The most important thing we need to learn from the COVID 19 experience is we need to find a better way of dealing with the next pandemic.
There is an exceptionally high probability that we will face another pandemic in the coming years. Australia cannot respond to a COVID 21 or SARS 25 in the same way we responded to COVID 19. We simply won’t be able to afford it.
We need to study the full range of international responses to COVID 19, from total lock down responses like the UK to the almost do nothing response of Sweden. We need to do so to learn how to more efficiently respond to the next pandemic. We can’t repeat a response that costs 20%-30% of GDP, causes a massive economic contraction, creates 20% unemployment and puts over 50% of the workforce on wage subsidies. We simply can’t afford to respond in this way ever again. We need to task our best and brightest to find a better way.
The only caveat to this is if we rapidly start to relax the current measures and avoid the massive costs and economic consequences the government currently plans to inflict on us. The longer the government delays the reopening of business, the greater the damage, the higher the total cost to respond to COVID 19 and the slower the recovery will be. As for paying back the debt – it won’t happen in my life time.