OzSage Experts Warn ‘Let It Rip’ Covid Strategy Will Put Vulnerable Australians to Death | Health


Australia’s group of independent experts OzSage has trashed the Covid-19 ‘let it rip’ strategy in NSW and elsewhere, saying it would sentence some people to death, especially the most vulnerable.

In a report released Thursday, OzSage said the trajectory of Covid data suggested the number of hospital admissions and intensive care unit occupancy was “on a rapid upward trend and is expected to exceed peaks. earlier fairly quickly. In other words, optimistic assumptions about the impact of the Omicron variant on hospital admissions are unrealistic. “

The report says “a fatalistic approach will be fatal for some people”, with NSW at the forefront.

“The ‘let it rip’ strategy and the defeatist narrative that ‘we’re all going to get it’ ignores the harsh, lived reality of vulnerable people in our society,” the report said. “Despite three doses of the vaccine, some cancer patients and other immunocompromised people have dramatically reduced protection against Omicron,” he said, noting that about half of the adult population had coexisting health problems. .

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard reiterated his statement originally made on Boxing Day that “we’re all going to have” Covid because of the Omicron variant on Wednesday.

The authors of OzSage, who include Professor Raina MacIntyre of the University of NSW, criticized the rhetoric of leaders such as NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, who argued that the media and others should no longer focus on the crude number of daily cases, because hospitalization rates are so much lower than during the Delta wave where far fewer people were vaccinated.

“The number of daily cases is now 10 times higher than during the Delta wave and may be 100 times higher in January,” notes the OzSage report.

“Even though hospitalization rates are lower with Omicron compared to Delta, halving hospitalization rates with a 10-fold or 100-fold increase in cases will still result in a high burden on the healthcare system,” he said. he declared. “This risks overwhelming the health system, with regional services being particularly threatened.”

The report also blasted “quick fixes” such as discouraging people from researching Covid tests if they don’t experience symptoms, in order to reduce the pressure on what’s left of the testing and tracing system.

The result would be an increased burden on the healthcare system, according to the report, “as this will lead to chains of transmission that might otherwise have been stopped.”

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“We are troubled by repeated messages 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 within two days. before symptoms start, ”said OzSage. .

“False assurance of the message will lead to more cases of viral transmission that would otherwise have been avoided. “

NSW on Thursday reported a new record high number of daily cases of 12,226, or about one in eight of the 97,201 tested. The number of hospitalizations also jumped by about a fifth to 746 in the state, although those in intensive care increased only slightly.

Victoria also reported a significant increase in the number of new cases, increasing by about a third in one day to 5,137. The state has also recorded 13 deaths.

Australia could reach 100,000 daily cases within weeks, said Michael Lydeamore, a model maker at Monash University, on Wednesday.

While Omicron infections appear to be 40-45% less likely to result in hospitalization of inflected people, the scale of the cases as well as a health system already fatigued after nearly two years of fighting Covid meant that the “The impact of the current wave” could be huge, “the OzSage report said.

“The rapid increase in Omicron cases may mean we are only days away from an increase in hospitalizations and intensive care admissions from Delta’s peak,” the group said.

As services reach capacity and more people contract Covid without having access to hospital care, more people may die in their homes, OzSage said.

“A week ago, NSW Health advised people under the age of 50 to take care of themselves at home, without access to the hospital at home,” he said. “This week, they revised the age limit for anyone under the age of 65. It’s the height of ‘personal responsibility’.

“The consequence of this policy is that people can die at home when their lives could have been saved by proper and timely health care,” he said, noting that during the Delta wave, the average age of those who died at the Covid home was around 40.

“At any other time it would have been a national scandal, but it happened without comment or scrutiny from policymakers and health authorities,” he said.

The report does not directly criticize the federal government, but Scott Morrison has repeatedly emphasized that managing the pandemic in the final phase becomes a matter of “personal responsibility” rather than restrictions imposed by governments.

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