‘Unlikely we will return to life as we knew it’

Dear Queensland,

To say this year has been challenging would be an understatement.

The upheaval created by COVID-19 has been chaotic and unsettling.

It has been stressful and, for the families and friends of six Queenslanders who have died of this disease, it has been tragic.

The bad news is, it's unlikely that we will return to life as we knew it.

The good news is, Queenslanders have proven they are strong, stoic, adaptable and responsible.

So let me take this opportunity to say thank you.

Because of you, we are enduring this pandemic far better than most jurisdictions, not only in Australia, but around the world.

Dr Jeannette Young. Picture: Mark Calleja
Dr Jeannette Young. Picture: Mark Calleja

Our COVID-19 tally remains at 1091 and we currently only have nine active cases.

I have to admit I feared we would be in a much worse position than this when the novel coronavirus emerged as a global threat at the beginning of the year.

Our modelling at the time painted a dire picture.

If COVID-19 had impacted the state as modelling suggested it might, some one million Queenslanders could have been infected.

An estimated 200,000 people would have been hospitalised. And 10,000 people could have died.

To be where we are now is an incredible effort.

Your response has been brilliant. It's energised myself and my team at times when we've been exhausted and emotional.

I am so glad that I have the privilege of being the Chief Health Officer in Queensland.

I know the measures we have put in place have caused heartache, stress, inconvenience and, at times, confusion.

But they are necessary. By complying with these directions, you are protecting yourself, your family and your friends from this disease.

It is not a stretch to say that you have saved lives.

I know people who have been unable to visit their parents in nursing homes.

As much as it saddens them, they understand that those restrictions are in place because they know their elderly mum or dad are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.

The little things count.

Seeing you do something as simple as sanitise your hands is heartening.

As does hearing your stories about staying home from work because you woke up with the sniffles or a tickle in your throat.

These actions might seem minor, but they are important.

After we detected the Logan cluster last month, people across the entire state responded by getting tested, even though for many, it meant they had to isolate for a few days.

Fortunately, that cluster was confined to just a handful of cases.

Just as it only takes one match to ignite a bushfire, it only takes one infection to trigger an outbreak.

Queenslanders know that.

You understand that we are fighting the same disease that is causing deaths on a daily basis in Victoria and has devastated other nations like the United States, Brazil and Italy, not some diluted or less potent version of COVID-19.

This is far from over. This is only the beginning of this pandemic.

We're in a good situation, if we can just hold our nerve and keep going.

We need to keep doing what we're doing and that is being vigilant, following our directions and practising proper hygiene.

All this comes down to taking care of ourselves and others.

That is what Queensland has done exceptionally well.

Thank you.

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