Vital data or dog’s breakfast – row erupts over weekly Covid data dump

Covid-19 cases and deaths continue to fall across the country as experts question the utility of weekly virus data dumps.

Sep 23, 2022, updated Sep 23, 2022
Covid cases continue to drop nationally. (file image)

Covid cases continue to drop nationally. (file image)

The federal health department released its weekly Covid-19 case notifications report on Friday afternoon, which shows the national average number of cases dropped 14.5 per cent compared to the previous week.

There were a total of 45,800 new Covid-19 cases recorded across the country in the week to September 20, with an average of 6543 cases per day.

Changes in case numbers across the states and territories ranged from an increase of 1.5 per cent in the Northern Territory to a 17.3 per cent drop in NSW.

Hospitalisations last week fell by an average 14.9 per cent compared with the previous week.

The health sector has widely criticised the change from daily to weekly data releases.

State figures released last Friday and this week are starkly different to the federal data, which is counted with different start and end dates.

Epidemiologist Adrian Esterman said he agreed with colleagues who described the new format as “useless”.

Australian Medical Association president Steve Robson described the format as “a dog’s breakfast”.

Meanwhile, Oxfam says two-thirds of countries are yet to meet the 70 per cent Covid-19 vaccination target set at last year’s United Nations General Assembly.

It said the death toll from Covid-19 was four times higher in lower-income countries, where 48 per cent of people have had their initial vaccinations.

At the current rate, it will take almost two and a half years to fully vaccinate 70 per cent of people in the poorest countries.

In Australia, 72 per cent of people have received a third dose of vaccine, while 40.7 per cent have had a fourth.

NSW: 14,170 new cases, 69 deaths
VIC: 10,360 new cases, 80 deaths
ACT: 730 new cases, zero deaths
NT: 379 new cases, one death
SA: 3037 new cases, 22 deaths
QLD: 9166 new cases, 37 deaths

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