Are fewer Australians than usual dying during the coronavirus pandemic?
The Australian Bureau of Statistics will examine the impact of Covid-19 and social distancing measures on the overall death rate, amid suggestions fewer people than normal may have died during the lockdown period.
While Australia has seen 97 deaths related to Covid-19, doctors and nurses are reporting that emergency departments have been quieter overall, with people spending longer indoors, causing reductions in sport and work-related injuries.
Royal Melbourne hospital confirmed its emergency department was seeing about 80% of the presentations it would usually, but this fell to 60% earlier in the pandemic. Mental health and drug and alcohol presentations are back up close to normal.
Mexico’s auto industry prepares to ease lockdown measures
Hong Kong authorities are preparing to give every resident a specially-designed reusable mask.
Called the CuMask+, it contains several layers of materials and small quantities of copper “capable of immobilising bacteria, common viruses and other harmful substances”, the government website says.
The mask serves as “an effective barrier to droplets” and will last for 60 washes before needing a replacement filter.
People with Hong Kong ID cards can register online to receive them within two weeks.
The news has been received wryly by some Hong Kongers, coming as it does when the city’s virus figures are at such low levels that social distancing measures are being relaxed.
Hong Kong suffered major shortages in face masks as far back as February, with reports of thousands of people queuing overnight for shops to restock. In mid February private firms were handing out free masks to residents in need, as anger towards the government grew. Chief executive Carrie Lam said her government had sought help from China’s Central Government, RTHK reported at the time.
The government-issued masks also come six months after the government passed a law banning masks (in response to mass protests), and which it has continued to defend in court.
New Zealand reports one new case, after two days in a row with no cases
After two consecutive days of zero new corona cases reported, on Wednesday New Zealand reported one new case of the virus, and one new death, a woman in her 60s with underlying health conditions from the Rosewood rest home in Christchurch. 88% of people infected with the virus have now recovered.
Director-general of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said New Zealand wasn’t out of the woods yet and needed to stay the course. “We need everyone to stick to the plan and follow the rules.. not doing so risks undoing all of the good work we’ve done so far. Do not give it an inch” Dr Ashley Bloomfield said.
Australia’s magazine industry is in crisis with more than 200 staff losing their jobs and seven fashion, lifestyle and celebrity magazines dropping out of circulation in less than a week.
On Monday, days after acquiring Seven West Media’s magazine publishing arm Pacific Magazines for $40m, Bauer Media laid off 60 of the 160 staff it inherited and stood down a further 15 without pay or access to jobkeeper.
Staff were told via Zoom that several of the magazines, believed to be InStyle, Men’s Health and Women’s Health, would cease printing until further notice. The company has refused to comment on which titles it is suspending or to confirm the numbers of people affected.
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Youth employment in Britain could reach 1 million over coming year
Youth unemployment in Britain will reach the 1 million mark over the coming year unless the government provides job guarantees or incentives for school leavers and graduates to stay on in education, a thinktank warns.
The Resolution Foundation (RF) said that in the absence of action an extra 600,000 people under the age of 25 would swell dole queues, with a risk of long-term damage to their career and pay prospects.
The thinktank’s report said the “corona class of 2020” – the 800,000 school leavers and graduates due shortly to join the labour market – was the most exposed age group to the likely unemployment surge caused by the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that 408,000 people in the 18-24 age group were unemployed.
Trump heads to Arizona mask plant to make case for reopening US
Donald Trump used his first cross-country trip since the pandemic began to visit an Arizona plant manufacturing medical masks, seeking to demonstrate America’s readiness to reopen the economy even as public health experts warned it was too soon.
His visit to the battleground state on Tuesday came as the White House signalled a desire to wind down the coronavirus taskforce in the coming weeks despite a continued threat from the virus.
“I’m not saying anything is perfect,” Trump told reporters in Arizona. “Will some people be affected? Yes. Will some people be affected badly? Yes. But we have to get our country open and we have to get it open soon.”
The visit is meant to underscore the administration’s efforts to nudge a cautious nation, still grappling with economic and public health disasters inflicted by the virus, to return to a more normal way of life. Trump has cheered moves by some governors to reopen their economies, despite a failure to meet guidelines for lifting safety restrictions issued by the White House and concern from public health officials that states are acting too quickly.