Rapidly evolving events have presented challenges for South Australians, with contributions from epidemiologists and health academics invaluable in helping the community to understand the situation and the strategy behind public health decisions.
Flinders University’s Dr Emma Miller has been in strong demand by the media, with her calm demeanour and sense of humour complementing her solid expertise to inform their reporting.
The Flinders University epidemiologist’s outstanding engagement skills came to the fore in an interview for The Drum (view here), addressing scepticism about claims of a new strain and the likelihood a six-day lockdown would be effective.
Dr Miller was repeatedly called on to strengthen public awareness and the steps people needed to take to stay safe. ABC news radio consulted her as the news broke with questions around risk, confidence in South Australia’s public health policy-makers and concerns around quarantine hotels.
On 18 November Dr Miller appeared on the ABC’s Afternoon Briefing with Patricia Karvelas as SA’s short-lived lockdown commenced, speaking (from 32:16 minutes) on the government’s newly unveiled strategy to contain the virus and the likelihood of its success and of further actions.
As the situation unfolded, Dr Miller spoke with ABC news, Newscorp media and other outlets on breaking topics such as the potential ramifications of excessively long waiting times for COVID-19 testing.
For a New Zealand Herald breaking report on the new South Australian cluster, she shared the limelight with Premier Steven Marshall and Professor Nicola Spurrier, providing independent, non-government commentary on the nature of the virus and the threat it posed South Australians if strong action was not taken.
Flinders University experts are continuing to play a leading role to ensure the community understands the nature of the virus and the reasons for restrictions imposed.
Braving COVID seminars
For Flinders University staff, Professor Jonathan Craig and colleagues wasted no time compiling a four-day suite of lunchtime events to keep our community informed.
Braving COVID – Information and inspiration in rapidly-changing, challenging times features 45-minute sessions with a Flinders expert on a specific topic, such as global and national trends, simple guides to maintaining mental and physical health, ensuring good sleep patterns, how COVID-19 is affecting our climate and more, combined with other essential information about dealing with the impact of South Australia’s latest pandemic outbreak.
Professor Craig kicked off the series on 23 November with COVID-19 epidemiology update: global and national trends, vaccines and treatments.
Professor Danny Eckert followed on Tuesday 24 November with Improving health and well-being through the science of sleep.
Professor Mike Kyrios is scheduled for this Wednesday 25 November, to talk about Everything you wanted to know about making it through a pandemic but were afraid to ask…(Join session via this link).
On Thursday 26 November, Associate Professor Cassandra Star will conclude the series with Climate activism and the COVID moment: securing the green new deal and climate justice (join via this link.)