A new report by The Saturday Paper has found that the rate of people with COVID being hospitalised is three times more than what NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has previously announced.

According to medical experts and a briefing distributed to the national cabinet, per the publication, there’s a 15% chance of someone with COVID-19 being hospitalised rather than the 5.5% figure Berejiklian claimed on Tuesday.

While the 5.5% stat was only referring to people who were physically in hospital, there are thousands more that are currently receiving medical care from doctors and nurses in a “hospital in the home” environment, simply because the hospitals are overstretched as is.

Per the ABC, on Friday, NSW Health confirmed that there are currently 979 COVID patients in medical care in NSW hospitals with 160 of them in intensive care and 63 of them on ventilation. But, according to The Saturday Paper, there are an additional 1700 people who are in a hospitalised condition at home, including people in regional NSW towns where there aren’t nearby hospital facilities.

80% of NSW’s 855 staffed ICU beds in the state are reportedly full. One-quarter of them are occupied by COVID-19 patients. Over in Victoria, more than 90% of ICU beds are full and healthcare facilities are reportedly “struggling to encourage nurses who worked in last year’s outbreak to help again”.

Ambulance services are equally as stretched with paramedics reportedly arriving half an hour late to a scene of an 18-year-old man who was suffering from a cardiac arrest. Last weekend and for the first time in “the history of the state”, 17 ambulances were “bed blocked at Westmead Hospital”.

Knowing all this, the fact that Berejiklian said that “the worst hospitalisation rate is likely to be in October” is harrowing.

According to the national cabinet briefing information, per The Saturday Paper, the hospitalisation rate is found by dividing the number of people needing hospitalisation by the number of active cases in the week prior. In this way, Garvan Institute of Medical Research executive director Professor Christopher Goodnow said that “hospitalisation is tracking around 15% in the current NSW outbreak”.

Cool, cool, cool.

As always, the best way out of this mess is to get vaccinated. Lockdowns and high hospitalisation rates won’t end until every state and territory hits that 70% and 80% juicy target, baby. Oh, and for the love of God, if you do get COVID, don’t try to treat it with *checks notes* ivermectin.

All adult Aussies (yep, even if those of us under 40) are currently able to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Click here to see which clinics are offering it, and talk to a doctor for more info. 

The best vaccine is the first one you can get, and that’ll be our ticket out of this mess.