Victorian COVID-19 testing may be part of the problem...

Christopher Joye

Coolabah Capital

In my previous post I highlighted screenshots from our real-time, global COVID-19 infection/fatality tracking-system that demonstrated that Victoria had never flattened its curve, and had chronically underperformed other Australian states in terms of its COVID-19 containment efficacies. I have reproduced a couple of those screenshots for your benefit immediately below. 

This article prompted an enormous amount of feedback, which we greatly appreciate. Credible explanations have been posited, including temperature and radiation differentials, fundamental vulnerabilities in the security arrangements around Victoria's quarantine hotels, growing community indifference to the mixed messages from the premier regarding lockdowns and protests, and the lack of translated COVID-19 communications that meant ethnic minorities might not have fully understood the gravity of the crisis. 

Another explanation relates to deficiencies in Victoria's COVID-19 testing intensity. Our systems track a rich range of real-time data on testing from around the world on a state (or provincial) level through to national statistics, which are updated automatically. When we evaluated the testing data from Victoria, there did indeed appear to be some shortcomings. 

In particular, cumulative tests per capita materially lagged New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia, and the national Australian and New Zealand averages, between the onset of the crisis in March through to early May. It seemed the Victorians new something was awry by that time, because there was a noticeable acceleration in testing per capita thereafter to such an extent that by mid May Victoria was outperforming most states (and the Australian and New Zealand averages). You can see our system screenshots enclosed below.

 

While the recent outbreak in Victoria has been disappointing, it is encouraging that the premier has now moved to lockdown the 10 affected regions, because one thing we know with conviction is that high-integrity lockdowns do work.

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Christopher Joye
Portfolio Manager & Chief Investment Officer
Coolabah Capital

Chris co-founded Coolabah in 2011, which today runs over $8 billion with a team of 26 executives focussed on generating credit alpha from mispricings across fixed-income markets. In 2019, Chris was selected as one of FE fundinfo’s Top 10 “Alpha...

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