Covid patients in NSW hospitals soar to over 1,000 while cases fall to 18,278 – as doomsayer academic predicts 100,000 daily cases by the end of January and warns a LOCKDOWN could be needed
- Number of Covid patients in hospital has almost doubled since Christmas
- Medical experts say the figure could explode to 100,000 by the end of January
- In Victoria, the Omicron variant now comprises 76 per cent of all Covid cases
NSW has recorded 18,278 new cases with 1,066 in hospital and two deaths, while Victoria recorded 7,172 new infections – as experts fear state health systems are ‘creaking at the seams’.
Sunday marked the first time the rate of hospitalisation hit 1,000 in NSW since October 2 – the highest ever recorded in NSW was 1,268 on September 21.
But with the number of coronavirus patients in hospital almost doubling since Christmas, medical experts say the daily number of fresh infections in NSW could reach 100,000 by the end of January.
Professor Adrian Esterman, the chair of biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of South Australia, holds grave fears for the state’s health system.
He said the number of new cases has been doubling every four days.
‘In four days time that is about 40,000 cases, and four days after that 80,000 cases, so you can see how easily it can reach 100,000 cases,’ he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
The number of new Covid cases in NSW hit 18,278 on Sunday. Pictured: A group of friends celebrating the new year in Sydney on Friday evening
He suggested the government should reintroduce some restrictions to stop hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.
‘The health system is creaking at the seams,’ he said.
‘Just suppose five per cent have it bad enough to go to hospital – that’s 1000 patients going into the system every day.
‘How are they going to cope with that? The answer is they can’t. Something has to change.’
But NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has maintained that the number if hospitalisations due to Covid-19 is at ‘manageable levels’.
‘We will continue adapting our response as needed and if the facts and our evidence base change, we will adapt again,’ he said.
Australian Medical Association president Omar Khorshid pointed out that even though Covid patients with the Omicron variant are not as sick as those who had the deadly Delta variant, ‘they’re still taking up beds’.
‘Doctors are not seeing massive numbers of Covid cases yet in Victoria, but they’re still extremely busy [and] they’re watching what’s happening in New South Wales and they know that it is coming.’
Pandemic record case numbers prompted residents to rush to get tested at a drive-thru clinic in Bondi
Samples collected over the Christmas period in Victoria show the Omicron variant comprises 76 per cent of all cases – less than a month after it was first detected in the state.
Dr Khorshid said state premiers are resigned to the idea that everyone will get Covid, and suggested they focus on encouraging people to get their booster shots.
Victoria’s Roads and Public Transport Minister, Ben Carroll, said the government has no plans to go back into lockdown and does not believe case numbers will hit 25,000 – as experts previously predicted.
On Saturday – the first day of the new year – the number of new cases hit 7,442 in Victoria and 22,577 in NSW.
To combat the worsening outbreak, NSW and Victorian officials have reintroduced indoor mask mandates and QR codes.
The NSW government has urged people not to get tested unless they have symptoms in an effort to reduce long wait times at testing centres.
More to come