Remember when there was no toilet paper and long lines at the supermarket. We were told to stay at home but shopping for essentials was permitted - and that's where the people gathered, and bought toilet paper, if they could.
Then there was not enough vaccinations and long waits for a jab. There was a strong push for all to step up to be counted among those who had been vaccinated - but there was simply not enough available at the time.
More recently it has been a matter of no rapid antigen tests and long lines at the PCR testing clinics.
The message now is... well I'm not really sure anymore. There are so many messages. Am I the only one overwhelmed by the ever-changing directives on the COVID rollercoaster?
As I listen closely to understand those directives this is how it has translated in my head:
If you have been a close contact, have symptoms, or are traveling interstate you will need to get a test. But the lines are long. Try not to add to the situation.
You can do a rapid antigen test, but these are near impossible to access at the moment. Oh, and they are not as accurate.
Although I am also wondering how well we can rely on the PCR tests? After all hundreds of people were sent incorrect messages on Christmas Day due to an error at St Vincent's Hospital.
With the false comfort of a negative result the festivities with family and friends were enjoyed. The potential impact of that error is no doubt now unravelling, after all the number of positive cases is rising rapidly. And that tally only includes the people who have been able to get a PCR test and have had the correct results recorded. Even the wait time for test results has blown out.
Then there are those who took rapid antigen tests to make sure they were safe to be with family over Christmas, many were happy to receive a negative result only to come down with COVID symptoms days later.
The rapid antigen tests have also been unacceptable for people needing to test before traveling interstate to Queensland. Fortunately this will change on January 1. Of course there will still be the challenge of accessing these tests. We have been advised by NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet more have been ordered but won't arrive until late January.
Over the past, near, two years there have been the lockdowns, the financial and mental health concerns, increased unemployment, then not enough staff to fill the jobs available.
There have been the struggles in many industries - tourism, arts and entertainment quickly spring to mind. Meanwhile there have been pushes at every opportunity to get out and support these industries. Of course that too is an ever-changing directive. These are often the first things forced to shutdown or be restricted whenever there is an upswing in cases.
At this point on the COVID pandemic ride about the only thing we can truly rely on is common sense - wear masks in indoor environments (other than home), social distance, wash hands and - the big one - stay at home if you are feeling unwell.
However, as a doctor acquaintance said to me recently "common sense is not so common". Let's hope it becomes more common than this Coronovirus, in its many mutations, that has dominated our lives for almost two years.
Stay safe and make common sense a priority,
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