Australia may soon move away from reporting the total number of people who die from COVID-19 each day.
Chief medical officer Paul Kelly said it was time for Australia to move towards a concept known as “excess deaths”.
He said in simple terms this is the difference between the number of people expected to die over a period of time, or as a result of an event like a pandemic, and the actual number of deaths recorded.
“On this metric, Australia has performed extremely well throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” Professor Kelly told a Senate estimates hearing on Wednesday.
“Although every death from COVID-19 is a sad event for family and friends and as a country, this is an outcome we should acknowledge.”
Professor Kelly encouraged Australians to continue to get vaccinated against COVID-19 for the best protection.
Meanwhile, confusion and complacency is causing a large group of Australians to not come forward for their COVID-19 booster.
COVID-19 task force commander Lieutenant General John Frewen said those under 40 were lagging behind in booster uptake, which was concerning ahead of winter.
Elements of confusion and complacency regarding the booster rollout were a factor.
“It comes down to people being no longer as fearful of Omicron as they were with previous variants,” he said on Wednesday.
An advertising campaign will be targeted towards the age group ahead of winter to encourage higher uptake.
“It’s really about reminding that age cohort that their social life, their fitness routines, their businesses, all of those things are underpinned by the maximum possible take-up of vaccines, including boosters,” General Frewen said.
Australia’s latest 24-hour COVID data
NSW: 22,255 cases, 16 deaths, 1437 in hospital, 48 in ICU
Victoria: 12,314 cases, four deaths, 283 in hospital, 12 in ICU
Queensland: 10,984 cases, seven deaths, 444 in hospital, 17 in ICU
Tasmania: 2365 cases, no deaths, 43 in hospital, one in ICU
ACT: 1094 cases, no deaths, 49 in hospital, three in ICU
Western Australia: 7998 cases, three historical deaths, 256 in hospital, eight in ICU