Historically, all religions use fear and hope to encourage the right kind of behaviour. Follow Christian teaching to avoid damnation and reach salvation in the afterlife. Nowadays, follow Covidanity medical commandments — check in your QR code and wear a mask – and we can achieve salvation from longer and harder lockdowns. In Victoria, this is encapsulated with the prayer “stay safe, stay open”.

And like all religions, Covidanity uses our innate fear of death at its core. By following the commandments, we can avoid damnation to a painful Covid death or the effects of long-Covid – the equivalent of Dante’s Hell. The priests of Covidanity understand this and amplify the fear of a “Covid death” as much as possible. Recently, the federal government released an advertisement of a young woman in hospital, a Covid sufferer barely able to breathe. Turn to the righteous path was the implicit message, or face a terrible death. 

Australia is now firmly in the grip of Covidanity. We must remember that rational argument and facts simply have no effect on the faithful. Just as Christians have faith in the birth of Jesus Christ to the Virgin Mary and his death and resurrection, the Covid faithful have blind faith in lockdowns, cloth face masks and mass PCR testing of healthy people. There is little hope in turning them away from this path with logical arguments or by presenting facts and figures. Just try showing a Covid faithful the graph of Swedish excess mortality or the results of the Danish mask study. They will stare at you like some kind of madman. 

We must also remember that many do not want to lose their new Covid religion. They want lockdowns and restrictions to last as long as possible, prolonging their newfound religious purpose and community.

Perhaps there are just two ways out of this Covidanity crisis. The first is a reformation, led by the clergy of Covidanity. We need priests (politicians) brave enough to stand up and say ‘enough is enough, we cannot live like this’, or bishops (health experts) willing to stand against the hardliners within the COVIDanity church and say that our current approach is causing more harm than good. It takes courage to stand against the prevailing orthodoxy, and so far, very few have been brave enough to risk apostasy.  

The second path is the coming of the Messiah: the vaccine. The Covidanity faithful of Australia await the miracle of high vaccination rates as our path of salvation. Like the Chosen Israelites, the vaccinated will be awarded their freedom with a vaccine passport. We must hope that the Covid clergy will decide that enough vaccinations have been administered, and that their grip on power can be loosened.

Until then, our new Covidanity religion will continue to exert its hold on us.