Rob Grenfell CSIRO Director

AstraZeneca is better than Pfizer for over 50s, shows UK data

With 208 new COVID cases, another death, Victoria in for bigger numbers

208 new cases and a further death recorded in Victoria in the last 24 hours. That explains why Premier Daniel Andrews did not ease of too much of lockdown restrictions on Wednesday. This is the highest number so far this lockdown 6.0 and the worst is yet to come. To all those naysayers and anti vaxxers – do not bury your head in the sand any longer, go and get vaccinated. It is really the case of the survival of the vaccinated. Also, the debate over AstraZeneca or Pfizer should be over. Go, get vaccinated.

In Victoria, this is the first time in this year’s outbreak the daily case numbers have crossed 200.

Speaking on Channel 9’s Today program this morning, CSIRO director Dr Rob Grenfell said he fears the hospital system could “collapse” if lockdowns were not suppressing the spread of the Delta variant.

He said lockdowns are working to contain rising cases, but the stay-at-home orders must remain in place until more people are vaccinated.

“Our hospitals only have a finite capacity and we already have over a 1000 people in our hospitals in NSW and Victoria, and we have nearly 200 in intensive care,” Dr Grenfell told Today.

“That’s a major problem.”

He said methods to suppress the virus needed to continue “until we immunise as many people as possible”.

Dr Grenfell validated lockdowns, even with the toll they are taking on jobs and mental health.

Also read: New mystery cases, low testing numbers has authorities worried

“Our lockdowns are actually very, very effective. We would have hundreds of thousands and of cases in NSW if we hadn’t locked down to this degree, certainly the Victorian outbreak is really being suppressed.

“When the virus establishes itself, you have to look at suppression as the next way. Suppression is important, because if we don’t do it too many people will get sick all at once and our hospitals will collapse.”

The Delta strain now resident in Australia, after NSW, was posing the most risk and Victoria was readying itself for higher numbers.

After the state recorded 176 new infections yesterday, Premier Daniel Andrews said the lockdown would be extended until 70 per cent of residents have their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. It is expected to be achieved by September 23.

From today, playgrounds are allowed to re-open with QR codes being put in place. To ease other restrictions until the vaccination milestone had been reached, the risk is deemed to be too high.

Dr Grenfell warned the hospital system not being able to cop if coronavirus was able to run rampant.

“We only have a finite number of intensive care beds and they are being stretched considerably in NSW now, also Victoria is gearing itself up for the next onslaught and they have been through this before,” Dr Grenfell said.

“The Delta strain infects a lot more people.”

In a pleasant surprise revelation, he pointed to new data from the UK showing better effectiveness and immunity of AstraZeneca over Pfizer.

“It actually performed better in reducing hospitalisations and deaths and more importantly the immunity developed from the AstraZeneca appears to be longer than the Pfizer,” Dr Grenfell said.

“For any 50-year-olds and above out there saying, ‘I’m going to wait for the Pfizer’ you are waiting for a vaccine that’s not as good for you in your age group than AstraZeneca.

“I would be urging, you are dicing with your own life, get a vaccine as soon as possible.”

Dr Grenfell told his whole family, including 22 years old had taken AstraZeneca.

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