(Image: AAP/Dan Peled)

Masks may save us all yet. NSW police handed out more than $1 million in fines over just five weeks. And men who accessed their superannuation early splurged on gambling, while women spent more on beauty care, along with family necessities. 

Masks may be the answer

Masks may be better at limiting the spread of COVID-19 than hand washing or social distancing, new research shows — but only marginally. 

A study on a US aircraft carrier found 55.8% of those who wore a mask got infected with COVID-19 compared to 80.8% who didn’t. Of those who practised social distancing, 54.7% were infected, while 70% who didn’t practise social distancing were infected.

The carrier had nearly 4900 crew members and was hit with a major coronavirus outbreak in May, with more than 1000 on board becoming infected. 

This isn’t the first study to support the use of masks: laser light-scattering experiments have found masks block airborne droplets, while other studies suggest if 80% of people wear a mask in public, then COVID-19 transmission could be halted.

In Australia, the routine use of masks by the public is not recommended due to low community transmission.

Super difference in super spending

An analysis has found men and women who accessed their superannuation early during COVID-19 spent it incredibly differently

Men spent an average of $290 more on gambling in the fortnight after receiving a super withdrawal than in the weeks prior. Women spent more than usual on personal care and beauty products, as well as clothes and food for families. 

Those who accessed their super spent 12% more than usual — though it hasn’t had a huge effect on discretionary spending, which remains at 2% below normal levels

A fine for you and a fine for you

In NSW, more than $1 million in fines has been handed out between March 26 and May 2 for breaking COVID-19 restrictions. 

Of the 1018 fines handed out at the height of COVID-19 restrictions, 6% were issued to children, worth $50,000. 

Some fines were handed out for spitting and coughing on workers, while others were for repeatedly flouting social distancing rules. Fines vary from $1000 for individuals to $5000 for corporations. 

A spokesperson for NSW Police confirmed to Crikey all fines had been personally reviewed by NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller, which he would continue to do. 

How’s Victoria doing? 

Two siblings at Pakenham Springs Primary School, in Melbourne’s far south-east, have tested positive for coronavirus. The school will undergo cleaning, with those who were at the school going into isolation while contact tracing occurs. 

It comes just a day after the Victorian government announced an easing of lockdown restrictions, with libraries, community halls, pubs and clubs allowed to have 50 seated patrons from June 21. 

Beijing noodle outbreak

After two months of nearly no new coronavirus cases, dozens of infections have been traced to a major wholesale food market in Beijing.

The market was shut down on Saturday, with anyone who visited the market ordered to go into a 14-day quarantine. Other Chinese cities have advised residents to avoid Beijing. 

Beijing had previously fared well with just 645 confirmed cases and nine deaths. China had more than 84,000 cases and over 4000 deaths. 

South Korea has also seen an uptick in infections, with more than 30 new cases in the greater Seoul area across the weekend. On Saturday, the Egyptian Health Ministry also reported its biggest daily increase of 1677 new cases. 

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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