On 11 March, World Health Organization Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus concluded his opening address for the COVID-19 pandemic media briefing with neat, alliterative tips for the world: ‘Prevention. Preparedness. Public health. Political leadership. And most of all, people.’ At the time I was listening to this announcement, a background murmur on the nearby radio, I was also peeing on a small plastic stick. Within minutes, I knew I was pregnant.
All things being equal, the life expectancy of a child born now in Australia is approximately 83 years. For a child born in this particular year, the impacts of COVID-19, the emerging unpredictability of the social, health, economic, political and environmental circumstances will have an indelible impact. From nutritional to economic status, from environmental surrounds to social relationships, the circumstances under which we are conceived, born and live during our formative years matter. This imprecise cocktail of experience and genetics has a sometimes mysterious but often direct correlation with our life outcomes and adult happiness, wealth and wellbeing. What happens for Australia, our communities and the world in which we live over the next 83 years matters to me for understandably personal reasons.
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