Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

Some states say COVID cases spiked before Christmas.  This is what may be behind the increase<!-- wp:html --><p><a href="https://whatsnew2day.com/">WhatsNew2Day - Latest News And Breaking Headlines</a></p> <div> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">In November, health authorities warned people to be especially cautious after a spike in new coronavirus infections, dubbed the “eighth wave of COVID” in Australia.</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">While the number of confirmed cases was nowhere near the level of the early days of the pandemic, there was an increase.</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">By early December, most health authorities had begun to see the number of new confirmed cases leveling off. </p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">But now, as we approach the end of the month (and the end of the year), some jurisdictions are seeing case numbers rise again. </p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">Deakin University epidemiology professor Catherine Bennett spoke to the ABC about the situation. </p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">Here’s a quick summary to get you up to speed. </p> <h2 class="Typography_base__sj2RP Heading_heading__VGa5B Typography_sizeMobile20__NUDn4 Typography_sizeDesktop32__LR_G6 Typography_lineHeightMobile24__crkfh Typography_lineHeightDesktop40__BuoRf Typography_marginBottomMobileSmall__6wx7m Typography_marginBottomDesktopSmall__CboX4 Typography_black__9qnZ1 Typography_colourInherit__dfnUx Typography_normalise__u5o1s">Are we seeing another wave of COVID-19 infections?</h2> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">Yesterday, <a target="_blank" class="Link_link__5eL5m ScreenReaderOnly_srLinkHint__OysWz Link_showVisited__C1Fea Link_showFocus__ALyv2" href="https://www.health.qld.gov.au/newsroom/doh-media-releases/unseasonal-increase-in-respiratory-infections-hits-queensland" rel="noopener">Queensland Chief Health Officer John Gerard said the state had seen an “unusual” rise in respiratory infections.</a> in general and in particular noted an increase in the hospitalization rate of people with COVID-19. </p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">“The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 began to increase in mid-October, stabilized during November, and then took a surprising upward turn again in December,” Dr. Gerard said. </p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">“The current number of Queenslanders hospitalized with COVID-19 is more than four times higher than in mid-October.</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">“Although flu hospitalizations remain well below their winter peak (more than 400), their summer increase remains unusual.”</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb"><a target="_blank" class="Link_link__5eL5m ScreenReaderOnly_srLinkHint__OysWz Link_showVisited__C1Fea Link_showFocus__ALyv2" href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/reports.aspx" rel="noopener">The latest biweekly respiratory surveillance report for New South Wales</a> said something similar:</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">“COVID-19 activity is at high levels and continues to increase.</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">“Flu activity is low, although above interseasonal levels.”</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">And it was a similar story in <a target="_blank" class="Link_link__5eL5m ScreenReaderOnly_srLinkHint__OysWz Link_showVisited__C1Fea Link_showFocus__ALyv2" href="https://www.health.vic.gov.au/infectious-diseases/victorian-covid-19-surveillance-report" rel="noopener">Victoria’s latest report.</a>:</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">“The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 increased this week with a daily average of 306, up from 266 last week.</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">“The current average is still high compared to recent months, but still below the most recent peak in May/June.</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">“The average seven days of patients in the ICU decreased this week (from 15 to 13).”</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">Last week’s Western Australia report reflects that too:</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">“This week, the number of cases increased by 25 percent compared to the previous week.”</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">But it’s important to note that the case numbers in these reports are only those COVID-19 cases that have been confirmed by testing. </p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">People who have COVID-19 but have not had a test to confirm it are not counted in these statistics. </p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">And since people are less likely to get tested now than at the beginning of the pandemic, these numbers may not accurately reflect actual case numbers. </p> <p> <!-- -->Many people travel and gather before Christmas, creating more opportunities for viruses to spread to more people. <span class="Typography_base__sj2RP VerticalArticleFigcaption_citation__l7wgU Typography_sizeMobile12__w_FPC Typography_lineHeightMobile24__crkfh Typography_regular__WeIG6 Typography_colourInherit__dfnUx Typography_letterSpacedSm__V8kil"><span class="Typography_base__sj2RP Typography_sizeMobile12__w_FPC Typography_lineHeightMobile20___U7Vr Typography_regular__WeIG6 Typography_colourInherit__dfnUx Typography_letterSpacedSm__V8kil">(<span>AAP: Mick Tsikas</span>)</span></span></p> <h2 class="Typography_base__sj2RP Heading_heading__VGa5B Typography_sizeMobile20__NUDn4 Typography_sizeDesktop32__LR_G6 Typography_lineHeightMobile24__crkfh Typography_lineHeightDesktop40__BuoRf Typography_marginBottomMobileSmall__6wx7m Typography_marginBottomDesktopSmall__CboX4 Typography_black__9qnZ1 Typography_colourInherit__dfnUx Typography_normalise__u5o1s">How are COVID numbers reported?</h2> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">Remember how we used to get daily press conferences and reports on COVID-19 case numbers?