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Confirmed Australian COVID-19 deaths by 2022

For much of the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia has used border controls, contact tracing, and strict lockdowns to maintain low case numbers. On 1 September 2021, the country had reported a cumulative death toll of 1019.

With the latest Delta wave triggering widespread lockdowns, however, the State and Federal governments have switched from an 'elimination' strategy to a 'containment' strategy.

Based principally on modelling from the Doherty Institute, the Australian government now supports 'reopening' when 70-80% vaccination targets are reached in the 16+ population. This modelling suggests that

Almost 400,000 symptomatic cases could be seen in six months, and between 1,000-2,000 deaths. (ABC)

However, the simplifying assumptions of the Doherty Institute modelling have received criticism. In one recent report from the Australia Institute, the authors write:

Perhaps most significantly, the Doherty modelling results are based on the assumption that the effectiveness of the Testing Tracing Isolation and Quarantine (TTIQ) system never deteriorates below the level experienced during Melbourne’s second wave infections that saw daily cases top 700 per day. [...] Given that NSW case numbers have already topped 1,000 per day and that the last time the NSW government publicly announced data on unlinked cases more than 800 of their daily cases were unlinked it would seem optimistic in the extreme for Scott Morrison to continue to base his national plan on the assumption made by Doherty, back in June 2021, that the effectiveness of TTIQ would not fall below that experienced during Melbourne’s second wave.

What will be the total number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Australia by the end of 2021?

This question resolves according to the cumulative number of deaths reported by Our World in Data for 1 January 2022. To account for possible fluctuations in reporting, this question will resolve according to the OWID data visible when accessed two weeks later (on 2022-01-14).

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