COVID is an exceptional disease and was at its deadliest this year, causing more deaths in Australia than at any time between June and August 2022. There have been 288 deaths from Influenza This compared to over 12,000 deaths from COVID so far this year.
number of deaths from covid The annual national road toll in Australia exceeds 1,000 in the first nine months of 2022 – but we are in no rush to remove seat belts or drink-driving laws to give people more freedom.
Isolation flattens the COVID curve by preventing infectious people from infecting others, and is a key pillar of covid control,
The shortage of workforce has been felt in every sector during the pandemic. The shortage of healthcare workers has led to the need to import workers from abroad, and in some cases have resulted in fatalities for patients. During the peak of the pandemic this year, the workforce was so badly hit that supermarket shelves could not be stocked. deleting solitary period The workforce shortage is expected to ease – but any relief will be short-lived.
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At a time when COVID numbers are on the rise, allowing infectious people to mingle freely at work and socially will only escalate the pandemic and make the crisis worse. At the present time, when cases are relatively few, the removal of the isolation mandate will not benefit the workforce materially, but it will Workplace And schools are less safe.
Eliminating segregation rules gives governments an opportunity to save costs. without mandatory isolation supportPayments for workers who need to isolate will end.
While politicians spin this as relying on Australians to take “personal responsibility”, sadly many Australians will not have the means to take time off from work. With the elimination of the mandatory isolation period, essential workers in low-wage jobs will face an even greater risk of contracting COVID in the workplace.
Newer forms of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID, are more immunosuppressed than ever. Immunity to vaccines decreases within two to three months, and so does immunity to infection. Hybrid immunity Isolation has been cited as a reason for leaving, but it is unlikely to have occurred.
In fact, we saw this with the recent BA5 wave, which caused more hospitalizations and deaths than the January/February BA1 wave, despite the much higher attendance Vaccination and infection-based immunity in the community. While there is no doubt that this immunity prevented a worse outcome, it clearly did not keep pace with the evolution of the virus.
While it was hoped that hybrid immunity from vaccines and prior infection would reduce subsequent infections, this is not the reality. Re-infection is becoming more common with types that are increasingly distant from the original virus. Further evidence is accumulating that reinfection can cause serious illness.
The most vulnerable may be forced to withdraw from society and from the vulnerable workplaces to save himself. But it is a misconception that COVID is trivial for all.
People who are happy and healthy today may be disabled or chronically ill from COVID.
The long-term complications of COVID are substantial, and may include effects on the lungs, heart, brain, and immune system. 12 months after infection, the risk of other complications, including heart attack, stroke, blood clots and sudden death, is nearly twice that of people who had never been infected. Serious complications can occur even after a mild infection – including heart failure. stroke and dementia.
Leaving isolation would increase COVID transmission and result in an increase in severe chronic disease. This can be a largely disabling event and therefore cause great economic and social damage.
The availability of treatments has been cited as a reason to end isolation – but these are limited to a limited number of subgroups, and not available to everyone.
COVID is a Epidemic The disease has and has behaved in a predictable manner since 2020, causing recurrent pandemic waves.
Ending the isolation will accelerate the start of the next wave. Permitting widespread infection creates favorable conditions for the emergence of new forms that have been more infectious or more resistant to vaccines or treatments.
To maximize productivity, health and social success, we must tackle COVID with a layered approach to reduce transmission, rather than ignore it. This includes increasing rates of boosters, increasing access to antivirals and other treatments, masks, safe indoor air and widely accessible testing.
Making segregation a norm, and financially supporting people to do so, has been a key pillar of our defense. This is still necessary because viral evolution is overtaking immunity.
We just had our worst wave ever and there’s nothing to suggest that the next one won’t be equally bad. Workplace absence is a function of transmission, so better control of SARS-CoV-2 will result in greater productivity, less disruption to families and businesses, and a more successful way of living with COVID.
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