Two years of disrupted work, school, travel and fun, and the heartbreak of forced separation from loved ones could be coming to end – fingers crossed – if the current COVID-19 statistics are anything to go by.
Finally, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
The STATS are in, and according to some of Australia’s brightest experts, COVID-19’s omicron variant appears to be on the way out.
Here’s what we know…
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Positive cases are dropping across the country
NSW appears to be at the forefront of the plateau.
As of January 23, there were 15,091 new cases reported in the state, a significant drop from January 19 alone, which recorded 32,297 cases that day.
Professor Adrian Esterman, an epidemiologist and biostatistician at the University of South Australia suggested that smaller states like South Australia and Tasmania were also on the way out of omicron’s worst.
“Another drop in case numbers for South Australia. There were 2,062 announced and no deaths… SA Health must be very relieved with these results,” he said on Sunday, after sharing that SA had already had a “big drop” in case numbers 24 hours earlier.
Not to be forgotten, Australia’s southernmost state also recorded lower case numbers on Sunday. “Tasmania has also had a drop in case numbers to 625,” Prof Esterman said.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Professor Brett Sutton also admitted on Sunday that there’s light at the end of the omicron tunnel for his state. “Peak in cases very likely behind us. ICU cases and deaths haven’t peaked, but will hopefully stabilise soon.”
Frontline workers are returning to duty
NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said on Friday that the rise in health workers returning to duty – after testing positive or isolating – is another indication that the peak has passed in the hardest hit state.
“That all gives us a sense that the spread of COVID is slowing and it is pleasing to see, and I want to thank the community and acknowledge the actions of everyone in contributing to that,” she told media.
“However, we will still expect to see high death numbers reported over the coming weeks,” she admitted.
The long-range forecast looks positive
The World Health Organisation’s chief, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus says no country is out of the woods yet, however globally, the number of deaths remains stable.
But he does have concerns for countries struggling with vaccinations.
“I remain particularly concerned about many countries that have low vaccination rates, as people are many times more at risk of severe illness and death if they’re unvaccinated”, Dr Tedros explained, adding that hospitals in struggling countries will become even more overwhelmed.
The WHO Chief said with more variants likely to emerge, he can confirm new formulations of vaccines are currently being developed and assessed to perform against the different strains.
Australia is in good stead jab-wise, with 78.3 percent of the population fully vaccinated.
Individual states have also begun rolling out COVID-19 vaccines for children aged five to 11, as students return to school in coming days.
NSW boasts a huge number, with doubled jabbed residents 16-years and over making up 93.9 percent of the population.
Vaccination stats for over-16s
Data by the Federal Government’s Operation COVID Shield shows that as of January 16, 2022, this is where Aussie states sit with their vaccination rates.
- NSW: 93.8%
- VICTORIA: 92.7%
- QUEENSLAND: 88.7%
- SOUTH AUSTRALIA: 89.7%
- TASMANIA: 95%
- WESTERN AUSTRALIA: 87.6%
- NORTHERN TERRITORY: 86.1%
- ACT: 95%
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