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COVID deaths a sign we may dodge fresh Omicron wave

graphic of virus particles

COVID deaths in Australia dropped significantly on Sunday, allaying fears the country was about to experience another deadly wave.

After several days with death tolls ranging from 30 to 57, Australia recorded 19 COVID-related deaths yesterday.

The news was welcomed by health authorities, who had been fearing a resurgence due to new subvariants of Omicron.

Breaking it down state by state, six deaths were recorded in New South Wales on Sunday, five in South Australia, four in Victoria, two in Queensland and one in each of Western Australia and Tasmania.

Read: How to handle post-COVID fatigue

Overall case numbers were sitting at 335,600 nationwide, with 8891new cases recorded in NSW, 8747 in WA, 8744 in Victoria, 4673 in Queensland, 2788 in SA, 788 in the ACT, 733 in Tasmania and 223 in the Northern Territory.

There are 3073 people in hospital with COVID, with 131 of those in intensive care.

Although it’s still early in the flu season, the numbers are a positive sign that COVID case numbers and deaths aren’t exploding as the weather gets colder.

Health authorities have been warning for months that this winter would most likely see a resurgence of COVID numbers as well as a spike in flu cases.

Read: Severe COVID is equivalent to 20 years of ageing, study finds

“With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s winter season will likely see both an increase in transmission of the coronavirus and, for the first time since 2019, a resurgence in influenza,” says Dr Sonya Bennett, acting federal chief medical officer.

“Given this, it is important that people, particularly those in at-risk population groups, maximise their protection against both viruses by being vaccinated – and continue to practise all of the safe hygiene measures we have become accustomed to throughout the pandemic.”

Around 95 per cent of Australians aged 16 and over have had two doses of a COVID vaccine and over 13 million have had three doses.

A fourth COVID vaccine dose is recommended for those aged 65 and over, who live in an aged care facility or who are severely immunocompromised.

Read: Doctors warn of dangers of ‘vaccine fatigue’ ahead of flu season

The wider vaccine push now is for people to get their annual flu jab, especially as we enter flu season proper, which is usually between June and September.

“It is important people are aware that COVID-19 vaccines do not provide protection against influenza,” Dr Bennett says.

“Equally, the flu vaccines do not provide protection against COVID-19.

“For this reason, it is vital people get a flu vaccine and are also up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations – including having a COVID-19 winter booster dose if they are eligible.”

If you’re still yet to get a COVID vaccine booster, both the COVID and flu vaccines can be administered at the same time. If you’ve had COVID, you can get your flu vaccination as soon as you feel well again.

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