A doctor has warned unvaccinated and middle aged Covid patients have a much higher risk profile than younger, vaccinated Australians, after Clive Palmer suffered a coronavirus scare.
Mining billionaire Mr Palmer, 67, was taken to a private hospital by ambulance from his home at Paradise Point in the Gold Coast’s exclusive Sovereign Islands precinct on Thursday for a Covid test.
Wearing shorts and a face mask pulled under his nose, unvaccinated Mr Palmer was seen leaving the hospital in a car being driven by his wife.
The mining magnate, who is hoping to return to federal parliament at the upcoming election, had been sick with ‘flu-like symptoms’ for at least two days.
He tested negative for Covid-19 earlier this week.
Speaking generally about Covid patients on Thursday, Australian National University epidemiologist Professor Peter Collignon said someone of Mr Palmer’s vaccination status would automatically be much more susceptible to the virus.
‘Someone who is unvaccinated has a ten-fold higher risk profile than someone who isn’t,’ Professor Collignon told Daily Mail Australia.
Clive Palmer pictured with his wife Anna. He was taken to hospital on Thursday but was later discharged after taking a test
Clive Palmer is seen leaving the Pindara Private Hospital on the Gold Coast on Thursday evening after being rushed by ambulance to take a Covid test
Mr Palmer left hospital and returned to his Gold Coast mansion with his wife Anna on Thursday (pictured)
A study released by the US Centre for Disease Control last year showed those who are fully-vaccinated are more than ten times less likely to be hospitalised or to die from the Delta variant of Covid.
The double-dosed were also five times less likely to be infected in the first place.
Professor Collignon would not comment specifically on Mr Palmer’s case, with it unclear if he ever even had the virus. A spokesman for the billionaire said he was being taken to hospital for ‘testing’.
He said someone of Mr Palmer’s age group was at a much higher risk than someone in their 20s.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data published last week revealed the worst Covid death rate between March 2020 and January 31 of this year was among patients in their 80s – with those in their 70s the next worst-affected age group.
‘There’s lots of factors that play a role but age, medical conditions and vaccination status are the most important,’ Professor Collignon said.
‘Whichever way you look at it vaccination drastically reduces your chances of going to hospital or dying from the virus.’
Prof Collignon said underlying conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity are linked to worse outcomes.
‘As a generalisation – the older you are and the more weight you have on you, the more important it is to get vaccinated.’
Mr Palmer is seen addressing the protestors at ‘The Worldwide Rally for Freedom’ protest against mandatory vaccinations and lockdown measures in Brisbane in November 2021
Mr Palmer speaks to someone on the phone as he gets into his car following a brief health scare
Prof. Collignon said the latest Omicron strain, despite being a milder variant than Delta, would still pose a serious risk to an unvaccinated person in their 60s.
Australian National University epidemiologist Professor Collignon said someone of Mr Palmer’s vaccination status was much more susceptible to the virus
‘Omicron generally causes milder disease but you’re still at a substantial risk if you’re unvaccinated,’ Professor Collignon said.
‘We can’t be too specific about his case but if you’re someone in your 60s and 70s and you’re unvaccinated and have underlying medical conditions, you have ten to 20 times higher odds of going to hospital than someone in your age group who is vaccinated.
‘All the evidence shows that.’
It’s understood Mr Palmer has been sick the past two days at home with ‘flu-like symptoms’.
He cancelled a planned nationally televised address to the National Press Club on Tuesday, organisers saying he had been advised not to come to Canberra due to his ‘Covid-like’ symptoms.
Billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer was transported to Pindara Private Hospital at Benowa (pictured) after several ambulances were called to his home
One of Mr Palmer’s multiple properties at Sovereign Islands on the Gold Coast, Queensland
Clive Palmer seen leaving his yacht Nancy Jean during his recent trip to Sydney for a court case against West Australian Premier Mark McGowan
In January, he claimed he did not need the jab and was looking ‘trim’.
‘I don’t think I need a vaccination for Covid personally, I haven’t caught it, I have a healthy life,’ he said.
‘I don’t think I’m in bad shape. I think I look a lot more trim now than when I did when I was in Parliament.’
Mr Palmer’s superyacht, which had been moored at Sydney Harbour while he attended a court case, has since jetted out to sea.
In an interview with the ABC in November 2021, Mr Palmer claimed vaccination had not reduced sickness or death from Covid-19 in Australia
‘There’s no data to support that in Australia,’ he said.
Vaccination ‘makes no difference from a public health context,’ the billionaire claimed.
Daily Mail Australia has approached Mr Palmer’s spokesperson for comment.