You’ve probably heard a thing or two about the Doherty Institute Modelling Report on Australia’s national plan to move into a lockdown-free COVID response once we reach 70% vaccinated rates, as it’s been a hot topic enshrouded in a heap of political bullshit.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with an easy 3-minute explainer as to how the Doherty Institute reckons we can reopen with a 70% vaccinated population.
For those unaware of what’s going on, the Government has been looking to the Doherty Institute Modelling Report as a guide on how we can get out of this mess once we’re all vaxxed. There was a bit of contestation about it during Question Time, which is a whole other thing, that you can read about here.
While this modelling was based on lower daily case numbers than the 800-something we’ve been seeing lately, the Doherty Institute Director, Professor Sharon Lewin made it clear that the modelling was not impacted by the different case numbers.
“Whether you open up at 30 [cases] or you open up at 800, you will still continue to see numbers escalate,” Lewin said.
“At the moment there really is no difference with how the model predicted outcomes”.
The Doherty Institute then followed this up by hopping online to explain just how they believe Australia will open up once we reach a 70% vaccinated population, saying that although it is incredibly possible, it must be accompanied by vigilant interventions like continued isolation and mask-wearing.
The focus will shift to keeping the number of people going to hospital and dying at a minimum.— Doherty Institute (@TheDohertyInst) August 23, 2021
In an average year of influenza, we would roughly have 600 deaths and 200,000 cases in Australia. Any death is a tragedy, but our health system can cope with this.
Basically, the Doherty Institute recommends a removal of lockdowns, but not a removal of other restrictions.
While deaths are still predicted from the Doherty Institute’s modelling, the idea here is to move COVID-19 into something as regular in our world as the flu, which also has a high yearly infection and death rate.
With optimal public health measures (and no lockdowns), this can be significantly reduced to 2,737 infections and 13 deaths.— Doherty Institute (@TheDohertyInst) August 23, 2021
We’ve learned from watching countries that have removed all restrictions that there is no ‘freedom day’.
“Once we reach 70% vaccine coverage, opening up at tens or hundreds of cases nationally per day is possible, however, we will need vigilant public health interventions with higher caseloads,” the Doherty Institute wrote in its extensive Twitter thread.
It might seem that these ‘test, trace, isolate and quarantine’ measures aren’t currently working – in New South Wales or Victoria. But they are. They are stopping transmissions and reducing the effective reproduction rate from 5 to closer to 1.3 in New South Wales.— Doherty Institute (@TheDohertyInst) August 23, 2021
During today’s COVID press conference, NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant made mention of what NSW could like like opening up with a 70% fully vaccinated country.
“So, in terms of the Doherty modelling, what they’re saying is around 80% you have options and choices,” she said.
“It’s not to say you’re not going to have to calibrate and respond your level of restrictions or what you permit – it may be that we actually have indoor mask-wearing for years in certain settings.
“We may have factors that you’re only permitted to go to certain high-risk venues if you’re vaccinated and show proof of vaccination. The world is grappling with how we co-exist with COVID and the virus may throw us curve balls. You know, we’ve got the Delta variant. God help us if we have another variant. This is not a one-size-fits-all.”
A clear strategy mixed in with an educated response? During my COVID? It’s apparently more likely than you thought.
So essentially, this is everything that the Doherty Institute is proposing. Changes to lockdowns can arrive when we reach 70% vaccine coverage, but they will have to be met with other restrictions to keep us all safe.