What’s the latest with COVID-19?

You may be feeling bombarded by information about COVID-19. But since our understanding is evolving so rapidly, it’s important to keep up with the latest. Knowing the latest information will help you stay safe and well during this pandemic.

Here’s where we stand as of 25 April 2020.

What is it and how does it spread?

COVID-19 is an infectious respiratory (breathing) illness. It is caused by a type of virus called a coronavirus. The full name is of this virus is Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

Viruses are tiny particles that can only multiply inside living cells. They cause many diseases including the common cold, influenza, and chickenpox.

Common symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • fever
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • tiredness
  • difficulty breathing

The latest information from the Department of Health tells us that this virus spreads by:

  • close contact with an infectious person
  • contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze
  • touching objects or surfaces (like doorknobs or tables) that have droplets from an infected person, and then touching your mouth or face

So remember, to help prevent the spread of the virus:

  • wash your hands frequently with soap and water, including before and after eating, and after going to the toilet
  • cover your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues, and wash your hands
  • avoid contact with others by staying 1.5 metres from people
  • stay at home as much as you can, especially if you feel unwell.

What’s the situation in Australia?

There have been over 6600 cases of COVID-19 detected in Australia. Of these, over 5000 have recovered. Of the people known to have the virus, around 8-10% need hospitalisation. Sadly, 75 people have died due to complications of COVID-19.

Each state and territory in Australia has its own rules about what you need to do to help keep each other safe from the virus. These measures have been working well and give Australians the prospect of having restrictions lifted sooner rather than later.

How close is a cure?

Finding a safe and effective medicine or vaccine that will help treat or control this disease will take time and thorough medical research.

And there is an enormous amount of research happening 24/7 across the globe. Medical scientists will find the best treatments and possibly a vaccine.

But, as yet, there is no ‘magic bullet’ treatment that is safe and effective.

Do be wary of news reports claiming breakthroughs in treatment. These, often sensationalised, reports may be based on limited evidence. Get the most reliable, up-to-date and trustworthy information from:

  • online at www.health.gov.au
  • by calling the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080

Finally, it can be tempting to want to avoid dealing with other health issues at present. But acting sooner, rather than later, can help keep you safe and well during this pandemic.

If you are worried about your health for any reason, speak with your doctor.