By Doctor Costas Costa.
The advice I’m giving my patients is that the time for waiting to decide on vaccination is over, a serious form of the Delta variant COVID-19 now spreading quickly throughout Australia. Most of our states are in prolonged lockdown, our lives are being severely disrupted.
We are now all at high risk of catching the virus, the only thing that will keep us safe (and help get out of endless lockdowns) is for us all to get vaccinated. The other concern is that our hospitals are already starting to feel the strain – and the ICU beds are filling up.* Soon the concern won’t just be the virus. You won’t find a hospital or an ICU bed or a ventilator if you need it.
We have already seen this overseas. And things will get much worse in Australia if we are all not vaccinated soon.
Τhere are around 2000 ICU beds around Australia but already 400 are full – even though the daily numbers are relatively low at around 300 to 400 cases per day.
Ιt’s not hard to imagine what will happen when these daily cases are in the thousands!
Τhere is no direct medical treatment for any virus, much less COVID-19 – as doctors we provide “supportive” management such as bedrest, stay warm, aspirin for fever and plenty of warm chicken soup with lemon – as the Greek doctors have always prescribed.
Τhis has always been the case with all virus infections. And Covid 19 is a virus – albeit much more serious and deadly.
The only “treatment” for viruses is PREVENTION. And that is vaccination. (or stay locked up in your house 24/7 without any visitor).
Τhe vaccine will help your body make antibodies that will reduce the severity of the viral illness, going to hospital, ICU, put on a ventilator or dying. And it will reduce likelihood, but not stop the risk of transmission of the virus.
Βeing immunised won’t mean you are immediately free to travel or do whatever you want. It will take 2 to 4 weeks after your second jab for full effect. And there will need to be 70% to 80% of people vaccinated for us to get out of lockdown and get back to normal life.
So, everyone has to do their part (given that there is probably 10% to 20% of antisocial people in society) we need almost everyone else to get vaccinated.
Until then, you need to keep wearing your mask and follow the rules of lockdown:
1. we must stay in our own home and only mix with people that live in our house
2. visiting relatives or friends is strictly prohibited – as it puts everyone at risk
3. only one person to go shopping -and need to register with the QR code at the shop, wear a mask, sanitise hands going in and coming out
4. one Carer to visit sick or elderly friend or relative – and always the same person. Take the same precautions.
5. exercise daily in the open air and only with people who live in your own house. Keep a distance from other people and if necessary, wear a mask. Exercise is good for your mental health as well.
6. if you have symptoms stay home. Ring your doctor or hospital for advice and immediately organise a COVID-19 test at a local testing facility. Do NOT go to your doctor or hospital unless you are very sick! And, even then, ring ahead. Do not put others at risk without warning.
Stay away from work and friends or shops if you have symptoms. The government will pay in most cases for you to stay home, for the Covid test and for your time to have the test, and to stay home and your Covid results.
Finally, we can all despair about the slow rate of the vaccination rollout and result of prolonged lockdowns -the lack of vaccines to date and the difficulty to access vaccines.
But now the vaccines are becoming much more easily available and community pop-up vaccine clinics -including by the Greek community – are making the vaccines, and choice of vaccine, much easier. Please get vaccinated with the vaccine of choice – or whatever is available there is no more time to lose, it may very well save your life. And one thing for sure, if we don’t get vaccinated, the epidemic will get a lot worse!
And please remember it’s not just the old or the weak or the sick that are at risk with the delta variant. Even young un-vaccinated people are now filling hospital beds in ICU – and even dying.
As I write this article, the majority of new cases in New South Wales are now in the 20-year-old age group! And all are un-vaccinated or not completely vaccinated.
We are now in the fight of our lives and a fight for our way of life. The Greeks have never run away from a fight.
Please get vaccinated.
Dr Costas Costa.
GP Sydney. OAM.
* ICU beds are a very limited commodity.
It takes years to replace a bed because of all the staff training required. Usually people stay in ICU bed for average 2 to 3 days but a COVID-19 patient averages five or six weeks in ICU bed. So once the beds fill up with Covid patients, it’s a long wait for the next patient to get a bed and seriously ill COVID-19 patients don’t have that amount of time to wait.
Those Sydneysiders who fit the criteria for an urgent appointment can book in at one of several priority locations via the NSW Government website.