Pastor's Corner

Covid Deaths: America vs. Australia

05-22-2022Pastor's CornerVery Rev. Robert J. Deehan, VF

A recent news report explored reasons why, to date, there is such a large difference in the number of deaths due to Covid between the United States and Australia. Tragically, the U.S just marked 1 million deaths. However, Australia’s death rate for the same period is one-tenth of America’s. The report acknowledged that differences in geography and other factors unique to each country could account for some insignificant differences in outcomes. However, one observation noted a more significant difference, that Australia’s approach to Covid, generally speaking, has been stricter. And, from many interviews, survey data, and scientific studies from around the world, one lifesaving trait surfaced among the Australian people from top level government to local hospitals: they trusted in the science and institutions, and especially in one another.

76% of Australians indicated they trusted their health care system, but only 34% of Americans did. In addition, Australians were more likely to agree that “most people can be trusted,” which researchers found to be a major factor in getting people to change their behavior for the common good to combat Covid. Interpersonal trust, a belief that others would do what was right not just for themselves but for the community, was a major factor in saving lives. When Australians were asked why they accepted the country’s many restrictions, the more common response was something like, “It’s not just about me.”

This report caused me to reflect on how our Catholic faith can shed light on the reality reflected in these findings. What do you suppose are contributing factors that have caused many Americans to lack the positive traits that have been shown to make a difference in saving lives in Australia? What can you and I do about it? What do you think Jesus would suggest?

God bless you!

Fr. Bob