Jason Roberts bail application denied, as accused murderer awaits retrial over Silk-Miller killings

A man accused of the notorious murder of two police officers will have to continue the fight for his freedom from behind bars, after Victoria’s highest court knocked back his plea to be released on bail.

Jason Roberts, 40, has already spent more than half his life in prison over his alleged role in the killings of Sergeant Gary Silk and Senior Constable Rodney Miller in 1998, but still maintains his innocence.

Late last year, his convictions were overturned and a new trial was ordered after it was revealed that a key piece of evidence used to convict him was fabricated.

He applied for bail a short time later in the hopes of firming up his defence while in the community, but his request was knocked back by the Supreme Court which said that if he were to be found guilty again, he would have only served a “mere fraction” of his sentence.

Mr Roberts challenged the decision in Victoria’s Court of Appeal, but today that was also knocked back.

“The appeal must be dismissed,” wrote Justices Chris Maxwell, Richard Niall and Karin Emerton.

“Put simply, he was in prison serving a sentence which was valid until it was set aside,” the justices said.

“At no point during the period after his conviction was he in custody awaiting trial. In no sense were the prosecuting authorities slow to bring him to trial.”

Today’s decision means Mr Roberts will remain in Victoria’s maximum-security Barwon Prison.

The slaying of the two police officers, which is known as the Silk-Miller murders, has been one of Victoria’s most well-documented crimes.

On August 16, 1998, Sergeant Silk and Senior Constable Miller were lying in wait for two unknown men who police believed were responsible for a series of armed robberies in Melbourne’s south-east.

Shortly after midnight, they pulled over a car outside the Silky Emperor Restaurant on Cochranes Road in Moorabbin, when they were shot and killed.

After a four-and-a-half-month trial, a jury convicted Mr Roberts and another man, Bandali Debs, over the murders of the two officers in 2002.

Mr Roberts has always maintained his innocence.

He was 17 at the time of the killings and was ordered to serve 35 years before he was eligible for parole.

He now admits he was committing the armed robberies.

Debs was sentenced to life in prison without parole, with the sentencing judge telling him: “Life means life.”

By 2005, Mr Roberts had already exhausted all his avenues for appeal, including in Australia’s High Court.

In 2019, Victoria’s Parliament passed a new law which allowed a second appeal if there was fresh and compelling evidence, a provision which Mr Roberts’s lawyers seized on.

A key piece of evidence used to convict the men was a collection of statements from police officers on the scene who heard Senior Constable Miller declare that two men were responsible for the shooting.

But in 2019, Victoria’s Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) uncovered that one of those statements, prepared by Senior Constable Glenn Pullin, was made months — and not hours — after the shooting.

The statement was backdated, and did not explain that Senior Constable Pullin was not listening carefully to what later became known as the “dying declarations” of Senior Constable Miller, but was instead comforting him.

The discovery was significant because prosecutors relied on Senior Constable Pullin’s evidence to back the suggestion there were two offenders, and corroborate other police accounts.

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Maharashtra awaits guidelines on role of private sector in next phase of Covid vaccination

While the Centre has, in its review meeting with states and union territories, stressed on improving the pace of vaccination in Maharashtra, health officials are awaiting directives on the involvement of the private sector in rolling out the Covid-19 vaccine.

From March 1, Covid-19 vaccination will be extended to people aged 60 years and above, and those above 45, who have comorbidities.

States and union territories have been advised to expand vaccination sessions to all public healthcare facilities, along with CGHS and PM-JAY empaneled hospitals, from March.

State Immunisation Officer Dr D N Patil told The Indian Express, “We need to wait for standard operating procedures and guidelines from the Centre…. The announcements have been made and presently, we have enough doses for the listed vaccine beneficiaries – 28.37 lakh doses of Covishield vaccine and 4.8 lakh doses of Covaxin.”

Maharashtra has vaccinated 11.09 lakh vaccine beneficiaries so far. After Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra is on the fifth spot, with the highest number of vaccinations. In Pune district, 65.2 per cent healthcare workers have been vaccinated (73,624). Satara district has registered 75.4 per cent vaccination of healthcare workers (19,667) and Solapur district has registered 80 per cent vaccination of healthcare workers (27,147)

However, at Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture, president Sudhir Mehta has pointed out that given the rising case load in Maharashtra and Kerala, the central government should prioritise vaccination of the vulnerable population in these two states.

