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


No cases were reported on the island continent Thursday, and only seven since Saturday, besides travelers in hotel quarantine. Eighteen patients are hospitalized with covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. One is in an intensive care unit. Melbourne, the main hotbed of Australia's outbreak which recently emerged from lockdown, has not reported a case since Oct. 30.


Meanwhile, in the United States, 52,049 people are hospitalized and 10,445 are in an ICU, according to the Covid Tracking Project, a volunteer effort to document the pandemic. America's daily new cases topped 100,000 on Wednesday, and its death toll exceeds 233,000, a staggering figure even accounting for its greater population than Australia, which has recorded 907 deaths.

与此同时,根据志愿组织Covid Tracking Project的数据显示,美国有52,049人住院治疗,10,445人住在重症监护病房。周三,美国每日新增病例超过10万,死亡人数超过23万3千人,这个惊人的数字远远超过了澳大利亚,澳大利亚的死亡人数为907人。

"I never thought we would really get to zero, which is amazing," said Sharon Lewin, the Melbourne-based director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, which provided forecasts in February that formed the basis of the Australian government's response. "I've been going out nonstop, booking restaurants, shopping, getting my nails done and my hair cut."


As North America, Europe, India, Brazil and other regions and countries struggle to bring tens of thousands of daily infections under control, Australia provides a real-time road map for democracies to manage the pandemic. Its experience, along with New Zealand's, also shows that success in containing the virus isn't limited to East Asian states.


Several practical measures 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.


"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 a World Health Organization adviser.


The conservative prime minister, Scott Morrison, formed a national cabinet with state leaders, known as premiers, from all parties to coordinate decisions. Political conflict was largely suspended, at least initially, and many Australians saw their politicians working together to avert a health crisis.


"Regardless of who you vote for, most Australians would agree their leaders have a real care for their constituents and a following of science," McLaws said. "I think that helped dramatically."

“不管你投给谁,大多数澳大利亚人都会同意,他们的领导人真正关心他们的选民,并奉行科学,” 姆利基说。“我认为这起了很大的作用。”