When Brendan Crabb finally caught COVID-19 for the first time late last year, it was because he’d broken his own rule — he took a risk he says he shouldn’t have. Since 2020, Professor Crabb, director and chief executive of the Burnet Institute, had been sticking to a rigorous anti-COVID routine, effectively using layers of protections to avoid getting the virus. An article published recently by ABC news (20/01/24) highlights how Australian scientists like Brendan Crabb and Stuart Turville are still taking COVID precautions despite relaxed attitudes. Crabb caught COVID after not wearing a mask at an event. Turville wears full protective gear in the lab and gets boosters before travel.
Aerosol scientist Robyn Schofield advocates monitoring indoor air quality with CO2 meters. She opens windows, chooses outdoor dining, and uses nasal sprays and N95 masks indoors. All experts agree governments should regulate indoor air quality.
Turville worries about apathy towards COVID now. He says we lack a long-term COVID strategy like we had for HIV. Political support for genomic surveillance is shrinking too.
Schofield wants air quality regulated like food and water. She says COVID transmission risk increases when indoor humidity drops below 40%. Hospitals should protect immunocompromised patients.
Crabb says we are in public health ‘Barbieland’, downplaying COVID deaths and long-term impacts. He blames lack of leadership correcting the idea COVID is not exceptional anymore. Infection is not a friend and hybrid immunity doesn’t work with new variants.
Crabb wants leaders to speak about health system pressures and potential childhood impacts. He advocates vaccines, clean air, masking, testing and treatment access. People should take individual precautions like air purifiers until governments regulate indoor air quality.
You can read the full article here.