The Delta virus spreading through the Sydney metropolitan area is proving to be “an epidemic of younger people,” said Professor Greg Dore, infectious disease physician at St Vincent Hospital in Sydney.
On Wednesday, NSW Health Director Dr. Kerry Chant announced that a man in his 20s from southwest Sydney contracted the virus and died at his home on Tuesday. Aude Alaskar, 27, was being cared for by the South Western Sydney Local Health District during his period of isolation and was followed daily by the nursing staff. Milder cases are treated at home, while more severe cases are treated in the hospital.
“Rapid deterioration in a younger person is unusual, but not unheard of,” said Dore, who helps manage quarantined Covid patients in the community. “A forensic report is essential to determine the factors that contribute to death.”
Alaskar suddenly deteriorated on the 13th of his isolation and Chant confirmed that his death is being referred to the coroner for an investigation.
“It is an epidemic of younger people, with a large proportion in their 20s and 30s, and we are certainly seeing it in the people we are caring for,” said Dore, who also treated patients during the first wave of the virus in Australia in 2020.
“That’s probably more in the southwest and west of Sydney. In terms of people who are hospitalized, and the data is clear on that, the age distribution is somewhat different than the first wave in the sense that we are seeing a relatively younger population as hospitalized patients. That’s partly due to the greater impact of increased vaccine coverage in older populations, and that’s certainly the UK experience as well.
“It is a reminder that Covid-19 can be serious in young people and that is a really important message. It is also proof of the positive impact of vaccination.
“No one in intensive care has been fully vaccinated. A small proportion are partially vaccinated. It is clear that complete vaccination is having a strong impact on the risk of hospitalization. “
As of July 30, NSW Health began offering the AstraZeneca vaccine to people 18 years of age and older at vaccination clinics throughout Sydney. Up to 40,000 doses of Pfizer are being reallocated from NSW Health’s rural and regional vaccine supply to year 12 students in southwest and west Sydney. This is because the youngest people are often the most mobile, have essential jobs and go to school, and are therefore at high risk of contracting and spreading the virus.
But it will be weeks before young people who are now eligible for vaccination receive both doses and are fully immunized.
Dore said that as he prepared for authorities to announce more cases each day in the near future, he felt empowered compared to last year’s wave of viruses, which was fueled by the Ruby Princess cruise ship outbreak, because he and many of his colleagues are vaccinated.
“I am still hopeful and do not anticipate hospital cases escalating to an alarming level, but I anticipate long-term ongoing cases on the way to increased vaccine coverage,” he said. “Until then, the risk to life and the burden of disease will continue.”
His colleague, Professor Gail Matthews, head of infectious diseases at St Vincent Hospital in Sydney, agreed with Dore that “we are here for the long haul.”
“I think everyone is determined, everyone is really up to the challenge,” he told ABC’s Radio National Thursday morning. She said her hospital was preparing for more cases even though there is no evidence yet that the Delta variant is more deadly.
“I think we will see an increasing number of patients … and those cases will translate into the next few weeks as more patients are admitted to the hospital,” said Matthews. “Even if we saw the cases drop to zero next week, we would still be expecting many more patients.”
Seven people in their 20s in New South Wales currently require specialized hospital treatment. exist 247 Covid patients in hospitals across the state53 of them in intensive care.
In Queensland, all Covid-19 cases, regardless of severity, must be quarantined at the hospital. While there are currently no cases in intensive care in Queensland as part of the current outbreak that has caused the state to crash, the president of the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society, Dr Anthony Holley, said: “I think their days until that happens, ”with 81 delta cases statewide.
“Anyone who refuses can get to intensive care quickly and at this time I am pleased to report that we do not have a single case of Delta in intensive care, although we do have someone with residual symptoms recovering from a previous ICU outbreak. “. said Holley, who is based in Queensland.
However, a large number of healthcare workers in Queensland had been exposed to the virus and are now in quarantine, which could prove to be a problem if cases increase, Holley said.
“We have lost a significant amount of our staff to quarantine, and two of my intensivists today languish at home and are frustrated about not being at work, but obviously the responsibility is to stay home and protect the community,” he said. .
He said health workers in New South Wales were managing, but preparing.
“I am in contact with my colleagues in New South Wales five times a day, and people are concerned that the intensive care capacity has been working for 55% to 60%, and about half of those intensive care cases they’ve been aired, “Holley said. .
“Their other big concern is transmission, and people are working hard on PPE and infection control procedures and practices so that no one gets infected in the healthcare setting.
“The other thing to say is that the population that has been affected in New South Wales has been younger than what we saw last year. Last year, this was largely killing octogenarians and part of that had to do with where the virus was infecting people, which was in institutions where the elderly were cared for, particularly in Melbourne. That distorts the data, where the virus breaks out.
“But this year we are also seeing younger people with illnesses just as serious as some of the older people, although they do not necessarily have the same comorbidities. That is unusual. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism