Coronavirus cases amongst children have increased up to 131% compared with 23% for over 60-year-olds, over the last couple of months, casting doubts that people will be allowed to travel for Christmas.
Business forecaster Provocate’s Vaxenomic reveals that under 18s account for more than half of new Coronavirus cases around the nation. Overall people under 19 made up 30% of new Coronavirus cases between 29 June 2021 and 28 August when the Delta strain first took hold in Australia.
The number of children’s cases increased by 131% from 1700 to 3933, 121% from 2500 to 5520. The highest number of cases is amongst adults aged 20-29 at 10,603, which reflects a 58% increase.
National Cabinet agreed that domestic and international borders will be reopened when between 70% and 80% of adults are fully vaccinated. But what about children? It’s a dilemma facing the travel industry and parents everywhere.
Provocate Managing Director, Troy Bilsborough, a former senior adviser to the Federal Health and Aged Care Minister, said that businesses should be cautious about a December quarter reopening, even if adult vaccination targets were met. He added that reopening would rely on the Federal government approaching Coronavirus in the same way that chickenpox is, where it’s better to catch it when you are young than old.
He said this might be difficult given the Federal Election is being held sometime between now and May next year. Mr Bilsborough recommended that National Cabinet sets a “freedom day”, similar to what the UK did in July. He said the date should be set when 80% of adults have received their first dose of the vaccination, to avoid any Christmas cancellations.
He said that the rolling lockdowns in Australia’s major cities have cost the economy over $2 billion per week. “It is therefore logical that both the national budget and those of business cannot afford to remain closed during the December quarter, which is likely to decide whether Australia re-enters recession.
He is cautious because, “children’s Covid cases have also grown 131%, faster than any other age group in the two months since.
He drew attention to the fact that fully vaccinating 70% and 80% of adults only equates to 56% and 64% of the whole population. That leaves four million children exposed to the risk of Coronavirus without the same vaccine populations.
He said that although Coronavirus deaths may be low amongst children, business must account for the fact that no federal Government wants to enter an election being accused of creating a generation of Covid kids.
Ultimately the decision to reopen state and international borders before Christmas will be made by electionomics, not epidemiologists and economists.