SENTINEL-TIMES COMMENT

IT’S a bloody pandemic, right, so not everything is going to go to plan.

It’s clear to everyone that the Omicron variant, allegedly 70-times more infectious than Delta, has taken everyone by surprise.

They’ve had to switch to rapid antigen tests because a tsunami of PCR tests had already swamped the testing stations and analysis labs, so it’s stands to reason you need to try something else.

The federal government had the chance to buy RAT kits from a local manufacturer months and months ago, and in hindsight, they probably should have. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

But they’re starting to arrive now, and by next week, there should be plenty available for purchase.

Should they be free? Not even Anthony Albanese can say that but on balance, if it’s going to be the system we are relying on from now on, they should at least be made available at a heavily subsidised price. At least they won’t be wasted then.

And we’ve seen this week, that there’s been a hiccup in the rolling out of the kids’ vaccinations, due in part to adequate supplies not being made available, but mostly because there aren’t enough venues administering the kids’ doses.

There’s a natural response about what happens to the kids and their families after a return to school on Monday, January 31 if most aren’t vaccinated but we are also told by Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly that the risk of anything more than mild symptoms is low in young children.

The key, according to the head of the influential Doherty Institute, Professor Sharon Lewin is to rush out and get the third dose.

We’re just lucky at this stage that this latest variant produces mostly mild reactions, notwithstanding the fact that it is putting thousands off work.

That’s probably the biggest thing right now, the number of businesses, especially around the coast where COVID-19 appears to be running rife, that have had to close for lack of staff.

It means we have to redouble our efforts to wear masks, keep your distance, stay outdoors and only meet in small groups, even if it’s just to slow down the spread of the virus, which we are told will ultimately get most of us anyway.
Don’t stress. The government is going to get it wrong some of the time but that’s the nature of the beast.