Coronavirus COVID-19 (2019-nCoV) Thread - 2021 Breaking News

Here’s a link to Guardian that should work.

In short, on Wednesday a man was identified as having covid and had puttered around Sydney visiting a bunch of barbecue shops among other things. His wife has also since tested positive. He had no obvious link to the genetically linked covid case who was a new arrival in hotel quarantine. Concerning, as we only have covid in new arrivals [~110 at the moment] and all are in hotel quarantine and we’d like to keep it that way.

Because there is a missing link between the overseas arrival and the man, there is assumed to be at least one positive person unidentified in the chain. We’ve been in extended restrictions [masks indoors, 20 people at private gatherings etc] for three days and a testing blitz but no further cases. These eased back but not entirely lifted for another week.

Australia has announced that border controls will not be relaxed, on the basis that vaccination does not seem to prevent transmission.

This is a policy/politics statement, so it could change at any time, but it shows what the thinking is now. Foreign Students were ? the third largest source of export income in Australia ?, so this is a significant economic policy.

At present, it’s an open ended policy, we could remain cut off forever, but the actual meaning is that business shouldn’t be hoping for ‘when we re-open’. That’s not on horizon.

Wow, that’s big. I wonder if this’ll have any effect on either vaccination rates within Australia or other world governments.

Additional question: what does this mean for Australian citizens in India and abroad generally?

What about my cousin, whose husband is Australian and whose family business there is done? Any idea when they’ll be able to return, especially since they’ll almost certainly need outside help getting back, which means either someone going there or someone going with them and returning?

Paywalled? Really? I have multiple Chrome profiles but only pay Wapo for one (I only read on one). I just checked a second time (because I checked before posting) and the article showed up just fine because it’s under the “free because it’s related to Covid”.

But, if they do only give “free for so many views of the site per IP addy” and you already viewed your amount… you could sign up at:

Shortish answer. Except for those in India, for the next little while, Australians (whether citizens or permanent residents) have been able to return to Australia, presuming they can find flights. They will be required to quarantine in a “quarantine hotel” on arrival, at their own expense, for two weeks.
Here’s a webpage with information from the State of Victoria.
So far as a non-Australian travelling with them, to help them…I don’t know. I’d suggest they contact the consulate/embassy wherever they are, and find out what sort of arrangements can be made, if any.

158,977,756 total cases
3,306,954 dead
136,532,412 recovered

In the US:

33,476,781 total cases
595,812 dead
26,439,712 recovered

Yesterday’s numbers for comparison:

Update from Austria:

  • The hard lockdown in the three eastern states (Vienna, Burgenland, and Lower Austria) was partially lifted on 3 May. Shops, services, and museums have opened again, in some cases subject to occupancy limits, mask mandates, and/or presentation of negative test results. (Testing remains free for everyone.) The 24-hour curfew has been relaxed to an overnight curfew (starting at 20:00).
  • A further, nationwide relaxation in the lockdown is planned for 19 May. Details are to be announced at a press conference this afternoon. It’s expected that bars, cafés, hotels, restaurants, theatres, cinemas, etc. will be allowed to reopen with limited capacity.
  • 820 new infections were reported today, which is the lowest daily number since 5 October 2020. The weekly rate of new infections per 100,000 people has dropped to 97, which is also the lowest in seven months.
  • The government has promised that everyone will be able to get at least their first vaccination by June. So far only one federal state, Lower Austria, has opened vaccinations to the general public; the other states are still giving priority to people in risk groups.


As New York emerged as the center of the coronavirus pandemic last spring, the overwhelmed city began storing the bodies of victims in refrigerated trucks along the Brooklyn waterfront.

More than a year later, hundreds remain in the makeshift morgues on the 39th Street Pier in Sunset Park.

In a report to a city council health committee last week, officials with the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner acknowledged that the remains of about 750 covid-19 victims are still being stored inside the trucks, according to the City, the nonprofit news website. Officials said during a Wednesday committee meeting that they will try to lower the number soon.

Dina Maniotis, executive deputy commissioner with the medical examiner’s office, said most of the bodies could end up on Hart Island, off the Bronx, where the has city buried its poor and unclaimed for more than a century.

With more than a million people buried there, the mile-long land mass in the Long Island Sound is home to the largest mass grave in the United States.

Up to one-tenth of the city’s coronavirus victims may be interred on the island, according to an analysis conducted through a collaboration between the City and the Stabile Center for Investigative Reporting at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

The aftermath of the pandemic will be with us as a country for many years – not even counting the individual impacts caused by the loss of so many.

Good news for schools and summer camps, and any family that wants to travel.


I found this Vox podcast really enlightening about “long COVID.”

It talks about how all serious pathogens can, and pretty much do, give rise to similar long-term symptoms. So, one thing about long COVID is that because so many people are sick at the same time, there are many cases of this at the same time. So, it can be studied, and people are being believed rather than brushed off more. But Covid isn’t unique in causing these kinds of medically unexplained sequelae.

160,334,125 total cases
3,331,400 dead
138,098,126 recovered

In the US:

33,550,115 total cases
596,946 dead
26,558,138 recovered

Yesterday’s Sunday’s numbers for comparison reference:

What’s not clear to me is whether these people were tested for diabetes while they were in the hospital too, or only at 20 weeks post discharge. Many people have it for a while before it’s discovered so I wonder if some already had undiagnosed diabetes before their covid infections.

Al-Aly’s data was published last month in Nature, three weeks after a study of almost 50,000 hospitalized Covid patients in England found that they were 50% more likely to have diabetes some 20 weeks after discharge than matched controls

Cite? I have seen nothing from the Australian authorities saying that the reason for this move is specifically because they believe vaccines are ineffective at reducing transmission.

There are concerns that some vaccines are less effective at all against certain mutant strains. And the virus is obviously still rampant in many parts of the world, so the Australian move is perfectly understandable. But there is a growing body of evidence that, in accord with expectation, vaccines that are effective against preventing disease are also effective at preventing transmission.

Discussed in the other thread here and subsequent posts.

I don’t think this has been mentioned yet: current studies indicate that contracting COVID gives lasting immunity.

Dang. Good news, but that’s doing it the hard way.

Here’s a headline I was happy to see today:

Totally agree. Here’s hoping it helps lead to herd immunity despite the hesitant people.

I don’t understand why this doesn’t get more press. I’m not aware of any study showing diminishing protection over time. It’s great news.

If you want to travel to Iceland you can present proof of vaccination or proof of previous infection and recovery from COVID-19 and be exempt from having to provide a negative PCR test and/or quarantine at the border.