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Amidst the gloom, some stories are worth reading

On this awful day, when Premier Daniel Andrews declared Victoria was “right on the edge” of this COVID outbreak getting out of control and when NSW, where it may already be out of control, extended its lockdown until the end of September, I have no forthright opinions about what we should do, or where this is going, or who is to blame. The pandemic has been politicised long enough, and the best The Age can do is provide accurate, fair and responsible journalism and to dig into issues we think are important to our readers.

So for this newsletter, I will offer a few good articles that you may have missed, or are worth your consideration, and a few heartwarming stories that have nothing to do with the pandemic.

One of the best pieces we ran this week was by Nick Miller, who was tasked with reflecting on the occasion of Melbourne’s 200th day in lockdown since this horror show began in March last year.

“Of the 500-odd days that followed,” Nick wrote, “we have spent 301 behind mandatory masks indoors, 100-plus at home (non-) schooling, 224 with closed church doors. We’ve lived through 93 wedding-less days, 59 curfewed nights and 148 days with playgrounds taped and silent.”

“A lot of Melbourne not being Melbourne. The unappreciated, depreciating cultural capital. Art galleries became empty mausoleums of dust-covered creativity, museums became warehouses of old stuff quietly getting older, for 233 days and counting.”

Somehow, Nick captured some of what many of us were feeling, the sadness of it all and the grind we are living through.

Then there’s our science reporter, Liam Mannix, who scours for scientific evidence around the pandemic and writes about it in a most engaging way.

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This is a terrific piece about ivermectin as a potential treatment for COVID-19 and Liam goes through the evidence for that persistent claim. More interestingly, Liam talks about what scientific evidence actually is and which groups assessing it are reliable, and which are not.

This is good, too, looking at the evidence of whether vaccination incentives – little things, like sausage sizzles, free movie tickets or coffee – might prove more effective than lotteries or cash giveaways. (You can sign up to Liam’s weekly newsletter here.)

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