DOI :10.26650/B/SS49.2021.006.01   IUP :10.26650/B/SS49.2021.006.01    Tam Metin (PDF)

Unprecedented? Pandemic Memory and Responses to Covid-19 in Australia and New Zealand

Claire BrennanPatrick Hodgson

The 1918-1920 global influenza pandemic and the global coronavirus pandemic which began in 2019 are separated by almost exactly a century, but in Australia and New Zealand there have been eerie similarities in the way they have unfolded, and in the responses used to combat them. Despite these similarities, early in the covid-19 crisis the virus and its impacts were widely described as ‘unprecedented’. This chapter explores the common collective amnesia that surrounds pandemics, and compares the level of collective memory of the 1918-1920 influenza pandemic in Australia and New Zealand before the arrival of covid-19. It examines government statements and actions while preparing for and responding to pandemics, the nurturing of historical knowledge among medical experts, and the actions of groups of citizens. Additionally, this chapter analyzes the significance of collective memory in devising effective responses to covid-19 in these two countries. In neither country has history been allowed to repeat itself exactly, but in New Zealand, action has been taken in the present with the intention of avoiding a reoccurrence of the events of the past.


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