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Daunting case projection despite vaccine milestone: 'BE REALISTIC'

The president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has told NSW and Victoria to "be realistic", warning upcoming easing of restrictions could be catastrophic for the nation's health system.

It comes as the Doherty Institute, which the federal government worked with to shape its roadmap guidelines, reiterated Australia's southeast will be hit with tens of thousands of Covid-19 cases even once Victoria and NSW hit 70 per cent of its eligible population double vaxxed.

On Friday the Doherty Institute released findings of a new analysis of its recommendations to accomodate current levels of infection where NSW is routinely recording more than 1000 cases a day and Victoria more than half of that.

The institute determines such a level of infection as "high" and should mean governments continue to "strongly suppress" the virus until 80 per cent double dose is hit, including continued stay-at-home orders.

"[Our latest] findings confirm our earlier strategic advice that even high levels of vaccination will not be sufficient to stop Covid-19 in its tracks," the institute said in a statement.

Vaccinated Sydneysiders enjoyed outdoor gatherings of up to five people over the weekend. Source: Getty
Vaccinated Sydneysiders enjoyed outdoor gatherings of up to five people over the weekend. Source: Getty

Top doctor's plea to virus-riddled states

AMA president Dr Omar Khorshid says the updated Doherty modelling released late on Friday underlines the need to be cautious when easing restrictions.

"When implementing the national plan we must be realistic, careful and test each change and the impact of measures before moving to the next phase, given that there are thousands of Covid-19 cases in the community," he said.

Dr Khorshid said the Doherty modelling does not show the impact on hospitals, which are already under extraordinary pressure.

"The health system needs to be much better prepared to deal with the growing burden of Covid-19, as well as be able to deliver non-COVID-19 related care," he said.

On Sunday a record 13 NSW Covid deaths were reported, while 234 people are currently in intensive care.

'Really tough' months ahead

Epidemiologist Professor Margaret Hellard of the the Burnet Institute, whose modelling was used to create Victoria's recently revealed roadmap, told ABC News Breakfast it will be "really tough" moving forward in the coming months.

"[Hospitals] are under stress and pressure... it's going to be really hard for them for the next few months," she said.

She said it was vital residents continued to adhere to remaining restrictions to alleviate pressure on those working in hospitals.

"I think we just have to understand that we've got about six to eight weeks where we can do little things that will add up to big things," Prof Hellard said.

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