Australians mourning the death of a swimmer killed by a great white shark have been trolled for focusing on the tragedy rather than the country’s Covid deaths.
The attack of 35-year-old British expatriate Simon Nellist near Little Bay in east Sydney on Wednesday – the city’s first fatal shark attack in nearly 60 years – made headlines around the world.
On the same day, Australia recorded 66 deaths from the virus, including 27 in New South Wales.
While many were quick to pay their respects to the avid scuba diver, others called on mourners to express their sympathy for those who have died from the virus.
Simon Nellist, 35, became the first fatal shark attack victim in Sydney in nearly 60 years when he was bludgeoned to death at Buchan Point, near Little Bay in the city’s east, on Wednesday afternoon.
Many urged those who mourned the death of a British expat in a shark attack on Wednesday to focus instead on the Covid situation in Australia.
“So people are going crazy over one shark attack death (tragic, really),” one person tweeted. “But people don’t care about dozens of Covid deaths because…???”
There were 27,688 cases across the country on Thursday, up from 149,319 on Jan. 13, but the death rate jumped as the Omicron wave subsided.
“Shark attack and it’s all over the news. 27 people died in New South Wales from Covid on the same day – nothing,” said another.
One criticized that the national reaction to the death by shark was “a dark veil hanging over the community” while the attitude towards death from the coronavirus was “live with it”.
However, others have defended the national focus, saying the historical nature of Sydney’s first shark attack in over half a century is noteworthy.
“Shark attacks have always been and always will be newsworthy,” said another.
“Just like when my grandfather died of lung cancer, it didn’t make the news, but if he had been eaten by a shark, it would.”
“Covid deaths happen every day and losing a person is as sad as anything we hear for two years. Condolences to everyone who lost someone yesterday,” one of them said.
Pictured are shoppers wearing masks in Sydney on 23 December. There were 27,688 cases nationwide on Thursday, up from 149,319 on Jan. 13.
Pictured is the horrific moment a swimmer was mauled by a great white shark on Wednesday, with shocking footage (pictured) taken at the scene.
Some have defended Australia’s national focus, saying the historical nature of Sydney’s first shark attack in over half a century is noteworthy.
This week, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that Covid was the leading cause of death in 96.8% of the country’s 2,639 Covid-related deaths between March 2020 and January 31 this year.
However, about 91.4% also had other conditions listed on their death certificates — an average of three other health problems.
Meanwhile, tributes poured in for Mr Nellist, who was originally from Cornwall in the UK and was about to marry “the girl of his dreams”, longtime partner Jesse Ho.
The couple were supposed to get married last year, but they were forced to postpone the wedding due to the Covid pandemic and quarantine.
Simon Nellist (pictured with his fiancee Jessie Ho in Sydney) had to marry the love of his life after Covid-19 ruined their wedding plans last year.
Simon Nellist and his partner Jesse Ho are pictured after a diving expedition off Rainbow Beach in Queensland last June before Sydney was locked down.
“It’s just awful,” one close friend of The Sun told The Sun. “For most of yesterday, we just hoped and prayed that it wasn’t him. It’s still incredibly raw.”
The attack prompted Randwick City Council to close all of its beaches, including Little Bay, Malabar, Maroubra, Coogee, Clovelly and La Perouse, for 24 hours on Thursday before reopening on Friday.
Experts say the killer shark is likely to have swam at least 100km already and it is understood that even if it is found, it will not be caught but instead asked to leave the area.