By Mitchie Natividad Bautista
Back to the office on Melbourne’s first day of lockdown 5.0. We know the drill, we know what must be done and we will win again, against this more infectious delta variant, brought to Victoria from NSW. A five-day snap lockdown is way better than a five-month lockdown any day.
Our best defence against this virus is isolation and vaccination, so, if you’re eligible, go get that jab, and protect all Victorians. And if you’re unwell, please get tested and stay home and cooperate with contact tracers and listen to public health advice. Again, financial help and support for mental health are available. By following the rules and taking precautions we will hopefully be on the other side of the lockdown very soon.
Just to put our Victorian snap lockdown into perspective, at present in NSW there are 75 people in hospital, 11 of them are under the age of 35. 18 people are in Intensive Care, five of which are being ventilated, and only one of the 18 ICU patients has received one dose of COVID vaccine. Hence vaccination definitely decreases the chance of severe illness, hospital admission, especially ICU admission from COVID.
It is important to note that the threshold for admission in NSW is quite high, so each of these patients is very unwell. The NSW outbreak has reached 1,000 cases in only 30 days, which highlights the rapid nature of the spread.
Death and hospitalisation aren’t the only outcomes of COVID-19 we need to prevent. Sydney and UK studies found that a third of people (even young people) with mild-to-moderate COVID-19, were left with chronic health problems, including fatigue, shortness of breath and impaired lung function and they can last for months.
We can’t get rid of COVID, but we can work towards living with COVID by first reaching herd immunity through vaccination. Hopefully, vaccines will allow us to live with some transmission without many people getting seriously ill or dying, and without needing to lockdown the whole state. It will take time to achieve herd immunity in Australia as vaccination has been very slow, so we’ll need to keep a strong quarantine system in place until we’ve got the job done. I know it’s frustrating, but we’ll get there. “
As Victorians, we want to do better. By protecting our health, we protect each other, we protect the vulnerable members of our society, we protect Victorian businesses, we protect our way of life. We’re still all in this together.