‘Thinking of others’ is one of the keys to a community combating the spread of COVID-19, according to a medical expert at The University of Western Australia as a new Omicron subvariant creates concern.
Professor Yuben Moodley, from UWA’s Medical School, said XBB.1.5 wasn’t a major threat to most people however it was highly infectious and the elderly and people such as cancer patients are vulnerable.
“In the US its prevalence was around one per cent of the population in September and then come the end of December it’s now up to 40 per cent and we do have the strain now circulating in Australia,” Professor Moodley said.
The World Health Organisation recently recommended airline passengers again wear masks on long-haul flights and Professor Moodley said mask-wearing remained an important way of protecting people who were susceptible to becoming seriously ill from COVID.
“For me, the most successful communities in fighting this infection and reducing death rates are the ones where people aren’t only concerned about their own health but also the health of others.
“When you put your mask on, you’re thinking of others.”
“It’s important to actually protect those elderly people, the strangers who may be undergoing cancer treatment or waiting for a transplant because the outcome for them may be catastrophic.
“We don't need to panic, but we need to have a healthy respect for what’s happening on the ground.”
Professor Moodley said about 80 per cent of people in WA had had their third COVID vaccine but this dropped to about 30 per cent for the fourth dose.
“I would suggest trying to get all the vaccinations up to date as best you can.”