Australians increasingly worried about COVID-19 as total cases surpass 26,000


Pedestrians, some wearing face masks, walk through Sydney's central business district on August 12, 2020. (Photo: AFP)

CANBERRA, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- Australians are growing increasingly concerned about the coronavirus pandemic, a survey has found.

Australian National University (ANU) researchers on Thursday published a poll of over 3,000 Australians taken during the height of Victoria's second wave of COVID-19 infections in August.

It found that 62.6 percent of Australians felt anxious or worried about the pandemic compared to 57.3 percent during the first wave of infections in May.

"Young Australians also continue to have the highest rates of anxiety and worry in terms of age groups," Nicholas Biddle, the co-author of the study, said in a media release.

"Worry and anxiety among Australians aged 25-34 years increased from 63.4 percent in May to 69.2 percent in August."

The survey was published as Australia surpassed 26,000 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday.

As of Thursday afternoon there had been 26,049 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, and the number of new cases in last 24 hours is 127.

The death toll has increased by 15 to 678. All 15 deaths were in Victoria, the hardest-hit state by the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. Six occurred between Wednesday and Thursday, with the remaining nine having occurred earlier.

"14 of today's 15 deaths are linked to known outbreaks in aged care facilities. To date, 591 people have died from coronavirus in Victoria," said a statement from the Department of Health and Human Services in Victoria on Thursday.

Of the new cases, Victoria confirmed 113, its most in four days. New South Wales confirmed 12 more cases and Queensland another two.

Earlier on Thursday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg welcomed the Victorian government's plan to reveal a roadmap on Sunday to easing restrictions, saying that the state needs "hope."