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August 14, 2020, 06:15:42 pm

Author Topic: Opinions on Victoria's lockdown - too harsh? Too lax? Too late?  (Read 459 times)  Share 

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The Cat In The Hat

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What do you guys think about Victoria's lockdown? Is it too harsh and unnecessary? Should it have been done before? Why are we getting this many cases? Is it our fault? What did we do wrong?
Opinions?
Sp0iler
I think they should've locked down awhile ago - like two weeks ago - and not loosened up so quick. Also from a COVID point of view protests might not have been a good idea (but I understand that some people think they were necessary). And - I think schools should be shut down completely. Frankly, I'm for complete lockdown at this point in time.
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Sine

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Re: Opinions on Victoria's lockdown - too harsh? Too lax? Too late?
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2020, 12:31:10 pm »
+6
What do you guys think about Victoria's lockdown? Is it too harsh and unnecessary? Should it have been done before? Why are we getting this many cases? Is it our fault? What did we do wrong?
Opinions?
Sp0iler
I think they should've locked down awhile ago - like two weeks ago - and not loosened up so quick. Also from a COVID point of view protests might not have been a good idea (but I understand that some people think they were necessary). And - I think schools should be shut down completely. Frankly, I'm for complete lockdown at this point in time.
I felt like it was a really good decision to make and definitely necessary. I would have liked it to be done a few days before they actually did it but there is probably a heap of protocol to get through in order to get to the decision.

I don't believe it is anyone's fault there is a bit of luck involved in whether a small amount of virus within the community takes off and becomes a larger outbreak. I think a lot of people were trying to do the right thing but there were some who didn't. The strategy taken by many states with a lot of the virus was a suppression strategy in order to decrease the number of daily cases but not completely eradicate the virus. To eradicate it would've taken a lot longer since I believe the definition is a period of 28 days (2 incubation period cycles) with no new cases. This second "wave" is not unexpected imo.

The Cat In The Hat

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Re: Opinions on Victoria's lockdown - too harsh? Too lax? Too late?
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2020, 12:36:45 pm »
+2
Personally I think we should've been going for eradication; else we are wasting our time. Seems to me though that people were just in the general community ignoring social distancing at all, at least where I was. As in, most people, though some were trying to obey the rules. Like when we let up at all, people go 'free for all!' I get they're sick of the lockdown but really? You didn't want this and if you'd been a bit less precipitate - (though I do get that there are some people for whom such interaction is pretty necessary)
I was expecting a second wave from the moment we started to let up.
Definitely necessary.
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turinturambar

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Re: Opinions on Victoria's lockdown - too harsh? Too lax? Too late?
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2020, 09:19:30 pm »
+4
Personally I think we should've been going for eradication; else we are wasting our time. Seems to me though that people were just in the general community ignoring social distancing at all, at least where I was. As in, most people, though some were trying to obey the rules. Like when we let up at all, people go 'free for all!' I get they're sick of the lockdown but really? You didn't want this and if you'd been a bit less precipitate - (though I do get that there are some people for whom such interaction is pretty necessary)
I was expecting a second wave from the moment we started to let up.
Definitely necessary.

Early on I thought eradication was a worthwhile goal, but the thing is it's not easily possible (ask NZ how declaring Covid-19 eliminated went for them).  And the current outbreaks show why: Even if we had eradicated it by June, we would still have people returning from abroad, and thus we have the potential for cases in quarantine, and also the potential for those cases jumping out of quarantine.  And it would be completely unacceptable to keep Australian citizens and permanent residents out of Australia for the 1+ years the border is likely to be closed (TBH, I'm not happy with the way we've treated some of our long-term temporary visa holders).

I don't think a second wave was inevitable (at least, not one of this size - the potential for spikes needing to be managed was baked into the suppression and reopening strategy agreed by the National Cabinet).  May seems a long time ago, but my memory is that NSW was in a worse position than Victoria, and yet eased restrictions faster than us: If it was truly inevitable, it should have happened to them before us.  We relaxed restrictions following the data, stopped relaxing restrictions following the data, and then reimposed lockdown following the data.  You can always second-guess exactly where the boundaries should have been at each step, but I think the overall process is right.

