SYDNEY – Australia saw its bloodiest day of the pandemic on Tuesday (Jan 18), when a fast-moving Omicron outbreak pushed hospitalization rates to new highs, despite daily infections easing marginally.
The Omicron strain of the coronavirus is causing the worst COVID-19 outbreak in Australia’s history, putting more people in hospitals and critical care than at any other time throughout the pandemic.
Official data revealed that by late morning, a total of 74 deaths had been reported throughout Australia’s three most populated states, surpassing the previous national high of 57 set last Thursday.
New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet said during a press conference that “this is a very tough day for our state,” referring to the state’s 36 deaths, a new pandemic high.
Hospitals can still cope with the increased number of admissions, according to Perrottet, who has constantly ruled out any harsh restrictions due to high vaccination rates.
“Despite the difficulties, they are not unique to the United States,” he stated.
Victoria announced a “code brown” in hospitals on Tuesday in response to increased hospitalizations, which is generally reserved for shorter-term emergencies and gives hospitals the authority to cancel non-urgent health services and staff leave.
Unvaccinated young people make up a “substantial number” of hospital admissions in the country, according to officials.
According to an ANZ survey issued on Tuesday, the Omicron increase caused self-imposed lockdowns and restricted expenditure, despite governments’ efforts to prevent lockdowns and keep businesses open.
According to a widely watched survey released on Tuesday, Omicron has lowered Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s approval ratings, putting opposition Labor in the lead months before a federal election.
In New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, and Tasmania, just over 67,000 new illnesses were reported, down from a national high of 150,000 last Thursday. Other states are expected to report at a later date.
Since the pandemic began, Australia has reported 1.6 million illnesses, with 1.3 million occurring in the previous two weeks. The total number of people that died was 2,757.