Australian battlers want to avoid the virus, not live with it. By Angela Shanahan.
The hoi polloi tune out ideology. Everyone has a different complaint, but basically most people just want practical advice to avoid the virus, to carry on working and looking after their kids. However, to do that they must listen to the politicians, all of whom have a political agenda, which as we now see is counter-productive at best, at worst downright harmful. For Mrs Average, untangling the ideological and political from the health advice is difficult.
The theme emerging from the right is whether we should aim for zero cases. Should we aim for suppression rather than elimination?
Well, ask anybody on the street, any mum at the school or dad on the job, and what they will probably answer is “of course we should aim for elimination”, and to do that, as the epidemiologists tell us, we must have zero cases circulating in the community.
People who query this idea talk about “living with the virus” and “proportional response”.
NSW was way too slow to act — partly out of ideology — to a single case that escaped through quarantine in a limo driver, five weeks ago. Covid now threatens much of of eastern Australia, and the NSW premier is suffering in the polls. Remember how she even refused to say “lockdown,” until she was forced by events? Exit one premier at the next election.
[NSW Premier] Berejiklian’s mantra was like that of people who are convinced we can live with the virus. Hers was about a “proportionate response”. However, we now have a disproportionate outbreak. the NSW Premier claimed she was listening to the health advice. But did she?
The first public health alert about this outbreak was on June 16. Then on June 20 Mary-Louise McLaws, an epidemiologist from the University of NSW, in answer to a journalist’s questions, warned there could be dire consequences if the Delta variant was allowed to spread. She called for a brief, possibly three-day, lockdown to re-evaluate the situation, to try to trace the spread of a strain of the virus that is more contagious. Her advice was rejected. Apparently, the NSW government thought it could handle a small outbreak in Bondi.
It had not counted on the Delta variant. The virus spread rapidly from Sydney’s eastern suburbs until there were 54 cases and lockdown became inevitable. It spread to the west because, as Scott Morrison said on Wednesday: “The Delta strain is different from dealing with Alpha.”
The NSW government knew this, or should have, because Britain has been wrestling with this variant for months, and cases are rising there and in the US, where a third wave looks likely, as Joe Biden says, Delta “is more transmissible and more dangerous”.
Talk to any of the people most affected by this, including our own 20 and 30-somethings who cannot work, tradesmen and hospitality workers. They know who to blame, as recent polls show. Berejiklian is at the top of the list and it is because she made a political decision. The irony of this is that it can be a good political decision to go hard and go early — as Andrews has demonstrated in Victoria. …
It is no good trying to blame the federal government for the current situation because, aside from the constantly changing advice about who can have AstraZeneca, many people in the categories that can have it don’t want it, especially women 60 and older. That is an individual decision, not a decision of the federal government. Nor is it irrational.
There have been 83 hospitalisations and six deaths from AstraZeneca, and it is not as effective against the Delta variant as the Pfizer vaccine. …
There is no comparison with our mortality and illness rates with any other countries such as Britain’s 129,000 deaths. Australia is among the least affected countries because of early international border closure, caution, lockdowns when needed and following health advice. Commentators saying we should be resigned to live with Covid and not aim for elimination ought to stop for a bit and listen to their fellow Australians. But they might have to travel to the western suburbs [of Sydney] to do that — a bridge too far for many.
Look at how well Australia has done with the virus to date:
- Total cases: 35,283,075
- Deaths per million: 1,882
- Total cases: 5,637,975
- Deaths per million: 1,890
- Total cases: 32,759
- Deaths per million: 35
That’s the difference between closing your borders, and not.
[UPDATE: Some of our non-Australian readers seem to be under the misapprehension that Australia is under lockdown all the time. No. Most of the time we have had zero restrictions, no masks, large crowds, and life has gone on as normal. Freedom is no virus.
For instance, here in Perth Western Australia, in the last year there have been just three lockdowns, of three, four, and five days respectively — masks, schools and many businesses closed, medium movement restrictions. Otherwise normal life, no masks, and few if any limits on gatherings.
It has been similar throughout Australia, with lockdowns of up to two weeks, except (1) Melbourne had a four month lockdown last year because they didn’t lock down nearly fast enough, and (2) Sydney is in for a similar lockdown because they didn’t lock down fast enough a month ago.]
But what happens when the virus gets through the quarantine (as it has about 15 times in Australia so far, due to slack and inefficient quarantine)?
Australian political leaders are gradually learning that locking down early and hard is to lock down the least.
Victoria’s Dan Andrews’ lesson cost Victorians an extra three months in their 2nd wave lockdown. Expensive lesson for one man, but NSW is going to outdo them it appears. Now NSW, Victoria and SA are suffering lockdowns due to Berejiklian’s slowness to learn and to her arrogance (“NSW is the gold standard”). In contrast, the premiers of Queensland, SA, and Western Australia, and the New Zealand PM, all learned quickly from their health advisors and other people’s mistakes — and are riding high in the the polls.
If that limo driver had been wearing a hazmat suit, or there was simply a screen between the driver and his passengers, chances are pretty good the east coast of Australia would not have to had locked down at all.
Given that the limo driver passed it on, if Mark McGowan (the WA Premier) had been in charge in Sydney, he would have put on a five day lockdown immediately — which probably would have cleared it up. Instead, Sydney is going to have months of lockdown and people are getting sick.
Any time you have to put on a lockdown, you should have started earlier. Therefore … (work it out).
It’s an engineering problem. To get rid of it, stop feeding the virus new bodies. Close borders properly. Use every filter and barrier, get better airflow, use UV-C light, heaters, faster airflow, outdoor events, measure and correct Vit D and Zinc deficiency, use antivirals like Ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, bromhexine, plus quercetin, and every other tool we can find. We are not defenceless. It’s a dumb virus.
All business losses must be compensated by the masses who benefit. It’s only fair. The worst lockdowns are the half baked ones that drag on for weeks. Better and fairer to do it fast and properly so it can end soon.
UPDATE: Anti-lockdown protest in Sydney today.
Anti-lockdown protesters are marching shoulder-to-shoulder through the streets of Sydney despite NSW recording its highest number of daily infections since the Covid-19 outbreak started. …
Thousands of anti-lockdown protesters have overpowered police near Broadway, in Sydney’s CBD, with the group now marching to Town Hall.
Protesters holding banners and flags with slogans saying “love not lockdown” and “yes to freedom” as well as conspiracy messages have brought traffic to a stop along Broadway St.
Thousands of protesters have now outnumbered police and are marching down Broadway to the city. The foot march has brought traffic to a complete stand still. @australian pic.twitter.com/GNpkeAQhM7
— Rhiannon Down (@rhi_down) July 24, 2021
Great way to spread the virus. How much longer will the lockdown be as a result of this march? Could be the billion dollar march.
UPDATE: Funny how we have BLM and anti-lockdown protests in Australia, where there are very few blacks and relatively little time spent in lockdowns and wearing masks.