Florida has a population of close to 22 million people while Australia has around 25 million so they have similar population sizes. Australia is much bigger in size but most of its population is concentrated in several urban areas along the coast. Australia has taken a zero-covid approach in combating the Covid-19 pandemic. It was successful for a long time but now much of the country is under some kind of lockdown due to the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant. It has broken through into the community.
Vaccinations have not gone well in Australia mostly due to fears of the AstraZeneca vaccine because of a blood clot scare. This Guardian program describes the situation in great detail. Only 18% of Australia's population is fully vaccinated. It is going poorly.
So what are the COVID-19 numbers in Australia as they go through a very challenging period? I googled it.
Less than a thousand deaths from COVID in Australia since this pandemic began even with the vaccine hesitancy, terrible vaccine rollout and Delta spreading. Schools are also closed throughout much of Australia as this in-depth feature from ABC.net news Australia shows. One part that struck me:
At the start of another week of home learning for thousands of Australian students, and with those in south-east Queensland head back to campus in masks, a return to school-as-normal seems further away than ever.
"It's just the awful truth," says Catherine Bennett, Chair in Epidemiology at Deakin University's School of Health and Social Development in Melbourne.
Yet calculating the risk is an equation that would confront even the most able extension maths student.
From an epidemiological point of view, Bennett says, schools are "just perfect" as a vehicle for transmission.
"If you were trying to design a way to improve transmission in the community, you would first say 'let's bring schools into the mix'," she says.
Now let's look at Florida. While Governor Ron De Santis is backing down from his threat to withhold pay from school officials who defy his no mandatory masks in schools order, Florida is still the poster child in many ways for a least restrictive COVID environment where just about anything goes in many parts of the state. How has that worked out?
Okay, it isn't a perfect comparison between Florida and Australia but they are somewhat similar. Any way you look at it, COVID is over 40 times more deadly as of today in Florida compared to Australia. If you care about saving lives in this COVID pandemic, you gotta get tough, including closing borders by the way, before the virus gets out of control, not after.