People watching 2022 style (HLD 430)

4 Feb 2022

I’ve become an avid reader of the contact tracing lists for Covid positive cases.

Now – a bit of background information for those of you who don’t live in my neck of the woods.

My little part of the world (Western Australia) can often be thought of as the land that Covid forgot. Sure – we got this distinction because we rapidly closed our borders to the rest of the country and the world, and at the first hint of a slight cough we were locked down quickly within our state and even our houses.

For a short time.

By and large, we’ve had a few times where we are ‘locked down’ for a week or two, and times when mask wearing became the norm for a while, but for the past couple of years we have enjoyed a remarkably uncovid lifestyle. Sure we can’t travel easily across the borders within our country, and our passports are quietly growing more neglected and forgotten in the back of a drawer somewhere….but life hasn’t been that horrible here in the west.

The rest of the country take delight on mocking our ‘hermit kingdom’, and deriding our lack of urgent speed in getting our needles. We ARE getting our needles, but it’s summer and it’s hot and the beach beckons. Most of us are proudly triple vacc’d and the rest are fitting their appointments in when the surf or fishing forecast doesn’t look good.

But nothing lasts forever, and after two years, we are now starting to get some community spread of the Omicron strand. Our daily numbers are huge for us – double digits for the past week or so – but laughable for some other parts of the country where the daily death rates are in double figures and daily case numbers well into triple figures.

BUT – scanning the government web page that lists ‘public exposure sites’ (no not streakers at sporting events!) has become my new hobby.

We had a public exposure site at an Italian restaurant near my house, which was the closest spot to me. I did think about hosing down my driveway, which is used as a convenient turn around spot by patrons of that establishment. (I didn’t!)

But I now look at the list of exposure sites and People Watch, looking to where these people went, and how long they stayed there. I make grandiose assumptions about whether it was the same person who played basketball at that place for an hour and a half, and then went to the fast food establishment on the way home???

Did they hit all those bars and nightclubs in the city (including a Chinese restaurant at 3am!!! Who knew there was anywhere in my town where you could buy some fried rice at that hour of the morning?!?!?) before fronting up for work the next morning?

And what about the person who went to a shopping centre and walked into one shop? Who does that?? I can understand the ones who list about six shops in a shopping centre visit…but one?!?!? And not even the coffee shop? They must have been sick.

I dread the day when I appear on these lists as a known Covid case. My list of exposure sites is going to be very very boring. Maybe a takeaway coffee, a bit of grocery shopping and a possible visit to the hardware store. I suspect the dog walking group will be the ones most exposed to my hypothetical germs.

It’s not going to be entertaining reading for the Covid People Watchers of 2022.

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