“Pune, which is again emerging as the epicenter of the disease, would need 2 million doses and that should be provided forthwith. The logic is simple — the crisis in these two states is acute and all efforts should be taken to defuse the same. The government’s decision to include the private sector in the vaccine rollout is certainly welcome,” Mehta told The Indian Express.

He also raised concerns about the lack of preparation to roll out the third phase of the vaccine. “The COWIN app will be rolled out and soon technical glitches can be anticipated due to the heavy rush to register. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has generated its own database, which will be exported onto the COWIN platform once it is launched. Something similar could have been done at least in Pune and Mumbai to make the experience seamless,” said Mehta, who is also among the founders of a voluntary group, Pune Platform for Covid Response.

“We are waiting for more clarity on what is termed as comorbidity, which would be a criterion for 45 plus people to get the vaccine. Such a definition would help the authorities be better prepared. The pandemic at its present stage is certainly scary… given the fact that Pune’s numbers are again on the rise. The vaccine rollout should be as smooth as possible to arrest the spread of the disease. Uncontrolled spread would force the hands of the authorities towards a lockdown, which would have catastrophic effect,” said the MCCIA president.

– Stay updated with the latest Pune news. Follow Express Pune on Twitter here and on Facebook here. You can also join our Express Pune Telegram channel here.

Indian Medical Association member Dr Sanjay Patil, who is also chairman of the Hospital Board of India, Pune Chapter, said that the IMA has requested Pune Municipal Corporation authorities to start a vaccination centre on the IMA campus. “IMA’s 15 to 20 hospitals are ready to participate in the vaccination drive,” said Dr Patil.

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Ex-bikie in Qld police video awaits sentence for DV offences

A former NRL rising star who has become the face of a bikie gang reform program, boasting about turning his life around, is awaiting sentencing on domestic violence charges, it has been revealed.

Dan Kilian, who played under-20s for the Gold Coast Titans and Newcastle Knights before becoming a Rebels recruit, fronts a 27-minute video released by Queensland Police on February 4.

The program is for former outlaw motorcycle gang (OMCG) members “wanting a lasting way out of gang life”.

The two Gangs Exit episodes, including ‘Man Mountain – The Dan Kilian Story’, were produced in partnership with the Australian Federal Police and the Queensland Government.

Kilian, 24, is currently awaiting sentencing in the ACT Magistrates Court for two counts of assault causing actual bodily harm to his pregnant partner.

He is also charged with one count of intentionally choking, suffocating or strangling her.

Asked by news.com.au if Queensland Police was aware of Kilian’s latest crimes before the video was released, a spokeswoman said it “did not disclose these matters in the video so as to protect the privacy and confidentiality of the victim”.

“The QPS liaised with the victim throughout the production and release of the video however we regret if the video has caused any concern to the victim or her family,” the spokeswoman said in a statement on Monday night.

“The whole intent of the Exit productions is to expose the risks and dangers of being involved in OMCGs and encourage people to seek help, including opening up the dialogue that needs to be happening about domestic violence in these gangs.

“The production featuring Dan Kilian focuses on the impact of his involvement in an OMCG and exposes the subsequent challenges, including his own relationships.

“These prevention videos are not about individuals being portrayed as society’s role models. Far from it, they are personal accounts about the impact of domestic violence, the impact of gang membership, the challenges of drugs, mental health and about the benefits of seeking professional help.”

She said the decision to release the video was made as part of the Queensland Police domestic and family violence prevention strategy.

But the woman has slammed police, telling The Courier-Mail she felt misled and had been traumatised by the release of the video.

“Fundamentally the QLD Government and AFP are promoting their cause while deliberately not telling the whole story as it doesn’t fit their narrative,” she told the newspaper.

“It was going to be transparent about the current situation he was in. They were going to change the attention to the other guy (in the second film) and take the spotlight off Dan as his current actions aren’t one of someone who had reformed and unfortunately he had relapsed.”

According to QPS, women in relationships with gang members are 640 per cent more likely to be a victim of domestic and family violence than the general population.

“The severity of DFV incidents is 428 per cent higher in an OMCG relationship, including a significantly higher presence of strangulation,” the force states.

RELATED: Bikies given helping hand to change ways

Kilian spent two years and two months behind bars in Queensland and New South Wales, including for trafficking more than 10,000 ecstasy pills for the Rebels.

In the Gangs Exit video, he said he was “all about reformation instead of incarceration”.

