Australia’s COVID-19 cases and death rates currently among world’s highest per capita

Australia’s COVID-19 cases and death rates were the third highest in the world per capita during the past week, and the numbers are getting worse.

The latest figures show more than 12,625 Australians have died with COVID, and more than 5,000 are in hospital with the virus, including 159 in intensive care.

Professor Mike Toole, an epidemiologist from the Burnet Institute, said Australia was probably in the worst phase of the pandemic.

Professor Toole has studied the latest international data and found that Australia had some of the highest COVID-19-related numbers per capita.

“In the past seven days, Australia has ranked number three in cases per million population,” Professor Toole said.

“That excludes the very tiny islands like the Channel Islands and other small places.

“We [also] ranked number three for deaths per capita, so much higher than the US, UK, France, Germany.”

Experts plead with public to wear masks

Australia does mandate masks in high-risk settings such as aged care, hospitals and public transport but Professor Toole said it was not enough.

“If you look at other countries, a number of countries in Europe still have stronger mask mandates than Australia, and they have a lot higher compliance,” he said.

Professor Toole pointed to a Burnet Institute study that showed mask-wearing doubled when Victoria first made it compulsory in 2020.

“The messaging out there is very very confusing,” he said, arguing Australians were not getting clear signals on mask-wearing and other precautionary measures.

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