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Covid-19: Sex workers are not to blame

Yesterday I was watching some news coming from India, where the poor are already unable to adhere to lockdown rules because they live hand to mouth. Video footage of them being hit by sticks by the police was heartbreaking.

On the same day, the ABC news website reported a Sydney massage parlour is the first business in NSW to be fined $5,000 for not complying with new COVID-19 regulations.

The vast majority of sex workers I know are adhering to the rules, despite the fact that they are changing daily and have been utterly confusing. Science tells us that large gatherings are a huge risk for spread of Covid 19, and we know that by nature children are unable to socially isolate to the government recommended 1.5m (which, by the way, Scientists have been telling us it should be a minimum of 2m). We now know that the virus is also present in faecal matter, which again is a huge potential risk for young children and, we do not know but can only assume, that children could very well be super spreaders of the disease. So why are schools in many states still open? Other countries around the world have enacted alternative solutions, such as medical students caring for the children of essential service workers.

We also know that community transmission is now occurring, but we are still only testing those from overseas, those with known Covid contact or those presenting to hospital with symptoms. Potentially we have an exponential growth occurring in the community as we speak, yet Prime Minister Scott Morrison has not followed Ardern’s exemplary lead and enforced a lockdown. This would allow us space to see how many people present to our hospitals in three weeks’ time after the incubation period has passed before people become unwell. As a sex worker with a healthcare background, I cannot understand the reasoning of a partial shut down when we are currently dealing with a complete unknown. The estimated hospitalisation rate of Covid patients is 15%. How long until our hospitals become overrun with sick and dying? Do we need an 80% - 90% population lockdown to be able to flatten the curve as many scientists are predicting? How many people will die because we didn’t do enough?

The current situation is putting my peers who work in hospitals in grave danger. How many of them won’t have the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect themselves and their patients? Some centres are already running out of vital PPE. This is going to cost lives. We know this NOW.

And what of the teachers and the children, and all the families of the children? How many of them are going to be affected.

The answer is that we don’t know and our government is putting us all in grave danger until they enforce a lockdown. The news needs to focus on this. Instead it is focussing on those sex workers who, like vulnerable populations worldwide, may have a hand to mouth existence and may be ineligible for any stimulus package or don’t have the paperwork or funds to wait even a few days.

Sex workers are not to blame. Shut the country down, get PPE organised, protect the whole population as much as possible. Stop blaming us and using our situation for sensational news fodder when the focus should be controlling this disease.

Finally, I would like to thank all of my peers and family members who are health care workers, and who are anxiously bracing for this virus to hit our hospitals. Especially to those who know they are at risk because of the lack of supplies, and have other health conditions, may be of advancing age, or have families. We know the morbidity and mortality rate, yet you are so selflessly on the front line of this. I am as scared as you are but I know that your training and clinical experience will save many, many lives. For you, I am in complete lockdown, and will not set foot off my property unless it is imperative to do so. I urge everyone reading this to do the same, before we wait for our incompetent leaders to direct us. Every day we don’t do this is costing us dearly.

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