It's a glorious sunny day in Sydney, not just warm but actually hot, with a breeze. When I hang the washed sheets out, they seem to dry before I turn around. (Just as well, for reasons I'll explain in a later post.)

I haven't settled into a routine, exactly. I do the same things each day: cook, wash, tidy, read, catch up with email, check the news, do a bit of exercise. The last two days I went out walking in the daylight, to generate some Vitamin D and stretch the legs. Tried to pick times when no-one would be on foot in my suburb, but misjudged that - met young women walking dogs, tradesmen repairing houses, and kids coming home from school. So I have been learning the new social skill of swerving 2 metres away from other people without seeming to insult them. The Corona Shuffle.

On my daughter's advice, I have stuck bright yellow Post-It notes up at various points around the house, rather authoritarian in tone, to remind me of quarantine rules: WASH HANDS WELL; DON'T TOUCH FACE; GLOVES IN KITCHEN. Good idea: memory lapses are to be expected as I get older. Though I forget exactly why.

The news has been full of governments announcing emergency measures, generally too little, too late. Closing borders well after the virus is established in a given country is particularly futile - as WHO has been politely saying. But it feeds the racist-nationalist narrative that so many regimes now rely on. Any problem, blame it on Foreigners. Trump's tweeting about the "Chinese virus" is particularly offensive (and biologically stupid), but it's far from unique.

The news has been showing scenes of empty supermarket shelves as people seize supplies for themselves to hoard. Well, it's the capitalist way: behold the deregulated Free Market in operation! (I'm hoarding yellow Post-It notes, expect to make a market killing some day.)

But with that all that nastiness floating around, and much legitimate fear, it's good to record positives. As well as family, I've had offers from at least ten neighbours, friends and colleagues to bring food and other needs for me while I'm in isolation. Thank you, every one! It's good for my spirit, as well as my health.

And that's not unique, either. Australian university managements have not covered themselves in glory with this epidemic. Their responses have been inconsistent, and many have been slow to act, especially to support casualized and outsourced workers in precarious jobs. But there has been strength within the workforce. I'd like to quote a message from Kurt Iveson, the president of the Sydney University branch of our National Tertiary Education Union, who says about his meetings with workers in different parts of the university:

I’m absolutely in awe of the kind of support that members are providing one another to get through the crazy events we’re now living through. That support and solidarity is even more precious in times like this.

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