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Australia’s flu season looks set to be the lowest in YEARS

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australias flu season looks set to be the lowest in years

Medical experts feared a ‘perfect storm’ of the coronavirus pandemic and the horror flu season would wreak havoc across Australia as winter approached. 

But the country’s strict social distancing measures have seen the number of influenza cases drop to the lowest in the past decade.

The impressive figures have experts calling for measures used to control COVID-19 to be used in future to prevent horror flu season outbreaks.

Australia has seen a dramatic drop in influenza cases this year, with just 44 cases in NSW in May compared to an average of around 2,000 in the same period over the last five years

Australia has seen a dramatic drop in influenza cases this year, with just 44 cases in NSW in May compared to an average of around 2,000 in the same period over the last five years

Australia has seen a dramatic drop in influenza cases this year, with just 44 cases in NSW in May compared to an average of around 2,000 in the same period over the last five years

Medical experts believe the reduction in cases is due to the social distancing restrictions, which were introduced in March to slow the spread of COVID-19

Medical experts believe the reduction in cases is due to the social distancing restrictions, which were introduced in March to slow the spread of COVID-19

Medical experts believe the reduction in cases is due to the social distancing restrictions, which were introduced in March to slow the spread of COVID-19

Australia’s flu season, which peaks between June and August, was tipped to be one of the worst in years.

Medical experts were bracing for hospitals to be swamped with influenza and coronavirus cases. 

Hospitals were scrambling to ensure they had enough intensive care beds to cope with the increase. 

But as the peak of the flu season approaches, medical experts have been left stunned at the number of influenza cases.

The number of flu infections at the start of the year were higher than average, with 7,681 cases reported in February, according to the Department of Health statistics.

But those figures started to take a nosedive in March with cases dropping to 5,892.

The number of cases fell even further in April with just 307 influenza cases recorded –  a drastic drop compared with April 2019 which recorded 18,691 cases.

May figures took an even bigger plunge when compared with the previous year, with 218 cases reported in 2020, compared with 30,568 in 2019. 

The doctor's advice is for people to get the flu vaccination as soon as it's available in mid-April (stock image)

The doctor's advice is for people to get the flu vaccination as soon as it's available in mid-April (stock image)

 The doctor’s advice is for people to get the flu vaccination as soon as it’s available in mid-April (stock image)

The reduction in cases was likely a result of Australia’s social distancing measures, University of Sydney infectious diseases expert Robert Booy said. 

The bans on almost all social gatherings and unnecessary travel were introduced in in March to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Professor Booy said the decision to close Australia’s borders to travellers on March 20 also played a part in the reduction of influenza cases.

‘We’re not importing any flu and anything that stops close contact with others is going to make it harder for the influenza virus to transmit,’ he told New Scientist.

There was also a record number of flu shots this year as health officials feared an influenza outbreak could strain hospitals which are already overrun with patients.

A doctor made a terrifying prediction a 'perfect storm' of coronavirus and the winter flu could spell disaster for Australia in the coming months (stock)

A doctor made a terrifying prediction a 'perfect storm' of coronavirus and the winter flu could spell disaster for Australia in the coming months (stock)

A doctor made a terrifying prediction a ‘perfect storm’ of coronavirus and the winter flu could spell disaster for Australia in the coming months (stock)

Virologist Kirsty Short said the decision to keep children home from school during the pandemic had also lowered the infection rate. 

‘This is probably another reason why flu cases are down, since schoolchildren are known to be major spreaders of the influenza virus in normal years,’ she said.

CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 7,265

New South Wales: 3,112

Victoria: 1,687

Queensland: 1,062

Western Australia: 599

South Australia: 440

Tasmania: 228

Australian Capital Territory: 108

Northern Territory: 29

TOTAL CASES: 7,265

RECOVERED: 6,706

DEATHS: 102

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She said it would be interesting to see if some of the measures used to control COVID-19 would continue to be used to prevent horror flu seasons and potentially save more lives.

‘People are washing their hands more and instead of having the attitude that they can still go to work if they’re sick, they now know to stay home if they have respiratory symptoms.’

A spokeswoman for NSW Health told Daily Mail Australia influenza levels were much lower than previous years, with 44 notifications in May compared to an average of around 2,000 in the same period over the last five years. 

