By TBS Newsbot
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has decided to open the schools and stop mandatory mask-wearing. This approach has spelt trouble elsewhere.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has vastly changed the state’s lockdown plans, increasing the number of visitors residents can have, opening public pools, and bringing forward the date that would see children return to school.
In a press conference, Perrottet said: “We are bringing forward all schools to return by the 25th of October. So stage one will be the 18th of October and we’ll be moving the period from November into the 25th of October. So all school children will return to school by 25 October. That’s great for kids. It’s a major relief for parents and their sanity and I think this is an important decision today and I want to thank all the teachers who are there getting vaccinated to ensure that we can open our schools as safely as possible.”
— Chris Reason (@ChrisReason7) October 6, 2021
What’s more, when the state reaches the 80% vaccinated mark, masks will no longer be mandatory. As Perrottet put it, “(at the 80% mark), we will be removing the requirement to wear masks in the office. In addition to that…we have a cap of major outdoor events of 5,000. That will remain in place but we want to make the point that exemptions for venues will be granted. With Covid-safe plans, venues can apply through NSW Health, the health minister will look through those issues and exemptions will always be made in that space. NSW will be open again and that ensures we get back to work and get businesses open and get the economy and society back to where it was before this pandemic began.”
However, academics already had an issue with the original plan, when restrictions were due to end December 1 under Gladys Berejiklian. Originally, unvaccinated people will remain restricted but will have the same freedoms by December 1, when 90% of adults are expected to be vaccinated. As they noted in The Big Smoke, “the problem is, other countries such as Israel already tried relying mostly on vaccines to relax restrictions – and failed, albeit at lower vaccination levels than NSW is aiming for. Vaccines alone may not enough to protect against the highly contagious Delta variant.”
Per Quartz, “On Aug. 31, Israel registered 11,000 new Covid-19 cases, the highest daily number since the pandemic began. The worrying thing was: That day’s case count beat a record set in mid-January when only a small proportion of Israel’s population had been vaccinated.
“By the end of August, at least 68% of Israelis had received at least one vaccine dose, but even the vaccinated were falling sick enough to need hospitalization. Alarmed, the Israeli government set about administering booster shots, trying to contain a surge in cases driven largely by the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
“In its speed and thoroughness, Israel’s vaccination drive was a shining model. But to other governments, Israel’s late-summer spike now presents the frightening prospect that vaccine immunity may wane quicker than expected.
“In Israel, as in the US or western Europe, children form a large part of the as-yet-unvaccinated population. In August, the Israeli government predicted that children would make up half of all new Covid cases by the time the school year began on Sep. 1, and it instituted strict testing regimens for schools.
“The delta variant is much more highly transmissible than was alpha. So, given that, you will see more children likely to get infected,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in mid-August. “A certain percentage of them will require hospitalisation.”
Yesterday, the daily tally of local cases in NSW dropped below 600 for the first time in weeks. Today, we registered 587. One can only expect those numbers to rise once more.
This article was originally published on The Big Smoke.
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