I have been concerned, as an elderly Australian, that I could be at more risk from COVID19 than other age groups. If the data and analysis in the table I have prepared below is correct, any age effect relative to normal mortality is likely to be small.
30 March 2018
COVID-19 Fatality Ratefor 37578 cases
March 30, 2020
Deaths in Australia, as in other developed countries, are normally higher among older people. The increase in the number of deaths with COVID19 is not available.
The data indicates that the ages of people worldwide who died from COVID19 were similar to the ages Australians died at in 2018. If world mortality rates occur here, COVID19 would hit older Australians in proportion similar to other ways of dying.
55% of deaths are normally Australians over 80 and this number decreases to 51% for those who die from COVID19 worldwide. However, the proportion of 70-79 years old Australians who would die from COVID19 would increased to 28% from 20.6% worldwide. Australia would have proportionally fewer deaths over 80 than in 2018, but more at 70-79 and 60-69 with fewer 59 and under.
Yesterday I went to my local food supermarket with reluctance, unsure of what I would find. This week I had attempted to obtain goods or services from several other retailers. They had been closed, kept me waiting, conducted demanding identity checks, imposed automatic responses that denied my wants and prevented me from complaining about the treatment I was getting. These ordeals had made me feel isolated and superfluous. Without personal attention, consideration or courtesy, I began to wonder if somehow I was unworthy. I was fearful of COVID19.
Going to the food store, I prepared myself for unpleasantness as shoppers scrambled for the few second-quality goods I imagined.
With great pleasure I found business as usual, with produce in abundance (only a few empty shelves). Usual high standards of order pertained, with cleanliness, high quality goods and courteous staff.
You don’t need to know the name of the retailer. A loyal supplier is easily recognised.
Prices were as usual, not cheap but without the exploitation of COVID19 that a duopoly could apply.
This immaculate store validated my individuality. I was a free buyer, without my identity mattering. I was as good as anyone and could buy anything in the store. I had been a loyal customer and they were being a loyal supplier.
This one supplier revived me. Their civility made hope possible and austerity bearable.
Cynics will say they did it for market share and profits, with staff diligent in fear of losing their jobs. That’s okay. Bill Gates has shown that kindness can coexist with business. Not all profits are subtracted from the public good.
The fabric of our civilisation is fragile and no more anywhere than in supplying food. Would that all other suppliers e.g. banks, utilities, social media and government departments, were as loyal, as we strive towards a future together, against COVID19.
Parents are likely to find teaching school subjects to their own children quite difficult. A child may resist participating in an unfamiliar role. From my experience as a teacher of distance education and as a parent, here are some orienting comments.
Long ago, parents worked in the home, or nearby on farms or in mines. Children could be with them, learning life skills by imitation. When work moved into factories, youngsters were excluded and minded in schools. Education was by paid teachers. Learning was by cognition.
In 2020, with schools closed and parents off work due to coronavirus restrictions, it is possible for parents to home school their children. Individualised adult attention is different from sharing and comparing with age peers, requiring children to adjust.
Schoolchildren accustomed to professional teachers will have expectations about how learning and teaching should be done. A child could be disconcerted by a parent trying to teach them, departing from their familiar role as authority, rule enforcer, food provider and friend.
If schools are sending work home online or by correspondence, the parent role could be defined as supervising and possibly also tutoring student responses. Teaching traditionally requires curriculum, pedagogy and evaluation. Ordinarily, when the child can go to a school, home schooling has to be approved by the education authority. A parent could teach in one or more of the various teaching styles, between authoritarian and student-centred, finding a locus of control that works, depending on the age and ability of the child.
Every student and every parent is different. Until the student and teacher have developed a productive rapport, not much learning is likely to occur. They need to respect each other and be flexible. When the situation is far from ideal and uncertain, as it is with COVI-19, the teacher has to create a safe, relaxed place for learning to occur. Students want success from every task they attempt.
Persistence is needed. Teaching a child effectively will be a wonderful experience for both.