New state-based modelling shows staying at home and other physical distancing requirements are working to slow the spread of coronavirus, saving thousands of Victorian lives.
The modelling, undertaken by Monash University and the Doherty Institute, in collaboration with epidemiology experts in the Department of Health and Human Services, finds that if no physical distancing restrictions were in place, Victoria would have seen up to 58,000 new coronavirus cases every day at the peak of the pandemic, overwhelming our health system.
The data also reveals that if a business-as-usual approach had been adopted, 10,000 intensive care beds would have been required and as many as 9,200 Victorians would have been presenting to hospital every single day. Tragically, it also shows the immense human cost of the pandemic, with as many as 36,000 Victorians dying – that’s averaging 70 lives lost every day and up to 650 deaths in a day during the peak.
The modelling also shows that Victoria’s ‘Reff’ number – the projected number of infections passed on by a person with coronavirus – has dropped to 0.5. If Reff is kept below one, an outbreak slowly wanes. If it is above one, it grows.
Thanks to current restrictions and the overwhelming number of Victorians doing the right thing, the modelling confirms that our curve is flattening. Victoria’s curve compares favourably with other countries that also acted early, like South Korea and New Zealand.
Together, our actions have made a real difference and slowed the spread of coronavirus in Victoria.
By acting early and decisively, the catastrophic outcomes we have seen in places like Europe and New York have not happened here. But there is still a long way to go.
Now is not the time for complacency. The modelling shows that if we were to lift restrictions too quickly or too broadly, coronavirus would spread rapidly through our community once again, overwhelming the health system and putting everything we have achieved at risk.
That’s why our message to Victorians remains the same: Stay home. Protect our health system. Save lives.
Any decision to ease restrictions after the current State of Emergency will be informed by public health experts and modelling, combined with international experience.
Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews
“With Victorians doing the right thing and staying home, we’ve been able to slow the spread of the virus – if we stay the course and don’t get complacent, we will get through this together.”
“We’ll continue to take the advice of our public health experts, informed by the data, as we make decisions about when is the right time to ease some of the restrictions that we have in place.”
Quote attributable to Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos
“We thank all Victorians for playing a part in saving lives – we have a long way to go, but we should all take pride in the positive impact of our efforts.”
Reviewed 26 June 2020