People are being urged by health experts to work from home where they can as the latest wave of Covid-19 is expected to peak before Christmas.
Cases have risen in NSW and Victoria in recent weeks after rising steadily since October amid a “soup of variants”.
Last week, NSW Health changed its Covid-19 risk rating from green to amber, while Covid cases in NSW and Victoria have doubled in just two weeks.
Hassan Vally, associate professor of epidemiology at Deakin University, said Monday that new variants XBB and BQ.1 are driving case numbers as they become more dominant.
He said the new variants appeared to be more contagious but less severe.
“We also know that these variants do not appear to increase in virulence… The evidence seems to indicate that they are inherently less virulent,” he said during a briefing from the Australian Science Media Center.
dr Vally said people need to think about “preventive behaviors”, adding that the current wave is expected to be characterized by a sharp rise followed by a sharp fall.
He said he expects cases to go down before Christmas.
“Each wave seems to have less of an impact,” said Dr. Valley.
dr Vally said the threat posed by Covid was not over but stressed we had entered a phase of life alongside the virus.
Health officials last week recommended NSW residents to wear masks indoors and on public transport when social distancing was not available.
NSW residents are also now required to wear masks in all areas of hospitals.
In the week ending November 17, 27,869 people were diagnosed with Covid-19 across NSW.
Health authorities in NSW, Queensland, Western Australia and the ACT have strongly recommended wearing masks again in indoor public areas and on public transport, but have balked at reintroducing mandates.
dr Vally said people who have been able to work from home should do so if they can.
“Maybe this is also a point where people, where they have the flexibility, should work from home a little bit more than it might become normal,” he said.
Originally posted as Worked was urged to stay home amid Covid ‘variant soup’ warning