Dear Covid19 –

It appears as though you’ve made yourself at home in our lives, weaselling your way in with the intention of never leaving. You’ve made yourself the ‘new norm’. We will never thank you for coming into our lives but we must all accept your presence and deal with you as best we can. And we will.

I’ve come to learn that you’re just as fond of animals as you are humans. Your knack of having your way inside any vector with a beating heart only proves your obsession with power is greater than anything we’ve seen on Succession.

Now that you’re here, we’ve taken global action to curb your power. We accelerated a vaccine program with billions of dollars of investment and an unprecedented number of volunteers to flank you on all sides. But there were weak points in our defence that you cunningly exploited. Anti-Vaxxers – some of whom thought such an incredible scientific and medical response was too good to be true – some of whom thought Jesus was their vaccine – some of whom thought Bill Gates was having his own misanthropic party – created opportunities for you to party yourself, like it was 1999.

For those of us fully vaccinated and boosted, you will only have a 1/1,000,000 chance of killing us. You’re luckier with unvaccinated humans: a 1/100 chance. To date, you’ve been responsible for an excess mortality estimate of 3 million people. We’re just grateful you’re not the bubonic plague, ten times more deadly with a comparable EM figure of 30 million. But we begrudgingly respect the fact that you are not done, and your mutant powers could escape our clutch and find a way to nullify our defence. To do so would be a dog act. No ifs or buts.

In two years you’ve shown your true colours. And you’ve helped us show ours – for better or worse.

We had to change the way we worked, socialised, exercised, studied, nursed, transacted, funeralled, grieved and faced our own demons in small rooms with a solitary window to the world outside. Our governments grappled with a one-in-one hundred year event that they had no policy for; no plan, no idea. Some grappled well, others not so. Here in Australia, you achieved what some thought impossible; turning a federation back into a hackneyed bunch of Colonial provinces with their own idealogies and agendas. You turned Premiers into Prima Donna’s and Prime Ministers into… well actually it seems he hasn’t changed a bit. Hubris doesn’t allow for introspection. Not like the way we’ve all had to look deep inside and find new levels of compassion and resilience. As we all know, the greatest role that any government has is to protect the health, safety and well-being of its citizenry. Many of our leaders have abrogated that responsibility at any chance. That they would choose to let Australians be “grown ups” and take responsibility for their own “public” health under the banner of “let it rip” is evidence of their irresponsibility. Such folly punctuates the pages of history.

It is hubris that allows leaders to espouse certainty in the most uncertain of times. The unwillingness and reluctance to reverse a public health decision based on political expediency rather than public good is a greater betrayal. Our elected representatives tried to get us to follow them out of this situation often by designing their own path rather than listening to those that actually know the way out. And they are not alone.

In the US, the President of the day was so slow to react to your arrival that he single-handedly denied a nation of health care workers with adequate PPE equipment, causing unnecessary deaths, sickness and absences from work in an industry of people who commit their lives to protecting others at their own expense already. And to top it off, he added more digits to the excess mortality rate by suggesting that you would succumb to the powers of hydroxichloroquine and other cocktail mixers. I know you’re laughing. If I mentioned the word “Ivermectin”… yep, thought so.

Like I said, your impact is not only on our health but on our humanity. You’ve brought us out of our own shadows, providing a reason for idealogies (as weird and scary as they may be) to see the light of day. Admittedly, this is not all your own doing. We’ve created a world of haves and have nots, and the nots are finding their voice, rallying against evils that often only exist in their minds, but are now taking up residency in their hearts. They have felt unheard and unseen for too long, so they march against any form of tyranny, imagined or otherwise.

And while humanity has floundered on many occasions in your presence, we’ve also flourished. We have forged a new collective identity even in isolation. We have a new shared experience that, like a web, connects us all together. We have faced a fragility some of us have never felt before, and we have learned some of the greatest lessons of all: we are human, we are mortal, we are clever, resilient and hopeful, and we are only going to grow stronger in your presence. And we all know how to video conference, so thanks.

We never wanted you, but now that we have you, we will show you the power of adaptation. That’s what humans do. That’s our mutant power.

I look forward to your demise in 2022.

Paul Chappell

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Sydney, Australia

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Paul Chappell

Paul Chappell

Sydney, Australia

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