Showing posts with label health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label health. Show all posts

Friday, 31 July 2020

The Morrison Government was advised to get the priorities straight but refused to listen


It appears Scott Morrison & Co did not listen to this open letter. 


Corresponding authors:

Chris Edmond (cedmond@unimelb.edu.au)
Steven Hamilton (steven_hamilton@gwu.edu)
Richard Holden (richard.holden@unsw.edu.au)
Bruce Preston (bruce.preston@unimelb.edu.au)

The views expressed are those of the signatories and not necessarily those of their employer.

19 April 2020

Dear Prime Minister and Members of the National Cabinet:

The undersigned economists have witnessed and participated in the public debate about when to relax social-distancing measures in Australia. Some commentators have expressed the view that there is a trade-off between the public health and economic aspects of the crisis. We, as economists, believe this is a false distinction.

We cannot have a functioning economy unless we first comprehensively address the public health crisis. The measures put in place in Australia, at the border and within the states and territories, have reduced the number of new infections. This has put Australia in an enviable position compared to other countries, and we must not squander that success.

We recognise that the measures taken to date have come at a cost to economic activity and jobs, but believe these are far outweighed by the lives saved and the avoided economic damage due to an unmitigated contagion. We believe that strong fiscal measures are a much better way to offset these economic costs than prematurely loosening restrictions.

As has been foreshadowed in your public remarks, our borders will need to remain under tight control for an extended period. It is vital to keep social-distancing measures in place until the number of infections is very low, our testing capacity is expanded well beyond its already comparatively high level, and widespread contact tracing is available.

A second-wave outbreak would be extremely damaging to the economy, in addition to involving tragic and unnecessary loss of life.

Sincerely,


On the day this open letter was written the number of active confirmed Covid-19 cases in Australia was falling - averaging 42 cases a day in that week. However, nationally there were still est. 2,306 active & not yet recovered cases of the virus and the death toll had reached 70 people.

By 20 April 2020 national infection growth rate - which needed to be below a factor of 1 if Australia wanted to maintain suppression or eliminate the virus - was recorded as 0.89 representing an average of 11 new cases per day for the last 7 days.

By 2 May 2020 active & not yet recovered cases had fallen to 901 but deaths had risen to 93 people. 

That week Prime Minister Scott Morrison began to push for an easing of COVID-19 public health order restrictions.

However by 20 May Australia was averaging 17 cases per day and the infection growth rate was beginning to climb again. 

Even though the national infection growth rate had been above a factor of 1 since early June, the Morrison Government continued to push for a rolling back of public health order restrictions and castigated those states, industry sectors and workers which it thought were not responding quickly enough to its desire to 'open the economy'.

In varying degrees the states and territories complied. The result?

By 3pm on 8 July 2020, there were 1,293 active & not yet recovered cases of COVID-19 in Australia and 106 deaths.

As of 3 pm on 29 July the national number of active & not yet recovered COVID-19 cases stood at est. 5,787 and known deaths from the virus totalled 176 people. That day the Australian Dept. of Health recorded there has been an average of 385 new cases reported each day over the last week.

It is now Friday 31 July 2020 and the resurgence of COVID-19 infection predicted by those 289 economists last April is underway.


Thursday, 23 July 2020

Even "mild" cases of COVID-19 infection can last for months with distressing symptoms


The Guardian, 6 July 2020:

Conventional wisdom suggests that when a sickness is mild, it’s not too much to worry about. 
But if you’re taking comfort in World Health Organization reports that over 80% of global Covid-19 cases are mild or asymptomatic, think again. As virologists race to understand the biomechanics of Sars-CoV-2, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: even “mild” cases can be more complicated, dangerous and harder to shake than many first thought. 

Throughout the pandemic, a notion has persevered that people who have “mild” cases of Covid-19 and do not require an ICU stay or the use of a ventilator are spared from serious health repercussions. Just last week, Mike Pence, the US vice-president, claimed it’s “a good thing” that nearly half of the new Covid-19 cases surging in 16 states are young Americans, who are at less risk of becoming severely ill than their older counterparts. This kind of rhetoric would lead you to believe that the ordeal of “mildly infected” patients ends within two weeks of becoming ill, at which point they recover and everything goes back to normal. 

