Australia’s independent expert group OzSage has saved the ‘let it rip’ Covid-19 strategy in New South Wales and elsewhere, saying it will sentence some people to death, especially the more vulnerable.
In a report released Thursday, OzSage said the trajectory of Covid data indicated that hospitalization and occupancy rates in intensive care units were “on a steeply rising trend and are expected to exceed previous peaks fairly quickly. In other words, optimistic assumptions about the effect of Omicron are the variant on hospital admissions unrealistic. “
The report said “a fatalistic approach will be fatal to some people”, with NSW at the forefront.
The “let it rip” strategy and the defeatist narrative that “we will all get it” ignore the harsh living reality of the vulnerable in our society, “the report said.” Despite three doses of vaccine, some patients have cancer and other immunosuppressed people significantly reduced the protection against Omicron, “it states, noting that about half of the adult population had concomitant health conditions.
On Wednesday, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard reiterated his statement originally made on Christmas Day that “we are all going to get” Covid as a result of the Omicron variant.
The OzSage writers, who include University of NSW’s Prof Raina MacIntyre, criticized the rhetoric of leaders such as the NSW premiere, Dominic Perrottet, who argued that the media and others should no longer focus on raw daily case numbers because hospitalization rates are so much lower. than during the Delta wave, where many fewer people were vaccinated.
“Daily case numbers are now 10 times higher than during the Delta wave and could be 100 times higher in January,” the OzSage report notes.
“Even if the hospitalization rates are lower with Omicron compared to Delta, halving the hospitalization rates with a 10- or 100-fold increase in cases will still translate into a high burden on the healthcare system,” it said. “This is likely to overwhelm the health care system, with regional services at particular risk.”
The report also blew up “quick adjustments”, such as discouraging people from seeking Covid tests if they do not notice symptoms, in order to reduce the pressure on what is left of the test and tracking system.
The result would be an increased burden on the healthcare system, the report said, “because it would result in transmission chains that might otherwise have been stopped”.
“We are concerned about the repeated message that only symptomatic people should be tested when 40-45% of transmissions are asymptomatic, and even in people who develop symptoms, the peak of infectivity is two days before symptoms begin,” said OzSage.
“The false assurance of the message will result in more cases of viral transmission that would otherwise have been prevented.”
On Thursday, NSW reported a new record number of daily cases of 12,226, or about one in eight of the 9,201 tested. The number of admissions also increased by about one-fifth to 746 in the state, although the number of admissions to the intensive care unit increased only marginally.
Victoria also reported a significant jump in new cases, rising about a third in one day to 5,137. The state also recorded 13 deaths.
Australia could reach 100,000 daily cases within a few weeks, said Michael Lydeamore, a Monash University model, on Wednesday.
While Omicron infections appear to be 40-45% less likely to result in hospitalizations of the benthic, the large scale of cases, along with a health system already tired after nearly two years of fighting Covid, meant that the effects of The current wave “could be huge,” the OzSage report said.
“The rapid rise in Omicron cases may mean we are only days from seeing higher hospital admissions and intensive care units than below the top of Delta,” the group said.
As wards reached capacity and more people received Covid without access to hospital care, more people could die in their homes, OzSage said.
“One week ago, NSW Health advised people under the age of 50 to take care of themselves at home without access to Hospital in The Home,” it said. “This week they have revised the age limit for everyone under the age of 65. This is the ultimate ‘personal responsibility’.
“The consequence of this policy is that people can die at home when their lives could have been saved by proper timely health care,” it said, noting that during the Delta wave, the average age of those who died at home by Covid was around 40.
“In any other period, this would have been a national scandal, but it went without comment or inquiry from policy makers and health authorities,” it said.
The report does not directly criticize the federal government, but Scott Morrison has repeatedly stressed that the handling of the pandemic in the recent phase is becoming a matter of “personal responsibility” rather than restrictions imposed by governments.
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