Great piece here on ABC Radio’s PM program. Experts are starting to warn of a Winter here in Australia where the hospital system will be put under strain. Here’s an extract:
SIMON LAUDER: About 3,000 Australians have tested positive for swine flu. More than 100 have been hospitalised.
Professor of infectious diseases at the University of New South Wales, Raina MacIntyre, says the death-rate is still low.
RAINA MACINTYRE: Normally during seasonal flu we see about 2,500 to 3,000 deaths a year in Australia, so it’ll be in that range or more.
SIMON LAUDER: Professor Macintyre says hospitals are in for a long winter.
RAINA MACINTYRE: But we really need probably to see many more cases to get an accurate measure of what the mortality rate is. It’s still early days. It will definitely stress the hospital system.
SIMON LAUDER: What kind of things will we see at hospitals in terms of the extra burden?
RAINA MACINTYRE: We may see pressure on beds, increased waiting times in emergency, cancellation of elective procedures to free up beds, as well as staffing issues because we can expect that staff may be…there may be higher rates of staff absenteeism.