COVID-19 DIARY – THE FALLEN

Bomana Cemetery - Anzac Portal

April 25

ANZAC Day in Australia in 2021.

Light Up the Dawn Services continued across the country repeating the new tradition established last year due to COVID lockdowns.

But public marches did return to most states even if with COVID restrictions.

I took no part in any of it but I did pause and think about the fallen.

On the 25th of April, 2021 the World Health Organisation reported there had been 146,142,034 confirmed cases globally with a daily increase of 850,448.

There had been 3,094,238 deaths worldwide with a daily increase of 13,282.

The largest single daily increase of new cases was on the 23rd of April, 2021 – 912,279.

The highest number of deaths recorded in one day remained 16,660 reported on the 28th of January.

I’m sure who died from COVID had been underreported. Through the sheer scale fo the loss it was impossible to know for sure they said.

In Australia there had been 29,658 with a daily increase of 19. There had been 910 deaths.

In New Zealand there had been 2,245 confirmed cases and 26 deaths.

In Papua New Guinea, home of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels, there had been 10,670 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 68. There had been 102 deaths. The country remained in the grip of the pandemic spreading.

Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels - Wikipedia

In South Africa there had been 1,574,370 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 1,385. There had been 54,125 deaths with a daily increase of 59.

In Turkey there had been 4,591,416 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 40,596. There had been 38,011 deaths with a daily increase of 339.

Their highest number of new daily cases had just been a week earlier on the 17th of April with 63,082.

The highest number of daily deaths would be 394 recorded on May the 1st, 2021.

In Germany there had been 3,287,418 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 18,773. There had been 81,564 with a daily increase of 120.

In Italy there had been 3,949,517 confimed cases with a daily increase of 13,814. There had been 119,021 deaths with a daily increase of 322.

In Japan there had been 562,141 confirmed cases with a daily increase 5,142. There had been 9,913 deaths with a daily increase of 59. There was growing surge of new cases in the country.

Coronavirus: South Korea declares highest alert as infections surge - BBC  News

In South Korea there had been 118,887 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 644. There had been 1,813 deaths with a daily increase of one.

In Malaysia there had been 390,252 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 2,717. There had been a 1,426 deaths with a daily increase of eleven. There was a growing surge in Malaysia too.

In Indonesia there had been 1,636,792 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 4,544. There had been 44,500 deaths with a daily increase of 154.

In Vietnam there had been 2,833 confirmed cases with a daily increase of one. There had been 35 deaths.

In Zimbabwe there had been 38,064 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 19. There had been 1,556 deaths.

In Namibia there had been 47,671 with a daily increase of 288. There had been 624 deaths with a daily increase of two.

Cambodian Capital to End Blanket COVID Lockdown Despite Surge | World News  | US News

In Cambodia there had been 9,975 confimed cases with a daily increase of 616. There had been 74 deaths with a daily increase of three. The country had recently seen the pandemic take off there.

On May 4th, 2021 the country recorded its highest daily number of new cases with 938. The highest number of daily deaths was ten on the 24th of April, 2021. 

In Somalia there had been 13,459 confirmed cases and 689 deaths. No daily increases that day.

The highest number of new daily cases was 326 on March 30th, 2021. The highest number of daily deaths was 32 on April 15, 2021.

In Rwanda there had been 24,535 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 76. There had been 328 deaths.

In Timor-Leste there had been 1,808 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 151. There had been three deaths.

Like Papua New Guinea, Cambodia and others, COVID was starting to be reported more in the tiny young nation. Their population was 1.293 million people. By the 2nd of May, 2021 30,599 vaccine doses would have been distrubuted in the country.

On May 9th, 2021 would be the highest amount of new daily cases with 262. Three deaths on May 14th, 2021 would be the highest daily record in the country so far. 

Fighting COVID-19 in Solomon Islands – Save the Children Australia

In the Solomon Islands there had been 20 confirmed cases and zero deaths reported.

In Afghanistan there had been 58,843 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 113. There had been 2,582 deaths with a daily increase of ten.

In Iraq there had been 1,025,288 with a daily increase of 6,967. There had been 15,217 deaths with a daily increase of 43.

The highest number of new daily cases in the country was 8,696 three days earlier on the 22nd of April, 2021. A new wave of cases was cresting in the country.

In Canada there had been 1,164,581 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 8,747. There had been 23,883 deaths with a daily increase of 61.

The highest number of new daily cases was 10,275 fours day earlier on April 21, 2021.

In the United Kingdom there had been 4,403,174 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 2,061. There had been 127,417 deaths with a daily increase of 32.

