The number of COVID-19 deaths around the world has reached terrifying numbers. Australia is among the many countries, that despite staying in lockdowns and maintaining a majority of vaccination rate, has still reached a record high number of deaths, even if still comparatively lower than other large nations.

On Tuesday, the country marked 74 COVID-19 deaths, its highest since the pandemic started, topping the last daily record of 59 in September of 2020. The deaths were reported to be 36, 22, and 16 respectively in New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland. The record-high number of cases along with deaths have pressured an already suffering healthcare system during a tough time. Hospitals have been overloaded with patients and understaffed in terms of medical workers, due to the Omicron variant.

Premier Domonic Perrottet of New South Wales said in an interview that lockdown can trigger, “substantial consequences for men and women right across the state in terms of being able to provide food on the table for their family.” This largely follows their decision about another lockdown so far, as the government seems to rule it as no solution for the problem.

The contagious Omicron variant has the entire world under debilitating circumstances just when economies were ready to get their population largely vaccinated and protected against the virus. Even though the vaccination has helped decrease the mortality rate, the transmissibility rate continues to be high for this new variant. Due to high transmission, even when the virus does not affect vaccinated people that severely, it reaches those that are not prepared against it due to the high contagion rate.

Acting Health Minister James Merlino of Australia said, “We’ve reached a point in our healthcare system where it’s juggling extreme workforce shortages … alongside a vast number of patients with COVID-19 who require hospitalization, alongside that an extraordinary workforce that is exhausted.” These statements, however, do not help the sudden rise in the number of COVID-19 deaths, and how the spread has impacted those working within the medical institutions. Many hospitals have called an emergency due to the high number of admissions and shortage in staff, thousands are absent from work due to infection.