While that may be the case for some people who get Covid-19, emerging medical research as well as anecdotal evidence from recovery support groups suggest that many survivors of “mild” Covid-19 are not so lucky. They experience lasting side-effects, and doctors are still trying to understand the ramifications. 

Some of these side effects can be fatal. According to Dr Christopher Kellner, a professor of neurosurgery at Mount Sinai hospital in New York, “mild” cases of Covid-19 in which the patient was not hospitalized for the virus have been linked to blood clotting and severe strokes in people as young as 30. In May, Kellner told Healthline that Mount Sinai had implemented a plan to give anticoagulant drugs to people with Covid-19 to prevent the strokes they were seeing in “younger patients with no or mild symptoms”. 

Doctors now know that Covid-19 not only affects the lungs and blood, but kidneys, liver and brain – the last potentially resulting in chronic fatigue and depression, among other symptoms. Although the virus is not yet old enough for long-term effects on those organs to be well understood, they may manifest regardless of whether a patient ever required hospitalization, hindering their recovery process. 

Another troubling phenomenon now coming into focus is that of “long-haul” Covid-19 sufferers – people whose experience of the illness has lasted months. For a Dutch report published earlier this month (an excerpt is translated here) researchers surveyed 1,622 Covid-19 patients who had reported enduring symptoms; the patients, who had an average age of 53, reported intense fatigue (88%) persistent shortness of breath (75%) and chest pressure (45%). Ninety-one per cent of the patients weren’t hospitalized, suggesting they suffered these side-effects despite their cases of Covid-19 qualifying as “mild”. While 85% of the surveyed patients considered themselves generally healthy before having Covid-19, only 6% still did so one month or more after getting the virus. 

After being diagnosed with Covid-19, 26-year-old Fiona Lowenstein experienced a long, difficult and nonlinear recovery first-hand. Lowenstein became sick on 17 March, and was briefly hospitalized for fever, cough and shortness of breath. Doctors advised she return to the hospital if those symptoms worsened – but something else happened instead. “I experienced this whole slew of new symptoms: sinus pain, sore throat, really severe gastrointestinal issues,” she told me. “I was having diarrhea every time I ate. I lost a lot of weight, which made me weak, a lot of fatigue, headaches, loss of sense of smell …” 

By the time she felt mostly better, it was mid-May, although some of her symptoms still routinely re-emerge, she says. 

“It’s almost like a blow to your ego to be in your 20s and healthy and active, and get hit with this thing and think you’re going to get better and you’re going to be OK. And then have it really not pan out that way,” says Lowenstein. 

Unable to find information about what she was experiencing, and wondering if more people were going through a similarly prolonged recovery, Lowenstein created The Body Politic Slack-channel support group, a forum that now counts more than 5,600 members – most of whom were not hospitalized for their illness, yet have been feeling sick for months after their initial flu-like respiratory symptoms subsided. According to an internal survey within the group, members – the vast majority of whom are under 50 – have experienced symptoms including facial paralysis, seizures, hearing and vision loss, headaches, memory loss, diarrhea, serious weight loss and more. 

“To me, and I think most people, the definition of ‘mild’, passed down from the WHO and other authorities, meant any case that didn’t require hospitalization at all, that anyone who wasn’t hospitalized was just going to have a small cold and could take care of it at home,” Hannah Davis, an author of a patient-led survey of Body Politic members, told me. “From my point of view, this has been a really harmful narrative and absolutely has misinformed the public. It both prohibits people from taking relevant information into account when deciding their personal risk levels, and it prevents the long-haulers from getting the help they need.” 

At this stage, when medical professionals and the public alike are learning about Covid-19 as the pandemic unfolds, it’s important to keep in mind how little we truly know about this vastly complicated disease – and to listen to the experiences of survivors, especially those whose recoveries have been neither quick nor straightforward. 

It may be reassuring to describe the majority of Covid-19 cases as “mild” – but perhaps that term isn’t as accurate as we hoped.

