With case numbers not dropping markedly, wear masks voluntarily indoors, AMA (WA) advises | AMA (WA)

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With case numbers not dropping markedly, wear masks voluntarily indoors, AMA (WA) advises

Wednesday April 27, 2022

With most public health measures set to lift on Friday 29 April, AMA (WA) President Dr Mark Duncan-Smith responded to the changes at a media conference on Tuesday 26 April after the Government announcement:

“WA has recorded 355,000 cases of COVID-19. That’s approximately 13 per cent of the population, even allowing one or two for every one case that we know. Only about one-quarter to one-third of Western Australians have had COVID so far. There is a lot of COVID water to go under the bridge. The three-day average for new COVID cases last week was 8,661. This is only 800 cases less than the peak three-day average, which was at the end of March.

The total number of deaths in Australia is 7,000 from COVID. In WA, we’ve had 125. We have one-tenth of the Australian population, and therefore we represent a lot less than the expected number of deaths. I don’t see why we need to be in a rush to follow the eastern states with easing restrictions.

Masks are a proven, well-tolerated and inexpensive public health measure to reduce the transmission of COVID. The AMA (WA) would have preferred that masks were made voluntary in certain circumstances rather than removing the mandate.

If people want to wear masks indoors at a restaurant, for example, then they should feel comfortable doing so, and our society should welcome that because they are continuing to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID. People who are vulnerable, or the elderly, should feel comfortable continuing to wear masks wherever they wish to.

The Government’s removal of the mask mandate will lead to increased case numbers, increased hospitalisation and increased death. There is no doubt that what the Government is doing is gambling that it won’t be too many and that will be justifiable.

I will continue to wear a mask when I’m indoors because it is a way for me to reduce my chances of catching COVID. I’m fully vaccinated, I’m boosted, my family is fully vaccinated. I want to delay getting COVID for as long as possible, so that I hopefully get as less severe disease as possible. Hopefully by that time Omicron and more specific booster vaccinations will be available.

My advice to others is to wear masks indoors as a voluntary action.

These changes apply to the whole of the State, and therefore have the potential to ramp up the numbers of new cases in country areas especially. We already know that the Aboriginal Medical Service is doing it tough in the Kimberley, and it would be a concern that this may increase those numbers.”