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Staying at home is saving lives

VICTORIAN based modelling shows staying at home and other physical distancing requirements are working to slow the spread of coronavirus, saving thousands of Victorian lives.

The modelling, undertaken by Monash University and the Doherty Institute, in collaboration with epidemiology experts in the Department of Health and Human Services, finds that if no physical distancing restrictions were in place, Victoria would have seen up to 58,000 new coronavirus cases every day at the peak of the pandemic, overwhelming our health system.

The data also reveals that if a business-as-usual approach had been adopted, 10,000 intensive care beds would have been required and as many as 9,200 Victorians would have been presenting to hospital every single day.

It also shows the immense human cost of the pandemic, with as many as 36,000 Victorians dying – that’s averaging 70 lives lost every day and up to 650 deaths in a day during the peak.

The modelling also shows that Victoria’s ‘Reff’ number – the projected number of infections passed on by a person with coronavirus – has dropped to 0.5. If Reff is kept below one, an outbreak slowly wanes. If it is above one, it grows. The modelling confirms that the curve is flattening.

Premier Daniel Andrews said, “with Victorians doing the right thing and staying home, we’ve been able to slow the spread of the virus – if we stay the course and don’t get complacent, we will get through this together.”

“We’ll continue to take the advice of our public health experts, informed by the data, as we make decisions about when is the right time to ease some of the restrictions that we have in place.”

These actions have made a difference and slowed the spread of coronavirus in Victoria. But there is still a long way to go. The modelling shows that if Victoria was to lift restrictions too quickly or too broadly, coronavirus would spread rapidly through the community once again, overwhelming the health system and putting everything we have achieved at risk.

Any decision to ease restrictions after the current State of Emergency will be informed by public health experts and modelling, combined with international experience.