Sunday, 31 May 2020

Australia 2020: the curious case of premature purchase of a dangerous drug for use during the COVID-19 pandemic


First in was US President Donald Trump on 19 March 2020 talking up a so-called miracle drug to treat COVID-19 infection, called hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine

In Australia  hydroxychloroquine is registered by the Theraputic Goods Administration (TGA) for use in rheumatoid arthritis, mild systemic and discoid lupus erythematosus, as well as the suppression and treatment of malaria.

 However such was its enthusiasm, by 2 April 2020 the Morrison Government exempted hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine from having to meet TGA registration benchmarks for the lawful supply of medicines in this country. 

In early April 2020 the general public also learned that Federal Health Minister & Liberal MP for Flinders Greg Hunt ‘struck a deal’ with suppliers to bring hydroxychloroquine into Australia to treat hospital patients infected with COVID-19

Later that same month Queensland mining blowhard Clive Palmer paid for full page newspaper advertisements telling Australia he had purchased 32.9 million doses of the drug in early March for use by ill Australians. 


 All the while the World Health Organisation (WHO) was warning that this drug was untested for use in COVID-19 infections and might be dangerous. 

Nevertheless a number of nations (including Australia) still supported trialing the drug with a view to using it as a treatment during the pandemic and, globally there was widespread use of hydroxychloroquine often in combination with a second-generation macrolide as a treatment of COVID-19, despite no conclusive evidence of their benefit. 

Eventually WHO itself began a clinical trial of the drug. 

On 22 May The Lancet published a multinational registry analysis of the use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19. 

The registry comprised data from 671 hospitals on six continents. Included were patients hospitalised between 20 December 2019 and 14 April 2020, with a positive laboratory finding for SARS-CoV-2. 

A total of 96,032 hospitalised patients were included in the analysis. 

The findings were clear cut: “We were unable to confirm a benefit of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, when used alone or with a macrolide, on in-hospital outcomes for COVID-19. Each of these drug regimens was associated with decreased in-hospital survival and an increased frequency of ventricular arrhythmias when used for treatment of COVID-19.”  [my yellow highlighting]

On 25 May 2020 WHO suspended its clinical trials of the drug on safety grounds. 

Hopefully Morrison & Co will no longer flirt with the use of this drug in treating active COVID-19 infections.

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Mosquitoes likely to remain a health hazard this winter


In January 1991 Ross River Fever became a notifiable disease in New South Wales and in that first year the Northern NSW local health district recorded 11 cases.

Up to the end of April in 2020 Northern NSW has recorded 156 cases. Only the Hunter New England local heath district is recording a higher figure at 183 cases.

By contrast Barmah Forest Virus, another notifiable disease, has only been recorded 25 times so far this year.

However, both are mosquito borne infections that are worth doing our best to avoid.

NSW Health advises:

To protect against mosquitoes and reduce the risk of diseases they transmit:
  • Cover-up with a loose-fitting long sleeved shirt and long pants when outside
  •  Apply mosquito repellent to exposed skin
  •  Take special care during peak mosquito biting hours, especially around dawn and dusk
  •  Remove potential mosquito breeding sites from around the home and screen windows and doors
  •  Take extra precautions when travelling or camping in areas with a higher risk of mosquito-borne diseases.
  • For more detailed information on reducing the risk of mosquito bites at home and while travelling see the Mosquitoes are a Health Hazard fact sheet. This also includes more information on mosquito repellents.
As the Australian Bureau of Meteorology is predicting a 70% chance of wetter than average weather from July to September & warmer than average temperatures for coastal New South Wales in June to August this year, it is possible that infected mosquitoes will still be aound this winter so being aware of the mosquito load in your garden is advisable..

At the end of April Stratford Virus was detected in mosquitoes trapped in Yamba at the mouth of the Clarence River. This virus is not notifiable in New South Wales and infection usually presents as a mild fever with associated joint pain and lethagy.

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Saga of the Morrison Government's COVIDSafe App


The New Daily
First came the announcement that the Australian Dept. of Health was creating a virus contact tracing app to allow health officials to discover how many people had been in contact with future confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection.

