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EXPERT: We squashed the curve – now we have three options

Experts warn COVID-19 might not be eliminated without a vaccine.

While Australia’s curve of new daily cases is showing signs of flattening, led by Victoria’s rapid decrease, a leading mind on the matter told Neil Mitchell that living with COVID-19 may become the norm.

“It may well be that coronavirus now lives with us in much the same way influenza does,” Tony Blakely, Melbourne University’s Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine, said on 3AW.

“What we’ve done is we’ve squashed (the curve); we’ve got it so low that it’s not even flattening.

“(It was a) tremendous success last week.

“We did it. Now what? This is what we need to talk about over the next couple of weeks.”

Professor Blakely says we have three options (excerpts of full comments, which can be heard below):

  1. Go even harder, go for elimination and see if we can beat the Kiwis at their own game. I think it’s unlikely…
  2. Keep squashing the curve, what we’re doing now. Never achieve herd immunity. Every time there’s an outbreak, we contain it, and we wait for the vaccine (which the professor predicts could be 18 months away). We might be able to loosen up the way we are living, but probably not a lot.
  3. Meticulously plan to let off a little bit, let the cases go up, hold them at a level that our health services can manage, and wash this epidemic through for a period of about six months until we have herd immunity, and then we can function quite normally again.

“These are incredibly hard choices but choices we have to make,” he told Neil Mitchell.

Neil then asked which option the professor favoured.

Click PLAY to hear his full, but qualified answer