“The power of reformation is extremely powerful, if done the right way with the right people,” he said.

“It’s not shameful. Anyone who looks down upon it, it’s unintelligent. Because it’s the way of the world now. And as much as we should chuck people in jail for their wrongs, we should also try and reform them.”

In the film, Kilian said he is “still not perfect”.

“It’s not until I become a great father, a great person, a great worker, a great friend, I think then I’ll forgive myself,” he said in the video.

“That’s been one of my biggest drivers for change and reformation and to help others, is the guilt that I carry. It’s not the only thing I’m guilty about in my life.

“So my reasoning for reformation is to try and give back, give back to the NRL, give back to young men, give back to my family in a way where I can say thank you for your support and also sorry for what I’ve done. And I live my life, nearly every day, trying to do that.

“It’s hard to move on when you’re still getting stones thrown at you for what you’ve done.

“You do one crime and get punished 100 times in all different facets of life. Whether it’s people’s opinions, whether the court of law, whether it’s a job you go to that you don’t get. There’s always a knock on the door for what you’ve done.

“But that comes with it and if you make that choice to do those crimes and to do those things and to join those (OMCG) clubs, then that’s what you’ve got to be willing to have in your life.

“You have to think, when you’re committing to this lifestyle, whether you’re in it or whether you get out of it, it’s kind of a stamp that sticks with you for a long time.

“And then you have to find people who are going to accept you for that. Not only from people that are going to employ you, from partners who are going to accept that, partner’s families that are going to accept that.

“It’s very, very hard. I’ve learnt for myself, I get judged every day for who I used to be.”

Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said the people featured in the videos “chose to participate because they want to highlight to others the effect gang membership has had on their health, families and future”.

“For many ex-gang members, staying out of gangs and criminal activity is influenced by a range of factors and motivators, which individuals find difficult,” she said last Thursday.

“It is these factors the Exit Program are trying to address in order to reduce gang-related crime and the harm it causes families and communities.”

Police said Kilian was not paid for his appearance in the Gangs Exit episode.

“No person who appears in the features has received any benefit from the Queensland Police Service for their role,” the spokeswoman told news.com.au.

She said police will soon commence production of a story featuring the risk to women in relationships with OMCG.

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U.S. Congress passes nearly $900 billion COVID-19 aid bill, awaits Trump approval

December 22, 2020

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed a stopgap measure to fund U.S. agencies for another week after Congress passed a $892 billion COVID-19 aid package overnight that aims to shore up the nation’s pandemic response and bolster the battered economy.

The coronavirus package is tied to general federal government funding to avert a government shutdown – together worth about $2.3 trillion in spending for the rest of the fiscal year – and is now awaiting Trump’s approval to become law.

In the meantime, U.S. lawmakers moved to fund federal agencies through Dec. 28 to prevent a lapse in government operations. Trump signed the stopgap funding bill into law on Tuesday, the White House said.

The COVID-19 provisions aim to throw a lifeline to the U.S. economy after months of inaction as the novel coronavirus outbreak continues to swell nationwide, with more than 214,000 people infected every day. So far, more than 317,000 Americans have died.

The wide-ranging bill includes $600 payments to most Americans and additional payments to the millions of people thrown out of work during the COVID-19 pandemic, just as a earlier benefits expire on Saturday.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who has said COVID-aid related checks could be sent to people as soon as next week, praised the deal in statement on Tuesday.

“We are fully committed to ensuring that hardworking Americans get this vital support as quickly as possible and to further strengthening our economic recovery,” Mnuchin said.

(Editing by Susan Heavey and Steve Orlofsky)

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US awaits word on 2nd vaccine as COVID-19 outbreak worsens – Long Island Business News

The U.S. stood on the verge of adding a second COVID-19 vaccine to its arsenal Friday as the outbreak passes through its most lethal phase yet, with the nation regularly recording over 3,000 deaths per day.

The Food and Drug Administration was evaluating a shot developed by Moderna Inc. and the National Institutes of Health and was expected to give it the green light soon, clearing the way for its use to begin as early as Monday.

That would give the U.S. a critical new weapon against the coronavirus in addition to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine now being dispensed to millions of health care workers and nursing home patients as part of the biggest vaccination drive in American history.

The go-ahead from the FDA would mark the world’s first authorization of Moderna’s shots. Large but unfinished studies show that both vaccines appear safe and strongly protective, though Moderna’s is easier to handle, since it does not need to be kept at ultra-frozen temperatures like the Pfizer-BioNTech shot. Both require two doses for full protection.

