8 May 2022

Be warned: COVID is still out there, and winter is coming

| Ian Bushnell
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Sir Robert Menzies statue wearing a mask

The pandemic is not over, so don’t be complacent. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Canberra is over COVID, but COVID isn’t over for Canberra.

While most of us are going about our business and leisure as if the pandemic were behind us, it is worth remembering that the national capital is experiencing around 1000 new cases a day.

And there are dozens of people in hospital with the virus, and dying with it, albeit mostly elderly.

More people have died with the virus this year in the ACT (43) than in the previous two years (12), including four last week.

Fortunately, the latest variants appear less severe than earlier ones, although COVID remains an illness one does not want to get, with a bunch of possible long-term impacts.

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It remains a frightening and isolating time for those who are immunosuppressed or have certain disabilities.

But despite this, and the fact that the virus remains extremely contagious, many Canberrans are discarding masks, forgetting about social distancing and, to their cost, forgetting the sanitising regime that has kept most of us safe.

Some people have even reported being criticised or mocked for continuing to wear a mask in public.

Vaccinated or not, people have a good chance of contracting the virus if they become too complacent and forget basic hygiene measures that will probably also protect them from the flu.

Governments have decided that we can no longer afford, or will even tolerate, density limits, travel restrictions, and lockdowns. We are prepared to accept the cost of living with the virus.

Some like to compare it to the flu, which also carries away a number of people each year.

But medical experts warn against this, reminding us that COVID is much more virulent and deadly.

So as we head into winter, when both COVID and flu can be a more serious proposition, it would be wise, even if vaccinated, for us to remember to be cautious about where we are, to carry a mask and sanitise and wash our hands regularly.

We should stay warm by dressing appropriately and not rely on air conditioning and heating to save us.

We should also remember that healthy food could be our best medicine to boost our immune systems and stave off viruses of all kinds.

If you are going to live with COVID, flu and whatever, then you should give yourself the best chance to keep it at bay.

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It would also be good to respect each other’s different ways of dealing with the COVID threat by acknowledging people’s decision to wear a mask, keep their distance or avoid jumping on a plane.

Canberra has been a blessed city during the pandemic and the relief to be back to some kind of normal is palpable, but the pandemic is not over.

It would be worth our while to remember that.

See Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman’s winter health tips.

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It was over months ago. Only stressheads care now. Let them get ulcers while the rest of us couldn’t care less

Oh dear, more fear mongering every day. There will always be sickness and bad weather. Go hide under the bed if you are scared of life.

It’s always going to be around now. That was obvious from early 2020. If you object to that, then take it up with the Chinese and Americans who think doing gain-of-function research on viruses is a good idea. For the rest of us, we always had to come to acceptance of that fact – the final stage of grief.
All the last two years did was delay the inevitable. They stole the lives of the young for the benefit of the old. The precedents that were allowed to be set will harm the poorest amongst us for at least a generation. The coming years are going to make the 1970s look like a walk in the park due to government destruction of supply chains and money printing.
And no one will be held accountable for any of it.

CaptainSpiff9:34 am 09 May 22

“There are dozens of people in hospital”. Oh the horror.

The Omicron strain is the effective end of the pandemic, whether Ian Bushnell likes it or not.

It’s OK to be a hypochondriac but you can’t expect everyone else to be one too.

Captain Spiff, with respect, I’m glad you aren’t the Chief Medical Officer because your advice isn’t that good.

With a thousand cases a day, I’d say the pandemic is far from over and we haven’t yet seen the impact of the new Omicron sub-variant.

Unlike the Flu, Covid doesn’t have a season.

Although you might think you are now immune from
little viruses, can I ask that you spare a thought for those with medical conditions, for the grandpas and grandmas in our society and wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands. Someone’s life could be dependent on your attitude. Thanks.

CaptainSpiff11:31 pm 09 May 22

Where was your care factor for grandmas and grandpas, when they were locked away in aged care homes, unable to see their families, and in many cases dying alone in hospital?

I bet you never had anything to say about that. That was just collateral damage right?

Originally you were gasping in sarcastic horror that there were dozens in hospital, saying that Omicron was the end of the pandemic and that Mr Bushnell was a scaremonger. Now you are asking where I was when grandpas and grandmas were locked in their nursing homes, dying and unable to see families etc.

Well, as it turns out my
mother has been in a nursing home for 18 mths and has experienced lockdowns and has been denied visitors

over the past month, 7 staff have contracted Covid and 2 residents.

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