It’s “freedom day” in Melbourne today – after something like four months in lockdown, we no longer are. From what I’ve seen, a lot of people actually held or attended midnight parties (of no more than 10 people indoors or 15 outdoors, as per the new rules, I hope 😜) to celebrate the milestone, but Viv and I are clearly old and we were asleep at the time 🤣
The rate of break-through infections in fully vaccinated people is about 0.2%, or 1 in 5001
The chance that a break-through infection will require hospitalisation is about 4%
The chance that someone will die from a break-through infection is about 1%
If fully vaccinated, your risk of a Covid-19 infection developing into “Long Covid” seems to be halved, to about 10%
The article is also very big on individual measures you can take to reduce your personal risk, like masking up, avoiding large social gatherings, etc.. It also makes the remark that people who are sick should stay home and there needs to be more social support (like paid sick leave) to enable that to happen, and that realistically this should have been in place long before the pandemic, which is totally true. But overall it’s definitely pushing the “open up faster sooner, and if you’re scared, you take precautions” line, which I find unsatisfying, because the laziness of indifferent people affects others. I would like to see our vaccination rate much higher before I would really feel comfortable, like 90%+ of everybody (not just those aged 16+, and why are we even measuring our vaccination rate by only those aged 16+?).
See, what the article does not really go into, which is a very big concern for us here in Australia, is the health system’s capacity to cope with ongoing infections in unvaccinated people (which, after all, currently includes many disabled people who our government deprioritised for vaccination, everyone under the age of 12, and 12–15 year olds haven’t been eligible for long enough to be fully vaccinated yet either). After years on end of “efficiency dividends”, our hospital system was basically running at 100%+ capacity at all times even before the pandemic – you can see the crisis at work in states like WA and SA which are virtually Covid-free, and still seeing ambulances ramping for hours and hours because there are zero beds available in emergency rooms. If we reopen now, yeah my personal risk of contracting Covid and needing hospitalisation is extremely low because I’m double-vaccinated (two weeks since my second dose today, baby!). However, if a fucking car runs a red light and mows me down while I’m walking to the supermarket, will a local hospital actually have a bed to treat me or will they all be occupied by Covid patients?
The Atlantic article describes the rate as 1 in 5,000, but then goes on to say that the risk of hospitalisation is 0.008%, which sounds off because that’d mean a full 40% of break-through infections require hospitalisation. (Now, it could well be that 40% of all break-through infections that the CDC knows about require hospitalisation…) At any rate, the NIH article linked to from the Atlantic article instead describes the rate of break-through infections as 0.2%. ↩︎
Victoria’s lockdown restrictions will be easing slightly from this weekend as we hit 70% of adults with a first vaccine dose. The 5km limit on movement will be increased to 10km, two adults from different households will be allowed to exercise together, and groups of 5+ adults, plus dependents, from two households will be allowed to socialise outdoors if all of them have had two vaccine doses. On a macro level, I guess I’m concerned about how much spread will result from people realising they’re very unlikely to have to prove their vaccination status and just catching up regardless… but on the personal level, I’m excited that I might get to see my family again. It’ll be late October before Viv and my sister get their second doses, but even being able to catch up with one family member and take Gizmo for a walk on the beach would be awesome 😃
If anyone else missed this piece in The Shovel, it’s a good ‘un. I’d quote the funniest bits but I’d end up quoting the whole thing, and it’s not that long! If the NSW Covid situation is on your radar at all, just read it.
Viv went and got his first dose of Covid-19 vaccine today! He had been somewhat “vaccine-hesitant”, but the news that unvaccinated people will not be allowed to go to cinemas, restaurants, etc. once we start reopening tipped the scales for him, to my immense relief. Once he’d made his decision (on the weekend), he just wanted a vaccine ASAP and didn’t mind which one, so he looked for AstraZeneca appointments and got one within a few days 😄 He’s now really gotten into the spirit of things and is bemoaning his lack of 5G connection… too bad he didn’t see this Mark Humphries skit before he went 😉
An excellent piece that’s been doing the rounds (for good reason). We talk a lot about the risk of hospitalisation or death from Covid-19, but there isn’t nearly so much discussion in the media of the risk or implications of developing “long Covid” (probably an auto-immune condition, sharing a lot in common with things like ME/CFS, fibromyalgia and POTS). As Victoria follows New South Wales’ lead in admitting we probably can’t eliminate the Delta variant or return to “Covid Zero”, it is really important we don’t play down the risks of contracting Covid, and admit that there are other adverse, permanent consequences that can happen besides dying.
Another part of this article that I appreciated is where it points out the medical establishment already does a really bad job treating, and even researching, existing autoimmune conditions like the ones I mentioned. Cynically I’d suggest that in large part, this comes down to the ruling class trying to cast “under-productivity” as a personal failing to the greatest degree possible and, as such, not something that has to be supported or accommodated by society. They clearly want to do the same for “Long-Covid”; not only must we not let them, but we should turn our indignation in the defence of everyone with other disabilities, as well.
About 20 hours on from my first dose, and so far the only side effects I’ve had have been a) I felt tired last night so I went to bed a little early, and b) today my arm hurts like someone gave it a hard whack with a baseball bat. But this is a lot better than I usually feel after a flu vaccine, for example. I have read that the second dose can hit a little harder than the first, but overall I’m feeling fortunate 😅
Back home again after officially receiving my first Covid-19 vaccine dose! I was pleasantly surprised when I got there and had the compulsory GP consult, and he actually went, “Uhhh, I think you qualify for Pfizer…” I have actually writtenmultiple times about how I thought I probably qualified but the system seemed to leave it to the discretion of individual GPs and I didn’t want an argument, just a vaccine – whatever I could get without a ridiculous hassle. Anyway, shout out to StarHealth in Prahran for swapping me over without fuss, and for having an efficient operation going in general, as well 😊
I read on Twitter that HotDoc now lets you search specifically for clinics that are willing to administer AstraZeneca vaccine to under-60s, so I’ve now made use of that function and booked an appointment. The soonest I could get was for Monday 16th though. I’m just praying I navigated the maze of bureaucracy correctly and nothing’s gonna go awry by the time I turn up 🙏
As if it wasn’t bad enough that Australian citizens abroad are denied the right to return home because of caps on quarantine places and airlines price-gouging and not respecting people’s confirmed bookings, but now, Australia wants to make the right to leave conditional, as well.
This “Fortress Australia” approach might be popular, but is such a hardship on Australians with international connections… and we are, after all, a country where half the population was either born overseas or has at least one parent who was. I think quarantine is a necessity, and we can look abroad to see what we’ve been spared thanks to it, but the system we have is so obviously a kludge and combine that with airlines prioritising wealthy celebrity passengers, many of whom aren’t even Australian, ahead of ordinary dual nationals or expats who just want to see their families…
Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.