NOW, more than ever, we seem to be hearing about work colleagues, friends, extended family members and kids with COVID-19.

Far more, it seems, than at the so-called height of the pandemic last year when sports, businesses and everything else it seems was locked down.
It probably says three things about the way we’ve responded to the pandemic: 1. We were navigating unchartered waters. 2. The measures we took, closing down business, schools, events and almost everything else went too far. 3. Also, that we’ve done away with responsible measures like wearing masks and giving people space too quickly.

Certainly, when we initially introduced all the restrictions, Victoria had just gone through a tragic time with deaths in aged care, due to a lack of trained staff and low vaccination rates in aged care, and vaccine levels were also low through the general population while the more dangerous Delta strain was rolling through.

So, government needed time to respond.

But even though we’ve done away with almost all of the restrictions now, the danger has not passed. While most people seem to be handling their brush with COVID with the minimum of fuss, there are still those who are getting sick, some hospitalised, so we should still be taking precautions.

Getting your third dose of the vaccine is a must, not only reducing the severity of your illness but also reducing the likelihood of spreading the virus. And a fourth jab is on its way.

We should also consider wearing masks again in confined spaces and be prepared to be supportive of those who still wish to wear their masks.

So no, we haven’t dropped the ball on COVID-19 by allowing business to reopen, by allowing unlimited numbers at the footy and by restarting local sports and events but the pandemic is not over and with potential for other, stronger variants to arrive, we need to keep hand washing, social distancing and mask wearing in our arsenal while also keeping up to date with our vaccinations.