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Getting Closer to the Stage of ‘Personal Responsibility'

I’ve heard many people express dismay at the idea that we’ll be stuck in this cycle of lockdown, recovery, and new variants forever. That won’t be the case.

We’ll get through this, though not without bumps along the road. As the ACT, and the rest of Australia moves closer to the magical 80% adult vaccination target, we are looking at a new stage in our relationship with Covid19.

In this article, I’ll outline some statistics and perspectives to help give you confidence in how we will go about this move as a community.

My statistics come from the following article published on the ABC news website:

Harsh restrictions to avoid many deaths

In order to avoid the probable 30,000 – 50,000 deaths in Australia we may have faced in the absence of lockdowns, mask wearing and other restrictions, we have also put terrible strain on the lives and livelihoods of many of our citizens.

We haven’t begun to count the cost of lost jobs, financial strain, alcoholism, family violence, etc on our communities.

My heart goes out to all those who have shouldered the burden to save those lives. Many of us here in the ACT have been largely shielded from great hardship.

Vaccination Rate the Key to Short-Term Freedom

Now, we are nearing the time to move on. We are close to the point in the ACT where around 75% of people over 40 have been fully vaccinated.

When this hits 80%, that means the vast majority of the vulnerable population will be protected, if not from infection, then from more serious consequences of Covid19.

Only one fully vaccinated person has died so far, and he was in his 90s with several serious health issues.

Why Only Short Term? What About the Long Term?

Vaccination gives us a chance to earn our freedom somewhat earlier, and incurring many less deaths than without it.

For our communities to find balance with Covid19, that will most likely take decades. Over this time, most of the population will be exposed to Covid19 and develop natural immunity.

Covid19 will continue to mutate, just as every other virus does, and our immune systems will continue to evolve with it. This is nature, how is has always been.

Over time, we’ll find a balance, just as we have with other viruses like the common cold and the flu.

Yes, the flu is serious, and people die from the flu, but mainly those with poor health. Those who choose to can receive an annual flu vaccine, which is around 30 – 60% effective, depending on the year and the variant in circulation.

We’ll reach the same point with Covid19. The vaccines on offer now will help us bridge that gap to natural immunity in the coming decades with far fewer deaths.

A Few Statistics for a Clearer Picture

Sometimes when you look at a pile of figures, it’s hard to find clarity. I’ve cut some statistics from the above-mentioned article to give you that clarity.

Remember, apart from one person, all of these deaths reported were not vaccinated. Also realise that case numbers mentioned are probably under-reported. Deaths are reported accurately.

The vast majority of deaths has occurred in those aged over 70. These Australian Covid19 figures are accurate as at August 31, 2021.

Total Numbers

  • Cases 62,965
  • Deaths 1,044
  • Chance of unvaccinated person dying from Covid19 1 in 60 (1.7%)

Under 60 years of age

  • Deaths 40
  • Chance of unvaccinated person under 60 dying from Covid19 1 in 1,574 (0.064%)

Under 50 years of age

  • Death 16
  • Chance of unvaccinated person under 50 dying from Covid19 1 in 3,935 (0.025%)

So, Time to Let it Rip, Right? NO!!!

While the above statistics shed some light in a way that is often not reported, now is not the time to become lax.

Until we have most of the vulnerable people in our society vaccinated – and most of the world has set this figure to 80% of the adult population – we can’t let up on our precautions without the risk of many people dying.

While these numbers may just be ‘stats’ to you and me, if that was your mother, father, grandmother, or grandfather, you would no doubt feel differently.

What will ‘Personal Responsibility’ look like?

Over the next couple of months, we’ll see that transition to more freedom, as each state and territory reaches their vaccination targets.

While there will be less (hopefully no) lockdowns from next year on, we can still expect some restrictions on and off such as mask wearing, social distancing requirements, and possibly some form of ‘vaccine passport’ for travel.

For the sake of restoring quality of life to the 95% of the community that is mostly safe from complications of Covid19 infection, we need to start taking personal responsibility for our own health.

We cannot continue to ruin the lives of many to save the few.

This was essential in the earlier stages, but as we move toward our vaccination targets, this strategy no longer holds up to scrutiny. It may be several months before we reach this stage, but it will look something like this:

For the vulnerable – those aged over 70 and/or with co-morbidities (other health problems):

  • Continue to wash or sanitise your hands after being in public places
  • Be mindful of social distancing in crowded places – stay away if you feel unsafe
  • Monitor yourself for symptoms of infection and get tested if you are in doubt

For the rest of us – younger and/or otherwise healthy:

  • Hand washing and sanitising is still a good idea to reduce infection
  • Stay home if you are suffering from symptoms – just as you would with the flu
  • Respect the needs of the elderly and infirm
  • Be prepared to follow restrictions from time to time (eg mask wearing) to help reduce infection rates

What we’ll be Doing At Canberra Spine Centre

We continue to take Covid19 and the health of our community very seriously.

We will continue to maintain and clean, hygienic environment for our patients, and will be following ACT government health guidelines to the letter.

As we move to this next stage in the coming months, we will also be respecting each of our patient’s individual needs.

Most of us will be vaccinated, continue to sanitise, and keep an eye on symptoms.

Some people will wish to wear masks or isolate for periods. Other people, for their own reasons, may not wish to do these things.

At Canberra Spine Centre, as we move toward the stage of personal responsibility, we will respect your choice and continue to care for all of our wonderful patients in the same way we always have – improving and maintaining function to help you get healthy and stay healthy.