As best we can tell, the pub is shut

I was alerted by a commenter that it’s been more than a year, now, since this video dropped:

COVID measures had already begun to be implemented; national borders shut, most schools already closed. Watching this press conference, a scene from The Simpsons played in my mind. I’d been getting a little comfy with a video editing program to record IIDX plays, so I gave it a crack.

I don’t really have networks to tap, but Niki liked it so much she diligently dropped it into comments on Facebook and Twitter replies wherever it seemed appropriate. Before I knew it, I had a moderately popular YouTube video. It entered the popular discourse when it was further remixed, but if you ask me, the Trump oversamples are just kinda gross.

One thing that’s been interesting to see has been how the popularity of the video corresponded with (literally) viral events:

A graph showing the views for the video

The three major events were:

  • Late March, video released, Dan Andrews said “get on the beers”.
  • Mid-May, first lockdown restrictions eased.
  • October 26, Victoria recorded zero new cases/deaths for the first time since June. Dan reported that he “might go a little higher up the shelf” than beers.

Daniel Andrews, Victoria’s Premier, is widely liked, and he’s largely been credited with producing the results we’ve had locally, the likes of which have only really been seen in Taiwan, New Zealand and Singapore. We’ve had our share of anti-lockdown protests, too, but overall the sentiment has been that Victorians have been willing to accept discomfort up front to mitigate a disaster later.

Sharing this video online more recently has had some interesting reactions; namely, Americans being like “lol government interference!!!” Melbourne’s second lockdown was 112 days long (July 9 until October 28), and it was challenging in its own ways, and for some very difficult. I don’t seek to deny that, but the practical upshot has been a few dozen cases in the last six months.

Graph from showing community spread of COVID in Victoria

It’s a fucking pandemic. You don’t just ask everyone nicely to please do the right thing, because that’s not human beings work at the population level. If you actually want to beat it, you need to be realistic about what works. Ideals fall flat in the face of an airborne pathogen. If there are any doubts about that, please consult the big red number at the top left. Empirically, government interference gets it done1.

Someone in chat a couple weeks back lamented how they wish they could go out again like normal, and I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I had been for nearly half a year now, safely; I just said, “in some places in the world you can. soon!” Y’know, vaccinations proceeding apace and all that.

Another person agreed, saying Japan was reopening for dine-in in a couple weeks, and the first said how much they wished the borders were open so they could visit. Japan reported 2,080 new cases this weekend, a steady increase from the most recent low 7-day average of ~900 in early March.

Japan's graph

That’s not what I meant.

  1. Never mind the fact that, say, Australia and New Zealand both rank higher in the Human Freedom Index than the US—what matters is how you feel when you say it!