The Project: Professor Mary-Louise McLaws Responds to Australia’s Covid-19 Testing Problems


Hamish Macdonald of the project asked a WHO adviser how serious was Sydney’s Covid-19 test error. Very bad in the end.

An infectious disease expert said The projectIt was Hamish Macdonald that a test error that saw 1,500 Covid-19 positive Sydneysiders mistakenly say they were negative was “very dangerous” and could lead to 8,500 preventable infections.

The east coast is seeing a record number of cases as the Omicron variant floats in the community.

A number of studies have indicated that it appears to be less severe for most people, with a 50-70% reduced likelihood of hospitalization. However, healthcare professionals remain wary of the spread that will eventually overwhelm hospitals.

A rush on testing meant hundreds of thousands of Australians are now waiting up to six days for their PCR results with strain on the system leading to errors.

Confusion by St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney saw around 1,500 people falsely give negative results in what the flooded testing clinic described as “human error”.

‘It’s very dangerous’

Monday The project Host Macdonald asked Mary-Louise McLaws, UNSW infectious disease expert and World Health Organization Covid-19 advisor, “how dangerous the blunder was.”

“It’s very dangerous,” Prof McLaws said, “because as soon as people get the (negative) result, they want to celebrate.

“I’d be pretty sure they’ll come out and see at least one other person.”

“That’s at least 1,400 other people. And of course, if it’s mainly Delta and Omicron, they could infect at least up to six people (each).

“So there could be as many as 8,500 people who they inadvertently infected because they went out to party.”

Prod McLaws suggested that there might be a method to reduce the pressure on test systems for those asked to isolate.

“If you are isolated and have no symptoms, I would give people six rapid antigen tests, ask them to stay home for a few days. After two days of testing, this accuracy reached almost 100%, ”continued Professor McLaws.

“So if you test negative two days in a row, go out there and have fun. But keep testing yourself for another four days (so you will have) six days of testing. Because you can become symptomatic from the third or fourth day with Omicron, but certainly from the fourth day with Delta.

When asked by Macdonald what ordinary Australians who wanted to make the most of the holiday season can do to have fun and stay safe, Professor McLaws recommended doing their own rapid antigen tests the night before and on their day. exit.

“Go out and be careful. Please be at least doubly vaccinated. If you received a second dose more than four months ago, please give the third injection. If you are at all worried because you are going to be meeting people, just do a rapid antigen test the day before and the same day, ”she said.

“If you’re negative, keep having fun. Please wear your mask on your nose, as you can breathe Delta or Omicron, or breathe out if you are in this early phase and don’t realize you are sick.

There were 97,241 Covid-19 tests reported in NSW as of 8 p.m. Sunday, a slight drop from the previous day’s total of 109,545.

Health officials later confirmed that the first death from the Omicron variant in Australia was in a man doubly vaccinated in an elderly care facility.

“The man was residing at the Uniting Lilian Wells nursing home in North Parramatta, where he contracted his infection,” authorities said on Monday.

“He had received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine and had underlying health issues. This is the first known death in New South Wales linked to the ominous variant of Omicron. “

He was among three deaths recorded today.

A woman in her 90s from the Central Coast died in Wyong Hospital. She had received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine and had underlying health issues.

An 80-year-old man in western Sydney has died at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. He had received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine and had underlying health issues.

The latest figures come as new restrictions take effect for the holiday season as the state tries to contain the surge.

Masks are now mandatory in all indoor and non-residential environments, including reception staff and in offices, unless eating or drinking.

All the rules will remain in place until January 27.

Mount Sinai Health System’s medical director of infection prevention, Dr Bernard Camins, believes Australians need to come to terms with the fact that they will be exposed to someone with the virus in the future.

“I said this to anyone who wanted to listen: it’s not a matter of whether you’re exposed to the Omicron variant or any other variant of the coronavirus, it’s a matter of when,” he said. declared.

“Everyone will meet someone with a Covid infection,” NBC reported.

However, Dr. Otto Yang of UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine says that just because you’re exposed doesn’t mean you’ll definitely get the virus, regardless of the strain.

“I don’t think it’s inevitable that everyone will get Covid-19,” he said in the United States Today’s show. “I would prefer not to learn to live with the Covid. I would prefer to get rid of it, and theoretically, it is possible.

“The scenario that I hope will play out is that the number of Covid cases is drastically reduced to the point that there are small outbreaks here and there that are easily contained and most of the population is not exposed. “

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