Wise words form a Doctor working in Infectious Diseases in Western Australia in @SwanMag:
“We need to be prepared and wary, but not alarmed. The media has been very sensationalist and has a lot to answer for, including my inability to find toilet paper. The covid-19 virus is coming to Australia, and in most places it is already here. For 80% of people who get it, you will develop mild cold symptoms. What’s the big deal then? Why are we talking about closing schools and cancelling events and sports Cancelling large gatherings will slow the spread of the virus, so hospitals are not overwhelmed.
I’m a doctor and I don’t want to have to tell you that we can’t treat your mum because we’ve run out of oxygen. I don’t want to call you to tell you that your dad died in a corridor, because we didn’t have enough beds.
This is what Northern Italy is experiencing right now, and they have one of the best healthcare systems in the world. This is what areas of the US are currently experiencing. They are having to choose which patients live and which ones die. China had to build 16 new hospitals in a few weeks for a city with the same population as Australia, and they still ran out of resources. They had to fly in builders, cleaners, kitchen staff, nurses and doctors from all around China to have enough staff. We don’t have this ability; it took 4 years to build the Perth Children’s Hospital. If we can slow it down, so there are enough resources and staff to treat everyone that gets sick, less people will die. A lot less. So yes, most people will develop mild symptoms, but upto 20% may need hospitalisation. That’s 1 in 5 people, and if this amount of people need hospital admission suddenly, like in Italy, China and America, our world class Australian healthcare system is going to struggle, and people will not be able to get the care they need, and they will die.
In regards to closing schools, children in particular seem to not develop many or any symptoms. They can then pass it on to other children and teachers, who will then take it home to their families, and potentially give it to grandparents.
Older people and people with other medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease and high blood pressure are particularly at risk of dying from covid-19.
People over the age of 80 may have a mortality rate of upto 14%. You don’t want your grandma to get it, if we can avoid it. You don’t want to accidently infect you’re child’s best friend’s mum, who is battling breast cancer, if we can avoid it. Your friend from book club or the men’s shed takes medications to suppress their immune system to treat an autoimmune disease, so you don’t want them to get it if we can avoid it.
If you are asked to self isolate, please stay at home the whole time. Don’t just “duck to the shops” because “I’ll only be there for 5 minutes, it won’t hurt anyone”. It does and it will. When the lockdown in Italy started, people in Italy were still going to the gym, to cafes and other places in public. Look where they are now: the whole country is in lockdown and funerals are banned. They can’t even grieve their dead. Isolating yourself when asked to is a sign of altruism. Going out when you’ve been asked not to is essentially saying that your short term pleasure/job etc. is more important than someone else’s life. You might not feel sick enough to want to stay home, but if you don’t someone else could die. Or multiple people. On average one person with corona virus infects 2-3 others, but one person in Korea infected hundreds accidently before they were found and isolated.
I want you and your family to get the best care possible, in one of the best health care systems in the world. But we can’t do this without everyone getting involved.
Start preparing. Start physically distancing yourself from other people by more than 1 metre. Please stop handshaking, hugging or kissing people on the cheek. Please frequently wash your hands with alcohol hand rub or soap and water for 20 seconds. Notice and reduce the amount you touch your face.
Singapore and Hong Kong have contained the virus by using the measures mentioned in the article. We can too, but we need everyone to pull together. Please stay home if you unwell, even if you only have a mild cold, please only take what you need from the supermarket, and please just be kind. If we do this together, the impacts of the corona virus will be much less, and a lot more people will live.”
Originally posted: www.swanmagazine.com.au