Professor Brett Sutton, Victorian Chief Medical Officer, shares the ‘long view’ on COVID-19

Victoria’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Brett Sutton shared his insights into the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and his hopes for a better 2021, in a recent webinar hosted by the University of Melbourne Department of Rural Health in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Ballarat South.

In conversation with Department of Rural Health’s Dr Alan Crouch, Professor Sutton spoke at length about the response to Victoria’s second wave, which peaked in early August with up to 700 cases a day. He was admiring of the rural and regional response to COVID-19, particular efforts of local government and community members to work with the state on any outbreaks and adhering to restrictions to keep the virus out of their communities.

Professor Sutton also expressed confidence that there is currently no community transmission in Victoria and considers this a fortunate position to be in when considering the state of several other countries around the world.

Just as many countries have learnt from the Victorian response, Professor Sutton said that Australia has been able to glean insights from the US and Europe’s management of the pandemic. But as the rollout of a vaccine begins in the UK, he is optimistic about 2021 and global efforts to manage the virus.

He also spoke of the emotional toll 2020 has taken, including on his on mental health and how it is vital to seek professional help for stress, anxiety or depression.

Held on 1 December, the webinar attracted more than 2100 viewers from across regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne including 30 international viewers. The webinar formed part of a series of public events on COVID-19 hosted by the Department of Rural Health in Shepparton.