Covid contact tracing – a glimpse into the lives of others

Tuesday, March 30, 2021 Permalink

We’ve been really lucky here in Australia as we’ve had very few cases of the Coronavirus and our state governments, in particular, have gotten onto any COVID cases or ‘outbreaks’ (as we call them with some good ol’ Aussie exaggeration) very quickly. The latest in my state of Queensland – four community contracted cases announced yesterday – resulted in a lockdown of our state’s capital and increased distancing requirements throughout the rest of the Queensland while contact tracing goes ahead.

Because our cases have been pretty sporadic, details involving most individual cases are lapped up by the media. I’m conscious that wouldn’t happen if we had hundreds or thousands of cases but just a few means that our health departments and media outlets diligently share the movements of those testing positive.

contact tracing covid

And it feels a bit like voyeurism. Or some kind of porn. We all learn exactly where people have gone, and many pour over the details.

There are jokes and observations and (disappointingly) judgement.

My favourite joke is one about the fact that Bunnings (a large handyman and hardware store chain) seems to be a common factor linking most cases. I laughed out loud at that but also nodded in recognition that soooo many infected people seem to visit Bunnings. Of course I realise it’s a reflection of people’s habits in general, but still…

To date my area hasn’t been impacted by any of these cases and I’ve been focused on life after covid, but like many I look at the lists and make observations…

God, they went to three grocery stores over the weekend.

Holy shit, they spent two hours in Aldi.

Wow, they ate takeaway every night.

I wonder at the social lives of some but note that many like me joke about how boring our itineraries would be.

Did. Not. Leave. The. House.

It’s a weird insight into others’ lives we’d normally not have. Making us all anthropologists examining the habits of our fellow humans. I wonder what it’s like for those whose lives are being examined. Would you be tempted about how many times you went to the bottle shop?

I hate that many can be so judgemental. Most people’s movements are traced from before they were tested or diagnosed so they haven’t knowingly been out infecting the populace on purpose. After all, we could be next and then others will be analysing and judging our movements.

Which reminds me, I must start tracking my time better.

Went from bedroom to the fridge.

What would your contact tracing look like?

*Image by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash.

  • Vanessa
    March 30, 2021

    Well a lot of my regular moments are on the current contact tracing list! Very thankfully, not at the same times as a case though.

  • Natalie
    March 31, 2021

    My Saturday would show “Went from bedroom to bathroom to kitchen to desk” and “Did not leave home” πŸ™‚

    • Debbish
      April 2, 2021

      Because I’m not working or working from home (and live outside of town and am lazy about driving in) most of my days are like that Natalie.

  • Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid
    March 31, 2021

    I think mine would be pretty boring – dog park, supermarket with the occasional cafe thrown in! I must say contact tracing is top notch in NSW and checking in and QR codes are the new normal. I think you’re right though, it is kind of fascinating see where the people have been and it’s definitely a bit voyeuristic!

    • Debbish
      April 2, 2021

      We often joke about social media giving us a glimpse into the lives of others but they’re the famous highlights – the coffees, lunches, drinks. The fact that this includes the boring grocery shopping, takeaway food etc probably reflects real life a bit more.

  • Jo
    March 31, 2021

    It’s absolutely a little voyeuristic and I find myself pointing and giggling too. It would make me think twice though before walking into somewhere I shouldn’t be walking into. It also makes me think there has to be a story in there – imagine if an affair was exposed this way…

    • Debbish
      April 2, 2021

      Oh yes, there’s a plot idea for you, including Covid in the plot without making it Covid-focused! Something is uncovered via contact tracing!!!

  • Lisa
    March 31, 2021

    I keep thinking that people would be saying “omg that woman has sushi at about 1pm every single day, tell her to save money and bring her lunch from home”!

    • Debbish
      April 2, 2021

      Ha true! And it’s certainly the case that people get judgey about others’ movements when we’re reading them!

  • Denyse Whelan Blogs
    March 31, 2021

    I think too ‘how come they get to go to so many places and in such a short space of time’, Bunnos – yep pretty regular isnt it?

    Thank you for linking up for Life This Week, and as we approach the changing month to April, may you have some good weather where it’s enjoyable to be outside. Next week, the optional prompt is the second of the Self Care stories. Are you self caring enough? See you on Monday 5 April for #lifethisweek link up. Denyse.

    • Debbish
      April 2, 2021

      I’m usually most surprised about the number of times people go grocery shopping. I hate it so am always a bit agog when people go to Coles, then Woolies, then Aldi. I’m like, “Were they wanting something they couldn’t find, or do they always go to all?”

  • Laurie
    April 1, 2021

    That is not luck that Australia has had so few cases- that is good government on your country’s part. We have nothing like that here.

    And a hardware store is a weird locus for the epicenter of the pandemic! πŸ™‚

    • Debbish
      April 2, 2021

      Ah yes, but it’s a bit of a national institution – they host fundraising sausage sizzles on weekends so a lot of people go then to buy stuff they need. We have a chain of large liquor barns that are probably equally iconic!

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