ABC News (AU) New Zealand
ABC News (AU)
'Detached' reef bigger than Empire State building discovered in 500 metres of water off Queensland - ABC News
A coral reef more than 400 metres tall, sitting 40 metres below the surface has been discovered just off the edge of the Great Barrier Reef in north Queensland.
Researchers have found a new reef that is as tall as a skyscraper in the waters off Cape York in North Queensland. The 'detached' reef is the first to be discovered in more than 120 years is around 1.5 kilometres long, and rises from over 500 metres deep up to 40 metres below the surface. Key points:
- The discovery was made last week as part of a coastal research project
- Researchers have been taking samples of animals and plants from the reef
- It's believed to be around 20 million years old, with new reef building happening near the crest in 40 metres of water
Israel found success in combating a second coronavirus wave but now worries citizens will refuse more restrictions - ABC News
After recording the world's worst per capita rate of new coronavirus infections, Israel finds some success with a second lockdown. But there are now fears Israelis might be less willing to cooperate with restrictions.
After recording the world's worst per capita rate of new coronavirus infections, Israel has found some success with a second lockdown. But despite the reduction in new cases, there are now concerns about how much longer people are willing to comply with restrictions. The Government has begun a "gradual" easing of coronavirus restrictions after new daily cases fell from a peak of 9,013 to below 2,000. Although, the number of tests also fell dramatically. Severe cases dropped from 926 to about 600 since the lockdown began on September 18, which epidemiologists say is a truer indication of success. But they still estimate another 400 to 500 people will die of the virus by late November. Israel's Government found a lot less compliance and in some cases even defiance to the second lockdown than they did to the first. "What we're missing the most is cooperation," the national coronavirus project coordinator, Ronni Gamzu, said. The second nationwide lockdown coincided with the Jewish high holidays in mid-September and business owners pledged at the time not to abide by the closure as senior government ministers openly opposed it. Protesters have been critical of the Government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the handling of the pandemic.(AP: Ariel Schalit) Anti-government protests continued during the lockdown in many locations across the country, with mass gatherings in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. As a result of this resistance, Israel's coronavirus cabinet has set itself the task of trying to work out how to maintain compliance with the remaining measures to avoid infections spiking again. LIVE UPDATES: Read our blog for the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic. What do you do when people don't want to comply? A big problem is the impatient and contrarian nature of Israelis, says Professor Orly Manor, a statistician and chairwoman of Israel's National Institute for Health Policy Research. "We are very good at sprint and we are not good at marathons and also, we are not so highly obedient," she told the ABC. "We don't break the law, but we find a way to go around it." There are also fears some in the worst-infected community ultra-orthodox Jews are avoiding testing. The insistence from some ultra-orthodox sects on holding large gatherings during the Jewish high holidays in breach of lockdown rules as well as poverty, large families and crowded living conditions left the community with a per capita infection rate five times higher than the general population. Ultra-Orthodox Jews have protested against what they say is incitement against the city and country's religious population.(AP: Oded Balilty) Some are seeking treatment from volunteer groups instead of going to hospital with one group in Jerusalem's most hard-line ultra-orthodox suburb treating up to 2,000 patients who were not registered with health authorities. Senior rabbis ordered many religious schools which are separate to Israel's mainstream system to reopen illegally this week. Public health officials are concerned, especially as seminaries for young ultra-orthodox men were a key vector for infection before the second lockdown. "I don't think they got to the point of having herd immunity, so my guess is we'll see another surge," epidemiologist and professor at the Braun School of Public Health at Hebrew University Ronit Calderon-Margalit said. Read more about coronavirus: People 'lost trust' because communication of instructions wasn't clear The Government struggled to stop demonstrations across the country during the lockdown, with people protesting the coronavirus rules and calling for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to step down over corruption allegations. Severe cases have dropped since Israel imposed a second lockdown in mid-September.(AP: Oded Balilty) A recent survey by independent think-tank the Israel Democracy Institute found more than half the population approximately 55 per cent believed the recent lockdown was implemented for political reasons. "People lost trust because the communication of the instructions is not clear, it doesn't always make sense that it is based on epidemiological sense or data," Professor Calderon-Margalit said. But there were some successes the high rates in ultra-orthodox communities contrasted with reductions in Palestinian Israeli areas. Cities with majority Arab populations also had high infection rates in early September driven by mass weddings over the summer but local officials said community-driven campaigns educated residents, improved compliance and dramatically lowered the case numbers. Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreak The bigger challenge will be making sure those campaign messages reach everyone. Professor Calderon-Margalit has pointed to high-profile examples of politicians breaking the coronavirus rules themselves. "Our leaders are really lacking in being a role model," she said. Israel hopes it can avoid another surge of infections with some social distancing measures in place.(Reuters: Corinna Kern) What you need to know about coronavirus:
COVID-19's effects on the heart: Here's what we know so far - ABC News
How cardiovascular health impacts COVID-19, and COVID-19 impacts cardiovascular health.
