Data expected to show drop in COVID cases

·1-min read

New data is expected to show a continuing drop in the number of COVID-19 cases across the country, but there are questions about its accuracy.

The federal health department will release its weekly COVID-19 case notifications report on Friday, alongside state data reports.

Last week's report showed the national average number of cases dropped by 20.2 per cent compared with the previous week.

But 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.

The number of hospitalisations last week fell by an average 12.8 per cent compared with the previous week.

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

State figures released last Friday differed starkly to the federal data because of different start and end dates for counting.

Epidemiologist Adrian Esterman said he agreed with colleagues who described the new format for the data dump as "useless".

Another scientist described it as a "dog's breakfast".

Meanwhile, Oxfam says two-thirds of countries are yet to meet their target of vaccinating 70 per cent of people against COVID-19.

The target was set at last year's United Nations General Assembly.

The organisation said the death toll from COVID-19 is four times higher in lower-income countries, where 48 per cent of the population have had their initial round of vaccinations.

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

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