The death of a newly-qualified lawyer and father-of-four from Covid-19 at his home has highlighted a problem among ethnic communities of people resisting treatment for the potentially deadly illness.
William Orule, 36, died alone in his western Sydney home on August 20 after being ill with the virus for nine days, soon after telling his cousin he was feeling ‘better than previous days’.
The father-of-four is one of 40 people who have died of the virus at home during the current outbreak of the Delta variant, with over half of them having not being tested for the virus.
His family said that Mr Orule, who emigrated from South Sudan, was only weeks away from receiving his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, with an appointment booked for October.
William Orule (pictured left), a lawyer and South Sudanese community leader died inside his western Sydney home from Covid-19
Speaking to ABC’s 7.30, Mr Orule’s cousin Edward Massimino explained that he and his family would check up on him, but his condition deteriorated suddenly.
‘Every day, twice a day, we checked on him in the morning and then in the evening,’ Mr Massimino said.
‘And he also told us the Department of Health staff were checking on him. The last thing we always said was, ‘Do you need to go to the hospital? We are ready to call for an ambulance.’ And he said, ‘No, I’m OK’.’
Mr Massimino was unsure why his cousin did not call for an ambulance, and the family is blaming themselves for not doing more to help.
Mr Olise was found dead by police who attended his home to conduct routine welfare checks on Covid positive patients.
Mr Orule (pictured left) told his cousin that he was feeling ‘better than previous day’ before police found him dead on August 20
Just over half of those who have died from Covid-19 whilst at home were not known to health authorities and hadn’t yet been diagnosed with the virus.
29 people have died while at home in NSW, most being residents of western Sydney.
13 of those were known to NSW Health and the remaining 16 were diagnosed with Covid-19 after their death.
William Orule emigrated from South Sudan in 2003 with his cousin Edward Massimino through Australia’s refugee program.
Mr Orule taught himself english and worked a number of jobs while pursuing an education at TAFE and university.
The father-of-four is being remembered as a brilliant man who helped his community and all those around him (pictured, William Orule in front of the Sydney Opera House)
On May 7 this year he was accepted to the Supreme Court of NSW and the Law Society after completing his law degree.
His main goal was to be able to support his South Sudanese community, and his death has shaken those who knew him.
A close friend of Mr Orule, Christine Debu said that his death has prompted the population to go and get vaccinated.
The community leader is being remembered as a role model by his community, and the current Chairman of the NSW Community of South Sudanese and Other Marginalised Areas Mawat Majok said a great person has been lost.
Mr Majok explained that the two contested the seat, and even after losing Mr Orule stayed on to assist with helping their community.
Tragically, Mr Orule’s family revealed he was booked in to receive a Pfizer vaccine in October (pictured, Mr Orule far left)
Of those who died at home during the latest outbreak, victims were mainly from migrant or non-English speaking backgrounds.
Western Sydney GP and community leader Dr Jamal Rifi said many of them were scared of being without their kin and support network once in hospital, and that there was a stigma attached to the illness.
‘I know first-hand many families were affected by COVID, they’ve chosen not to get swabbed, not to inform anyone,’ Dr Rifi said.
‘They kept it within themselves. And unfortunately, some of them died at home.’
He warned that the illness can accelerate rapidly, from standard cold and flu symptoms to fatal in quick time.
‘They transformed from one day that they are managing OK, but they’re a little bit tired and have a bit of a cough, slight headache, sweating,’ Dr Rifi said.
‘Within hours, that level of oxygen drops.’
NSW recorded 787 new locally acquired cases on Monday – down from the peak of 1,603 on September 11.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed Sydney’s lockdown will end on October 11, the Monday after the 70 per cent vaccination rate will be reached.
NSW recorded 787 new locally acquired cases on Monday as case numbers signficantly dropped
Ms Berejiklian revealed a three-stage roadmap to freedom which will see life largely return to normal on December 1.
Premier Berejiklian said lockdown will end in Sydney on 11 October.
‘I can say quite confidently we envisage 11 October will be the day we will be able to adhere to that road map,’ she said.
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said she believes 92 per cent of over 16s will get fully vaccinated.
‘I actually do think that we will get to 92% vaccination of our 16 pluses and I’m really keen that our 12- to 15-year-olds will get to a similar level,’ she said.
‘So I’m actually optimistic that we can achieve that in a very short order’.