JCU Last Lecture 2021

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Our COVID-19 teacher: What we have learnt about epidemics, public health response and ourselves? Reflections from an infectious diseases physician and modeler.

Of the handful of existential threats to humanity, a pandemic has always been the most probable. Many people since the turn of the millennium -Bill Gates included- described the next pandemic as inevitable. What was harder to predict was just how disruptive it would be in the modern world. Although less virulent than the influenza of 1919-1920, this pandemic has disrupted countries’ economies and peoples in far reaching ways and more profoundly than the Spanish flu. Have we learnt anything from the lockdown experience other than how to make sourdough?

There will be many reflections in the coming months from sociologists, psychologists, political scientists and economists. We need to think deeply about the fundamental ways society has responded to and been altered by COVID, with lessons about what needs to change to better handle the next pandemic. Professor Emma McBryde's lecture will cover a small part of this, as an infectious diseases physician and mathematical modeler, Professor McBryde will provide some insights into what public health actions could have and should happened differently (and what went right too) and how these can be improved for the future.

Using no equations or technical jargon, Professor McBryde will explore how models have been used in the pandemic and what insights they may give us for future preparedness. Professor McBryde will also reflect on the personal journeys that she has had and has witnessed during the pandemic.

Find out more about JCU's Last Lecture: https://www.jcu.edu.au/events/last-lecture
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Health
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