AUSTRALIA vied for the Women's World Soccer Cup, Japan withdrew to try and survive the 2021 Olympics, Brazil pulled out just to try and survive, so the Aussie/Kiwi bubble won. I have also won.
As a teacher at New Lambton Public School I have been treated extremely well during COVID-19. Thank you, Mark, for your kindness at a time when, sadly, I had to admit that I was in the danger zone and my principal, Mark Warren was a top gun.
Thank you, gorgeous Kate Quinnel and the dashing Ryan McMahon. As my deputy principal and supervisor their regular contact assisted my remote learning/teaching and my never-ending technological development. I battled on up-skilling to support the new COVID world. From Zoom meetings to Zoom lessons, Google classroom, See-Saw and more Kate and Ryan were always on hand to assist or trouble shoot, never judging me for bumbling along.
As Australia changed its tourism slogan from "where the bloody hell are ya?" to "where the bloody hell are you from and go back there!" I never once felt that I was an unwanted, older teacher within the Department of Education but a valued professional.
My morning Zooms with Kate and her giggles made life fun and kept me feeling connected to my profession and students. So, as you can see, I am a very lucky person who has survived the last four months in a country that really, compared to the rest of the world is going okay. I love my job and my life.
Suellen Hall, Wallsend
Bigger problems than booze limits
WELCOME the wolf in sheep's clothing, Tim Crakanthorp. In my opinion the MP expressing his desire to extend alcohol service hours in Newcastle ('Lockout shake-up', Herald 2/7) is disgraceful.
The world is facing the most devastating, unprecedented times in living memory. I believe Mr Crakanthorp and his ilk are selfish, inconsiderate people with no concern for the community. The lifestyle they envisage belongs in the past. Mr Crakanthorp and his political party won't receive my vote as a result. Shame on you.
Patricia Garnet, Wickham
Scanning does job well enough
AS an experienced worker in the pub and club industry, I think the lockouts and other restrictions should be relaxed within the Newcastle CBD precinct ('Lockout shake-up', Herald 2/7) as the majority of the time it is those laws that cause the most violence.
People think it's a laugh when you cannot enter a venue past 1am or 1.30am, or when you are not able to buy drinks past 3am, and therefore do not take it seriously. This is what causes problems for licensed venues. ID scanners alone have been proven to curb alcohol violence, not lockouts.
Thomas Leigh, Newcastle
Testing times for individualists
IT is interesting to try and understand the best course of action to take with people who refuse a COVID-19 test. I say that while never understanding why some people would refuse vaccines or other forms of medical help for themselves or even their children.
For some it is clearly a personal decision that affects no one but them and their immediate kin. For others it is potentially putting multiple lives at risk. It's a bit like a war; there may be lives you would never know, never see or ever talk to but nevertheless affect. So what should the government response be in a democratic society and with an election coming up?
Meanwhile, all the best to those in Hong Kong. Nine months ago I was there with my daughter worried about being caught up in riots. It's funny how life changes, isn't it?
Vic Davies, Tighes Hill
Our rates have risen enough
THE deputy lord mayor has attempted to justify the latest 2.6 per cent increase in rates by focusing on ratepayers who will receive a decrease due to land valuation changes (''Half truths' add nothing to rates debate', Opinion 1/7). Overall rate collections will still increase by 2.6 per cent as rate decreases for some properties are offset by rate increases at others. Only the distribution of rates changes, not the total revenue. Cr Clausen is also quick to point out that this 2.6 per cent increase is in line with increases by other councils, while failing to acknowledge that few (if any) of these other councils have had rate increases anything like our 46.9 per cent over the past five years.
How is the imposition of the maximum allowable 2.6 per cent justified at a time of very real economic hardship?
Angus Parsons, Hamilton
Tightrope risks remain for leaders
LLOYD Davies does a valuable civic service in making the COVID-19 point (Short Takes, 2/6). It can go through the whole population like a dose of salts. It can fly under the radar to infect, in great numbers. This is its strength.
