Georgie has moved to the country and isn’t seeing her grandchild regularly
“We don’t really have any choice,” Georgie says. “It’s a question of whether we want to go on living or not really, because I’m also very vulnerable.”
Georgie Whitton with her dog Bess. Source: Supplied
Georgie has previously had a stroke and also has asthma so is worried about getting infected. She is disappointed despite her age and health conditions, and says it has been five months since she was boosted.
“We would have really liked to get to know people around here. But the only way we can do that is out in open spaces. So with no school-aged children to insert us into the community, the only place is the dog park, which is wonderful.”
“They’re both mixing with the community a lot and the risk of their infecting us is just too great,” she says.
Bridget doesn’t want COVID-19 again and wears a ‘crazy’ mask on flights
Bridget felt “frustrated and angry” that restrictions were being removed, including the requirement to wear masks on public transport, as she’s worried about getting infected again.
Life is going back to normal for many Australians but others have chosen to maintain restrictions to avoid COVID-19. Source: AAP
“We lived through such a harsh lockdown in Victoria, I was pregnant at the time, I had all sorts of pregnancy complications, and I had to do everything on my own. My husband was never allowed there,” she says.
“Through all of this, I’ve been homeschooling my daughter. We were living such a restricted life, and then suddenly COVID is a very real and present thing, and I appreciate that that was always the plan to get people vaccinated, but it shouldn’t just be a free-for-all now.”
We lived through such a harsh lockdown in Victoria … it shouldn’t just be a free for all now
Bridget, Melbourne resident
“And now they’re a bit scared that they’ll go to the supermarket and the person working there might have COVID, and that’s allowed, it’s encouraged.”
“I don’t want to give COVID to my parents so I’ll wear it,” she says.
Louise is at-risk and chooses to avoid large shopping centres
She hasn’t been to a large shopping centre such as Chadstone or Fountain Gate in Melbourne for more than two years, and still schedules her grocery shopping trips for quieter periods.
Louise Leggett hasn’t visited a large shopping centre for more than two years. Source: Supplied
“Our bodies could be a little unpredictable so that’s in the back of my mind so I don’t go out of my way to catch it and I do protect myself,” she says.
“It’s sort of our duty to protect those in society that can’t protect themselves,” she says.
Robyn will only get takeaway coffees and wears a mask to the gym
“I accept I am a vulnerable person, but the point is that we don’t know who’s vulnerable and who’s not,” she says.
Robyn Dunphy is still taking precautions to avoid catching COVID-19. Source: Supplied
Robyn points out that some healthy people had developed long COVID or other conditions after getting infected.
“They have to be extraordinarily careful, this is a very serious illness, and there’s a lot of it around – even now there’s 40,000-odd cases in Australia.”
Average daily case numbers are down in every state except Western Australia and Victoria. In total, Australia was recording around 5,177 cases a day on 4 October, and there were 189 deaths in the week ending 7 October.
Is it possible to continue avoiding COVID-19?
“I certainly wouldn’t say that if you haven’t had COVID so far that it’s inevitable that you get it.”
I certainly wouldn’t say that if you haven’t had COVID so far that it’s inevitable that you get it
Associate Professor Paul Griffin
“If that’s been effective thus far, there’s no reason to say that won’t continue to be effective moving forward,” he says.
“I guess what we’re doing now is asking people to do it on a more voluntary basis. Given we know they’re effective, there’s no reason that those people shouldn’t continue doing them and continuing to enjoy the protection that they offer.”
What should people keep doing to avoid COVID-19?
“I think that’s where we’ve fallen down with some of the messaging.
Wearing a mask, keeping up with vaccintions, social distancing and ensuring good ventilation can all help people to continue avoiding COVID-19. Source: Getty
“Many people have seen the removal of the rules as an indicator that those things are no longer required, or perhaps they weren’t effective, whereas both of those things are not the case.
“We know COVID will come back and the better we are at mask-wearing, social distancing, hand hygiene and ensuring adequate ventilation, the better prepared we’re going to be, and the less we’re going to get impacted by that wave, whenever it does come.”
What is the risk of getting COVID-19 at the moment?
Professor Griffin says it is perhaps one of the lowest risk periods that Australia has experienced when it came to COVID but added “it’s certainly not zero”.
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