Aussie infections to reach 10k in 10 days

 

A model showing Australia's coronavirus cases predicts infections could rise to approximately 10,000 cases within 10 days if the current rate of spread continues.

As of Monday night, there were only 1680 cases in Australia, but the country could soon see a steep increase in COVID-19 cases.

Associate Professor Ben Phillips of the University of Melbourne told news.com.au that infections in Australia were now doubling very quickly.

"Exponential growth is very hard for us to get an intuitive feel for, so it often catches us by surprise," Prof Phillips said.

Virus hits young, fit too: 'I thought I was going to die'

Prof Phillips, a population ecologist specialising in invasive populations, developed an interactive website that uses raw data to estimate how many cases there will be in 10 days, if the country continues on the same trajectory of infections.

It assumes that the number of cases continues to increase at the same rate that it has been growing at over the last 10 days.

Easy explainer: New rules coming in at midnight

According to the website, COVID-19 cases in Australia are now doubling approximately every three days, growing from 454 cases since Tuesday last week.

Prof Phillips said the website was aimed at giving people an idea of what the growth rate means, to help the country prepare.

"In Australia, for example we can expect to go from 1500 confirmed cases today, to more than 10,000 confirmed cases, in 10 days," Prof Phillips said.

"When doubling times are so short, we will see cases increase in a way that constantly seems astonishing to us."

However, Dr Joel Miller, a mathematics and statistics lecturer at La Trobe University, warned news.com.au that it was difficult to infer much about transmission of the virus within Australia just by looking at the latest data.

Where you will find 4500 jobs up for grabs

"We know that a large fraction of the reported cases (and also the tests performed) are from people who have travelled recently or their direct contacts," Dr Miller said.

"So, much of the growth we see in the Australian data is a result of people from places where the epidemic is growing coming to Australia.

"I expect that we will soon have a better idea of what is happening in Australia, but we still need more tests to happen before we can be confident about the prevalence within Australia."

 

Australia's coronavirus cases could reach 10,000 cases in 10 days according to University of Melbourne researchers. Source: Coronavirus 10-day forecast.
Australia's coronavirus cases could reach 10,000 cases in 10 days according to University of Melbourne researchers. Source: Coronavirus 10-day forecast.

 

Another troubling factor the website points to is the number of undiagnosed cases.

"In Australia we are doing fairly well, having diagnosed about a quarter of the real caseload," Prof Phillips said.

But the website suggests the true number of cases in Australia right now could be as high as 6000, although this is a rough estimate.

"Countries that are doing well in controlling this outbreak have diagnosed nearly all cases," Prof Phillips said.

Professor of Epidemiology, Tony Blakely, of the University of Melbourne has modelled various scenarios about when infections could peak in Australia, depending on what measures are taken, or not taken, to slow the spread.

For example, if minimal social distancing measures are taken, Prof Blakely's model predicted the number of new infections per day would peak around mid-May at just over 500,000 cases a day.

This compares to implementing extreme social distancing measures immediately, which would see a peak of 100,000 new infections per day, towards the end of June.

RELATED: Up to one million jobs lost overnight in Australia

RELATED: Stricter quarantine measures may be required despite travel ban

Modelling showing the result of introducing extreme social distancing measures immediately. Source: The Conversation
Modelling showing the result of introducing extreme social distancing measures immediately. Source: The Conversation

 

However, these predictions were based on Australia taking measures to "flatten the curve" rather than trying to eradicate the virus.

The aim of flattening the curve is to see 60 per cent of Australians infected to provide herd immunity, but over a longer period of time so health services don't get overwhelmed.

Prof Blakely's predictions were also based on infections doubling every four days, rather than every three days. If infections are doubling every three days then the peaks would be reached slightly sooner.

Yesterday Prof Blakely told news.com.au the federal and state governments had just 48 hours to decide on what path they wanted to take, and whether the approach should be to "flatten the curve" or to try and eradicate the virus in Australia.

"The thing at the moment, is we need our Prime Minister and our state premiers to actually agree on what that strategy is and to communicate it to the public," he said.

"We have 48 hours to reach a consensus and to tell the public what that goal is. Then we need to look at the policies that have been put in place and whether they will achieve those goals."

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Aussie infections to reach 10k in 10 days


Plan to attract long-term medical support to CQ town

premium_icon Plan to attract long-term medical support to CQ town

Businesses gear up to launch the program enticing doctors to make the move out...

Central Queensland death and funeral notices for mid-July

Central Queensland death and funeral notices for mid-July

FREE STORY: The Morning Bulletin, Gladstone Observer and Central Queensland News...

Cool change sweeps across a shivering Central QLD

premium_icon Cool change sweeps across a shivering Central QLD

Mercury expected to dip to almost zero degrees overnight for parts of the...