Monday, January 03, 2022

ozSAGE Omicron alarms

An ozSAGE recent report (December 30th) about Omicron warns us not to become complacent in the face of the "it's mild" narrative. Well worth reading the whole thing here

Some key points:
  • Hospitalisations in Australia are increasing sharply, see the graph on page 3 (although their text seems inaccurate about ICU increases which the graph shows are small)
  • Health systems are likely to be overwhelmed, especially in regional centres
  • NSW is already warning people not to expect access to hospital care (doesn't this mean that our health system is already overwhelmed?)
  • Omicron variant is at least as virulent as the original strain of COVID (this is a key point, obviously it's complicated and requires more evidence and context - but sounds like bad news for the unvaccinated and otherwise vulnerable)
  • long COVID affects brains, heart, kidneys (link provided)
  • medical staff burnt out
  • GPs expected to carry the burden for failing hospitals - not realistic
  • Boosters required urgently but it's not happening quickly enough (I read elsewhere that astrazeneca which most elderly people received only provides 6% protection from omicron)
  • Expect increased deaths for vulnerable groups (the elderly, low socio-economic groups, first nations people)
  • Children hospitalisations have increased in both the UK and the USA

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