Health experts are warning that Australia may experience a third COVID Christmas as the country grapples with its eighth wave of the virus. New national health data reveals a surge in cases across states and territories, raising concerns that the peak of this wave could coincide with the holiday season.
As of October 27, there were 6,605 new confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in the past week, with the highest numbers in New South Wales (1,911), followed by Victoria (1,407), and South Australia (1,069).
Despite its ominous name, there is no evidence to suggest that Eris is more severe or lethal than previous variants. However, Christine Selvey, the Director of Communicable Diseases at NSW Health, notes that surveillance of cases indicates the possibility of this latest wave peaking during Christmas for the third consecutive year.
Infectious disease experts and doctors acknowledge that the pandemic has introduced a challenging respiratory virus that will continue to strain healthcare systems. Nevertheless, they believe that Australia has moved past the emergency phase, and the current wave is expected to be less severe than earlier ones.
Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly, mentioned that there was a consideration to end the classification of COVID as a Communicable Disease Incident of National Significance (CDINS) as immunity has been built up through vaccinations and previous infections. Each wave this year has been milder, and the country is transitioning to a “new business as usual” response to COVID.