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our COVID strategy must change to reflect reality

The second cause could be very disappointing: Omicron an infection does not boost your immunity as had been hoped. Reinfections are more and more widespread, not essentially milder than the preliminary an infection and seem like related to cumulative injury. The extra infections you get the more serious it seems to be.

Which leads us to a different main concern – the uncared for problem of lengthy COVID. Latest knowledge present that long COVID still occurs with Omicron. Though lower than the speed with earlier variants, the gargantuan Omicron case burden means long-COVID could have a big, ongoing impact on well being, wellbeing and enterprise.

Coronavirus has been changing genetically into new forms as a result of mutations.

Coronavirus has been altering genetically into new types because of mutations.Credit score:AP

Like all features of the illness, lengthy COVID is worse in deprived communities, the very folks we are supposed to take care of essentially the most. Importantly, the mechanisms of long COVID-driven organ damage (it’s rather more than fatigue) have gotten higher understood with the worrying potential of persistent virus, or parts of the virus within the physique.

This new understanding of what’s driving frequent reinfections and new waves, and the rising concern and understanding of lengthy COVID, argues that any technique presuming widespread an infection may type a part of a COVID-exit pathway must be jettisoned in favour of 1 that reduces transmission.

Stopping an infection fully can be nice, after all. However delaying an infection and lowering the frequency of getting contaminated are additionally very highly effective for people and the group. Other than lowering medical injury and slowing viral evolution, delay buys time for even higher instruments and methods to be developed and delivered.

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What must be executed now? A very powerful factor we are able to do is for our leaders to obviously sign a strategic about-face to be fiercely anti-transmission, and to do that with out disruptive restrictions. Beneath that strategic pivot, we advise a number of priorities:

First, we’d like far larger efforts to extend the languishing protection of third and fourth doses in adults, to vaccinate kids 5 to 11, which stays at a meagre 40 per cent, and hopefully quickly to vaccinate youthful kids. Encouragingly, the brand new well being minister took step one in the direction of this yesterday by saying an $11 million marketing campaign to encourage vaccination uptake.

Second, we have to scale back airborne transmission by selling, offering, and reintroducing high-quality (N95/P2) masks in high-risk indoor settings and investing critically in bettering indoor air high quality. The latter wants no social licence, it must be executed instantly.

Third, we’d like a nationwide database that gives extra well timed data on numerous features of the pandemic, akin to extra particulars on those that are hospitalised and dying, who can entry life-saving antiviral medicine like Paxlovid. It also needs to observe how widespread is lengthy COVID.

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Our Omicron expertise, and the underlying science, each scream that the present excessive transmission scenario is unsustainable. Many Australians are on observe for 2, three or much more bouts of COVID-19 this calendar yr. We will do significantly better.

We will shift to a low transmission, vaccines-plus technique, the place we apply confirmed measures that trigger minimal disruption to our lives and, by vastly much less COVID-19, promote a more healthy, much less disrupted, and economically stronger group.

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