Burnet Institute COVASIM modelling warning of the risks of opening up too quickly has helped to inform the latest reshaping of COVID-19 restrictions by the Victorian Government.
Burnet researchers led by Dr Nick Scott modelled what would happen on September 28 if Victoria eased to the final step on the Roadmap to COVID Normal with restrictions similar to those in place in Victoria in early June, or in New South Wales in September.
The Burnet team found that opening too quickly would result in a 41 percent chance of a third wave of COVID-19 infections within four weeks.
“What the modelling shows is that if we open things all at once when there is a lot of virus still in the community, the risk of a resurgence is high,” Dr Scott said. “These risks are significantly reduced as virus levels decrease.”
“Reopening too soon risks wasting all the sacrifices Victorians have made of the past few months.”
Image: Modelling by Burnet released by Victorian Government.
Initiatives announced by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday include tougher rules on face masks, the scrapping of Melbourne’s night curfew, and a return to face-to-face learning for primary schools.
“We believe we will be able to take that important next step, which is when all the restrictions leaving your home when there is much more freedom of movement … on the 19th of October,” Mr Andrews said.
The Victorian Government also announced that trigger points, rather than set dates – a key Burnet recommendation – would define the next steps out of lockdown.
“The modelling supports a staged approach and the use of epidemiological indicators rather than fixating on dates, because the virus doesn’t care about dates,” Dr Scott said.
“We should be basing when we ease restrictions on the state of the epidemic.”
Image: Policy changes in model simulations.
COVASIM is a unique individual-based COVID-19 model developed by Burnet Institute and the Institute for Disease Modelling in the USA that can assess the impact and risk associated with relaxing various physical distancing policies on the resurgence of COVID-19.
Click here to review the latest Burnet COVASIM resurgence analysis.