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Sunday, 5 July 2020

Victoria outbreak shows how fragile our control of the Covid-19 pandemic really is

After suffering from outbreaks in nursing homes and returning cruise ships in March-May, Australia seemed to almost have the pandemic 'under control' in May, with States easing the 'lockdown' and allowing many business and social activities to resume, subject to social distancing.

However, there seems to be a combination of lockdown fatigue, conspiracy theory weirdness, wishful thinking, and "she'll be right" attitude making any move to ease restrictions a recipe for another outbreak - especially in Victoria.

Hopefully the current lockdown of some specific suburbs with 'hot spots' of community infection (and six public housing unit blocks, holding 3,000 residents, were around 1% of residents have already been confirmed to be infected) might bring this outbreak under control. Unfortunately it will be a couple of weeks before we'll known if community spread has been suppressed again, and by then the numbers of patients in ICU beds, and the number of fatalities will have risen in line with the current surge in cases.

A plot of reported cases per capita for Australia, the UK, USA, Canada and Germany shows just how well Australia had been doing, and just how badly the current Victorian outbreak has been. Rather than getting a "v-shaped' economic recovery post-lockdown, we have instead had a "v-shaped" rebound in Covid-19 contagion.


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