Australia’s COVID strategy needs to change to reflect reality

Written by Javed Iqbal

The second reason is very disappointing: Omicron infection does not increase your immunity as one had hoped. Reinfections are more and more common, not necessarily milder than the original infection and appear to be associated with cumulative damage. The more infections you get, the worse it seems to be.

Which brings us to another big concern – the neglected issue of long-covid. It shows the latest data long-COVID still occurs with Omicron. Although less than the speed of previous variants, the gigantic Omicron case burden means that long-lasting COVID-19 will have a large, lasting effect on health, well-being and business.

Coronavirus has genetically modified into new forms as a result of mutations.

Coronavirus has genetically modified into new forms as a result of mutations.Credit:AP


Like all aspects of the disease, prolonged COVID-19 is worse in disadvantaged societies: precisely the people we are meant to take the most care of. It is important that the mechanisms know prolonged COVID-driven organ damage (it is much more than fatigue) is better understood with the worrying potential of persistent virus or components of the virus in the body.

This new understanding of what drives frequent reinfections and new waves, and the growing concern and understanding of long-term COVID, argue that any strategy that assumes that a widespread infection may form part of a COVID exit pathway should be rejected. in favor of one that reduces transmission.

Of course, stopping the infection completely would be great. But delaying infection and reducing the frequency of becoming infected is also very powerful for individuals and society. In addition to reducing clinical harm and slowing down viral development, delay buys time for even better tools and strategies to be developed and delivered.


What to do now? The most important thing we can do is that our leaders clearly signal that a strategic turnaround is strongly anti-transmission, and to do so without disruptive restrictions. Under the strategic focal point, we propose a few priorities:

Firstly, we need a much greater effort to increase the sickening coverage of the third and fourth doses in adults, to vaccinate children aged five to 11 years, which is still at a paltry 40 percent, and hopefully soon to vaccinate younger children. Encouragingly, the new health minister took the first step toward this yesterday by announcing a $ 11 million campaign to encourage vaccination.

Second, we must reduce airborne transmission by promoting, supplying and reintroducing high quality masks (N95 / P2) in high-risk indoor environments and investing seriously in improving indoor air quality. The latter does not need a social license, it should be done immediately.

Third, we need a national database that provides more timely information on various aspects of the pandemic, such as more details on those who are hospitalized and dying, who can access life-saving antiviral drugs such as Paxlovid. It should also track how common long-term COVID is.


Our Omicron experience and the underlying science both scream that the current high transmission situation is unsustainable. Many Australians are heading for two, three or even more bouts of COVID-19 this calendar year. We can do it much better.

We can switch to a low-transmission strategy, plus vaccines, where we use documented measures that cause minimal disruption to our lives and through far less COVID-19 promote a healthier, less disrupted and economically stronger society.

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Javed Iqbal

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