This announcement was followed with an app name, COVIDSafe. Branding it would appear that was shamelessly filched from another app being trialled in the United States.

Soon after we were told that at least 40 per cent of the Australian population would have to voluntarily download the free app for tracing to be an effective public health tool.

Once the $1.5 million app was released on the evening of Sunday 26 April 2020 it was found to only be supported by a ministerial determination rather than legislation and, to be riddled with design & implementation flaws. Some of which were dangerous to the wellbeing of individuals whose vital health aids were supported by Bluetooth.

Draft legislation limited in scope and publication of the app source code surfaced days later.

By 1 May Prime Minister Morrison was reported as saying that easing COVID-19 public health restrictions and a return to normality will depend on uptake of the Covidsafe contact tracing app.

On 4 May the app's visuals were slightly changed and a few bugs were allegedly fixed in an automatic update. However, significant problems with use continued to be reported.

By 9 May it was obvious that the more than 10 million people needed to make digital contact tracing effective were not about to materialise.

Once the number of app downloads failed to reach 6 million the Morrison Government's rhetoric changed.

It went from saying '4 million downloads were required', to 'as many downloads as possible is the aim' and on to 'there is no target number set' for app downloads.

It also ceased linking download/registration numbers with the easing of public health restrictions and, by 8 May the National Cabinet had released its three-step plan to ease restrictions which the states and territories are beginning to implement subject to their own individual circumstances.

So it comes as no surprise to hear that the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19 has been told that virus contact tracing is not dependent on the use of the app and, tracing methods currently in place will continue even after the app tracing system is fully operational.

It would appear that Morrison & Co were lying when they stated or implied that easing public health restrictions was dependent on widespread uptake of the app. 

Despite people installing and registering the COVIDsafe app from 27 April onwards, as of Wednesday 13 May the app tracing sytem was not yet fully operational because health departments in the states and territories are yet to avail themselves of the virus contact database.

Thursday, 30 April 2020

North Coast Public Health Unit reminding Northern NSW residents to protect themselves against mosquitoes which remain in high numbers late in the season


Northern NSW Local Health District, media release, 27 April 2020:



The North Coast Public Health Unit is reminding residents of Northern NSW to protect themselves against mosquitoes which remain in high numbers late in the season.
“Mosquitoes have persisted in large numbers through to early autumn, along with the warm weather in recent weeks,” Paul Williamson, Senior Environmental Health Officer, said.
The NSW Arbovirus Surveillance and Mosquito Monitoring Program recently detected Barmah Forest virus and Ross River virus in mosquitoes in the Northern NSW area. Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses are common on the north coast and are transmitted by infected mosquitoes.
So far this year, 32 north coast residents have been diagnosed with Barmah Forest virus infection and 153 with Ross River virus infections, which is two and three times the number of infections, respectively, for the same period last year. One hundred and nineteen of these infections have been reported in the last four weeks, which is six times the number reported in the same period last year.
“These infections can cause symptoms including tiredness, rash, fever, and sore and swollen joints. The symptoms usually resolve after several days, but some people may experience these symptoms for weeks or even months,” Mr Williamson said.
Avoiding mosquito bites will be especially important until cooler weather brings an end to the mosquito-breeding season.
Whilst most people are at home due to current movement restrictions, many people are heading outdoors early or late in the day to get some exercise.
“Mosquitoes are very active at these times so protect yourself from being bitten by mosquitoes when out-and-about.”
Simple steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes include:
  • Cover up as much as possible when outside with light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and covered footwear.
  • Use an effective insect repellent on exposed skin. Re-apply repellent within a few hours, as protection wears off with perspiration. The best mosquito repellents contain Diethyl Toluamide (DEET) or Picaridin. Botanical based products (e.g. eucalyptus, citronella etc.) provide only limited periods of protection.
  • Use physical barriers such as netting on prams, cots and play areas for babies. Repellents should not be used on the skin of children under the age of three months.
  • Check the product label of repellents for recommended age of use. Most skin repellents are safe to use for children over the age of 3 months or older. Some formulations are only suitable for children over 12 months.
  • Use insecticide sprays, vapour dispensing units (indoors) and mosquito coils (outdoors) to clear rooms or repel mosquitoes from an area.
  • Cover all windows, doors, vents and other entrances with insect screens.
  • Remove and prevent mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as emptying containers that hold water.
“Preventing infection with these viruses depends on avoiding mosquito bites, especially as the mosquitoes have become active after recent rain, warm days and high tides,” Mr Williamson said.
Fact sheets are available from the NSW Health website: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/mosquito.aspx
Weekly reports are available during the arbovirus season from the New South Wales Arbovirus Surveillance and Mosquito Monitoring Program: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/pests/vector/Pages/nswasp-weekly-report-2019-20.aspx

