It's March 2022. More than 80% of Australian adults have been vaccinated. We're nearly 180 days into the process of lightening restrictions, which began in NSW in October when that state reached 70%. State by state, the restrictions that hampered businesses and workers are being removed. The international border is to be reopened soon. Case numbers have surged to more than 300,000 since Gladys Berejiklian announced reopening in NSW, but that's translated into fewer than 9000 hospital admissions and 2000 cases in ICUs nationwide, far less than capacity.
Fewer than 1500 people have, tragically, died throughout the period, two-thirds of them unvaccinated. But only about 25,000 are absent from the workforce because they're infected or isolating. As Scott Morrison prepares to go to another election, he sees a nation that has forgotten his initial stumbles around the vaccination rollout and which is preparing to gratefully reelect him.
That's the scenario Morrison is hoping for, and which he thinks the Doherty Institute's modelling has handed him -- even in its updated form, which is based on the likelihood that a reopening will occur with massive case numbers courtesy of Berejiklian's catastrophic failures in NSW, and even assuming contact tracers struggle to keep up with the virus.