A 24-year-old who contracted Covid-19 in March last year after returning to Melbourne from Boston has spoken of the brutal ordeal he's faced since testing positive for the virus.
During Tuesday's coronavirus update in Victoria, Will Smith urged everyone, no matter their age, to take up the vaccine, describing the initial phase of the illness as "incredibly frightening".
"It doesn't matter how young you are, it doesn't matter how fit you are, it doesn't matter how indestructible you feel - Covid can still hit you," Smith told reporters.
"The feeling of straining against your own body, trying to expand your lungs against this invisible force, struggling to breathe."
While Smith's symptoms were mild enough that he avoided hospital - able to quarantine at his family home instead - the former Caulfield Grammar student is grappling with symptoms more than 18 months on.
"Long-Covid is real ... it's not a place you want to be," he said, describing his own health as "still nowhere near normal".
"Months after my diagnosis I still couldn't walk around the block without getting light-headed, needing to lie down, struggling to breathe. I had such debilitating fatigue that I sometimes couldn't even get out of bed."
He called on Victorians to keep coming forward and getting the jab.
"You don't have to be on a ventilator to have your life turned upside down for months, or maybe even years," he said.
"Why take that risk? We can fight back. And we can now protect ourselves and those we love - we can get vaccinated."
Record case numbers in Victoria
Victoria today reported record case numbers, with 1763 new locally acquired Covid infections and four deaths.
Covid-19 has also made its way into six prisons across the Victorian network, with at least 51 active cases among both inmates and staff.
As of yesterday, 36 prisoners and 15 staff members have tested positive to the virus, according to Corrections Victoria.
All in-person personal visits to prisons across the state have been suspended, and prisoner movement at the Ravenhall Correctional Centre, Port Phillip Prison and Dame Phyllis Frost Centre has been restricted while contact tracing is underway.
The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases linked to anti-lockdown protests outside Melbourne's Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) headquarters last month has now grown to seven, the union confirmed today.
The virus has spread to "family members including elderly parents, wives, brothers and sisters as well as dozens of young children including two babies", union boss John Setka said in a statement.
"The tragedy is that due to the actions of these reckless and selfish protesters, many of these members families who have been infected are very sick with the Delta virus.
"These protesters are just selfish idiots with absolutely no care for anyone other than themselves. They have caused enormous stress and heartache for members families' who were just doing their job on the day of the protest."
Young men who were at the protests are now being diagnosed using rapid tests as they are taken to hospital, the Herald Sun reports.
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