CHO Dr John Gerrard: Take personal responsibility to save lives
This is a refreshingly moderate official warning but, even so, it is heavily faith-based. His faith in vaccines is surprising, given that there is no evidence that vaccines protect against Omicron. We are in fact largely at the mercy of how good our innate immune systems are. I seem to have born lucky in that -- even though I am well into the age-based high-risk group. I turn 79 this week but have had no hint of Covid
It has been 2½ years since I treated the state’s first coronavirus case.
In that time, more than 1330 people in Queensland have died with the virus and we’ve recorded more than 1.3 million Covid-19 cases.
We’ve endured two waves and a third is still at least a month away from peaking.
Our hospitals are under immense pressure – the number of Covid-19 patients has risen by 140 per cent just in the past month because of the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants.
It’s tragic how something so minuscule (a SARS-CoV-2 virion is roughly half the size of a light dust particle) can wreak so much devastation.
Despite the passage of time and our mighty fight to suppress this disease, Covid-19 is still a major health threat that requires us to remain cautious and sensible.
That said, public health directions and mandates have served their purpose.
They helped us keep cases to a minimum, slowed transmission, and allowed us to vaccinate as much of the population as possible.
There is still a need for some health directions to remain in place, mainly to protect vulnerable people such as the elderly and immunocompromised, but we are no longer dealing with a novel virus.
Now is the time to adjust our measures to reflect this, to responsibly transition away from mandates towards taking personal responsibility.
By now Queenslanders are accustomed to the precautions and measures that have protected them against Covid-19. We should all be well-versed in wearing masks when we need to, physically distancing in public, staying away from others when we’re ill, and self-testing.
I have every confidence in the ability of Queenslanders to do this.
Being responsible also means making sure you and your family are vaccinated. The latest ATAGI advice recommends that people aged 50 and older get the winter booster dose.
Sadly, 97 per cent of Queenslanders who have died with Covid-19 were over 50 years old. About 91 per cent were older than 65.