Olympics coronavirus
Australian Olympic Committee chief executive Matt Carroll (Image: AAP/Dean Lewins)

As Australia practically shuts down, the impact of the coronavirus here and around the world keeps hitting new peaks (a phrase we fear you may hear a lot in the next six months).

Olympics falls at the final hurdle

After what some might say was an irresponsibly long delay, the 2020 Summer Olympics has finally been postponed. International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound confirmed that the event would be postponed by at least a year.

Australia and Canada have already said they would not compete in Japan, and the British Olympic Association had said Great Britain would be unlikely to send a team.

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Shut-ins

A graph from the wonderful covid19data.com.au shows why Tasmania and the Northern Territory were right to shut their borders so swiftly.

(Image: Juliette O’Brien/covid19data.com)

While other states (particularly Victoria and Queensland) are still trying to find out how many of their cases came to be — whether through travel or from community transmission — Tasmania and the NT are reporting that they know where all cases were contracted and they are all (but for one case in Tassie) from overseas travel.

As clinical epidemiologist at the University of Newcastle Craig Dalton told the ABC, the rising number of “unknown source” cases of the virus is particularly worrying.

“Epidemiologists are very concerned when they see a rising in proportion of unknown source cases because that represents an increasing force of infection that is untracked within the community,” he said.

Cleanliness is next to fundamentalism

As a brief reminder that there are other things going on in the world, peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban continue.

While the Taliban would approve of much of what the virus has achieved — given it has closed down so much cultural life and prevented so many young women from going to school — they have still opted for safety from it themselves, with the sticking point of prisoner releases being discussed over Skype.

The show must go on

Much has been made of the effect the shut down of all “non-essential” life, and the shift that a largely housebound existence will have on cultural life.

Publications like Time Out (re-branded, temporarily, as Time In) have been doing the job of cataloguing what can still be done from your home, while taking some strain off Netflix.

The National Gallery of Victoria is making its recent Keith Haring/Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kaws: Companionship in the Age of Loneliness exhibitions available as free online tours. Museums Victoria has done something similar with its “Museum at Home” program, while the Australian Centre for the Moving Image is teaming up with SBS for Virtual Cinematheque, streaming double bills of various international movies.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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