A spike in the number of cases across various states is raising concerns from health authorities that the Fourth wave of COVID-19 is coming.
Australian states have collectively recorded more than 58,000 new cases of Covid in the past week.
Prof. Nicola Spurrier, South Australia’s Chief Public Health Officer, said:
“We’re definitely in that wave. Because we don’t have as many people testing anymore, our cases may not look as high, even though we’ll have more infections in our community.”
New South Wales recorded 19,800 new cases in the past seven days, Victoria had 16,636 new cases, and Western Australia recorded more than 8,000. South Australia had 6,867 new cases in the past week, Queensland recorded 5,828, and the ACT and NT had 1,194 and 369 new cases respectively.
The subvariants are all “different” from each other, it is being reported that this is a “soup” of Omicron variants, including BA.5, BA.2.75, XBB, and BQ.1.
Prof. Adrian Esterman from the University of South Australia, says we’re now seeing new variants arriving in Australia – ones that are more transmissible and can easily evade our immune response.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends people aged 50 to 64 years old receive a fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Adults aged between 30 and 49 are also eligible to receive a winter booster. While people aged 5 or older who are severely immunocompromised should get the fourth dose three months after their third dose. People aged 16 and over need to have had three doses to maintain an “up to date” status. Children aged five to 15 can only get two doses.
Health department data shows the proportion of Australians with a fourth vaccine dose is about 42.1%.