How Australia’s Christmas could have been virus-free
Australia, meet the man who could have ensured Christmas joy nationally for families by ridding the nation of COVID-19 - if only people had listened.
Former Army nuclear, biological and chemical warfare instructor Bob Waldron is 100 per cent confident immediate mandatory mask wearing would have eliminated the virus from our shores.
And according to him, you didn't need any fancy $100-plus mask.
"A face masks doesn't have to be any $100 sophisticated thing," Mr Waldron said.
"A basic tea towel or a scarf will offer adequate protection if thick enough."
Continuous mask wearing would have been the key to eliminating the virus from Australian society, Mr Waldron said.
That combined with strict quarantine measures and closing the nation's borders from March would have seen a COVID-free Christmas.
"They are a shield or a barrier to stop the transmission of the virus, through the minute droplets passed on by the host, into another person's respiratory system," Mr Waldron said.
"They don't have to be complex at all, they just need to stop those virus carrying droplets."
A virus needed a host to survive, Mr Waldron said.
"Viruses can only enter the body either through the eyes, the nose or the mouth, because all viruses get into the body through the respiratory function and are spread by the transmission of minute droplets from the host to another person," Mr Waldron said.
"Outside the body, all viruses require a host and if they can't find a host they die, and direct sunlight outside can kill a virus within minutes."
Temperature, time and surface type are crucial.
A recent study by the CSIRO showed the time the virus lasted on a surface, was dependant on the ambient temperature, and if the surface was smooth or porous.
Warmer temperatures saw a significantly shorter virus life, while the virus was detected for a much longer period on smooth surfaces like glass and steel than porous items like cloth or leather.
Instead of placing such heavy reliance on our health services, Mr Waldron said the Army should have been called in.
"There are Australian Army soldiers that have the most up-to-date training available on biological and chemical warfare and viruses who could have advised the government," he said.
"My prediction is they would have locked down the national borders, had extremely strict quarantine measures, plus made wearing masks mandatory for everyone.
"If that would have happened from March, Australia would be extremely close to, if not virus free for Christmas 2020.
"We are in a much better position than many, many countries, so we can enjoy a relatively normal Christmas in Central Queensland, but things could have been better."