The state warned of continued closures in the coming months
On Friday, two federal government sources with knowledge of the vaccine launch said Age An additional 150,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine would be advanced for Victoria in response to a request from Prime Minister Daniel Andrews.
It follows the federal government on Thursday that advanced the delivery of nearly 185,000 jabs for NSW and 112,300 for Qld, which has also been blocked from suppressing the virus.
Modeled by the Doherty Institute Commissioned by the federal government suggests that closures are necessary about 40 percent of the time, while less than half of the Australian population is vaccinated.
By Thursday, only 21.38 percent of Australians over the age of 16 had received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
This model assumes that there are mild restrictions at all times and that there are low levels of circulating virus upon exiting the lockdown. Importantly, it does not take into account the periods in which the virus is shed and therefore could overestimate the amount of time spent locked up.
Modeling from University of Melbourne published in JAMA Health Forum In the past week suggested Melbourne could expect to spend about a quarter of the year locked up.
That model could underestimate the extent of the outage, as it was done with data from the coronavirus strain that first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan, not the Delta variant circulating in Australia.
Delta is about 60 percent more infectious than the Alpha variant of the virus, which in turn was maybe 50 percent more contagious than the virus strain that emerged in Wuhan.
Victoria’s fifth and previous lockdown was triggered by three Sydney-based removalists who spread the virus. One theory behind Victoria’s latest outbreak is that it came from a family who spent a week in hotel quarantine in New South Wales.
The University of Melbourne model assumed there was a one in 100 chance a day that a new case would be seeded in Victoria, but with the number of cases worsening in Sydney, that threat has increased.
“When you have it more like one in two to three weeks, that totally changes the equation,” said Dr. Jason Thompson of the University of Melbourne, who worked on epidemic modeling for the Victorian government.
“If your strategy is ‘go hard, go early,’ but you can’t control incursions, you will be doing it a lot. Then you have to control the quarantine, the border and the incursions. That’s it, really because otherwise you’re in permanent lockdown, ”Dr. Thompson said.
At Friday’s national cabinet meeting, the state and federal governments signed a plan to phase out the closures once 70 percent of the population was vaccinated. Vaccination levels above 70% would also allow greater freedom of interstate and international movement.
Health Minister Martin Foley said Friday that the lockdowns would remain part of the state’s playbook against the pandemic.
“Nobody likes confinements. As we have established now, they work. They are one of our main tools in our public health response, and until such time as we have vaccination levels of 70 to 80 percent, they will continue to be a part of that, ”said Mr. Foley.
Modeling from the Doherty Institute suggests Australia will vaccinate 70 per cent of the eligible population in early November, with 80 per cent coverage closer to the end of the month.
Much of that is due to a sharp rally in supplies from Pfizer expected in September.
Burnet Institute director of modeling and biostatistics Nick Scott said that as more people get vaccinated, the chance of a single case becoming an outbreak should decrease.
“But even with more chances of a dead end, it’s still one roll of the dice every time and some will lead to an outbreak that requires a lockdown,” he said. “We will be in and out of the confinements for a while.”
Victoria’s seven-day shutdown means that people are expected to remain in their homes at all times and not allow visitors. There are only five reasons to go: food, work, education, care, and getting vaccinated.
Three of Victoria’s new infections occurred Friday in a home linked to a teacher at Al-Taqwa College in Truganina.
Two cases are related to the Maribyrnong city outbreak, including a person attending Warringa Park School in Hoppers Crossing.
The new infections also included a cleaner at Epworth Hospital in Melbourne.
In a statement, Epworth Hospital CEO Lachlan Henderson said the contractor works “after hours” cleaning “parts” of the facility, not including patient areas.
“Epworth in its pandemic planning has prepared for this scenario and we have enacted a series of comprehensive safety precautions,” Henderson said.
With Clay Lucas
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