“I heard all you Australians have been locked in your homes for almost two years,” a taxi driver in Chicago tells me. “So that you all revolted and went out on the streets and the police shot at you however you saved on protesting.”
I inform him the media may’ve embellished that simply just a little; that I come from a spot referred to as Queensland the place this 12 months we’ve “been locked in our homes” for lower than two weeks (my apologies to anybody from Melbourne who suffered by 260 days).
I inform him too that it really works each methods; that if I believed every little thing I noticed on our TV information about Covid in the US, I positive as hell wouldn’t be right here.
The reality of it’s I used to be scared-stiff about coming to America. Secure in my cocoon on the Gold Coast, no-one in my rapid area had died from Covid, I didn’t know a single particular person dwelling round me who bought it (although my uncle, sadly, was a Covid casualty in New Zealand). The thought of flying someplace that over 800 000 peopled died from it had me anxious from the day I booked my flight.
As I took off for Sydney from Gold Coast Airport, I saved my masks on tight, prevented touching the armrest and agonised over whether or not the three mini-bottles of hand sanitiser in my backpack would get me by to LAX.
However I nonetheless have these three mini-bottles of hand sanitiser in my room, three weeks later. The reality is; it’s not almost as dangerous right here as you assume.
Granted, I’m in Chicago (in Illinois), one in all solely eight US states with a masks mandate (together with New York, Washington, California and Hawaii). And once I go to the metropolis, I’ve to present my worldwide vaccination card to get into many bars, theatres, music golf equipment and eating places.
On the Gold Coast, when mini-outbreaks enforced masks mandates few locals wore them. My native grocery retailer’s supervisor refused to let her workers put on them (I even referred to as the police on them) however in Chicago, everybody wears masks. No-one, doesn’t put on them. At cafes and eating places, there’s indicators refusing entry to these with out them, and there’s containers of masks for anybody who left theirs at residence. There’s even indicators exhibiting you the way to put on them (for individuals who can’t work it out). My nieces and nephews right here have had to put on them each day at college since March final 12 months, even during college sports activities.
And don’t imagine the hype about anti-vaxxers. Positive, head to Texas and Florida and also you’ll discover them, however that’s hardly restricted to America (howdy there to my outdated residence city, Mullumbimby). In the state of Massachusetts (residence to Boston), vaccination charges are at over 90 per cent, they’re at 88 per cent in Connecticut and Hawaii; in my county… simply west of Chicago’s CBD, vaccination charges have hit 81 per cent, they usually’re rising (there’s two million photographs administered a day in the US right now).
I simply travelled by The South (an space of the US vilified for its anti-mask/ anti-vaxx angle) and I can report virtually in all places I went, folks wore masks. “Be careful in Raleigh (North Carolina’s capital),” somebody warned me. “They’ll mask-shame you even in case you’re not sporting one strolling out in the open.” (each enterprise in city required you put on one, and locals wore them even out on the road). In West Virginia, all workers had to put on one at the resort I stayed at (The Greenbrier) whereas even in a tiny city in the mountains (Fayetteville) I used to be warned not to enter a store with no masks if I hadn’t been vaccinated.
After all, there’s loads of locations in The South the place folks wouldn’t dream of placing one on. However contemplating New South Wales hasn’t mandated you have to put on one whilst instances enhance 10-fold, it reveals simply how cautious a few of America is, virtually two years after the pandemic.
It’s not like I really feel fully secure over right here. However sadly, I wouldn’t really feel solely secure again residence on the Gold Coast now both.