jenny mikakos
Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos (Image: AAP/Daniel Pockett)

Victoria’s missteps (and growing coronavirus case numbers) get the other states offside. The statistics in the US get worse and worse (and worse). And the inevitable mutation has arrived.

The pariah state

Victoria has its share of woes these days — after a series of huge errors, a suburb-based lockdown has been imposed, which has almost immediately been tipped to be expanded.

This morning authorities confirmed another 66 new cases since yesterday, as Health Minister Jenny Mikakas confirmed 10,000 people had refused to be tested, including some people who would not be tested because they believe the virus is a conspiracy.

But people taking the virus interstate from Victoria isn’t helping the state make friends around the country.

A Sydney man who spent two weeks in Victoria’s hotel quarantine — where he was diagnosed with COVID-19 but deemed not to be infectious — was allowed to return to Sydney. He then then returned to work at a Balmain Woolworths, where 50 staff have now been told to self-isolate.

Another man who had been in hotel quarantine before visiting Melbourne hotspot areas returned to Darwin, where he has now also tested positive.

Other state governments are attempting to use tough talk against the Victorians for their own political gain.

According to Seven News, South Australian police have fined two Victorians for sneaking across the border.

And after a week of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian saying Victorians are not welcome in New South Wales, and Queensland Labor’s comically parochial and undeniably gross “flooded with Victorians” flyer, the WA government is splitting the difference.

Premier Michael McGowan is using his hard border in his bid for reelection in next year’s state election, citing its success in a flyer dropped in marginal seat letterboxes this week.

Given WA’s history of being far keener on secession than say, daylight savings, it’s probably a solid approach.

ACT now

There is good news for Canberrans, though. A research program testing for coronavirus in Canberra’s sewerage system has found no traces of COVID-19.

The findings are being taken as potential evidence that there have been no instances of community transmission in the ACT that have gone undetected.

This is not over

Any smugness at Victoria’s expense ought to be tempered by a look around the globe.

The United States reported at least 55,220 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, surpassing the record it set the day before.

The daily number of new coronavirus cases passed 50,000 for the first time on Wednesday, with at least five states — Arizona, California, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas — reporting their highest-ever totals of new cases Wednesday.

Elsewhere, Japan has experienced another spike in Tokyo, linked largely to 20- and 30-somethings in the city’s nightlife districts. New infections rose to 107 on Thursday.

The virus mutates

In a real “terrifying news/slightly less terrifying news” situation, CNN reports that a global study has found evidence that a new mutation of coronavirus has spread from Europe to the US.

And while the new form apparently makes the virus even more infectious, it does not appear to make people any sicker. Watch this space. Or don’t, it’s your weekend.

Peter Fray

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