The COVID-19 'war': Complete with comfy couches and Netflix

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Image by Dan Jensen

Comparisons between social distancing to avoid coronavirus infection and the battles our war veterans fought are simply ridiculous, writes Peter Wicks.

UP UNTIL NOW, I’ve kept away from writing coronavirus-related pieces, but alas, I could hold off no longer. It’s the coverage from our television media that has tipped me over the edge. In particular, the ANZAC Day coverage.

The comparisons between our current battle against the virus and the battles our war veterans fought are quite frankly ridiculous. The whole “Now we find ourselves in a different battle” and “It’s like a scene from wartime” commentary is an insult to our intelligence and certainly an insult to those who actually fought in armed conflict.

Staying indoors and watching Netflix on the couch is just a little different from putting tape on your windows so they won’t shatter all over you in a bomb blast. I’ll bet there weren’t any servicemen dodging shrapnel in the rain, in a trench, in some god-forsaken place during World War I or II saying "Geez, this is just like being stuck in the house for a month".

The resemblance to my lounge room is uncanny (Image via

Also, why is the mainstream media (MSM) showing people celebrating as they emerge from four-star hotels where they have spent two weeks in isolation? While I’m sure that time dragged in there, a bit of perspective wouldn’t go astray. Around the world, thousands are dying, mourning loved ones, mass graves are being dug, but yeah, two weeks at the Crown really sounds like hell and well worthy of a three-minute news segment.

Celebrities in their mansions telling us “We’re all in this together” and how being stuck inside their mansions feels a bit like being in gaol? I mean, seriously? When was the last time they even spoke to an inmate, let alone spent any time in a prison cell?

The MSM is keen to say that the virus has made heroes of our frontline medical staff. What do they think these people were doing before COVID-19? Sitting around waiting for a pandemic to give them something to do?

These people are heroes – no doubt – but why has it taken a respiratory infection for our media and Government to notice? While there is no doubt this is tough for emergency staff to deal with it’s worth remembering what they normally spend their time dealing with. High-speed car collisions often involving kids, severe burns, domestic violence, child abuse, drug overdoses, bashings, stabbings, glassings and drunk idiots who’ve split their heads open falling over outside the pub.

I think it’s fair to say these workers shouldn’t need a pandemic to get celebrity endorsement as heroes. I also think it’s fair to say that while calling them heroes is nice and may make the media feel good, how about backing it up with a solid campaign to see these nurses and hospital staff get paid what they are worth? All the time, too, not just when you think there’s a chance you might need them. These people are heroes every day and they are among the lowliest paid. Actions speak louder than words. 

How about every time a parliamentarian is interviewed – particularly the PM – they are asked to pay health workers as if our lives depend on them, 'cos one day it just might.

The kind of disaster from which our emergency staff are used to dealing with injured people (Image via

The kind of disaster from which our emergency staff are used to dealing with patients. [/caption]

Watching the news lately you would hardly know there is anything else going on in the country. There's even a COVID-19 special bulletin on Channel 9 at 9 pm on weeknights — just in case you missed seeing the same thing on the 4.30 news bulletin, the 6 pm News, or on the A Current Affair one-hour specials every night except Sunday.

Now, I'm not a program director at a commercial television network, but I would have thought that with people staying home all day, offering more variety may attract some viewers — not constant repeats of the same COVID-19 news bulletin we saw 30 minutes ago. The take up of Netflix, Stan and all the other internet streaming services must be going berserk. All except Foxtel, of course, as with no sport going on they must be losing customers like a restaurant with a plague of rats. I for one am crying a river at the thought of Foxtel suffering while their competitors are getting a shot of adrenalin.

Here’s an idea for the networks to ponder. Shorten your news bulletins and halve your sports content. Football players doing dumb things at home is not newsworthy. Those who are interested in seeing that kind of rubbish have already seen the clips on Instagram. In fact, I would go out on a limb and say that pretty much any content you obtain from Instagram or Facebook is content that shouldn’t rate prime-time airing. That’s the sort of stuff that gets put together in a half-hour show called something like "Footballers' Dullest Home Video’s" and aired in the dead of night on 9 Gem or some other station people only find by accident when trying to find a something other than the same COVID-19 update they’ve seen three times already. 

Anyway, I’ve vented now. Maybe cabin fever is actually starting to take its toll?

I won’t say we’re all in this together because we’re not. Just ask the overseas visitors stuck here with no way of going home, no prospect of a job and no help from the Government, who spent millions begging for them to come here. I hope other governments are treating our citizens abroad with a little more decency and respect.

Or perhaps ask the casual worker who has been with the same employer for less than a year, such as vast numbers of first-year university students. These people and many others aren’t in it with us together, they have been made social outcasts by our Government. "There has to be a line drawn somewhere," they say. They have drawn that line there so that they don’t have to draw it somewhere it will impact the tax cuts or dividend imputation handouts for the rich.

On a brighter note though, here's a tip for any grandparents who have been unable to see their grandkids due to social distancing rules. Meet your family at the supermarket — anything goes there. Only kidding! Stay safe.

Peter Wicks is an Independent Australia columnist and a former Federal Labor Party staffer. You can follow him on Twitter @MadWixxy.

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