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Covid-19 testing in the Clarence Valley in February to April 2020


As of 20 April 2020 there were 56 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Northern Rivers region.

Eight of these cases were found in the Clarence Valley.


Image: Clarence Valley Council

By 20 April 2020 records show testing had been undertaken in a number of Clarence Valley post codes:
  • 21 COVID-19 tests had been conducted in postcode 2453, which covers Dundurrabin, Tyringham, Clouds Creek, Wild Cattle Creek and 16 other locations.
  • 13 COVID-19 tests had been conducted in postcode 2469, which covers Woombah, Tabulam, Ewingar, Moraro, Paddy's Flat and over 40 other locations.
  • 13 COVID-19 tests had been conducted in postcode 2466, which covers Woody Head, Iluka and The Fresh Water.
  • COVID-19 tests had been conducted in postcode 2465, which covers Harwood Island.
  • 109 COVID-19 tests had been conducted in postcode 2464, which covers Yamba, Woolowyah, Angourie, Freebirn Island, Micalo Island and Yuragir.
  • 110 COVID-19 tests had been conducted in postcode 2463, which covers Maclean, Townsend, Gulmarrad, James Creek, Brooms Head, Palmers Island, Ashby, Tullymorgan and 10 other locations.
  • 22 COVID-19 tests had been conducted in postcode 2462, which covers Wooli, Minnie Waters, Ulmarra, Tucabia, Coldstream and 7 other locations.
  • COVID-19 tests had been conducted in postcode 2461, which covers part of South Grafton.
  • 340 COVID-19 tests had been conducted in postcode 2460, which covers Grafton, Nymboida, Coutts Crossing, Copmanhurst, Jackadgery, Baryugil, Lawrence, and over 30 other locations.
The Clarence Valley had a resident population of 51,662 people in 2019 and testing up to 20 April 2020 does not appear to have exceeded est. 1.2% of this population.

NSW Department of Health guidelines are that testing only occurs when a person presents with upper respiratory symptoms, such as a fever, sore throat, dry cough, breathlessness. Therefore any asymptomatic virus carriers slip through the net.

Despite the limitations of the 'flattening the curve' public health response to COVID-19, there has been no new cases in the NSW Northern Rivers region for the last 6 days and none in the Clarence Valley for the last 21 days.

I'm not exhaling yet, but this is a hopeful sign.


Friday, 10 April 2020

Homelessness an issue in NSW Northern Rivers region during COVID-19 pandemic


The Northern Star, 9 April 2020, p.7:

If you’re sleeping rough and you’re exposed to COVID-19, it’s not simple to self-isolate. 

But it’s expected support services will be put in place for people in that situation across the region. 

Northern NSW Local Health District chief executive Wayne Jones has explained health authorities would liaise with service providers and local councils to make sure help was available for rough sleepers.

He said those experiencing homelessness would be given accommodation support if they need to self-isolate. 

Byron Shire Council’s director of corporate and community services, Vanessa Adams, said she was keen for the council and local agencies to talk with the health district so they could make sure help reaches those most in need.

At the last street count in August 2019, the shire had 171 rough sleepers. Ms Adams said this was “a disproportionately high number of people” for Byron’s population, compared with Sydney’s 330 people living on the streets.

“People who are sleeping rough often have underlying health issues that’ll increase their vulnerability to something like a pandemic,” Ms Adams said.

She said it was “absolutely vital” to help them at a time like this. “It’s not just the accommodation, it’s the services that go with that,” she said.....

