COVID-19, huh? Done and dusted, you might think.
There will no doubt be people labeling today ‘Freedom Friday’ as a number of protective measures will be removed.
Isolation periods for those who test positive for the virus will be reduced from seven days to five.
Masks will no longer be mandatory on domestic flights.
Why not? The number of daily cases is well down from the winter peak – in the thousands rather than the tens of thousands.
The trend is so encouraging that health ministers and their health chiefs have decided that reports will no longer be daily, but weekly.
So is it alright…or does this message allow for more complacency?
After all, just a month ago the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners urged “people in South Australia to step up measures to reduce community transmission of COVID-19 and keep people safe”.
The RACGP statement, published on August 3, had a pleading tone: “Please get vaccinated and boosted and wear a mask indoors and where social distancing is difficult, such as at games. sportsmen. Speak with your employer to see if working from home is an option as we navigate this current surge in cases. Etc.
Who the hell does that anymore? A week ago, the Victorian government announced that work-from-home recommendations were lifted and workers were encouraged to return to the office.
Recall rates worry
A little lost in all the excitement is a warning from the Immunization Coalition – a nonprofit advocacy group with heavyweights such as epidemiologist Professor Mary-Louise McLaws and infectious disease pediatrician Professor Robert Booy as board members.
The coalition warned Australians who have yet to receive their COVID-19 booster shots “that while winter may be over, COVID-19 is not”.
The problem is that only 71.6% of Australians aged 16 and over have had three or more COVID-19 vaccines.
Reverse the situation: almost 30% of eligible Australians are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Kim Sampson, CEO of the Vaccine Coalition, said: “In light of evolving quarantine and mask recommendations – at a time when we are in the final footballing season, approaching the carnival of Spring shopping and upcoming school holidays – it’s important Australians don’t delay to protect you and your loved ones by being fully immunized.
Covid still there
Paul Griffin, Coalition Board Member and Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of Infectious Diseases at the University of Queensland, warned: “It is not possible to predict the next wave of COVID-19, nor what strain of COVID-19 it will be. We also cannot predict the scale and severity of future waves of infection.
”If people are complacent and don’t stay up to date, under current guidelines, thinking the vaccinations they’ve had are sufficient, then there’s every chance they’ll get infected, probably in the not-too-long future. distant. ‘