aged care
(Image: AAP/David Crosling)

Conspiracy theories kill

COVID-19 misinformation is rife, new research shows, with indications that one false rumour — that drinking highly concentrated alcohol can disinfect the body and kill the virus — leading to around 800 deaths and almost 6000 hospitalisations. 

The World Health Organisation has warned the “infodemic,” an overabundance of information, has made it harder for people to find trustworthy sources.

In one example, a Florida sheriff has banned employees and office visitors from wearing a mask, arguing that “just as many” health professionals say the public shouldn’t wear masks as those who say they should.

In truth, masks have been found to reduce the risk of transmission from 17% to 3%

In the last 24 hours, Florida has reported at least 276 new coronavirus deaths and 5831 new cases.

Search for Sydney school’s patient zero

Contact tracers are racing to find patient zero of Sydney’s Tangara school cluster after students attended a study-and-prayer retreat. The cluster has grown to 19. 

Yesterday, NSW recorded 18 new cases — two of which are under investigation. 

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned harsher restrictions will be implemented if businesses continue to flout COVID-19 safe rules and the amount of people wearing masks doesn’t increase. 

A pub in Rozelle, in Sydney’s inner-west, has been fined $10,000 for a litany of COVID-19 safety breaches, with no up-to-date COVID-19 safety plan, no sign-in mechanism for patrons, no physical distancing and patrons not sitting down. 

A glimmer of hope for Victoria

Victoria’s number of active COVID-19 cases has decreased for the first time in two months. This morning, the state recorded 278 new cases and eight deaths — meaning Victoria may be past the peak of the second wave thanks to strict lockdown measures.

Despite the silver living, controversies keep arising from Victoria’s bungled hotel quarantine, with emails showing 100 defence force ­personnel were at the ready to assist Victoria a week before the mandatory hotel program was announced by the national cabinet.

Aged care is also back under the microscope with hospitals in Melbourne turning away aged care residents. Some residents are being sedated instead of hospitalised. Operators have also said they’re still waiting for key parts of $812.8 million promised in federal funding.

Border closures to cost

Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has told states and territories not to expect federal funding for their tourism industries if their borders stay shut for longer than necessary, warning restrictions shouldn’t remain in place “for one more day than they need to”.

The NT announced this week their borders would stay shut for a minimum of 18 months, while WA’s border closures will stay in place until community transmission in other states is eliminated.

NSW residents returning from Victoria will also soon have to pay for their own hotel quarantine.

New Zealand’s cold patient zero

The first COVID-19 case outside of hotel quarantine in more than three months in New Zealand may have arrived in refrigerated freight. It would be the first confirmed case of COVID-19 transmitted through food or food packaging

The shock cases, found in an Auckland family, baffled authorities. The city has gone back into lockdown.

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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