An update from the CEO Professor Peter Leedman about COVID-19 and the MACA Cancer 200.

16 Mar 2020

I wanted to provide you with an update on the MACA Cancer 200 and the current situation with regard to Coronavirus (COVID19). Rest assured, we are monitoring the situation closely and taking our lead from the State and Federal Government.

As of today, I’m confident the Ride will go ahead as planned. I think the next few weeks will be a time of self-containment with a focus on good hygiene and wellbeing. This will give our health system the best chance to treat the critical patients without being overwhelmed. My hope is that this will lead to a level of stabilisation.

If you’re anything like me, I know you will just want to be out on your bikes getting ready for the greatest weekend of the year so please read on for some tips that will keep you healthy over the next few months.

This Ride is so important to help fight cancer and we truly need your continued support, but we would never put you or any of our amazing riders in harm’s way. So, I will keep you informed of any changes along the way. As a doctor and a researcher. I am very keen to provide you with the latest information from us about the virus and how it may impact this event.

From a medical perspective, most of us - even if we become infected - will have a relatively minor respiratory illness. However, we have an important duty of care not to spread it. This is especially relevant to immunocompromised patients and those undergoing cancer treatment or who have underlying conditions such as diabetes.

Here’s some practical advice. It’s the same advice we are following here at the Perkins.

• Soap and water. The single most valuable thing each of us can do is wash our hands with soap and water for about 30 seconds (I sing Happy Birthday twice through) often! COVID-19 is a relatively puny and labile virus, so take satisfaction with the destruction you are wreaking upon it with your soap and water (brilliant stuff!) or hand sanitiser. 

• Elbow bumps. Start practicing elbow bumps, ankle taps or bows instead of handshakes or effusive Mediterranean style greetings. It’s cool to keep a little distance.

• Don’t "soldier on”.  If you have symptoms and are feeling unwell, it is important to confirm or refute the diagnosis and stay out of circulation until you do.

• Masks. Wearing a typical surgical type mask will not protect you from the virus. The only mask said to protect from the virus is an N95 version, which are not readily available in supermarkets and shops. People who need to wear a mask in public are those who have the disease or those being tested for the virus because they have symptoms. Their primary use is to limit droplet spread of the virus.

If you think you are displaying any of the symptoms, please consider going to one of the three WA COVID19 clinics, where you will be seen by doctors who can assess if you should be tested for the virus. If you are tested, then it’s very important that you self-isolate UNTIL YOU KNOW THE RESULT. If you do have the disease, then the medical teams will look after you. For most patients, it will be self-isolation at home because the illness is mild and resolves without any major issues.

Most importantly, you should work at staying healthy, which means a nutritious diet, plenty of water and moderate exercise like cycling - something I am assuming you are all doing in preparation for the MACA Cancer 200.

Steve is available if you have any concerns about fundraising or training in the lead up to the Ride.

Thank you for your support and stay healthy!

Professor Peter Leedman

Director, Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research

More information on Coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found via including the following publication: