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The Wickedness of Covid-19

"In planning and policy, a wicked problem is a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognise. It refers to an idea or problem that cannot be fixed, where there is no single solution to the problem; and "wicked" denotes resistance to resolution, rather than evil. Another definition is "a problem whose social complexity means that it has no determinable stopping point". Moreover, because of complex interdependencies, the effort to solve one aspect of a wicked problem may reveal or create other problems." Wikipedia contributors. (2020, June 17). Wicked problem. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 09:12, August 3, 2020, from

This sounds exactly like our response to Covid-19. Some will no doubt argue that actions taken or not taken are correct – from the point of view of their professional knowledge; but no one person or body can comprehend the full social/economic/menta/wellbeing effect of it all.

Even when this is done and dusted, we will never know if we’ve taken the right actions. All we can do, as at any point of decision, is make the best decision we can at the time.

We are just starting this Covid-19 journey in Australia. Don’t think it’s anything otherwise.

Today the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Australia has crested 16,000. In my home state of Victoria, cases have been rising steadily from the start of July with today a country record of 700+ new cases in a day, and the number of deaths reported daily increasing as well.

These are not as severe as many other places in the world and for that I am glad. However, there is a prevailing attitude, pushed by the media, that we are in a "second wave" which is sure to peak soon (ie. tomorrow) and that afterwards everything will be fine.

A basic analysis of the numbers involved show this can’t possibly be the case.

There are 25 million people in Australia. A statistic I heard early on was that 80% of the population would be infected. That’s 20 million people. If it’s 8%, 2 million people and at 0.8%, 200,000 people. By now we’re 1% of the original 80% statistic so pretty conservative.

16,000 of 200,000. There is a very long way to go.