Monday, 23 March 2020

Northern Rivers independent schools and tertiary institutions are considering their options during this global pandemic


The Northern Star, 19 March 2020: 

Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner School will be the first school on the Northern Rivers to effectively close due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Parents of 370 children the school have been advised to keep the kids at home from Wednesday if possible. School is open, but most kids have stayed home. 

“We have a very small number of students here at school,” Principal Nerida Johnson said. 

“It’s been quiet all week, we had 34 per cent of students absent yesterday.” 

Vulnerable staff and students were advised to stay home early in the week and her directive, issued to all students on Wednesday morning, has been met with relief. .....

“Essentially, we are making decisions looking at all the reports and making sure we’re doing our bit to keep the community safe,” Ms Johnson said.

“Parents have been overwhelmingly supportive; I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many messages of support. 

“Parents were feeling frustrated at the mixed messaging, we are being told to self-isolate and at the same time to send our children to school. 

“We cannot possibly do physically distancing with the younger classes; we cannot keep classrooms of children 1.5m away from each other.

The Northern Star, 19 March 2020: 

Southern Cross University will deliver all its study programs online from Monday, March 23, but its campuses will remain open. 

This includes Lismore, Coffs Harbour and Gold Coast regional campuses, as well as metropolitan campuses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. 

Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker announced the move as a response to the continuing impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

“We have made this move in the best interests of our students and our teaching staff,” the Vice Chancellor said. 

“While every degree that we offer will now be available online, all of our campuses remain open.” 

All teaching will convert to the online mode by Monday. “Unless otherwise advised, classes will be delivered online at the same time that face-to-face classes would have occurred. 

Students’ timetables will not change, but how they engage with classes will,” Professor Shoemaker said.

“Some activity which cannot be undertaken online — such as clinical placements in Health and Teaching practicums — will continue unless otherwise advised.

Sunday, 15 March 2020

COVID-19 virus spread in NSW is gaining pace in March 2020


This post is no longer updating.
11 Affected NSW Local Heath Districts, 14 March 2020

In the space of fourteen days the COVID-19 virus went from 6 cases in New South Wales to 91 cases.

To date 44.4% of all Australian confirmed COVID-19 cases are in this state.

NSW UPDATES:

48.7% as of 15 March 2020
45.2% as of 16 March 2020
46.6% as of 17 March 2020
47% as of 18 March 2020
45% as of 19 March 2020
41.7% as of 20 March 2020
40.6% as of 21 March 2020
39.36% as of 22 March 2020
41% as of 23 March 2020
44.6% as of 24 March 2020
42.4% as of 25 March 2020
43.5% as of 26 March 2020

Cumulative COVID-19 confirmed infection numbers since the outbreak began in New South Wales*
  • 15 January 2020 - 1 case
  • 25 January 2020 - 3 cases
  • 31 January to 28 February 2020 - 4 cases
  • 29 February 2020 - 6 cases
  • 2 March 2020 - 9 cases
  • 3 March 2020 - 15 cases
  • 4 March 2020 - 22 cases
  • 5 March 2020 - 25 cases
  • 6 March 2020 - 28 cases
  • 7 March 2020 - 36 cases
  • 8 March 2020 - 40 cases
  • 9 March 2020 - 47 cases
  • 10 March 2020- 54 cases
  • 11 March 2020 - 64 cases
  • 12 March 2020 - 77 cases
  • 13 March 2020 - 91 cases
  • 14 March 2029 -111 cases
NSW UPDATES:
  • 15 March 2020 - 133 cases
  • 16 March 2020 - 171 cases
  • 17 March 2020 - 210 cases
  • 18 March 2020 - 267 cases
  • 19 March 2020 - 307 cases
  • 20 March 2020 - 353 cases
  • 21 March 2020 - 436 cases
  • 22 March 2020 -533 cases
  • 23 March 2020 - 704 cases
  • 24 March 2020 - 818 cases
  • 25 March 2020 - 1,209 cases
  • 26 March 2020 - 1,219 cases
Conservative infectious disease models suggest that every person infected with COVID-19 has the potential to infect 4 other people.

