In news that should surprise no-one, the Australian government is finally waking up to the fact that Delta is significantly more deadly than Alpha.
… both the Doherty and the Burnet institutes adopting the findings of a Canadian study showing unvaccinated people infected with Delta are nearly twice as likely to end up in intensive care and one-and-a-half times more likely to die as people who caught the Alpha variant.
The plan needs an update.
The implications of this for the national plan, which advocates the staged lifting of lockdown restrictions once 70 per cent and 80 per cent of the population are fully vaccinated, are yet to be worked through.
The changed assumption about Delta, the COVID-19 strain driving the current outbreaks in NSW and Victoria, is already reflected in Burnet Institute modelling released on Sunday by the Andrews government showing that, even with a cautious easing of lockdown, demand on hospital and intensive care beds could outstrip supply and up to 3000 people may die from the virus.
Comparing to the original strain:
The study found that people infected with Delta were twice as likely to end up in hospital, three times as likely to require intensive care and 2.32 times more likely to die from COVID than people infected with the original strain of the virus.
Comparing it to Alpha:
The study also compared the health outcomes of people with Delta to those infected with other variants of concern, such as the Alpha strain. The results showed people with Delta were 1.49 times more likely to be admitted to hospital, 1.86 times more likely to end up in ICU and 1.51 times more likely to die.