I belong to a carer support group whose members are mostly older women and men. Most are caring for one or more family members with a disability. One is 83 and cares for two disabled sons; I am 81 and care for a disabled daughter. Our economic and social value is high as without our long-term care, our family members would be an enormous cost to the government. We should be recognised for the long-term care we are providing rather than condemned to the scrap heap as old and useless.
Judith Rafferty, Ormond
We are in danger of losing our compassion
A number of readers have suggested that the elderly should become the sacrificial lambs of this pandemic, implying that they have outlived their usefulness to society and their allocated lifespan. While it is true that some aged care residents may simply be waiting to die, many of our elders are the glue in their families and still have much love and wisdom to offer. They have the right to a peaceful death, surrounded by loved ones, in preference to an isolated demise attached to invasive machinery in a hospital ward. We are in danger of losing our compassion by labelling old people ‘‘expendable’’.
Vikki O’Neill, Ashburton
Greater lesson is that we are fighting this together
Emmet O’Dwyer’s comments (Letters, 6/8) about the challenges facing the young in this COVID-19 pandemic highlights the privileged society we now live in. Surely our modelling to the young is about how every life matters and that while the virus overwhelmingly affects the elderly, it also affects the young given that a 30-year-old died this week.
Have we forgotten that the elderly in their nineties sacrificed their youth to protect our country in wars and to provide a safe country for the young ones to live out their freedom? While the economic position is terrible, we must believe that we will survive but in a changed world. The rites of passage like 21st birthdays and school graduations have been wiped from the calendars at this time, but isn’t the greater lesson for our young that we are all in this together.
Julie Ottobre, Forest Hill
Virus affects people of all ages, including the young
‘‘Is the cost of saving some very old people in poorly run (government-monitored) aged care facilities really worth the enormous economic and human costs to the majority of Melburnians?’’ asks Tony Danino. Ask the virus, for we all do and will suffer. Those who believe it only attacks the elderly and those with prior conditions need to understand it can attack all, leaving some with life-long heart, respiratory and neural damage. I am not willing to bet my life on recovering, and I doubt that Tony Danino is.
Doug Mullett, Werribee
Long-term health and economic costs of coronavirus
Yes, Tony Danino, some very old people die from coronavirus. So be it. I am in that age group. However, I am concerned about the long-term health costs of people of all ages who have lung, kidney, heart and other issues after becoming infected. This is the reason no one wants to get it and we are in Stage 4 restrictions.
Sandra Ashton Beaumaris
Please let us know about your ‘use-by’ date
To all those who believe the elderly should be sacrificed. Can I suggest you have the age at which you believe life is dispensable tattooed somewhere on your body as a reminder for your future self. Think of it as a ‘‘use-by’’ date.
Kristen Hurley, Seaholme
A misjudged decision
The hotel quarantine mess highlights the need for decision makers to embody rationality, judgment and clear thinking. Daniel Andrews has acted decisively and appropriately throughout this pandemic, acting on the advice of relevant individuals to inform his decisions. However, the decision to offer the responsibility of guarding returned travellers to security companies – with the workforce including international students, some recruited via WhatsApp messages (The Age, 4/8) – was not grounded in rationality and clear judgment. The guards were insufficiently trained, lacking in experience and underpaid.
The exercise was a failure and is appropriately the subject of Jennifer Coate’s inquiry. With some suggesting that the quarantine mess has been responsible for most current COVID-19 cases in Victoria, what does it require for governments to put people’s lives and the economic and physical health of a community ahead of profit?
Jacob Bau, Brunswick
The security firms’ fault
While we are all pointing fingers and looking for someone to blame (not that blaming is any kind of solution), it seems to me that the bosses of the security firms, who were paid to carry out the hotel quarantine, are the real culprits. They were given guidelines which they failed to pass on to their staff, who then failed to follow social distancing restrictions and the virus was inevitably passed on to their friends and family…and here we are. In all areas of business, it is reasonable to expect that if a company is paid to do a job it is done up to the required specifications.
