The mandatory wearing of masks covering sits somewhere between common sense and total idiocy.
I arrived to catch a flight last week to discover that wearing masks is now mandatory in all Australian airports. It's a surreal sight to see people wearing these compliance indicators with little consideration of why.
Already the airport seating has social distancing markers. There is hand sanitiser galore and most people are now using self-service check in. The security screening is similarly social distanced. Peculiarly, you can take your mask off to eat and drink while sitting close to someone else.
For the record, I don't have a problem wearing a mask if necessary but I do question the when and why of current requirements. Sitting in the close confines of a plane, masking up seems to make some sense. Having to wear one while driving alone in your car is just idiotic.
Alas there is little distinction between the two in the world of government coronavirus response. Today we have fewer cases of Covid-19 than most of last year and the restrictions seem to get worse.
When this whole pandemic kicked off, masks weren't mandatory. In fact, we were told by 'experts' they weren't effective. Until the Victorian government bungled quarantine fiasco everything seemed quite under control.
Prudence, hygiene and common sense ruled the day.
Now I consider this is becoming more an exercise in power than health. Almost every recent outbreak of Covid-19 in Australia has been due to the failure of governments. They then make us all pay for that failure through a reduction in liberty or a heavy burden on business. Neither is sustainable for the long term.
It is clear that elimination of this virus is nigh impossible. An island nation like Australia cannot close the borders to any visitors. We need to trade with the outside world and that means planes and ships (together with their crew) must make regular visits. That will always bring risk.
We now need to effectively manage that risk without unnecessary restrictions.
Some will say the vaccine rollout will be the game changer. I am not so sure. My sense is that many people will be wary of the rushed nature of the vaccines and the potential unintended consequences.
Already we are seeing adverse reactions in some people with at least one vaccine being attributed with causing deaths. There are also reasonable questions being asked as to how a vaccinated body may react if a new strain of the virus emerges.
One doctor told me last year that coronavirus uses the body's own immune response against it. This is what actually creates the worst and most dangerous symptoms. This reaction is greatest in those with a body that is already undergoing some form of stress through age, illness or obesity.
Now, I sense the commencement of a campaign to almost make vaccination compulsory by virtue of a requirement for certain activities - international air travel being one.
That will lead to the introduction of a 'Covid Passport' which may then be needed to attend large scale public events. I can imagine we'll need to swipe our phones to attend the football or a concert. Unless you have been vaccinated you will be prevented from entry.
Frankly, I don't think any of this will make us safer. It's probably not really designed to. Identifying the non-compliant is more likely the goal.
Perhaps I am wrong about all of the above but my instinct tells me that something isn't right about where we are heading.
That's why I am adopting a wait and see attitude when the vaccine rollout begins in Australia next month. I certainly won't be at the front of the queue to get the jab. I won't be recommending it to my family either.
Far better to wait a year or more to see how it affects people and society before introducing a fast-tracked, entirely new antigen into a body well equipped to deal with coronavirus. After all, the recovery rate is over 99.5 per cent.
Of course that is just me. I don't consider myself in the high risk category for Covid-19 and that will play a critical role in people's personal decision making.
For me, I'd rather skip the overseas travel and watch the footy on television, if that is the price of making sure this is truly safe and has long term benefits.