This week marked one year since the UN Health agency declared the coronavirus a global pandemic.
Going back to January 2020 seems like a leap in time that should be longer than just 12 months. The nation was focused on fires, grief-stricken and angry that so much had been lost, largely due to the world’s inaction on climate change.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was struggling in the polls – he didn’t “hold a hose” and the people were punishing him for it.
On January 7, 2020, The New Daily published its first story on COVID – then an unknown virus quickly spreading through Wuhan.
“Mystery virus sparks quarantine laws in Hong Kong,” the headline read. The financial hub was trying to control the spread of the SARS-like illness, but it was too late.
Within 12 months, COVID-19 travelled to every continent, including Antarctica. It has killed more than 2.63 million people and according to analysis done by the World Health Organisation, has possibly infected one in ten people globally.
On January 25 2020 COVID-19 landed in Melbourne. Across the world, there were just 1320 cases. 41 people had died. We had no idea what was coming.
We didn’t know what contact tracing meant or social distancing, or why the R0 was so important. Not one of us had graduated from the school of armchair epidemiology. On January 19 then-chief medical officer Brendan Murphy addressed the nation.
He said the government was watching developments “very closely”. It would be the first of many press conferences.
Across the nation, households would tune in daily to watch the PM declare new, wild, changes to our lives – no overseas travel, and the shift to working from home. Haircuts were out (and then back in) and we all learnt to pronounce barre – just when we weren’t allowed to do it.
Victorians tuned in to watch Premier Daniel Andrews give over 100 days of consecutive press conferences. The state spent most of the year in lockdown – struggling to contain outbreaks.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews fronted the media every day during his state’s coronavirus battle.
Those conferences became a daily marker of life – Victorians started to see messages in what Mr Andrews wore – a suit on weekends was bad news, a North Face jacket meant we were in the clear.
States fought amongst themselves, families were separated, and toilet paper hoarding skyrocketted. This is the year in pictures from around the world:
All photos: Getty