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Tracking COVID-19: Why professor says Easter is critical

Victoria will know by about Easter if our Stage 3 restrictions are enough to stop COVID-19 in its tracks, according to a leading mind on the matter.

Professor Michael McCarthy, from the School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne, has done in-depth modelling on the trajectory of the coronavirus.

He told Ross and John recent dips — there were only 51 new cases in the 24 hours up to Wednesday — shouldn’t be celebrated too readily because they only include data from Stage 1 and Stage 2, which have already been shown to be inadequate measures.

Rather, he says lag effect means we’re about two weeks from understanding what we’re dealing with.

“There’s clear evidence that what we first implemented has been effective, (but) it’s also pretty clear that hasn’t been enough and that the latest restrictions are, in my mind, certainly warranted to get on top of this epidemic,” he said.

“We won’t really know how effective these current restrictions have been for probably another week or two.

“That’s because it takes so long for the symptoms to first appear in someone and then it takes another few days before they get a test, and then it takes a bit of time for the test result to come.

“If there’s still a clear sense that we’re still getting increases in a week or so’s time, then new measures, I imagine, will have to be brought in.”

Professor McCarthy committed to talking to Ross and John again in one week.

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