In a chaotic twist that I refuse to even put on my 2021 bingo card, anti-vaxxers in the US are protesting to “save Australia” over our vaccine mandates and lockdowns. Which, you know, are what’s actually saving us from the amount of deaths the US has had during the pandemic.

Thousands of people in Brooklyn, NYC marched into Manhattan while chanting things like “Wake up, New York”, “Let us teach” and “We, the people, will not comply” in response to vaccine mandates recently rolled across the country.

In what probably doesn’t seem like a big deal to the average Aussie, New York teachers were ordered to have at least one jab of the COVID vaccine by Monday to be able to keep teaching.

According to Mayor Bill de Blasio, 95% of the city’s 148,000-ish public school staff had gotten their first dose by Monday, including 96% of teachers and 99% of principals.

The minority of staff who refused to get their jab (roughly around 4000) were sent on leave, hence the demonstrations. Angry protesters reportedly trashed a COVID testing tent on their way through the city, while booing and shouting at the health workers.

The march ended outside the Australian consulate in Midtown, where protesters held speeches to *checks notes* “save Australia”, which is now trending on Twitter. Yeah, okay.

“What’s going on in Australia is not just going to be Australia. And when it shows up on our doorsteps, we’re gonna punch it right in the fucking teeth,” one speaker said, per News.com.au.

“We’re holding the line for Australia, we support Australia!” said another.

Now, you’re probably wondering what the hell any of this has got to do with Australia — and if so, you’ll be surprised to learn that actually, American conservatives have been talking about us for quite some time.

The infamously factually-challenged Joe Rogan, who is known for championing anti-parasite drug Ivermectin as a COVID cure, has been slamming Australia’s COVID response for months.

In September, The Atlantic published an article questioning whether Australia can still call itself a liberal democracy, given our “draconian restrictions” on citizens during lockdown. It suggested our international travel ban is reminiscent of “Communist regimes”.

The attention on Australia also grew after pictures of the violent riots in Melbourne went viral, with Republicans calling for the US to actually impose economic sanctions against Australia for “human rights abuses” against protesters.

I wish they had this same energy for Australia’s actual human rights abuses of asylum seekers, but I digress.

When Prime Minister Scott Morrison was in the US last week, he was asked whether Australia had become “an authoritarian dystopia”. Around the same time, Florida governor Ron DeSantis questioned why America hasn’t broken ties with Australia, saying that it’s “not a free country”.

“Is Australia freer than China, communist China, right now? I don’t know. The fact that that’s even a question tells you something has gone dramatically off the rails with some of this stuff,” he said, per Crikey.

In what I imagine is related news, Florida (who has a similar population size to Australia) has had more deaths in one week than Australia has had during the entire pandemic.

The point is, conservatives have been using Australia’s pandemic response with hashtags such like #AustraliaHasFallen and #SaveAustralia as a means of creating fear around vaccines, lockdowns and other measures that they think infringe on their ‘freedom’.

And look, there are definitely certain elements of Australia’s COVID measures that are insidious and problematic, some of which I’ve written and spoken about before.

But the criticism to be coming from people opposing jabs in the US, where over 700,000 Americans have died from COVID since the pandemic began, is laughable. How Americans think not getting jabbed will save Australia is beyond me.

Maybe there are some things our country can learn from America, but I think when it comes to COVID management, we’re okay, thanks.