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This comes despite the prevalence of the “milder” Omicron strain and nearly everybody being at least double vaccinated.
People are still getting very sick, and people are still dying, Director of Infectious Diseases at Brisbane’s Mater Hospital Paul Griffin told 9News.com.au.
“While there’s been a lot less talk about severe COVID at the moment, I know at my practice we’re seeing people with severe disease,” he said.
“We are seeing a lot of people progress to the severe manifestation at COVID, and that includes not surviving.”
In the past 24 hours in New South Wales, 10,964 new cases were diagnosed and 22 people died. There are 1283 people in hospital with the virus.
In Victoria, 13,201 new cases were diagnosed and 14 people died with the virus. There are 512 Victorians in hospital with COVID-19.
Griffin said the messaging that Omicron is mild is not correct.
“It’s probably on a par with the original strain,” he said.
“That is a very serious infection.”
He urged Australians who have not had their booster shot to come forward for their third jab.
And those vulnerable Australians eligible for a fourth booster should get it ahead of winter.
State health departments list anybody who has died while testing positive as an official COVID-19 death.
But Griffin said few of those deaths are people who died of something else.
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“For those deaths recorded as COVID deaths, the majority of them would have been unlikely to have occurred if that person had not been infected,” he said.