India COVID-19 deaths could touch 1 million by August: Lancet | India News  | Al Jazeera

In India there had been 16,960,172 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 349,691!

It was a new record for new daily cases but pretty much every day was a new heartbreaking record that left death and misery in it’s wake of a scale previously unseen.

There had been 192,311 deaths in the country with  a daily increase of 2,767.

In the United States of America there had been 31,693,289 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 61,884. There had been 566,184 deaths with a daily increase of 838. Still way too high.

Milestones in Space Photography -– National Geographic

All those lives lost in countries around the world.

Just like lives lost in a war.

We were a year into this war, the casaulties were mounting and yet here we were. Vaccines had been made. We opened up, we closed down, waves came and went. Life wasn’t the same and wasn’t going be for a while yet but it still went on.

At the end of it, maybe for a lot of people nothing will ever be the same. Some memories will haunt, some losses will be painfully felt for the rest of days to come.

But come they will.

If not for us then for those who come after us.

All we can do is our best and the rest will take care of itself.

Such was it for those we remember on ANZAC Day.

The Fallen.

The Remembered.

The Lost.

Lest We Forget.

-Lloyd Marken

COVID-19 DIARY – WHAT MATTERS

Maryland nurse who joined N.Y.'s COVID-19 front lines says it's ...

April 20

On Monday the 20th of April, the bulk of staff at work had been away for two to three weeks. We now found ourselves back in the office to get our flu shot and get back to working from home.

One of them, a particularly beloved colleague dropped off snacks for everyone which just speaks to why we love her.

While arrivals and departures were staggered you could feel it in the air. People were happy to see each other again if only fleetingly.

I was fortunate, I was there to work all day.

I enjoyed all the creature comforts of my office desk and but more so being around some of my colleagues whom I had missed. It was good to get back into the rhythm of working in the office and efforts were underway to see if some staff could rotate.

Nevertheless for the rest of the work I worked from home.

Across the State, Term 2 started and for many students it started remotely in the home.

There was a fantastic episode of the ABC program Four Corners that night that covered the early days and decisions from Australian governments at all levels to help their citizens through some dark days.

 

Image

April 21

Taken with Arnold Schwarznegger’s social media posts and his pets Whiskey (the minature pony) and Lulu (the donkey) I decided to buy a new hoodie he started selling.

All proceeds from the sale went to the charity he helped create – After School All Stars. It runs after-school programs for students across the country particularly in poor communities that need it even more.

There are 19 chapters helping over 90,000 kids across 468 schools in 60 cities from 13 states.

The charity had pivoted with the lockdown, knowing some of the kids involved in their programs get their best daily meals from the meals at school – they resolved to provide food for these families.

That was enough for me.

I belaboured figuring out what would fit me in US sizes trying several internet sources and it’s quite possible the Hoodie won’t arrive until September at which point temperatures will be rising in springtime Brisbane.

Doesn’t matter.

If one American child eats a meal based off my poor fiscal responsibility then that’s alright with me.

 

 

Of course if I had been completely selfless I could’ve just donated directly to the charity but I really wanted that hoodie. Although as restrictions relax I may look silly walking around outside with a hoodie that preaches to stay inside.

Some studies find that over 10% of America’s population live in food insecure households.

Kids can’t grow and can’t develop their minds if they’re lacking a balanced diet and it is estimated that could be as many as 16 million children each year.

America produces enough food to feed more than its population.

Food insecurity in America doesn’t come from a lack of food – it comes from people not having enough money to buy the food.

There are expectations that food insecurity in the country could easily double given the increasing amount of unemployed Americans.

30 million applied for welfare and unlike in Australia the amount of claims that will ultimately be approved and the length of how long they can be on welfare is limited.

On the 21st of April the World Health Organisation reported 751,273 cases in the America with a daily increase of 27,668. The number of Americans who died with COVID-19 was 35,884 with a daily increase of 1,681.

 

Closer to home in Australia the tertiary education industry was facing a daunting prospect with international student enrolment set to decline with a loss projected between 3-5 billion dollars.

I spent seven years working at the Queensland University of Technology on contracts and as a temp hoping again and again I might become permanent. Now permanent workers may need to worry about their jobs.

International students who have spent years studying here in Australia now find themselves struggling to pay rent and unable to afford flight homes. Over 500,000 international students were in Australia when COVID-19 hit.

On the 12th of April Education Minister Dan Tehan announced an 18 billion package for to shore up income from domestic students in universities. Yet a huge source of income for Australian universities were international enrolments with some projecting a decline between of 3 to 4.6 billion dollars this year alone.

