Burnet Director and CEO Professor Brendan Crabb AC believes the modelling adopted by Australian health experts to address the COVID-19 pandemic was ‘right’, and a key factor in Australia’s relatively low rates of COVID-19.
The stringency of the lockdown and its impact on the economy has prompted public debate about whether the models applied were too cautious, but Professor Crabb believes the outcome demonstrates the wisdom of Australia’s approach.
“Australia has delivered a fantastic outcome where the rate of COVID is very low,” Professor Crabb told ABC Radio Melbourne’s Drive program.
“Tragically, we’ve had some deaths, but an order of magnitude less than other comparable countries, and of course if there is any COVID morbidity that we don’t yet fully understand, we’ve missed that as well, thank goodness.
“So the approaches that were taken based on models or based on whatever information the authorities had was clearly the right outcome.
“Yes, it’s hurt the economy and, in fact, there are other non-COVID health impacts of locking down, but there are significant impacts too on the economies of countries that did not lock down.
“It didn’t seem to make much of a difference in that regard and of course they have to deal with much higher rates of COVID.”
Asked by host Rafael Epstein whether Australia could have adopted less stringent measures for the same outcome, Professor Crabb said: “That would have been a high-risk experiment.”
“In fact, I was arguing at that time … for slightly more action and even faster action. It turns out they got it very right.”
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