The year of the ‘rona: an uncontrolled trial in verse

Rob D Mitchell
Med J Aust 2020; 213 (11): 524-524. || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50878
Published online: 14 December 2020


These days of 2020
Have seen ravages aplenty
An “unprecedented” year born in ash and smoke and flame.

While the burden of the fire
Was altogether dire
The impact of the ‘rona means we’ll never be the same.

This novel zoonosis
Wouldn’t fall for apoptosis
So emerged into the world through a Chinese marketplace.

And without a proclamation
It began its replication
And ventured out from Wuhan at a most alarming pace.

It was only when The Lancet
Thought that they would chance it
By publishing reports of an emerging viral threat

That the world paid close attention
To the scientists’ contention
That the ‘rona posed a truly global challenge to be met.


Borders quickly closed
And very few opposed
The travel bans to keep the virus out.

So there was lots of consternation
And verbal remonstration
When a cruise ship docked and spread it all about.

Some folks took to making bread
Or TikTok videos instead
To keep themselves amused while in stage three.

There surely would have been more gloom
If it weren’t for Teams and Zoom
And Netflix, Stan and iView on TV.


But it was those United States
That had the most alarming rates
A stratospheric peak, not just a “bump”.

Of course it’s difficult to know
Why health responses came so slow
But, regardless, we can blame it all on Trump!

Of all the things the man could teach
He suggested drinking bleach
And championed hydroxychloroquine.

In spite of media sensation
And RCT conflation
Those tablets rightly wound up in the bin.

With the US still ablaze
There came a second wave
To Melbourne, a city put to task.

But would anyone have guessed
That folks would feel so stressed
When told that they had to wear a mask?

A most impressive feat
Premier Dan did meet
To front the daily presser without fail.

It seems that he could hack it
‘Cos he wore a North Face jacket
Repellent to fatigue, not only hail!


The Feds did their bit too
Wrangling with a zoo
Of territories and states with mixed ideas.

But all, it seems, agreed
That at minimum we’d need
An approach at least as good as South Korea’s.

Brendan Murphy, Michael Kidd
An impressive job they did
Maintaining so much fire in the belly.

But who knew we could boast
That unbeknownst to most
There were so many Aussies called Paul Kelly!

But despite their contribution
And impressive elocution
It’s Christmas now and suffering will be seen.

All that we can hope
Is that somehow we can cope
At least until we find a damn vaccine!


It’s not surprising we are pining
For a simple silver lining
To this wretched year that isn’t quite yet done.

But if there’s any consolation
It’s this sweet affirmation:
It isn’t long till 2021!

  • Rob D Mitchell1,2

  • 1 Emergency and Trauma Centre, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2 Monash University, Melbourne, VIC



remove_circle_outline Delete Author
add_circle_outline Add Author

Do you have any competing interests to declare? *

I/we agree to assign copyright to the Medical Journal of Australia and agree to the Conditions of publication *
I/we agree to the Terms of use of the Medical Journal of Australia *
Email me when people comment on this article

Online responses are no longer available. Please refer to our instructions for authors page for more information.