Matters of the heart are complex so it should come as little surprise just how complicated the heart's relationship with coronavirus seems to be. Around one in four people hospitalised with COVID-19 suffer heart damage, according to new research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. In a series of review papers, researchers have outlined what is known about COVID-19's effects on the heart, and why people with heart disease are at increased risk of severe COVID-19. Here are five key take-aways. Cardiovascular disease makes you more vulnerable In addition to being male, over the age of 60 or having a chronic health condition, research shows cardiovascular disease increases your risk of severe COVID-19 and death. In Australia, cardiovascular disease (which is an umbrella term for all diseases affecting the heart or blood vessels) affects 4.2 million people. If you become infected with COVID-19, having cardiovascular disease or any risk factors for it including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity or diabetes means you're more likely to fare worse than someone with a "better baseline", said interventional cardiologist Sarah Zaman. "COVID-19, in a large proportion of patients, causes myocardial injury or heart damage," said Dr Zaman of Monash University. "Those with pre-existing cardiovascular disease can't tolerate that increased insult that someone else without it would be able to." The body's ACE2 receptors which the SARS-COV-2 virus binds to are especially important in people with heart disease and other cardiovascular risk factors, since they play an important role in regulating processes such as blood pressure and inflammation. "By binding to these receptors, [the virus] causes a lot of downstream effects that can influence inflammation, constriction of your arteries and can result in high blood pressure," Dr Zaman said. "So those people need to be a little bit more careful and limit their risk of transmission." Coronavirus questions answered Breaking down the latest news and research to understand how the world is living through an epidemic, this is the ABC's Coronacast podcast. Read more COVID cardiometabolic syndrome identified Recognising the significance of these individual risk factors, US researchers have identified a new COVID-related cardiometabolic syndrome in patients with high body fat, unstable blood sugar (or diabetes), high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Cardiologist and executive director of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, Jason Kovacic, said it brought together overlapping risk factors into a unifying theory around cardiometabolic health and poor COVID-19 outcomes. "Cardiometabolic syndrome has been well described over the last couple of decades," said Professor Kovacic, who is an editor at the Journal of the American College of Cardiology but was not involved in the research. "It seems that those four factors really do intersect and interact across COVID-19 to cause worse outcomes." People with COVID-19 and metabolic and cardiovascular dysfunction are more likely to experience blood clotting and poor immune function, Professor Kovacic said. Obesity can also make it more difficult for someone to breathe if they end up on a ventilator. "They tend to have worse lung function, really high glucose levels when they wind up in the ICU, and all of this adds together to cause more problems," he said. Jason Kovacic is a professor of medicine at the University of New South Wales and Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.(Supplied: Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute) According to the researchers, the coronavirus pandemic had exposed unexpected cardiovascular vulnerabilities and the need to improve cardiometabolic health on a global scale. For high-risk individuals, especially people with diabetes, they emphasised the importance of maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise routine. "The role of healthy lifestyles and pharmacotherapy targeting metabolic drivers to reduce cardiovascular risk is well established," the researchers wrote. "However, lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic support shorter-term benefits of these interventions." Health in your Instagram feed Follow @abchealth on Instagram, where we're busting myths and sharing practical, smart health advice. Read more Dr Zaman said she wasn't sure how useful it was to classify cardiometabolic risk factors into a new COVID-19 syndrome, but agreed we should focus on improving them in the context of the pandemic. "If half our population is obese, diabetic or has high blood pressure, we're going to have half of our population doing worse if they get infected," she said. The heart gets caught in the COVID crossfire COVID-19 primarily targets the lungs and other parts of the respiratory system, but