Much has happened here since the local news media trumpeted the first Australian COVID-19 fatality, and stirred up a medieval fear of contagion. We now need to take a step back to examine the logic underlying the use of our limited COVID-19 countermeasures. Emerging infectious diseases by their nature, pose new challenges to the diagnostic-treatment-control nexus, and push our concepts of causality beyond the limits of the conventional Koch-Henle approach to aetiology. We need to use contemporary methods of assessing causality to ensure that clinical, laboratory and public health measures draw on a rational, evidence-based approach to argumentation. The purpose of any aetiological hypothesis is to derive actionable insights into this latest emerging infectious disease. This review is an introduction to a conversation with medical microbiologists, which will be supported by a moderated blog.