A close shot of Butler's face, looking serious, with blue curtains in the background.

COVID-19’s winter Omicron cases may have peaked says Health Minister

Australia may have seen the worst of the most-recent wave of COVID-19’s Omicron variant, which has swept through aged care facilities and strained hospitals, according to federal Health Minister Mark Butler.

Mr Mark Butler said ahead of a national cabinet meeting this morning he was cautiously optimistic COVID-19 cases have peaked.

“The data we’re seeing right now indicates we might have reached the peak earlier than we expected to,” Mr Butler said.

“We’re being a bit cautious about that because what we’ve seen through the pandemic is the ‘school holiday effect’, which shows numbers and transmission takes a slightly different course because of different activity in the school holidays.”

The Health Minister said hospital admissions were down, though remained high: about 5,000 admissions across the country.

State and territory health departments reported 66 COVID-19-related deaths yesterday.

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