"Australia is the lucky country." Waleed Aly's humbling reminder about our COVID-19 situation.


The coverage of COVID-19 can feel all-consuming at the moment.

With daily death tolls and ever-changing updates dominating the news, it’s hard to block out the noise and make sense of what’s important.

So, if there’s one thing you watch about COVID-19 today, make it this video from The Project.

You can watch a snippet of Waleed Aly’s monologue about Australia’s coronavirus situation on The Project in this video below. Post continues after video.

Video via Ten

On Wednesday night, The Project co-host Waleed Aly delivered a video segment titled ‘Australia, The Lucky Country’.

It served as a humbling reminder that all of us living in Australia, with our own individual and varying struggles, are indeed the lucky ones amid this global pandemic.

The five-minute monologue clearly outlined just five of the reasons Australia’s COVID-19 situation is less dire than many other countries – why our nation has tragically lost 51 lives, compared to nearly 18,000 in Italy and 13,000 in the US.

In Australia, we are lucky we’re an island nation geographically distanced from the rest of the world.

As Aly pointed out, “Regions like Europe aren’t so lucky. After the virus took hold in Italy, it wasn’t long before the nightmare spread, with cases soaring in Germany, France, the UK and worst of all, Spain.”


In countries on the African continent, where borders are merely lines on a map rather than physical, geographical structures, the virus is spreading because people can easily and freely move between countries, bringing the virus with them.

In Australia, we are lucky to have a relatively low population density. Yes, we’re a big country, but “our towns and cities are, largely, distanced from each other”.

Our population sits at roughly 25 million people. That equals out to around three people per square kilometre (sq km) of land. Comparatively, Aly said, “Australia’s most densely populated city Sydney has 407 people per sq km. New York has 38,000 per sq km.”

We’re also lucky in Australia because, regardless of your political views, our leaders are taking COVID-19 seriously. And while there have been criticisms of the actions of our Government, “Prime Minister Scott Morrison has done a largely commendable job”.

On the other side of the world, experts say President Donald Trump’s ‘she’ll be right’ attitude to the virus saw the US waste two months of prep time. Now, a death toll of 100,000 is their best case scenario. And in the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke lightly of having shaken the hands of coronavirus patients during a hospital visit. He is currently in intensive care being treated for COVID-19.

One of the things that makes Australians among the luckiest people in the world right now is our healthcare system. Because in Australia, anyone can access quality care, regardless of income.

In a recent World Health Organisation Report, our health care system was ranked 37th in the world, The Project reports. We also have some of the best-trained health care professionals in the world, ready to meet the challenge.


Those in low income countries or nations with poor public health systems aren’t so lucky. In Ecuador, a country ranked 111th in the same report, cardboard boxes have become coffins and shipping containers, temporary morgues to house their dead taken by coronavirus.

You can watch the full five-minute segment from The Project below.

But the most important message in Aly’s monologue was this:  “The next time you start feeling sorry for yourself being all cooped up at home, remember… all of us must appreciate how privileged we are”.


For in West Bengal, India, self-isolation looks like people living in trees to quarantine themselves and keep their loved ones safe. As pointed out by an Indian doctor in a letter that’s since gone viral, the social distancing and isolation measures that impact our lives, although inconvenient and life-altering, remain a privilege we enjoy.

“Social distancing is a privilege – it means you live in a house large enough to practise it. Hand washing is a privilege too – it means you have access to running water,” the letter reads.

“Hand sanitisers and soap are a privilege – it means you have money to buy them. Lockdowns are a privilege – it means you can afford to be at home. The most effective ways to ward off corona are accessible only to the affluent. In essence, a disease that was spread by the rich as they flew around the globe, will now kill millions of the poor.”

This message doesn’t minimise the very real sadness, grief and sorrow many Australians are feeling right now. It doesn’t detract from the devastating impacts of losing your job, being made redundant, having to close your business down, postponing weddings and surgeries, or not being able to be there beside a loved one dying from the virus.

But it does put things into perspective.

As Aly said, “Make no doubt about it, there’s not many other places you’d rather be during a pandemic. Australia is the lucky country”.

Feature image: Ten.

Did you watch Waleed Aly’s monologue on The Project? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.