While data on the implications of COVID-19 on the health system and people’s physical and mental health have been collected, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) states it will continue to be the subject of analysis for several years to come.
The data from the past four months, mid-January to the end of May, shows COVID-19’s potential to seriously affect not just those who are elderly or in very poor health, but also people who may not have been considered to be at the highest risk.
According to AIHW the statistics has been central to the COVID-19 response as governments have needed immediate and accurate information to make swift, evidence-based decisions.
In addition to responding to the COVID-19 crisis, the AIHW has compiled data on the use of hospital, mental health, and homelessness services and data from various crisis helplines.
Mr James said that governments and the community had responded well to this crisis so far and, as a result, it appears at this point that Australia may have avoided some of the significant adverse impacts that have been seen in some other countries.
“However, it is important to remember that COVID-19 continues to pose a threat to the community and the health system, as seen by the current situation in Victoria, and has broadly affected the lives of Australians in other ways, particularly regarding employment.”
Yet Mr James said the long-term health effects of COVID-19 were mostly unknown at present.
“… health data, in particular, linked data, will be critical to understanding its impact on health, society and the economy.”