Navigating through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic is like playing a scary board game.
You think you are moving forward with a chance of landing on a square that says "well done, you can now socialise with your friends" or "the community has followed the rules, you can reopen your business".
But you know you have to pass that square that says "people have stepped off a ship without being tested and extensive spread of the virus is possible, go back five squares, this game is going to take longer to complete" or even worse is that square that says "several people broke quarantine, and the virus is out of control, return to the start."
There is also that terrifying square that says "your best friend was asymptomatic, unknowingly passed the virus on to you, and you just visited your sick aunt with a compromised immune system". It could be game over.
We can point fingers, and many times those pointed fingers are well warranted. Criticism of great merit that quickly spring to mind include quarantine security should have been better enforced, and people in quarantine should have respected the regulations intended to protect the well-being of very person in the community.
Everyone was impacted through the first wave - some more than others. At that point the challenges and outcome of this metaphoric board game was unknown. It had everyone on tenterhooks as they speculated what would happen on the path ahead, who would survive, which businesses would still operate, would life ever return to normal?
Well for most of us, we have begun to approach the good squares. The ones that allow for greater freedom, easing of restrictions, more social activities, open for business signs. But this is not the end of the board game. Don't be lulled into a false sense of security. We have not crossed the finish line.
The situation in Victoria is clear proof that this game is not over. Blocking the finish line is a square that says "bad luck, some people in your community did not take this situation as seriously as they should have, more people are getting sick, so you need to return to the start and try again."
So close, but yet so far. It is the square that could reduce you to tears.
You already know what it's like to navigate the hurdles of lockdown, you know that sense of cabin fever, the battle to find staples at the supermarket or loneliness of no social connections. You may even know the heartache of losing a loved one to the virus.
Now more than ever you know you never want to be in this position again. But you are. Well at least that is the case in parts of Victoria.
The rest of us, can for the moment, look on and feel a sense of relief that it is not us. But it could be with one simple slip up.
We can not become complacent. We have not crossed the finish line...not even close without a vaccine or effective treatment. And there are a lot of hazards to navigate before this game is over.
This game of life as we know it needs to be taken very seriously.
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