‘The data suddenly exploded’: Why Austria urgently imposed a shutdown

'The data suddenly exploded': Why Austria urgently imposed a shutdown
Austrian Health Minister Rudolf Anschober. Photo: JOE KLAMAR / AFP
Just two weeks ago, Austrian officials considered a shutdown to be unlikely. What forced such an urgent change?

As recently as October 20th, Austria’s Health Minister Rudolf Anschober told the media that a lockdown was difficult to imagine.

Just two weeks later and Austria is set to head towards a widespread shutdown starting on November 3rd. 

In a press conference explaining the necessity of the new measures, Anschober said the change in course was largely due to an “explosion” in new coronavirus cases. 

“Then the data suddenly exploded”

Anschober told the press conference that the country’s modelling from October 20th showed that cases were likely to remain under control.

“But then the data suddenly exploded” Anschober said. 

READ: Austria announces new lockdown measures from Tuesday

Daily case numbers were forecasted to reach 2,200 towards the end of the month, but hit more than 5,000 on October 30th. 

Not only did case numbers more than double, hospitalisation rates also skyrocketed. 

“If we don't break the trend, we'll have massive problems in the intensive care units from mid-November to the end of November,” said Anschober.

The Health Minister warned that, in a worst case scenario, Austrian hospitals may need to take a ‘triage’ approach in deciding who should receive treatment. 

Anschober told the press conference he was confident hospitals could manage “the spike that is now emerging without triage”, but warned of the “dynamic development” of the current situation. 

“The resources are finite” Anschober said. 

 


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