Local medical experts watching Coronvirus in Australia and South Africa

Australia could be a glimpse of what's ahead

Jacksonville, Fla. — Doctors and scientists around the world, including in Jacksonville, are closely monitoring Australia and South Africa’s coronavirus numbers through their winter months.

Australia was considered to have the virus broadly under control, now its success story is beginning to unravel. Medical experts say winter coronavirus deaths could be higher with a new wave in winter months.

The state of Victoria recently declared a state of disaster with a record 671 new infections in a day imposing a 6-week lockdown.

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Kathryn Ingler, who is from Florida has lived in Australia for six years.

“You could not leave what we called a bubble, you could not leave a 5-kilometer radius,” Ingler explained Australia’s past and current restrictions on a zoom call from her home in Sydney.

Ingler said restaurants in the country are taking customer information in case they need to be contacted for virus contact tracing.

Chad Neilsen, the director of infectious disease prevention at UF Health Jacksonville said patterns in Australia and South Africa’s winter months are important to watch.

“Both South Africa and other parts of Australia were successful in keeping coronavirus under control, and then winter hit, and they are seeing an unprecedented spike in cases in both countries,” Neilsen said.

According to the world health organization, Australia has 9 deaths per one million where the United States has 468 per one million.

Ingler has not left Sydney since March and does not know when she can visit the U.S. again, an uneasy feeling if something were to happen to a loved one.

“I can’t leave because I can’t get back in, right. So if anything were to happen to my family or friends of mine, I couldn’t do anything about it, it’s quite a helpless feeling.” Ingler said.