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HomeAus & NZCovid-19 hospital cases in Christmas wave have potential to be worst yet,...

Covid-19 hospital cases in Christmas wave have potential to be worst yet, modelling shows

'Quick read' news summary

The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 could hit a record high in the Christmas wave.

New modelling has been released by the Ministry of Health, suggesting a likely peak of about 1100 people in hospital with Covid on any given day.

That is more than both the first Omicron wave in March (1000 a day) and second in July (836), partly driven by more older people getting the virus for the first time.

The updated scenario shows community cases peaking at about 13,000 a day by the end of this month, up from 11,000 a day in the early modelling for this third Omicron wave.

Deaths were modelled to peak at about 22 a day.

The current wave has been notoriously hard to predict. That was partly because there are six Omicron variants – all with slightly different characteristics – in the mix, and because modellers did not know the impact earlier outbreaks had on immunity.

The ministry said the latest scenarios reflected updated information since the start of the wave, allowing modellers to get a clearer picture based on assumptions about a higher level of transmission, waning immunity and people’s behaviour changing since restrictions were relaxed.

But there was still a relatively high degree of uncertainty about how the outbreak would play out.

“These models outline possible futures,” a spokesperson said. “They are not inevitable and the steps each of us take to be prepared for Covid-19 this summer can make for a safer summer for everyone.”

Antivirals, medicines and booster dose could both significantly reduce the number of people with Covid-19 that require hospital care.

The “variant soup” had made the outbreak even more difficult to predict in the early stages, but one was beginning to stick its head above the other five in the mix.

BA.2.75 is now the most common, making up 39 percent of

The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 could hit a record high in the Christmas wave. New modelling has been released by the Ministry of Health, suggesting a likely peak of about 1100 people in hospital with Covid on any given day. Antivirals, medicines and booster dose could both significantly reduce the number of people with Covid-19 that require hospital care.

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