Our days at Encounter Bay during the Covid-19 lock down are simple. We walk the poodles in the morning and the afternoon, shop when it is necessary and stay at home. We have used out time at home to work on the garden. When we are not gardening I have been gathering material for, and working on, the Bowden Archive and Other Marginalia book and briefly looking at some of the photos from New Zealand.

The alarm goes at 5.30 am and I am out walking with Kayla along the coast around 6am. I am often alone –at most there may be a couple of other people walking along the Encounter Bay beach or the coastal path from Petrel Cove to Kings Beach. I return home for breakfast about 7.30 am.

Granite Island causeway

Thankfully we don’t have a rigid interpretation of the social distancing rules in South Australia with respect to a moral policing of one’s neighbours and the heavy-handed interpretation of the rules by the police. People can still walk their dogs, sit on a park bench, or go for a run. For many people this will be the most stressful moment of their lives: they may feel lonely, claustrophobic, anxious about their health or livelihoods or those of their families. Many do not have gardens and will be suffering from their lack of personal space. Some will be in agonising or abusive relationships and need some time to themselves. And others really will need to sit down when they exercise.

grass, granite, quartz

Presumably, if the current round of social-distancing measures works, the pandemic may ebb enough for things to return to a semblance of normalcy.  There could be travel within state boundaries, offices could fill, shops opened and schools return. Central to this strategy will a boost to testing and tracing programs, upgrades to the capacity to respond to localised outbreaks, and presumably, the introduction of a tracker app.

The return to a semblance of normalcy will probably see a resurgence of the virus. There will be more bouts of less extreme social distancing as the virus simmers around the world, triggering epidemics every few years or so. Basically you would need half your population to have been infected to achieve a level of population immunity that would stop the epidemic continuing to grow and overwhelming healthcare systems. At this stage no-one really knows whether those who have recovered from the virus have developed an immunity to it, or if they have, how long lasting that immunity would be.

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