NSW residents are expected to suffer through the worst of the pandemic next month with modelling suggesting cases – and hospitalisation rates – will soar in October.
Speaking to the media on Thursday the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said people were likely to experience the worst of their symptoms during the second week of infection.
“Serious illness comes in the second week (and) that is why October is likely to be the worst month for (the) number of people …. unfortunately who die or who are in intensive care,” she said.
“We are obviously continuing to address those issues.”
Last year medical experts flagged what they described as a “second week crash” where people with relatively mild symptoms could rapidly deteriorate after day seven of being infected.
This is what happened to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who described experiencing mild symptoms during the first week but later ended up in ICU.
The incubation period of Covid-19 ranges between one and 14 days, with a average incubation period of five to six days.
At first, people infected with the virus might experience mild symptoms such as a slight cough, slight fever or a headache.
Usually during the second week, they’ll either start improving or suddenly decline – and for those whose symptoms get worse, it can quickly escalate to a trip to the emergency department.
There are currently 957 Covid-19 patients in hospital across NSW with 160 of those in intensive care. Sixty require a ventilator.
According to modelling from the Doherty Institute, infection rates are expected to peak in October, putting serious pressure on the health system, before slowly declining as more people got vaccinated.
Earlier in the week Ms Berejiklian confessed October would be the “worst time” for intensive care units but couldn’t put an exact figure on it, citing a lot of variables.
“The most important figures we are looking out on a day-to-day basis are the rate of vaccination and how many people, regrettably, have to be taken care of in intensive care,” she said on Thursday.
“Will our system cope? Of course it will. Will it be stretched? Of course it will. Our hearts go out to those healthcare workers.”
Last month the Doherty Institute released its modelling which predicted what would happen when Australia reached a 70 per cent vaccination rate and the states ended lockdowns.
The medical research institute forecasted that, with 70 per cent vaccine coverage of the adult population and partial public health measures, there will be 385,983 symptomatic cases and 1457 deaths over six months.
However, with “optimal public health measures” — and no lockdowns, this could be significantly reduced to 2737 infections and 13 deaths, the institute said.
But the experts behind the plan revealed there would never be a “freedom day” because there would never be “Covid zero”.
NSW recorded 1288 cases and seven deaths on Thursday.