Here’s what we know about this new wave and what to expect over the coming weeks.
How do we know we’re in a new COVID-19 wave?
When will we hit the peak?
However, given the wave’s slow growth rate and further increases in hybrid immunity (immunity from both vaccination and infection) over 2023, it’s reasonable to expect this to be the smallest Omicron wave so far.
We also expect it will be over by early in the summer holiday period. That’s when rates of community contact decline significantly, as work and school contacts are much reduced. That means fewer opportunities for the virus to spread between networks of family and friends.
It’s not a seasonal cause, given respiratory viruses tend to spread better in winter, when we’re cooped up indoors with others.
Instead, we’re seeing the result of a constantly mutating virus. Successful SARS-CoV-2 variants are gradually acquiring mutations. Some of these changes reduce the ability of existing antibodies to bind to and neutralise the virus. So it appears it’s still the “immune escape” variants that are behind these latest waves.
Which variants are to blame?
- the F456L mutation that led to the rise of EG.5.1, also known as Eris
- more recently, the paired “FLip” mutations F456L+L455F. We see these in offspring of Eris and in much-less closely related lineages. This is a clear sign these mutations help the virus spread better.
The novel BA.2.86 lineage – colloquially known as Pirola – was first reported in Denmark in August and has many unique mutations. It has not been influential so far in this wave in Australia. But it has continued to evolve. And we may see it play a much bigger role in Australia in 2024.
Who is most at risk during this COVID wave?
Older people and those with weaker immune systems are expected to remain at greatest risk of developing severe COVID during this current wave.
He receives funding from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, Medical Research Future Fund and Covid grants (Round 2 Covid grant and VIIM vaccine group) awarded from the NSW state government.
https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/a-new-covid-19-wave-has-hit-australia-heres-what-you-can-expect-this-time/86sr64u7r A new COVID-19 wave has hit Australia. Here’s what you can expect this time