Fears coronavirus death toll about to spiral

 

 

Many of the fears which have kept medics awake at night for the past seven months seem certain to play out over the next seven days.

Worse, dozens of Victorian families are expected to lose a loved one to COVID-19 this week as the delayed consequences of the surging second wave are felt doubly hard.

The horrifying reality is that between 50 and 75 Victorians are expected to die from COVID-19 this week.

Newly arrived ventilators at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, ready for the expected increase in COVID-19 patients. Picture: Alex Coppel.
Newly arrived ventilators at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, ready for the expected increase in COVID-19 patients. Picture: Alex Coppel.

 

Aged care residents in Fawkner are taken to waiting ambulances after a COVID-19 outbreak. There are fears Victoria’s death toll will rise sharply this week. Picture: David Crosling
Aged care residents in Fawkner are taken to waiting ambulances after a COVID-19 outbreak. There are fears Victoria’s death toll will rise sharply this week. Picture: David Crosling

The lag time it takes for COVID-19 to progress to its most extreme symptoms makes it likely Melbourne will suffer the pandemic on a scale above anything Australia has faced so far - though well prepared healthcare workers will do everything they can to defy the predictions placed before them.

As has been seen all over the world - and to a lesser extent in Australia - when positive coronavirus cases rise, hospitalisations and deaths follow like clockwork seven to 10 days later.

 

 

Melbourne has already begun to feel the pain of the rising coronavirus cases, losing 33 lives to COVID-19 last week.

Those deaths correspond with the period 10 days earlier when Victoria's daily coronavirus cases first approached 200 and climbed beyond 300.

Over the course of the past seven days, Victoria's COVID-19 death toll reads one, three, two, five, seven, five and 10 - mirroring the rising curve in case numbers from 10 days earlier.

That grim momentum would have kept doctors awake last night, for it is 10 days ago today Victoria recorded 428 positive cases, and six of the past 10 days have seen totals beyond 350.

 

 

 

Health workers at St Basil’s nursing home in Fawkner. Picture: David Crosling
Health workers at St Basil’s nursing home in Fawkner. Picture: David Crosling
Premier Daniel Andrews and Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton arrive for another daily briefing. Picture: Getty
Premier Daniel Andrews and Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton arrive for another daily briefing. Picture: Getty

As well as the pandemic's well known trend, hospitals are also armed with real-time monitoring of many COVID-19 patients which they are using to track their symptoms and plan for those which will need to be admitted.

The modelling predicts an 80 per cent increase in coronavirus hospitalisations at some hospitals, reinforcing the lag time momentum which healthcare workers will do everything they can to try to resist in the worrying days ahead.

 

 

Originally published as Fears coronavirus death toll about to spiral


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