I am right there with you, there have been an obvious negligence in the western world at large countering this pandemic.
You have western european nations like the Netherlands, Sweden, UK, Belgium (and the US at one point?) that tried the herd immunity with disastrous result.
Not only did these nations lie about their strategy to the public, the strategy, the very essence of this strategy is immoral, unethical (WHO pointed out this early on).
The strategy of mitigation have been catastrophic, prolonging the case rate and have kept the health care system overwhelmed for over a year.
Then you have nations like alot of eastern european nations that did pretty well early on in the spring of last year but opened up too quick in the autumn and got hit by the virus. Again the downplaying of the theat by authorities was much of the cause of this, making people last summer believe it was OK and the threat was over. There were also alot of propaganda about the alleged success of herd immunity strategy that fooled alot of people and authorities – until the authumn came and the mitigation nations were hit hard once again!
Then you have nations like Norway, Finland that have fared pretty well, they chose the suppression strategy early on neighbouring Sweden did not and got a whole lot of more deaths and infected people.
About the lockdowns: While the case rate do decline after some weeks with a lockdown there should have been more focus on what to do next after the lockdown like test and trace and sometimes lockdowns have been lifted too quick and early instead of lifting it in very careful phases.
This is what Australia have done with success as you mentioned. People in europe have laughed off Australia’s tactic of closing down locally when there were like just a few cases popping up, but as one have seen, atleast up to this date – it has been working effectively. Australia have been living pretty much normal excluding some few weeks here and there past year. Compare that with any european nation!
There were also early on scientific reports that quick, early lockdown and counter-measure was not only good for stopping the pandemic but also for the economy.
Also I am sure that the majority of outbreaks stem from people that simply did not care about the rules, ultimately there is too much egoism.
Of course one should not diminish the role restrictions could have on mental, physical health but I believe that shorter but harsher restrictions, lockdowns is inevitable.
Another issue is that west have been rejecting lessons from asia let alone learning from their own mistakes, just take Cumming’s verdict and the response to it by the government. The verdict came too late but atleast he had the courage to admit he was wrong and partly responsible for the tragedy.
Tragically I believe the west have not learned anything from the past year, if there was a new pandemic, they would use the same response once again.