the virus can also affect the heart and worsen existing heart conditions. It does this by either causing acute heart damage, inflammation of the heart, or injury to the heart muscle so that the heart doesn't function as well. "ACE-2 receptors are predominantly expressed in the lungs but they're also expressed in the heart," Dr Zaman said. "COVID-19 can cause direct damage to the heart by the virus actually invading the heart, although that's probably the less common mechanism." More common is inflammation-related injury to the heart muscle, which is caused by the huge immune response triggered by the virus. There is a powerful relationship between inflammation and blood clotting, Professor Kovacic said. "Inflammation can cause the vessels of the heart the arteries to block up and cause a heart attack," he said. "More inflammation tends to cause more blood clotting and in turn, the more blood clotting you get, that actually makes the inflammation worse." Heart attacks can also happen as a result of the damage inflicted upon the lungs by COVID-19, whereby a person's heart needs to work harder to pump blood to the rest of their body. "COVID-19 decreases the ability of the lungs to oxygenate the blood, so you get high demand on the heart because it's got to do a lot of work," Professor Kovacic said. "There is a lot of stress placed on the heart, and yet the lungs have a reduced ability, so you get this oxygen imbalance and that can lead to a heart attack." Heart injury can be detected through an increase in cardiac enzymes and cardiac arrhythmias.(Getty Images: Kerrick) According to the researchers, COVID-19 can also lead to microvascular dysfunction (complications in the small vessels and capillaries of the heart) as well as stress cardiomyopathy. "That can occur in the heart in severely stressful conditions, including emotional stress or physical stress, such as being in an ICU bed," Professor Kovacic said. "That itself can cause cardiac muscle injury and damage." All of these factors can be responsible for cardiac injury in hospitalised COVID-19 patients, which means it can be difficult to work out exactly what mechanism is responsible for what damage, Professor Kovacic said. "There is quite a lot going on." The long-term effects are still unclear In recent months, it's become apparent that COVID-19 can have lingering effects, with many patients reporting ongoing fatigue, breathlessness and "brain fog" for weeks or months after their infection. But the data, especially on cardiovascular impacts, are still limited. "We know in some patients, you can get cardiac damage and that can lead to scarring of the lungs damage to the heart, and other features that are really only just emerging," Professor Kovacic said. "But the longer-term complications of COVID-19 it's just going to take us time to see how things go." The majority of patients with COVID-19 make a complete recovery, but the researchers said the long-term risks for survivors of severe COVID-19 remained uncertain and that early observations were concerning. Health in your inbox Get the latest health news and information from across the ABC. Some research has found evidence of ongoing heart dysfunction in recovered COVID-19 patients. But Dr Zaman said it was difficult to know if "we're just looking for it more" because of the unprecedented research efforts being dedicated to the disease. "I guess there is a bit of bias there," she said. COVID-19's heart effects appear unique Even with the extra attention, Dr Zaman said the heart damage observed in COVID-19 patients had surpassed what is typically seen in other viral infections. "With influenza, you do see an increase in myocardial infarction (a heart attack) but you really don't see the extent of injury that you see with COVID-19," she said. "Some of the reports that have come out of New York and other centres have shown that the myocardial damage is anywhere from 30 to 50 per cent of hospitalised patients. "You definitely wouldn't see that extreme level of injury in other viral infections." Professor Kovacic said there were several things that made COVID-19 unique in terms of its effect on the heart. He said although inflammation was a common feature of almost all infections, the "profound inflammation" that occurs in COVID-19 was particularly striking. "The dramatic activation of blood clotting is also very striking with COVID-19," Professor Kovacic said. "Those two factors the blood clotting plus the profound inflammation, together is really what sets this disease apart." What you need to know about coronavirus:
Why COVID-19 loss of smell can last so long, and how the symptom could help with coronavirus screening - ABC News
Research is revealing why it takes some people so long to get their sense of smell back after COVID-19 — and they say it might even be a useful, non-invasive screening tool.
