For the first time since the start of the pandemic, Australia has reported over 10,000 daily new infections as the Omicron variant takes hold. According to a Bloomberg report, the state of New South Wales reported 6,324 infections yesterday, with 520 patients hospitalised. Of those, 55 are in intensive care.
NSW also reported its first death from the Omicron variant. It’s understood the male patient contracted the virus in a nursing home. He was fully vaccinated but in his 80s, with underlying health conditions. NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard says he believes everyone in the state will contract the Omicron variant at some stage.
Meanwhile, Australia’s second biggest state, Victoria, has reported 1,999 new daily infections, and numbers are also rising in other states where domestic borders recently re-opened. In Queensland, officials confirmed 784 new infections yesterday, while South Australia reported 842. In Western Australia, where interstate borders remain shut, 1 new infection has been reported, prompting state premier Mark McGowan to extend restrictions, including mandatory mask-wearing in indoor public spaces.
“We are not out of the woods yet.”
According to the Bloomberg report, most of Australia is now moving towards a strategy of living with the virus and relying on vaccines and new treatments. The move comes as studies appear to show that the Omicron variant results in less severe illness than the more life-threatening Delta variant.