Let’s say that there are three scenarios (all of which involve NSW losing control of the shituation – you could have other scenarios too, if you like, where Delta goes easy on us).
Let’s call them “same boat” “spot fires” and “deep moat” I think spot fires is most likely.
In two months time, Delta has spread within New South Wales and to the other states it shares a border with. Despite more of the early and vigorous lockdowns that South Australia and Victoria had “successfully” done in July, Delta wins. The Astra Zeneca surge in vaccinations is still not enough – The hospitals fill up, the death toll of a largely unvaccinated population climbs, public trust breaks down and the economic and psychological hits build up. Western Australia and Tasmania both survive, simply because nobody comes in. If you leave, you ain’t coming back. International passenger flights stop absolutely. The Morrison government basically implodes, with a LibSpill rumoured (Dutton being cautious about having the numbers this time round).
In two months time New South Wales is deep in the shit. The hospitals have filled, primarily with people who have not been vaccinated (that’s still a hella lotta people). Other states are in and out of lockdown – other Premiers have become adept at these, and the populations are used to them, and broadly tolerant, thanks to the shocking scenes of the “alternative” in Sydney and beyond. Vaccine supplies are being jealously guarded. NSW’s desperate pleas for additional medical staff to come help fall on largely deaf ears, with staff in other states knowing it’s a long-term high-risk assignment, and worries about the need to stay put and help in their own state if/when the spot fires also get out of control.
The New South Wales situation is so dire, with pictures of overwhelmed hospitals and young people in body bags, that the Queensland, South Australia and Victoria all basically dig a deep moat and fill it with alligators, over the protests of NSW and the Federals. There is severe animosity in national cabinet, and states start to try to source their own vaccine supplies, since the perception is that the Federal Government is trying to favour NSW, despite no evidence that the use of vaccines as a ‘firebreak’ is effective, given the growing lockdown protests in NSW. International flights are happening, at a reduced level, in all states except NSW. The economic consequences are dire, as are the mental health impacts. Animosities are building up between the states that will take years to sort out, whoever wins the Federal Election in 2022…
For what it is worth, I think spot fires is most likely. But I think the other two possibilities should not be discounted. There is a real danger here that individual states will see no choice but to disregard the Federal “government” and to start taking matters into their own hands with regard to international arrivals, quarantine facilities and vaccine sourcing. What that means for collective action, mutual aid within Australia, well, who knows. This is what happens when you hollow out the state’s capacity to act, its credibility, where you worship the military and hide behind the aura of the uniform.
Very very interesting times ahead.
(What happens if some new variant comes along that laughs at the vaccination status of humans is, well… even more interesting. But now we’re shading into disasturbation…