Victoria might have a couple of months of bad news ahead about death and hospitalisation numbers in the coronavirus outbreak, a top health official warns.
VicHealth chief executive Sandro Demaio says it takes time for measures such as the lockdown and compulsory masks to take effect.
The state suffered another blow on Monday, with six deaths and a record 532 cases.
“This is really one of the tough things about this virus—it will take at least two weeks to see whether we’ve made a clear difference from any major new measure we put in place,” the CEO of Victoria’s health promotion body told the ABC.
“We probably won’t see those cases come down to single digits, some experts are saying, (for) many, many weeks.
“The delay between taking measures and then seeing those hospitalisation numbers come down—that could take between two and even eight weeks.
“Then finally the death rates coming down, based on other countries … that could even take two or two and a half months to start to come down.”
Apart from the public health emergency, there is a significant mental health challenge as Victorians weather their lockdown.
“The numbers today are disappointing, they’re frustrating and … we do have a shared sense of grief,” Demaio said.
“This is proving to be difficult and we haven’t yet turned the corner.
“Unfortunately it is a long game. It’s an important one though and we need to stick at it.
“It is going to be a tough, long haul for Victoria.”
But Demaio said there was some cause for optimism in Victoria’s numbers, with measures now introduced to help stop the spread of the virus in workplaces.
By Roger Vaughan in Melbourne