Australia is one of a handful of countries for which low-to-zero levels of Covid became the norm, in our case because we’re an ‘island continent’, that adopted strict border control, and hotel quarantine for new arrivals.
But in the era of the Delta strain, it’s much harder to keep Covid from spreading into the community. And from what I can see, this was the situation of most countries, even in the pre-Delta stage of the pandemic - once the virus got into a country, it stayed there. For most countries, policy was about merely limiting the number of infections, and zero Covid was not under consideration as a goal.
Watching the number of new daily cases in New South Wales keep inching upwards despite the lockdown, I wonder if Australia is now slipping into the situation that everyone else has been living with - Covid always out there somewhere in the community. We managed to delay this until the era of vaccines, so perhaps we’ve been spared the worst of that experience.
Nonetheless, I’m interested in making this comparison, for multiple reasons. There’s a general human interest in knowing what it’s been like in countries that have been living with Covid within their borders from the beginning. There’s the pragmatic consideration that Australia may be transitioning to such a condition itself, and forewarned is forearmed. In theory, such a comparison might help us improve our own policies, although the government has already declared its roadmap of stages, from now until complete reopening.
It may also be that “living with Delta strain” is distinctly different for a country, compared to “living with the original strain”, because Delta spreads so quickly; so examples from the first 18 months of the pandemic, may have limited value as a source of lessons.