In a press conference on October 31st, 2021, Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan revealed the state’s hospital system is under extraordinary pressure. And they don’t know why. (The state has recorded 1,112 Covid cases in total since the beginning of the pandemic).
Largely shut off from the world, including other Australian states, it has operated ‘normally’ for much of the pandemic, apart from a few hard & fast lockdowns. Western Australia’s situation makes the hospital crisis there all the more curious. What did McGowan have to say?
“Our hospitals are under enormous pressure.” “This is the same in Tasmania, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.” “Enormous Pressure. This has been something no-one has ever seen before. The growth in demand in our hospitals.”
“Why it is is hard to know – except that there is some evidence that there’s some sort of delayed reaction to Covid.” “But there is huge numbers of people coming through the doors.” If WA was a country it would be 19th on the list of least-affected by Covid.
Later McGowan reveals excess hospitalizations in a number of groups: “A couple of things that would help. If we could get the people who should be in aged care homes, out of hospitals, and into aged care that would help a lot, and there’s 100 or 200 or so of those people.”
“And there’s another 200 or so people who should be in NDIS disability facilities who are stuck in hospital beds, and they can’t find a spot for them. So if we could free up those beds and get those people out, it would alleviate a lot of pressure within the system…”
“…other states are going through the same thing.” It’s a surprising admission: that numerous states in Australia – many virtually untouched by Covid – are seeing significant increases in hospitalizations. And they don’t really know why.
There is some speculation as to why, as McGowan alludes to with “some sort of delayed reaction to Covid.” We might assume he is referring to people avoiding hospital or seeing planned treatments deferred or cancelled, creating a ‘health debt’ that incurs interest.
But that reasoning seems particularly weak in the case of many states McGowan mentions, including his own, esp. as lockdowns didn’t feature prominently at all. Remember McGowan said: “This has been something no-one has ever seen before”. It’s unprecedented.
here are likely many factors contributing to this highly unusual situation. But the question now naturally becomes: “What are the most significant factors, and is a whole-of-population vaccination drive one of them?”
Is immediately rejecting that possibility rational?