Why so many Australians are getting sick right now

Australia could be on the brink of a fifth Covid wave, with cases surging across states and territories as a leading public health expert urges the government to act.

“These numbers are definitely headed in the wrong direction,” Bill Bowtell AO, associate professor at UNSW and health policy expert, told Daily Mail Australia on Thursday.

“We’re going into the winter where people are gathering indoors.” “The guidelines we have are not good enough from a public health perspective.”

Professor Bowtell would like a clear mandate for the return of masks in hospitals and aged care facilities and a government push to roll out Covid boosters.

Current official healthcare mask recommendations vary between states and territories.

In NSW, masks are compulsory for visiting hospitals and are recommended in general practices and medical centres, while Queensland has no public health regulations requiring face masks to be worn.

In Victoria, it is recommended that indoor healthcare workers and customers should continue to wear masks, but there is no legal obligation, while Western Australia has scrapped its Covid mask rules for hospitals entirely.

“Masks should be used in hospitals and in elderly care, particularly with vulnerable people,” Professor Bowtell said.

“I don’t think there is currently a mask requirement on public transport and more generally, but we need to be vigilant and assess how cases are evolving.”

Covid cases have seen a

Covid cases have seen a “dramatic” rise across the country as more than six months have passed since most Australians received a booster shot

Professor Bowtell said Australians are not getting booster shots and with the vaccine losing its effectiveness without boosters there is a higher risk of serious consequences, particularly in the vulnerable population and in the elderly.

More than 16.5 million Australians have not received a Covid booster shot in 2023, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) said on Thursday.

In the last week alone, nearly 1,500 people infected with Covid have been admitted to hospitals in NSW, where cases have seen the sharpest rise.

“There is a dramatic increase in infections.” “There have been more than half of hospital admissions in NSW, where around 10 people a day have been dying of Covid in recent weeks.”

Professor Bowtell is an infectious disease expert who helped shape the public health policy that successfully brought the HIV/AIDS crisis under control in Australia in the 1980s.

“Covid is not a cold or the flu, it’s a different disease and public health officials need to take responsibility.” “Saying you’re on your own isn’t going to handle the situation.”

While Professor Bowtell did not comment on whether he thought lockdowns should be reintroduced, he insisted the government needed to take a more hands-on approach.

Infectious disease policy expert Professor Bill Bowtell said Covid is not'in the background'

Infectious disease policy expert Professor Bill Bowtell said Covid is not ‘in the background’

“Certainly an effort by government is needed to increase vaccination coverage.”

“Air quality and air treatment methods in public buildings also need urgent review.”

“If you say Covid is enough in the rearview mirror, then people don’t take action.”

“There’s a saying: Objects in the rearview mirror can be closer than they appear.”

“There’s no use waiting until things get out of hand, we need prevention.”

“Covid hasn’t received the memo saying it’s gone and the government needs to explain what steps they’re taking.”

The AMA agrees and warns it has been more than six months since the majority of Australians received a Covid booster shot.

In May, an average of 5517 Covid infections per day were registered nationwide, more than double the average daily rate in March.

Influenza cases are also on the rise: 17,277 cases were recorded between May 15 and 28, more than double the total for the past two weeks.

AMA President Steve Robson is also urging Australians to update both their Covid booster and flu shots, which can be done at the same time.

All states and territories in Australia have seen an increase in the number of cases in recent weeks

All states and territories in Australia have seen an increase in the number of cases in recent weeks

“The age of lockdowns and restrictions is over so it’s understandable why many people are falling into a false sense of security, but the latest data shows the virus is infecting thousands of Australians every day,” said Dr. Robson on Thursday.

“Boosting a Covid vaccine and a flu vaccine at the same time is an effective and safe way to ensure you are protected from both viruses.”

“We are seeing a significant increase in the number of flu and COVID cases, making this a potentially dangerous winter, particularly for the elderly and immunocompromised.”

dr Robson also urged parents to ensure their children are protected.

“As we know, children under the age of five are not severely affected by Covid, but the flu can be extremely serious for them. So it’s important that they get their flu shot as soon as possible,” he said.

Epidemiologist Professor Catherine Bennett says lockdowns will not help stop the spread of the virus.

“Lockdowns won’t work, they won’t work with Omicron…we would only resort to it if we were absolutely desperate,” she said.

“If we had a variant that brought with it serious illnesses like we’ve never seen before, then we might have to resort to more stringent measures.”

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said it was “unlikely” Australia would return to strict Covid restrictions.

“You know, that’s not my decision, but I don’t think it’s likely,” Professor Kelly said on Sunrise.

“My advice right now is to be vigilant but not fearful – I think that would be a good view.”

Janice Dean

Janice Dean is a WSTPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Janice Dean joined WSTPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: janicedean@wstpost.com.

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