</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">That has not been the case for some time now. </p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb"><a target="_blank" class="Link_link__5eL5m ScreenReaderOnly_srLinkHint__OysWz Link_showVisited__C1Fea Link_showFocus__ALyv2" href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/covid-19/reporting?language=und" rel="noopener">The federal government still maintains its COVID-19 reporting site</a>but the figures are not updated as regularly as at the beginning of the pandemic. </p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">A lag in reporting data means some of the latest figures available on the site are weeks old. </p> <p><span class="ListItem_bullet__cfb02 ListItem_square__fOyp0"></span><strong>ACT: </strong><a target="_blank" class="Link_link__5eL5m ScreenReaderOnly_srLinkHint__OysWz Link_showVisited__C1Fea Link_showFocus__ALyv2" href="https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/updates/act-covid-19-statistics" rel="noopener">ACT publishes weekly updates on COVID-19 statistics online</a> each Friday<br /> <span class="ListItem_bullet__cfb02 ListItem_square__fOyp0"></span><strong>New south Wales: </strong>COVID-19 figures are published biweekly via <a target="_blank" class="Link_link__5eL5m ScreenReaderOnly_srLinkHint__OysWz Link_showVisited__C1Fea Link_showFocus__ALyv2" href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/reports.aspx" rel="noopener">the New South Wales respiratory surveillance report</a><br /> <span class="ListItem_bullet__cfb02 ListItem_square__fOyp0"></span><strong>Northern Territory: </strong>No longer providing case numbers. From November, <a target="_blank" class="Link_link__5eL5m ScreenReaderOnly_srLinkHint__OysWz Link_showVisited__C1Fea Link_showFocus__ALyv2" href="https://health.nt.gov.au/covid-19/data" rel="noopener">the NT statistics website</a> has directed people to <a target="_blank" class="Link_link__5eL5m ScreenReaderOnly_srLinkHint__OysWz Link_showVisited__C1Fea Link_showFocus__ALyv2" href="https://health.nt.gov.au/covid-19" rel="noopener">federal government reporting site</a><br /> <span class="ListItem_bullet__cfb02 ListItem_square__fOyp0"></span><strong>Queensland:</strong> The number of COVID-19 cases is reported weekly online <a target="_blank" class="Link_link__5eL5m ScreenReaderOnly_srLinkHint__OysWz Link_showVisited__C1Fea Link_showFocus__ALyv2" href="https://www.health.qld.gov.au/clinical-practice/guidelines-procedures/diseases-infection/surveillance/reports/notifiable/weekly" rel="noopener">along with other notifiable diseases of the state</a><br /> <span class="ListItem_bullet__cfb02 ListItem_square__fOyp0"></span><strong>South Australia: </strong>State statistics come from <a target="_blank" class="Link_link__5eL5m ScreenReaderOnly_srLinkHint__OysWz Link_showVisited__C1Fea Link_showFocus__ALyv2" href="https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/conditions/infectious+diseases/covid-19/covid-19+dashboard" rel="noopener">a COVID-19 dashboard</a><br /> <span class="ListItem_bullet__cfb02 ListItem_square__fOyp0"></span><strong>Tasmania: </strong><a target="_blank" class="Link_link__5eL5m ScreenReaderOnly_srLinkHint__OysWz Link_showVisited__C1Fea Link_showFocus__ALyv2" href="https://www.health.tas.gov.au/health-topics/coronavirus-covid-19/current-risk-level-and-statistics/weekly-statistics" rel="noopener">Tasmania releases weekly COVID-19 data</a> each Friday<br /> <span class="ListItem_bullet__cfb02 ListItem_square__fOyp0"></span><strong>Western Australia: </strong>WA still publishes a weekly COVID-19 surveillance report online, which <a target="_blank" class="Link_link__5eL5m ScreenReaderOnly_srLinkHint__OysWz Link_showVisited__C1Fea Link_showFocus__ALyv2" href="https://www.health.wa.gov.au/Articles/F_I/Infectious-disease-data/COVID19-Weekly-Surveillance-Report" rel="noopener">you can find here</a>. The State also maintains <a target="_blank" class="Link_link__5eL5m ScreenReaderOnly_srLinkHint__OysWz Link_showVisited__C1Fea Link_showFocus__ALyv2" href="https://www.health.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/Coronavirus/COVID19-wastewater-surveillance" rel="noopener">a wastewater monitoring panel</a><br /> <span class="ListItem_bullet__cfb02 ListItem_square__fOyp0"></span><strong>Victory:</strong> COVID-19 statistics, including deaths, hospitalizations, and ICU cases, are documented through <a target="_blank" class="Link_link__5eL5m ScreenReaderOnly_srLinkHint__OysWz Link_showVisited__C1Fea Link_showFocus__ALyv2" href="https://www.health.vic.gov.au/infectious-diseases/victorian-covid-19-surveillance-report" rel="noopener">a weekly surveillance report</a> </p> <h2 class="Typography_base__sj2RP Heading_heading__VGa5B Typography_sizeMobile20__NUDn4 Typography_sizeDesktop32__LR_G6 Typography_lineHeightMobile24__crkfh Typography_lineHeightDesktop40__BuoRf Typography_marginBottomMobileSmall__6wx7m Typography_marginBottomDesktopSmall__CboX4 Typography_black__9qnZ1 Typography_colourInherit__dfnUx Typography_normalise__u5o1s">Why are cases increasing now?</h2> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">Because a newer variant appears to be more transmissible and many of us are gathering and traveling right now. </p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">Professor Bennett spoke about the emergence of the new JN.1 subvariant, which the World Health Organization (WHO) labeled a variant of concern earlier this week.</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">“In two months it has spread to 41 countries in the world,” he said. </p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">“So it’s one of those variants, as we saw with the original Omicron, that is really efficient at spreading.”</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">This isn’t helped by the fact that there are a lot of end-of-year celebrations going on right now, which means more people are getting together. </p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">“And sometimes we see an increase in numbers simply when people start traveling to the northern hemisphere as the winter progresses – people can bring the virus home,” Professor Bennett said. </p> <h2 class="Typography_base__sj2RP Heading_heading__VGa5B Typography_sizeMobile20__NUDn4 Typography_sizeDesktop32__LR_G6 Typography_lineHeightMobile24__crkfh Typography_lineHeightDesktop40__BuoRf Typography_marginBottomMobileSmall__6wx7m Typography_marginBottomDesktopSmall__CboX4 Typography_black__9qnZ1 Typography_colourInherit__dfnUx Typography_normalise__u5o1s">How bad will it get?