Modeling how COVID-19 could affect Australia

There are still things we don’t know. The modeling does not reflect the actual spread of the virus in Australia or the decisions the National Cabinet has taken to slow the spread. It is a tool to explore scenarios and the impact of actions we might take.

If people continue with our strategy of isolation, quarantine and social isolation, the health system will cope with the projected peak in cases.

Australia responses to COVID-19

There are no medicines or vaccines for COVID-19 at this time. People must rely on public health interventions to control the disease. These fall into six areas:

  • Identifying cases

  • Isolating people who have contracted the virus

  • Tracing and quarantining contacts of cases

  • Practicing good hygiene

  • Restricting travel

  • Social distancing

The Australian Government is boosting our intensive care unit (ICU) bed capacity to around 7,000 beds. The modeling finds the ICUs will cope if people continue to:

  • Have effective social distancing.

  • Increase our health system capacity.

  • Isolate people with the virus and their close contacts.

The modeling compares the peak daily ICU bed demand under 3 different scenarios:

  • uncontrolled spread – 35,000

  • isolation and quarantine – 17,000

  • isolation, quarantine and social isolation – below 5000

Isolation and social distancing together are highly effective. These measures reduce the spread of the virus, ensuring Australia has enough ICU capacity at each stage.


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