Victoria’s Covid outbreak skyrockets with more than 2,000 cases and 11 deaths
Victoria’s Covid outbreak has skyrocketed with 2,297 new cases recorded on Thursday as well as 11 deaths – with Daniel Andrews’ sixth ‘short sharp lockdown’ failing to arrest the massive spike.
The numbers are the highest ever daily total recorded in Australia since the pandemic began and come after medical experts had expressed hope that cases had peaked.
Victoria’s previous daily case high was on Saturday when the state suffered 1,965 local infections.
Despite the surge in cases, the state is on track to reach its 70 per cent double vaccination target ahead of its planned date of October 26 – meaning the end of Melbourne’s gruelling lockdown could come early.
Victoria’s Covid outbreak has skyrocketed with 2,297 new cases recorded on Thursday and 11 deaths
Despite the surge in cases Melbourne’s sixth lockdown could end early
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Thursday said his state’s vaccination rates were ‘outstanding’ despite being given less supply than Sydney received.
‘I am not having a go at Sydney but to be less than two weeks behind Sydney with none of the inside running that they got on GP accreditation, on extra supply and extra supply of Pfizer, is an outstanding effort on behalf of every single Victorian,’ he said at a press conference on Thursday.
‘And they should be proud. Now, let’s just finish this off so we can open the place up.’
Covid Live analyst Anthony Macali said Victoria could achieve a 70 per cent double dose rate as soon as October 22 but there are reports this could be hit one day earlier next Thursday.
Mr Macali said Victoria would likely then hit the 80 per cent double dose milestone three days earlier than the official timeline on November 2.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton confirmed a decision could be announced as early as this weekend based on firmer vaccination projections as well as intensive care and hospital case numbers.
Under the state’s Covid-19 roadmap, home visits were set to be banned until 80 per cent of its 16-plus population received both vaccine doses.
But Professor Sutton said he was open to tweaking home gathering restrictions at the 70 per cent mark.
‘We’ve always said, if we can do more, we will do more,’ he told ABC Radio on Wednesday afternoon.
‘We’re acutely aware of home gatherings leading to spikes and that was definitely a feature of (the AFL) grand final. They were people that didn’t normally come together.
‘It’s different for families. If we can limit numbers, if we think the epidemiology looks okay, (I’m) absolutely open to that as well.’
Chair of Epidemiology at Deakin University, Professor Catherine Bennett urged Victorians not to be disappointed by Thursday’s high case numbers, and said encouragingly the reproductive rate of cases has now dropped to 0.9.
‘You can get a burst in cases just because the Health department has had a number of new people coming forward to get tested and it might dip again tomorrow,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Today’s numbers looks larger but in fact the rolling 3-day average is not as high as our last peak a few days ago.
‘I’m not panicked today because that 3-day average allows for the fact you have these odd days (of high case numbers). It’s really about what happens over the next days and beyond which will help us understand if it’s starting to plateau.’
Thursday’s numbers came from 82,762 tests while 37,611 Victorians turned out to get vaccinated on Wednesday
Healthcare workers are seen at a vaccination centre in Melbourne this week
While NSW saw a drop in cases as they reached the 70 per cent vaccination target, Professor Bennett said the outbreak in Victoria and its neighbouring state have mostly aligned week to week.