Covid Australia: Eighth wave rocks country as chief medical officer assures wave is ‘less severe’

Australia is in the grips of its eighth Covid wave as cases soar across the states and territories- less than two weeks after the end of the country’s emergency response to the disease was announced.

Despite the new increase in cases, the country’s chief medical officer Professor Paul Kelly assured Australians that existing health systems were well-placed to manage the disease.

There were 6605 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 across the country over the last week, reported on October 27, according to the country’s live Covid tracker.

The highest numbers were in NSW (1911), Victoria (1407) and South Australia (1069).

On October 20, Prof Kelly announced Covid-19 would no longer be considered a Communicable Disease Incident of National Significance (CDINS).

He reassured Australians the declaration would not mark any significant changes to the management of Covid-19.

“A focus remains on vaccination, prevention, reducing transmission and management of serious illness, hospitalisations and death,” Prof Kelly said.

“Targeted surveillance and monitoring of Covid-19 will be maintained through well-established national and sentinel surveillance programs.

“Data and reports on Covid-19 will continue to be published and updated regularly.”

Prof Kelly said Australians were now shifting to a “business as usual” approach to the disease due to immunity built up by vaccinations and previous infections.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports Covid numbers were not expected to make any significant jump over the coming weeks.

“Each of the waves we’ve had this year have been less and less severe,” said the chief medical officer in an interview this week,” Prof Kelly said.

“There’s still a possibility that we could have a brand new variant of concern, but when we look at what’s happened since late 2021 when Omicron came into being.

“We’ve had literally hundreds of subvariants … but nothing’s really pushed ahead in a different way.”

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has supported Prof Kelly’s declaration, stating Covid-19 was no longer considered a public health emergency.

“We can expect continuing waves of infection across the next few years, but at this stage current and emerging variants pose similar risks to other circulating Omicron strains,” the AHPPC said in a statement.

“Continued uptake of protective behaviours such as vaccination and other mitigation strategies are now more appropriate than an emergency response.”

Originally published as Chief medical officer’s advice as cases soar during Australia’s eighth Covid wave