‘This represents a drop of 94 per cent. The low levels are likely due to social distancing measures, better hand hygiene and high levels of vaccination.

However, she still urged residents to get vaccinated if they had not yet done so. 

Free influenza vaccinations are available under the National Immunisation Program for people aged 65 and over, pregnant women, Aboriginal people and those with at-risk medical conditions. 

The free NSW-funded vaccine is also available to all children aged six months to under five years. 

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Tragedy of autistic boy Willian Wall found dead in bushland a day after he went missing in Victoria

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tragedy of autistic boy willian wall found dead in bushland a day after he went missing in victoria

For 32 excruciating hours there was hope that missing autistic teenager William Wall, 14, would be found alive – that he would walk out of the dense bushland outside Melbourne dazed and with a few scratches, but otherwise unscathed.

William was last seen going for a jog on Tuesday – his disappearance sparking a massive search, and the tearful appeals of his distraught family tugging at the nation’s heartstrings.   

But the sad reality is the search for William – hampered by Stage Four covid restrictions that stopped volunteers joining the hunt –  was never going to have a happy ending. 

 When police put out the news on Wednesday afternoon the autistic teenager had been found dead it was accompanied by an ominous statement. 

‘His death is not being treated as suspicious and police will prepare a report for the Coroner,’ it read. 

It can now be tragically confirmed that William’s death was from suicide. 

William Wall (Pictured), 14, was found dead at Yarra Junction, Melbourne on Wednesday, 32 hours after going missing on his daily jog on Tuesday

William Wall (Pictured), 14, was found dead at Yarra Junction, Melbourne on Wednesday, 32 hours after going missing on his daily jog on Tuesday

William Wall (Pictured), 14, was found dead at Yarra Junction, Melbourne on Wednesday, 32 hours after going missing on his daily jog on Tuesday

William's distraught father Shane (pictured) struggled to fight back tears as he thanked volunteers, police, the SES and family members who had been searching all night

William's distraught father Shane (pictured) struggled to fight back tears as he thanked volunteers, police, the SES and family members who had been searching all night

William’s distraught father Shane (pictured) struggled to fight back tears as he thanked volunteers, police, the SES and family members who had been searching all night

Hours earlier, police had come under fire after worried locals had been turned away from helping the search efforts. 

As far as they knew, the 14-year-old had gone out for his daily jog along the Yarra Ranges’ Warburton Trail at 6.45am on Tuesday, promising his family he would be back in 15 minutes. 

But he never returned to his home in Launching Place. 

It remains unknown how long WIlliam had been dead before his body was found. 

In all likeliness, the search – perhaps unbeknown to those that participated – was a recovery mission from the start.  

William’s disappearance had sparked an air and ground search involving about 100 personnel from Victoria Police and the State Emergency Service.

But police appeared keen to enforce Melbourne’s stage four coronavirus restrictions, which includes staying within a five kilometre radius from home.

William’s two older brothers and friends, who spent Tuesday night with rescuers looking for him on dirt bikes were stopped from continuing their search the next day.

‘We’ve been told by all the police, saying we’re not allowed to help because we’re beyond the five kilometre radius, which is going to put more of a delay in finding him,’ his older brother Harrison told Seven News.

Family friend Flynn Cousens added: ‘I’d rather go outside the five kilometre radius and find him than stick to five kilometres and let him stay out there another night.’ 

William's older brother Harrison Wall (pictured) was stopped by police from continuing the search due to Melbourne's strict stage four lockdown restrictions

William's older brother Harrison Wall (pictured) was stopped by police from continuing the search due to Melbourne's strict stage four lockdown restrictions

William’s older brother Harrison Wall (pictured) was stopped by police from continuing the search due to Melbourne’s strict stage four lockdown restrictions

It’s understood William’s body was found in bushland at the end of a residential street less than two kilometres from his home.

Last night, William’s family gathered at the blocked off road near where his body was found. 

Distraught rescuers and locals were also seen consoling each other at the scene.

Family friend Tyson Truscott said the Walls would be shattered by the tragedy. 

‘He was a great kid. There is nothing bad about him. He loved going for runs, he went flat out,’ he told the Herald Sun.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the outcome as very sad news.

‘My heart goes out to William’s family and loved ones. Thank you to all those who were involved in the search,’ he tweeted on Wednesday night.

