Date published: 
31 July 2020
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

ALLISON LANGDON:

Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Michael Kidd, joins us again. Good morning to you. I tell you what, it hit us all hard, those numbers yesterday, didn't they?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Absolutely. I think as each of us saw the numbers come up on our TV screens our hearts fell and we thought, oh no. What we've been seeing over the past few days, of course the numbers have been going up and down quite dramatically, but we are seeing a continuing upward trend in the numbers and that is obviously very concerning. As a consequence, of course, the Victorian government has expanded the restrictions which they've had in place.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

I'll get on to what we need to be prepared for today in just a second, but I wanted to raise this with you if I can. Emergency physician, Dr Stephen Parnis, was on our program a little earlier. He sent this Tweet out yesterday when the figures came through. He said: surveying today's state of the emergency department with colleagues, when today's COVID-19 Vic numbers filtered through – 700. There was silence, slumped shoulders, a few watery eyes. Back to work. I mean, it kind of says everything, doesn't it?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Absolutely does. And you know, Karl, my thanks to all my colleagues and peers out there, particularly those in Melbourne at the moment, for the absolutely outstanding work they are doing. As you say, you look, you see the numbers, you go, yep, accommodate that, and, then get back to work looking after the people who need our care.

ALLISON LANGDON:

The fact you just said earlier that the trend, it's going in the wrong way, it is still going up. We're more than halfway into this lockdown now. Why isn't it working? Or more effective?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Well, of course, it is working in that we're not seeing the numbers go even higher than they have been. And we are only a week into the current requirement that everybody in Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire is wearing a mask every time they're leaving their homes.

We saw yesterday the Premier has introduced additional restrictions in other regional areas across Victoria, and the requirement that everybody in the state is going to have to wear a mask when they're outside of their homes. Clearly, further discussions will be taking place as to what else needs to happen in order to turn around the rise in figures that we're seeing in Victoria.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Look, if you live in Victoria, I mean, you have to be thinking, we're doing everything we can and what more needs to be done in order to stop it? How do we see lesser numbers or fewer numbers than what we saw yesterday?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Yes, absolutely. And I know too people in Victoria, a lot of people are feeling incredibly frustrated, a lot of people are feeling very despondent about what's happening. We're very concerned about the mental health and wellbeing of people who are in isolation or lockdown.

As we said before, Karl, please, if you are feeling depressed or anxious, please reach out to Lifeline, Beyond Blue, the other resources which are available to you.

We're also very concerned about people staying at home, doing the right thing, but neglecting other aspects of their own health care. So please, if you do have other health problems make sure you're getting those attended to. Telehealth, of course, is still available with your GP and other health care providers.

ALLISON LANGDON:

With this community transmission that we're seeing, what is the main concern here? Is it people still being out and about spreading the virus? We did hear yesterday that the Defence turned up to someone's house, they'd tested positive, to find out they were at work. Or is this transmission, and the numbers, are they rising as quickly as they are because it is happening within the home?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Look, everybody needs to be doing their part. It's absolutely inexcusable that someone who's been diagnosed with COVID-19 is breaching the isolation requirements and leaving their homes. If people are diagnosed with COVID-19 they have to stay in isolation. They're there in their own homes, they can't go out until they've been advised that it's appropriate to do so by the authorities and the state. We can't have people breaching the requirements in this way while everybody else is doing the very best they can to protect everybody in the community.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

It looks like New South Wales is doing a pretty good job of trying to contain everything. Are you confident those numbers will stay low?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Well, New South Wales has been doing a great job with their testing and tracing, and moving in very quickly and closing facilities where there have been cases of COVID-19, reaching out with the public health messages.

And the people of New South Wales, like the people in Victoria, have been very responsive. We've seen those very long queues of people waiting patiently to getting their tests if they've been in 1 of the venues where COVID-19 has occurred. Obviously, we're following what's happening in New South Wales very closely, and also following what's happening in Brisbane very closely following the first cases of community transmission there yesterday.

ALLISON LANGDON:

How soon will we get an idea in Brisbane whether or not these women have infected others and you've now got clusters to then contact trace?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Well again, the authorities in Queensland have moved in very swiftly, as we've seen happen elsewhere in the country when we've had outbreaks starting to appear, and have moved very swiftly to identify the contacts of those people, arrange for those people to get tested, put those people in isolation so that they're– those people have been tested so that they're not at risk of transmitting to others, getting the messages out to the community about which venues, on which dates people may have been at risk.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Really quickly and finally, on an upward trajectory. An Adelaide coronavirus vaccine has cleared the first phase of human trials. That is all encouraging, isn't it?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Absolutely and very, very promising. Obviously, we're following very closely all the developments which are occurring around the world, but it is great to see Australian researchers at the forefront in the vaccine development.

ALLISON LANGDON:

We going to hold on to that going into the weekend, okay? Thank you, Professor. Appreciate your time.

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Thank you.

Contact

Departmental media enquiries

Contact for members of the media

news [at] health.gov.au (subject: Media%20enquiry%20-%20News%20item%20ID13726, body: URL - https%3A%2F%2Fwww.health.gov.au%2Fnews%2Fdeputy-chief-medical-officer-interview-on-the-today-show-on-31-july-2020)

View contact