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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

COVID-19 Omicron sub-lineages BA.4 and BA.5 will become the dominant strains in coming weeks

NSW Health advise:

It is expected the COVID-19 Omicron sub-lineages BA.4 and BA.5 will become the dominant strains in the coming weeks and this is likely to result in an increase in infections, including in people who have previously had COVID-19. It is important to keep up to date with all your vaccinations. The latest NSW respiratory surveillance report for the week ending 18 June provides a summary of the week’s flu, COVID-19 and other respiratory virus data.

COVID-19 Summary • COVID-19 transmission in the community remains high with a slight increase in the number of notified cases in the last week. Reported rates of COVID-19 are likely to underestimate true incidence in the community due to a decrease in PCR testing and the use of self-reported rapid antigen testing (RATs). • PCR testing for COVID-19 has increased, with 180,762 PCR tests reported this week, a 0.8% increase compared to the previous week. The proportion of PCR tests that were positive for COVID-19 has increased from 11% to 13%. • 506 people with COVID-19 were admitted to hospital and 47 were admitted to ICU this week. The seven-day rolling average of daily hospital admissions decreased to an average of 72 daily admissions from 78 last week and ICU admissions increased to an average of seven daily admissions up from six last week. Hospital admissions include people with COVID-19 who are admitted for other reasons. • There were 77 COVID-19 deaths reported this week. Of these, all were eligible for a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine but only 56 (73%) had received a third dose. Five of the deaths reported were in people aged under 65 years. Deaths may not have occurred in the week in which they were reported. • The Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) is currently the dominant COVID-19 variant circulating in the NSW community, with BA.2 the predominant sub-lineage. The proportion of specimens likely to be either the BA.4 or BA.5 sub-lineage has increased substantially in the last week to around 31% compared to 23% at the end of the previous week. • The BA.4 and BA.5 sub-lineages have a growth advantage over the BA.2 sub-lineage. There is no evidence of a difference in disease severity but this is being closely monitored. The timing of any increase in COVID-19 infections as a result of the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-lineages will depend on a combination of factors, including the growth advantage, immunity levels in the population, and environmental and behavioural factors (e.g. social mixing, isolation when unwell). It is expected that BA.4 and BA.5 will become the dominant strain and will likely be associated with an increase in infections in the coming weeks. Flu summary • Hospital and laboratory surveillance continues to show a high level of flu activity across NSW. • Notifications of flu cases have increased this week; however, case numbers will be impacted by increased levels of flu testing compared to previous years. Hospitalisations and the percentage of tests that are positive are the most useful indicators for comparison of flu activity across years. • Of the 56,527 tests conducted for flu at sentinel laboratories, the proportion of positive tests decreased to 14% compared to 16% in the previous week. • Emergency department presentations for ‘influenza-like illness’ (ILI) requiring an admission have decreased to 211 compared to 221 admissions in the previous week. 15% of all ILI emergency department presentations requiring a hospital admission this week, which is similar to 14% in the previous week. The proportion of presentations that were admitted to hospital was highest for people aged 65 years and over (48%), 35-64 years old (16%) and children aged 0-4 years (14%). • Influenza A is the dominant circulating strain. Other respiratory viruses summary • Detections of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) have increased this week. Data from sentinel laboratories show 3,775 cases detected this week, compared to 3,200 cases detected last week. • Detections of RSV are likely impacted by increased levels of testing for respiratory viruses compared to previous years. • Emergency department presentations for bronchiolitis, which is a clinical diagnosis of infants usually associated with RSV, continued to increase with 625 presentations for bronchiolitis this week in children aged 0-4 years, up from 623 presentations in the previous week. Of these presentations, 40% were admitted to hospital.

For more detail, you can read the full report on the website:


NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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