That it hasn't is because of the only anti-contagion action, the lockdown measures. Otherwise, massive numbers would have been lost to the economy, over night, for long periods. Anti-contagion has been done poorly in some countries, which are now paying a high price. Of course, national loss of livelihoods and socialising are just as crippling.
Our governments are doing a first-rate balancing job. They are heeding the advice of their chief medical officers. New viruses mutate, and this can be deadly. I believe that for at least two years, we will be flying blind. China went into lockdown as soon as it could. It wasn't going to risk endangering its economy. It is still unknown whether those who have recovered have immunity.
Graeme Tychsen, Rankin Park
Lockdowns may be too late
MELBOURNE was locked down late last week, but don't they realise that many flew out before the rules came into force? Families have been isolated in these areas for quite some time and with school holidays happening, I fear mums and dads were packing up before the bewitching hour and heading north.
How is closing these towns so slowly going to prevent the spread? The Victorian police have their hands full, so excuse me if I don't believe that hot spot closures are going to work. They can't use security companies after allegations of flaunting the system at isolation hotels, faulty time sheets and alleged sex with guests, so the poor cops must be at the end of their tether.
Graeme Kime, Cameron Park
Criticism can come back to bite
IN a tweet, the Victorian Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr. Annaliese van Diemen pondered the comparison of Captain Cook to the coronavirus. I ponder the comparison of the competence of the said captain and the competence of Victoria's handling of the hotel quarantine debacle that has potentially put the whole nation at risk.
Sandy Buchanan, Largs
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I HAD the misfortune to see five minutes of Q&A on ABC Monday night. What a group of leftist Green loonies they are. The government's communications minister was a guest, and in my opinion the way Virginia Trioli, yesterday's man Bill Shorten, and the other three women were treated was disgusting. Trioli would butt in all the time if his answer wasn't to her liking. I hardly ever watch the ABC anymore and the sooner they privatise it the better.
Don Fraser, Belmont
A BIT salty, Lloyd Davies (Short Takes, 2/7)? Mr Davies is apparently upset by both my criticism of "their ABC" and my remarks that COVID-19 deaths pale in comparison to influenza. In Australia COVID-19 has killed 104 and at most put 200 in hospital at any one time, compared to a typical flu season of over 500 dead and 18,000 in hospital. Clearly, the burden from influenza is the greater of the two. An increasing amount of research (such as that published in Emerging Infectious Diseases) shows that co-infection with COVID-19 and Influenza A is present in many of those logged as COVID-19 deaths in both the USA and China. I consider this yet another factor artificially inflating the COVID-19 toll and explaining the collapse in flu deaths since March.
Scott Hillard, New Lambton
IT is a pity that the old Wickham School of Arts is apparently destined for demolition. This is the school where Henry Lawson spent some of his formative years. He was a voracious reader by all accounts; not a bad poet either.
Mark Bird, Maryville
AS a former independent Newcastle councillor who supports council amalgamations, I find it fascinating when Mr Franklin White of Belmont can write to the Herald and offer his opinion on a matter that has nothing to do with him (Letters, 3/7). Should a non-resident of the City of Newcastle be entitled to such comments?
Aaron Buman, Carrington
BEFORE 2008 Newcastle's CBD on a late Friday and Saturday night was a dangerous zone. The Newcastle lockout laws were introduced. Did they work? Yes. Were they fair? No. There were a handful of trouble spots where most of the incidents occurred yet all licensed venues were penalised. Penalise the businesses that don't run by the rules. Police the no service to drunks rules and notify groups who may buy for that person they will be asked to leave. Close down reoffending venues for a week per offence: one week for the first infraction, two for the second and so on. Also make sure all security staff are trained in oral negotiation skills.
Neville Morris, Valentine
OUR daughter and her baby were due to visit us from Melbourne shortly. They don't live in a lockdown area, but have decided not to make the trip. She had arranged for a parcel of chemist supplies needed for the baby to be delivered to our home. The parcel has been packed and posted from a suburb in Melbourne with active COVID cases. I'm most concerned and will be sanitising immediately after we receive it. Please be aware of this when receiving any parcels.