Flattening the curve: The healthcare workers on the frontline of the fight against coronavirus.
“I’m no stranger to pandemics and to fear and anxiety from infection but I never thought I’d be in the situation of fighting this battle against COVID right here, right now.” Senior infectious diseases doctor, Sydney
Six weeks ago, Australia’s health professionals were bracing for the worst medical crisis in decades. Devastating pictures from the COVID-19 hotspots in Italy and America told a frightening story of what our health workers could expect as the number of Australian infections began to rise.
“This is like war time. We all need to play our part. Yes, people will die. We’ll try to keep the numbers down to the minimum.” Professor of Anaesthesia, Melbourne
From those tense early days to the flattening of the coronavirus curve, Four Corners has been documenting the fight against COVID-19 in hospitals and GP clinics around Australia.
“If it does get really bad then there’s the potential that we will have to make clinical decisions that are going to haunt us and they’re going to push our ethical limits.” Anaesthetist, Canberra
Those on the frontline, Australia’s healthcare workers, have been paying a price in stress and sickness.
“When I am lying in bed at night the things that keep me awake most are ‘When will I get COVID? When will I get sick? And what will I do when I get sick?’”. Director of Critical Care, Regional Victoria
In this powerful Four Corners, the program brings you the deeply personal accounts of Australian medical workers filmed as the pandemic crisis has unfolded.
“It was a busy shift and I just had a moment where I thought ‘Oh my god I didn’t sign up for this’. And immediately, I thought ‘Well actually yes I did. I did sign up for this. I took an oath.” Emergency doctor, regional NSW
Captured in video diaries, interviews and footage recorded around the country, the program shows what the fight against coronavirus looks like from behind the masks and gowns.
“I admitted the first positive COVID-19 patient to our unit…he did unfortunately pass away and it’s fair to say that his death has had a fairly significant impact on our staff including myself.” Intensivist, Melbourne
The film captures the remarkable turnaround from catastrophic predictions to a manageable health problem, thanks to the extreme lockdown measures we are all enduring.
“I think it is like a little miracle that our society has pulled off because it wasn’t looking like it was going in that direction.” Psychiatrist
All are grateful for the respite but warn this crisis is far from over.
“This might look like the end of the beginning, but it’s not the end. Australia’s about to plunge into the depths of winter and with that always come a surge in flu cases and other respiratory illnesses and coronavirus is going to make that much harder.” Director of Critical Care, Regional Victoria
It is replayed on Tuesday 6th May at 1.00pm and Wednesday 7th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.