Sharon Holman, Highett
Wisdom of hindsight
In the early days of the pandemic, who knew that travellers would not self-isolate for two weeks? Who knew that they would not stay in their hotels? Who knew that the security guards were so poorly trained that they would became part of the problem? It is easy to say that the quarantine was bungled with the clarity of hindsight.
Peter Hendrickson, East Melbourne
Hit their hip pockets
Victoria is in the depths of a health and economic disaster, all apparently due to a botched hotel quarantine process. Our politicians, who are ultimately responsible for this, sail on unscathed without any skin in the game. We need something to focus their minds. How about six weeks of JobKeeper payments in lieu of their generous parliamentary pay packets, to experience a little of the consequences of their mistakes?
Andrew Blyth, Eaglemont
Aggression of the media
I watched Dan Andrews being interrogated at his media conference yesterday. I was astounded at the aggressive nature of the questioners compared to his composure in answering the questions thrown at him over and over again on the same subject, obviously in an attempt to trip him up. These so-called journalists should have to give their name and which organisation they represent when asking their questions, then viewers will know where their bias lies.
John Thek, Glen Waverley
Danger in more booze
Why are bottle shops open during the stage four restrictions? I cannot send my child to school but we are told that buying (and consuming) alcohol is up there as an ‘‘essential’’ business.
I imagine there will be higher rates of domestic abuse following the increased alcohol sales – ie, abusers who are out of work will be at home more with their victims, especially with the 8pm to 5am curfew. It seems we have the priorities wrong and we are feeding the evil that the government then spends millions of dollars on when it tries to re-educate people’s attitudes and behaviour.
Zoe Milano, Seaford
Important, close friends
The exemption that allows people to visit their ‘‘intimate partner’’ is broadly interpreted as a partner with whom one is having a monogamous intimate relationship. Surely that cannot nor should not be the determinant. To the government, please re-define this to ‘‘your one significant other’’ to allow people who live alone to see their one, closest friend where the nature of their sexual relations is not the determinant. Fewer people will suffer mental health issues as result of isolation during this necessary lockdown.
Belinda Stone, Mentone
If a business is classified as an essential business in Victoria but has interstate customers which are classified (by the Victorian government) as non-essential businesses, can it supply to them? I have contacted the Premier’s Office about this but have not received a clear answer. We would appreciate clarity on this as we all want to do the right thing.
Kamal Khangura, Pakenham
More light relief and…
Please can we have more positive articles like ‘‘Good things in small packages’’ (The Age, 4/8) over the next six weeks? My highlight at the moment, while working from home, is the expectation of the next delivery (often re-usable masks bought from varied sources but also books and puzzles). The delivery drivers know us now and always have a smile, even if they are making a quick departure because they are so busy.
The statistics on the coronavirus that greet us every day are really concerning, and we understand that we need to be aware of them. However, there also needs to be more positive, happy stories to encourage us to read the paper.
Maureen Gunn, Strathmore
…keep the recipes coming
I became extremely anxious trying to remember the ‘‘5, 4, 3, 2, 1’’ mindfulness trick (Good Living, 6/8) to help curb rising anxiety. Instead I propose to stick with the wonderful Home Made recipes on that page, which I hope continue forever.
Mary Hoffmann, Richmond
The high cost of meat
With the reduction of staffing at abattoirs by a third, surely meat production in Victoria will decrease. This will produce an inevitable increase in demand over supply, and consumers will panic buy, which will cause meat prices to increase. Consumers can only hope the Victorian government will intervene to prevent this from happening.
Rod Smyrk, Sunbury
Benefits of less meat
The reduction in meat production and the warnings to people not to panic buy is a great opportunity for Victorians. Learning to cook and eat more vegetarian proteins is better for your health. It is great for your budget. And it advances the cause of animal welfare. Seize the opportunity and stop seeing every change in our routines due to coronavirus as a reason to panic or complain.
Heather D’Cruz, Geelong West
Waste not, want not
Those who are concerned about possible food shortages might note that various reports suggest that a third of all food bought goes to waste (although not in my home!). By buying what we need and no more, we can be better fed and better off.