</h2> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">It is not clear. </p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">“We don’t know if that means we’ll see a big additional wave or if it just means our case numbers just won’t go down and this will cause this to continue,” Professor Bennett said. </p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">“But it’s quite worrying.”</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">As for the deadline, it is difficult to put a figure on it. </p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">“We cannot guarantee that this current wave will not go down like the previous one,” Professor Bennett said. </p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">“If we have a new variant in the mix,<strong> could go on for a few weeks yet</strong>“.</p> <p> <!-- -->Catherine Bennett says the new variant appears to be spreading faster than other strains.</p> <h2 class="Typography_base__sj2RP Heading_heading__VGa5B Typography_sizeMobile20__NUDn4 Typography_sizeDesktop32__LR_G6 Typography_lineHeightMobile24__crkfh Typography_lineHeightDesktop40__BuoRf Typography_marginBottomMobileSmall__6wx7m Typography_marginBottomDesktopSmall__CboX4 Typography_black__9qnZ1 Typography_colourInherit__dfnUx Typography_normalise__u5o1s">What are the symptoms of the new variant?</h2> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">There have been no reports of this new variant causing more severe illness. </p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">“While there could be more cases with the variant, <strong>JN.1 does not pose a major risk</strong>“said virologist Andrew Pekosz of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">This is what <a target="_blank" class="Link_link__5eL5m ScreenReaderOnly_srLinkHint__OysWz Link_showVisited__C1Fea Link_showFocus__ALyv2" href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/covid-19/about" rel="noopener">federal health department website</a> says about COVID-19 symptoms: </p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">If you test positive for COVID-19, you may experience:</p> <p><span class="ListItem_bullet__cfb02 ListItem_square__fOyp0"></span>Fever<br /> <span class="ListItem_bullet__cfb02 ListItem_square__fOyp0"></span>Cough<br /> <span class="ListItem_bullet__cfb02 ListItem_square__fOyp0"></span>Sore throat<br /> <span class="ListItem_bullet__cfb02 ListItem_square__fOyp0"></span>Difficulty breathing</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">Professor Bennett spoke of mild symptoms that could be easily missed. </p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">“It might be that you get<strong> a very low fever</strong> but it may not even be detectable,” he says. </p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">“You may have <strong>Respiratory symptoms, but they can be quite mild.</strong> and may occur a little later in the infection.</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">“Some people will describe <strong>A headache</strong> as a defining characteristic: other people don’t have it.</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">“So it’s complicated. Especially this time of year when you don’t necessarily expect it, you don’t always know what symptoms coincide.”</p> <h2 class="Typography_base__sj2RP Heading_heading__VGa5B Typography_sizeMobile20__NUDn4 Typography_sizeDesktop32__LR_G6 Typography_lineHeightMobile24__crkfh Typography_lineHeightDesktop40__BuoRf Typography_marginBottomMobileSmall__6wx7m Typography_marginBottomDesktopSmall__CboX4 Typography_black__9qnZ1 Typography_colourInherit__dfnUx Typography_normalise__u5o1s">What is the advice?</h2> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">People are reminded of the basics when it comes to stopping the spread of viruses: think hand sanitizer, covering your cough and social distancing.</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">“I urge everyone, especially during the upcoming holiday gatherings, to<strong> practice good hand hygiene habits</strong> and<strong> stay away from vulnerable friends and family if you are sick</strong>“said Dr. Gerrard.</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">“Older adults and young children are especially vulnerable to respiratory infections, so it is important that we protect our loved ones this holiday season by staying home when we are sick.”</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">Should we wear masks?</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb"><strong>Masks are not mandatory</strong> for the moment, apart from certain high-risk locations, such as hospitals and nursing homes, which may have their own rules.</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">And masks have not been mandatory for quite some time.</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">But only because the law does not require it, <strong>you can still make your own decision </strong>about wearing a mask if you want.</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">For example, you might decide to wear a mask in crowded situations and then take it off when there is more space around you. </p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">“(Consider it) if you cannot keep your distance from other people, especially in areas that are not well ventilated and you are going to be stuck in queues for longer, for example at the cash registers,” Professor Bennett said. </p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">“Even if you have a little space between you and other people, you may find yourself standing there for some time or occupying the spot where someone else just stood.</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb">“That’s where wearing masks is a simple precaution, but one that could make a difference.”</p> </div> <p><a href="https://whatsnew2day.com/some-states-say-covid-cases-spiked-before-christmas-this-is-what-may-be-behind-the-increase/">Some states say COVID cases spiked before Christmas. This is what may be behind the increase</a></p><!-- /wp:html -->

