Australia Flattening the Covid-19 Curve?
It appears Australia’s aggressive steps to stop the spread of Covid-19 is starting to work.
It’s still early days, however the data is starting to look good in terms of slowing the spread of the Coronavirus.
The latest data suggests the growth rate in Covid-19 cases in Australia is much lower than previous days.
As of April 2 at 11pm Sydney time, there were 5,136 cases of Covid-19, up 272. There were 24 deaths from the virus across Australia. 83 people are in intensive care.
Thats a daily growth rate of 5.6%, that was lower again from the previous day number of 303 (6.6%).
In New South Wales there are 2,298 in total, 43 in intensive care. 20 are requiring ventilators to survive.
However, testing across the wider-community has so far been limited. Many of the cases caught by health authorities has been people who are arriving from overseas, with community transmission not being fully picked up.
Many Australian states are beginning to test more widely. However, testing is still limited to those with very clear symptoms such as high fever and resperatory complaints.
We do know that many people with Covid-19 still have mild symptoms and those peoeple are still unlikley to be recorded.
Australia is also the highest testing nation in the world, according to data we see. With 10,480 people tested per million Australians.
However, we do see some unexplained cases in the community.
New South Wales leads the way with 307 cases with unknown origin.
Many more cases are healthcare workers, with several hundred in New South Wales and Victoria catching the virus in hospitals.
What do the experts say?
Proffessor Peter Collignon, an infectious diseases expert at Australian National University, told the Guardian that were “some grounds for optimism” in the apparent plateauing in the number of cases being reported.
“If what you had was uncontrolled spread, then those numbers would be going up and up,” he said. “I will feel more confident in a week’s time, but there is a suggestion it’s trending downwards.”
Collignon said Australia’s number of reported cases was skewed by arrivals from overseas, which were now being severely restricted.
“What we have to keep an eye on is the transmission with no contact,” he said. “Even though they are small numbers [at the moment] if they go up and up, then that’s a worry. That is transmission that is not controlled and that’s the part of the curve I would be most concerned about.”
“We’re looking at around 10 days from bringing in stricter social distancing measures until we see a change in reported case numbers, and another 11 days, call it three weeks in total after social distancing changes, until we see a change in intensive care unit admission rates,” epidemiologist Professor Tony Blakely said.
“Think of our current measures against COVID-19 like being at the back of an oil tanker and steering it with the rudder of your two-person dinghy,” Prof Blakely said.
“It takes patience for the bow of the oil tanker, in our case, the daily numbers of COVID-19 infections, to slowly turn.”
More updates at Sydney News
Ryan is Contributing Editor