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End of Omicron wave in sight, but we don't know what tail will look like

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Queensland’s high vaccination rates have saved the State from thousands of Covid-19 deaths and the public hospitals from being overrun, the State’s health chief says.

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Dr John Gerrard said the end of the Omicron wave was now in sight. What remains unknown is what happens at the end of that.

“What happens at the tail of that is somewhat unknown because the whole world is experiencing this Omicron wave almost simultaneously. We have all been within a few weeks of each other in experiencing this Omicron wave,” Dr Gerrard said.

“Things have gone significantly better than we expected in terms of hospitalisation and intensive care admissions.”

Gerrard said there was no doubt this was due to wide scale vaccination rates.

Announcing another nine Covid-19 deaths on Friday, along with 5795 new cases of the virus, chief health officer said epidemiologists had been doing some figures about what would have happened without vaccinations.

And the picture would have been bleak.

“We are talking thousands of deaths and a hospital system overrun,” Gerrard said.

It comes as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk vowed to let the State know by the end of February about easing of restrictions, such as mask wearing.

Palaszczuk said she plans to meet Gerrard in the next few days to work out a plan.

New South Wales and Victoria, which have announced their easing, were several weeks ahead of Queensland in terms of the Omicron wave, she said.

Hospitalisation rates are stable and the number of positive cases in school children have not exploded despite schools returning on February 7.

And 90.48 per cent of the State’s population has now received two doses of the vaccine and 62.64 per cent of the eligible population has now received a booster.

Gerrard said that of the nine lives lost in the 24 hours to Friday, six were in their 70s, two in their 80s and one in their 90s.

Of these, three were unvaccinated, three had received two doses of the vaccine and three had received a booster shot.

Six of the nine were in residential aged care.

Gerrard said hospitalisation rates remain steady, with 384 people in public hospitals compared to 382 on Thursday.

The number of infected school children is also stable at 1702 compared to 1668 on Thursday.

 

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