Covid-19 Australia: Doherty Institute Director Says Omicron Cases Will Increase But Tension Will Be Less Severe

One of Australia’s top Covid modelers has supported the simplified close contact and isolation rules, despite predicting that Omicron cases will rise to ‘very high’ levels.

Professor Sharon Lewin, director of the Doherty Institute, said on Friday that changes most Australian states have made to reduce isolation periods to seven days and limit the definition of close contacts were “certainly” safe.

In an interview with the Today show, Professor Lewin said that while the number of cases will increase, evidence from around the world seems to indicate that hospitals will not be overwhelmed.

His comments came as NSW reported a record 21,151 cases and Victoria 5,919 infections, and Queensland recorded 3,118.

However, the number of hospitalizations and intensive care units has remained stable in the southern states and only one person is in intensive care in Queensland.

“It is certainly safe to relax these measures as we have done, given what we are now learning about Omicron,” said Professor Lewin.

“The predictions are that we will see a very, very high number of cases. But what we hope, and based on what we are seeing around the world, is that it will not lead to a large number of hospitalizations. ‘

His comments came as shock athlete Ray Hadley criticized the New South Wales government for failing to take a more “measured” approach to the pandemic.

The director of the Doherty Institute has supported easing the restrictions despite predicting that Omicron cases will rise to ‘very high’ levels

Huge lines have formed outside the Bondi drive-thru testing clinic as the number of cases continued to rise in New South Wales on Friday.

Huge lines have formed outside the Bondi drive-thru testing clinic as the number of cases continued to rise in New South Wales on Friday.

A medical worker runs into the St Ives self-service clinic as drivers wait in line after NSW reported a pandemic record of 21,151 cases on Friday.

A medical worker runs into the St Ives self-service clinic as drivers wait in line after NSW reported a pandemic record of 21,151 cases on Friday.

Drivers have flocked despite changes in testing requirements requiring only close contacts, showing symptoms, to get a PCR test.

Drivers have flocked despite changes in testing requirements requiring only close contacts, showing symptoms, to get a PCR test.

Hadley didn’t hold back when he called 2GB on Thursday to discuss Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet’s bold decision to eliminate the use of masks and QR codes.

Hadley told co-host Chris O’Keefe that he nearly “ fell out of his chair ” when the prime minister announced plans to loosen additional rules following an emergency cabinet meeting, then insisted he has no regrets about handling the outbreak by the government despite Christmas. chaos that followed.

“We all make mistakes, especially under pressure,” said the radio host.

“And to say yesterday that he would do nothing different means that there is a touch of arrogance in this position of prime minister, which is almost impressive.”

Professor Lewin said that “the brakes cannot be fully released” regarding the Covid restrictions.

He warned that some protective measures should still be applied, such as the use of masks.

However, he noted that the Omicron strain was less severe than other variants, such as Delta, and would lead to fewer hospitalizations.

Some recently reintroduced rules are already on the cutting board. New South Wales Deputy Prime Minister Paul O’Toole said today that QR codes will be removed once again for events, hospitality and retail venues in late January, as the state shifts to the ” next phase “of the pandemic.

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Professor Lewin’s Doherty Institute has repeatedly provided Covid-19 models to the National Cabinet regarding when the country can be safely opened.

The Institute’s latest model, leaked earlier this month, claimed that Australia could record up to 200,000 cases a day by the end of January, which was dismissed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison as the “worst case scenario.”

As part of the expected 200,000 daily cases, the researchers predicted that hospitalizations could reach 4,000 a day, putting great strain on the medical system.

The Institute claimed that without the imposition of low-to-medium restrictions, including visitor limits and density in pubs, cafes and restaurants, the country could face millions of Covid cases in weeks.

“There will be some hospitalization,” said Professor Lewin. “So we can’t fully remove the brakes here, which means it’s important to keep wearing masks when you’re away.”

‘That is why it is important that anyone eligible for the boosters should receive them now, in four months.

In an interview with the Today Show, Professor Lewin said that while the number of cases will increase, evidence from around the world seems to indicate that hospitals will not be overwhelmed.

In an interview with the Today Show, Professor Lewin said that while the number of cases will increase, evidence from around the world seems to indicate that hospitals will not be overwhelmed.

A healthcare worker takes a swab from a driver at a Covid-19 testing clinic in Brisbane on Friday.

A healthcare worker takes a swab from a driver at a Covid-19 testing clinic in Brisbane on Friday.

Drivers queue up at a testing clinic in Brisbane as Omicron continues to run rampant across the country

Drivers queue up at a testing clinic in Brisbane as Omicron continues to run rampant across the country

Long lines have formed throughout Sydney with a line of cars waiting outside the St Ives drive-thru.

Long lines have formed throughout Sydney with a line of cars waiting outside the St Ives drive-thru.

Drivers wait in long lines to get tested at the Bondi drive-thru clinic on New Years Eve

Drivers wait in long lines to get tested at the Bondi drive-thru clinic on New Years Eve

AUSTRALIA’S NEW COVIDED RULES

Who should get a PCR test? Anyone who has symptoms or has had a positive rapid antigen test result.

New definition of close contact: Someone who has spent at least four hours in a home or care facility with a positive case. Workplaces don’t count.

New period of isolation: Positive people and close contacts should be isolated for seven days or 10 in South Africa. This is regardless of whether the close contacts are negative or not.

Moment: New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and ACT will implement the changes at midnight.

Tasmania will follow on January 1, while the Northern Territory and Western Australia will not adopt the scheme until they get more Covid cases in the coming weeks.

“Even if Omicron is much less serious, having a very large group of infected people still puts pressure on our healthcare system.”

Former deputy health director Nick Coatsworth criticized the leak of Doherty’s modeling and criticized “selective and misleading media reporting.”

“Whoever leaked the Doherty model out of context has done a great injustice to the Australian people,” Dr. Coatsworth wrote on Twitter last Wednesday.

Morrison has described the “worst case scenario” as “completely unlikely” and urged Australians not to panic.

Doherty’s model was dismissed as ridiculous by leading infectious disease expert Professor Peter Collignon.

“I don’t know where they came from with this model, but it is not based on any real world data,” he told Daily Mail Australia.

Health worker collects samples at a self-service clinic in Bondi Beach on New Years Eve

Health worker collects samples at a self-service clinic in Bondi Beach on New Years Eve

He noted that the Omicron strain was less severe than other variants, such as Delta, and would lead to fewer hospitalizations.

He noted that the Omicron strain was less severe than other variants, such as Delta, and would lead to fewer hospitalizations.

‘They are assumptions that do not correlate with anything we have seen before in summer in any other country.

“If there were 200,000 cases a day, all of Australia would be infected in a few months. That has not happened anywhere in the world. ‘

Mr Morrison told Seven News that ‘assume no one does anything, no one gets reinforcements … no one exercises common sense.’

‘We know, we saw similar numbers at the start of the COVID pandemic, which they never realized. So the medical director and I just want to reassure people that those kinds of numbers are not what we expect. They are extreme case scenarios. ‘

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