The era of lockdowns, mandatory mask wearing and daily case count updates seems long gone, but COVID has not yet left our shores.
The number of cases increased in all states and territories over the last reporting period, with health authorities saying this marks the start of a new wave of infections.
Here’s the latest on COVID in Australia and how the government will now release the numbers.
Australia enters its eighth wave of COVID
COVID-19 cases have gradually increased since mid-August, according to the Federal Ministry of Health.
National data tracks cases on a seven-day rolling average – calculated by dividing the week’s figures by seven – rather than reporting daily totals.
In the week ending October 24, 6,550 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Australiaan average of 936 cases per day.
This marked an increase of 23.6 percent the previous week.
The graph below shows an overview of what is currently happening with the number of COVID cases in Australia.
Federal health figures show the number of new cases fell sharply in late September before rebounding, with an increase throughout October.
But when you compare this to the graph below which shows the figures for January 2022, it is clear that the number of cases recorded is much lower than last year.
However, it is also important to note that these charts only represent confirmed COVID-19 cases, which may be much lower than the actual number of cases due to a drop in mandatory reporting.
National COVID-related hospitalizations have also started to increase since late August.
Decrease in national COVID reporting
In mid-October, health officials announced that COVID-19 was no longer a Communicable Disease Incident of National Significance (CDINS).
Shortly after the federal government decided to end the country’s emergency response to COVID-19, it announced a COVID-19 reporting would move from weekly to monthly.
“The removal of the CDINS declaration will not have a significant impact on the current management of COVID-19 in Australia, given that most national coordination and response measures have already ended,” the doctor said. Australian chef Paul Kelly.
The last weekly COVID update was on October 24.
In a statement, Australia’s Health Protection Principal Committee said “the availability and reliability of particular metrics, such as case information, has declined.”
Weekly changes in data “do not demonstrate clear trends” and reduced reporting frequency would allow “more meaningful assessments” of disease transmission and impact over time.
Some states continue to issue weekly COVID updates
COVID updates from New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria are reported monthly via the Website of the Federal Department of Health and Elderly Care.
Should I receive another COVID-19 booster?
It depends on a few things:
- If you already had one this year
- How old are you
- If you have medical comorbidities
- If you have a disability
Advice on boosters comes from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ATAGI).
In September, ATAGI recommended all adults aged 75 and over receive another booster if they had not had one in the last six months.
He also advised the following groups to ask their doctor if they need a second booster for the year:
- Adults aged 65 to 74, and/or
- Adults aged 18 to 64 years who are severely immunocompromised
He said he was not recommending another booster shot for younger people or older people who had already received a booster shot this year.
Before September, ATAGI had issued a recall in February.
At the time, he recommended All adults aged 65 or older receive a booster dose if six months have passed since their last vaccination or infection..
The same advice was issued for adults aged 18 to 64 with medical comorbidities who increase their risk of contracting a severe form of COVID-19, or disability with significant or complex health needs.
At the time, it only advised people in the following groups to consider a booster shot:
- All adults aged 18 to 64 without risk factors for severe COVID-19
- Children and adolescents aged 5 to 17 years old with medical comorbidities increasing their risk of developing severe COVID-19 or disability with significant or complex health needs
Victorians are advised to wear a mask
On October 26, Victoria’s acting chief health officer, Christian McGrath, announced that community transmission of COVID-19 had increased to levels not seen since May.
Dr McGrath suggested to all Melburnians remember to wear masks in public places.
NSW COVID peak expected in December
According to NSW Health, Sydney could face a ‘COVID Christmas’ for the third consecutive year.
Data shows COVID is currently circulating at moderate levels across the state, but wastewater monitoring, emergency room presentations and outbreaks in senior care facilities suggest the virus is on the rise again.
NSW Health director of communicable diseases Dr Christine Selvey says modeling suggests a new wave of COVID will peak in December.
Dr. Selvey only went so far as to recommend face masks in public if symptomatic.