As COVID-19 continues to wreak devastation around the world, Chief Scientist for the World Health Organisation (WHO) Dr Soumya Swaminathan discusses global epidemiological scenarios, challenges and policy priorities. She is joined in this panel discussion by Professor Sharon Lewin, Director of the Peter Doherty Institute; Professor Raina Maclntyre, NHMRC Principal Research Fellow and Professor of Global Biosecurity, Kirby Institute, UNSW; and Dr Stephen King, Commissioner with the Productivity Commission and Adjunct Professor, Monash University. WATCH VIDEO
Victoria’s COVID-19 spike and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recent admission that coronavirus may spread via aerosols in certain settings has generated renewed interest in the use of masks in Australia.
Leading epidemiologists, such as UNSW global biosecurity expert Professor Raina Macintyre and WHO advisor Professor Mary-Louise McLaws, have advocated for more widespread use of masks, as has the Australian Medical Association.
“Countries which controlled the disease well in the early part of the year will remain at risk of outbreaks and even sustained community transmission, until we have a vaccine,” said Raina MacIntyre, professor of global biosecurity at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.
“Whether or not the virus has mutated is speculation at this stage, but there is some evidence the dominant strain in the world is more transmissible than the initial strain in Wuhan,” she said.READ MORE
Coronavirus case numbers have been building and yesterday in Victoria the highest daily number so far was recorded - 317 cases.
In New South Wales there are now 40 cases linked to the Crossroads Hotel outbreak in South Western Sydney, and another three cases from a different source which is yet to be identified.
So as the outbreak worsens, what role can masks play in preventing the spread of COVID-19 now and in the coming months?
Professor Raina MacIntyre, Head of the Biosecurity Research Program at the Kirby Institute, UNSW Medicine
Beth Crothers, Masks for Aussies co-ordinator
Read the article written by Anita Heywood, UNSW associate professor and Raina MacIntyre, Kirby Institute (UNSW) head of Biosecurity Program.
Listen to the discussion on the big strategic challenges Australia and the world are facing, as we endure the Covid-19 pandemic, a probable worldwide depression and changes to the global order.
Raina MacIntyre, a professor of global biosecurity at the University of New South Wales, agreed that the large pubs in Sydney were a concern.
“Any indoor environment where a lot of people gather in close proximity, where you may not have good ventilation, is a potential risk for outbreak – as we’ve seen with The Crossroads Hotel and several outbreaks linked to entertainment venues,” Professor MacIntyre told The New Daily. But she added it wasn’t just super pubs that posed a risk. READ MORE
Doctors concerned about the risk to hospital staff of the coronavirus are calling on the NSW and Victorian governments to commit to a target of zero healthcare worker deaths from COVID-19, as the number of infected workers continues to climb. READ MORE