Australia

As Australia’s COVID-19 infections plateau, experts warn against surge in influenza cases

Australia reported nearly 21,000 new COVID-19 infections on Sunday as reproductive rates in the virus plateau across the country.
On Sunday, 24 deaths were reported, much less than 70 on Saturday. Saturday’s death toll was the highest number in more than a fortnight, but also included unreported deaths in South Australia since earlier in the year. There are about 220,000 active virus cases across the country.
The rate of effective reproduction of the virus lies in about one in each state and territory, meaning that one infected person will infect at least one other person.

Meanwhile, as COVID-19 infection stabilizes, Australia has had its worst May on record when it comes to flu cases, prompting experts to warn this season it will redefine what it means to be ready for the virus.

The national disease surveillance system reported about 65,770 confirmed cases of flu in May – more than double the previous month’s record, set in 2019.
Dr Jonathan Anderson, an executive with pharmaceutical company Seqirus, said other countries would be looking to Australia to see how he coped with the spike.
“Australia is in a unique position because we are one of the first countries to deal with COVID with a simultaneous flu season similar to pre-COVID levels,” he said at a BioMelbourne Network forum.
“It is clear that the rest of the world will be watching our flu season closely and learning from our successes or failures.”
As of June 5, the last reporting period, there were nearly 88,000 reports of flu cases this year, with more than 47,800 of them diagnosed in the previous fifteen days.

The system has reported over 27 flu-related deaths in the year to date, with more than 730 people reportedly admitted to hospital due to the flu since April. From mid-April, the number of confirmed weekly cases was above the five-year average.

Dr Anderson said it was important for Australia to focus on innovative technologies to help protect people from the flu in the future.
Along with existing vaccines, experts were looking for new ones like a second-generation mRNA today, and cell-based vaccines.
Dr Felicia Pradera, a manager at the Defense Materials Technology Center research organization, said Australia should take lessons from COVID-19 to ensure it responds well to the flu.
It suggests real-time data sharing can be improved, along with shared research, and investment in platforms that could target specific pathogens.

Australian doctors in training say they are deeply concerned about the future of the healthcare sector as former professionals struggle with the turmoil caused in part by the flu and the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Australian Medical Students Association is urging governments to urgently address pressure on the workforce and commit to long-term planning when funding the National Medical Workforce Strategy.
“Disaster” staff shortages, extreme burns and intensified clinical demand are among the factors driving the sector, association president Jasmine Davis says.
The peak body concerned crisis will have consequences for patient safety.
“We know that a burning, understaffed medical workforce may not be able to properly teach the next generation of doctors, despite their desire to do so,” Ms. Davis said.
“As a result, medical students have faced significant disruption in their medical education throughout the COVID-19 pandemic – now in its third year – with canceled placements, restricted patient access and online classes.”

Nearly nine out of 10 doctors are experiencing burns, according to a recent survey by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

As Australia’s COVID-19 infections plateau, experts warn against surge in influenza cases Source link As Australia’s COVID-19 infections plateau, experts warn against surge in influenza cases

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