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Epidemiologist makes grim prediction on Victoria’s ‘best case scenario’

A leading epidemiologist has warned that Step 3 on Melbourne’s reopening roadmap may be “as good as it gets” until a vaccine is developed.

Professorial Fellow in Epidemiology at Melbourne University, Tony Blakely, made the grim prediction that harsh lockdown will be needed long-term.

He says it’s “virtually impossible” to keep cases steady at 10 or so per day, and he doesn’t think there will be a vaccine available until mid next year, at the earliest.

“We’re about to enter Step 3 … or what we used to call Stage 2. I think our best case scenario is that’s pretty much where we hang out between now and when the vaccine arrives,” he told Neil Mitchell.

“Occasionally we will need to go back into something like Stage 3 (similar to what we now call Step 2), and then maybe sometimes we’ll be able to go into something like Stage 1, hopefully over Christmas and new year.”

Professor Blakely warned it’s possible Stage 4 may be needed again in the future.

“We can’t rule out the possibility that we’ll need to go back into Stage 4 though because something bad goes wrong,” he said.

It’s not just Victoria that Professor Blakely is concerned about, either.

“At some point NSW is going to have to deal with a steep resurgence of cases, we’re all going to. If we’re not going to eliminate, which looks very unlikely now … between now and when a vaccine arrives it’s going to be very bumpy,” he said.

“I’m sorry to bring that news.”

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