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The Queensland premier has issued a dire warning if she reopens the sunshine state with 70 per cent of the population vaccinated.
Annastacia Palaszczuk tweeted on Thursday, if what is occurring in NSW currently is “what lies in store for all of us”, then “serious discussions are needed”.
NSW recorded 1288 new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday and seven deaths.
“Doherty Institute modelling predicts, even with 70 per cent of the population vaccinated, 80 people will die each day six months after the outbreak,” she tweeted.
“That’s 2,240 who will die each month.”
The premier added she has sympathy with other states currently under lockdown but was concerned about a potential spread of Covid into Queensland.
The Doherty modelling is being used to advise the national plan for the vaccine rollout. At certain percentages, for example 70 per cent, states are advised they can ease restrictions.
Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young was asked whether it was “responsible” for the premier to tweet about the modelling to which she replied: “I believe it is”.
“You’ve got to look at the extremes,” she told reporters on Thursday.
“It’s only if you look at the extremes that you can work out what you then need to do.”
The modelling suggests what would also occur if TTIQ, or how state governments perform the test, trace, isolate and quarantine, is done poorly or well and what the outcomes could be.
Queensland also recorded a new Covid-19 infection on Thursday in a truck driver from the Gold Coast.
The case for 80 per cent
Dr Young last week said Queensland would consider reopening at 80 per cent vaccination.
"At that 80 per cent point, we probably will, but we just have to see what happens and see what the outcomes are at that point in time," she said.
She said the Doherty Institute's modelling shows 80 per cent is the target needed to protect Queensland's health care system from being overwhelmed.
Dr Young also indicated she would no longer try to eradicate COVID-19 in Queensland after the vaccination target is hit.
"Once we open up we won't have zero cases, of course we won't, we'll have a disease that we can manage," she said.
Ms Palaszczuk called for more detailed modelling. She told parliament she's waiting for the prime minister to provide modelling on what will happen to infants and children up to 12 years of age if restrictions are eased at that point.
"At the last national cabinet meeting I actually raised the issue of children, and the prime minister undertook to get some further work done," Ms Palaszczuk told parliament on Thursday.
However, federal health Minister Greg Hunt said the national plan was always aimed at protecting all Australians from the virus, including children.
He said the suggestion kids hadn't been considered in the plan was "false", and added that no vaccinations had been approved for children under the age of 12 anywhere in the world.
"In fact, I think the best response in a way is what has been written by Queensland Health in their Covid-19 and Kids: What you need to Know document dated 5 August 2021: serious illness remains extremely rare in children," Mr Hunt told reporters.
"I also quote: 'Even children with serious underlying conditions will mostly only experience a mild illness with Covid-19'."
'We need to get on with it'
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been calling on the states to follow the national plan since the modelling’s release.
Last week he said negative economic and mental health impacts would outweigh benefits when 70 and 80 per cent immunisation coverage is reached.
"That's the advice, that's the basis for the plan. We've all signed up to it, we need to get on with it," he told the Seven Network.
The Doherty Institute said opening up at hundreds of cases nationally a day would be possible at 70 per cent vaccination coverage.
"However, we will need vigilant public health interventions with higher case loads," it said.
The institute said hitting that vaccination rate would make it easier to live with the virus, similar to the flu.
"However, it won't be possible to maintain a situation where there are no cases at all,” the institute said.
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