Good morning, this is Emilie Gramenz bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Tuesday 4 August.
Epidemiologists say Victoria’s rise in Covid-19 cases is so rapid that contact tracing can no longer be relied upon to unearth all of the state’s potential clusters. Contact tracing involves interviewing confirmed cases, calling their close contacts, checking up on those in isolation and investigating links between individual cases and possible clusters. The further lockdown restrictions in Victoria, including industry shutdowns, are expected to put one in seven of its workers out of work. Unions have cautiously welcomed the introduction of a pandemic leave disaster payment of $1,500 a fortnight. The tighter rules in Melbourne have comforted some. With cases rising in NSW, the premier, Gladys Berejiklian, is facing mounting pressure to make face masks mandatory in some parts of the state. And a frontline health worker has told the ABC’s Q+A program that the deaths and outbreaks in Melbourne’s aged care “could have been prevented”.
There might never be a “silver bullet” for Covid-19 in the form of a perfect vaccine, the World Health Organization has said as cases continue to rise globally. Iranian state television says one person is dying from Covid-19 in the country every seven minutes, with a report claiming the overall toll from the virus is three times higher than authorities have admitted. The number of coronavirus patients admitted to intensive care units in Belgium has doubled in a month. An Italian study has found more than half of people who received hospital treatment for Covid-19 were found to be suffering from a psychiatric disorder a month later. Russia claims to be ahead of rivals in the race to produce a vaccine, amid claims it has rushed through safety testing.
Research has found the extreme melting of New Zealand’s glaciers in 2018 was at least 10 times more likely to have happened due to human-caused global heating. Annual monitoring flights over 50 glaciers have been taking place in New Zealand since 1977 and record the position of the snowline and the thickness and flow of the ice. There was less snow on the glaciers in 2018 than had ever been seen before.
A world-first study has delved into sexual misconduct complaints made against Australian health professionals. Medical practitioners, psychologists, chiropractors and osteopaths comprised almost three-quarters of sexual misconduct complaints made to health regulators.
Rainfall across Australia was 43% below average in July. It continues a long-term drying trend consistent with rising atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions, according to the weather bureau.
Labor has labelled comments by the federal Liberal MP Craig Kelly “offensive” and “irresponsible” after he questioned whether the Victorian premier Daniel Andrews could be criminally liable for blocking the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19.
A New York prosecutor trying to access Donald Trump’s tax returns told a judge on Monday that he was justified in demanding them, citing public reports of “extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization”. The Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance, is seeking eight years of the Republican president’s personal and corporate tax records.
Swedish officials have promised more police and tougher punishments amid public outrage after a 12-year-old girl was killed by a stray bullet. It happened during an apparent gangland shooting at a petrol station car park south of Stockholm.
Spain’s former king Juan Carlos is to leave the country and go into exile abroad. It follows a series of damning allegations about his financial arrangements that have harmed the reputation of the monarchy and embarrassed his son, King Felipe.
The Chinese firm behind the TikTok video app is weighing up plans to open a headquarters in London. Boris Johnson is reportedly prepared to risk Donald Trump’s anger by rolling out the red carpet for the company.
“I believe Pell is a good man.” In this exclusive extract from her book The Case of George Pell: Reckoning with Child Sexual Abuse by Clergy, Guardian Australia reporter Melissa Davey interviews Robert Richter, the barrister who defended Pell.
One of the biggest problems for Australia is that unlike previous recessions we did not enter this one with a strong economy, writes Greg Jericho. “The stores of economic success were already depleted after six years of flat household income growth and thus we have had a bust without any boom.”
Traditional whole-animal butcheries have become a rarity in many developed countries. The owners and customers of the Sydney butchery Feather and Bone guide you through several recipes using unusual animal parts – which can seem intimidating, but can also be easy and delicious.
Will a vaccine or recovery from the virus give us long-term immunity to Covid-19?New evidence on how our bodies combat the virus has huge implications for the development of a vaccine. If recovery from Covid-19 or a vaccine do not provide long-term immunity, what does this mean for the prospects of ever getting back to pre-crisis normality?
A brave new world or financial freefall? That’s the question that faces all sports as the digital revolution in broadcasting gathers pace. But while heavy hitters such as the AFL and NRL have fiscal security in the shape of long-term, lucrative deals with “traditional” media to help ease the transition, Simon Hill writes, for others there is a need for speed.
Fifa has forcefully rejected any suggestion of wrongdoing against its president, Gianni Infantino, after the Swiss special federal prosecutor announced a criminal investigation last week into three meetings Infantino had with Switzerland’s then attorney general, Michael Lauber.
The Victorian government has flagged harsher penalties for those caught flouting coronavirus restrictions, according to the Age. The Australian reports that elderly Australians are more than three times as concerned about the impact of the recession as they are about their personal health. And the senior NSW minister Andrew Constance has warned that his own government has not done enough to protect the state from another devastating firestorm, reports the Daily Telegraph.
Labor’s deputy leader, Richard Marles, will deliver a speech to the National Press Club.
The Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to sit tight on the official cash rate.
And if you’ve read this far …
Americans have been planting mystery seeds which appear to have been sent from China, unaware of government warnings to dispose of the suspicious shipments. Last month the US Department of Agriculture warned people not to plant the seeds after more than a dozen states reported receiving the mystery packets in the mail.
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