Medical expert warns prime ministers ‘Covid is coming’ as hospitals struggle to keep up with patients
One of Australia’s top doctors has warned prime ministers refusing to open borders that a Covid outbreak of the virus is inevitable and they need to prepare.
dr. Omar Khorshid, the WA chairman of the Australian Medical Association, said many hospitals were totally unprepared for the coming increase in patients, and that lockdowns should remain in place until this improves.
This included NSW, where photos of Royal Prince Alfred, in Sydney’s Camperdown, showed overcrowded ambulance bays and frenzied nurses and paramedics.
Mass vaccination will prevent thousands of Covid patients from overwhelming hospitals, but many unvaccinated people will still get sick.
The doctor in Perth said WA Prime Minister Mark McGowan’s insistence on zero Covid with hard limits was unrealistic, and that he should instead spend the rest of the year preparing his health system.
“The Prime Minister shouldn’t be talking about a Covid-free future for WA – that’s just not the reality,” Dr. Khorshid to Sky News.
dr. Omar Khorshid, the WA chairman of the Australian Medical Association, said many hospitals were totally unprepared for the coming increase in patients, and that lockdowns should remain in place until this improves. pictured is the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney
“Covid is coming and whether it’s with a truck driver in the next few days, a break from hotel quarantine or we will open the borders at some point.
“We don’t know if it’s in the next few months or next year, but it’s coming, so let’s get ready.”
dr. Khorshid said WA needed to quickly improve its lowest vaccination rate in the country, with only 50 percent getting their first dose, and bolster its ailing health system.
He said the recent announcement that hospitals would halve elective surgeries, despite no Covid cases showing that the state’s underfunded health care system was already under extraordinary pressure and that any outbreak of the virus would be “disastrous.”
“I think the Prime Minister is right to be concerned about opening up as the health care system in WA in particular is completely saturated,” he said.
dr. Khorshid said the same principle applied to all Australian health systems, which could burst under the pressure of too many Covid cases, even if 70 to 80 percent are vaccinated.
Several ambulances are seen outside Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred hospital after a surge in Covid cases
Hospital staff walk to and from Royal Prince Alfred in Sydney for another busy day with more and more coronavirus patients
He said more models need to be created of the impact on each state’s health system to see how many Covid patients they can handle and what the impact of different vaccination rates would be.
“We have to make sure we don’t open up to a magic figure of 70 or 80 percent, but then put our health system under extraordinary pressure almost immediately and go back into lockdown because we were wrong. ‘ he said.
“It’s avoidable, and I think we should do everything we can now to make sure it’s safe when we open.”
dr. Khorshid said it was critical for the health care system in NSW – which registered a further 1,116 cases on Wednesday – that the state did not end the lockdown at the height of hospital and ICU admissions.
Photos of one of Sydney’s largest hospitals, the Royal Prince Alfred, in Camperdown show ambulances overcrowded as health workers suffer a wave of infections.
Paramedics and nurses donning personal protective equipment watch them transport Covid patients to hospital as the city continues to see thousands of cases.
Photos of RPA hospital in Sydney show overcrowded ambulances
Paramedics and nurses donning PPE transport Covid patients to Sydney hospital as city continues to see thousands of cases
dr. Khorshid said it was critical for the health care system in NSW – which registered a further 1,116 cases on Wednesday – that the state did not end the lockdown at the height of hospital and ICU admissions
dr. Khorshid said that while NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian discussed releasing the state from lockdown in October, it could harm hospitals that still host large numbers of Covid patients.
“As we get more into the pandemic, as the numbers increase, the education level of that (medical) staff will decrease, the staff will become exhausted…the quality of care will come under pressure,” he told 9 News .
“It is therefore critical that NSW does not take steps to open when ICU and hospital admissions are at their peak, if that is in October,” he told Sky News.
The AMA president also said health authorities were increasingly concerned about several states’ preparations for larger outbreaks of Covid-19.
‘Can you imagine the pressure with 10,000 cases a day in Sydney? That’s where we’re going,” he said.
“Once we start living with Covid. We need to prepare our health system. We don’t see those scenes that we’ve seen in other countries that so horrified us.
“We have a chance to avoid us. Let’s take the opportunity and prepare now.’
dr. Khorshid said it was critical for the health care system in New South Wales – which registered a further 1,116 cases on Wednesday – that the state did not end the lockdown at the height of hospital and ICU admissions
WA Prime Minister Mark McGowan said it would take hundreds of lives to open his state to the rest of Australia once 70 percent of the population is vaccinated.
McGowan previously said it would take hundreds of lives to open his state to the rest of Australia once 70 percent of the population is vaccinated.
Data presented to the National Cabinet showed that the Delta variant would spread through WA three times faster than NSW due to its low vaccination coverage and lack of social distancing.
However, other figures show that vaccination – even in the low 1930s in most Australian states – is already cutting hospital admissions by more than 80 percent.
“We will fill our hospitals and if it goes haywire, large numbers of people will die,” the WA Prime Minister said on Sunday.
Mr McGowan doubled down on these claims on Monday, accusing Prime Minister Scott Morrison of not caring whether residents of WA lived or died.
“As I’ve said many times, we’ll reopen our borders to Covid-infected states when it’s safe to do so, but that’s not with a 70 percent vaccination rate,” he said.
NSW registered another 1,116 Covid infections on Wednesday
Paramedics and nurses donning PPE transport Covid patients to hospital as city continues to see thousands of cases
The AMA president said health authorities were increasingly concerned about several states’ preparations for larger case outbreaks
“A 70 percent vaccination to intentionally introduce Covid into WA would cost hundreds of lives and potentially lead to the closure of many businesses, including parts of the mining industry,” he said.
“I am not prepared to undermine the health of Western Australians and cost people their lives and jobs to meet the political demands of a Commonwealth government that only cares about NSW.”
AMA WA president Mark Duncan-Smith said the drastically underfunded public hospital network cannot handle the rise in coronavirus infections.
“The public health system in WA is on its knees. In fact, it has been chronically starved for the past four years and its capacity to meet current demand is inadequate,” said Dr. Duncan Smith. The Australian.
‘This is not suddenly a problem. That has been brewing for the past four years due to chronic underfunding.’