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What you need to know about COVID-19 today, Saturday April 4.

Australia’s death toll rises to 30.

The Australian death toll of COVID-19 rose to 30 people on Saturday afternoon, after both the ACT and Victoria reported new deaths overnight.

The ACT recorded its second coronavirus death on Saturday, after a man in his 80s, with pre-existing health issues, died at the Canberra hospital.

ACT Chief Health Officer, Kerryn Coleman said the very sad reality of this disease is that the elderly and the vulnerable are at a greatly increased risk of complications.

Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos also confirmed a death on Saturday, revealing a woman in her 70s had died in hospital.

It comes amid confirmation community transmission cases in Victoria have also increased, reaching 73 cases, up from 11 on Friday.

A community transmission happens when someone tests positive to the illness if they haven’t been overseas or have a connection to another positive case.

Australia is two weeks away from COVID-19 peak, experts say.

Australia could reach the peak of our coronavirus outbreak by mid-April, new research from the University of Sydney’s Centre for Complex Systems has found.

The data indicated that if Australians continue to comply with the social distancing rules implemented by the government, the nation can expect a total of 8,000 to 10,000 cases for the duration of the pandemic.

Further to this, if 90 percent of the Australian population adopted social distancing, the spread of COVID-19 in Australia could be controlled by July 2020.

“Australia is very close to the incidence peak, and in two weeks’ time may be approaching the prevalence peak,” lead researcher Professor Mikhail Prokopenko said.

“What this means is that the number of new daily cases will begin to steadily reduce from now on. The number of all ‘active’ cases may keep rising until mid-April, and then start to slowly decline,” he explained.

“However, we mustn’t be complacent – the best outcome is a short-term pain, long-term gain scenario. Even a three-day delay in adopting strong social distancing measures would cost us a three-week lengthening of the suppression period, meaning we would have to comply with social distancing for longer,” Professor Prokopenko adds.

Ruby Princess emails leaked, show NSW Health knew of COVID-19 risk.

The emails exchanged between NSW Health and the Ruby Princess’ physician that led to their decision to allow passengers to disembark the cruise ship last month have been obtained by Nine News.

The emails confirmed there were two sick patients on board the vessel who were being treated for influenza-like symptoms, despite testing negative for influenza.

NSW Health responded saying it did not require an “on-board health assessment” and could disembark the next day, but asked for the 15 swabs taken from the two ill passengers to undergo COVID-19 testing.

NSW Health defended their decision in a statement on Friday, saying their risk assessment process “balanced the level of risk against the benefit of removing passengers from a cruise ship on which the virus [COVID-19] could be circulating.”

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“The Ruby Princess was assessed as low risk, based on the level of illness on board, the negative COVID-19 tests done on passengers while in New Zealand, and the positive influenza tests done on a large proportion of the passengers with influenza-like illness,” NSW Health said.

To date there have been 342 confirmed cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in NSW in passengers who are linked to the Ruby Princess cruise and seven of the passengers have died.

New York suffers deadliest single day.

The state of New York has recorded their deadliest 24 hours, with 562 COVID-19 deaths in a single day, bringing the statewide total to nearly 3000. The death toll is now about the same number of people killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The city has suffered more than a quarter of US COVID-19 deaths in the outbreak.

New York City has mere days to prepare for the worst of the novel coronavirus onslaught, the city’s mayor Bill de Blasio says.

De Blasio pleaded for federal government help to end a shortage of medical staff and ventilators.

“I think somehow in Washington, there’s an assumption (that) there’s weeks to prepare,” de Blasio said on Friday.

“There’s not weeks anymore. It is days now.”

Infections in the US account for nearly one quarter of the more than one million coronavirus cases worldwide.

Donald Trump refuses to wear a face mask.

when will coronavirus peak in australia
U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions in the press briefing room with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force April 3, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump announced that Americans in virus hot spots should wear a mask when out in public as the death rate caused by coronavirus has nearly doubled in three days in New York City while the nation continues to reel from the impacts of COVID-19. Image: Getty.

President Donald Trump says his administration is encouraging many Americans to wear face masks in public, though he stresses that the recommendation is optional and is conceding that he will not be complying with it.

The new guidelines, to be announced Friday, will encourage people to use more rudimentary covering like T-shirts, bandannas and non-medical masks. And President Donald Trump himself suggested scarves could be an good alternative to masks.

The new recommendations are set to be announced at a time when states are bracing for critical shortfalls like those that other parts of the world have experienced. They're scrambling to stockpile all manners of equipment.

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He said the recommendations would not be mandatory "because some people don't want to do that" and that "people can pretty much decide for themselves right now."

More young people severely ill with virus.

More younger people are falling severely ill with coronavirus, the World Health Organisation says, as the number of deaths passes 50,000 globally.

The international health body says individuals in their 30s, 40s and 50s are being admitted to intensive care with the disease and dying, despite having no underlying health issues.

However, experts said the majority of people who experience severe illness still tend to be older and with other health problems.

Side note... here's a graph showing the breakdown of age groups with COVID-19.

Executive director of WHO's emergencies program Mike Ryan said over the past six weeks in Italy, at least 10 to 15 per cent of people in intensive care units with the disease were under 50, he told a press conference in Geneva on Friday.

"It's not that anything has changed," Dr Ryan said.

"It's that we collectively have been living in a world where we have tried to convince ourselves that this disease is mild and more severe in older people.

WHO's COVID-19 technical lead Dr Maria Van Kerkhove said there were still many unknowns about why young people were dying.

Australia and worldwide cases update.

As of Saturday April 4, there are 5,454 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia - an increase of 230 cases from the previous day.

In NSW, there are 2,493 cases, Victoria has 1,085, Queensland has recorded 873, South Australia has 396, Western Australia has recorded 422, Tasmania has 73, there are 91 in the ACT and 21 in the Northern Territory.

Worldwide, confirmed COVID-19 cases has surpassed 1.03 million globally and nearly 54,500 people have died.

In England, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was remaining in isolation with mild symptoms, seven days after he was confirmed to be infected. Britain's health minister said the curve of deaths could peak on Easter Sunday.

Read more on COVID-19:

If you are sick and believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your GP ahead of time to book an appointment. Or call the national Coronavirus Health Information Line for advice on 1800 020 080. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

To keep up to date with the latest information, please visit the Department of Health website.

- With AAP. 

Feature Images: Getty. 


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