“Oh dear God, please don’t tell me people are lining up for toilet paper?”, I asked the two women at the end of the queue that had formed outside Lismore Central late this afternoon. “No, it’s just a fire alarm”, they replied with laughing recognition that it might actually have been the toilet paper issue happening again.
The last time this happened was when I was home in Lismore earlier this year, and amidst talk about an imminent lockdown, there had been a run on toilet paper. Hopefully, people aren’t stupid enough to think a COVID outbreak means they need to stock up on toilet paper, but there was a sense of familiarity about it all.
I’d come home for a family funeral and had always planned to stay a couple of weeks. But then cases began to increase dramatically each day. Masks were required in all indoor settings, and people were become very familiar with QR-codes.Surely it’s not happening again? I mean it can’t.
At the time, the prevailing view was that NSW had to be dragged kicking and screaming into lockdowns. The view was NSW was roughly “two weeks late”. This time around there’s a view NSW is roughly “two weeks late” again. Cases reached almost 6,000 today. Back then we were talking about 100s.
Though there’s been a dramatic increase in vaccination, and the narrative has turned from cases to hospitalisations and patients in intensive care. But I still can’t see the forecast 25,000 daily cases isn’t going to mean significant deaths and hospitalisations. And then there’s the increased pressure on people working, due to the large number of people calling in sick. And there’s also the restaurant cancellations from people worried about becoming infected. etc.etc.
The great lesson of the last eighteen months seems to be the public has been consistently a step ahead of our politicians.
Despite this, it’s lovely being home with my family.
One of the things that has really touched me since being back is the discovery some long-standing family and friendship feuds seem to be coming to an end. People have been reaching out to each other and saying, “it’s time for us to resolve these arguments”. I don’t think it’s Christmas. I think it’s wisdom that comes from age. And maybe the fatigue of the last eighteen months. Maybe some good really has come from this?