Early in the pandemic, anecdotal reports started filtering through that COVID-19 could cause loss of smell. At first, it was hard to know how much weight to give these stories after all, anyone who's had a headcold or the flu knows you can lose smell for a couple of days while your head's blocked up. But pretty quickly, experts realised the smell loss associated with COVID-19 went beyond simple nasal congestion, and it's now officially recognised as a symptom of the disease. A global group of researchers, including Australians, is now taking a close look at how coronavirus can lead to smell loss. "Not only is the impact on smell stronger than with other infectious diseases, but it's also much longer lasting, potentially," says Eugeni Roura, a nutritional chemosensing scientist from the University of Queensland who is involved in the global study. What Professor Roura and his colleagues are finding may explain why it seems to take some people so long to get their smell back after recovering from the disease and they say it might even be a useful, non-invasive screening tool. Back to basics on smell But first, how does smell and taste work when your body's healthy and working normally? "They're gatekeeper sensors," says Alex Russell, a senior postdoctoral research fellow at CQUniversity, who has studied smell. "The idea is to keep rotten food or poisonous things out of our bodies." Taste is relatively straightforward your tongue is coated in bundles of sensory cells called taste buds, which recognise sweet, sour, salty, bitter and savoury or umami. There's also chemesthesis, which has to do with how we experience spiciness. Read more about coronavirus: Smell, which also plays into the flavours we recognise in food, is separate to this. When air flows over the mucous membranes in your nose, chemicals in the air dissolve into your mucous and are detected directly by receptors in the cells that line your nasal cavity (scientists call this the olfactory epithelium), which send signals to your brain. "The olfactory epithelium essentially is hardwired into our brain," Dr Russell says. "With vision, the signals that we get from our eyes undergo quite a bit of processing before we start thinking 'what is the thing that I'm seeing'. But with smell, it's hardwired directly into parts of our brain like memory and emotion. So that's why smells are pretty good at bringing up a blast from the past." Coronavirus questions answered Breaking down the latest news and research to understand how the world is living through an epidemic, this is the ABC's Coronacast podcast. Read more Nose congestion or something more? The reason you lose smell when you have a garden variety cold or flu, is congestion. You need airflow over those mucous membranes to pick up smells, Dr Russell says. "If you're all blocked up, you're not going to get the molecules into your nose," he says. "One of the other things is that you need the molecules to dissolve into the mucus. So if you're particularly dry at a particular time, then you're not going to pick up as much there either." But Professor Roura says COVID-19-related smell loss isn't caused by congestion. "COVID-19, appears to get deeper. It crosses the mucosa and it gets deeper into the neurons themselves that will carry the smell to the brain," he says. It looks like the virus can cause death in the olfactory neurones, possibly indirectly, through inflammation in the surrounding cells. "That's the reason why it takes so long for some people to get the sense of smell back, because it's deep inside that the virus affects the conductivity of the signals to the brain." One participant in Professor Roura's study has had COVID-19-related smell loss for four months. How many COVID-19 patients lose smell? The World Health Organisation lists loss of smell as a symptom that only affects some patients, but Professor Roura says a large majority of his study respondents have reported it. "There's probably 80 per cent of the patients that we have identified that lose smell, but on top of that, how big of an impact is in the loss of smell it's huge," Professor Roura says. When people with a cold or flu are asked to rate their smell loss out of 10, where 10 is what they experience when they're healthy, they rate it around 5. But people with COVID-19 rate their smell loss as less than 3 out of 10. The coronavirus seems to get into the neurones that carry smell signals to the brain.(ABC Radio Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe) What's more, it doesn't necessarily track with other symptoms either. Some people get smell loss as an early COVID-19 symptom. In others it comes after the other symptoms have cleared, Professor Roura says. "There's obviously variation of how each one of us will respond to the virus," he says. "But there seems to be a common mechanism that the virus is able to challenge the defence mechanism that we have in these mucosas and get deeper, affecting some of the nervous system and neurones. And that causes a slower recovery." Knock-on effects of smell loss from COVID-19 Loss of smell isn't just a curiosity it can have real effects on people's quality of life. "[Smell loss] is strongly associated with depression," Dr Russell says. "You'd be surprised how much joy we take from smell." Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreak It could also slow people's recovery from the virus, Professor Roura points out. "If we lose the sense of sensing the flavour of foods, we lose the appetite," he says. "Then people who might have been affected by COVID-19 will have a tougher time recovering from COVID-19 because they lose appetite and that's partially linked to [the ability to] absorb smell." Could COVID-19 smell loss have a silver lining? But there could be an upside to this situation. Professor Roura says it could be used as a non-invasive screening tool. Health in your inbox Get the latest health news and information from across the ABC. At the moment, some places require temperature checks before you can enter. But fever is a symptom in lots of different diseases, and many people with COVID-19 don't have fever. "The impact of COVID-19 on smell is fairly unique in the sense that there's very few diseases that have such a big impact on losing the sense of smell," Professor Roura says. "Obviously, you would need a defined standard smell. It could be mint, could be a lemon smell or whatever. There's actually hundreds of potential standard smell cues that we could target." Who knows, you might be asked to sniff something and identify a scent before you can enter a premises sometime soon. What you need to know about coronavirus:
New NSW COVID-19 cases likely 10 times higher than official figures: expert - ABC News
Experts warn the number of new COVID-19 cases in New South Wales is likely to be higher than the reported daily totals as more "mystery cases" are identified.
