DIGEST

COVID-19 Informer: 'The disease is not a great leveller'

Emily Maitlis introducing BBC Newsnight. Photo: Screengrab
Emily Maitlis introducing BBC Newsnight. Photo: Screengrab

She looked down the barrel of the camera and delivered this: "The language around COVID-19 has sometimes felt trite and misleading. You do not survive the illness through fortitude and strength of character, whatever the prime minister's colleagues will tell us."

And so Emily Maitlis introduced BBC Newsnight earlier this week.

She is a British-Canadian journalist who told it as she saw it - for 90 precious seconds.

"You do not survive the illness through fortitude and strength of character, whatever the prime minister's colleagues will tell us," she said told the UK on Wednesday night.

"The disease is not a great leveller, the consequences of which everyone - rich or poor - suffers the same.

"This is a myth which needs debunking. Those on the front line right now - bus drivers and shelf stackers, nurses, care home workers, hospital staff and shop keepers - are disproportionately the lowest paid members of our workforce. They are more likely to catch the disease because they are more exposed."

You can watch it in full here.

It may have been directed at a UK audience and been motivated by Foreign secretary Dominic Raab after he said UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson would the PM would pull through because "he's a fighter" - but it doesn't matter.

Although Australia's experience is far removed from the UK, great swathes of Europe and the US, the sentiment remains apt.

Remember the headlines here when Tom Hanks was confirmed as having coronavirus last month?

Since then any number of "names" have been caught up in the pandemic - from Prince Charles down.

Globally cases have surpassed 1.6 million and in Australia the tally stands at 6184. An equally important statistic is that more than 355,000 people have recovered, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

Today, a third person died from COVID-19 at Tasmania's North West Regional Hospital, bringing the state's fatality rate to four.

Worryingly, the outbreak at the hospital has triggered an "extraordinary response", including asking more than 100 staff to go into quarantine - adding to the 51 already isolating.

It is the non-discriminatory nature of coronavirus which has prompted the prolonged calls for people to stay home this Easter.

Sadly, it comes as no surprise that this has not happened.

In Tasmania alone 15 people have been told to get out of holiday hotspots and go back to their own houses while locals in tourist towns elsewhere also have reported "incomings" of visitors for Easter.

Here's hoping your Easter is a safe and quiet one.

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This story 'The disease is not a great leveller' first appeared on The Canberra Times.