A second vaccine represents a ray of hope amid despair as the virus continues to spread unabated even before holiday gatherings certain to fuel the outbreak.

The scourge has claimed more than 310,000 U.S. lives and killed 1.6 million people worldwide. New cases in the U.S. are running at over 216,000 per day on average. Deaths per day have hit all-time highs, eclipsing 3,600 on Wednesday.

California has emerged as one of the most lethal hot spots, with hospitals running out of intensive care beds and ambulances lining up outside emergency rooms in scenes reminiscent of the calamity around New York City last spring. California on Friday reported over 41,000 new cases and 300 more deaths in a single day.

“I am fearful it will be worse than what we saw in New York,” said Dr. Marc Futernick, an emergency room physician in Los Angeles. When New York’s hospitals were in crisis, health care workers from across the country came to help out.

“None of that is happening right now, and there’s no way for it to happen because every place is busy. There’s no cavalry coming,” Futernick said.

The goal is to vaccinate 80% or so of the U.S. population by mid-2021 to finally conquer the outbreak.

Even with Moderna’s doses added to the U.S. supply, however, there won’t be enough vaccine for the general population until spring, and shots will be rationed in the meantime. And while health workers are enthusiastically embracing vaccination, authorities worry other Americans may need more reassurance to get in line when it’s their turn.

To help instill public confidence in the shot, Vice President Mike Pence received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination on live TV Friday, along with Surgeon General Jerome Adams.

FDA clearance could help pave the way for other countries that are considering the Moderna vaccine. European regulators could authorize its use as soon as Jan. 6. Britain, Canada and a few other countries already have cleared the Pfizer-BioNTech shot, with a European Union decision due Monday.

“What we want to always remember is one size does not fit all. We want to have options,” said Dr. Paul Duprex of the University of Pittsburgh.

Moderna has about 5.9 million doses ready for shipment set to begin over the weekend. Injections of health workers and nursing home residents continue next week, before other essential workers and vulnerable groups are allowed to get in line.

Both Moderna’s and Pfizer-BioNTech’s shots are so-called mRNA vaccines, made with a groundbreaking new technology. They use a piece of genetic code that trains the immune system to recognize the spike protein on the surface of the virus, ready to attack if the real thing comes along.

Experts are hoping the two together will “break the back of the pandemic” when combined with masks and other precautions, said Dr. Arnold Monto of the University of Michigan, who chaired an advisory committee that debated the data on the shots ahead of the FDA’s decisions.

Emergency authorization from the FDA means a vaccine is still experimental, with studies required to continue to track long-term safety and answer lingering questions.

Data provided to the FDA’s advisers show that the Moderna vaccine was more than 94% effective at preventing COVID-19 in people 18 and older and that it strongly protected older adults, who are most vulnerable.

A study of more than 30,000 volunteers uncovered no major safety problems so far. Side effects typically seen with other vaccinations were common, such as sore arms, fever, fatigue and muscle aches, which are signs the immune system is revving up.

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Australian Open 2021 | Little but quarantine misery awaits players at ‘happy slam’

“The happy slam,” they call the Australian Open, a tournament whose sunshine and holiday-season charms are reliably seductive for a British audience wreathed in winter murk. Next year’s 109th edition threatens, however, to put that billing to the sternest test. For it is difficult for any of the 256 main-draw players to approach Melbourne with much vigour or bounce on learning that they will, at a minimum, be subject to 19 hours of daily isolation in hotel rooms for a fortnight, with six coronavirus tests thrown in. Spare a thought, perhaps, for the poor souls who emerge from two weeks’ incarceration to be double-bagelled in the first round.

At least they will receive $100,000 losers’ cheques to compensate for the numbing grind of quarantine. Beyond that, it is difficult to find justification, given Australia’s ferociously strict COVID-19 laws, for why this major is taking place at all. It is simply trading on players’ desperation for international competition of any kind, bored to tears as they must be, for example, by the prospect of a third Battle of the Brits at Roehampton next week.

Regular winner: Novak Djokovic with the Australian Open trophy.Credit:AP

As for the traditional pleasures of a southern-hemisphere summer, forget it. What possible joy is to be had for those 128 players, who, having squirrelled themselves away for 14 days, are eliminated by day two of the event itself? At the other end of the scale, one struggles to imagine why Roger Federer will willingly imprison himself in his unlikely quest for a title he has already won six times.

