A new report from the Grattan Institute Research Center says Victoria’s daily infection rate will almost certainly drop to zero if the city can withstand another eight weeks of lockdown, calling on state and federal governments to set a goal of no daily infections.
Its chief author, health economist Stephen Duckett, said this would only be achieved if authorities were able to combat the virus in high-risk settings such as hospitals, elderly care, slaughterhouses and public housing.
“We knew from the beginning that these were places of concern,” said Dr. Duckett.
Without improving infection control measures in these environments, he said, “you will not get.” [daily] Numbers less than 20 “.
The report argued that going to zero would cause more pain in the short term, but it would be better for the economy in the long run than allowing the virus to spread at low levels.
If the current restrictions are left in place, the report said, there would be a 59 per cent chance of reaching zero new cases by the beginning of October, and a 99 per cent chance of reaching the number by the end of the month.
“The payoff will be more freedom on the other side. Getting to zero means life can return to normal, with a significant reduction in the risk of future outbreaks,” she said.
But keeping issues at zero might be more challenging than getting there in the first place.
The state recorded fewer than five cases per day for parts of June. But it only took a handful of hotel quarantine violations to start the second wave of the state – though the Victorians did better at social distancing than any other state at the time.
University of Melbourne epidemiologist Tony Blakely said efforts to cut Victoria’s numbers could be hampered by failure to wipe out hospitals and an outbreak of elderly care.
There were still 337 active cases of COVID-19 among healthcare workers on Thursday, including those working in hospice care.
“If we can’t lower that as quickly as the general population calculates, we may be constantly struggling to get below 50 [new cases] Professor Blackley said.
Contact tracing will shift from Victoria’s Health Department to local centers under the proposal.
It builds on the work of the Burnet Institute, which has devised a model that harnesses the knowledge of councils, health and community groups to quickly start contact tracing and support for infected locals.
The model was adopted in regional areas such as Geelong, which was the first contact tracing center established outside of Melbourne.
With Liam Mannix and Dana McCauley
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Ashley Macmillan is a breaking news reporter on The Age. Do you have a story? Email me at [email protected]
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