Labor MP Ged Kearney has revealed the human face behind the latest coronavirus statistic is her elderly father-in-law whose heartbroken family is now grieving in isolation.
Ms Kearney’s father in law, Mike, became Australia’s 30th COVID-19 fatality when he passed away in Canberra Hospital on Saturday, a week after being admitted to hospital.
The disease had claimed a total of 34 lives as of Sunday morning, an increase of four deaths in 24 hours.
The 82-year-old’s widow Wendy is in mourning alone at home while family members cannot comfort each other with hugs and kisses due to social distancing restrictions.
Ms Kearney, member for Cooper in Melbourne and a former ACTU boss, posted on social media that her partner Leigh’s father had only been outside “a couple of times in the whole month” before he contracted the deadly virus.
She said he had done his best to isolate and protect himself, stocking up on groceries to limit the number of times he had to venture outdoors.
“We actually teased him because he had bought 5kgs of rice and 10 tins of chick peas and 10 cans of tomatoes – for just him and his lovely wife Wendy. Panic buying we said! But of course it was the right thing to do,” Ms Kearney wrote on Facebook on Saturday night.
“He became ill quite suddenly, was admitted to hospital and 7 days later he died.
“Now his Canberra family is in isolation and Wendy, nearly 80, must grieve on her own, in their house alone, away from hugs and kisses and tears and drinks and friends and family.
“My heart breaks for her and her kids and my Leigh.”
Ms Kearney said death in in the time of coronavirus was difficult, with loved ones unable to comfort one another.
“This week I also lost a beloved brother-in-law. My sister’s husband died, not of the virus, but still, died too young and again we cannot gather as we would normally do,” she wrote.
“I can’t hug my sister and her children. We have to wait. And wait we will. In the mean time we zoom and call and text. It is a poor alternative but it is all we have.
“Thank you to everyone who has left us food, flowers virtual hugs and love.”
Ms Kearney urged people not to become complacent about spreading the virus and to remember that behind the statistics on the news were real people who were loved and missed.
“‘Oh’ you might say, ‘30 (deaths) is ok compared to other countries’ or you might say ‘30 is getting up there’ or you might just look at it see a number and not think much at all, because you are just going about your daily isolation activities,” she wrote.
“But please, don’t let these figures just become nameless statistics to you.”
“Every death is sad and felt deeply by someone. I know most people are finding kindness and helping out at every turn, and I am feeling the caring nature of our community first hand.
“I know you know what you must do to curb the deaths, I don’t need to tell you. Please – Just do it, and keep doing it.”
Today I read in the news that Australia has recorded its 30th death from Corona Virus. ‘Oh’ you might say, ‘30 is ok…
Australia had 5550 cases of COVID-19 across the country as of Sunday morning, with the rate of new coronavirus cases slows.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly urged Australians not to become complacent, warning the health crisis was not over.