What can do I do about COVID-19?
Have your thought what may happen if I am suddenly very sick from COVID-19?
Where do I get help?
2022: WHAT IS HAPPENING?
The SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus that causes COVID-19), as expected by doctors & virologists, is now moving through the population rapidly. As a doctor it is concerning Governments and the large health bodies have not discussed or informed the population of this expectation.
The vaccination process has work exceptionally well. Only a relatively small percentage of the population infected with COVID are needing hospital care. The numbers of people needing hospital assistance can be large and places a strain on the health systems - hospitals , call centres, doctors surgeries, emergency departments, intensive care units, pharmacies, and logistics. The numbers are all simple maths: NSW has 8 million people - if 50% of NSW people get a COVID infection and only 1% of COVID infections need hospital then this converts to 4 million persons unwell with COVID and 40,000 needing a hospital bed! [ For comparison the death rate in COVID in 2019, with the early version of COVID and no vaccine was about 1-4% in most western countries. ]
If you are vaccinated, you should have some confidence that, unlike in 2019, your risk of of both hospitalisation & death is greatly reduced.
WHY IS EVERYONE SEEMINGLY GETTING COVID?
The medical profession expects that everyone in the Australian community over the coming 4-20 weeks will get exposed to COVID. Exposure does not mean infection - but for a moderate slice of the population, exposure leads to infection.
The outcome for individual people will simply depend on each person's medical risk situation, vaccination status, and immunity. Some will have a minor cold or sore throat, others will be very unwell with a severe flu like syndrome. Some (and it is likely about 50% of vaccinated people at a guess) will not get COVID at all.
WHAT TO DO?
a) NOW before you or your household are infected get prepared. A preparation plan below is suggested and has references to a number of useful tools provided by the State and Federal Governments.
b) See the preparation sheets below. Know if you are in an increased COVID risk category. A high risk might mean that NSW health will avail special medications or extra monitoring to you. It may mean you need to phone the NSW Health COVID help line.
c) If you have any symptoms - sore throat , unwell, cough, runny nose, fever etc - Isolate, get tested using a RAT (rapid antigen test), and follow the public health isolation requirement. If the RAT is negative but symptoms are suggestive then repeat the RAT a few days later and also consider getting a PCR drive through test to be sure. RATs (and all tests in medicine) are not infallable.
d) If you have COVID do not attend the surgery but please let us know by email or phone call. See the information sheet for help options. Remember in all emergency situations the emergency phone number in Australia is 000.
I Hope this helps you and your household
Dr Craig Barnett