Coronavirus is back in large numbers across Europe. Since governments began to lift lockdowns at the start of the European summer, positive cases of COVID-19 have been steadily increasing in countries that previously had the spread of the disease under control, including Spain, France, Italy and Germany.
Yesterday was National Sorry Day in Australia. It marks the anniversary of the tabling of the Bringing Them Home report, which chronicles decades of removals of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. Sorry Day also acknowledges the strength of the Stolen Generations survivors and reflects on the role everyone can play in healing our country. Yesterday was also the third anniversary of the release of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which poignantly notes: Proportionally, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately criminal people. Our children are aliened from their families at unprecedented rates. This cannot be because we have no love for them. And our youth languish in detention in obscene numbers. They should be our hope for the future. And this week is National Reconciliation Week, which represents a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements. The theme this year is “In This Together”.
In recent weeks a growing chorus of Australian commentators has called for social distancing measures to be eased or radically curtailed.
I’m a data scientist at the University of San Francisco and teach courses online in machine learning for fast.ai. In late March, I decided to use public mask-wearing as a case study to show my students how to combine and analyze diverse types of data and evidence. Much to my surprise, I discovered that the evidence for wearing masks in public was very strong. It appeared that universal mask-wearing could be one of the most important tools in tackling the spread of COVID-19. Yet the people around me weren’t wearing masks and health organizations in the U.S. weren’t recommending their use.