The number of new COVID-19 cases in New South Wales each day is likely to be up to 10 times the figure reported by authorities, according to one epidemiologist, as fears about community transmission in the state grow. Key points:
- Experts say there are undetected cases of community transmission in NSW
- While Victoria has widespread community transmission, NSW is working to keep numbers contained
- Experts say two weeks of mandated mask use would help stop asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic cases from spreading
When will Victoria's death count stop rising? - Coronacast - ABC News
The tragic reality of so many people being infected with coronavirus over the past month has started to play out in Victoria. Yesterday a record number of Victorians died of coronavirus in a single day. So while the number of daily cases seems to have started…
The tragic reality of so many people being infected with coronavirus over the past month has started to play out in Victoria. Yesterday a record number of Victorians died of coronavirus in a single day. So while the number of daily cases seems to have started to fall, when will the death rate also start to go down? On today's show: * It seems that while new daily cases have started to fall, sadly the death rate is up. Why are we only seeing it now? * NSW says it's halfway through its critical phase. What does that mean? * How did New Zealand get to zero spread? * Does Australia still have a chance to get there? * How are vaccines distributed in pandemics? Who gets it first? And Norman has a correction and clarification from comments in a previous episode about swine flu and Victoria.
What is ECMO, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, and how is it being used to help severe COVID-19 patients? - ABC News
As evidence mounts that severe COVID-19 affects our blood vessels, doctors are using a technology called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation to help severe COVID-19 patients. Here's how that works.
Every day we're hearing about the number of coronavirus cases in Australia, how many people are in hospital, in intensive care units and on ventilators. But there is another technique you may not have heard of that's starting to be used more and more frequently in very severe cases of COVID-19, according to intensive care specialist John Fraser extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or ECMO (pronounced ECK-moh). We haven't had to use ECMO much in Australia yet due to our low COVID-19 case numbers, and not as many very sick patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) as we expected, said Professor Fraser, who works at Prince Charles Hospital and St Andrews Hospital in Brisbane. But Professor Fraser is part of the Australian team leading an international study collating data from over 400 hospitals across 51 countries, about how ECMO is being used to help COVID-19 patients in intensive care units and when it is most effective. For the latest news on the coronavirus pandemic follow our live coverage. What is extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or ECMO? Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation is when you take a patient's blood out of their body via a big pipe or cannula to the ECMO machine. This machine removes the carbon dioxide from the blood, adds oxygen, and then returns the bright red oxygenated blood to the body via another big pipe. "The pipes are kind of the size of my thumb," Professor Fraser said. Normally, the oxygen you breathe in diffuses across the tiny air sacs in your lungs called alveoli into your bloodstream, but when you're connected to an ECMO machine, the machine takes over most of this function for you. It's a very expensive and super-specialised technique with significant risk, Professor Fraser said. These risks can include damage to the blood vessels when the pipes are put in, bleeding, the ECMO circuit failing, and small blood clots or air bubbles being introduced to the circuit which could cause serious injury to the patient's brain or lungs. ECMO is only used after a patient is put on a ventilator. If the patient is still getting sicker and their oxygen level goes too low despite the best ventilation management, that's when taking them off the ventilator and putting them on an ECMO machine might be considered. It requires a whole team of people to make it work, including intensive care doctors who specialise in ECMO, specialist nurses to be with the patient all the time, and in some cases, clinical perfusionists, who operate the ECMO machine. How is it being used to help COVID-19 patients? Healthy lungs are like nice, dry sponges, bouncing in and out, Professor Fraser said. But if you have pneumonia or a bad flu your lungs are like wet, gluggy sponges lying forgotten at the bottom of a full bath. With COVID-19, a lot of the lungs still seem to be quite bouncy but that doesn't mean the oxygen you breathe in is getting to where it needs to go. First there's the ventilation part of the equation the oxygen has to get down to the alveoli in the base