What will Australia’s fourth year of the COVID-19 pandemic look like? – ABC News

by | Dec 31, 2022 | COVID-19

Through three years of the pandemic, Bianca Spooner didn’t get COVID-19 once — until a few days before Christmas.Key points:New Omicron variants have been causing hospital admissions to rise in the final two months of 2022Experts say vaccines will remain the main defence against COVID-19 into 2023Despite investment in studying and treating long COVID, the virus will likely be a challenge for years to come”The first three to four days were absolute hell,” she said.”I was close to calling an ambulance on the third day because of breathlessness.”The Melbourne woman, 47, spent Christmas alone, and has been doing her best to isolate herself from her teenage son.More than a week since testing positive, Ms Spooner has been careful to avoid spreading the disease.”While there aren’t any isolation rules, I’ve been very diligent in self-isolating and wearing masks if I go out, and using high-level hygiene,” she said.To get a doctor’s certificate for work, the single mother had to fork out $100 for a telehealth appointment which was not covered by Medicare.”I’ve got severe mortgage stress and a $100 doctor’s bill was a really significant cost for me,” she said.As Australia battles its latest COVID-19 wave, many will be hoping 2023 is the year the pandemic “ends”, the year that weighing-up exposure risks, mask use, skipping social events due to that tickle in the throat, can all be put behind us.Experts say it’s important the community understands that isn’t the case — but there are some things that could make the next year a little easier than the past three.Omicron’s spread saw COVID-19 deaths soar in 2022As we welcomed in 2022, the highly infectious Omicron variant made its arrival felt in Australia’s pandemic, sending cases skyrocketing.The nation has seen thousands of COVID-19 deaths since then, dwarfing the tolls from 2020 and 2021.Surging cases put immense pressure on the nation’s health systems, with rising COVID-19 cas …

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