/ 25 August 2021

Delta’s dawn some time away

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Australia continues to grapple with the vaccination/lockdowns equation, there are some developments in other countries that are fighting off their own run-ins with the Delta variant of the coronavirus. The contagious strain is responsible for 650,000 cases and 10,000 deaths a day…

• America’s top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci has warned Delta won’t be under control until March-May next year – and that will depend on more people getting vaccinated. Officials hope the US drug regulator’s full approval of the Pfizer jab yesterday will convert some vaccine sceptics.

• Across the ditch, New Zealand reported 41 new local cases yesterday, taking the current outbreak’s total to 148. Top health official Dr Ashley Bloomfield has been talking Delta tactics with Australia, and the consensus is that Delta “is like dealing with a whole new virus”.

• And China could be the world’s first country to control a major Delta outbreak. The nation’s trademark strict COVID restrictions have squashed an outbreak that spread to more than half of the country’s 31 provinces since late July. This week, officials said there are no new cases to report. That’s what placing millions of residents under strict lockdown and restricting domestic travel can do. Hang on…

Pretty much the same as yesterday. And the day before that. But one piece of encouraging news is that extended periods of home learning do not appear to have affected students’ academic performance. That’s according to NAPLAN testing data released overnight that shows literacy and numeracy tests done earlier this year for Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 delivered similar results to 2019. And Victorian primary students – the home learning champs – came out on top. Experts warn it is too early to conclude that Aussie kids’ education won’t be set back because of home learning, but David de Carvalho from the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority said the report should be “welcomed by governments, schools, parents and carers”. Now to get ‘em vaccinated against COVID…

Image source: ABC News

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