of the lungs. "Then the blood has to pick up the oxygen like it's an Uber picking up its passenger," Professor Fraser said. "The problem is [in patients with severe COVID-19] the blood flow past those air sacs is abnormal." Coronavirus can cause inflammation of the cells lining the blood vessels, which can lead to the formation of blood clots and hyperviscosity, where the blood becomes like sludge and can't flow as easily. Putting a patient on ECMO can both take the strain off their damaged lungs, and because you have to artificially thin people's blood to put them on the machine, lead to less problems of abnormal clotting. There are two types of ECMO, said clinical perfusionist Rob Baker of Flinders Medical Centre and president of the Australian and New Zealand College of Perfusionists. "There's ECMO to support the lungs [veno-venous] and then there's ECMO to support the heart [veno-arterial]," Professor Baker said. Veno-venous ECMO supports the lungs(Copyrighted material used with permission of the author, University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, uihc.org) In veno-venous ECMO the blood comes from a vein and gets put back into a vein. "That's when the lungs are damaged and it's basically oxygenating the blood, but the heart's still doing the work," Professor Fraser said. Veno-arterial ECMO supports both the heart and the lungs(Copyrighted material used with permission of the author, University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, uihc.org) In veno-arterial ECMO the blood gets sucked out of a vein and put back into an artery, so it's supporting both the heart and the lungs. "COVID also causes cardiac dysfunction," Professor Fraser said, like a viral myocarditis or inflammation of the heart muscle. Veno-arterial ECMO can provide short-term support to the heart for up to about 30 or 40 days, he said. Read more about coronavirus: Is it working? Westmead Hospital's chief clinical perfusionist Ray Miraziz is one of the few people in Australia who's helped put a COVID-19 patient on ECMO. "COVID-19 presented a new challenge as we had no prior knowledge about how long the support might be needed, or if lung function could recover," he said. "The treating team relied upon our knowledge of similar pulmonary illnesses as well as emerging COVID-19 literature from around the world." Coronavirus questions answered Breaking down the latest news and research to understand how the world is living through an epidemic, this is the ABC's Coronacast podcast. Read more The technique was successful and the patient has since been discharged. "We were so happy the patient survived and continues to make a good recovery," Mr Miraziz said. "This was an outstanding result for a patient at significant risk thanks to the clinical expertise of the entire intensive care team at Westmead Hospital." Globally, about 60 per cent of COVID-19 patients put on ECMO have survived, said Professor Fraser. While early data from China suggested the technique wasn't working, this isn't what the rest of the world has found, he said. But we still don't know who the right people are and who the wrong people are, or when it's too early or too late to put a COVID-19 patient on ECMO, said Professor Fraser, who is spearheading research into this technique. "We get the sickest patients, we've not got a book, we've not got a study and it's like driving a car blindfolded," he said. "If the world puts all their data together, we can bring all these disparate jigsaw puzzle pieces together and actually work out when someone needs ECMO and when not to use it." Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreak Currently the team has collated data from 1,600 patients but they're hoping to get to about 10,000. This anonymised data can then be used by other clinicians to guide their decision making when they're dealing with patients in similar situations. In particular, low to middle income countries that will be hit hardest by COVID-19 and don't have the same levels of equipment will be able to base their judgements on the exact same data as everyone else, Professor Fraser said. Do we have enough ECMO capacity for COVID-19 patients in Australia? Professor Baker is confident Australia has a good level of ECMO capacity, particularly given our incredibly open and supportive medical community. "I think our capacity in Australia is very comfortable," he said. According to the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization, we have 26 centres across the country that provide ECMO. "We're not in a situation in Australia where, as far as I'm aware, anyone has been turned down from ECMO that could have survived," Professor Fraser said. "It has happened in other countries." What you need to know about coronavirus: Health in your inbox Get the latest health news and information from across the ABC.
You've received a positive COVID-19 test result. What happens next? - ABC News
You're self-isolating at home waiting for the results of your COVID-19 test — then you get notified you've received a positive result. Here's what to expect.
