Research suggests more than half of all Australians may have contracted COVID-19 by 2022

A recent survey by the National Center for Immunization Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) and the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales found that twice as many Australians as previously reported may have been infected with COVID-19 during the first Omicron wave in the country.

Staff prepare to collect samples at a drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic on Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, January 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

The researchers tested 5,185 samples from blood donors for antibodies produced by infection, but not by vaccination. Based on the results, the scientists concluded that about 3.4 million adults (17 percent of the population) were infected by the end of February. According to the survey, this was “at least twice as high as indicated by cases reported to authorities at the end of February”.

A comparison of infection rates across states illustrates the disastrous impact of the “let it rip” policies now being adopted by all governments, both Labor and Liberal National, across the country.

The samples, collected just before the Labor government of Western Australia dropped its ‘hard border’, indicated that only 0.5 percent of blood donors in that state had contracted the virus. In Queensland, where the state’s Labor government threw open the border on December 23 despite rising cases in neighboring New South Wales (NSW), 26 percent of samples tested contained COVID-19 antibodies.

Since the time these samples were collected, regular surveillance testing in schools and workplaces has been almost completely eliminated, asymptomatic close contacts are no longer required in most states for testing or isolation, and free polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing programs have been cut. , forcing people to rely on less accurate, self-reported rapid antigen tests.

This means that the drastic underreporting of infections uncovered by the research is likely to have only gotten worse. The obvious implication is that at least 14 million Australians, or well over half the population, may have contracted the virus since the beginning of the year, based on a doubling of the official figure of more than 7 million.

Further indicating that the impact of COVID-19 has been far worse than official statistics show, the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ preliminary death statistics for January and February 2022 reveal 5,052 additional deaths, compared to the historical average, nearly 3,000 more than the case had been reported as being caused directly by the virus.

The doubled infection rate calculated in the NCIRS study also raises the specter of massive Lung COVID. Estimates of the incidence of Lung COVID vary, but even with conservative figures of 5 to 10 percent of all infections, 700,000 to 1.4 million Australians could already be dealing with an ongoing debilitating disease.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported yesterday that demand for neuropsychological treatment is hitting record levels and people seeking treatment for Lung COVID are waiting between six and 12 months for an appointment.

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