With the rate of infections falling across the country, social distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 may eventually be eased – if only slightly, and in a staggered form – as part of an effort to expose healthy Australians to the virus to lift immunity rates, The Australian reports.
Senior NSW Government MPs and health officials are agitating for social distancing to be rolled back.
“People have to get sick for this to pass,” a senior government MP said.
“We do need it to go through the community at a gentle pace,” they added, suggesting schools were the most likely area to begin increasing ‘herd immunity’ for the community.
Attempts to build up ‘herd immunity’ in other countries have not had particular success so far however.
In Sweden, where the Government implemented a “mitigation” strategy which encouraged those at highest risk to stay at home while most of the population continued to go to school, work and restaurants, the death toll is now 591 – compared to nearby Norway (where communities were locked down) which has recorded 89 deaths.
Aged care operators tell us that locking down their homes has proved to be the most successful strategy in keeping their residents safe.
But many aged care staff have children – if the Government begins easing up on restrictions, will staff be put at increased risk – and by extension, their residents and clients?
And will they want to self-isolate from their families in order to support residents? The overseas experience tells us that some staff are willing – but many are not.
Either way, we will find out. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (pictured) gave a press conference yesterday morning stating that some of the state’s restrictions could begin to be lifted as early as next month.
“If the advice in a couple of weeks is that there might be a couple of aspects that we can tweak to provide relief to our citizens, well then, we’ll take that advice,” she said.
“But that comes with risk. And I need to be very upfront about at that. Every time you relax a restriction, more people will get sick. More people will die.”