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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

CAMP COVID

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Health researcher Dr Eric van Beurden with Lismore RV Covid contact accomodation abutting the weekly market sheds.

Lismore locals furious at ‘makeshift’ quarantine at showgrounds, saying it’s putting community at risk

NSW Health has started fencing off a large section of Lismore showground so that Covid contacts such as those from the Byron Bay Backpacker outbreak can be housed there in RVs. https://nnswlhd.health.nsw.gov.au/blog/2021/11/26/26043/

The operation has been undertaken with no consultation within the broader Lismore community. The few who were informed, including the showground management, North Coast National A&I Society, were told the plan was a total secret. Farmers Market stall holders surveyed last week, after reading the first media reports, felt they had been kept totally in the dark until the fence had been erected and Covid contacts were on the way.

Regular showground events include weekly farmers and organic markets as well as karting, car racing, auctions and equestrian events. Dr Eric van Beurden, former Research Coordinator in Lismore’s Public Health unit said: “Showground activities attract large numbers of participants, shoppers, spectators and stall holders ever. To house people with any risk of transmitting Covid, in any part of the showground is epidemiological madness! We all saw in the Ruby Princess fiasco just how easily things can go pear shape in spite of all the NSW Health assurances about 24/7 security guards and such.”

The gravest concern is that the new fence literally abutts the area where Lismore Farmers Market and Lismore Organic Market are held every week. Market Coordinator Louise Grenfell says: “These two markets were deemed by Northern NSW Local Health District to be essential produce providers ever since Covid first arrived and they attract hundreds of local shoppers every Tuesday and Saturday. This is a real worry for us all!”

Stall holders, whose livelihoods depend on market sales, are expressing deep concern that a risky Covid quarantine area may jeopardise the safety and popularity of the markets. They work long hours on the land or in other food enterprises to produce the fruit, vegetables and many other staple foods sold at the markets.

A group of locals including Dr Eric van Beurden and Beverley Crossley, a former North Coast health professional and nurse educator, believe that NSW Health should be containing Covid outbreaks where they occur, not spreading Covid risk to surrounding cities. Beverley Crossley says: “This is a NSW Health for the wider Lismore community! It will be even more dangerous when newer highly-contagious strains arrive. All outbreaks must be dealt with where they occur and not be exported to other places.”

The group urgently calls on Minister Hazzard to rescind the decision to import into the Lismore community, any Covid contacts from other areas who don’t require immediate hospital care.

COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

AUS passes 2m Covid cases, hits 1-in-10 NSW & VIC residents

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AUS passes 2m Covid cases, hits 1-in-10 NSW & VIC resident

AUS passes 2m Covid cases, hits 1-in-10 NSW & VIC residents

Australia has just passed two million official Covid cases today (Thursday), with one-in-10 New South Wales and Victorian residents now living with a diagnosis leading into the upcoming Federal Election, the latest VaxEnomicTM Forecaster from C-suite strategy group Provocate reveals.

Provocate Managing Director Troy Bilsborough said it represented a doubling of cases in under two weeks since Provocate first revealed Australia had hit the one-million case mark last Monday (10 January 2022).

“It took Australia two years to reach its first one million Covid cases and under two weeks to reach its second,” said Mr Bilsborough – a former senior advisor to Federal Health, Aged Care and Child Care Ministers.

“Healthcare influenced more votes than any other issue at the last Federal election and two million Australians now living with a Covid diagnosis will likely entrench that.

“This week’s negative polling on the Federal Government’s handling of the pandemic and economy continues to support our prediction that Covid and health will likely sway votes – and even the result – at May’s election.

“The arrival of a heavily-mutated variant like Omicron within five months of Delta also means there’s every chance Australia could be facing another outbreak from another new variant heading into the Federal Election campaign.”

“However, the biggest threat to business and voter confidence is not the virus itself, but politically-opposed state and Federal governments making decisions based on electionomics, not epidemiology or the economy.

It comes as top US Government Covid adviser Anthony Fauci also warned on Tuesday Omicron may not be the end of Covid with further mutations possible, supporting Provocate’s recent prediction Australia could be facing another virus variant in time for the next Federal election, slated for May 2022.

AUS passes 2m Covid cases, hits 1-in-10 NSW & VIC resident

AUS passes 2m Covid cases, hits 1-in-10 NSW & VIC resident

“The big unknown is whether Covid continues to matter when Australia is predicted to go to the polls in May – and whether opposition parties can continue to maintain voter dissatisfaction for that long.

“Much of this will hinge on how the longer-term impacts of Covid for the millions of Australians who now caught the virus, and how much onus attention medical, patient and worker representations place on having them recognised as chronic illness.”

About 90 per cent of total Australian cases have been recorded in the seven weeks since Omicron’s arrival in late November. That equates to an 800%+ increase in recorded cases in less than seven weeks, noting actual infections in the community were likely double or more that due to restricted testing options.

Provocate last week predicted the rapid transition from Covid as a public health and economic threat to a personal problem for millions of Australians would negatively impact voter views towards the Federal Government leading into the Election.

This was supported by this week’s Resolve Political Monitor, which showed since the May 2021 Federal Budget:

· a -22 point decline in the Federal Government’s lead on handling of Covid and the pandemic.

· a -13 point decline in the Federal Government’s lead on handling of economic management.

· a -10 point decline in the Federal Government’s lead on handling of health & aged care, with the Opposition now in front.

· a -5 point decline in the Federal Government’s primary vote, with the Opposition taking the lead for the first time during that period.

· A -16 point decline in the Federal Government’s lead on Preferred Prime Minister.

