Virus case figures offer hope but path remains long

Chief Medical Officer Brett Sutton expressed cautious confidence on Friday. Credit:Jason South

But the complexity and scale of this crisis should also offer some caution. The spread of cases in regional Victoria is an alarming development, the inability to contain the escalating deadly outbreaks in aged care homes is a calamity, and the growing number of healthcare workers testing positive is an unacceptable occupational hazard.

If this were an ultramarathon, as Premier Daniel Andrews likes to say, then we may have passed halfway, but there is little sign of the home stretch. Far from it. The following weeks are going to stretch people's resilience. But it should be of some comfort that the path before us is substantially the right one.

Making face masks compulsory was the right decision, as was the return to remote learning for all students. While it has been so much harder, we did need to shut down non-essential retail stores and wind back construction. What we need now are clear guidelines for when and how we can reopen the economy safely.

It has been a truly remarkable effort. There are few of life's routines that have not been turned on their head. It has been five months since the first restriction was put in place banning events with 500 or more people. While at the time not going to the football may have seemed an unimaginable inconvenience, time has tempered our expectations.

We know it's not merely strange or monotonous for many: 250,000 Victorians have been stood down from their jobs, thousands of others have seen their education derailed, and the financial and social stresses have damaged family relationships. As the Prime Minister said on Friday, "this is the hardest year of our lives".

And for those who have lost loved ones, no matter what their age or underlying health condition, the pandemic will always be a reminder of their grief. The Age offers each and every one of you our deepest sympathies.

While a few days of falling numbers is a long way from a resolution, let us hope the worst is behind us. Let us hope the commitment and care we have shown for each other will remain a lasting legacy. Let us remember to keep hope.

Note from the Editor

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