The death of a newly graduated lawyer and father of four from Covid-19 at his home has highlighted a problem among ethnic communities of people resisting treatment for the potentially deadly disease.
William Orule, 36, died alone at his home in western Sydney on August 20 after being ill with the virus for nine days, shortly after telling his nephew he was “feeling better than the days before.”
The father of four is one of 40 people who have died at home from the virus during the current outbreak of the Delta variant, more than half of whom have not been tested for the virus.
His family said Mr Orule, who immigrated from South Sudan, was just weeks away from receiving his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, with an appointment for October.
William Orule (pictured left), a lawyer and leader of the South Sudanese community, died at his home in Sydney’s west from Covid-19
Speaking with ABCs 7.30Orule’s cousin, Edward Massimino, explained that he and his family would check on him, but his condition suddenly deteriorated.
“Every day, twice a day, we checked him in the morning and in the evening,” said Mr. Massimino.
“And he also told us that the Ministry of Health staff was checking him out. The last thing we always said was, ‘Do you have to go to the hospital? We’re ready to call an ambulance.” And he said, ‘No, I’m fine.’
Mr Massimino wasn’t sure why his cousin didn’t call an ambulance, and the family blames themselves for not doing more to help.
Mr Olise was found dead by police who visited his home to conduct routine wellness checks on Covid positive patients.
Mr Orule (pictured left) told his cousin he was feeling ‘better than the day before’ before police found him dead on August 20
Just over half of those who died from Covid-19 at home were unknown to health authorities and had not yet been diagnosed with the virus.
29 people have died while at home in NSW, most of them residents of western Sydney.
13 of these were known to NSW Health and the remaining 16 were diagnosed with Covid-19 after their deaths.
William Orule emigrated from South Sudan in 2003 with his cousin Edward Massimino through the Australian Refugee Program.
Mr. Orule taught himself English and held a number of jobs while training at TAFE and university.
The father of four is remembered as a brilliant man who helped his community and everyone around him (photo, William Orule in front of the Sydney Opera House)
On May 7 of this year, after graduating from law school, he was admitted to the Supreme Court of NSW and the Law Society.
His main goal was to support his South Sudanese community, and his death has shocked those who knew him.
Christine Debu, a close friend of Mr Orule’s, said his death prompted the population to get vaccinated.
The community leader is remembered by his community as a role model, and current chairman of the NSW community of South Sudanese and other marginalized areas Mawat Majok said a great person was lost.
Mr. Majok explained that the two contested the seat, and even after Mr. Orule’s loss, Mr. Orule continued to assist in helping their community.
Tragically, Mr. Orule’s family revealed that he was booked to receive a Pfizer vaccine in October (pictured, Mr. Orule on the far left)
Of those who died at home during the latest outbreak, the victims were mainly from migrant or non-English speaking backgrounds.
Western Sydney’s GP and community leader Dr Jamal Rifi said many of them feared being hospitalized without their family and support network, and there was a stigma attached to the illness.
“I know firsthand that many families have been affected by COVID, they have chosen not to be swabbed, not to inform anyone,” said Dr Rifi.
“They kept it to themselves. And unfortunately some of them died at home.’
He warned that the disease can accelerate quickly, from standard cold and flu symptoms to deadly in a short time.
‘They changed from one day to the next they are doing well but they are a little tired and have a little cough, mild headache, sweating,’ said Dr Rifi.
‘Within a few hours that oxygen level will drop.’
NSW registered 787 new locally acquired cases on Monday – down from the peak of 1,603 on September 11.
Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian confirmed that the Sydney lockdown will end on October 11, the Monday after the 70 percent vaccination rate will be reached.
NSW registered 787 new locally acquired cases on Monday as the number of cases dropped significantly
Ms Berejiklian unveiled a three-step roadmap to freedom, largely returning life to normal on December 1.
Prime Minister Berejiklian said the lockdown will end in Sydney on October 11.
“I can confidently say that we envision that October 11 will be the day we stick to that roadmap,” she said.
Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant said she believes 92 percent of people over 16 will be fully vaccinated.
“I really think we’re going to get to 92% vaccination of our 16-plus and I’m very excited that our 12- to 15-year-olds will get to a similar level,” she said.
“So I’m actually optimistic that we can achieve that in the very short term.”