As far as allocating blame, I don't think it's generally helpful here because, as Sine says, there's a lot of luck in it.  I'd be prepared to bet that every state and territory has made mistakes in their Covid-19 handling, and every state and territory contains a large number of people who have not followed every single guideline religiously (almost certainly including me).  However, when case numbers are low enough you can get away with most mistakes.  Some of them, unfortunately, take hold and spike sharply, and that has clearly happened here.

I felt like it was a really good decision to make and definitely necessary. I would have liked it to be done a few days before they actually did it but there is probably a heap of protocol to get through in order to get to the decision.

I don't believe it is anyone's fault there is a bit of luck involved in whether a small amount of virus within the community takes off and becomes a larger outbreak. I think a lot of people were trying to do the right thing but there were some who didn't. The strategy taken by many states with a lot of the virus was a suppression strategy in order to decrease the number of daily cases but not completely eradicate the virus. To eradicate it would've taken a lot longer since I believe the definition is a period of 28 days (2 incubation period cycles) with no new cases. This second "wave" is not unexpected imo.

My memory is that suppression was not an individual state decision so much as a National Cabinet decision (implemented in different ways by the different states), with the knowledge that we needed to make tradeoffs: Uncontrolled virus spread would have serious consequences, but so would keeping the economy closed down for ever.  The goal was to reopen the economy in a controlled manner, with part of the agreement being that spikes be managed, but we don't go backwards again because of the likely effect on national confidence.  And the Feds in particular were pushing for state borders reopening and Australia going back to a "new normal".

Clearly here in Melbourne we have the worst community transmission situation Australia has faced so far, and taking serious action to bring it under control is a good thing.  However, I thought the states that jumped in to criticise when we were running 20 new cases a day were jumping the gun, because if it had remained at those kind of numbers it was absolutely the situation that test and trace is meant to handle, and the costs of a lockdown would likely far exceed the benefits.  With hindsight it's always easy to say the decision could have been taken sooner, but if we had locked down sooner and it turned out to be already under control we would probably be saying with hindsight that it was unnecessary (it's sometimes difficult to distinguish best-case disease control from overreaction).

Australia, along with a few other countries like NZ, is actually in a long-running gamble that we will be able to keep the borders closed and suppress numbers long enough for <some fix> (usually "the vaccine") to be found.  How about if we get a year in with no vaccine in sight and the virus still roaming the world?  Two years?  Five years?  Or what about if one outbreak gets away from us and hits a lot of society anyway?  We are separating families and preventing our own citizens and permanent residents from travelling, and I'm sure there's a serious economic hit too.  How long will be too long?  If every other country opens up, will we be pressured to as well?

If it weren't for Covid-19, I wouldn't be in Australia right now.  And I'm not sorry to be in Australia, because in the short and medium term our handling of it seems better than many other countries.  But we will have to wait to see how that works out longer-term.
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Sine

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Re: Opinions on Victoria's lockdown - too harsh? Too lax? Too late?
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2020, 09:38:30 pm »
+2
My memory is that suppression was not an individual state decision so much as a National Cabinet decision (implemented in different ways by the different states), with the knowledge that we needed to make tradeoffs: Uncontrolled virus spread would have serious consequences, but so would keeping the economy closed down for ever.  The goal was to reopen the economy in a controlled manner, with part of the agreement being that spikes be managed, but we don't go backwards again because of the likely effect on national confidence.  And the Feds in particular were pushing for state borders reopening and Australia going back to a "new normal".

Clearly here in Melbourne we have the worst community transmission situation Australia has faced so far, and taking serious action to bring it under control is a good thing.  However, I thought the states that jumped in to criticise when we were running 20 new cases a day were jumping the gun, because if it had remained at those kind of numbers it was absolutely the situation that test and trace is meant to handle, and the costs of a lockdown would likely far exceed the benefits.  With hindsight it's always easy to say the decision could have been taken sooner, but if we had locked down sooner and it turned out to be already under control we would probably be saying with hindsight that it was unnecessary (it's sometimes difficult to distinguish best-case disease control from overreaction).

