At the Brisbane Comedy Festival, March 13 2020. Copyright Lloyd Marken
For me it always come back to Friday the 13th of March.
As we entered 2021 there were lots of anniversary milestones.
The first reported case in America, in the UK, in Australia, when restrictions came into place for air travel.
Monday the 16th of March was actually when new restrictions came into place in Australia but it is Friday the 13th that holds the most significance for me when the restrictions were announced.
That whole week things had been brewing.
Schools shut down in France, only food stores and pharmacies were allowed to be open in Italy, the stockmarket crashed, government ministers across the world were testing positive for the virus and the World Health Organisation was declaring a global pandemic.
We knew we were building to something but Friday the ripchord was pulled.
The Formula 1 in Melbourne was cancelled, the Prime Minister announced there would be no mass gatherings of 500 people or more come Monday. How quaint that now seems.
I went to the Brisbane Comedy Festival that night and met up with some friends to review Dave Hughes doing his stand-up show for Scenestr magazine. There was a sense of one last hurrah before leaping into the unknown.
We didn’t know what was to come but we knew it was coming.
Nothing was going to be the same for a while. What would become the new normal? The sooner we found out the sooner the whole population could become comfortable with it.
There was an uncertainty in the air but also a resolve.
Now that things were happening we just knew we had to get on board with it and reassuringly most people’s thoughts turned to others and how to help them.
Whether it was fundraising for Meals on Wheels America,
The Salvation Army here in Australia,
or The International Association for Human Values as they provided food to daily wage earners who had lost their jobs in India,
or the Endeavour Foundation who help people with disabilities,
or Medecins Sans Frontieres as they provided medical aid across the world for COVID or disaster relief,
or the charity Headspace that provides mental health support for young people,
or the After School All Stars Program for school children in America that pivoted during COVID to provide food during lockdowns,
or the GoFundMe page BuyThemACoffee organised by Kaylie Smith who raised over $80,000 dollars to provide free coffees for nursing staff across the country,
or a little initiative in support of a small cafe in Toowong called StellaRossa that saw 200 coffee vouchers delivered to hospital staff at the nearby The Wesley Hospital,
– the legacy and example of Captain Tom Moore lived on in many acts far and wide.
Money isn’t everything either, whether it was a phone call, a skype, some flowers or a gift, or where possible a visit.
People looked out for each other and buoyed each other’s spirits.
I know I owe a great deal to many calls to my parents and to the humour and kindness of my dear friends and wife.
Recently a work colleague tracked down a Lego kit from the 1980s, created a package to house it with some kind words on it and handed it over to me.
I think it is one of the best gifts I have ever received.
I don’t like to think about what it might have cost him but the most important thing to me is the thought that went into it and the reason he gave it to me is truly humbling.
I posted my first post about COVID-19 back on the 22nd of April covering events starting the 3rd of March. I eventually caught up with current events and with each post scheduled two days apart I had a whole month of posts scheduled throughout July at the end of June.
Then I went on my secondment and subsequently fell behind.
I’m still playing catch-up.
This will be the 148th post in a row on this topic.
The COVID-19 Diary changed my blog, made it more personal which I need to be vigilant about not doing too much of.
I have written about other things but always in the context of this COVID year.
I probably imagined that I would write about it for at least a year or two but not necessarily at this length.
Copyright Lloyd Marken.
During June in the wake of Black Lives Matters and receding COVID numbers I wondered what I would write about next.
I felt more removed from events happening around the world – rather than writing about what was happening to me I was merely curating news.
Then the outbreak from hotel quarantines happened in Victoria and it seems there has always been something ever since including lockdowns and scares in Brisbane.
Also I became aware of the need to write about nice things happening like my holidays, secondments and weddings.
The Polish Place. Copyright Lloyd Marken.
Subsequent waves were devastating countries like the U.S. and U.K. and Brazil and now places like India. Just as that first wave was in China all that time ago.
With fellow bloggers and family in those countries they have never been far from my mind as I wrote about the situation in Australia which by comparison made me feel very fortunate.
It seemed a tall order to have our scientists come up with a vaccine in twelve months back at the beginning but they did.
Copyright Lloyd Marken
Being a year on makes you wonder where we will be a year from now.
