Australians urged to wear masks to reduce winter surge in Covid

A simple message about Covid needs to be heard by Australians as the country braces for a huge spike in cases due to new options.

Young Australians are being urged to hear a simple message about Covid as the country braces for a spike in cases brought on by new variants.

There are currently more than 40,000 Covid cases in the country daily, with thousands in hospitals and more than 100 people in intensive care. The death toll from Covid in Australia has already surpassed 10,000.

Experts believe cases will rise Distribution of Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants.

Stopping these variants will be more difficult because a previous covid infection or vaccination is not as effective in preventing their spread as compared to previous strains.

But there are a few simple things people can do to protect themselves and their families.

“We need to get the word out, especially to young people,” University of Sydney public health expert Professor Julie Lisk told

“For a while, they’ll just have to put their masks back on because Covid is going to be bad again.”

The role of masks is considered particularly important as new sub-variants are more resistant to vaccines.

In fact, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ATAGI) noted that while vaccination will reduce hospital admissions, the impact will be limited due to the ability to spread new sub-options, so additional measures such as increased use of masks and antiviral treatment.” will have the biggest impact on the surge in Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 infections.”

People are already required to wear masks on public transport and in places like hospitals, but it’s unlikely there will be additional requirements, though health leaders are discussing the possibility.

Professor Lisk said she didn’t think the political appetite for more rules existed, but that didn’t mean people shouldn’t take precautions.

NSW Chief Medical Officer Dr Kerry Chant said last week that people should exercise common sense and wear a face mask in public spaces where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

“If we don’t come together again, this new wave will hit schools and businesses hard, just like BA. I did this, resulting in thousands of workers being absent,” Dr. Chant said.

“Face masks, hand hygiene, staying home when sick, checking yourself if you have symptoms, physical distancing – all of these measures are not new to us.”

Professor Lisk said that wearing a mask not only protects the person, but also the person sitting next to him.

“This person may be looking for a spouse who is undergoing chemotherapy, you just don’t know, and putting on a mask can make a big difference in the life sitting next to you.”

Authorities are also recommending that adults over 16 get a third dose of the vaccine because it has been shown to enhance the immune response to the new sub-options. Only 70 percent of Australians have received a raise so far.

A recent Australian study, still under preparation, found that a third dose of the vaccine provided 65% more protection against hospitalization or death from Omicron than two doses of the vaccine.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the numbers show that 56% (1,232) of Covid-related deaths this year have occurred in people who received two doses or less.

“We are at the beginning of the third wave of Omicron, which is likely to peak in late July or early August,” Mr. Hazzard said. “This increase in community transmission entails a significantly increased risk for those who are not up to date with their vaccines.

“The best way to protect yourself from a serious illness or worse is to get all the vaccinations available to you.”

Those who have had a covid infection should also continue to be vaccinated after three months, as a previous infection alone does not provide sufficient protection against severe illness.

It is known that re-infection occurs within a month after the first infection.

“Vaccination in addition to infection, compared with one prior infection, provides the best available protection against reinfection,” says ATAGI.

Dr. Lisk said the study showed that one of the factors that can influence people to want to get vaccinated is knowing that their friends or family members want them to get vaccinated.

“If someone else hasn’t had a booster dose yet, remind them and offer to do so,” she said.

Last week, ATAGI also announced that people aged 30 to 49 could get a fourth dose of the vaccine if they chose to have a winter booster, although it acknowledged that the benefit for people in this age group is less clear than for those who are older. .

Professor Lisk said that people in their 30s and 50s could get a fourth dose if they fear getting Covid, but older age groups should definitely get a fourth dose.

“We are expecting a surge in Covid in late July and early August and vaccines do not protect as well against these new variants, so boosting your immune system well will reduce the risk of severe illness, especially for people aged 50 and over. over,” said Professor Lisk.

Professor Lisk said that many are tired of doing things to prevent Covid, but it is important to follow some simple measures.

“Put on a mask, get your third dose and stay home if you have any symptoms,” she said.

“The pandemic has had a huge impact on young people’s lives and it’s understandable that they want to move on, but there are only a few actions we can take that can make a big difference.”

Originally published as Australians urged to wear masks to reduce winter surge in Covid