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Dr Katie’s insights into the COVID-19 Virus


Coronavirus has significantly changed the lives of the people on the NSW South Coast


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Dr Katie Macartney

Coronavirus has significantly changed the lives of the people of the south coast of NSW and the entire world this year. At the time of writing, worldwide there have been 2.7 million cases and almost 188,000 deaths, with the USA, Spain and Italy most heavily affected. In Australia, we have had more than 6,500 cases and 76 deaths with NSW hit the hardest. Closer to home, in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven we have 112 confirmed cases but we have now had six consecutive days without a new confirmed case. 


Each morning we wake up to hear that the number of new cases in NSW is getting closer to zero (yesterday was five).  This is positive news, and we all start to wonder we can begin to look forward to the relaxing of social distancing, and being able to enjoy ribald anecdotes from Ray over a Beach Hut coffee.


We may be waiting a while.  One way to think about it is: the last day NSW had only five new cases of coronavirus was back on March 7th.  We had much looser social distancing rules then, and within two weeks new cases had jumped to 200. We’re now back at March 7th numbers, but (somewhat depressingly) what’s protecting us from going around again is social distancing.


For this reason social restrictions may grind on for a while as governments will be wary of another outbreak. The second-wave of Coronavirus is real; Singapore is an unfortunate example.  On 22 March, Australia had 537 new cases of coronavirus, while Singapore (which went into lockdown much earlier) only had 23.

By yesterday, Australia’s daily new cases had shrunk to 13; Singapore, without full social distancing, had a resurgence of over 1,000 new cases.  Other countries will look at this example and think ‘there but for the grace of God….’ and be leery about lifting restrictions too soon. 

Importantly, social isolation is impacting on people’s psychological well-being. We need to reach out to vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours, and get creative in how we interact with people. You can provide support by offering to do grocery shopping, cooking meals or collecting medications for people. The other ways are to get in touch with people by phone, mail or services like Skype, Facebook, WhatsApp or Zoom.  For those who aren’t sure about the technology, contact me and I’ll be very happy to give IT help. 

With coronavirus being front and centre, it’s important not to neglect other aspects of your health.  The fact is that anyone on the south coast who’s been managing a chronic disease for the last few years still has a higher chance of dying from that than from coronavirus.  It’s important to keep in touch with your GP and continue to do the things you’d normally do (for example, getting kids immunised or getting the flu vacc before winter). 

 For a local GP, life has changed significantly. GPs around Milton and Ulladulla are offering usual in-practice, in-person appointments; but there also telephone appointments available for people. Life is moving on and progressing along with this pandemic- there are births, deaths and marriages happening all the time. People are still getting sick from usual illnesses and diseases. We are all still much more likely to die from or become sick from cardiovascular disease rather than coronavirus. So staying active, eating healthy, not smoking and not drinking too much alcohol remains vitally important.

 If you want more information, click here:  Government web site  or contact your GP.















Ken B., Mollymook Beach Waterfront: Editor for Mollymook News and Destination Mollymook Milton Ulladulla