'Why us?': Experts debate REAL reason behind Victoria’s Covid battle

·3-min read

As Melbourne enters its first day of its extended 14-day lockdown, many residents have been left wondering: ‘Why us?’.

Victoria has battled more coronavirus outbreaks than any other Australian state and its current outbreak has now reached 61.

Two cases of what were believed to be community transmission via "fleeting contact" between Melburnians were reclassified on Thursday night as false positives.

On the weekend, Mary-Louise McLaws, professor of epidemiology at the University of NSW and WHO adviser, told Yahoo News Australia that Melbourne is at a disadvantage because it is “highly mobile, sociable and has a large young population”.

Victoria Police Protective Services Officers patrol St Kilda beach in Melbourne. Source: AAP
Victoria has battled more coronavirus outbreaks than any other Australian state and its current outbreak has now reached 61. Source: AAP

However, Dr Liz Allen, a demographer with ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods, took to Twitter on Wednesday to debunk that theory.

“Experts and politicians have responded to the question on many people’s minds: why Victoria?” she wrote.

“Why does Vic appear to be struggling with Covid outbreaks, while NSW isn’t? Recent commentary has suggested transport, age, jobs, migrant population etc. as among the reasons.”

She said that when considering virus outbreaks, population characteristics and behaviours are crucial, but Victoria and NSW aren’t that different.

A security guard takes the temperature of a customer at a shopping precinct in Sydney. Source: AAP
Two cases of what were believed to be community transmission via "fleeting contact" between Melburnians were reclassified on Thursday night as false positives. Source: AAP

The median age of workers is similar, as are the proportion of migrants, Dr Allen said.

While inner-city Melbourne was classified by the ABS last year as the most populated area in Australia, it is closely followed by two Sydney areas.

Also, Sydneysiders use public transport more than Victorians.

Dr Allen said that while “purely luck or chance” play a factor as well, it seems the two states have more in common than people think.

Dr Norman Swan, host of ABC's Coronacast, said the current lockdown can't be compared to what happened last year.

“One leak in hotel quarantine coming into a state that now has world-class contact tracing," he said earlier this week.

“What it is, is bad luck. And what NSW had three or four weeks ago was good luck.”

Two Covid cases deemed false positives

The two cases, which were originally thought to be in the state’s total, were reassessed on Thursday evening by the state's health department.

The cases were a woman who authorities believed contracted the virus at a Metricon display home and a man who visited Brighton Beach Hotel.

They are “no longer considered confirmed cases” the department said in a statement.

Victoria to build quarantine hub

Victoria and the federal government have reached agreement on a stand-alone virus quarantine facility.

Acting Premier Mr Merlino has confirmed he and Prime Minister Scott Morrison have signed a memorandum of understanding.

The site will either be Avalon or Mickleham and Victorian Acting Premier James Merlino said either site would work.

"We are entirely comfortable where it will be," he said on Friday morning.

"I am very, very pleased that today we have an agreement.

"We are going to get cracking and deliver this facility."

With AAP

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