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The Delta variant explained: Why it ‘shouldn’t really’ impact lockdown being lifted

Neil Mitchell
Article image for The Delta variant explained: Why it ‘shouldn’t really’ impact lockdown being lifted

Victorian health authorities are yet to rule out a possible extension to Melbourne’s lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak involving the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

But Professor Sharon Lewin from the Doherty Institute has told Neil Mitchell it shouldn’t matter which variant of the coronavirus the cases are.

She says the most important piece of information is whether the new cases are known contacts of previous cases.

Professor Lewin said Melburnians should not give up hope of restrictions being eased later this week, as planned.

“I’d be optimistic we could but it really depends on the data that we’re going to hear about today on the origin of these nine cases,” she said.

The health department has since confirmed all new locally acquired cases today are linked to existing outbreaks.

Eight are existing primary close contacts who were quarantining during their infectious period.

The Delta variant has been dubbed a “beast” by Victorian health authorities, but Professor Lewin rejected suggestions it was “massively more infectious” than strains such as Alpha, which was the main driver of Victoria’s extended lockdown last year.

“If an infected person is in touch with 100 people and you have Alpha, eight of those 100 people, on average, will be infected,” she explained.

“If the infected person has Delta, on average, 12 of those people will be infected.”

Press PLAY below to hear the professor’s insight

Picture by Getty iStock

Neil Mitchell
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