Covid’s still with us

Outside a hospital early in the pandemic – courtesy ABC

Covid isn’t in the news every day but it hasn’t gone away.

Monday’s the day focuses on stories about individuals with disability and that’s why today’s issue is about Covid.

Anyone who comes into contact with someone infected with the virus faces the danger of catching the disease. As it has spread through the community many are now expressing a very human reaction and just shrugging their shoulders. A story by Michael Pascoe in the New Daily details exactly why that’s a bad idea.

“COVID has jumped to become our second-biggest killer.

And, no, it’s not killing people “just like the flu used to”. COVID is killing at more than three times the rate of flu and pneumonia combined.

And it’s killing people at a younger age than those who typically die from flu or pneumonia.

No, the plague hasn’t faded away.”

As a group, People with Disability (PwD) are particularly susceptible to being infected with the virus. That’s because as well as being (a) genetically susceptible to Covid we may also have (b) reduced immune efficiency. That leaves us vulnerable. More than 7,250 Australians have now died with the disease. The current mortality rate is currently three deaths per million people every two days. This is a mortality rate higher than in the United States, where just over one per million is dying every day.

Link: Our world in Data

Divided into daily figures your chances of severe infection might not appear to be so bad. That misunderstands the cumulative cost.

More than 5,000 Australians have died with Covid so far this year.

The politicians who make up National Cabinet have suggested we will eventually treat Covid like the normal flu.

“National Cabinet reveals plan to eventually treat COVID ‘just like the flu’

The Prime Minister has mapped out Australia’s proposed long-term pandemic strategy, but the details of many trigger points are yet to be confirmed.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison.Prime Minister Scott Morrison has revealed a broad four-phase plan that will eventually see Australia return to pre-pandemic travel freedoms and life. (Image: AAP)”
[Courtesy Royal Australian College of General Practicioners]

That’s fine but in a typical year, fewer than 5,000 people die from the flu. Covid is more than twice as virulent not just killing people but sending them to hospital as well. It’s time to take care. Don’t let your guard down just because some other people may feel immune or ready to stare down the disease – combating Covid is not simply a matter of willpower.

The current medical recommendation is for PwD (importantly, ‘who are able to do so‘ – check with your doctor if unsure) to ensure they have had either a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and two booster shots. If you are concerned about any possible side-effects of these vaccines you should seek medical advice and not listen to non-medically qualified people. It’s also worth noting that AstraZenica is no longer being recommended as the first-choice vaccine by the Health Department.

Eight months ago the Government admitted it didn’t know how many PwD had caught Covid. Don’t become someone who isn’t counted.




Nic Stuart

Nicholas Stuart is an author (Kevin Rudd, an unauthorised political biography; What Goes Up, behind the 2007 election; Kevin Rudd, 2007 - 2011) and columnist with the Canberra Times. He was the ABC's Indochina Correspondent when he suffered a significant head injury in a car crash in Bangkok.

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