Australia was once regarded as a world-class example of how to keep Covid-19 at bay, but now it is one of the worst-hit countries in the world.
Eighteen months of sporadic lockdowns and careful restrictions kept Australia’s daily Covid-19 case numbers and deaths relatively low compared with similar countries across the world.
But the appearance of Omicron in December has significantly changed everything.
According to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University, Australia has a rolling seven-day average of 87,815 cases per day.
As a result, it ranks 13th in the world for the highest rate of Covid-19 infections per 100,000 with 346 cases.
That places Australia higher than the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and South Africa – where it’s believed Omicron first appeared.
But stripping away the countries above it that have a population of less than 100,000, Australia comes in seventh – behind Seychelles, Ireland, France, Montenegro, Channel Islands and Denmark.
Comparably, Australia’s death rate per 100,000 continues to be low, ranking at 79th with a rate of 0.10
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom, with a population of 67.2 million, has a rate of 233 cases per 100,000. Its death rate is 0.36.
The United States, which has a population of 329.5 million, has a rate of 229 cases per 100,000 and a death rate of 0.52.
South Africa, which was last month considered the epicentre of the Omicron variant, has a rate of just 12 cases per 100,000. Its death rate is .29.
This data is likely to be a gross under representation of actual Covid-19 figures in many countries, however, with testing rates low in many developing nations and some countries failing to report accurate data.
It’s believed case numbers are not being accurately reported in Australia either, with rapid antigen tests hard to source and long queues for PCR tests off putting for many.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce told the Nine network on Thursday morning that it was plain to see that Omicron was “everywhere”.
“The place is alive with it,” he said.
“We are lucky it’s a mild case, and for people who have been double vaccinated and I’ve had it, and it’s like a 2.5 out of 10 flu for a couple of days, that’s how I experienced it.
“And I know for some people it can kill you. I am not putting aside the seriousness of it for some people.”
Australia recorded it’s deadliest day of the pandemic on Wednesday, with 50 deaths recorded across the country.
Of the nearly 700,000 active cases across the country in the moment, just 4010 people are in hospital. Of those, 350 are in intensive care and 101 are on ventilators.