Covid cases spike 28 per cent in a month as concerns rise about effect of a fifth wave of the virus on Australia’s workforce
- Covid fifth wave concerns, jump in case numbers
- ‘Significant’ increase in workers taking sick leave
- Experts encouraging Aussies to get boosted
Experts have warned about a fifth wave of Covid across Australia, with a rise in case numbers and hospitalisations driving many Aussie workers to take sick leave.
Case numbers have increased by 28 per cent in the last month, leaving workplaces struggling with a ‘significant’ uptick in employees calling in sick.
A recent poll by Australian HR Institute found 82 per cent of its members reported an increase in workers taking sick leave.
There have been more than 557,000 reported Covid cases nationally and more than 2,600 deaths since the start of 2023.
Covid case numbers have increased by 28 per cent in the last month, with more than 557,000 reported cases nationally since the start of 2023 (stock image)
Aussies are currently facing a double assault with both cases of the flu and Covid-19 on the rise, resulting in calls from doctors to keep up to date with booster jabs and vaccinations.
The number of people getting vaccinated for Covid is falling by 10,000 per week over the past three weeks.
A new Australian study has found the effectiveness of the Covid vaccine drops six months after the last vaccination, with 16.6million Australians not having had a booster in more than six months.
National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) researcher Professor Bette Liu said it was important everyone, especially those in higher-risk aged groups, stay on top of their vaccinations.
Three million people aged over 65 have not had this year’s booster even with protection from the vaccine for that age group dropping to 56 per cent six months after having the jab, research by the NCIRS found.
‘They’re really vulnerable, vulnerability increases with age,’ Prof Liu told the Daily Telegraph.
‘This isn’t just having serious Covid, this is actually dying from Covid.’
Those in higher-risk groups are encouraged to roll up their sleeves to get a booster shot, especially if it’s been more than six months since their last vaccination.
There are concerns the uptick in case numbers is the beginning of a fifth covid wave, with Aussie workplaces feeling the brunt of a ‘significant’ increase in employees calling in sick (stock image)
‘It is really important people understand that a Covid-19 vaccine booster will not protect you against the flu. And a flu vaccine will not protect you against Covid-19,’ Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said.
‘They are different viruses – and you need both vaccines to protect you against both viruses.’
‘But the good news is that you can have the vaccines at the same time,’ he added.
Clinical studies have shown there is no increase in side effects when you get both jabs together.
The XBB variants of Covid are now dominant accounting for 80 per cent of infections, Deakin University epidemiologist Professor Catherine Bennett said.
Dubbed ‘Arcturus’, the XBB 1.6 variant has typical cold and flu symptoms as well as conjunctivitis or pink eye.
Although NSW government genome sequencing has found this variant is on the rise, it is not more serious than other strains of coronavirus.