We’ve made it to hump day and all it took was a national discourse on The Croods, a prime minister convinced we’ve been living in a cave and a parliamentary sitting that could be happening on Mars for all the attention being paid to it.
The focus is squarely on the east coast and Covid as people wait to hear what the ‘treat’ or additional freedom they may receive in NSW for being double vaccinated, as well as when their children may be going back to school.
It’s also on the health care system with confirmation the Westmead hospital went code yellow, meaning it did not have enough internal resources because of covid. It announced it would reduce ambulance arrivals for Covid patients for at least 24 hours as well as attempt to transfer critical patients to other hospitals.
Gladys Berejiklian and Brad Hazzard have repeatedly said the health system was under pressure but holding up well. The Westmead situation, combined with concerns from doctors in other hospitals warning of cracks emerging because of reduced staff, and increased patient loads, will be one of the issues NSW authorities are asked to address today.
Yesterday, NSW CHO Dr Kerry Chant couldn’t say if NSW had reached its peak of Covid cases. She was more nuanced in her descriptions of life after 70-80% vaccinations for the eligible population and made the point she wanted to see more equitable vaccinations across the community. Chant said she wanted to see vulnerable communities, which included low so up economic communities, vaccinated at higher rates.
There’s no ‘freedom day’ planned for Australia. And the Doherty Institute modelling which forms the basis of Scott Morrison’s national plan also includes increased case numbers, hospitalisations and deaths (depending on the number of cases when opening) during the transition period. It’s all going to be a matter of what people are ready to accept.
In Victoria, Daniel Andrews has warned Melbourne is on the ‘bubble’ of losing control of the delta outbreak. Vaccinations opened for 16-29 year olds at 7am and the booking systems were immediately swamped. It’s not looking like the lockdown will lift as scheduled in a week, with Andrews still focussed on lowering transmission and case numbers first.
And we should learn more about Australia’s efforts in Afghanistan as the August 31 deadline for evacuations approaches. Peter Dutton confirmed Australia was coming to the end of its operation yesterday.
We’ll bring you all of that and anything else that happens as the day unfolds. You have Mike Bowers in the parliament, with Katharine Murphy, Sarah Martin, Paul Karp and Daniel Hurst in Canberra and Amy Remeikis on the blog. It’s at least a five coffee day. Maybe needs some fudge too. Nothing counts this year, so why not.