(Image: AAP/James Gourley)

Victoria has recorded another record number of cases overnight. NSW brings back social distancing restrictions. Russian hackers have been accused of trying to steal vaccine and treatment research. And new research on just how long COVID-19 symptoms can last.

No taste or smell and a huge headache 

Headaches are the most common symptom in coronavirus patients, new research shows, with the loss of taste or smell more common than a cough. 

The Imperial College London study tested more than 120,000 people in a month across England. It also found of those who tested positive for COVID-19, just three in 10 showed symptoms.

Meanwhile, around 80% of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in Sydney are still experiencing symptoms more than three months after being discharged. The most common symptom is fatigue, along with chest discomfort, shortness of breath and loss of smell.  

Stealing secrets and scams

Russia has been accused of trying to steal virus vaccine secrets from medical companies in the US, UK and Canada.

The three countries issued a joint statement saying hackers had been using malware and sending fraudulent emails to trick people into handing over their security credentials. The Kremlin has denied Russian involvement. 

A man has been arrested in Bangladesh for allegedly issuing thousands of fake-negative coronavirus test results, raking in over half a million dollars from the scam. Medical facilities owned by Mohammad Shahed conducted 4000 legitimate tests but over 6500 fake ones, issuing false-negative results. 

The US mess

Previously public coronavirus data has already disappeared from the Center for Disease and Control (CDC) website, with states ordered to send data straight to the Trump administration instead of the CDC. The CDC previously provided data on the availability of hospital beds and intensive care units across the country.

US President Donald Trump has also been accused of breaking the law after not wearing a mask at an international airport in Atlanta. Trump’s entourage never left the airport and said they were following guidelines from the CDC. 

And as the US’s largest retailers require masks to be worn in their stores across the country, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has signed an executive order explicitly banning cities from creating mask mandates, and voiding those already in place.

He signed the order the same day the state recorded its second-highest number of coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, with nearly 4000 cases. 

Australian numbers just keep rising

Overnight, Victoria had its second day in a row of record new cases since the pandemic began, confirming 428 cases in the past 24 hours. There were three more deaths, taking the state’s death toll to 32 and the national death toll to 116. Yesterday, it recorded 317 new cases in the previous 24 hours.

Meanwhile, a total of 388 healthcare workers have been infected, with dozens in isolation as the state faces a shortage of critical health workers. 

In NSW, the Crossroads Hotel cluster has grown to 42, with eight new cases recorded yesterday. Two of the new cases are linked to the Crossroads Hotel cluster.

Restrictions on pubs, which include a 10-person limit on table bookings, will be extended to clubs, restaurants, and cafes. Weddings and corporate events will be limited to 150 people — everyone must be seated and there’s a ban on dancing. Funerals and places of worship will be limited to 100 people.

NSW Police had previously been told to target teens flouting social distancing rules when handing out fines during the state’s lockdown, a Freedom of Information request by The Sydney Morning Herald revealed. Police were also told the same response shouldn’t be applied to those sitting “quietly” as to “rowdy young adults causing a disturbance”.

Australia’s unemployment has reached a 22-year high of 7.4% with 992,000 people officially unemployed. This figure excludes those who didn’t work at all but were employed through the JobKeeper program. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the “real” jobless rate was likely to be about 13.3%.

South Australia has recorded its first case of COVID-19 in months from a Victorian traveller, who is in quarantine and is not contagious. 

Brain drain

The Group of Eight universities have warned Australia could face a “brain drain” as researchers lose their jobs thanks to the loss of full-fee paying overseas students. Around 6700 jobs will be lost due to the $2 billion shortfall. 

Peter Fray

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