news

'The curve could flatten in a couple of weeks.' 3 things to make you feel better about COVID-19 right now.

The news cycle is extremely overwhelming right now.

Last night, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced further restrictions have been placed on businesses, non-essential facilities and travel as part of Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The health and safety measures were announced as the number of national cases of COVID-19 passed 2,000, and an eighth person died.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison outlines new restrictions. Post continues below video.

Video via Channel Ten

And just this morning, it was reported that two children under the age of 10 had contracted the virus in NSW.

But while the bad news might feel never-ending, there are small glimmers of hope, if you look hard enough for them.

Here are three developments that might make you feel better about COVID-19, right now.

1. Nobel prize winner says curve will flatten in ‘couple of weeks.’

According to scientist Peter Doherty, who won the Nobel prize for medicine with his work on the immune system, we could see the curve flatten in just a ‘couple of weeks.’

The Melbourne-based immunologist told the Sydney Morning Herald: “I think the steps announced by the Prime Minister and the premiers will dampen this down. I would expect to see the curve flatten in the next couple of weeks, see it start to come down.”

Doherty, who wrote the 2013 book Pandemics: What Everyone Needs to Know, said that although the government was ‘stepping up to the plate’ the new restrictions would not produce an immediate slowdown in the number of reported cases.

“We may see an upward trajectory for another week – a lot of the people on Bondi may have been infected,” Doherty said.

But with a lag of a week or so, he insisted, the measures imposed this week would work.

2. Australia is getting access to crucial medical supplies.

Yesterday, Health Minister Greg Hunt said Australia was getting access to crucial medical supplies to help combat the coronavirus outbreak.

The Federal Government confirmed that an additional 63,000 test kits had arrived in the country to add to the 100,000 that arrived last week.

ADVERTISEMENT

He also reported that 1.5 million ‘point-of-care’ COVID-19 tests had been ordered. These new rapid tests would allow doctors to screen patients for the virus within 15 minutes at clinics and hospitals using a far less invasive pin-prick.

“They will allow us to assist with greater testing of health workers themselves, to give them the confidence, and where appropriate [to test] patients,” he said.

The Health Minister also announced that 54 million masks would be in the country by the end of April.

“In fact, 30 million of those will be in the country within the next two weeks, ahead of schedule, which I think is important,” he said.

Plans have also been developed to double Australia’s 2,000 intensive care unit ventilators and another 31 respiratory clinics will open in the next seven days.

3. Researchers are getting closer to finding a vaccine.

All over the world, researchers in laboratories are hoping to be the first to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.

Epidemiologist Dr Seth Berkley says researchers are working at lightning speed and there are now 44 ‘candidates’, with some already in the human clinical trial stage.

Speaking to Sunrise today, he said: “The challenge is now finding which ones work, how to scale those up, manufacture them for large numbers and make them available.”

“The normal time for vaccines is 10 -15 years, so this is not something that is going to occur in a couple of months.”

“However we did manage to find one for ebola in five years.”

Berkley said the work that had already been done had been done at ‘unprecedented speed’.

Feature image: Getty.

Read more on COVID-19

The Australian Government Department of Health advises that the only people who will be tested for COVID-19 are those with symptoms who have either returned from overseas in the past 14 days or been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in the past 14 days. 

If you are sick and believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your GP ahead of time to book an appointment. Or call the national Coronavirus Health Information Line for advice on 1800 020 080. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 000. 

To keep up to date with the latest information, please visit the Department of Health website.

The current situation around COVID-19 might be making you feel scared or uncertain. It’s okay to feel this way, but it’s also important to learn how to manage feelings of anxiety during this time. To download the free PDF: Anxiety & Coronavirus – How to Manage Feelings of Anxiety click here.

00:00 / ???