Issue 3 • 2021
A message from
your President
Welcome to this issue of RACP Quarterly.
In these last few months of an extraordinarily difficult year, we have two contrasting pandemic stories on each side of the Tasman.
Aotearoa New Zealand is still struggling with the containment of the Delta strain of the virus and as I write this we’re seeing the beginning of Delta cases in the South Island. Auckland is in the grips of the frustration and uncertainty of the type of months long lockdown that Melbourne and latterly Sydney have endured – we can empathise with that relentless monotony.
In Australia, we’re starting to move towards some sense of normality in everyday life as states and borders began to open, cafes, bars and restaurants are tentatively opening in many states, and freer international travel becomes a reality.
But the picture is mixed.
We have widespread vaccine availability and rapid progress in the development of new anti-viral treatments.
Even so as physicians, many of us remain concerned about the potential pressure posed by an increasing caseload on already overworked COVID wards and ICUs that are at capacity.
As a respiratory physician on my rounds in one of Melbourne’s major metropolitan hospitals, I’m living the reality of COVID-19 along with many of you.
We all understand the need to look forward to the future with optimism and return to a greater sense of normality.
There is a community mental health imperative after the isolation of months of lockdowns, and months or even years of not having seen loved ones. We need to get vaccinated children back to school, young people back to university, and financially devastated businesses both large and small back to some sense of a sound footing.
But even as we do so, we all need to acknowledge that even if you are fully vaccinated, you are still vulnerable to acquiring SARS-CoV-2. How the resulting COVID-19 will develop differs tremendously from patient to patient, along a continuum from mild, to life-threatening. As we all look to the holiday season, as physicians, we need to be optimistic, but remain cautious.
We have an important role in providing trusted expert advice to patients, governments and the broader community.
Kind regards, Professor John Wilson AM RACP President
© 2021 The Royal Australasian College of Physicians