Ideas & Society: Living with Covid

Event status:

male in apron at hospitality venue changing window sign to Since the arrival of the pandemic in Australia, there have been some 400 Covid-related deaths among those under 60 and 5,000 among those 60 years of age and above. Is the withdrawal of restrictions, certain to affect elderly citizens disproportionately, an instance of what has come to be called “age-ism”? Or have extended lockdowns or equivalents taken too great a toll on mental health, especially of the young?

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Date:
Thursday 28 April 2022 05:00 pm until Thursday 28 April 2022 06:30 pm (Add to calendar)
Contact:
Victoria Dillon, University Events
events@latrobe.edu.au
Presented by:
Associate Professor Deb Gleeson
Type of Event:
Community Event; Public Lecture
Cost:
Free

On the eve of the 2022 federal election, the Ideas and Society Program is following our event on the crisis in Australia’s aged care homes with the discussion of a closely related issue: the past and the future of the Covid-19 pandemic, in Australia and beyond.

We have assembled an outstanding panel to discuss and debate several questions connected to the pandemic—Professor Nancy Baxter of Melbourne University, Professor Stephen Duckett of the Grattan Institute, Professor Michael Toole of the Burnet Institute and the moderator, Associate Professor, Deb Gleeson of La Trobe University. The event will be introduced by La Trobe University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Dewar.

According to the Convenor of La Trobe’s Ideas and Society Program, Professor Robert Manne, these are some of the most important questions and puzzles.

For two years—between early 2020 and early 2022—the Covid-19 pandemic was at the forefront of public discussion in Australia. More recently, during the second Omicron wave and the replacement of the BA.1 variant with BA.2, public discussion has become more marginal. Why?

How well thus far have the governments in Australia--the Commonwealth, the states and the territories—handled the Covid-19 pandemic? How can both the strengths and the weaknesses of the governments’ pandemic performances be explained?
How can Australia best contribute to the international campaign to overcome, or at least to reduce, the harm wrought by the pandemic?

Even though the world is still experiencing high numbers of infections and of deaths, several European countries—led by the example of Denmark and including Germany—have withdrawn all or almost all pandemic-related restrictions on economic and social life. How is this best explained? Is it wise?

In Australia we have followed this trend. In most settings and most states, masks are no longer mandated and the close contacts of those who have contracted the virus are no longer obliged to isolate. Are these two changes wise?

While some 95% of Australians have had two doses of the covid-19 vaccine, only some 60% have received the third “booster” shot. Why?

Since the arrival of the pandemic in Australia by mid-March 2022, there have been some 400 Covid-related deaths among those under 60 and 5,000 among those 60 years of age and above. Is the withdrawal of almost all restrictions, which are certain to affect elderly citizens disproportionately, an instance of what has come to be called “age-ism”? On the other hand, have extended lockdowns or equivalents taken too great a toll on mental health, especially of the young.

And, most importantly of all, with regard to the Covid-19 pandemic, in both the short and long term, in both Australia and internationally, what is to be done?

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