Aus Govt must urgently listen to expert Yaneer Bar-Yam on its response to COVID19

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COVID-19 presents catastrophic public health outcomes and severe economic consequences for our country.

We call on the Australian Government to listen to the advice of Yaneer Bar-Yam and implement an immediate four week hard and fully enforced lockdown of Australia NOW.

If there is not a hard lockdown, the economic cost and loss of life will be exponentially higher.

We call on the Australian Government to listen to the advice of Yaneer Bar-Yam who has accurately predicted the outcome of this outbreak since late January 2020.

Yaneer is President of the New England Complex Systems Institute and an expert in managing risk (https://bit.ly/2WyNvjU). In recent weeks he has been advising national governments including the US Government (recently) on appropriate measures to respond to COVID-19. Singapore, South Korea, China (belatedly) and Vo (town in Italy) have also acted in accordance with his guidelines very successfully.

This is a choice between a short, highly effective lockdown or a very extended community driven and mostly ineffective rolling lockdown. It is a choice between sharp but manageable economic pain and sustained cumulatively much larger and unmanaged economic pain.

Yaneer will likely advise the Government to implement an immediate four week lockdown of Australia to avoid catastrophic public health outcomes and severe economic consequences. This will likely include:

  • Rapidly ramping up mass testing to identify individuals for isolation
  • Lockdown communities with active transmission, where everyone except those providing essential services should stay at home
  • Encourage businesses to maintain essential functions and reduce impact on all functions using Safe-Space workspaces. This includes maximizing work from home to enable self-isolation and promoting Safe Spaces for individuals and families
  • Increase medical capacity by converting public and private spaces to temporary hospitals for mild and moderate symptom cases to help separate the infected individuals from the rest of the population.

The effective suppression of the virus through a lockdown will likely have significant benefits for the Australian people and result in:

  • Fewer total cases of COVID-19 and a reduction in the overall fatality rate
  • Lower burden for the healthcare system
  • Ability for infected, isolated and quarantined healthcare workers to get better and back to work quicker to kick-start the economy.

Importantly, the lockdown would also buy time for the community to prepare for the growing number of cases that are unavoidable, allowing us to:

  • Develop new testing methods which could speed up testing and drive costs down substantially enabling the Government to start testing everybody
  • With that information, we would finally know the true extent of the problem, where we need to be more aggressive, and what communities are safe to be released from a lockdown
  • Buy equipment and build up our production of masks, PPEs, ventilators, ECMOs, and any other critical device to reduce fatality rate
  • Understand the virus better.

It is highly likely that the Government will eventually be required to implement a hard lock-down as the number of COVID-19 cases surge.  We urgently insist that the Australian Government take the advice of Yaneer Bar-Yam on rapidly developing its policy response to the Coronavirus crisis.

This petition was created in collaboration with Tim Slattery.