On 1 February 2020 Australian Prime Minister & MP for Cook Scott Morrison announced a ban on direct travel from mainland China.

On 29 February 2020 Morrison imposed a ban on direct travel from Iran. However this was a case of closing the stable door after the horse had bolted.

On 5 March he announced a ban on travel from Korea and on 11 March from Italy. 

As of 14 March Morrison refuses to consider a ban on travel from the United States of America, even though more people who have entered Australia from the US have been diagnosed with the coronavirus than was the case with incoming flights from Iran.

By Saturday morning, 14 March 2020 there were 197 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia with 3 deaths and 27 fully recovered, according to an Australian Dept. of Health health alert on the same day. This left 167 confirmed active cases of COVID-19.

That figure changed later on Saturday, as New South Wales,  Western Australia and South Australia reported additional cases, bringing the national count to 223 confirmed cases with three deaths and 27 fully recovered.

AUSTRALIAN UPDATES: 
As of midnight 14 March 2020 the national count stood at 250 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
As of 8:82pm 15 March 2020 the national count of COVID-19 cases is 251.
As of 11am 15 March 2020 the national count is 273 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
As of 15 March 2020 the COVID-19 national death toll has reached 5 persons.
As of 16 March 2020 the national count is 378 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
As of 17 March 2020 the national count is 450 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
As of 18 March 2020 the national count is 568 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
As of 19 March 2020 the national count is 681 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
As of 20 March 2020 the national count is 846 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
As of 21 March 2020 the national count is 986 confirmed COVID-19 cases. As of midnight on 21 March the national count was 1,073 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 7 deaths.
As of 22 March 2020 the national count is 1,354 confirmed COVID-19 cases. 
As of 23 March 2020 the national count is 1,717 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
As of 24 March 2020 the national count is 1,831 confirmed COVID-19 cases. 
As of 25 March 2020 the national count is 2,423 confirmed COVID-19 cases. 
As of 26 March 2020 the national count is 2,799 confirmed COVID-19 cases - the number of deaths has now reached 13.

If Victorian Dept of Health published data is any indication then exposure to this particular coronavirus is likely to occur at Australian airports, aboard domestic/international commercial airline flights, on metropolitan trains, at sporting events, in parks/ovals, at supermarkets, university campuses, hotels, cinemas, markets and medical practices, as well as at high schools.

During this last week, despite federal or state governments refusing to outright ban large gatherings of over 500 people (and only offering recommendations for many types of gatherings) and the prime minister encouraging people to turn up at sporting events, actual event organisers and businesses began to make their own decisions to either cancel events or run them without audiences.

By Friday, after the general public discovered that at least one federal cabinet minister had tested positive for COVID-19, Scott Morrison altered his stance and advised all "non-essential, organised gatherings" of 500 people or more be cancelled from Monday to limit the spread of COVID-19

Mainstream media reported that Mr. Morrison refused to be tested for the virus and, extended this exemption to all of his ministers, stating none needed to be tested or needed to self-isolate.

It seems that there is one rule for the general population based on proven epidemiology protocols and one special rule for Scott Morrison and his political mates.

Luckily for the people of New South Wales someone in the Berejiklian Government had a different perspective on political privilege and, the Sydney offices used by Morrison and certain other cabinet ministers - along with various state /territory ministers and departmental staff - were promptly cleaned.

Note

* Official numbers are not updated on Saturday or Sunday. However, looking at the exponential growth to date, by Monday 16 March 2020, the state of New South Wales may have entered the point of no return if it has not completely banned all large gatherings. 
See: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/news/Pages/2020-nsw-health.aspx for latest NSW statistics. Please be aware that the original statistics show 1 interstate resident diagnosed in NSW, who by protocol is listed under state of residence, so has been deducted by me from the NSW total. 
It appears that an est. 16,593 people in NSW have been tested for the virus to date, with 14,665 returning a negative result.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

COVID-19 exposure reaches the NSW Northern Rivers region in March 2020


ABC North Coast, 11 March 2020:

It is possible that another two people are already infected because of being "directly or indirectly associated with attendance at a workshop". NSW Health does not state where the workshop was held. [NSW Health, alert, 10 March 2020].