A young Melbourne nurse has blasted young people for refusing to take the pandemic seriously, after he caught COVID-19 while working on the frontline.
Dan Collins, 24, is haunted by the death of an elderly man he sat with when he worked with aged care residents and at the North Melbourne residential towers, following a massive outbreak there last month.
The brave health worker told the moving story of how held the man’s hand as he drew his final breath.
Now Mr Collins finds himself alone in hotel quarantine battling the debilitating illness as he warns young Victorians, ‘it’s not just an old person’s disease’.
‘I just told him everything was going to be okay… there was not much more I could say,’ he told 7News.
‘I told him people loved him, because he had so many phone calls just calling to say goodbye.’
Mr Collins took aim at Australians who are not taking the pandemic seriously.
‘COVID is not a conspiracy, it is a global health emergency. I’ve seen first hand what it does,’ he said.
‘Trust me, I’ve got COVID. I’m young and it sucks.
‘I’ve got a cough, intermittent fever, sore throat. I’ve lost my smell, I’ve lost my taste… and then there’s the worry of chronic health conditions.
‘Clots can form as part of COVID and it can go to my heart, it could go to my lungs, I could have a heart attack or a stroke.’
Mr Collins had also been taking care of infected aged care residents at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
There are now more 1,500 health workers across Australia who have contracted COVID-19, with 900 coming from Victoria.
The State’s Premier Daniel Andrews has warned that doctors and nurses are the ‘not the frontline of defence, but the last’.
‘I would just ask all Victorians to follow the rules to protect themselves but also to protect our dedicated healthcare team,’ he said.
Mr Collins urged all Australians to take precautions and help each other.
‘It might suck that we have to stay inside or wear masks … but we have to beat it together,’ he said.
Earlier this week, the World Health Organisation analysed six million confirmed coronavirus cases to find the infection rate had skyrocketed among younger generations.
On February 24, infections among 15 to 24 year-olds represented 4.5 per cent of all cases globally.
That figure more than tripled to 15 per cent by July 12.
Premier Andrews said on Tuesday, there were 20 young people being treated for coronavirus in Victorian hospitals and three of them were in intensive care.
On Friday, Victoria recorded another 450 cases of COVID-19 over all, and 11 more deaths related to the virus.
The government declared a State of Disaster on Sunday, plunging Melbourne into Stage 4 lockdown and rest of the state into Stage 3.