Navigating COVID 19 Impact: An Initial Assessment of the Pandemic's effect on Australian healthcare
White Paper
Apr 24, 2020

Introduction

As of 8th April 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported over 1,317,130 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 spreading from Wuhan, China to more than 200 countries and causing 74,306 deaths worldwide. The number of confirmed cases in recent outbreaks in the USA (363,321 cases), Italy (132,547) and Spain (135,032) have eclipsed the number of reported cases in China (83,157). Additional major outbreaks have occurred, initially in South Korea (10,384 cases) and Iran (62,589 cases), followed by many countries throughout Europe (Germany: 99,225; France: 73,488; UK: 51,612). Importantly, these figures reflect laboratory-confirmed cases, and the extent of testing has varied significantly between countries.

COVID-19 in Australia

In Australia, a total of 5,956 cases have been detected from 313,000 tests as of 8th April 2020, resulting in 45 deaths. Nationally, most detected cases have been acquired overseas (56% of cases in Victoria, 60% in New South Wales and 78% in Queensland). Transmission to close contacts accounts for the majority of remaining cases, however locally-acquired cases with no identified contacts have occurred in all states, except Tasmania.

New South Wales (NSW) has the largest number of cases with no identified contacts (410; 15% of NSW cases). The greatest number of cases have occurred in NSW, however the rate of increase in Victoria (VIC) and Queensland (QLD) throughout most of March mirrored that of NSW, with the case burden in VIC and QLD 3-4 days behind the case numbers of NSW. However, in April the rate of new cases reported in all states and territories appears to have declined.

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