Be in no doubt, he will, as the world’s most venerated athlete and a close friend of Craig Tiley, the chief executive of Tennis Australia, be lavishly looked after. His experience will have about as much in common with that of the average repatriated Australian as that of Dannii Minogue and Nicole Kidman, who secured exemptions from the full miseries of hotel quarantine on the technicality of being famous.

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Australia news live: China row simmers; NSW awaits Covid case numbers | Australia news



Australia’s foreign minister, Marise Payne, is about to address the foreign diplomatic corps in Canberra about the Indo-Pacific.

Essentially she’ll be speaking to the ambassadors and senior representatives of other countries who have diplomatic representation in Australia.

The attendees at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade include Wang Xining, China’s deputy head of mission, who addressed the National Press Club a few months back.

Payne’s office has billed this as an important keynote speech. We’ll have more details soon.


New South Wales police have paid out more than $100m in relation to legal settlements over the past four years but in most cases details of the suits were never made public due to confidentiality clauses that prevent victims speaking about alleged officer misconduct.

Figures obtained by the NSW upper house Greens MP David Shoebridge show the amount paid to settle claims against officers each year dwarfs the official sums reported by NSW police.

In the past four financial years police in the state have settled more than 1,000 civil cases. The settlements cover a sweeping range of misconduct claims, including unlawful searches, illegal arrests, false imprisonment, assault and harassment. The figure includes legal costs as well as damages paid to plaintiffs.

The cost of the payments to taxpayers has never dropped below $20m a year, peaking at $32.6m in 2016-17. In the past four years NSW police have handed out $113.5m to settle claims.

Read the full report below:


EU condemns China over ‘irresponsible’ tweet

The European Union has blasted China over an “irresponsible, insensitive” tweet about Australian military personnel as the regional bloc revealed it has raised the issue directly with a Chinese vice-foreign minister.

The Chinese Embassy in Canberra.

The Chinese Embassy in Canberra. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

A senior EU official told the Guardian the EU regretted the recent deterioration in ties between China and Australia – which has seen Beijing take a series of trade actions against Australian exports – and called on the two sides to “re-engage in dialogue, avoid escalation and unilateral pressure”.

The statement from the EU comes after the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, France and New Zealand criticised the actions of a Chinese foreign ministry official official in tweeting a digitally created image depicting an Australian soldier cutting the throat of a child in Afghanistan.

“We consider the deliberate dissemination of a fabricated image via social media accounts affiliated with China’s ministry of foreign affairs to be irresponsible, insensitive and not at all constructive, particularly given the subject in question,” Nabila Massrali, the EU’s spokesperson for foreign affairs and security policy, told the Guardian on Friday.

Read the full report below:





Queensland border unlikely to close to NSW



The mother of a 19-year-old who died from a drug overdose at a music festival has urged the New South Wales premier to change the state’s laws by allowing police to let people off with warnings when caught with small amounts of drugs.

Jennie Ross-King’s daughter Alex died in January 2019 after she took an unusually high amount of MDMA before arriving at a festival because she was afraid of being caught with the drugs by police.

Her death was one of six examined in a landmark inquest before the NSW deputy coroner Harriet Grahame last year. It helped lead to Grahame’s finding that high-visibility policing tactics such as drug dogs and “large scale” strip-searching at music festivals “increases rather than decreases” the risks associated with drugs.

On Thursday, Ross-King told the Guardian that a proposal being considered by the NSW government to change drug laws in the state by introducing a warning system for people caught in possession of a small amount of drugs was “absolutely” a good idea.

Read the full story below:







Pell contempt decision to be handed down this afternoon





Global Covid-19 death toll surpasses 1.5 million






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Tough task awaits Melbourne Victory

Short-term pain should lead to long-term gain for a new-look Melbourne Victory squad using their AFC Champions League campaign in Qatar as a learning and bonding experience on and off the field.

Nine months on since their most recent Group E match, a 1-0 loss to FC Seoul in Korea, the Victory resume their Champions League campaign on Tuesday night against Chinese team Beijing FC in Doha.

Half the team from that defeat are no longer with the club, there is a different coach in Grant Brebner and a host of new and inexperienced players in a Victory squad in a rebuilding phase following a disastrous 2019-20 A-League campaign.

