Unfazed and unmasked

As Australians become more complacent with the pandemic, fewer are taking measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Photo: Katya Minns.

Despite growing daily cases and concerns of reinfection, research shows fewer Australians are taking precautions against the spread of COVID-19.

The ABS’s latest Household Impacts of Covid-19 Survey, conducted in April 2022, found Australians were less likely to wear their face mask and social distance, compared to February 2022.

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Curtin University epidemiologist Archie Clements says the perception of the virus now is that it is less dangerous.

“There’s a general complacency that’s grown, built on pandemic fatigue,” he says.

“When you get infected, you don’t build up complete immunity, so it is possible to get infected again with the same variant.”

Amid eased restrictions and international travel being reintroduced, Australia topped the world for new daily COVID-19 cases per capita, according to global databases.

“We’ve now got open borders and life is continuing as normal,” he says.

“However, we still need to exercise caution and be prepared for potential future public health measures being re-imposed.”

Since the first case in Australia was reported, the number of those infected is highest in the 20–29-year age group.   

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Hospitality worker Joor Pathak, 23, who contracted COVID-19 one week after recovering from his first infection says he believed he was immune to the virus following his recovery.

“I feel like I was just roaming around a lot in crowded areas, so maybe that could have been the issue,” he says.

Joor Pathak contracted the virus just one week after recovering from his first diagnosis. Photo: Katya Minns.

“Since my last test, I kind of toned down on going out as much but after a while, I gained the confidence to go out again.”

The ABS says the number of Australians maintaining physical distance went down to 75 per cent, compared to 85 per cent in February.

“It’s the times we live in to be honest, as horrible as that sounds,” Mr Pathak says.

“It’s up to the person, and that person might not be as cautious as another person.”