SENTINEL-TIMES COMMENT

DAY after day, if anyone is still listening to it, Premier Daniel Andrews and Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton drone on and one about the same things.
How wildly infectious COVID-19 is and why restrictions have to stay in place until… what happens? Until, as the other state governments are already doing successfully, we can handle the outbreaks as they arise.
But it’s always just about the health objectives associated with the pandemic.
What about all the other factors that are just as important as the COVID-19 health considerations – jobs, mental health issues, physical fitness, family connections, getting businesses reopened and life back to as close to normal as possible.
You never hear about all the other implications of staying locked down and the long-term damage being caused. It needs to be a compromise surely, between all the important considerations, not just health.
We saw at the weekend, for example, the value of having top-line sporting activity to provide entertainment, distraction and hope.
And the AFL, Queensland government, the players and officials, including Leongatha’s own Matt Stevic, should be congratulated for persevering to get the football season to such an exciting conclusion.
“Where would Dustin Martin be without football?” was the unexpectedly deep comment heard yesterday during the celebrations.
It alludes to the huge community benefit of having kids and adults involved in local sport, and also other community-based activity such as theatre, singing, dance… whatever.
It teaches us good citizenship, teamwork and trust while boosting self-confidence, physical fitness, capacity and resilience.
So, what’s going on in the community while we are being deprived of these pursuits? What is the damage being caused?
Victorians have already given up a lot to help drive COVID-19 numbers down to manageable levels and with the improvements that have been made in treatment outcomes, it’s time to acknowledge the full breadth of what we’ve lost fighting this “wickedly contagious virus” and unwind the restrictions, while continuing to practise safe social precautions.