Every day so far this month has seen 30,000 new cases or more, according to data from the federal Department of Health (DoH).And while it’s a far cry from the pandemic peak in January, which saw more than 155,000 cases recorded in one day, the numbers are still sobering.Latest national Covid data released on Tuesday from the DoH showed there were 39,922 cases reported in the previous 24 hours. This brought the estimated number of active cases to 212,701. Of these, 3055 people are in hospital, 105 in intensive care and more than 30 are ventilated.The total number of cases since Covid was first identified in Australia in January 2020 is 7,850,285. Of these, 9445 people have lost their lives. Despite daily numbers still in the tens of thousands, mask mandates are set to be relaxed even further after a meeting of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC).In a statement last week, the committee proposed mask wearing in airport terminals no longer be mandated. “The AHPPC notes that all states and territories have relaxed mask mandates in most settings within the community, and considers that it is no longer proportionate to mandate mask use in airport terminals,” the statement read.However, the committee reaffirmed its recognition of the role of masks, along with other public health measures, in minimising Covid and influenza transmission and “protecting the broader community, including those who are unable to get vaccinated and people who have a higher risk of developing severe illness”.“In light of this, the AHPPC continues to strongly recommend continued mask wearing in airport terminals and other indoor settings, especially where physical distancing is not possible,” the statement read.Australian Medical Association president Dr Omar Khorshid said the Covid crisis was far from over. He welcomed a commitment from National Cabinet to extend the national partnership on Covid-19 50-50 hospital funding until December, but warning a long-term fix was urgently needed to avoid an escalation of the pandemic and more deaths.“And Covid hasn’t gone away, with thousands of cases still being reported every day,” Dr Khorshid said.“We need telehealth arrangements, which are due to be scaled back on July 1, to be extended for primary care. These arrangements keep people with respiratory illnesses out of the community where infection can spread. “Governments must also better address Covid, by improving communication on the need for people to get the third dose and giving Australians the clear message that they can do their bit by wearing masks.” The DoH recommends that the following people receive a winter dose of the Covid-19 vaccine:• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and over• People who are severely immunocompromised• People aged 16-64 and with a medical condition that increases the risk of severe Covid-19 illness• People aged 16-64 with disability with significant or complex health needs or multiple comorbidities which increases risk of severe illness.• Residents of aged care or disability care facilities.Winter Covid vaccine doses can be administered if it has been at least four months since your booster dose.If you have recently tested positive for Covid, it is recommended that you wait for three months before getting your next booster.
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