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Australia: Doctors alarmed by severity of latest Omicron wave

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  • Australia: Doctors alarmed by severity of latest Omicron wave

    Source: https://www.watoday.com.au/national/...15-p5b20s.html

    Doctors alarmed by severity of latest Omicron wave
    Melissa Cunningham
    By Melissa Cunningham
    July 21, 2022 — 3.00am

    Key points

    A leading Australian infectious disease doctor has warned of early signs that coronavirus patients in the latest wave are spending longer in hospital than those in the previous Omicron outbreaks.
    New emerging research also suggests the BA.5 subvariant may be more effective at infecting cells in our lungs.
    Other experts say it is too soon to determine if BA.5 is more severe than previous Omicron subvariants and that more data is needed.
    Across Australia, coronavirus hospitalisations have soared past 5300.

    Infectious disease doctors are warning that some patients in the latest COVID-19 wave are spending longer in hospital and requiring more specialised care than those in the first Omicron outbreak.

    Some physicians on the front line of Australia’s latest coronavirus wave have observed early signals the BA.5 subvariant may be increasing disease severity, amid emerging research indicating it could be more effective at infecting cells in lungs.

    Dr Marion Kainer, infectious diseases head at Melbourne’s Western Health, said that as patient numbers grow, more older people in the city’s west were presenting with more acute respiratory symptoms and requiring more medical support than patients in the earlier Omicron wave.

    Western Health was also admitting more patients aged in their 30s, 40s and 50s who hadn’t had their third vaccine dose and were very unwell, Kainer said.

    “What we are noticing is that they are sicker on the wards this time around and they are staying longer than they were during the last Omicron wave,” she said.

    Many patients had illness severity somewhere between the more virulent Delta strain and earlier sublineages of Omicron, Kainer said...
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