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The Informer: It's going to get worse before it gets better

Images from regional Australia. Taken by, from left clockwise, Brendan McCarthy, Jonathan Carroll, Lachlan Bence and Adam McLean.
Images from regional Australia. Taken by, from left clockwise, Brendan McCarthy, Jonathan Carroll, Lachlan Bence and Adam McLean.

It's been another sad and difficult day. Even the most dedicated sovereign citizen would acknowledge that.

There were 725 new coronavirus cases confirmed in Victoria and, sadly, 15 more COVID-related deaths, 12 of those being people from aged-care facilities.

Even more distressing are the numbers Australia's deputy chief medical officer Professor Michael Kidd spoke of this afternoon.

Compared to yesterday another seven people are in intensive care wards, three more on ventilators and an additional 83, including many from aged care, have been hospitalised.

"The number of reported cases today is not a surprise and reinforces the importance of the stage-four restrictions in Melbourne and the expansion of the stage-three restrictions in the rest of Victoria," Professor Kidd said.

"I hope it won't be the case, but it may be, that the numbers will go even higher over the coming days before they start to come down as a result of the impact of the restrictions and the changes in behaviour among the population."

The death of a man in his 30s was, he said, "a stark reminder" that this virus can indeed be "fatal to anyone at any age".

That might well put into perspective the news that Queensland will close its border to all of NSW and the ACT from Saturday. And similarly so the news that NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian will require Victorians or NSW residents returning to her state to enter mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days.

The finer details of that - including the fate of flights that bunny-hop from Victoria into NSW - has yet to be determined.

If all that's too overwhelming, think of Lebanon. The country is already in the grip of a full-force economic crisis which "features" a currency collapse and rocketing prices. So dire is the situation, the New York Times reports, that membership of a Facebook group called Lebanon Barters has grown notably. Its members offer everything from poker chips to kids clothes in exchange for food.

With COVID cases still rising and further impacting the economy, the phenomenal blast that killed dozens this morning and left a damaging footprint will only serve to put even more pressure on an inundated health system.

In the meantime Victoria Police deal with people who can't be asked to wear a mask.

See what I mean about sad and difficult? Sorry.

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This story It's going to get worse before it gets better first appeared on The Canberra Times.