28 July 2021

Jeff Sparrow: “The desultory vaccine rollout in Australia proves that, as an administrator, Scott Morrison makes a good curry. Yet even without his government’s remarkable ineptitude, the emergence of the Delta variant was, in a sense, inevitable. Viruses mutate — that’s their whole point. Even if we control Delta, new diseases will emerge, either different strains of Covid or, God help us, entirely new viruses. … We might not know the exact cause of this particular outbreak but we’ve been repeatedly warned that ongoing deforestation and uncontrolled urbanism create the conditions for the spread of pathogens to which we have no resistance. Covid-19 only kills a small proportion of those it infects — and still the global death toll from the pandemic stands at more than 4 million. What happens if the next virus we release is more like Ebola, with a morbidity rate of over 60%? To put it another way, renewed normality isn’t the solution — it’s the problem. … There is, after all, a term for doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results — and that insanity doesn’t merely pertain to Covid. … In the words of a leaked draft from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: ‘The worst is yet to come, affecting our children’s and grandchildren’s lives much more than our own.’ That’s why, even in lockdown doldrums, we need to rekindle a belief in the possibilities for change. Covid has shown that people can adapt. None of us thought that we’d become accustomed to wearing masks, to teleconferencing and to working from home. We put up with lockdown; we altered the way we lived — because that was what the times required. We know we can change. We’ve shown it.”