Federal health minister Greg Hunt added: ‘ So deeply sorry to hear of the loss of William Wall. Just a terrible, terrible loss of a beautiful young life. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, his friends and the Yarra Ranges community.’

Friends console each other at the scene after police confirmed William's body had been found

Friends console each other at the scene after police confirmed William's body had been found

Friends console each other at the scene after police confirmed William’s body had been found

Distraught rescuers console each other after William Wall's body was found on Wednesday

Distraught rescuers console each other after William Wall's body was found on Wednesday

Distraught rescuers console each other after William Wall’s body was found on Wednesday

The search entered its second day on Wednesday after rescue crews spent overnight searching the area after temperatures plummeted to 7C.

Locals fumed after being advised to keep an eye out for William, but not to breach Melbourne’s stage four COVID-19 restrictions by limiting outdoor time to two hours and staying within the five kilometre radius from home.

 ‘In line with coronavirus restrictions, at this stage we do not require any assistance from the public,’ a post on the Eyewatch Yarra Ranges Police Facebook read on Tuesday night.

‘We want to say a big thank you however, for the all the offers we have received.’

Police later claimed their position had nothing to do with lockdown.

‘This is not to do with COVID,’ local police commander Inspector Jason Goddard told reporters.

‘We don’t want to bring this into a COVID conversation. What we are doing is focusing our search on Will.

‘If the resourcing we have on the ground here and deployed today is not adequate we will ask for more resources.’

Locals vented their anger at police during a tense meeting. 

‘If that my kid out there, I would want every person on the ground out there, just having a look,’ one resident said.

An ambulance leaves the street in Yarra Junction where William's body was found

An ambulance leaves the street in Yarra Junction where William's body was found

An ambulance leaves the street in Yarra Junction where William’s body was found

Distraught rescuers at the scene comfort each other after the search came to a tragic end

Distraught rescuers at the scene comfort each other after the search came to a tragic end

Distraught rescuers at the scene comfort each other after the search came to a tragic end

Bush Search and Rescue Victoria volunteers are pictured outside Warburton Police station ahead of the search, hours before William was found dead

Bush Search and Rescue Victoria volunteers are pictured outside Warburton Police station ahead of the search, hours before William was found dead

Bush Search and Rescue Victoria volunteers are pictured outside Warburton Police station ahead of the search, hours before William was found dead 

SES personnel depart the Warburton Police state ahead of the search for missing autistic boy William Wall, who was later found dead

SES personnel depart the Warburton Police state ahead of the search for missing autistic boy William Wall, who was later found dead

SES personnel depart the Warburton Police state ahead of the search for missing autistic boy William Wall, who was later found dead

William’s distraught father Shane struggled to fight back tears as he thanked volunteers, police, the SES and family members who had been searching all night.

‘I just want everyone to be safe,’ he told reporters on Wednesday afternoon, hours before police confirmed his son had been found dead. 

‘I never want to be in this situation but the people around here are fantastic. I mean, I’ve been in the valley for a long time and come from overseas but this has just blown me away.’

‘Actual support from local people, the Facebook community and the noticeboards and that, fantastic. Top notch and the police and SES, again, it has been great.’

‘I have hardly spoken to my wife much but they are liaising with them to look after her and I’m out helping where I can.’

At the time, he was still hopeful William would be found alive, adding his son was ‘pretty hardcore’ and knew the area well.

Police advised volunteers to stay home instead of search for William, saying: 'At this stage we do not require any assistance from the public'

Police advised volunteers to stay home instead of search for William, saying: 'At this stage we do not require any assistance from the public'

Police advised volunteers to stay home instead of search for William, saying: ‘At this stage we do not require any assistance from the public’

William's dad Shane Wall fought back tears during a press conference on Wednesday, several hours before the search for his son came to a tragic end

William's dad Shane Wall fought back tears during a press conference on Wednesday, several hours before the search for his son came to a tragic end

William’s dad Shane Wall fought back tears during a press conference on Wednesday, several hours before the search for his son came to a tragic end

Mr Wall said his ‘energetic, very athletic’ son loved exercise and had dreams of joining the police force or the army when he got older. 

William had a younger sister, Sophie, and two older brothers Jake and Harrison, who joined the search effort on Tuesday night.