You had some symptoms that could be coronavirus or a cold, so you went to get a test. Now you've been notified that your test was positive. It's official: you've got COVID-19. But what happens next? While you probably first heard about your diagnosis from the screening clinic where you took the test, this will likely be followed by a call from your state health department once they've been notified about your case. They'll want to talk to you for a number of reasons. Coronavirus latest: Follow all the latest information in our COVID-19 live blog First of all, they'll be able to provide you with advice on how to manage your illness. They'll be keeping in touch with you during your mandatory self-isolation to see how it progresses and to make sure you're following the rules. Coronavirus questions answered Breaking down the latest news and research to understand how the world is living through an epidemic, this is the ABC's Coronacast podcast. Read more Self-isolation means not only staying at home and isolating from people outside your household, but also isolating as best you can from other members of your household who aren't sick. Your state health department will also want to know who you spent time with before you were diagnosed, but when you may have been infectious. This is contact tracing: they want to figure out who you might have passed the virus on to and where you got infected in the first place. And there will also be an initial risk assessment to determine whether you're likely to have a mild, moderate or severe case of COVID-19, and hence whether you'll be able to recover from it at home or may need to go to hospital. The good news remains that the majority of people with COVID-19 around 80 per cent are able to recover at home rather than requiring hospital care. How to manage COVID-19 at home According to Australia's National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce, adult patients with mild COVID-19 can be managed in a similar way to people with seasonal flu (although, as you're probably sick of us telling you, they're very different illnesses). So expect to be told to rest and to drink plenty of fluids. There are no treatments for people who have mild cases of COVID-19, said Nial Wheate, who is the program director of undergraduate pharmacy at the University of Sydney. "The treatments we have (remdesivir and dexamethasone) are for people who are seriously ill and hospitalised," Dr Wheate said. Any relief you can get is going to be purely symptomatic. If you've got a headache you might take some paracetamol, said president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Harry Nespolon. "If you've got muscle aches and pains you might take some anti-inflammatories, which you can do, despite the early advice not to." Read more about coronavirus: It may also be worthwhile to let your regular GP, if you have one, know you've been diagnosed with COVID-19. They're "an additional resource to help take care of you", Dr Nespolon said, particularly if you have other medical problems that your state health department isn't going to be managing. What to do if your symptoms get worse If any of your symptoms are getting worse, it's important to reach out for medical assistance early, Dr Nespolon said, so you know what you should do next. These could include worsening breathing problems or fever, but also more severe headaches or problems with your vision, as evidence is increasingly showing that severe COVID-19 isn't just a respiratory infection. There have also been cases of people with mild COVID-19 suddenly deteriorating in the second week of their illness. As Victoria's Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said on Tuesday: "It's important to see these patients early if they're deteriorating [as] it avoids the worst outcomes intensive care or death." Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreak You can call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Some states have their own contact numbers, like Victoria's coronavirus hotline 1800 675 398, which also operates around the clock. Or get in touch with your GP, and of course, in an emergency situation call 000. The end of your illness While procedures can be slightly different in different states, most people with COVID-19 will get a second COVID-test on about day 12 of their 14-day self-isolation period to see if they're now testing negative for the virus, Dr Nespolon said. If that's the result you get, you'll probably be advised when you can then return to normal activities, albeit still following all the other public health guidelines like physical distancing, cough etiquette and washing your hands. Your state health department will be able to advise what the rules are where you live. Some findings are now emerging that a few people are experiencing much more long-term symptoms, Dr Nespolon said. These could include headaches, lethargy and ongoing muscle aches and pains. "It's not like a cold, despite what some major leaders around the world say." People, particularly young adults who might not feel vulnerable at all, need to be aware there are consequences to getting COVID-19, Dr Nespolon said. "It's important for people to realise that it's better to prevent it." What you need to know about coronavirus: Health in your inbox Get the latest health news and information from across the ABC.
Coronavirus's complications and health problems are being studied by scientists - ABC News
What is surprising about the virus causing the current global pandemic is the extent of the complications occurring outside the lungs in infected people.
It's a lung condition first and foremost, but scientists are uncovering evidence coronavirus can also attack a patient's blood, liver, brain and kidneys. Key points:
- In addition to respiratory distress, patients with COVID-19 can experience blood clotting disorders that can lead to strokes
- The virus can also cause neurological complications that range from headaches, dizziness and loss of taste or smell to seizures and confusion
- Studies are just getting underway to understand the long-term effects of infection
NASA simulates what sunsets look like on other planets and moons - ABC News
Animated videos of computer simulated sunsets show what the sky might look like if you were looking up through a super-wide camera lens from Venus, Mars, Uranus or Titan.
The sunset on Uranus fades from a bright blue to royal blue with hints of turquoise, according to NASA scientists who have simulated sunsets on other planets and moons.
- The simulations were created using a computer modelling tool built for a possible mission to Uranus
- They are created using the known colour of the skies on these worlds
- Videos of the simulations show the sunset from the perspective of someone standing on the worlds' surfaces