DIGEST

The Informer: The worst way to end a week

The worst way to end a week

Oh Friday, seriously? Bad news is one thing - and really, we're all a tad more immune than ever before - but it was a gut punch we didn't need.

So far today, 98 COVID-related deaths have been announced across the nation, but some states have yet to report. Our deadliest day of the pandemic, authorities say.

But, as if this provides a crumb of comfort, this does not mean that all those deaths occurred on January 27. But they still happened. And people will be left with just memories, not the warm beating hearts of their loved ones.

Burnet Institute epidemiologist Mike Toole believes the way our COVID statistics are reported is calculated to induce a falsely comforting narrative that the virus only hunts and kills the old, the infirm, the weak or the unvaccinated.

"The reporting around underlying health conditions must stop because it's giving people a wrong impression about how dangerous the virus is," Professor Toole said.

"The fact is most of those underlying health conditions, like heart disease or asthma, are all very well managed; these people would still be alive if they hadn't had COVID."

And as maligned as Twitter may be, one account serves to humanise similar statistics from around the world. FacesOfCOVID started in March 2020, the account is essentially an online memorial. It tells the "stories of those lost to COVID per news reports, obits and submissions. They were more than a statistic".

It's heartbreaking and devastating, and doesn't necessarily include too many Australians. Yet.

In another disturbing reality, a fake letter claiming to be from Greg Hunt was allegedly used by a company attempting to illegally import unapproved rapid antigen tests.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration revealed it is working with the Australian Federal Police to investigate "false documentation" provided by a company looking to circumvent the strict regulations.

And as the campaign for the federal election that hasn't actually been called yet continues to roll on, the Great Barrier Reef has turned into a political football of sorts.

Climate scientists have questioned the timing of a $1 billion Great Barrier Reef spending splash just days before Australia's deadline to update UNESCO on actions to protect the World Heritage site.

UNESCO previously asked Australia to provide more information by next Tuesday about what's being done to protect the reef.

If I was a high school student, I'd be pretty pleased with undercutting that deadline - not by hours, by days! And let's face it, getting a commitment to protect the wonderfulness that is the Great Barrier Reef might be the closest we get to good news today.

THE NEWS YOU NEED TO KNOW:

This story The worst way to end a week first appeared on The Canberra Times.