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Public health measures have been relaxed too far

Expecting COVID-positive people to work is a failure of public policy ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Most of Australia’s economists have, since the start of the pandemic, backed the advice of public health experts over the idea such measures must be balanced against the needs of the economy. What’s now happening as Omicron surges, particularly in NSW, demonstrates why.

The decision to relax public health measures to such an extent we’re asking COVID-positive people and their close contacts to come to work, is completely undoing the head start Australia had gained on the pandemic, according to political economy professor Jim Stanford. He reminds us if people aren’t well, neither is the economy.

Also today, paediatric infectious disease epidemiologists Fiona Russell and Robert Booy weigh in on whether we should be delaying the start of the school year due to the Omicron wave.

Public health measures have been relaxed too far 1

Tim Wallace

Deputy Editor: Business + Economy

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Public health measures have been relaxed too far 3

Healthy humans drive the economy: we’re now witnessing one of the worst public policy failures in Australia’s history

Jim Stanford, University of Sydney

Some political and business leaders have, from the outset of COVID-19, downplayed the economic costs of mass illness. We’re now seeing the result.

Public health measures have been relaxed too far 4

We shouldn’t delay the start of school due to Omicron. 2 paediatric infectious disease experts explain

Fiona Russell, The University of Melbourne; Robert Booy, University of Sydney

Children are not the primary drivers of Omicron. And for the majority of children, COVID has been a mild disease. But there are many known harms from school closures.

Public health measures have been relaxed too far 5

At long last, we can tear open the queen’s secret letters with Australia’s governors-general

Anne Twomey, University of Sydney

While many of the letters are quite candid, their release after so many years is hardly damaging, and the efforts to keep them secret for so long are again shown to be absurd.

Public health measures have been relaxed too far 6

Experience the spectacular sounds of a Murrumbidgee wetland erupting with life as water returns

Mitchell Whitelaw, Australian National University; Skye Wassens, Charles Sturt University

A unique design-science collaboration turns ecological data into an immersive digital portrait of a precious wetland.

Public health measures have been relaxed too far 7

Bark Ladies: how women’s Yolŋu bark paintings break with convention and embrace artists’ strong personalities

Sasha Grishin, Australian National University

Bark painting in Yirrkala is a tradition of antiquity – but it is constantly reinvented, as this stunning exhibition of contemporary women’s work attests.

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