csiro scientist in laboratory
A scientist in the CSIRO's high-containment facility. (Image: AAP/David Crosling)

Just as pubs started to reopen and life began to return to normal, this morning the world was slapped with two dire warnings to remind us of the bleakness of the pandemic. 

Even with a vaccine, COVID-19 could be here to stay, while the World Health Organisation (WHO) has stressed the globe is still very much in the middle of the first wave of the pandemic. 

A vaccine won’t save us

CSIRO director of health and biosecurity Dr Rob Grenfell has said the world may have to get used to living with COVID-19 as the virus adapts and mutates just like the flu, potentially requiring a new vaccine every year. 

This idea has been echoed by experts across Australia, with many warning social distancing is here to stay. 

WHO’s dire warning

We’re not at the tail end of the virus. We’re not in the second wave of the virus. We’re smack bang, right in the middle of the first wave of the virus, WHO’s executive director has warned

Some countries in southern Asia and South America still haven’t hit the peak of their coronavirus waves, with increases in cases week-on-week. On Monday, Brazil had more deaths in 24 hours than the US for the first time, making it the world’s second-worst coronavirus epicentre. The country has nearly 400,000 cases. 

Similarly, the number of cases in India continues to climb, with over 150,000 cases and more than 4000 deaths. 

Poor timing

Two students in two eastern Sydney schools tested positive for coronavirus just 15 minutes after NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell gave a press conference yesterday supporting the state’s decision to reopen schools. 

The schools were evacuated with many parents driving their kids directly to the nearby Bondi pop-up testing clinic.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said this morning it was a “very big coincidence“. 

On the other side of the country, six crew members on board a livestock carrier in Fremantle tested positive for COVID-19. The ship arrived from the United Arab Emirates late last week, with more cases among the remaining 42 crew members expected to emerge in the coming days. 

Mask makers, mask makers, make me a mask

Health Minister Greg Hunt has ordered a probe into a report that counterfeit masks were sold to hospitals and used by doctors and nurses.

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age reported yesterday that front line workers could be using counterfeit masks, which came onto the market after the Therapeutic Goods Administration loosened regulations on testing masks before they come onto the market.

Ordinarily, all face masks are required to be tested before they are registered, but the restrictions were eased due to the pandemic.