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October 4, 2022

The COVID-19 Booster: Latest news from the pandemic

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Brought to you by Cosmos Magazine and The Echo

The COVID-19 Booster is Cosmos Magazine’s weekly shot of the latest research, news and data from the pandemic.

Cosmos Magazine summarises the latest and most interesting research into COVID-19 emerging around the world.

What’s the data today?

Globally, there are 585 086 861 confirmed cases and 6 422 914 confirmed deaths from COVID-19.

In Australia, over 95% of eligible Australians have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

More than 70% of people over 16 have received a booster, and over 37% of eligible people have received a fourth dose.

There are 245,897 estimated active cases in Australia.

Of these, 4,274 are hospitalised, 135 are in ICU and 41 are currently ventilated.

There have been over 9.6 million cases of COVID-19 in Australia, and 12,653 deaths. Data

COVID news in brief

Data: COVID-19 is the third-biggest killer in Australia

Research from the Actuaries Institute has found COVID-19 is likely to be the third leading cause of death in Australia this year, behind heart disease and dementia, but higher than lung cancers and cardiovascular disease. Of more than 6,800 more deaths registered in the first four months of this year, more than half were due to COVID-19 alone. Actuaries predicts excess mortality of around 3,500 for May – July this year. See the data.

Long COVID: 1 in 8 may experience ongoing symptoms

Research published in The Lancet by scientists from University Medical Center Groningen (Netherlands) has found 1 in 8 people with COVID-19 may experience ongoing symptoms three to five months after infection. Although there are varying definitions of what symptoms constitute long COVID, increasing research into the ongoing nature of the disease has found anywhere from five to twenty percent of people may continue to feel the effects of the disease after the assumed recovery period of 28 days after infection. This study compared the long-term symptoms of COVID-19 to those without infection, with study lead author Professor Judith Rosmalen saying it provides more accurate predictions of long COVID prevalence.

“There is urgent need for data informing the scale and scope of the long-term symptoms experienced by some patients after COVID-19 illness,” Rosmalen says.

“However, most previous research into long COVID has not looked at the frequency of these symptoms in people who haven’t been diagnosed with COVID-19 or looked at individual patients’ symptoms before the diagnosis of COVID-19.”

Risk assessment: Researchers have developed a method to estimate the next coronavirus

Researchers from the EcoHealth Alliance (USA) have estimated the potential risk associated with new zoonotic (animal-to-human) coronavirus emerging in Southeast Asia. Published in Nature Communications, the research looked at SARS-related coronaviruses that lead to diseases like SARS, Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Swine acute diarrhea syndrome (SADS) and COVID-19, and 26 known ‘reservoir’ bat species. The researchers overlayed the distribution ranges of these bats with human populations, then used epidemiological data and probability-based risk assessment methods to suggest tens of thousands of coronavirus cases occur in the region annual. However, while the report authors and other independent disease and ecological experts say the research provides useful insights, but requires a greater degree of precision.

Australia: Your child’s nose could be better at fighting off earlier COVID-19 strains

At the early stages of the pandemic, children were found to experience less severe symptoms from COVID-19. Now, research from the University of Queensland may have found a possible reason: the lining of a child’s nose may inhibit infection and replication of the original and Delta strains of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The research published in PLOS Biology, found that strains of the ancestral and Delta SARS-CoV-2 were able to replicate less effectively when exposed to cells from the nasal epithelium of a child, as opposed to adult samples. However, Omicron was better able to replicate when exposed to a child’s nasal cells, suggesting that this line of defence may be weaker against new strains.

“Children have a lower COVID-19 infection rate and milder symptoms than adults, but the reasons for this have been unknown,” explains one of the study’s authors Dr Kirsty Short.

“We’ve shown the lining of children’s noses have a more pro-inflammatory response to the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 than adult’s noses, but we found it’s a different ball game when it come to the Omicron variant.”

