Leading Melbourne epidemiologist Professor Tony Blakely has delivered some grim yet also strangely uplifting news about the COVID-19 surge we’re seeing in basically every Australian state.

Blakely, a public health medicine specialist and academic from the University of Melbourne, believes that the current “daily figures” each state is reporting are actually far higher, due to COVID-19 cases going undetected.

In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Blakely estimates that actual COVID-19 cases “are between five and 10 times the daily confirmed cases”.

In the SMH, Blakely poses that if Australia starts to reach 50,000+ confirmed COVID-19 cases per day, the actual figure will be around the 250,000 – 500,000 mark. Yikes.

At the current rate of infection — today’s national total of new confirmed cases being 47,738 — it’s not going to take long for us to reach those kind of figures either.

“It’s only going to take about three weeks at those sorts of numbers before 40, 50, 60 per cent of the population has been infected, and the virus will run out of steam,” Blakely told the SMH.

Now, remember what I said about it being grim but also kind of uplifting? There’s two important elements to what Blakely is saying. Yes, he is predicting an alarming figure of 60 per cent of Australia’s population being infected with COVID-19.

However, he also adds that the virus will then run out of steam. YES. This is the exact energy we need COVID-19 to take in 2022.

It’s already come in pretty hot, but if it can lose all its “new year, new me” motivation by February that would be great, thanks.

Blakely’s predictions line up with what former deputy chief health officer Dr Nick Coatsworth wrote in an op-ed for The Sydney Morning Herald a few days ago.

Dr Coatsworth wrote: “In 2022, the COVID-19 pandemic will end. Driven by the inexorable, inevitable spread of the Omicron variant and the use of vaccines, the global population will generate immunity to this virus.”

For now, all we can do is mask up, check in, sanitise our hands and get vaccine boosters once we’re eligible. Let’s keep ourselves and others as safe as possible while we ride this wave into 2022.

Image: iStock / cerro_photography