Covid Australia 2022: Grim ‘life and death’ warning as Victoria calls for mask mandates

A Victorian Government minister has admitted the state’s Covid situation is a matter of ‘life or death’ – but has ruled out bringing mask mandates back.

Energy Secretary Lily D’Ambrosio said Victoria had no plans to reintroduce mask-wearing and insisted the decision had nothing to do with November’s state election.

“We are always guided by our health advice,” Ms. D’Ambrosio said. “The current Health Council in Victoria has the right attitudes with us for our state.

“Health is too important – we are talking life or death here.

“Talks may take place in different states depending on the circumstances. But here in Victoria we have made the right adjustments.

“We know what it’s like to have Covid embedded in our community and all this government has ever done is follow the scientific and public health advice.”

Her comments on Saturday came after the Victorian Department of Health warned that Covid deaths and hospitalizations will rise across the state.

Minister Lily D'Ambrosio said Saturday Victoria had no plans to reintroduce mask-wearing

Minister Lily D'Ambrosio said Saturday Victoria had no plans to reintroduce mask-wearing

Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said Saturday Victoria had no plans to reintroduce mask-wearing

Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 are likely to become the dominant strains in Victoria in the coming weeks

Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 are likely to become the dominant strains in Victoria in the coming weeks

Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 are likely to become the dominant strains in Victoria in the coming weeks

The Victorian Department of Health has warned that Covid deaths and hospitalizations will rise across the state

The Victorian Department of Health has warned that Covid deaths and hospitalizations will rise across the state

The Victorian Department of Health has warned that Covid deaths and hospitalizations will rise across the state

Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 are likely to become the dominant strains in Victoria, it said.

“The Department of Health understands that the prevalence of BA.4/BA.5 in Victoria is likely to lead to an increase in cases – including reinfections – and hospitalizations and deaths.

“This is because the strain has a greater ability than BA.2 to evade the immunity provided by vaccination and previous Covid-19 infection,” it said Friday night.

There are 472 Covid cases in hospital in Victoria; with 15 active cases in intensive care, including five on a ventilator, the Victorian Department of Health said Friday night.

As of Thursday, more than 8,000 new cases were recorded across the state and 12 Victorians had died.

“This is consistent with similar patterns in NSW and Queensland, where both states saw significant increases in the number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 in June,” the department said.

“Masks are strongly recommended in shared indoor spaces. if you cannot physically distance yourself; or you are with those who are more vulnerable to Covid-19. Improve ventilation by opening doors and windows, using fans or air purifiers, and gathering outside if possible.

“Face masks are still required for everyone aged 8 and over in some places, including public transport, ride-sharing services and taxis, as well as in sensitive environments such as hospitals and care facilities. They are also required by quarantined household contacts who meet the criteria for leaving home.

Masks could become mandatory across Australia as a looming Covid and flu crisis threatens to bring the nation to a standstill.

Nearly 250,000 Australians have tested positive for Covid over the past week, with states including New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia recording more than 8,000 cases in the past 24 hours.

Last week, NSW recorded the most infections, at 61,000, while more than 50,000 people tested positive for the virus in Victoria.

And those numbers are expected to worsen in the coming weeks as the winter cold grips the nation and the new, highly infectious Omicron strain BA.5 becomes dominant.

Australia is also now facing a double whammy with rising flu cases making this winter the worst flu outbreak in years and wreaking havoc among the workforce.

Now Queensland is believed to be the first country to bring back mask mandates in a bid to stem the tidal wave of infection.

Australia stands on the precipice of the dismal milestone of 10,000 Covid-19-related deaths, with more than 7,000 deaths reported in the past six months (pictured, Covid-19 testing clinic).

Australia stands on the precipice of the dismal milestone of 10,000 Covid-19-related deaths, with more than 7,000 deaths reported in the past six months (pictured, Covid-19 testing clinic).

Australia stands on the precipice of the dismal milestone of 10,000 Covid-19-related deaths, with more than 7,000 deaths reported in the past six months (pictured, Covid-19 testing clinic).

dr Queensland Chief Health Officer John Gerrard announced talks were underway with his interstate counterparts about the return of mask mandates.

“I can say that the pressure is increasing at the national level,” he said said Peter Fegan of 4BC.

“There’s a school of thought that we should make masks mandatory again.”

Meanwhile, it was revealed on Saturday that Australia is on the precipice of the dismal milestone of 10,000 Covid-19-related deaths, with more than 7,000 deaths reported in the past six months.

Australia has reported 7,677 deaths over the course of 2022, bringing the country’s total to 9,930.

There were also 909 Covid-19-related deaths in 2020 and 1,344 in 2021.

“We’re actually going to have about 14,000 deaths from COVID this year if we continue at this rate,” said Nigel McMillan, Griffith University’s infectious disease and immunology program director.

“That will make COVID the number two or three killer in the country of all causes.

“Is this what Australia’s success in controlling this virus looks like? I would suggest no.’

Prof McMillan said booster uptake is not good enough in states like Queensland – the lowest in the country at about 63 per cent.

The state with the highest uptake of boosters is Western Australia at 83 percent, with other states and territories falling somewhere in between.

“We just seem to have gotten comfortable with the idea that we’re stopping vaccination mandates for all sorts of places, we’ve relaxed our mask restrictions,” he said.

“So we have very little in the way of the virus right now to stop the spread of the virus.”

Queensland Chief Health Officer John Gerrard said he does not want a return to mask mandates but admitted the possibility has been talked about.

“It’s still being debated but … we would prefer not to go down that route,” he told Radio Brisbane 4BC on Friday.

Federal Secretary of Labor Murray Watt said Saturday the government has not received health advice on mask mandates and those decisions are typically made by state governments.

Australia has reported 7,677 deaths over the course of 2022, bringing the country's total to 9,930 (pictured, Sydneysiders)

Australia has reported 7,677 deaths over the course of 2022, bringing the country's total to 9,930 (pictured, Sydneysiders)

Australia has reported 7,677 deaths over the course of 2022, bringing the country’s total to 9,930 (pictured, Sydneysiders)

Prof McMillan said booster uptake is not good enough in states like Queensland - the lowest in the country at about 63 percent

Prof McMillan said booster uptake is not good enough in states like Queensland - the lowest in the country at about 63 percent

Prof McMillan said booster uptake is not good enough in states like Queensland – the lowest in the country at about 63 per cent

“I know this is something that health officials have been discussing nationally,” he said.

Prof McMillan proposed making policy changes to the public health system, including expanding the availability of antivirals beyond people with comorbidities.

Australia is experiencing a number of omicron variants that have kept infection rates high, said Catherine Bennett, chair of epidemiology at Deakin University.

However, Australia ranks low in deaths per capita compared to other countries, she said.

“Whether we look at the total number of COVID-19 deaths per case or deaths per capita, Australia ranks at the bottom along with New Zealand, Taiwan and Japan,” said Prof Bennett.

Australia’s per capita daily death rates are comparable to the UK and Canada and lower than France – countries currently in the summer and reporting a fall in case numbers, she said.

“It’s critical that we learn more about those who end up in hospital or who don’t survive their infections so we can see what needs to be done to prevent preventable deaths and reduce mortality.”

https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/uncategorized/covid-australia-2022-grim-life-and-death-warning-as-victoria-makes-call-on-mask-mandates/ Covid Australia 2022: Grim ‘life and death’ warning as Victoria calls for mask mandates

Brian Ashcraft

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