Thursday, November 5, 2020

Australia has almost eliminated the coronavirus — by putting faith in science

 
People clink glasses at a cafe Oct. 29 on Melbourne’s Yarra River. (William West/AFP/Getty Images)

 A. Odysseus Patrick
Washington Post

Several practical reasons contributed to Australia's success, experts say. The country chose to quickly and tightly seal its borders, a step some others, notably in Europe, did not take. Health officials rapidly built up the manpower to track down and isolate outbreaks. And unlike the U.S. approach, every one of Australia's states either shut their domestic borders or severely limited movement for interstate, and in some cases intrastate, travelers.

Perhaps most importantly, though, leaders from across the ideological spectrum convinced Australians to take the pandemic seriously early on and prepared them to give up civil liberties they had never lost before, even during two world wars.

"We told the public: 'This is serious; we want your cooperation,' " said Marylouise McLaws, a Sydney-based epidemiologist at the University of New South Wales and World Health Organization adviser.

A lack of partisan rancor increased the effectiveness of the message, McLaws said in an interview.  Read more >>