10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Good morning all.

Victoria recorded 57 new cases of COVID-19 this morning. It’s the highest daily number in this particular outbreak. Thirteen people were out and about in the community for at least some of their infectious period. 

NSW reported its biggest daily surge in COVID-19 case numbers yesterday, with 633 new local cases and another three deaths. At least 92 cases were in the community during their infectious period. The Nine papers cite some infectious disease experts who fear that the daily case count could hit more than 2,200 if the current reproductive rate is not reduced.

There appears to be a growing sense that the size of the NSW outbreak and the increased infectiousness of the Delta strain mean that driving transmission to zero south of the border might not be possible. “It’s a numbers game and absolutely the more cases in NSW, the higher risk to other states like Victoria,” said Professor Maximilian de Courten, a public health expert with Victoria University’s Mitchell Institute. “Some modelling suggests even if we get down to zero and open up, the virus will break through in four to six weeks, causing a lockdown. That may be even faster with cases so high. It’s this yo-yo lockdown situation that nobody wanted.”

Qantas will make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for its entire workforce. All frontline staff, including pilots, flight attendants, and airport ground staff must be fully vaccinated by mid-November. “It’s our responsibility to provide the safest possible environment for our employees and for our customers,” CEO Alan Joyce said.

BHP’s decision to ‘get out’ of oil and gas isn’t being received well by climate analysts. If approved, Woodside Petroleum would control those assets in a deal slammed as “disastrous” for shareholders and the climate. Critics say BHP is cynically walking away from its responsibility, with the ‘Adani of LNG projects’ set to progress as a result.

Winemaking giant Treasury Wine Estates has beaten expectations and returned to profit growth. That’s despite China’s punitive tariffs, which signalled doom for the local wine industry when they were slapped on last year. The company credits growth in alternative markets like Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand for making up the difference.

But the carnage in the energy sector continues. Origin Energy has slumped to a loss of $2.29 billion for 2020-21, largely due to heavy writedowns. Chief executive Frank Calabria described the operating conditions as “challenging”, and said investors should be prepared for challenging conditions to persist due to low power prices and higher fuel costs.

Last week, a Triple J show reached out to an influencer known for promoting anti-vax and anti-lockdown content, and social media audiences pushed back. Experts say there’s crossover between content created by conspiratorial wellness influencers and those in far-right extremist groups — and it has the potential to be equally dangerous. It raises questions around how gender plays into how the media covers conspiracy and extremism – read our report here.

Fund managers surveyed by Bank of America are increasingly worried about the global economic recovery. Only 27% of fund managers expect growth to improve this year. That’s the smallest share since April 2020. Conversely, the net percentage of fund managers expecting the global economy to get “a little weaker” rose to 28% in August from 21%. That’s the highest since March 2020.

Chinese officials said this week they will look to regulate high income and expand the country’s middle class. The announcement signals that China is taking a tougher stance on unequal wealth distribution in the country. President Xi Jinping said the country is focused on “common prosperity.” Officials at a meeting pledged to increase the incomes of low-income groups, according to a meeting summary published by Xinhua.

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