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People queue outside a Centrelink office in Bondi Junction (Image: AAP/Joel Carrett)

The issue of locking down a city or state has become increasingly divisive. In 16 years of writing, none of my articles have elicited a more emotional response than my recent suggestion that locking down a city may cost more lives than it saves.

Alas, citywide lockdowns seem akin to Queensland's decision, in 1935, to introduce cane toads to control beetles -- well intentioned, but ultimately flawed.

To assess the success of the strict and seemingly never-ending Victorian lockdown, we need to answer two questions. First, if regions don’t lock down, how many incremental deaths will occur? Second, when lockdowns do happen, how many incremental deaths will occur as a result of the lockdown?