Australia appears to be on the cusp of an eighth COVID-19 wave, with an increase in cases across the country.
Victoria’s acting chief health officer has suggested all Melburnians consider donning masks again as community transmission surges, while NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant says case numbers will likely rise in the lead-up to Christmas.
Here’s a quick refresh on all of the key facts about coronavirus.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Health experts say COVID-19 has similar symptoms to the common cold or flu.
The Australian government lists the most common symptoms of COVID-19 as:
- Fever (37 degrees Celsius or higher)
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Shortness of breath (difficulty breathing)
Some of the less common symptoms you could experience include:
- Muscle or joint pain
- Nausea or loss of appetite
- Temporary loss of smell and/or taste
For most people who are vaccinated against COVID-19, it is a mild illness that can be managed at home by resting, eating a balanced diet, and staying hydrated.
How long do you have to isolate with COVID-19?
Isolation is no longer a legal requirement if you test positive for COVID-19.
But it is strongly recommended you stay home if positive.
If you have tested positive, the Australian government says you should not visit high-risk settings like hospitals and disability aged-care settings:
- For at least seven days or until symptoms have gone
- Unless seeking urgent medical assistance
If you are planning on leaving your home while infected, consider the following:
- Avoiding contact with people who are at a higher risk of severe disease
- Wearing a mask
- Practising good hygiene
- Avoiding school, public areas, or travel on public transport or ride-share services
How long is COVID contagious for?
There’s no exact timeframe.
“The infectious period is dependent on individual factors such as age, severity of illness, vaccination status, including time since last vaccination against COVID-19, and whether someone is immunocompromised,” a federal Department of Health spokesperson said.
“Some people can have a prolonged infectious period, however most people with mild-moderate illness are unlikely to be infectious for more than 10 days after symptom onset.
“Recent evidence suggests most children are likely no longer infectious by five days following a positive COVID-19 test.”
How long does it take to recover from COVID?
Most people infected with COVID recover within a few weeks of their first symptoms.
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Melbournians urged to mask up as COVID cases rise
However, some people can experience symptoms of the virus for several weeks after infection. This is known as long COVID.
People with long COVID report feeling extreme tiredness and fatigue, difficulty breathing, and problems with memory and concentration — “brain fog”.
The Australian government says long COVID recovery times will differ for each person, but most recover within three to four months.
What are the rules about face masks?
Face masks are no longer mandatory in most places.
But each state and territory has its own advice about face coverings and COVID-19 — so the advice is slightly different depending on where you are.
Here’s a quick wrap of what Victoria’s health department says on masks:
The government recommends wearing a mask:
- For at least seven days if you have COVID-19 and you need to leave home, you are indoors, or, you cannot maintain physical distance
- If you are a close contact and you need to leave home
- If you are visiting or working in a sensitive setting such as hospitals and aged care facilities