Universities themselves were trying to assist students financially struggling due to loss of casual employment and unable to apply for support from the government. Up to $110 million dollars through hardship support funds.

Countries like the UK and Canada had put relief packages in place for international students.

In Australia the Prime Minister was suggesting it was time for them to go home and the price of a plane ticket would only be $10,000.

Those in the industry were of two minds.

It has once again been revealed how reliant we were on international student enrolment. Maybe this would push a reform where it was needed.

Yet universities carry out research and grow the minds and capabilities of our brightest who go out and work in industry and make innovative solutions. Could we really afford due to a loss of income to see our universities lose researchers, budding academics and students to the pandemic? Some of them international ones too.

Not to mention families overseas may remember how we took care of their children during this crisis.

After paying a lot of money for them to receive an education here, when they were cut off from them, when it was difficult and expensive to get home, when other countries provided for such students here we were shrugging our shoulders.

What would they think of Australia?

PhD Positions at Queensland University of Technology, 2016-2017

On the 12th of April, Universities Australia estimated 21,000 jobs could be lost in the next six months.

On the 21st of April, the Vice Chancellor of the Central Queensland University floated the idea of voluntary redundancies for some staff.

 

On the 21st of April the World Health Organisation reported Australia had 6,625 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 13. There were 71 deaths with a daily increase of one.

A guy I used to work with a few years ago in a part-time job I had was doing a push-up challenge to raise funds for mental health charity Headspace.

https://www.thepushupchallenge.com.au/pushuperer/65013?fbclid=IwAR3UCzdFCm5hvyW2Ud4w0rqBNeHpxoZVLUypX1NHusgdHtvMA8zTM9mQlz8

He set himself the goal of completing 3,046 push-ups over 21 days from 11MAY2020 to 31MAY2020. On day three he completed 326 push-ups alone. So I donated to his cause as well.

Headspace is foundation that helps young people and their families with their health in particular mental health.

 

I was also very inspired by the BuyThemACoffee initiative and got in touch with them. I was hoping to help out my local café at work Stellarossa Toowong but knew I couldn’t hope to raise as much as BuyThemACoffee. I asked them for advice which they very kindly gave and thanked me for my small donation. I got in touch with the Wesley Hospital near where I worked. They advised instead of delivering coffee for staff they would really appreciate coffee vouchers.

So I set up a GoFundMe Page to raise $250 to buy coffee vouchers from Stellarossa Toowong and have them delivered to the staff at the Wesley.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/stellarosa-coffee-for-wesley-hospital-staff

Work colleagues and friends immediately responded and over the next four weeks we were able to raise some money.

Closing out on any given day a business like this at this time might have three or four hundred dollars in the til. 

There was a new owner/manager at the store and at this point she was having one staff member work a day.

Most of the employees are young and find themselves ineligible for jobkeeper or jobseeker in some cases.

They’re great at what they do.

The new owner knowing this was treating them all fairly and spreading the work to all of them but there was not a lot of work to go around.

Despite this one of the baristas even donated to the GoFundMe page.

 

East Timor, war, coffee and Australia's 'debt of honour' - ABC News

ANZAC Day was also coming up that weekend and collections for support services for veterans and their families were not going to be able to carried out like they had been for the past 100 years. So I donated some money to the ANZAC appeal.

I don’t want to create the wrong impression, we need money.

Maybe I should’ve saved every extra cent I had.

But I have had a few thoughts over the past few weeks.

One that comes back to me occasionally is simply this.

What you do now – matters most.

 

ABC’s Foreign Correspondent ran an episode that day following Emergency Responders and Healthcare Workers through New York City.

In a week where Trump spitballed using bleach to cure COVID-19 here was a program showcasing American heroes.

 

 

It showed the Naked Cowboy still hanging out in Times Square bringing cheer and goodwill to passerbys.

I will admit I thought there was something foolish in him not packing up his bags and trying to avoid putting himself at risk.

Yet something touching in his desire to remain and lift spirits and risk the potential consequences.

I thought how American, that level of optimism and foodhardiness, that mix of courage and absurdity.

He was not the only one.

In the program we followed veteran Ambos, retired cops bringing supplies to those still on the streets, volunteer nurses who quit their jobs to come take care of the sick and dying in greatest city in the world.

And people were dying. Many, many, many people.

Yet here were these Americans trying to help.

WHAT WE DO NOW – MATTERS MOST.

-Lloyd Marken