Med J Aust. 2020 Jul 17. doi: 10.5694/mja2.50698. Online ahead of print.
The rapid spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 led to the declaration of a global pandemic within 3 months of its emergence. The majority of patients presenting with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) experience a mild illness that can usually be managed in the community. Patients require careful monitoring and early referral to hospital if any signs of clinical deterioration occur. Increased age and the presence of comorbidities are associated with more severe disease and poorer outcomes. Treatment for COVID-19 is currently predominantly supportive care, focused on appropriate management of respiratory dysfunction. Clinical evidence is emerging for some specific therapies (including antiviral and immune-modulating agents). Investigational therapies for COVID-19 should be used in the context of approved randomised controlled trials. Australian clinicians need to be able to recognise, diagnose, manage and appropriately refer patients affected by COVID-19, with thousands of cases likely to present over the coming years.