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State data highlights drop in COVID cases

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COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to fall in Australia’s two most populous states as experts question the utility of weekly virus data dumps.

The federal health department is expected to release its weekly COVID-19 case notifications report following state data updates.

On Friday, NSW reported another 14,170 COVID-19 cases and 69 deaths in the past week.

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There were 1176 people hospitalised with the virus and 24 in ICU on Thursday afternoon.

Victoria recorded 10,360 cases and 80 deaths in the past week, with an average of 210 people hospitalised and 10 in ICU.

Both states reported significant decreases in cases and deaths compared with the previous week.

The declines come after last week’s report showed the national average number of cases dropped 20 per cent from the previous week.

The average drop across the states and territories ranged from 0.3 per cent in South Australia to 35.9 per cent in the Northern Territory.

Hospitalisations last week fell by an average 12.8 per cent compared with the previous week.

The health sector has widely criticised the change from daily to weekly data releases.

State figures released last Friday were starkly different to the federal data, which was counted with different start and end dates.

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Epidemiologist Adrian Esterman said he agreed with colleagues who described the new format as “useless”.

Australian Medical Association president Steve Robson described the format as “a dog’s breakfast”.

Meanwhile, Oxfam says two-thirds of countries are yet to meet the 70 per cent COVID-19 vaccination target set at last year’s United Nations General Assembly.

It said the death toll from COVID-19 was four times higher in lower-income countries, where 48 per cent of the people have had their initial vaccinations.

At the current rate, it will take almost two and a half years to fully vaccinate 70 per cent of people in the poorest countries.

In Australia, 72 per cent of people have received the third dose of vaccine, while 40.5 per cent have had a fourth.

– AAP

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