Coronavirus claims another life in Australia, bringing the total number of deaths to 52
- Victorian person has died of coronavirus, bringing state death toll to 13
- The person’s age and gender have not been released
- Queensland reported 13 new cases of coronavirus on Friday morning
- Comes amid fears Australia could be trapped in coronavirus lockdown until 2021
A Victorian has died of the coronavirus, bringing the state total to 13 and the national toll to 52.
The person’s age and gender have not been released.
Queensland has reported 13 new cases of the disease, taking the national number to 6,121.
Other states are yet to release their daily numbers as of 10.30am.
The news comes amid fears Australia could be trapped in coronavirus lockdown until the start of 2021.
Stranded Australian travellers arrive at Melbourne International Airport after flying from Peru
Experts say the tough social distancing measures will mean not enough people are immune to the deadly bug.
The Federal Government took swift action to stop the spread of COVID-19 – which has killed nearly 90,000 people worldwide – and infection rates across Australia are relatively low, with 6,109 cases and 51 deaths to date.
But this could prove to be a double-edged sword, with any relaxation of lockdown restrictions potentially creating a huge spike in cases, scientists predicted.
Overseas, in countries such as America – where nearly half-a-million people have been infected – lockdowns could end within just a few months, or even weeks.
This is because huge swathes of the population will have been struck down with the virus and either died or recovered, making them immune.
Australia has significantly fewer confirmed cases of COVID-19 than other countries
Restrictions that have seen the closure of parks, beaches, public BBQs (pictured on April 7 in Mollymook) and restaurants could go on for months to come
HOW DOES IMMUNITY TO COVID-19 WORK?
Scientists haven’t yet worked out how immunity for the new strain of coronavirus works.
But if similar to other coronaviruses, once a person is recovered they could be immune for anywhere between 18 months and two years.
This means a recovered patient can go back outside.
But if someone has health issues or is elderly, they are still vulnerable until a vaccine is produced.
But in Australia, not enough people will have been exposed to COVID-19 – meaning it could still prove fatal for the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions.
The situation has the potential to create a dangerous new social stratification in Australia, with healthy people allowed outside and the elderly trapped in their homes until a vaccine is produced.
Paul Komesaroff, Professor of Medicine at Monash University, told Daily Mail Australia the Federal Government’s ‘responsible’ approach to the pandemic may be a mixed blessing.
‘In the UK and the United States – because of the irresponsibility of the political leaders – they missed the opportunity to impose restrictions early and huge numbers of people are getting the disease,’ he explained.
‘But it does mean that the peak is very, very sharp, and it may well be that the timeline for them is shorter than it will be for us. Ironically.’
A world-leading specialist on epidemic response, Professor Komesaroff said the strategy means Australia will likely avoid the ‘terrible suffering’ seen overseas, and be able to provide proper treatment to all patients hospital.
Australia’s daily infection rate has dropped significantly, but the aim of flattening the curve is not to stop people getting COVID-19 – but to ensure it is contracted gradually, experts said