Hopefully better off.
Hopefully there will be less diary entries.
I do strongly suspect I will still be writing about COVID to some extent for some time to come.
Last year I saw my family in early March for birthday catch-ups.
I didn’t see my parents again in person for roughly three months. Then not again until November,
Then around New Years.
Then March again for the birthdays a year on.
That was nice.
On the 13th of March of 2020 the World Health Organisation reported there had been 138,347 confirmed cases globally with a daily increase of 9,432.
There had been 5,087 deaths worldwide with a daily increase of 362.
On the 13th of March, 2021 the World Health Organisation reported there had been 118,774,981 confirmed cases globally with a daily increase of 482,705.
There had been 2,637,553 deaths worldwide with a daily increase of 9,548.
On the 13th of March, 2020 in New Zealand there had been 5 confirmed cases with a daily increase The first case reported in the country had been on the 28th of February, 2020. The first recorded death would be on the 29th of March, 2020.
On the 13th of March, 2021 in New Zealand there had been 2,066 confirmed cases with a daily increase of five. There had been 26 deaths.
On the 13th of March, 2020 in India there had been 78 confirmed cases with a daily increase of one. The first recorded cases were five on the 30th of January, 2020. The first death due to COVID-19 was recorded on the 13th of March, 2020.
On the 13th of March, 2021 in India there had been 11,333,728 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 24,882. There had been 158,446 deaths with a daily increase of 140.
On the 13th of March, 2020 with a daily increase of 59 cases the total number in Canada jumped to 152. The first death recorded March 11, remained the only one in the country.
On the 13th of March, 2021 in Canada there had been 899,757 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 3,018. There had been 22,371 deaths with a daily increase of 36.
On the 13th of March, 2020 there had been 189 cases of COVID-19 in Australia with 49 of those cases reported that day alone. There had been three deaths in my country at that point.
On the 13th of March, 2021 in Australia there had been 29,102 confirmed cases with a daily increase of twelve. There had been 909 deaths.
On the 13th of March, 2020 there were 802 cases in total reported in the United Kingdom. Over a quarter of those had just been reported that day – 208. There were two new deaths leading to a total of 10.
On the 13th of March, 2021 in the United Kingdom there had been 4,247,068 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 5,759. There had been 125,343 deaths with a daily increase of 175.
On the 13th of March, 2020 in the United States of America there were 277 new cases with a total of 1,264 overall. There were 36 dead, 7 from that day alone.
In the United States of America there had been 29,000,561 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 60,312. There had been 527,068 deaths with a daily increase of 1,570.
In France on the 13th of March, 2020 the World Health Organisation reported an increase from 2,281 to 3,640 in the country. There was a daily increase of 31 dead in the country taking the total of 79.
On the 13th of March, 2021 in France there had been 3,946,733 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 25,120. There had been 89,632 deaths with a daily increase of 290.
On the 13th of March, 2020 in South Korea there had been 7,979 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 110. There had been 67 deaths with a daily increase of one.
On the 13th of March, 2021 in South Korea there had been 95,169 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 490. There had been 1,667 deaths with a daily increase of five.
On the 13th of March, 2020 in Iran there had been 11,368 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 1,289. There had been 514 deaths with a daily increase of 85.
On the 13th of March, 2021 in Iran there had been 1,731,558 confirmed cases with a a daily increase of 8,088. There had been 61,069 deaths with a daily increase of 53.
In Italy the WHO reported a daily increase of 2,547 cases bringing the national total to 21,157. The death toll increased by 252 taking us to 1,268.
On the 13th of March, 2021 in Italy there had been 3,175,807 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 26,790. There had been 101,564 deaths with a daily increase of 380.
On the 13th of March, 2020 in China there had been 80,991 confirmed cases with a daily increase of eleven. There had been 3,181 deaths with a daily increase of eight.
On the 13th of March, 2021 in China there had been 102,276 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 73. There had been 4,849 deaths. That’s not fuckin true but anyway that is what was reported.
I thank you for following me on this journey, for sharing it with me. It has meant a lot to me to continue writing and to have people who read and comment or offertheir own knowledge. As we continue I hope the journey gets easier and I hope you are there with me.