WhatsNew2Day – Latest News And Breaking Headlines

In November, health authorities warned people to be especially cautious after a spike in new coronavirus infections, dubbed the “eighth wave of COVID” in Australia.

While the number of confirmed cases was nowhere near the level of the early days of the pandemic, there was an increase.

By early December, most health authorities had begun to see the number of new confirmed cases leveling off.

But now, as we approach the end of the month (and the end of the year), some jurisdictions are seeing case numbers rise again.

Deakin University epidemiology professor Catherine Bennett spoke to the ABC about the situation.

Here’s a quick summary to get you up to speed.

Are we seeing another wave of COVID-19 infections?

Yesterday, Queensland Chief Health Officer John Gerard said the state had seen an “unusual” rise in respiratory infections. in general and in particular noted an increase in the hospitalization rate of people with COVID-19.

“The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 began to increase in mid-October, stabilized during November, and then took a surprising upward turn again in December,” Dr. Gerard said.

“The current number of Queenslanders hospitalized with COVID-19 is more than four times higher than in mid-October.

“Although flu hospitalizations remain well below their winter peak (more than 400), their summer increase remains unusual.”

The latest biweekly respiratory surveillance report for New South Wales said something similar:

“COVID-19 activity is at high levels and continues to increase.

“Flu activity is low, although above interseasonal levels.”

And it was a similar story in Victoria’s latest report.:

“The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 increased this week with a daily average of 306, up from 266 last week.

“The current average is still high compared to recent months, but still below the most recent peak in May/June.

“The average seven days of patients in the ICU decreased this week (from 15 to 13).”

Last week’s Western Australia report reflects that too:

“This week, the number of cases increased by 25 percent compared to the previous week.”

But it’s important to note that the case numbers in these reports are only those COVID-19 cases that have been confirmed by testing.

