Sydney is dealing with its worst Covid-19 epidemic in over a year, with one death, 52 people hospitalised, and 15 individuals in the ICU, including five who require breathing.
Since June 16, when the first case in the Bondi cluster was identified, there have been 566 locally acquired cases, raising fears and calls for more restrictions to try to stem the spread.
However, instances of Sydney residents forgetting to wear masks and group gatherings being busted across the state indicate that not everyone is taking the threat seriously.
For violations of the public health order, police have issued 106 infringement notices across NSW, including an 18th birthday party and a group of 15 senior men playing cards.
Meg Johnson, a Sydney nurse, has resorted to Facebook to reveal the realities of what it’s like to work in a covid ICU, a gut-wrenching battle that takes place behind closed doors.
“We’ve been asked to step up again after enduring the first wave last year – being apart from our friends and family – and wearing PPE (personal protective equipment) for up to 13 hours a day… Many of us showed up for work, and our unit was placed back on lockdown.”
She made an impassioned plea for Australians to pay attention to the situation.
“Covid is not to be taken lightly,” Meg warned.
“Every day at work, I see individuals struggling to breathe. Assisting in the placement of patients on life support with the hope that they will survive your shift. This isn’t a prank.
“For us, this is just the beginning.”
Meg mentioned that she and her coworkers face additional threats than only the possibility of catching Covid-19, such as dealing with violent patients.
“If you want to know how rapidly and severely it can make you sick, a patient can go from awake and laughing with you to being so severely hypoxic they don’t remember who they are or where they are in a 12-hour shift.
“It can even get violent at times. Every day, my colleagues and I put our lives on the line to care for these patients.”
She urged Australians to do everything possible to combat the illness.
“It will only get worse if people don’t start doing the right thing by staying at home and getting vaccinated,” she warned.
“Come put yourself in our shoes. This isn’t a laughing matter.”
Her article has also received a lot of attention on Twitter, where it has received over 1500 likes.
A colleague healthcare worker echoed Meg’s sentiments, adding on her Facebook post, “I can empathise.”
I don’t understand why some of our fellow people refuse to adhere to the rules.
“I, too, am on the front lines. My patient was supposed to be discharged home in the morning, but instead ended up in ICU in the afternoon. There is no medical history. I needed to cry in the staffroom.
“I’m thinking about the poor families who are struggling. It is something that can happen to any of us.
“This tidal wave is unlike any other.”