William’s disappearance had come three months after non-verbal autistic teen William Callaghan became separated from his family during a walk at Mount Disappointment, 60km north of Melbourne.

The teen spent two nights alone before being miraculously found safe and well.  

For William’s family, there would be no happy ending. 

Lifeline 13 11 14

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

Police blocked off this road in Yarra Junction after William Wall's body was found

Police blocked off this road in Yarra Junction after William Wall's body was found

Police blocked off this road in Yarra Junction after William Wall’s body was found

 

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Donald Trump REFUSES to commit to a peaceful transfer of power

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donald trump refuses to commit to a peaceful transfer of power

President Donald Trump was asked Wednesday if he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the November election – and declined to do so.

‘Well, we’ll have to see what happens,’ said Trump, when pressed on the matter at the White House.

It was a similar comment to those he made in 2016 when asked similar questions.

After refusing to go along with a pledge, the president attacked Democrats and delivered swipes that appeared to be directed at mail-in voting, the subject of his frequent attacks at the White House and at campaign rallies.

'Get rid of the ballots and you¿ll have a very peaceful ¿ there won¿t be a transfer frankly, there¿ll be a continuation,' President Donald Trump said, in a likely reference to mail-in ballots

'Get rid of the ballots and you¿ll have a very peaceful ¿ there won¿t be a transfer frankly, there¿ll be a continuation,' President Donald Trump said, in a likely reference to mail-in ballots

‘Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful – there won’t be a transfer frankly, there’ll be a continuation,’ President Donald Trump said, in a likely reference to mail-in ballots

‘Win lose or draw in this election will you commit here today for a peaceful transferal of power after the election?’ Trump was asked at the top of his press briefing. 

‘Well, we’ll have to see what happens,’ Trump replied – entertaining the question, but also refusing to commit. 

His questioner pointed to ‘rioting’ in U.S. cities, and asked if Trump would commit to making sure there is a peaceful transfer of power after the election. 

‘You know that. I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. And the ballots are a disaster,’ he said, in a likely reference to mail-in ballots. Trump regularly says they are rife with fraud, although a handful of states use them for elections.    

Trump was asked if he would commit to a peaceful transfer 'win, lose, or draw' in his race against Democrat Joe Biden

Trump was asked if he would commit to a peaceful transfer 'win, lose, or draw' in his race against Democrat Joe Biden

Trump was asked if he would commit to a peaceful transfer ‘win, lose, or draw’ in his race against Democrat Joe Biden

A man wears a shirt supporting U.S. President Donald Trump while waiting in a socially distant line to vote on the first day of early voting for the 2020 U.S. presidential election at the Fairfax County Government Center in Fairfax, Virginia, U.S., September 18, 2020

A man wears a shirt supporting U.S. President Donald Trump while waiting in a socially distant line to vote on the first day of early voting for the 2020 U.S. presidential election at the Fairfax County Government Center in Fairfax, Virginia, U.S., September 18, 2020

A man wears a shirt supporting U.S. President Donald Trump while waiting in a socially distant line to vote on the first day of early voting for the 2020 U.S. presidential election at the Fairfax County Government Center in Fairfax, Virginia, U.S., September 18, 2020

Trump appeared to be referencing mail-in ballots when he said: 'Get rid of the ballots and you¿ll have a very peaceful ¿ there won¿t be a transfer frankly, there¿ll be a continuation'

Trump appeared to be referencing mail-in ballots when he said: 'Get rid of the ballots and you¿ll have a very peaceful ¿ there won¿t be a transfer frankly, there¿ll be a continuation'

Trump appeared to be referencing mail-in ballots when he said: ‘Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful – there won’t be a transfer frankly, there’ll be a continuation’

Trump was asked about a peaceful transfer as police clashed with protesters marching through the streets of Louisville after a grand jury chose not to indict three officers in the death of Breonna Taylor on Wednesday afternoon

Trump was asked about a peaceful transfer as police clashed with protesters marching through the streets of Louisville after a grand jury chose not to indict three officers in the death of Breonna Taylor on Wednesday afternoon

Trump was asked about a peaceful transfer as police clashed with protesters marching through the streets of Louisville after a grand jury chose not to indict three officers in the death of Breonna Taylor on Wednesday afternoon

‘Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful – there won’t be a transfer frankly, there’ll be a continuation,’ Trump said.

