COVID live updates: Queensland reaches 70pc first dose vaccination rate as ACT closes in on 98pc

What do the health experts have to say about the lockdown ending in NSW?Epidemiologist Tony Blakley said in about 10 to 21 days, the government should assess how fast cases are increasing. If the data suggests cases will soon surge to about 4,000 a day or more (at which point over 2,000 would be on hospital on any given day), NSW will need to “tap or hit the brakes”.   He said there will be a steady increase of cases among the vaccinated but they will only “infrequently” need hospitalisation.    “Spread will still mostly be in unvaccinated communities – including children going back to school,” he said.   Professor Blakley said according to this modelling there was only a 9 per cent chance of case numbers rising above 2,000 in the next six weeks. Peter Collignon, who is an infectious diseases expert, said the NSW re-opening was “ok” in his opinion as it was not a true freedom day like the UK had (where there were no restrictions).  “We need to look at hospitalisations and death as a measure now rather than case numbers (just like Germany is doing). “Zero COVID is not possible. So minimise hospitalisations by vaccines and proportionate restrictions e.g. indoor crowd numbers limits.”   Roger Lord, a science lecturer at the Australian Catholic University, said he was concerned about the protective effect of vaccines fading and said viral transmission will need to be closely monitored in the vaccinated population.    “Individuals fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca who subsequently contract the Delta variant had a 57 per cent likeliness of transmission to unvaccinated close contacts,” he said. “Three months following vaccination transmission rose to 67 per cent with similar findings for those who received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (42 per cent versus 58 per cent).

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