The Federal Government has released a new advertisement campaign to encourage Sydneysiders to stay home during the COVID crisis.
The ad, which shows a young woman in a hospital bed gasping for breath, comes after NSW recorded its first COVID-19 death of 2021.
A 90-year-old southwest Sydney woman – believed to be unvaccinated – died on Saturday, hours after being diagnosed COVID-positive. She was a close contact of a locally-acquired case.
Her death is the first since the Bondi cluster emerged on June 16, and the first connected to COVID-19 in NSW since a man died in December.
NSW’s COVID-19 death toll now sits at 57, and the national toll at 911.
It comes as the state records 77 new local COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday, the highest daily total of the current outbreak.
The ad was created last year but the government held back on releasing it as outbreaks appeared under control.
But on Sunday that all changed. The ads were released on Facebook and YouTube and were aimed at Sydney residents.
Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said the ads had a clear purpose, urging people to stay at home, get tested and book in for a vaccination.
“It is quite graphic and it’s meant to be graphic,” he said.
Australian Medical Association vice-president Chris Moy said said the ads told a “real story”.
“People need to understand what getting COVID badly means.”
The ads have had a mixed reaction on social media.
Some thought the ads got the message across clearly.
But many questioned why a young person was used to illustrate how severe the virus can be when they are the ones who are not eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.
“This is effective but terrifying given younger Australians like myself are still not eligible to be vaccinated. My strategy is stay inside alone until I can, but let me tell you it’s tough on the old mental health,” one said.
“Helpful that they used a young person who can’t get access to the vaccine yet,” another said.