One pandemic. Six lockdowns. Two-hundred-and-forty-six days confined to our homes.
As of today, Melburnians have endured more days of cumulative stay-at-home orders than any other city in the world. Though we haven’t had the world’s strictest lockdowns – compared to places such as Lebanon and Vietnam, which saw round-the-clock curfews at critical times – it has been an undeniably tough 19 months.
Up until this point, the Argentinean capital of Buenos Aires held the unenviable title, its residents subjected to a 234-day lockdown last year and a 10-day lockdown this year.
Our sixth lockdown will finally end when 70 per cent of Victorians over the age of 16 are fully vaccinated. (Currently, 82 per cent of Victorians have received their first dose, while 52 per cent have had both jabs.) According to the state government’s road map out of lockdown, we’re expected to reach 70 per cent between October 26 and 31, which would take our total number of days in lockdown to 267 – nearly nine months.
Lockdown one: March 30–May 12, 2020 (43 days)
Lockdown two: July 8–October 27, 2020 (111 days)
Lockdown three: February 12–17, 2021 (five days)
Lockdown four: May 27–June 10, 2021 (14 days)
Lockdown five: July 15–27, 2021 (12 days)
Lockdown six: August 5–October 26, 2021 (82 days)
It’s a grim milestone, but one a team of local creatives is using as an opportunity to fundraise for mental-health support. Melbourne-based creative agency By All Means and locally loved artist Oslo Davis (who illustrated Broadsheet’s new cookbook, Home Made) have collaborated on a range of “Greetings From Locktown” T-shirts, totes and tea towels, with profits going directly to Beyond Blue.
The mental-health and wellbeing-support organisation says demand for its services – by people experiencing anxiety, depression, and family and relationship issues – “remains between 20 to 30 per cent above pre-pandemic levels”. Particularly as, this time around, Victorians struggle through lockdown without the support of the federal government’s Jobkeeper program and Covid supplement.
Despite their impact, many healthcare experts say the lockdowns have been worthwhile. An academic at Monash University’s School of Public Health suggested lockdowns have prevented more than 120,000 deaths around Australia, including some 30,000 in Victoria.
Now, though, the end of lockdown is nigh. We’re on the home stretch. And the best thing we can do to get ready for the city’s eventual reopening is to get vaccinated.
If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or anxiety, call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14 or visit lifeline.org.au.