People who have COVID-19 but have not had a test to confirm it are not counted in these statistics.

And since people are less likely to get tested now than at the beginning of the pandemic, these numbers may not accurately reflect actual case numbers.

Many people travel and gather before Christmas, creating more opportunities for viruses to spread to more people. (AAP: Mick Tsikas)

How are COVID numbers reported?

Remember how we used to get daily press conferences and reports on COVID-19 case numbers?

That has not been the case for some time now.

The federal government still maintains its COVID-19 reporting sitebut the figures are not updated as regularly as at the beginning of the pandemic.

A lag in reporting data means some of the latest figures available on the site are weeks old.

ACT: ACT publishes weekly updates on COVID-19 statistics online each Friday
New south Wales: COVID-19 figures are published biweekly via the New South Wales respiratory surveillance report
Northern Territory: No longer providing case numbers. From November, the NT statistics website has directed people to federal government reporting site
Queensland: The number of COVID-19 cases is reported weekly online along with other notifiable diseases of the state
South Australia: State statistics come from a COVID-19 dashboard
Tasmania: Tasmania releases weekly COVID-19 data each Friday
Western Australia: WA still publishes a weekly COVID-19 surveillance report online, which you can find here. The State also maintains a wastewater monitoring panel
Victory: COVID-19 statistics, including deaths, hospitalizations, and ICU cases, are documented through a weekly surveillance report

Why are cases increasing now?

Because a newer variant appears to be more transmissible and many of us are gathering and traveling right now.

Professor Bennett spoke about the emergence of the new JN.1 subvariant, which the World Health Organization (WHO) labeled a variant of concern earlier this week.

“In two months it has spread to 41 countries in the world,” he said.

“So it’s one of those variants, as we saw with the original Omicron, that is really efficient at spreading.”

This isn’t helped by the fact that there are a lot of end-of-year celebrations going on right now, which means more people are getting together.

“And sometimes we see an increase in numbers simply when people start traveling to the northern hemisphere as the winter progresses – people can bring the virus home,” Professor Bennett said.

How bad will it get?

It is not clear.

“We don’t know if that means we’ll see a big additional wave or if it just means our case numbers just won’t go down and this will cause this to continue,” Professor Bennett said.

“But it’s quite worrying.”

As for the deadline, it is difficult to put a figure on it.

“We cannot guarantee that this current wave will not go down like the previous one,” Professor Bennett said.

“If we have a new variant in the mix, could go on for a few weeks yet“.

Catherine Bennett says the new variant appears to be spreading faster than other strains.

What are the symptoms of the new variant?

There have been no reports of this new variant causing more severe illness.

“While there could be more cases with the variant, JN.1 does not pose a major risk“said virologist Andrew Pekosz of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

This is what federal health department website says about COVID-19 symptoms:

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may experience:

Fever
Cough
Sore throat
Difficulty breathing

Professor Bennett spoke of mild symptoms that could be easily missed.

“It might be that you get a very low fever but it may not even be detectable,” he says.

“You may have Respiratory symptoms, but they can be quite mild. and may occur a little later in the infection.

“Some people will describe A headache as a defining characteristic: other people don’t have it.

“So it’s complicated. Especially this time of year when you don’t necessarily expect it, you don’t always know what symptoms coincide.”

What is the advice?

People are reminded of the basics when it comes to stopping the spread of viruses: think hand sanitizer, covering your cough and social distancing.

“I urge everyone, especially during the upcoming holiday gatherings, to practice good hand hygiene habits and stay away from vulnerable friends and family if you are sick“said Dr. Gerrard.

“Older adults and young children are especially vulnerable to respiratory infections, so it is important that we protect our loved ones this holiday season by staying home when we are sick.”

Should we wear masks?

Masks are not mandatory for the moment, apart from certain high-risk locations, such as hospitals and nursing homes, which may have their own rules.

And masks have not been mandatory for quite some time.

But only because the law does not require it, you can still make your own decision about wearing a mask if you want.

For example, you might decide to wear a mask in crowded situations and then take it off when there is more space around you.

“(Consider it) if you cannot keep your distance from other people, especially in areas that are not well ventilated and you are going to be stuck in queues for longer, for example at the cash registers,” Professor Bennett said.

“Even if you have a little space between you and other people, you may find yourself standing there for some time or occupying the spot where someone else just stood.

“That’s where wearing masks is a simple precaution, but one that could make a difference.”

Some states say COVID cases spiked before Christmas. This is what may be behind the increase

By