Tuesday, June 23, 2020

The new normal

Tuggerah Lake this morning
With respect to COVID-19, South Korea and Australia have much in common.  Both have the benefit of being islands (discounting the closed land border between North and South Korea), and both have similar per capita case and death rates.  Both have relatively compliant populations, good testing and tracing capacity, and excellent health systems.

COVID-19 surfaced about 20 days earlier in South Korea so it might be a good short-term predictor of what will happen in Australia.  If that is the case, then we should get used to what is currently happening in Melbourne where virus hotspots are causing such angst.

The Entrance this morning
In South Korea, with double Australia's population, an average of between 40 and 50 new cases of the virus have been identified each day during June, predominantly in Seoul, the capital.  The South Korean authorities are fearful that they may lose control of the virus and are contemplating reimposing regional restrictions if the number of new cases does not decline in the next few days.

All of this sounds very similar to what is happening in Melbourne, where new cases have been averaging between 10 and 20 in June with a recent uptick.

I am skeptical that either Australia or South Korea can eliminate the virus.  The new normal will be an underlying base of community transmission, identified hotspots and temporarily-tightened regional restrictions in both countries.

For my exercise today, I took my touring bike out for an hour and a half to see how the hip flexor coped with real biking, as opposed to the trainer.  There was pain there, but it was low level and easily tolerable.  Not that different from when I took some long bike rides a month or so ago, so I'm feeling a little more optimistic that my body will cope with our looming bike adventure.  Nine days to go, assuming the Queensland government does the right thing and announces this weekend that they will open their borders on 10 July.

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