Experts offer two potential roads to recovery
Researchers from Australia’s top universities have presented the government with two potential strategies for how the country can recover from the coronavirus.
The strategies were presented to Health Minister Greg Hunt in a report prepared by the Group of Eight this week.
The report says leaders must choose between either A eliminating the virus or B suppressing it to a low level and then managing it, with both options offering their own pros and cons.
“Any choice between these two options entails a delicate trade-off between protecting health, supporting the economy and societal well-being,” it says.
Option A – the ‘Elimination Strategy’ – would require waiting for new local cases to fall to zero, and then maintaining that for at least two weeks.
It would lead to fewer infections, hospitalisations and deaths, as well as allow for a faster relaxation of social distancing measures, according to the report.
But it would require extensive testing and potentially much longer bans on travelling interstate and overseas.
Option B – the ‘Controlled Adaptation Strategy’ – would focus on adapting society to live with the ongoing risk of infections.
It would likely mean a slightly higher number of infections, hospitalisations and deaths, but could allow for restrictions to be lifted as early as mid-May.
“There is always a risk that the number of infections could spike, and some of the spikes could lead to more extensive ‘surges’ which may require resumption of some stricter social distancing, as has occurred in Singapore,” the report explained.
It’s also unclear how confident the public would feel when restrictions were lifted, meaning economic and social life may take longer to resume.