Update 24 April
We’re 3 Steps into the Lifecycle of The Rona
The coronavirus’s potent little life started in what Australia’s calling the export phase, when it was catapulted out of its birthplace in China and into the big, wide, world where it attached to travelling Australians. But Australia saw that and began travel restrictions.
Then, as Australians abroad returned home, Little ‘Rona began jumping onto other Australians in our communities. This was the repatriation phase. That’s when travel quarantines began, and social distancing became part of our new normal. We put a stop to Rona’s travelling party.
Now we’re in the community phase, where we don’t have Rona imports, but are dealing with its covert shenanigans. Now we have to do detective work to track its movements, and stop the virus parties as soon as they start.
Here’s how Nowcasting Moves to Forecasting
It’s a new science, but the team at the Doherty Institute is now using Australia’s real time data to predict our COVID-19 future. Two thirds of all Australian cases used to be from overseas travel. Hotel quarantining for travellers is completely controlling the virus on that front, so those case data have been removed for the forecasting. That enables a more reliable reading of the Reff based on community transmission alone. (Check out my blog on Nowcasting for more about the Reff.)
The Reff is still below 1 across Australia, but cluster infections are expected to crop up.
Just this week, three residents who died at an aged care facility in western Sydney, had tested positive for the virus. Forty-one residents and staff contracted the virus from a staff member that did not know she was infected. That proves that we cannot be complacent in precautionary measures.
Can we keep the Reff below 1 until National Cabinet meets to discuss easing of restrictions?
Construction is On The Money
While much of the job market is in a critical state, construction is going gangbusters, and this just may be the industry that leads Australia out of the economic crisis. The Federal Government is asking all governments to bring infrastructure projects forward where possible. WA just completed the longest road in its history. Sydney is working on its international airport and an inland rail project. Another 160 projects are underway around the country.
So if ever you were thinking of working in construction – now’s your chance.
The Stats for Australia
- There have been 6673 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia
- Sadly, 78 have died
- 43 people are in ICU
- 29 people are on ventilators
Hope Over Fear
Respite for the Reef
Scuba tour operators were hit badly with the travel bans, but in Cairns and Port Douglas businesses are putting their empty boats and equipment to good use.
Passions of Paradise, Wavelength, Ocean Freedom, Sailaway and Quicksilver Cruises have partnered with Dr David Suggett from the University of Technology in Sydney to give the Great Barrier Reef some TLC. Operators are using their boats and crew to help create coral nurseries by planting coral. This will form part of reef resilience research.
Your Tip for Today
We can’t cure COVID-19, but we can fight the common flu
As we head into winter, having a standard flu jab is a common consideration. This year the supply of shots has been boosted from 13.5 million to 16.5 million, so that every Australian who wants one can access one. My GP sent me a text earlier this month to say flu shots are available.
Its not a defence against COVID-19 but less flu going around means more healthy people. It would mean that if you did happen to contract COVID-19, you wouldn’t have to deal with regular flu as well. Health workers would appreciate the added protection too.
So if you haven’t already, why not get your flu jab this year?
What About You?
- Anyone in the construction industry? Is it business as usual?
- Do you normally get the flu jab, and will you this year?
Please drop me a comment. I’d love to hear your stories.
Prime Minister Media Statement with Chief Medical Officer – 24 April
ABC News – Third death at aged care facility in Sydney – 22 April
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure on the construction industry – 24 April
Prime Minister Media Release – Western Australia’s Biggest Road Project – 23 April
Scuba Tour Operators Help Reefs – 21 April
UTS – Future Reefs
Health Minister on flu vaccinations – 19 April