New state-based modelling shows staying at home and other physical distancing requirements are working to slow the spread of coronavirus, saving thousands of Victorian lives. The modelling, undertaken by Monash University and the Doherty Institute, in collaboration with epidemiology experts in the Department of Health and Human Services, finds that if no physical distancing restrictions were in place, Victoria would have seen up to 58,000 new coronavirus cases every day at the peak of the pandemic, overwhelming our health system. The data also reveals that if a business-as-usual approach had been adopted, 10,000 intensive care beds would have been required and as many as 9,200 Victorians would have been presenting to hospital every single day. Tragically, it also shows the immense human cost of the pandemic, with as many as 36,000 Victorians dying – that’s averaging 70 lives lost every day and up to 650 deaths in a day during the peak. The modelling also shows that Victoria’s ‘Reff’ number – the projected number of infections passed on by a person with coronavirus – has dropped to 0.5. If Reff is kept below one, an outbreak slowly wanes. If it is the above one, it grows.
Thanks to current restrictions and the overwhelming number of Victorians doing the right thing, the modelling confirms that the curve is flattening. Victoria’s curve compares favourably with other countries that also acted early, like South Korea and New Zealand. Together, our actions have made a real difference and slowed the spread of coronavirus in Victoria. By acting early and decisively, the catastrophic outcomes we have seen in places like Europe and New York have not happened here. But there is still a long way to go.