The success or failure of Australia’s coronavirus fight relies to a remarkable degree on just one thing, new modelling has found.
And that thing is whether individual Australians now follow official advice — and just stay home.
The data comes from a complex model of how COVID-19 could spread in Australia, which finds:
- Coronavirus will continue to spread virtually unchecked unless at least eight in 10 Australians stay home as much as possible.
- If that slips even slightly — to seven in 10 people — the fight to ‘flatten the curve’ will be lost.
- It also suggests that school closures have little effect on controlling the coronavirus outbreak.
Where do these numbers come from?
Researchers at the University of Sydney have built what is effectively a simulation of the entire Australian population using information about where everyone lives, the number of adults and children in each house, how people move around their town or city, and other details such as the locations of schools and airports.
They then essentially add COVID-19 into that simulation, watch how it spreads — and can experiment with how different measures might change its growth.
It can model what might happen with different actions, but it does not necessarily represent what actually happens in the real world.
The modelling was created by the Centre for Complex Systems and the Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity at Sydney University. It has been published online but has not yet been through a rigorous peer-review process.
However, the model was previously developed to map the spread of influenza in Australia and the same team published peer-reviewed papers on those results.