Tony Bryer, Docklands
Doing the right thing
As I returned from my one-hour walk, a passing neighbour commented: ‘‘You could always go out again later. Who would know? Besides what are you going to catch?’’ I asked if she was joking but, no, she was not. What if we all just went out again because ‘‘who would know?’’.
Clare Harwood, Mount Eliza
Why are smokers exempt?
On my daily exercise walk around the block on Tuesday, every person I saw was wearing a mask except a few people who were smoking. The guidelines apparently allow this but, as it was possible to smell the smoke from five to six metres away, it is likely that coronavirus also could be carried this far by aerosol.
Smoking in the street is not an essential activity and should not be an excuse for not wearing a mask. Also, physical distancing greater than 1.5metres may reduce the number of COVID-19 cases which have no known source.
Dr Harley Powell, Elsternwick
Self-esteem and work
So many people have acknowledged the health care workers and quite rightly. However, I also feel for those other people who have lost their jobs, including in the airline, travel industries, hospitality and retail industries. No government handout equals the satisfaction of having a job to go to. It is so sad.
Margaret Summers, Carnegie
Joy of in-store shopping
My worst fear is becoming a reality. Shopping will now have to be done online; not just temporarily for six weeks but possibly continuing into the future. Call me old-fashioned, but I love cash, together with the ability to examine and evaluate the products in a store. I often need to talk to various staff members to glean advice about the products I am buying and using. ‘‘Click and collect’’ is no substitute for the real experience of in-store shopping.
Robert Scheffer, Bayswater North
A serious loss of trust
Universities have joined the club of unethical employers which have exploited their vulnerable, casual employees. First it was the franchisors, then retail giants and banks. And the churches with their disgraceful cover-ups. And ministers fudge answers on accountability in the virus stuff-ups. Now we learn the University of Melbourne underpaid millions to its staff. When institutions act this way, the trust of the community justifiably crumbles. Of course there will be the usual apologies through anonymous spokespersons. And we tut tut when citizens break COVID-19 rules.
Ruth Wisniak, Toorak
In support of adoption
I thought ‘‘Adopt Swedish model’’ (6/8) was an excellent idea, then realised the letter was about COVID-19 control.
George Houlder, Cambrian Hill
AND ANOTHER THING
Am I reading this right? I can take my dog to the park but not my grandkids.
Peter Randles, Pascoe Vale South
Andrews’ contemptuous treatment of Parliament reminds me of Charles I’s attitude to his parliament. We know what happened to him.
Tony Browne, St Kilda
We need to help our Premier by bringing down the number of infections and deaths. Follow the lockdown measures.
Donna Tsironis, Blackburn South
COVID-19 has exposed the cracks in our economy whereas masks cover the wrinkles on our face.
Peter Hansford, Ripponlea
Where are the Grim Reaper ads? People need to realise this virus is deadly.
Katriona Fahey, Alphington
Can Victoria borrow Gladys Berejiklian for a month?
David Wright, Albert Park
Premier, against the tide of the ignorant and the obtuse, and the many who say they can do better from the stalls, I tips my hat to you.
Peter McGill, Lancefield
Thanks to runners and cyclists who wear masks. You make a big difference to our collective spirit.
Jae Sconce, Moonee Ponds
Would readers stop taking the Mickey out of O’Brien. He’s just doing his job – ie, to oppose.
Francis Bainbridge, Fitzroy North
Beirut: a tragic example of a state of disaster. Let it give you some perspective, Daniel Andrews.
Melissa Ort, Fitzroy North
And the winner is Foxtel. The losers are the average battlers who only have free to air TV. Thanks, Gillon.
Pat Tyrrell, Prahran
‘‘Light women’s shirts’’ (Crossword, 5/8). DP, heavy women wear them too. I am one and I have several blouses.
Lesley Abbott, Keyneton, SA
Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest will give the annual Boyer Lectures. Big mistake, Ita.
Mary O’Callaghan, Glen Iris