This story actually starts in late February 2019.
I had been doing memory recall exercises for some weeks at this point.
The process consumes me. I’m not really ready for this type of Rapid Exposure. As I sit with my psychologist we do the work and then he spends time ‘bringing me down’. When I do it on my own I go for hours. I’m a student who thinks he is a professor.
I’m merging into an old pattern which I am starting to recognise. It’s my roller-coaster. Every six to nine months. For more than two decades.
The memory work has been fruitful. I’ve remembered taking the mefloquine which was the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) at the time. Is that enough to prove I was given mefloquine?
One of the boys gives me a doctor in the United States who I can talk to. I approach him with the evidence I have. He advises that it isn’t enough. I have no notation of mefloquine on my medical records. In fact he noted that I was cleared for doxycycline.
I’m devastated. It doesn’t matter what I can remember or what the SOP was at the time, without some sort of concrete evidence I know I’ll have a hard time proving my exposure.
I do more memory work. I should be resting. I look terrible. I feel awful. I’m not sleeping.
I get a memory.
Sausage rolls! I’m sitting in a clinical room across from a nurse who is taking notes. I’m at the Red Cross giving blood. The nurse gets excited about my blood because I had been given an anti-malarial without travelling (which is very unusual). I was there for hours too because I remember getting sausage rolls. In 1997 that was a big deal. Normal blood donations usually meant jatz biscuits with some cheese, not the luxury of sausage rolls!
At this stage I still cannot remember what I was given but despair has turned to elation.
Reality kicks in. What did I tell the nurses back in 1997? If I told them what medications I had taken did they note it? Do the notes still exist? How the hell do I access decades old records from the Red Cross?
I make a call to the Red Cross. They explained the process. I email the paperwork on the 5th March.
A doctor from the Red Cross returns my call on the 14th March. The news is confirmation of the worst. I was given mefloquine by the Army in March 1997.
I remember screaming into the sand in front of my kids when I heard the news. It was pure RAGE. We had taken the day off to enjoy a swim at a local creek. I had to collect myself before I thanked the doctor. I am so angry I gave my eldest son my phone. It takes me hours to calm down.
I finally calm down.
The evidence was compelling. Not only had I been given mefloquine in 1997 the Army had failed to note it.
Thank goodness for sausage rolls and the Red Cross!
From February 2019 to February 2020 as my amnesia started to lift I took the time to write down some of my memories and experiences as a series of short stories.
It might end up as a book, it might not.
In the meantime here is an index in order of when they were written.
Here is a look at the total Australian cases by day since the 100th case was recorded on the 10th March 2020.
As at 6.00am on the 9th April 2020, there have been 6,052 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, including 50-deaths. The Case Fatality Rate (CFR) based on those numbers is 0.83%.
28th March: Travel restrictions imposed. All travellers entering Australia must undergo 14-days of isolation.
16th March: Social distancing measures adopted across all States and Territories.
13th March: Tom Hanks and Peter Dutton confirmed as having COVID-19. Measures to prevent spread tightened including social distancing measures.
18th February: Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) launched.
Table: Total Cases by State
Jakarta is emerging as another COVID-19 pandemic hotspot. Unfortunately the data is really problematic to find prior to the 19th March. What is officially available is limited due to a lack of testing capability (among other issues). As an example the data available had Jakarta cases totalling 77 (to the 18th March), then a big jump of 133-cases (19th March) then hardly any cases with just five. This very low amount occurred on the 20th March which was also hari Jumat/Friday.
On the official numbers.
As at the 11th April 2020, there have been 1,949 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the city of Jakarta, Indonesia, including 159-deaths. The Case Fatality Rate (CFR) based on those numbers is 8.16%.
Here is a look at the official numbers for COVID-19 deaths in Jakarta.
10th April: Australia’s ambassador is withdrawn due to COVID-19.
31st March: Indonesia implements a ban on foreign visitors.
23rd March: Via the ABC. Coronavirus COVID-19 death rate in Indonesia is the highest in the world. Experts say it’s because reported case numbers are too low.
6th March: Indonesia restricts visitors from Iran, Italy & South Korea.
Here is a look at the Sunshine Coast cases by day since the first known case which presented on the 25th February 2020. Of note, the first Australian case presented exactly one month previously!
As at 12.00pm on the 30th March 2020, there have been 71 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia, including 1-death. The Case Fatality Rate (CFR) based on those numbers is 1.41%.
13th – 15th March: The Mooloolaba Triathlon is run. At least one competitor tested positive for COVID-19 the following week.
14th – 19th March: Sails Restaurant, Noosa cluster.
16th March: Queensland Health reports a death of a 77-year old woman on the Sunshine Coast.
24th March: Queensland Health consolidates the COVID-19 data into a single table rather than report details of each case.
29th March: The Chief Health Officer of Queensland issues the Home Confinement Direction which directs citizens to stay at home unless undertaking essential activities (i.e. shopping or seeking medical attention).
30th March: Queensland schools to be student-free but will remain open for the children of essential workers.
Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service map
NSW COVID-19 cases hit 1,029 today. I was interested enough to have a quick look into the NSW Health’s excellent web-page. Although they supply a lot of data and charts I couldn’t see a ‘bee hive’ graphic or the age pyramid. Given NSW has just topped 1,000 cases I thought it might be worthwhile doing the chart on their behalf.
My big take-outs from looking at the chart is the uniformity of cases from ages 20 – 29 to 60 – 69 for both men and women. That’s your core working age cohort. That’s when most people travel for work and pleasure. Looks like this disease will predominately target workers in its first wave.
Second takeout. There are just two children aged 0 -9 yet eleven people aged 90 or more. Children obviously less likely to present with COVID-19. I’ll let better minds than mine figure that one out.
Chart below: NSW Age Pyramid of NSW COVID-19 cases to the 25th March 2020 (n = 1,029).
Source: NSW Health
The daily COVID-19 numbers are escalating quickly. If you think the daily numbers are worrisome take a step back and consider the weekly new case numbers.
In the past week the new cases increased almost five-fold.
Chart below: Australian cases by week. My chart time period commences from Monday 20th January 2020 with the first confirmed COVID-19 presentation on the 25th January.
Here is a look at the Australian cases by day since the first known case which presented on the 25th January 2020.
As at 6.30am on the 31st March 2020, there have been 4,359 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, including 18-deaths. The Case Fatality Rate (CFR) based on those numbers is 0.41%.
Via the Australian Department of Health. Coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert. Notes with a table detailing cases by location:
As at 6:30am on 31 March 2020, there have been 4,359 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia. There have been 266 new cases since 6:30am yesterday.
Of the 4,359 confirmed cases in Australia, 18 have died from COVID-19. More than 230,000 tests have been conducted across Australia.
* Note that under National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System reporting requirements, cases are reported based on their Australian jurisdiction of residence rather than where they were detected. For example, a case reported previously in the NT in a NSW resident is counted in the national figures as a NSW case.
** Includes Diamond Princess repatriation cases: QLD (3), SA (1), VIC (4), WA (2, including 1 death)