…But your saliva is just as good as nasal swabs

Research published in the New Zealand Medical Journal from the Institute of Environmental Science and Research found that saliva tests had very similar detection rates as nasal swabs. The study analysed tests performed on around 200 New Zealanders from different parts of the country and found the saliva tests detected 91% of positive COVID-19 cases – two percentage points shy of nasal swabs (93%).

In the case of New Zealand, the researchers suggest that saliva sampling provides “more tolerable options to nasopharyngeal swabs is desirable for people presenting for testing.”

This article was originally published on Cosmos Magazine and was written by Matthew Agius. Matthew Agius is a science writer for Cosmos Magazine.

Published by The Echo in conjunction with Cosmos Magazine.

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  1. According to those maps, the highest case and death rates are in the countries with the highest mRNA vaccination rates.
    Senators Rennick and Roberts have been talking about that in the Senate.

  2. “The Covid Booster” screams the headline …. what is it “boosting”, exactly? Research the meaning of the word “vaccine” and come back to me, because the last time I had all my kids and grandkids vaccinated for every virus and disease known to man, we rested easy in the knowledge that they would be fully PROTECTED FROM CATCHING all those nasties that they were vaccinated against …. they worked, very, very well. This one, however, how has it worked, exactly? Will they let go at shot #5, or #10, perhaps? Maybe this is to be a quarterly, lifelong thing?

    • They safely and effectively achieve what they are meant to achieve. Bill Gates explained it in his 2015 TED Talk about Climate Change. People had wondered for years why he had a section on universal vaccine deployment in a Climate Change lecture, and why someone who runs the worlds biggest vaccine charity organisations (GAVI and BMGF) would be giving a talk on Climate Change and resource depletion in the first place.

        • It’s the one in which he has the formula for human resource usage displayed and he says the only way to save the planet is to get this number very close to zero, then points at the term for global population.

          Since sex is a lot more fun that dying, exactly how do rich elites intend to do that? Nothing they have tried so far has worked. Even the mysteriously dropping sperm counts in the west are proving insufficient, even if they rolled it out to the rest of the world.

    • Sorry Joanne, but your kids/grandkids were never “ fully PROTECTED FROM CATCHING all those nasties”. No vaccine is 100% effective. Vaccination (as we saw in our own state) worked extremely well against serious disease and quite well against transmission for the original and first few subsequent variants. But this is a new and evolving virus that data seems to indicate, still works well to mitigate serious disease but not that effectively any longer against transmission.

      The answer to “ Will they let go at shot #5, or #10, perhaps? Maybe this is to be a quarterly, lifelong thing?” is no-one knows. There are new broader spectrum and vaccines being developed. But I’m very grateful the best minds are working on it and I’m happy to take their advice because I certainly don’t kid myself I know better.

      And don’t forget, many line up annually for their flu shot and many of those vaccines you lined your kids up for were multi dose. Have you stood on a nail and had a tetanus booster recently?

      • Confusing tetanus shots (a vaccine that works as intended) to covid injections again I see Liz…c’mon, you are way smarter than that.

        If fairness, scientists who have questioned the “safe & effective” data have been repeatedly censored and de-platformed so it’s difficult to form alterative thinking when the “science is settled” narrative is still front and centre in Australia. Not so much in Germany – their health minister recently warned of serious jab side effects and the Danish Govt banned shots for children under 18 yrs of age.

        Also, as of 1 July 2022, big pharma are no longer required to do ANY clinical trails for covid booster shots.

        So previously, under the guise of “Emergency Use Authorisation” the jabs still had to complete phase 1 and 2 of clinical trials. Now they don’t.

        If you are into long term health, it might pay to read the above again and do some further research.

        Good luck with the pre-phase 1, no clinical trial boosters Liz, let us know the outcome of that experiment in due course. In the meantime, stay healthy and question everything!!

        • Oh Steve, again so understanding of how difficult it is for us mere mortals to be as enlightened as you.

          In the same spirit of generosity I’ll be totally understanding of your tendency (eg “ Confusing tetanus shots (a vaccine that works as intended) to covid injections”) to totally miss the point being made and seeming reluctance to read the whole.

