“The Greatest (Australian) Public Health Disaster in Living Memory” – Dec 22

Excerpt from an interview with Prof Brendan Crabb, December 2022 – part1.
The Australian Government just published a discussion document on long term effects of COVID, 4-5% of those who have had COVID, so around 500,000 have Long-COVID. This wave of infection was in many ways worse than the one in April and it was completely predictable.

Also around 16,000 have died of COVID, about 25,000 excess deaths 60% because of COVID the rest with other causes on their death certificates though also because of COVID just not within 28 days of infection (which is their definition). Excess deaths means people who would not have died, in Australia its normally less than zero meaning before COVID life expectancy was going up for the last few years, this year it has not because 25,000 Australians have died. An analysis from Singapore shows that these deaths are generally within 3 months or so of COVID and its expected to be the same in Australia. So about 500,000 are disabled in some way, not all seriously. Treasury analysis says 30,000 or so are affected in a serious way and out of work because of Long-COVID.

Melbourne Children’s Hospital have said ‘dont bring your sick children to hospital because we cant cope with unprecedented demand’. Nearly all Australians have had COVID this year. COVID is driving this crisis. There has been nothing like this since WWII.

COVID is a serious infection that leaves you susceptible to other infection, not everyone, this is true over the whole population. The signature of Long-COVID is immune dysfunction. People have other virus in them, EBV (glandular fever virus), Varicella virus (chickenpox virus), these viruses are reactivated because their immune systems are not working as they should. That means that the crisis in our health system is all COVID.

Australia is in a pickle and the strategy is not working, we have to find another way. Australia took a strategic decision when Omicron came along. The decision was ‘we want you to get infected, it’s mild. If we push through that will build hybrid immunity and we’ll get through it.’ But then another wave came and now this wave. The idea of getting infected to avoid infection hasn’t worked because we’re still getting infected. We need a new strategy. Virus evolution is outpacing immunity the virus is winning. Unfortunately this hybrid immunity plan is completely flawed, it’s not working.

The virus is airborne, not in droplets so what we need is clean air. The political position seems to be that the politicians have no license to do anything more, it’s political poison to bring up COVID so no-one does.

We are not talking lockdowns.
There are a few simple things that would work. What is needed is low transmission in the community. High quality masks, legislation around clean air buildings it would make a phenomenal difference.

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