Two weeks ago I was frustrated and angry at having our second lockdown extended for another two weeks. Since March, we have had only two weeks in which we could travel away from our house and we have been feeling very restricted. I think we have some good news now and that is going to be the focus of this blog post.
For the last seven weeks (with one week to go) Victorians have been really restricted in their movement. The restrictions imposed on us have been designed to do just one thing – keep us apart. We haven’t been able to have others in our homes, travel more than 5 km away, or spend no more than one hour per day out of our homes exercising or shopping. Restaurants, pubs, shops and bars have been closed as have most services businesses. Like everyone else, I cannot wait until the hairdressers go back to work. Some people are complaining that this is a police state and not part of a democracy. For me, I am happy to accept restrictions if they improve the situation and create a good outcome. So let’s look at the figures.
In early August Victoria was incurring 720 new cases of the virus each day. Today we have reduced that to just 14!
I’ve tracked the numbers carefully. Eight weeks ago, the incidence of new cases was increasing at an average of 9% per week. If that growth rate had continued at the same rate over the last 10 weeks we would now be experiencing 1730 new cases per week. That’s a lineal measure but the virus actually increases exponentially. Assuming a conservative exponential rate that is 50% higher than the linear rate, we would’ve been experiencing around 2600 new cases per day. At a mortality rate of 3% that would’ve meant around 80 deaths per day. A decrease in new cases to only 14 per day is a very admirable result and one, which for me, makes the lockdown worthwhile. Without it, we would’ve had around 51,000 more infections in Victoria. We have saved over 1,500 lives . I am still tired of being confined to home but these results are well worth it, even though some people are protesting about the lack of their personal freedoms.
Over the last couple of weeks, as we enter spring, we have more sunny days and the weather creates brighter spirits and a much more positive feeling for me. While Jill and I have probably not abided by our restrictions exactly to the letter, we have in spirit, and we have not engaged in any dangerous activity. It’s been very nice just to go for a drive within our 5 km travel zone and get out of the house. We know that this virus is terribly contagious. There has been one family of five households in Melbourne who visited each other over the last two weeks, against all the regulations. It turned out that one infected person has now infected over 40 others in that family. We certainly don’t want to contribute to that sort of thing.
Near us, is an historic apple orchard which is now run by the National Parks Service. It’s right on the border of our 5km travel limit. In the early days, and just before we built our house, this suburb was a prime fruit growing area. (The land that was subdivided as a residential area and on which our house is built was originally a lemon orchard). Mr Petty, one of the local pioneers, owned a large orchard that borded the Yarra River. It contains quite a number of historic varieties of apples that are no longer found in the shops. In one of the rustic old sheds is a cafe and shop. We have visited the orchard over the last couple of weekends to buy a coffee and enjoy the sunshine. One of our Australian colloquialisms is that to be a little silly is to be ‘a kangaroo loose in the top paddock’. Even though the kangaroos were grazing between the trees, this area was still quite sane and peaceful..
One of the benefits of having more sunny days is that our solar energy panels and Tesla battery are providing 100% of our electricity needs. A couple of months ago we were only producing about 10% of our power but for the last few days we have not only been charging our battery to 100% (which sees us right through the night) but we have also been feeding power back into the grid.
Many of the plants in our garden are now in flower including our azaleas. They are now very old. When we built our house in 1972 , and we are both working, we would have dinner on a Friday night at our local shopping mall. The Coles Variety Store there had a gardening counter and sold Azalea’s in small tubes for $.20 each. Now, after 48 years they are fine plants and they make our spring garden quite spectacular.
I might have mentioned in an earlier post that another benefit of this lockdown is that we are home to eat all of the vegetables that we have been growing in our vegetable garden. At other times we have planted vegetables and then gone travelling
and not been home at the time when they are ready to harvest. This year we have had a good harvest of broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and spring onions. Broad beans, carrots, kale and rhubarb are coming along nicely.
As we look back on our time at home since March we have been fortunate to have celebrated a good number of occasions in grand style. We simulated an Anzac Day lunch, early in the peace, with a lunch of hardtack, bully beef and jam.. We were able to get out for a picnic in between the first and second lockdowns for my birthday. For Jill’s birthday, our wedding anniversary, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, along with our wedding anniversary we have celebrated with very nice order-in meals from some of Melbourne’s top restaurants.
Jill celebrated her birthday earlier this month on 8 September
On Tuesday, September 15 we had a wonderful celebration when my favourite aunt, Phyllis, turned 100 years of age. In this Covid environment it was very difficult for her to have a large celebration but she could have her immediate family visit in her aged care centre and she had quite the party over lunch on her birthday. I was fortunate that I could have a ‘window visit’ and I spent half an hour chatting to her through the open doorway from the garden area outside her room. (Many of the deaths in our state come from elderly people in nursing homes and they are very careful not to allow this virus to spread inside their buildings).
Auntie Phyl is one of eight children and my mother’s younger sister. She left school when she was 14 and began an apprenticeship with a company that made lingerie, wedding dresses and trousseaus. She became a skilled seamstress. Her last job was in a company that made window blinds and we had a couple of the ones that she made in our kitchen windows for some years. She married her husband Norm in 1948 and had three children – Jenny, David and Phillip. Norm died in 1999. Until recently, she was living independently at home but unfortunately became too frail for this to continue. For only the last few years she has been living in an aged care centre. She has some difficulty remembering specific details like dates and some people’s names but she can still carry a very intelligent conversation.
I’m pretty much a ‘glass half full person’ (as opposed to a glass half empty one) and I’ve been working on keeping my sense of humour active over the last two weeks of this lockdown. I have been posting a number of Dad Jokes on my Facebook page and in case you have missed them, here are some of my more recent ones that tickled my sense of humour. We now only have one week to go before these restrictions are lifted in some form and I’m looking forward to some level of increased flexibility and freedom from lockdown next weekend.