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'NSW could be where Melbourne was 4 weeks ago.' Why Australia's top doctors are concerned.

On Wednesday, Australia recorded 502 new cases of COVID-19 – the single largest daily number of cases in the country since the pandemic began.

In fact, almost 2,500 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Australia over the past week alone.

The bulk of those cases have come from Victoria, but there is a concerning rise in cases in NSW. 

On Thursday, NSW recorded 19 new cases of coronavirus, one of whom is a one-year-old child from the Hunter region. The majority of the cases are locally acquired, indicating a worrying trend similar to that experienced by Victoria a few weeks ago.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Image: Getty.

This drastic rise, which is representative of how quickly outbreaks of coronavirus can occur, is cause for concern for many of Australia's top infectious disease experts and doctors.

Here's what the doctors are saying about Australia's future.  

The fears of doctors.  

The warnings expressed by doctors for what the future of coronavirus may bring are bleak.  

Physician and former Australian Medical Association vice president Dr Stephen Parnis told A Current Affair on Wednesday he is worried "that NSW could be where Melbourne was four, five, six weeks ago". 

"There’s no room for complacency, and even the other states that have had wonderful records in recent weeks, it wouldn’t take much for those things to change," Dr Parnis said.

"This isn’t about panic, it’s about being ready, it’s about doing the drills that we’ve learnt, all of us, over the last few months."

It comes as epidemiologist expert Professor Tony Blakely said Victoria could possibly see their borders closed for two years if their coronavirus cases cannot be contained. 

"Let’s assume that Victoria doesn’t get rid of the virus... It essentially means Victoria is going to have to function in isolation from the rest of Australia until such time as we get a vaccine, assuming the other states don’t want the virus back in. If I was in the (other) states, I wouldn’t want the virus back in," he told ABC on Wednesday. 

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That sentiment was again echoed by Tony Bartone, the president of the Australian Medical Association, on Thursday morning. 

Bartone said Victoria may be on the brink of disaster, after experiencing an "astronomical explosion" in cases in Victoria's care homes.

"Our residents in aged care facilities are just a heartbeat away from calamity," he said on Channel Nine's Today Show. 

"We have seen this astronomical explosion in cases there. The PPE is not being worn. Infection control procedures are not being implemented in some.

"This is just absolutely unsustainable and we are just going to see the [case] numbers continue to rise."

Watch: What you're like during isolation, according to your star sign. Post continues below. 


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What can we do?

We do know that Australia has flattened the coronavirus curve, experiencing a period of restriction relaxation only a couple of months ago. In fact, on June 9 – just last month – Australia only recorded two coronavirus cases. 

Now, amid a return of outbreaks and clusters, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is asking everyone in the state to limit their social activity this weekend, and to maintain physical distancing. 

"Please, whether or not you live in a community which has had cases or not, we want everybody to think seriously about what they are doing over the weekend to make sure you avoid crowds, make sure you avoid putting yourself in a situation that will compromise your health or those of others," Berejiklian said on Wednesday. 

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"Think about the number of people you are having into your home. We know from the health advice, we know from what has happened elsewhere, the highest risk activities are those inside your on home or those inside a confined space such as a hospitality venue."

On top of this, people in NSW are now being asked to wear masks if they if they live or work in a hot spot area and where physical distancing is not possible, according to the Australian government's website. The latest advice concerning masks is that it can help protect yourself and people around you when you are in situations where physical distancing is not possible. It comes as masks have become mandatory in Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire as of this week. 

The advice is also to stay home if unwell, maintain physical distance from other people, avoid large gatherings and crowded indoor spaces, and practise hand and respiratory hygiene. 

Listen to The Quicky, Mamamia's daily news podcast. Post continues below. 

'Young people can get sick.' The latest on the Melbourne crisis.

On Thursday, five more Victorians died from coronavirus, as Victorian Premier Daniel Andews appealed to young people to take the threat seriously if they want to "be able to go and have a beer".

One man who died from coronavirus was aged in his 50s.

"One of the terrible tragedies today is a man in his 50s – this is not just something that affects people that are frail-aged," Premier Daniel Andrews said.

"That would be reason enough to do what we're doing but it would be wrong to assume that young people are somehow immune to this. Even otherwise fit and healthy young people can get sick and can die from this virus."

He said young people who have recovered from the virus have gone on to suffer persistent symptoms including shortness of breath.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said data from the start of July shows a quarter of the state's cases are people in their 20s.

About 20 per cent of patients in hospital were under 50 and include four children. The youngest is under nine.

"This is an issue that is striking many families across Victoria," she said.

Adding to the premier's concern is the fact that many people in Melbourne are not self-isolating upon the onset of coronavirus symptoms and getting tested. 

It was revealed on Wednesday that nearly nine in 10 people did not isolate between feeling sick and being tested. Plus, about 53 per cent of people then did not isolate between the test and receiving the result.

"If you want this to be over, if you want to get to the other side of it and find that COVID normal – and be able to go and have a beer, or go and have a meal with a friend and be able to move around the community much more freely than you can now – you've got to follow the rules," Premier Daniel Andrews said.

Feature Image: Getty.


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