On a Saturday, morning a few weeks ago, I heard the first reports that 4 people tested positive to Covid-19 in Wilcannia. Another 6 in nearby Broken Hill, 197 miles away. That’s nearby in Australian standards. People travel those distances regularly to play football and visit family.
Wilcannia is 946 kilometres (547 miles) from Sydney with a population of 745 mainly Indigenous residents. It sits on the Baaka River, better known to European settlers as The Darling. Since my youth, the river has been notable for its long dry spells. Few would imagine its days as part of a paddle steamer route, joining with the Murray River.
The story told here is best left to the people of Wilcannia and Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), including Karla Grant and her team. We will make a few observations after you’ve made your own.
One of the main reasons for this story is to draw a parallel with the broader New South Wales experience (NSW).
In trying to understand this, I called NSW Health Department’s Coronavirus Helpline a month ago to discuss what happens after you test…….isolate. There you are, waiting while the virus replicates. Waiting for what?
This is exactly as Michael Kennedy described when his two year old daughter contracted Covid. The Public Health Unit told him he and his family needed to isolate. Was that all he could do? Would his daughter be all right? Unsurprisingly, Michael seemed to think that this proposed solution was missing a step or two. It left him stressed and confused.
This appeared to be a common experience in his community. It appears to be a common experience across this state, if not the country.
If you watched the video, you’ll know his sister, Melissa, recognised her Covid-19 experience was serious enough to take herself to the hospital but it appears the support she needed was lacking. In NSW, we have had numerous recent reports of people waiting too long with deadly consequences.
Ronald Murray and his family was another group ordered to isolate but in congested housing this was an impossibility.
Anthony Dutton, his wife and two children were ordered out of town and were forced to walk 5 kilometres along the highway to a caravan park. What support, advice or comfort did these people receive?
What do we do after isolate? Such a simple and important question.
We’d rather not discuss it
From a broader statewide perspective, It is as though Australian authorities don’t want to have this discussion. They have closed down all debate to the point where many of us have come to the conclusion that the only option is to vaccinate or end up gasping for breath in an intensive care unit.
Is it blackmail? To many of us, it looks like it. To others, it is a sacrifice we need to make to keep others safe. This pro-vaccine was a constant message throughout this excellent program.
We are told the vaccines are safe.
We are told the vaccines are effective.
We are told there are no adverse reactions. In fact, there is no discussion of adverse reactions at all.
They tell us if you don’t take the vaccines, you are fool, you are selfish and we are going to punish you.
This week the Premier of NSW Wales told us that unvaccinated couldn’t sit back while others do the hard work in taking the injections. Meanwhile, she has plans to take my job, lock me and my family out of shops, restaurants, cafes, pubs, sporting events, parks and bar us from mixing with vaccinated friends and family along with growing restrictions on leaving the house.
In recent weeks, there has been talk of “Hospital at Home” where some sort of monitoring takes place. Does that include visits by medical staff to people who are sick and isolating? If it does, what do they do?
I don’t know. I am fairly sure a few weeks ago there were no visits. You just waited for that phone call, self-diagnosed and took yourself to hospital if you thought the time was right as Melissa did.
Has that improved? We don’t know because no-one will tell us what happens after isolate.
This is not meant to be an attack on vaccines. There is much expert advice that supports the use of treatments and also recognises, for the very elderly or those with compromised immune systems, vaccines may be the best option. Such observations are particularly true with regard to our Indigenous community as this program noted.
Whether our children need them, when they appear to be the most susceptible to adverse events and least affected by Covid, is another debate.
Another in a long line of debates we are yet to have.
What might have been
The people of Wilcannia are resourceful. You have to be to live in that country. So its not surprising that community meetings developed a Covid prevention policy; one that NSW Health ignored. From 1,000 kilometres away that still looks like a bloody good idea.
In many other parts of the world, the moment where Australia calls for isolation, is when other countries employ a range of treatment options. Do you know what treatments are and their uses? Paul Marik does a great job of describing them here.
In addition, Indigenous people from many countries have been using a range of local remedies to repel the scourge of Covid-19.
Not Australians. There are no options after isolate. In fact, our pharmaceutical authorising body, the TGA (equivalent of US FDA), has banned the use of the two most widely used treatments.
We are guided at the point of a gun to the inference: “You should have had the vaccine. Now you have Covid, it’s all your own fault”.
Through compliant media and stagey press briefings, the infected are held up as examples. The younger they are, the better our authorities like it as they drive vaccines towards an ever younger cohort.
“There Is No Alternative” proves Thatcherism never died. She was right. There is no society. Only the demands of Big Pharma and its servants.
Meanwhile, as Karla Grant explains, “Wilcannia has the highest rate of Covid positive cases per capita across the nation”.
Wilcannia has the highest rate of Covid positive cases per capita across the nation.Karla Grant SBS Living Black
To Brendan Adams, this is a tragedy. He thinks his community might have been given a chance. Let him speak.
“At our community, we were talking about prevention. We did not want to be where we are right now.”