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The COVID-19 roadmap target an epidemiologist says needs review

A health modelling expert has explained what is and is not included in the modelling used to inform Victoria’s reopening plan.

Professor of mathematical biology and infectious diseases epidemiologist, James McCaw, says he is “95 per cent of the way in agreement with the government”, but there’s one aspect of the roadmap he and his colleagues think needs review.

“Where we do have some disagreement is around … some of these targets,” he told Neil Mitchell.

“The target of five cases per day, every day for two weeks, is incredibly stringent and it doesn’t account for if those five cases are mystery cases, which would be concerning, or if those five cases are in a house,” Professor McCaw said.

He stressed that epidemiological modelling is only one factor informing Victoria’s reopening plan.

“Modelling doesn’t decide our future, it’s one part of the decision-making process,” Professor McCaw said.

“What it can’t account for … and what it doesn’t account for, is higher level structures like aged care facilities or hospital and then the interactions between the workers and how they mix in the community.

“That’s a very difficult thing to put into a model.”

Professor McCaw said he’s confident cases will continue to fall quickly.

“I think we will be down to single-digit cases within a week or two,” he said.

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