‘Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful – there won’t be a transfer frankly, there’ll be a continuation.’ – President Donald Trump 

He continued: ‘The ballots are out of control. You know if. And you know who knows it better than anybody else, the Democrats,’ he said.

The president quickly moved on to other questions about the coronavirus and charges for an officer involved in the shooting of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky.

The president’s dodge came on a day when the Atlantic published an article titled The Election that Could Break America that played out scenarios where Trump would refuse to accept results amid court cases and recounts, and rejects the outcome even if rival Joe Biden appears to have won or be within sight of prevailing in the Electoral College. 

The president made the comment as some of his fiercest critics have accused him of making moves toward authoritarianism. Biden said this summer trump will ‘try to steal’ but said he is convinced the military ‘will escort him from the White House with great dispatch.’

The president faces the backdrop of ongoing investigations by prosecutors in New York that could implicate the president if he were to leave office. 

On Wednesday, a New York judge ruled that Eric Trump must comply with a subpoena in a probe that extends to Trump Organization statements when obtaining financing for projects. 

Trump concluded the briefing saying he had to take an ’emergency phone call’ and turned the podium over to coronavirus advisor Dr. Scott Atlas.  

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Thousands apply for the same job as competition for work soars

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thousands apply for the same job as competition for work soars

Competition for work during the COVID-19 pandemic is seeing thousands of hopefuls apply for the same job. 

One employment ad on Seek for a dishwasher in Sydney saw over 6,000 applicants, while a position for someone to hand out flyers on the street prompted almost 2,800 responses. 

A Sydney woman who applied for the role doing street promotion spoke candidly about her struggles trying to find work during the coronavirus crisis.

One role Ms Perkins hoped to get (job ad pictured) received about 2,800 applicants alone

One role Ms Perkins hoped to get (job ad pictured) received about 2,800 applicants alone

One role Ms Perkins hoped to get (job ad pictured) received about 2,800 applicants alone

Karen Perkins is currently receiving JobSeeker after her business was derailed by the pandemic and she’s now applying for up to 30 positions a month.

But with so much many other also applying for the same job, she told Daily Mail Australia the process is becoming increasingly disheartening.   

‘I have a medical condition and have partial work capacity which restricts me from working full time. I’m also in my 50s,’ Ms Perkins said.

‘I was applying for a few office and administration jobs prior to COVID and there were about 100 to 200 applicants per job.

‘But in the month of August it’s was least 600 or higher for every job.’

One job ad posted online showed over 6000 Sydneysiders applied for a role as a dishwasher

One job ad posted online showed over 6000 Sydneysiders applied for a role as a dishwasher

One job ad posted online showed over 6000 Sydneysiders applied for a role as a dishwasher

For the past decade Ms Perkins had been running a successful business called Clear and Clutterfree as a professional organiser.

The interesting and unusual profession was made famous by the Japanese Tidying Up queen Marie Kondo in her smash hit Netflix show.

‘I help people set up for success and bring a bit of organisation in their home or office,’ Ms Perkins said.

Karen Perkins is currently receiving JobSeeker after her business was derailed by the pandemic

Karen Perkins is currently receiving JobSeeker after her business was derailed by the pandemic

Karen Perkins is currently receiving JobSeeker after her business was derailed by the pandemic

She learned art of tidying up while working for the Salvation Army.  

Ms Perkins would often be called out to collect items from homes which had been gathering dust in the corner.

She became so good at deciding what to keep and where to put it, others starting calling on her services professionally. 

‘The work tends to be very one-off and sporadic, but I was getting regular inquiries and clients’, she said.

But since the onset of the coronavirus, her business has been decimated.

But despite the strain on the jobs market, official ABS unemployment figures recently improved, dropping from 7.5 per cent in July to 6.8 per cent in August.

Ms Perkings said in the past two weeks she has noticed the number of job applicants for each role have declined, but she’s not convinced the situation is actually getting any better.

‘I think people are just giving up because they’re tired of seeing these high numbers,’ she said.

‘They think what’s the point, the competition is too high.’

With so much competition to find work, Ms perkins said the hunt to find work is becoming increasingly disheartening

With so much competition to find work, Ms perkins said the hunt to find work is becoming increasingly disheartening

With so much competition to find work, Ms perkins said the hunt to find work is becoming increasingly disheartening

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