Stage 3 lockdowns in Victoria helped save more than 1000 lives. Picture: Ian Currie/NCA NewsWire
Stage 3 lockdowns in Victoria helped save more than 1000 lives. Picture: Ian Currie/NCA NewsWire

How many lives stage three saved

Hundreds of lives have potentially been saved by Victoria's stage 3 restrictions, despite criticism that they didn't go far enough.

Research from the Burnet Institute published in the Medical Journal of Australia today, shows that Victoria's response to a resurgence of COVID-19 averted 9000-37,000 cases between July 2 and 30.

Based on a mortality rate of 3.4 per cent, calculated by the World Health Organisation (WHO), that means the restrictions may have potentially saved 1258 lives.

During the stage 3 restrictions, there were 8314 cases of local transmission diagnosed in Victoria.

The research revealed that before Melbourne introduced stage 3 lockdowns, the reproduction number was 1.75.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says that number - which shows the rate of infection - is now hovering around 1.

Victoria brought in a stage 3 lockdown on July 2. Picture: Ian Currie/NCA NewsWire
Victoria brought in a stage 3 lockdown on July 2. Picture: Ian Currie/NCA NewsWire

"Importantly, however, there remains small but significant ongoing growth with further work needed to bring the Victorian epidemic under control," the researchers concluded.

"A broader and sustainable effort involving community and government together is needed to optimise the uptake of all of the non-pharmaceutical interventions available to us."

The study also stated the importance of community engagement, rather than top-down control responses to fix the problem of community fatigue and reduced adherence to a second round of control measures compared to the first.

"To gain and sustain community co-operation, rapid research and community engagement approaches are needed that identify and respect specific needs and information gaps," the researchers wrote.

"A community engagement approach also helps identify the interventions required to support both the wider community and vulnerable groups to have the capability and motivation to co-operate with government pandemic response strategies and guidelines."

Victoria's chief health officer Brett Sutton said the sacrifices the state's residents have made will be reflected in the number of new coronavirus cases in the next week and that new restrictions introduced on Sunday will have an even greater impact.

Melbourne has now been moved to stage 4 restrictions. Picture: Andrew Henshaw/NCA NewsWire
Melbourne has now been moved to stage 4 restrictions. Picture: Andrew Henshaw/NCA NewsWire

"We will see the effect of universal mask wearing in the numbers in the week ahead," he said.

On the stage 4 restrictions he said: "We will see the effect of these restrictions in the following week.

"But they will be ongoing and they will continue right through the six-week period where we will see a reduction in numbers week on week.

"We should reflect on the fact that stage 3 restrictions did make a difference," Prof Sutton said.

"They genuinely flattened the curve, but they flattened the curve to a point where we got to a plateau."

He said case numbers had stabilised but if nothing changed "that would have continued indefinitely".

"If you are really only driving transmission down to a level where one person infects one other individual, then you have 400, 500 cases every day ongoing.

"That means you have hundreds of cases going into next month and the month after and the month after."

Victoria introduced new stage 4 restrictions on Sunday night as part of a state of disaster declaration.

Among the new restrictions are limits on movement for the residents of 31 council areas in Melbourne who can now only leave the house to buy groceries or exercise, and must do it within a 5km radius of their home, in groups of less than two.

Residents are no longer allowed visitors in their homes, with exceptions for couples who live apart. There has also been an introduction of an 8pm to 5am curfew.

Regional Victoria will enter stage 3 restrictions on Wednesday.

 

Originally published as How many lives stage three saved


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