 

Figure 1 Source: Provocate analysis of ANU 'The 2019 Election Study'

Figure 1 Source: Provocate analysis of ANU ‘The 2019 Election Study’

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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

TGA Approves Pfizer’s Novel COVID-19 Oral Treatment in Australia

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The NSW Northern Rivers Times COVID19 News Updates

TGA Approves Pfizer’s Novel COVID-19 Oral Treatment in Australia

• Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approves PAXLOVID™ (nirmatrelvir [PF-07321332] tablets and ritonavir tablets) for supply to Australia.

• PAXLOVID is the first oral treatment of its kind; it includes nirmatrelvir, a 3CL (or main) protease inhibitor that was specifically designed to combat SARS-CoV-2.

• Pfizer Australia has entered an agreement with the Australian Government to supply 500,000 treatment courses over 2022.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, 20 January 2021 – Pfizer announced today that Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has granted provisional approval for the supply and use in Australia of PAXLOVID™ (nirmatrelvir [PF-07321332] tablets and ritonavir tablets. PAXLOVID has provisional approval for the treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in adults 18 years of age and older, who do not require initiation of supplemental oxygen due to COVID-19 and are at increased risk of progression to hospitalisation or death.

PAXLOVID is the first oral antiviral of its kind; it includes nirmatrelvir, a 3CL protease (also known as Main protease or Mpro) inhibitor that was specifically developed in Pfizer’s laboratories to combat SARS-CoV-2. Under this authorisation, PAXLOVID can be prescribed as an oral treatment to certain high-risk adults within the first 5 days of symptomatic infection, potentially helping patients avoid severe illness which can lead to hospitalisation or death.

“This milestone in Australia is an important moment in our continued fight against COVID-19, paving the way for use of PAXLOVID as cases continue to rise and we address the threat of a new variant of concern, Omicron,” said Anne Harris, Pfizer Australia and New Zealand Managing Director. “This at-oral therapy, developed to reduce hospitalisations and save lives, has the potential to transform COVID-19 treatment and help lessen the devastating impact of the virus that has now taken over 5 million lives globally”, Ms Harris said.

The TGA based its decision on positive results from the Phase 2/3 EPIC-HR (Evaluation of Protease Inhibition for COVID-19 in High-Risk Patients) interim analysis, which enrolled non-hospitalised adults with confirmed COVID-19 who were at increased risk of progressing to severe illness. The data demonstrated an 89% reduction in risk of COVID-19-related hospitalisation or death from any cause in adults treated with PAXLOVID compared to placebo in those treated within three days of symptom onset, with no deaths in the treatment group. Similar results were seen in those treated within five days of symptom onset. Treatment-emergent adverse events were comparable between PAXLOVID (19%) and placebo (21%), most of which were mild in intensity. Pfizer recently announced that results from the final analysis of the primary endpoint from all patients enrolled in EPIC-HR were consistent with the interim analysis, confirming efficacy with a similar safety profile. Additional Phase 2/3 clinical trials are ongoing in adults at standard risk of progressing to severe illness, and in those who have been exposed to the virus through household contacts.

In October 2021, Pfizer announced an agreement with the Australian Government to supply 500,000 treatment courses of PAXLOVID over 2022. With the oral treatment now approved for supply and use by the TGA, Pfizer will begin delivering the first treatment courses from Q1 2022.

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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

Under 12s to access protection against the worst of COVID from Monday 10 January

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Under 12s to access protection against the worst of COVID from Monday 10 January

Under 12s to access protection against the worst of COVID from Monday 10 January

• Pfizer vaccine available from Monday 10 January to children aged 5 to 11 years.
• Parents and guardians are encouraged to book through the Vaccine Clinic Finder.
• Vaccination protects our younger community members from the worst of COVID.
Children aged 5 to 11 in the North Coast region will be eligible to receive a new, lower-dose formulation of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine from Monday 10 January 2022.
With the dramatic increase in transmission rates due to the now-dominant Omicron strain, Healthy North Coast Chief Executive Officer Julie Sturgess is strongly encouraging parents and guardians to make a booking for children in their care in the coming weeks.
‘We know that vaccination reduces the risk of transmission as well as serious illness and hospitalisation from COVID-19,’ said Ms Sturgess.
‘The North Coast community vaccination rate for those aged 16 and up now stands at 93.6%, and our 12 to 15 year-olds have been eligible to book their COVID vaccination since September 2021.
‘With the strong uptake in our region, we expect that parents and carers are well acquainted with the benefits of vaccination and are ready to extend the same level of protection to our younger community members,’ Ms Sturgess said.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommended vaccination for children aged 5 to 11 years in December 2021, following earlier approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
Approval was based on a careful evaluation of available data to support its safety and efficacy among this age group.
The under-12s Pfizer vaccine is 10μg (0.2mL) or only a third of the recommended 30μg dose administered to people aged 12 and over.
The smaller dose will have an orange-capped vial to differentiate it from the 12 years and older vaccine.
Children under 12 will still receive two doses, though these will be eight weeks apart, unlike the three-week interval for older cohorts.
Health advice is that a longer interval between doses appears to generate a stronger immune response.
‘We’re encouraging any parent or guardian to use the Vaccine Clinic Finder to book an appointment over the coming weeks, while their school-aged children are still on holidays,’ Ms Sturgess said.
‘If you are unable to find a suitable appointment, please check back regularly as more appointments will become available as supply to the region increases.
‘Healthy North Coast is also open to working with other appropriate venues and locations, which may include schools, to expedite the rollout.’
Any parent of guardian who has concerns about the suitability of the vaccination for a child in their care should speak with their GP.

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