Secret weapon against viral perfect storm
THE coronavirus pandemic isn't expected to peak in Queensland for at least another three months - much later than estimates for southern states - putting it on track to coincide with the state's flu season.
But there are encouraging signs in the state's battle against the virus, with cases increasing by 57 per cent in the week to yesterday, compared with 201 per cent the previous week.
Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young yesterday assured Queenslanders there were many advantages to being a decentralised state.
"That's often a disadvantage but in this case, it's very, very much an advantage, which means that we won't see the peak of the impact of this virus across the whole state at the same time," she said.
The number of Queensland infections rose by 39 yesterday to 873 - up 4.5 per cent.
From March 27 to yesterday, cases increased from 555 to 873, a jump of 57 per cent.
The week before, totals grew from 184 to 555, an increase of 201 per cent.
Queensland cases make up about 16.4 per cent of the Australian total, yet the state has 20 per cent of the population.
NSW has 31 per cent of the population, yet has more infections than any other state, accounting for about 45 per cent of the national total.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said, "we're not even on the curve yet", but extensive modelling and preparations were taking place.
"The evidence is telling me we are about two or three weeks behind NSW, and the peak could be in July, August, September," she said.
It was yesterday revealed police had intercepted more than 4040 vehicles entering Queensland from NSW since the border was closed last week.
Police were investigating reports one car drove on to a footpath to get past barriers.
Since February 4, close to 45,000 self-quarantine notices have been issued to Queenslanders and police have carried out compliance visits to 4443 businesses and 2490 individuals.
Eleven people were fined overnight last Friday for breaking health directions.
The Premier said how bad the crisis gets in Queensland would depend on community transmission of the virus.
"At the moment we don't have community transmission in Queensland," she told ABC Radio. "We can't get rid of the virus, we need to contain it as much as possible.
"That's why we're doing all of the planning."
Ms Palaszczuk said "one positive" was that Queensland "hopefully" wouldn't experience an onslaught of flu cases because of the strict social distancing measures.
Dr Young said Queensland had not had the local transmission Sydney and Melbourne had experienced.
"When we look at what's going on in Sydney and in Melbourne where it's reasonably significant, we don't have that here," she said.
"If we continue that, and with all of our strategies in place, we believe we will, that will significantly delay the pandemic spreading through Queensland and when the peak happens."
Typically, cases of influenza peak between July to September in Queensland, with last year's horror season affecting 66,000 people.
Dr Young urged everyone to get a flu vaccination.
"We have additional stocks of flu vaccine so that can happen," she said.
"It's really important. We don't want an outbreak of flu at the same time we have an outbreak of COVID-19."
Dr Young said a number of health workers across the state had contracted the virus.
Originally published as State's secret weapon against viral perfect storm