Good morning and happy Friday because health experts say the Omicron wave in NSW and Victoria has peaked, not a damn moment too soon.
Prof Adrian Esterman, an epidemiologist at the University of South Australia, told Guardian Australia Ms Omi had “absolutely certainly” peaked in NSW and Vic.
Esterman said that looking at daily case numbers was unreliable at the moment due to influxes of rapid antigen test results. He instead has measured the effective reproduction number or “Reff”, ie how many other people someone with COVID will infect, and said the number had fallen below one person in both states.
“We know that the peak has been reached when the Reff gets below one,” he said.
Infectious disease modellers at Monash University also said NSW has likely peaked but that Vic was just levelling off and it could be another week before experts could be certain the worst was behind us.
The number of people in hospital with COVID in NSW decreased on Thursday for the first time since December 18.
NSW COVID-19 update – Friday 21 January 2022
In the 24-hour reporting period to 8pm last night:
– 95.3% of people aged 16+ have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
– 93.9% of people aged 16+ have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine pic.twitter.com/WLGJ9BZy5e
— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) January 20, 2022
We thank everyone who got vaccinated and tested yesterday.
Our thoughts are with those in hospital, and the families of people who have lost their lives.
— VicGovDH (@VicGovDH) January 20, 2022
NSW health officials had previously predicted that the hospitalisation numbers would plateau this week, so looks like we’re on track.
In Vic, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the state’s case numbers in this Omicron wave were close to a peak, but that hospitalisations hadn’t yet.
Case numbers in NSW and Vic show a declining trend in the past week since NSW’s peak on Jan 12 and Vic’s on Jan 7 — both bolstered by the introduction of RAT results recording.
There’s typically a seven to 14 day lag between daily case numbers and hospital numbers as people’s symptoms worsen.
Experts are also suggesting things could still get worse in other parts of Australia. With lower vaccination rates in the NT it could still see a severe Omicron spike.
They’ve also warned that when schools return we could see outbreaks among teachers but that that wouldn’t lead to any drastic case increases overall.
Not us ending on a low, but experts also said while the curve is flattening and the peak may have passed, this would probably not be the end of COVID for Australia.