Update 1 May
“If You Want to Get Out to Play, Download the App Today”
Whoop! Today ScoMo announced that Australia is doing so well at suppressing the virus that National Cabinet will be moving the date for reviewing baseline restrictions a week earlier, to next Friday 8 May.
As restrictions are eased, new cases of infection are expected to pop up. A three-pronged approach has been building capacity in recent weeks to enable a COVID Safe Australia:
(spotting the virus, wherever it plays up)
(QUICKLY getting to the source of the outbreak)
(Quarantining the virus, so it doesn’t spread)
Sitting under these strategies are 15 conditions laid out by the AHPPC (national health committee), that need to be met before we get to go back to anything that smells of normal. So far:
- 11 conditions have been met.
- 3 are in progress and will be met.
The only unmet condition is: capacity for quick and expansive tracing in the event of an outbreak, through the COVIDSafe app. At least 10 million Australians need to be using the app for it to be effective. Currently there have been 3.5 million downloads.
Federal minister for employment, Michaelia Cash, put it this way:
“If you want to get back to the pub, if you want to get back to your Pilates lesson, if you want to go to a local restaurant, sit down and have a meal with your family, one of the best ways you can ensure that that happens is to become part of that Australian community that have downloaded the COVIDSafe app.”
Bold Claims by Elite Sports
We get that AFL, NRL and other sporting enterprises are busting to get back out on the field. Fans are just as keen. The NRL’s website states that matches will be played again from 28 May.
Says who? Sorry guys, but announcing it doesn’t make it permissible.
ScoMo has acknowledged the longing for the return to sport, but his response has remained clear – the same rules apply to sport as to the rest of the country. Border closures don’t change for elite players. All sports, whether community or elite, must wait for the word from National Cabinet and their state governments. However, ScoMo did give a note of hope for sports lovers – national principles for the reintroduction of sport have been compiled, and will be reviewed by National Cabinet next week.
The Australia-China Relationship
Questions, suspicions and accusations are flung around liberally by the media. What were those two Chinese scientists from Wuhan working on in Geelong? Was the virus really from a bat? Is China threatened by Australia’s intent to pursue an investigation?
ScoMo is asked these questions in every press conference and interview. His answer remains the same, and was echoed by the Finance Minister, Matthias Cormann: Australia has a strategic partnership with China that works for both parties. The aim is to keep that relationship constructive and positive.
To pursue an investigation to find where and how this virus started is necessary. It’s important to look at what can be learned: how we could have potentially saved thousands of lives from a virus so dangerous to the world. A review has been recommended to the World Health Assembly by countries of the European Union, and Australia agrees. Transparency is needed, regardless of the country of origin, which in this case, happens to be China.
The Stats for Australia
- There have been 6,765 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia.
- Sadly, 92 have died
- 34 people are in ICU
- 5,720 people have recovered
Your Tip for Today
Here’s Why It Takes So Long to Make a Vaccine
- To begin, you need to be sure the vaccine is safe for humans. Animal models are used first. (6 months)
- Next, you need to make sure it triggers the right kind of immunity, without damaging the body. (1 year)
- Then, you need to know that it’s actually going to prevent infection (because you give the vaccine to healthy people). Since it’s unethical to purposely infect any human with a virus, you just have to hang around until the person is incidentally exposed to the virus, and then see what happens. And viruses are sneaky – they have a habit of mutating, so the vaccine always needs to be checked against the latest mutation of the virus. (up to 3 years)
And Here’s How It’s Been Accelerated for COVID-19
Remember the SARS epidemic? Well, that virus was from the same thriving coronavirus family as COVID-19, whose scientific name is SARS-CoV-2. They share 80-90% of their genetic code. A vaccine for SARS was started but never completed because the virus fizzled out too soon.
Today’s scientists have been able to use the SARS vaccine work as a starting point and raced on from there. Clinical trials in humans have begun in a number of places around the world. And now we wait.
Hope Over Fear
Closer to a Vaccine
Collaboration between University of Queensland (&partners), Melbourne’s Doherty Institute and Viroclinics Xplore in the Netherlands has resulted in another milestone in the development of a vaccine for COVID-19:
They’ve raised levels of antibodies that can neutralise the virus. In other words – they can make stuff that kills the living virus inside cells.
It’s all gone so fast because while one institute has investigated one part, the other has tested another part, and so on. Spreading the load has helped.
Still no guarantee of success, but finances are already being procured for manufacture …
What About You?
I’d love to hear your stories.
- What sport are you looking forward to starting again?
- Have you downloaded the app? Why or why not?
Drop me a comment below.
Information Sources (that are not linked in the text)
Department of Health Stats
Why a Vaccine Takes so long