July 21, 2021
After reporting a whopping 78 new Covid-19 cases and one death in the state, Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant told reporters on Tuesday that Australians shouldn’t engage in conversations, even if both parties were wearing masks, and regardless of vaccination status.
“Whilst it’s human nature to engage in conversation with others, to be friendly, unfortunately, this is not the time to do that,” Chant said.
So, even if you run into your next-door neighbor in the shopping center … don’t start up a conversation. Now is the time for minimizing your interactions with others.
Masks don’t afford “total protection,” Chant added, so residents must avoid talking to each other and “be absolutely sure that, as we go about our daily lives, we do not come into contact with anyone else that would pose a risk.”
Much like the White House’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, in the US, Chant has been championed by mainstream media outlets as a pandemic-fighting hero. The Guardian referred to the doctor as “unflappable” and a “secret weapon.” She was named New South Wales ‘Woman of the Year’ for 2021.
Social media critics weren’t charmed by her advice against having conversations, however.
“Unbelievable,” TV presenter and author Tonia Buxton said. “Don’t behave like a human, forget humanity, just do as you are told.”
DON’T ACT LIKE A HUMAN. DON’T TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS, EVEN WHEN MASKED. DON’T BE FRIENDLY. THIS IS NOT THE TIME. pic.twitter.com/iiPgz2D8Bb
— NoRisk_NoReward (@noreward_norisk) July 20, 2021
British pop duo Right Said Fred suggested that Chant’s statement revealed “desperation” on the part of government officials. “They’re either running out of time or they’re going insane right in front of our eyes.”
Their desperation is front and centre. They’re either running out of time or they’re going insane right in front of our eyes.
— Right Said Fred (@TheFreds) July 20, 2021
Chant also called on residents to continue staying at home and to refrain from visiting friends and family. “We need to consider whenever we leave our house, that anyone with us, anyone we come into contact with, could convey the virus.”