          I’ll also be really understanding of how no doubt easy it is to fall for the oldest trick in the book of cult founders – the lure of feeling special and selected as opposed to anonymous in the madding crowd.

          • The key component to inducting someone into a cult is getting them to relinquish their individuality. The military does this in basic training so you automatically follow orders. Individuals question. Steve_0 questions. His conclusions are unique to him. Even when he and I agree, we came to the same conclusion different ways, so we still differ. He’s his own man, which is quite the achievement in this day and age. He should have pride in that, it makes him special. God probably appreciates him too.

          • There you go with a dubious analogy again. While the military might have some similarities to a cult – many organisations do – there are also some atypical features. There is also a clear reason for the type of discipline that might be needed to follow orders in perilous situations where the lives of the wider group are at stake. Compliance when freely given doesn’t mean surrendering individuality or the power of thought.

            You know a bit like wearing a mask if it’s going to be for the general good even though it might be your individual right to decide what goes on YOUR face.

            The trick with cult allure is that, while seducing the adherent to abandon critical thought, people are somehow convinced that individuality is just a matter of being a bit weird.

            Individuality is about questioning the cult as well!!

            But no doubt both you and Steve are both very special and when you invariably agree with one another it’s because you are not sheeple – not because you are listening to the same channels.

            I’m sure God loves you – I’m sure she loves us all – even the ones who get the boosters.

            Was that last line another example of your self deprecating humour?

  3. Please read:”this is a new and evolving virus for which vaccines, data seems to indicate, still works …”

    It’s a challenge to proofread while the text’s still in the box. That’s my excuse anyway!

    • It’s certainly not the best interface. Even a font change would help.

      So if you have a non-sterilising vaccine deployed during a pandemic, it applies evolutionary pressures to drive variants. Like only takes half a course of antibiotics, it creates super bugs. If you have been following events in the Senate, you would have see evidence presented that the frankin spike the mRNA generates is a unique spike, and not the spike from any virus.

      Since I can’t post links, there is a video from the Senate floor where Senator Rennick explains the problems as simply as possible.
      Lookup on Youtube ‘What Pfizer and the TGA didn’t tell you’ . It’s on Senator Rennicks channel. They should called Dr Erica Khan, she is much better at explaining this stuff to normal people and has been truly great over the last 2 years.

      • I’m sure senator Roberts, with a background mainly in mining and “ investigating climate claims from 2008” (aph.gov.org) and Senator Rennick, with a background in accountancy and finance would be the most impeccable sources on all things to do with immunology and vaccinology.

        • I’ll just say Lidia Thorpe.

          The job of a Senator is to investigate issues to correct the f*ck ups of the lower house. That’s why the Senate exists.

          Senator Roberts was the President of Montessori Australia. He did such a good job they made him President of Montessori International. So he know a bit about education and learning stuff. And he was a Civil Engineer, specialising in Systems Analysis. So he’s good with complex subjects and finding the faults in information.

          Senator Rennick does have a long history of finding fraud in paperwork. His career was about Systems Analysis also. They have both listened to all sides, educated themselves on the subject, and report what they have independently found to the other Senators.

          Will they get pay offs after their political careers like the others? Maybe. Are they corrupt like the others? Probably. Are they controlled opposition? That’s always my default theory. But none of that would make their opposition any more trustworthy or reliable. Same Same. But since you all like symbols of authority, there’s some Senators saying the same things the Independent Micro-biologists have been saying. At least they are getting some of it on to the permanent public record.

  4. I’d rather Peter Doherty’s data analysis – I suspect he’s rather good at it. I’ve just heard him say that looking at US data suggest people triple vaccinated are three times less likely to die of Covid.

    • The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity sure are getting a lot of government money for mRNA research. They seem to have a lot of influence over government policy. Very tied into the WHO and CDC as well. Lucky they were cleared of the allegations they were assisting US bio-weapons research. Those blood samples they received from the secret bio-labs in Ukraine were just measles research.

      Peter Doherty certainly isn’t a dill. He knows how its done. He’s right in the middle of the action.


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