Analysis of the first 6400 Australian coronavirus cases confirms the higher risk of death among people with diabetes, heart disease and lung disease.
Overall, 12 per cent of Australians with the virus had been hospitalised by April 12,or 752 people. Of those, 127 had been admitted to an intensive care unit and 36 cases had needed ventilation.
Among the 752 people hospitalised, 20 per cent had heart disease and 20 per cent had diabetes.
Among the 46 people who had died by April 12, one-third had diabetes, 30 per cent had heart disease and 30 per cent had chronic respiratory disease. At that stage there were no deaths under 60.
The median age of people hospitalised with coronavirus was 60 and the median age of people who had died was 78.
In line with the experience overseas, men are dying at higher rates than women, with 28 men and 18 women dying from the virus.
Cough remains the most common symptom, reported in 70 per cent of cases. Just under half (48 per cent) report fever, 40 per cent headache and 36 per cent sore throat.
Loss of taste was reported by 438 people and loss of smell by 443.
The data, from the latest weekly report from the Health Department, came as Australia had another day of largely good news, with only seven new cases reported to 3pm on Monday around the country. One of those was in Canberra. To 3pm on Monday, there were 6619 cases, with 71 deaths.
Last Thursday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the current restrictions on meetings and movement would remain in place for four weeks while authorities ramped up testing and tracing, which means mid-May before a substantial review.
But with the low number of new cases, authorities are easing up, with beaches reopened in Sydney, and elective surgery the first cab off the rank nationally.
The national cabinet will consider restarting elective surgery and IVF treatment when it meets on Tuesday.
Deputy chief medical officer Nick Coatsworth said the decision to restart elective surgery was "not something we are going to sit on for many weeks".
"While I will not preempt national cabinet decisions, this is something that we recognise that there are Australians out there who are in pain and have disability, cannot be in the workforce, they need to take very potent pain medication and they need their elective surgery done," he said.
The resumption would "build confidence in the health system".
"That will be really important for Australians to see that hospitals are safe places to go to for your surgery," he said. "That is the main focus of our work at the moment."
Dr Coatsworth said the national health committee was not focused on antibody testing to see whether people have already had the virus - with those tests still under development - but was developing a strategy for more widespread swab testing to find infections.
The government is also launching an app which it wants Australians to download on to mobile phones to help contact tracing. While the app has sparked privacy concerns, Dr Coatsworth stressed it would have a narrow scope and was not a geolocation app, and he said authorities were working to address privacy.
"What the app will do is just provide an added layer but if you want the icing on the cake to enable more, a greater percentage of people, to work out whether they are at risk or not," he said.
"We think that Australians will come with us on this.
"This is about letting those disease detectives know who someone has been in contact with for greater than 15 minutes and basically to help with our memory, if you will, because we can't remember everyone we have been in contact with for more than 15 minutes."
Professor of epidemiology Peter Doherty said while elimination was "a very ambitious goal", it was possible.
"There's this thought there, well, maybe we can eliminate it," he said. "But I don't think it was ever really our intent to eliminate it because we didn't really think we could get there. So we'll need a lot more testing and a lot better analysis."
While studies suggest people with diabetes are no more likely to become infected with coronavirus than the wider population, outcomes are worse. A Chinese meta-analysis found people with diabetes had twice the risk of severe disease or admission to intensive care.
Chronic inflammation, more blood clotting, an impaired immune response and damage to the pancreas are among the suspected reasons.
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