We’re still winning some battles, but sad toll proves Covid has won the war

A little late to the ‘party’ perhaps, but Covid-19 is still out there and causing damage, as Rebecca Levingston found out to her own misfortune:

Apr 05, 2023, updated Apr 05, 2023
More than 20,000 Australians have now died from Covid-19. (EPA/ALEX PLAVEVSKI)

More than 20,000 Australians have now died from Covid-19. (EPA/ALEX PLAVEVSKI)

I finally caught Covid. After three years of dodging the plague, it crashed into my immune system and knocked me out for a week. I still feel damaged.

It started with a sore throat. My youngest son had tested positive after he woke up with a fever. The night before he and I had been wiggling his latest loose tooth so it felt almost inevitable that I’d catch it too. For the first 24 hours I thought I was going to get away lightly. Then a midnight fever kicked in and I dragged myself out of bed for a steaming hot shower and knew it was all over. Shaky and achey I have spent the last week feeling like a zombie.

The good news is my 7-year-old son bounced back after 36 hours, while I’ve just shuffled from my bed to the couch and back again. His tooth fell out. The tooth fairy was late.

I’ve been eyeing my husband with equal amounts of relief and jealousy because he was smart and got another booster two weeks ago. So far it seems to have protected him from the wrath of whatever is whipping around my body. Sore back, blocked ears, burning eyes, heavy limbs, sweat, sleep, cough, repeat.

I haven’t paid close attention to virus numbers this year. Remember when we all waited for the daily press conferences? New cases, hospital admissions, deaths. Suddenly, selfishly, I have a renewed interest. Apologies to infectious disease specialists. Yes, I knew it was still around. No, I didn’t think I was going to get it and feel this sick.

I’m not alone it seems.

Last week in Australia, there were 26,301 cases of Covid-19 reported. That’s an average of 3757 cases per day. In Queensland, case numbers are up almost 14 per cent at 530 per day. How those numbers are remotely accurate has to be questioned because apart from my family members who send me daily texts to check if the demon has been exorcised, nobody official except my boss and now you knew that I have tested positive. Did you know you’re supposed to send off an email to Qld Health saying “I got Covid!”

Hospitalisation numbers don’t lie. 183 people are in Queensland hospitals right now because of Covid. I’m grateful to be at home. Hopefully my four vaccines still granted me some protection. I don’t want to imagine how sick I might have been. The vaccinated version of this virus has been brutal.

Since January 2020, 1,663,621 million Queenslanders have contracted Covid-19. Out of a population of just over 5 million, that’s a lot of coughing, days off sick and worse. Shockingly, 2850 people have died in Queensland – 16 in the last week. It barely makes the news. And that’s how it was always going to end up. Like all pandemics, the virus becomes a part of life. We mostly live with it. But many die.

According to the World Health Organisation, 6,887,000 people have died from Covid-19 globally. That’s out of 761,402,282 positive cases globally.

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The death toll throughout the world is hard to comprehend. At some point during this pandemic, I think we had to disconnect from the numbers because it became overwhelming. Perhaps we still feel lucky in Australia.

But consider this, because it shocked me… almost 20,000 Australians have died from Covid-19.

Every single person is someone’s loved one. A grandparent, sibling, son, daughter, uncle, aunt, parent, mate. For all of those grieving the loss of family or friends, I don’t think we should become desensitised.

Which brings me to my own sad coronavirus twist. On St Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2023, my Grandmother passed away from natural causes. Evelyn Levingston, my last living grandparent, was 96 years old and she was extraordinary. She lived a long life, a simple life as she’d often tell us. Grandma was granted her dying wish, to one night go to sleep and never wake up.

When I’m properly better and able to gather my thoughts about her life and legacy, I’ll tell you her story. My own case of Covid stole my chance to be at her funeral. I watched a live video stream from the funeral home beamed into my house. My dad’s tearful eulogy, the Levingston family’s quiet tears.

I draw strength from Grandma’s resilience. She lived through the Depression, World War Two, medical and technological advancement that both impressed and confounded. And she gave good advice to the end. She was vaccinated and she avoided catching Covid-19.

So please, get boosted.

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