Australia, along with a few other countries like NZ, is actually in a long-running gamble that we will be able to keep the borders closed and suppress numbers long enough for <some fix> (usually "the vaccine") to be found.  How about if we get a year in with no vaccine in sight and the virus still roaming the world?  Two years?  Five years?  Or what about if one outbreak gets away from us and hits a lot of society anyway?  We are separating families and preventing our own citizens and permanent residents from travelling, and I'm sure there's a serious economic hit too.  How long will be too long?  If every other country opens up, will we be pressured to as well?

If it weren't for Covid-19, I wouldn't be in Australia right now.  And I'm not sorry to be in Australia, because in the short and medium term our handling of it seems better than many other countries.  But we will have to wait to see how that works out longer-term.
Yeah, it wouldn't have been a state-specific strategy, definitely all working together. Just some states/territories are better candidates for the eradication strategy, especially those who have had minimal community transmission.

tbf your second paragraph is basically the difficulty of working in public health. If you shut down everything and from that successfully stop an outbreak everyone complains that nothing bad happened and if you wait too long they complain you should've acted earlier. So you really can't win either way.

The Cat In The Hat

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Re: Opinions on Victoria's lockdown - too harsh? Too lax? Too late?
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2020, 11:12:56 am »
0
However, I thought the states that jumped in to criticise when we were running 20 new cases a day were jumping the gun, because if it had remained at those kind of numbers it was absolutely the situation that test and trace is meant to handle, and the costs of a lockdown would likely far exceed the benefits.
Hey, bro! Have you looked at the way Israel's went, for one? They were around what we were, a couple weeks ahead of us though. And then two weeks later - 700 a day and so forth.
So we kinda had 'here's what might happen' and we somewhat ignored it.
So I don't know whether it was unreasonable.
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Lear

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Re: Opinions on Victoria's lockdown - too harsh? Too lax? Too late?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2020, 12:17:10 pm »
+4
This is a great analysis I read this morning regarding the cause of this new outbreak and other relevant topics. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-11/fuel-spark-victoria-response-virus-public-health-bushfire/12443982

Wrt to the lockdown, I believe we aren't locking down hard enough. In Australia, we have been very fortunate even from the 'first wave' in that most cases during that time where people in hotel quarantine. Community transmission was a minor contributor while the incoming travellers was the bigger one. For that reason, our initial lockdown seemed 'adequate' as we did eventually see a decline in cases. Sure, this was definitely contributed to by the decrease in community transmission due to restrictions, but a larger reason might be simply the decline in people coming in + introduction of hotel quarantine + better screening of travellers.

For this reason, I think we got a false sense of security within our original restrictions which were quite lax compared to those that have been imposed in many other countries.

This time, given that the cases are largely community transmission, the potential is there for those restrictions to not be effective given this is probably the first true test of their efficacy. Policies such as 'all jobs are essential' and 'kids can't spread the virus that well, therefore, schools are ok' may lead to the continuation of transmission regardless of the other social distancing measures in place.

I'd really like to see a more stringent lockdown enacted so we can once and for all ELIMINATE the virus rather than aim for suppression. Absolutely, this isn't an easy task as even if we get rid of the virus in our community, we still have people coming in. For community elimination to occur, we definitely do need much better control over what happens within hotel quarantine. This means putting qualified health staff in combination with perhaps the ADF at those hotels, not security guards. This also means that we must have mandatory testing if people wish to come in. Not 'if you don't want to get tested you have to stay 10 days more', it should be 'if you don't want to get tested don't come to Australia'. From my reading, it is within the law to enforce mandatory testing. If a global pandemic isn't the appropriate time to exercise this right, when is?

Ideally, we could definitely end up in a situation like NZ where we have 0 community transmission but sometimes have the odd 1 or 2 cases within hotel quarantine. I think this would be ideal and personally believe NZ did a fantastic job overall.


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