The Pandemic Down Under

Coronavirus (COVID-19) SARS-CoV-2,

The Australian Government is managing the COVID19 outbreak in Australia as a health emergency. A glossary of terms in daily use in the media in Australia in response to this virus tells the story of how it is managed here. The Main Goal: To keep the numbers of infections and deaths as close to zero as possible. At the moment, nearing the end of August, this is way off target. Even one death from this disease is lamentable, however, overall deaths are below the thousand mark in Australia…

Pandemic: The word “pandemic” comes from the Greek “pan-“, “all” + “demos,” “people or population” = “pandemos” = “all the people.” A pandemic affects all (nearly all) of the people. By contrast, “epi-” means “upon.” An epidemic is visited upon the people. A pandemic is an epidemic of an infectious disease that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple continents or worldwide, affecting a substantial number of people. (Wiki)

Epidemiology: The study of determinants of disease across populations, and of ways to reduce the impact of these diseases on the health of the community. Epidemiological research is central to the Doherty Institute’s role in addressing health conditions related to infection and immunity in Australia and globally. 

Peter Doherty: See his recent book: An Insider’s Plague Year.

Epidemiologists: On the frontline. See this article in the Guardian that peaked my interest.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has been provisionally approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for people 18 years and older. AstraZeneca uses an inactivated viral vector.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been provisionally approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for people 16 years and older. Uses an oily bubble to package, that is, a new technology.

Covid Sites: Venues, suburbs and places in Australia listed as containing the Covid-19 virus

Contact Tracing: The process of identifying all people that a COVID-19 patient has come in contact with in the last two weeks. Contact tracers have usually worked with measles and HIV. Health departments in each state are employing dozens of qualified epidemiologists and other specialists to carry out this task. (See articlehttps://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-16/meet-the-contact-tracers-fighting-coronavirus-in-australia/12151302) Genomics is another way of tracing contacts being used in Australia.

Mystery Cases: Cases that cannot be sourced to an initial case are considered the most dangerous.

Case Numbers While Infectious: A prime task of the contact tracers is to discover which people were infectious while in the community. (Alt. Cases Active in the Community)

Quarantine: Even though you are well, you may have been in contact with someone with COVID-19. In such cases, you must stay in quarantine for 14 days to prevent the spread of the virus.

Exposure Sites: All the places that are being indentified as having COVID-19 infections.

High Risk Places: This could be venues such as bars, dance halls, church, and anywhere that people congregate in large numbers.

Infectious Period: The incubation period is the time between being exposed to the virus and the onset of symptoms. With Covid, incubation can be 1 to 14 days. Most people, 4-6 days after exposure.

Tests for Covid: Throat and Nasal swabs are taken and sent to a lab. for analysis.

Preventative Measures: Hand washing, Wearing of masks, Vaccinations, Staying Home, Distancing.

Lockdowns: Since the Delta variant has reached our shores, the government has moved to stop people from moving more than 5 or 10 kilometres from their place of residence. Movement between borders has also been brought in.

Bubble Partner: Someone a single person can nominate as a buddy for exercise and social engagement while in lockdown.

Local Government Areas of Concern: (LGAs) Areas where the virus has been located or spread to.

Waste Water Fragments: Are viral fragments found in sewage, alerting authorities to the need for testing in the LGA.

Vaccination Hubs: Large centres for administering Astrazenica and Pfizer vaccinations have been established in parts of the states, e.g. at Homebush Olympic Park in Sydney. (See this article about a hub in Lakemba)

Delta Variant of Covid-19: The Delta strain is more severe as well as being harder to contain. More examples of children being infected.

Overseas Acquired: It’s almost impossible and undesirable for Australia to remain a fortress continent.

Wage subsidies: Government pays workers and small businesses compensations during lockdown.