Covid19 in Bali

I’ve held off writing anything about COVID19 for so many reasons, largely due to the fact that there are just SO many ‘experts’ right now and I have been truly appalled at how self-righteous they are. Also, as someone who has a marketing and social media business, I feel a tad hypocritical pointing fingers at the fake news sharers or panic merchants that seem to dominate our newsfeeds. So before you read this, please understand I am NOT an expert, I have absolutely no medical experience at all, and everything in this blog is just a theory or a thought with no scientific basis at all, and a cup of gin thrown in for good measure.

There is no doubt we are in a pandemic; start, middle or end, I’m not sure. But fair to say the pandemic is equal parts health related as it is media related. Who knew the media controlled so much of what we believe and what we base our day to day lives on? I’ve actually removed myself from every community group or page that people suggested I join. And isolation actually seems a lot better now for it, I figure when the world ends or starts again, someone will let me know.

I’ve unfollowed or unfriended many supposed friends who I haven’t heard from in years who suddenly were incredibly interested in my well-being and news from Bali. Sorry but I call bullshit. You were interested in fodder to share with your friends, hyped up codswallop that serves no purpose other than to add to the boredom-infused frenzy. To tell me the ‘virus is coming my way’ is firstly fear mongering and secondly ludicrous because as far as I know, the virus is not doing home deliveries to those in isolation.

I feel sad and sorry for those who lives have irrevocably changed due to COVID19 taking the life of a loved one. But I also feel sadness for those who are affected by the virus in a financial way because the long-term ramifications of this impact will be felt for years to come. On a daily basis I feel overwhelmed just thinking about how the world will repair itself economically and naturally I think of Indonesia mostly, more specifically Bali. Bali is a country that essentially relies on tourism and when that stops, everything stops. Even support businesses that don’t directly work with tourists, have stopped. Jobs are lost, day to day living changes in a way that you just can’t imagine until you see it.

But on my early morning ventures out, with a face mask, to feed the dogs left behind, I’ve seen some truly remarkable things. The Balinese have not wavered in their beliefs with daily offerings even more important now than ever. Prices of food at local warungs have actually dropped so more people can afford it, there are people setting up stalls with free rice for those who need it and yesterday I witnessed a carload of Balinese people handing out bags of rice, oil and basics to people who have nothing. The tenacity of the Balinese is truly remarkable and COVID19, like the Bali Bombings, will be another tragedy in their history that they fight back from and show incredible resilience.

I keep waking up waiting for the cure. The vaccine will be available in first world countries far quicker than it will anywhere else and that’s brilliant because then travel can start again. You just need to get your COVID19 vaccine on top of any other vaccines you should get when travelling overseas. But a readily available cure is more important in third world countries were the cost of a vaccine could prevent the majority from getting it.

I saw a news article the other day that said some clever boffins at Monash have discovered that Ivermectin can kill the virus within 48 hours in a petri dish lab environment. Now they need to test the dosage for humans. Ivermectin is something I know a little about. It’s readily available and easy to use and already approved with many uses in people and animals. In fact, I have a stash at homealready (known as Mectin) which I use to treat street dogs for worms. It’s an anti-parasitic and being that COVID19 started from parasites in animals in the wet market animal trade of Wuhan, it makes sense that this could be a solution. Please see caveat in first paragraph, I am NOT a clever boffin, just someone who happens to know about Ivermectin from pulling worms out of puppies bums.

Let’s talk about these wet markets or live animal markets. We all need a silver lining, although lately, just finding a brass or copper lining would do. So perhaps the silver lining in this is that these markets will be stamped out, although there will be reluctance from the traders as this is their only source of income. This barbaric practice of keeping all kinds of animals in filthy living conditions, then brutally torturing them before killing them and eating them, has been proven to be the starting point of COVID19 in Wuhan and the pandemic that has caused global destruction. To prevent this from ever happening again, this trade must come to an end. I can’t imagine any government in the world wants to have fingers pointed or wear the blame for the next pandemic, should it prove to come from these types of markets. Corona viruses are not new, and stopping this disgraceful trade won’t end future viruses however if humans no longer consume animals in a way that they shouldn’t be consumed (yes, there is an argument for vegetarianism), then you would expect that this kind of pandemic will hopefully not be seen again.

There is a groundswell of talk about why Bali doesn’t seem to be as affected as other parts of the world, or as much as people would expect it to be. Jakarta has obviously been hit hard however I’m inclined to think that’s because poor Jakartans have been dealing with tremendous floods for months and perhaps immune systems aren’t what they would normally be. We didn’t have much of a wet season in Bali this year, although it was certainly humid, but like many, I am wondering if COVID19 already came through Bali with the last wave of tourists and visitors to the island.

There seemed to be a cough or a flu that swept through many communities in Bali late last year. We either put it down to the wet season flu, or asthma from the rising damp, or simply the change in weather. Ask a local what masuk angin is, the symptoms can range anywhere from the common cold to a stomachache to dengue. And as the onset of wet season goes hand in hand with the onset of dengue season, we may not have realised what everyone had was the early stages of COVID19. Testing would not have been done as no one knew there was actually anything that needed testing for.

Now if this is the case, and Bali has already had its peak with perhaps a milder strain of the virus, does that mean more of us have the antibodies or are immune to it and that’s why the numbers in Bali are lower than the crisis that Australian media would have us believe? It would be wrong to believe that the media are paid by the Australian Tourism Board to Bali bash, but hey, make travel within Australia cheaper and they wouldn’t need to, right? I found it interesting that all Australian media could do was over-hype how bad Bali would be affected and warn everybody to leave and not return in the foreseeable future. I didn’t see any Australian media saying avoid your European holidays or give the US a wide berth. Just Bali.

Bali is my home. I’ve been here for nearly 6 years. My team are here, my zoo is here, I have created a life here for myself. And I don’t have a home set up anywhere else that I can go back to. I had people saying I should come back to Australia and get all the benefits the government are handing out. I haven’t been considered a tax-paying resident in Australia for at least 5 years, my vote in the election doesn’t even count anymore…so does it seem right that I suddenly turn tail and ask the government to support me? I think not.

I like to leave things on a positive note although lately I’ve struggled to stay positive. But there are some good things that have come out of isolation: I’ve watched every episode of Law & Order; I’m hoping that my ice-cream to housework ratio does in fact prove that they balance one another out; I’ve learnt how to make all kinds of cocktails with fruit and whatever booze is lying around; I’ve discovered my dogs and cats really do sleep all day and couldn’t give a rats arse whether I’m here or not; and I’ve had meaningful, funny, and more regular conversations with those I love via phone, video, messages or email. I think we have all learnt that we should have taken out shares in loo paper, brown onion farms, tinned food companies, and Wi Fi providers.

Stay healthy and I hope to see you all in COVID19-free world ASAP

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