COVID killed my dad and loneliness was its accomplice

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OPINION: The lockdown we all faced with our loved ones in hospital or in an aged care facility was heartbreaking.

"Don't worry … it will go fast … I'm sure I'll see you soon … you'll be OK," I constantly told my father on the phone.

The thing is, I had no idea. No one did.

Mark Jessop with his father Geoff.


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One night during the lockdown, a nurse at dad's aged care facility called me late in the evening.

"Geoff is not well," the nurse said.

"He is breathing but not responding to touch or when we talk to him and I've called an ambulance.

"I think you should come down."

The ambulance had been there for 15 minutes before I arrived.

His blood pressure was good, sugar levels fine, no irregular heartbeat.

He was fine but still not responding – until I grabbed his hand and spoke to him.

Due to the lockdown, a month had gone by since I had last seen him, been next to him.

It was extremely sad to see that he had changed so much in such a short time.

Geoff contracted COVID-19 in hospital and later died.Mark Jessop's separation from his his father in aged care was, like for so many Australians during the pandemic, heartbreaking.

I asked the ambulance crew if there was something they could give him, something that he needed.

The response?

"I have no medication stronger than what you just gave him," were his exact words.

Dad passed away six months later from COVID-19 – which he caught in hospital, would you believe – during a regular eye check-up.

I know in my heart that he would have had a better chance of surviving if his body, heart and mind weren't suffering from being alone.

Mark says his father Geoff would have had a better chance at surviving if he wasn't alone.

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I'm not out to blame anyone as no one was prepared for a pandemic.

But the outcome of the pandemic should be a priority for this government, not just an inquiry.

I truly believe that each prime minister elected is there to do the best for the country, no matter what party is in government.

I don't agree with everything they do but I trust that the decisions they make are because they believe it is in the best interest of the country.

Sadly, I no longer believe that.