, and they are used to stop the spread from growing larger and becoming uncontrollable.

a graph of the case numbers during victoria's second wave, sourced: Static.ffx.io. 2021. the rise and fall of victorias second wave. [online] Available at: <https://static.ffx.io/images/> [Accessed 18 October 2021].

WHY IS VICTORIA STILL IN LOCKDOWN AND WHY DID VICTORIA NOT GO INTO LOCKDOWN FASTER IN THE BEGINNING?

The cases keep going up and down when we come in and out of lockdown. Cases will continue to rise and lower until we get around 75%-80% vaccinated. As of right now, 88.8% have had the first dose of vaccine and 68% are fully vaccinated. Victoria was scheduled to be will be 70% fully vaccinated on 18 November and 80% vaccinated on 10 December, however now it seems like Victoria will be 80% fully vaccinated within two weeks.

In the beginning of this pandemic no one would have known or been able to guess how long this would go on for, and how fatal it would prove to be. People, including government health officials, didn't put Victoria into lockdown straight away because they were not aware that was the solution. A pandemic this extreme hasn't happened in decades and decades, so it was difficult for even the most important people to know how to handle this.

A map depicting the rise and fall of covid cases, from the beginning of the pandemic to now. Vic.gov.au. (2021). Victorian COVID-19 data | Coronavirus Victoria. [online] Available at: https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/victorian-coronavirus-covid-19-data. (snip from the victorian health website)

THE QUARANTINE ISSUE:

There was a huge issue which led to the beginning of the second wave. Someone decided to trade the hotel quarantine officers with private security officers, and it lead to a massive outbreak causing 768 deaths. It is still unknown who it was, as no one owned up to it.

WHAT MISTAKES DID WE MAKE DURING THE VACCINE ROLLOUT?

Victoria ordered a much larger load of AZ than we did pfizer, and as it turned out, pfizer was the type the majority of people required. Victoria also did not get in early enough, so the first few months of having the vaccine there was a very, very large shortage of vaccinations. This was a mistake as we have now figured that the vaccine is the most effective solution at the moment. As of october 18th we're at the milestone of 61 percent second dose. A third vaccine has since been provided in Australia, however again, there is a very small amount of it.

WHAT WERE VICTORIAS INITIAL MISTAKES DURING THE BEGINNING OF THE PANDEMIC?

Victoria received their first positive covid case on January 25th 2020. A man who had recently returned from Wuhan, China. However, Victoria did not close their borders until almost 2 months later, on March 20th. This was the first big mistake, as in this time it allowed many cases to be created and spread throughout the community. Masks were also not made mandatory until the 18th July 2020. Victoria has now been under mask mandates since early this year.

During the second wave in 2020, Premier Daniel Andrews writes; "Ultimately, you run out of people, you can have all the machines you want, but machines don't treat patients, people treat patients. And you just run out of them after a while." This was addressing the real time issue that there were so many people in the icu, and while there was so far enough room for them all, there was a shortage of health workers available to care for them all. This has since been corrected, as the vaccine has helped reduce the amount of people with covid having to be hospitalised.

Photo of scientists with the Covid-19 Vaccine. Sourced: timesnow,com (Phelamei, 2021)

SOLUTION:

WHAT COULD WE HAVE DONE TO POTENTIALLY LESSEN THIS VIRUS IN VICTORIA?

(collective solution, all members)

Vaccinations are the main target in the Victorian government today, and this is what they should have carried out from the beginning.

We need to get everyone vaccinated. This is one of the biggest mistakes that the Victorian Government did not make as soon as there were zero cases. As great as it is to have zero cases, it will eventually go away by one mishap of a positive covid-19 case, and this was what occurred currently. While there was no cases, it gave the Government the perfect opportunity to have the time to receive and manufacture the vaccines, and vaccinate everybody while there is no active cases. Victoria didn't get enough vaccinations right away. There were 25 million people needing to be vaccinated but only a about 100,000 vaccines. As well as the lack of vaccines only accessible for those over the age of 40. Although the vaccines were given to priority, such as NSW at the time, the Australian Government disregarded Victoria as they were already virus-free. Even when giving priority vaccines to NSW, the government should have provided Victoria with them so they could keep the state without any cases. Once there is one case during a no restriction policy, it gets out of hand.

Daniel Andrews should not have put Victoria into a snap lockdown once there was a sudden spike with a few cases. It is reasonable to put Victoria in a lockdown, however when it is 6 times, with only a few cases, Victorians are not obeying lockdown protocol. With the constant lockdowns when it is not serious, just to get the number back to zero, many Victorians are sick of it. Protests and rebuttal occurs and people do their own thing. Because of this, when it comes to a serious lockdown, they are'not going to listen as they are used to the quick descend into zero cases like each other snap lockdown. The Victorian Government should have been more focused on effective contact tracing and isolating them efficiently with monitoring instead of locking down the whole city. Those with the virus are much more likely to listen to the rules than those who are locked down for no reason. While we do not want to be like America, it is good to have a sense of balance, and remind Victorians that lockdown is serious. With no hope at contact tracing now, we must use vaccination as an alternative to open the state and make Victorians happy, why didn't we do this when there were just 5 cases? Why must we wait for lockdown to spiral out of control?

As of now we have improved and are able to get everyone 12 and over vaccinated. We still don't have a vaccine for kids under 12, but if we get 80% of the population double dosed, than we are closer to achieving our goal. Now that we have reached 70% fully vaccinated in Victoria, there is a new and improved roadmap which includes assess to more freedoms on 22nd of October. There are more cases, but luckily they are not ascending into the 10's of thousands. This proves that vaccinations are the solution and a lot of our mistakes were surrounding not getting the population vaccinated quick enough.

Although Australia is still not fully vaccinated, they are well on track. Victoria has reached the third step of the road map until being in 'covid normal'. there is no curfew or reasons to leave home, and schools have had a much needed re-opening.

The New Victoria Roadmap (Fletchers Real Estate, 2020)

Compared to the rest of the world Australia at the start did not have enough vaccines but now they have received enough to continue the rollout. However, compared to countries like Portugal, whose population is fully vaccinated and has the highest vaccination rates in the world, we need much improvement. Portugal was able to do this within 9 months and is back to life without lockdowns and restrictions. If Australia had done this we too could have been out months ago.

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