The Victorian government has stepped up its coronavirus advertising to focus on real-life suffering storeys, similar to campaigns on smoking and road tolls.
The government has released multi-language advertisements for television, radio and social media illustrating the devastating effect coronavirus can have on families and younger people, as the state braces for scores more deaths in the coming weeks after five people died on Saturday.
In one, Michael, a middle-aged patient with coronavirus, explains how doctors thought he would die because he spent 72 days in hospital induced coma.
Michael states that his wife developed coronavirus when he was sleeping, and therefore passed it on to her elderly mother who died soon.
“It was like drowning,” Michael says of the virus. “COVID is real, it is very real.”
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the confrontation campaign was aimed at helping Victorians “understand the reality” of the widespread deaths the state is fighting to avoid.
“It is an unfolding tragedy that is hard to get your head around,” Professor Sutton said on Saturday.
“This is an invisible enemy in lots of ways and when we just talk about numbers, when we talk about reproduction numbers and transmissibility, that doesn’t bring it home like understanding the genuine consequences for people does.”
Professor Sutton talked about places such as Spain, northern Italy, and the United Kingdom, where “there is barely a family that doesn’t have awareness of somebody in their extended network who has died”.
“That’s what we’re trying to avoid. But it’s what people need to think about in terms of having a motivation to do the right thing,” he said.
“Face masks are to coronavirus what speed limits are to the road toll,” he added.