Screening for COVID-19 is well underway at Royal Melbourne Hospital, but Professor Malcolm Hogg says the peak is a couple of weeks away. Picture: Getty
Screening for COVID-19 is well underway at Royal Melbourne Hospital, but Professor Malcolm Hogg says the peak is a couple of weeks away. Picture: Getty

Doctor reveals eerie life on the coronavirus frontline

Right now it may feel eerie but in a couple of weeks, experts expect a "tsunami" to hit our medical system.

Royal Melbourne Hospital pain expert Professor Malcolm Hogg said it was eerie being a medical worker on the frontline of Australia's COVID-19 crisis with reserved hospital beds empty at present.

"We're waiting for the tsunami of cases," he said.

"I'm the highest risk group, we work in the operating theatres sticking tubes down people's throats," he said.

 

Professor Malcolm Hogg says the COVID-19 peak is just a couple of weeks away.
Professor Malcolm Hogg says the COVID-19 peak is just a couple of weeks away.

 

While there are large queues for COVID-19 testing at Royal Melbourne Hospital, he said Australia was not seeing any serious extra burden in hospital wards from the virus so far.

"We've set aside 22 ventilator beds but we haven't seen the numbers or the need to use them yet," he said.

"I think there is one (COVID-19 patient) on a ventilator in the Alfred Hospital," he said.

"The peak is a couple of weeks away.

"At the moment we are sending people with the virus home."

 

People queue outside the Royal Melbourne Hospital waiting to be tested for the coronavirus. Picture: Andrew Henshaw
People queue outside the Royal Melbourne Hospital waiting to be tested for the coronavirus. Picture: Andrew Henshaw

Based on the experience of Wuhan in China, which had a death rate of one per cent of patients, there would be an extra 250 deaths in Melbourne every month if efforts did not control the spread of COVID-19, he said.

Professor Hogg has a relative who is immunosuppressed.

This person will have to move to another household if Professor Hogg becomes infected with the virus.

The hospital has sufficient supply of surgical masks but would like more N95 masks, he said.

Victoria had ordered another 150 ventilators to cope with the coronavirus crisis, he said.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said yesterday there were six patients with COVID-19 in NSW ICU beds but that many patients with the virus were being sent home to recuperate because they were only mildly ill.

 

Source - World Health Organization, Johns Hopkins, other media

 

Originally published as Doctor reveals eerie life on the coronavirus frontline


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