COVID-19, Australia: Epidemiology Report 17 (Fortnightly reporting period ending 24 May 2020).Commun Dis Intell (2018). 2020 Jun 05; 44CD
Confirmed cases in Australia notified up to 24 May 2020: notifications = 7,135; deaths = 102. The incidence of COVID-19 has markedly reduced since a peak in mid-March. There have been no cases reported in SA, the NT or the ACT in the last four weeks. The numbers of new cases reported from other jurisdictions continue to be very low. Testing rates have been higher across all jurisdictions, with Victoria reporting an 85% testing rate increase and NSW a 40% increase over this period. The positivity rate nationally continues to remain very low at less than 0.1% over the reporting period. Continued high rates of testing are necessary to detect and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Over the past fortnight, 45% of cases acquired their infection overseas. Of cases considered to be locally acquired over this period, most were associated with contacts of confirmed cases or were associated with known outbreaks. The highest rate of COVID-19 continues to be among people aged 65-79 years. Three-quarters of all cases in this age group have been associated with overseas travel, including several outbreaks linked to cruise ships. The lowest rate of disease is in children under 18, a pattern reflected in international reports. A small proportion of cases overall have experienced severe disease, requiring hospitalisation or intensive care with some fatalities. The crude case fatality rate amongst Australian cases is 1.4%. People who are older and have one or more comorbidities are more likely to experience severe disease. A combination of early case identification, physical distancing, public health measures and a reduction in international travel have likely been effective in slowing the spread of the disease in Australia. In addition, the median number of days between symptom onset and diagnostic testing has improved considerably from 7 days in the early phase of the outbreak to 1 day in the latest phase of the epidemic. Internationally, as at 24 May 2020, there have been recent increases in the number of daily cases reported globally. The largest numbers of both cases and deaths have been reported in the United States. Of the confirmed cases reported globally, the case fatality rate is approximately 6.5%. Countries in South America are starting to see rapid acceleration, while the United States is seeing a very slow decline in its daily new case numbers. In the South East Asia region, India and Bangladesh are seeing accelerating epidemics, compounded by the recovery from Cyclone Amphan. Increasing numbers of cases are also being reported in Africa, although the numbers are much smaller. In the Pacific there are very few daily new cases reported.