Chief medical officer Brendan Murphy (Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

Yesterday, the government finally did what many scientists, journalists and commentators had been pressuring them to do for weeks, and release some of the modelling that had underpinned their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The modelling, by Melbourne’s Doherty Institute, paints a stark picture of what Australia’s worst-case scenario could look like. But at the same time, experts and policymakers have repeatedly stressed that it does not offer a concrete prediction about what our fight against the pandemic might look like.  

What does it tell us?

The modelling released yesterday didn’t tell us many of the things we’re desperate to know. It didn’t tell us when the lockdown would end, or whether we should close schools. Nor does it make us any the wiser about which of our beloved activities are essential or not -- the modelling won’t help you avoid a fine. As both Scott Morrison and chief medical officer Brendan Murphy stressed during yesterday’s press conference, the modelling is theoretical, not predictive.