And while there was more than a hint of apprehension throughout the squad about travelling to Qatar during the current COVID climate, Brebner said time away together was ideal for his new squad that’s expected to struggle to reach the knockout stages of the tournament.

“While I’m competitive and want to win games, I’ve got to remove myself a little bit from it and say where we’re at is a little bit behind where we would like to be” Brebner said.

“What we can do is we can really work hard as a group in this hotel environment in Qatar and in Sydney (in quarantine) when we get back towards building … a real togetherness.

“We cannot finish 10th again (in the A-League), and we understand whether we’re playing well or playing badly, we’re going to have a squad of players that desperately want to win football games for the benefit of everybody else, not just themselves.

“It’s really good from that perspective that we’re all together living day in, day out in each other’s pockets.”

With a host of teenagers in his squad, Brebner is not expecting a miracle on Tuesday night or any of the Victory’s three other group matches in Qatar.

“We’ve brought over 22 players and we’re a little bit of a mix of youth and experience, players that have played a number of games and players that haven’t played any games in the A-League,” the Victory coach said.

“Every one of them will be tested at certain points so it’s going to be a challenge but we’re here now and we’re ready to go.

“This is a major competition where we want and need to do well but it’s also a pre-season for us … so we’ll see how we go.

“I’m not going to judge them harshly.”

When the Victory do return to Australia for the start of the A-League season next month, they are set to have the services of former Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers and Middlesbrough striker Rudy Gestede, with Brebner saying the signing of the 32-year-old marksman was happening “very shortly”.

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Victorian restrictions to ease; South Australia back flips on lockdown; NSW awaits border announcement

From midnight tonight, restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings and the use of masks are all changing in Victoria.

From 11.59pm, Victorians will be allowed to have up to 15 people visit their home on any given day ahead of a further pre-Christmas increase to 30 people scheduled for December 13.

However, Mr Andrews reminded Victorians to beware, saying “gatherings in the family home can be the most dangerous”.

“We just need to be very, very careful not to be going out if we have got symptoms. Observe these limits – they are for you, not against you,” he said.

Under current restrictions, only two adults plus dependents are allowed.

Outdoor gatherings in public spaces will increase to a maximum of 50 people.

In a much-anticipated move, masks will no longer be required outdoors, so long as social distancing is maintained.

However, all Victorians will still need to carry a mask with them at all times.

Mr Andrews described a trip to Bunnings as an example of permitted mask use.

“If you go to Bunnings and you are inside the store, you are wearing a mask,” he said.

“If you are in the car park, you do not have to wear your mask, but if you are queueing up for a sausage, and you are with other people, and you are simply not keeping a distance, you are part of a crowd, you need to put the mask on.”

“Carry the mask, because you never know, even outside, when you might need to wear it.”

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Victoria records eighth day of no new cases, awaits Sunday decisions; United States continues record case numbers; Australia’s death toll remains at 907

“It is community-spread everywhere,” said Jaline Gerardin, an epidemiologist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

In part, the greater numbers are the result of the increased availability of testing, she said.

But the main problem was allowing the virus to simmer at fairly high levels throughout the summer, particularly among young people who congregated in bars and restaurants against expert advice.

“I think it ended up busting out of their own age group,” she said.

“It spread out from there, and what we’re seeing now is it’s in every age group . . . It’s just everywhere.”

The current case totals are an echo of late March, when according to epidemiologist Ali Mokdad, the first surge probably peaked at more than 283,000 cases per day.

But there was no way to know at the time, because the US testing regime was so inadequate, said Mokdad, chief strategy officer of population health for the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

With those limitations, the United States did not record its 120,000th infection overall until March 28, more than two months after the first case was identified in Snohomish County, Wash., records show.

On Friday, the nation registered more cases than that in a single day.

To date, the virus has killed nearly 236,000 people in the United States and infected more than 9.7 million, according to data analysed by The Washington Post.

Friday’s alarming case load may soon seem quaint. Without a coordinated national strategy for containing the virus, Mokdad’s institute is forecasting more than 305,000 cases a day by December 31 and more than 686,000 a day if all restrictions are relaxed.

Universal mask-wearing and other steps could bring that down to 172,000, the models show.

At current infection rates, there is only a short time left to prevent overwhelming the nation’s hospital system, Mokdad said.

That will require a national mask mandate, or some way of forcing states to adopt mandatory mask-wearing, and a coordinated plan to move staff and patients from hospitals with capacity to others that lack it, if necessary, he said.

The Washington Post

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