St Margaret's News April 2020 - Page 11

Virus Curve Australia New Zealand Japan 2.8 2.6 2.1 Singapore Hong Kong Taiwan 1.9 0.5 0.3 Why have we been so successful? We don’t really know for sure. It’s partly been luck, because the epidemic started in our summer whereas for the northern hemisphere it was their winter and so spread more quickly. But we did act early with restricting travel to Australia. E.g. we stopped travel from China (apart from returning Australians) from 1 st February. And as our Governments have progressively tightened re- strictions on our movements and gatherings over the last 4 weeks, Aus- tralians have in large measure complied. Following the rules, though it has been difficult, has had very good results. We have been so successful in slowing the spread of the virus, that the National Cabinet is looking to see what restrictions could be relaxed in 3 weeks’ time without increasing the health risk. There is no guarantee that restrictions will be relaxed, as it will depend on how many new cases, we see in the next 3 weeks, and how well the governments can prepare for a second wave outbreak of the virus. The infectious disease experts are advising that as we move through the winter, we will face some second wave and third wave outbreaks of the virus. But if we are prepared, act quickly enough, and keep up some social distancing and good hygiene practices, we should be able to con- tain those new outbreaks. We can be extremely thankful that, so far, we in Australia have done very well in controlling the virus, and the health damage caused by COVID-19 has been minor. The 69 COVID-19 deaths we have seen so far compares to the normal weekly death toll in Australia from all causes of 3,000 deaths. But eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. Though we are likely to see a relaxation of restrictions, we will still need to be careful during the winter and continue to follow the rules if we want to see continued success. - John Goss (The numbers in the table in this article were correct as at 2 PM on 22 April, but they are a rapidly moving feast.) St Margaret’s News 11 April 2020