Melbourne’s dirty little secret: For weeks, millions have quietly defied Daniel Andrews’ lockdown rules

Melbourne’s dirty little secret: For weeks, millions have quietly defied Daniel Andrews’ lockdown rules. By John Ferguson.

At first bending them. Then breaking them under the weight of record-breaking lockdowns, a desire for psychological relief, companionship and, to be frank, selfish reasons of comfort over the greater good. …

The pandemic has divided Victorians off and on for 18 months and there is now a wide consensus that failure to adhere to the lockdown rules is ubiquitous, experts citing mobility data that shows the AFL grand final was a crisis point for the Andrews government. …

There is broad agreement that the failure to follow the lockdown rules is at the centre of the latest spike in cases, which surged to 1438 in Victoria on Thursday. …

The bureaucrats were the last to know:

University of Melbourne epidemiologist Tony Blakely sounded genuinely shocked when Melbourne cases spiked on Thursday.

He had been wondering for the previous two weeks what was going on with the Victorian caseload because he had thought the numbers had “shouldered” about 10 days before. He became concerned last weekend when Victorian Covid commander Jeroen Weimar had suggested about half of transmissions were from household to household, which pointed to rule breaches.

Professor Blakely said a driving force was the length of the lockdown, which has been among the world’s longest. October 26 marks the first anniversary of the drive to zero cases last year after a 112-day hard lockdown. …

Professor Blakely said it was also possible that the violent wave of protests that hit Victoria last week might have seeded cases, with a cluster at the CFMEU headquarters in Melbourne.

“It’s not even a smoking gun, it’s a gun, you can see it,’’ he said. …

He said it had been tough for many to conform this year: “Because they are sick of lockdown and just trying to live a life that’s somewhere near normal.

“The reality is we are human beings and we’ve had enough.”

People have been told that vaccines will solve it all, and most people have been vaccinated. Which takes the urgency out of it for most.