Burying the Truth About the Covid Years

The scale of the Covid-19 disaster should warrant extensive examination, but politicians, both federal and state, along with medical authorities, seem reluctant to address what may be revealed as their own shortcomings.The public expected a royal commission to comprehensively review this hugely expensive and disruptive event. What we have seen instead are limited Senate and public inquiries. It appears political expedience has won the day.

The latest COVID outbreak (number 8) has produced a small increase in cases, but as with previous waves, fewer deaths and only an official suggestion that the old and infirm would benefit from booster shots. The pandemic is dribbling to its conclusion, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring the virus no longer constitutes a health emergency.

Labor has instituted an inquiry, with limited powers compared with those of a royal commission, meaning there will be restricted access to examine the actors and actions of the state premiers. The reporting date, September 2024, will also mean more of the important players will have left office. What the inquiry will not discuss state are decisions on lockdowns, school and border closures, enforced business closures, restrictions on people’s movements and police powers and actions. Such an ‘investigation’ does not pass the pub test.

The Swedish authorities presented their Covid findings in 2022. After its limited lockdown, Sweden’s economy has revived to the extent that GDP is now 6 per cent higher than pre-Covid. UK authorities also commenced their own enquiry, which will present its findings in 2026 (after the next election). Already reports have leaked about grossly inaccurate forecasting and the cavalier attitude of civil servants and politicians (including Boris Johnson) in observing the lockdown restrictions they imposed on everyone else.

Many of the Covid problems emanated not only from the WHO but also the US, courtesy of Dr Anthony Fauci, who was chief advisor to President Trump. A preliminary, closed-door enquiry by the US Coronavirus Pandemic Select Subcommittee revealed numerous systemic failures. For example, Fauci approved grants from the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases to the Wuhan lab for virus research, supposedly without reviewing them. He has belatedly admitted a lab leak was the likely source of the virus, also conceding the vaccine mandates were likely to increase future vaccine hesitancy. As so often heard during the Victorian enquiry into the hotel-quarantine debacle, he “failed to recall” when providing non-answers to more than 100 questions. Fauci retired in 2022 but will face a full public hearing set to begin on June 2.

The UK Government has instituted the Hallett Inquiry into the pandemic. At a projected cost of £250 million, its restricted brief will not include fundamentals such as lockdowns and faulty disease modelling. Former Scottish PM Nicola Sturgeon, despite having promised in 2021 a similar Scottish inquiry, and pledging to reveal all private correspondence, has deleted all her personal emails for this time.

Australia had drawn up two major pandemic-response blueprints, the first in 2006, when Tony Abbott was health minister, with an update in 2008 and repeat reviews were recommended every two years. This didn’t happen. The H1N1 swine flu outbreak of 2009 was less severe than anticipated and the incentive to repeat the process diminished as a result. A pandemic plan was again developed in 2014 to deal with a possible bird flu pandemic and, four years later, a stress test of the system was conducted by the Department of Home Affairs, with the report still not available by the time of the pandemic in 2020.  

The Australian Biosecurity Act of 2015 gave authorities extensive coercive powers to control movement; it had been updated from the Quarantine Act of 1908, first enforced during the smallpox epidemic of 1913, then the Spanish Flu in 1918. It covers a range of human diseases, including viruses, such as influenza and coronavirus, with pandemic potential. The updates gave the government wide-ranging HBE (Human Biosecurity Emergency) powers to override parliament and all other legislation. The HBE was invoked for the years, starting in March 2020, and running ‘til to April 2022. Part of the plan was to establish a “national incident” centre but, again, this never happened.

The unexpected nature of the COVID-19 pandemic was that, unlike usual flu pandemics which predominantly affect the young, it hit the elderly. The other big difference, as with the Spanish Flu, was its combination of severity and infectivity. Fortunately, compared with the 10 per cent mortality of the Spanish Flu mortality, it was only 1 per cent for Covid.

WHO’s failure begins with the lack of leadership displayed and its susceptibility to China’s influence. Not only was it late in declaring the pandemic, it was also tardy about issuing alerts about international travel and, to this day even as the weight of evidence grows, it prefers to obfuscate about the likelihood the Wuhan lab being the pandemic’s source and origin. That the lab’s virus manipulation, in part funded by the US, was downplayed by WHO — an apparent political cover-up that benefited both China and those in the US who made the decision to circumvent a US ban on “gain of function” research by offshoring it.


IN AUSTRALIA, state and territory governments were supposed to operate under federal direction, with the prime minister to serve as the ultimate authority in his role as director of the National Security Committee of Cabinet (NSC). However, the institution of regular subsidiary meetings of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) resulted in individual states going each their own ways rather than being centrally directed. A National Health Emergency Media Response Network was supposed to ensure sharing of information and consistent messaging. Again, this did not happen. Openness and transparency, accurate risk communication and consistent and clear messaging, as transmitted by health ministers and chief health officers, went by the board. Despite her conflicting, confusing and often contradictory pronouncements, Queensland’s chief medical officer (CMO) has since been made state governor (presumably making her ineligible for questioning). Victoria’s CMO was less lavishly rewarded, merely being rewarded with the title of the state’s nominee for Australian of the Year!

Border-control measures were supposed to deal only with the national border; there was no provision for closing state borders, which wasn’t recommended in pandemic planning. The early external border closure in February 2020, before WHO had declared a pandemic, limited initial entry, but once the disease was established proved counter-productive. Control of spread was to be managed by working from home, when possible (workplace closure was not recommended), isolation of infected individuals, and contact tracing. Cancelling outdoor gatherings was not recommended, nor were school closures unless the disease adversely affected the young (which it did not), as it was believed the disruption caused by closures would outweigh any benefit. With widespread community transmission established, actions aimed at limiting the entry of infection from overseas were no longer of value, but that didn’t matter. External borders remained closed and state borders were also shut. The Australia Human Rights Commission has belatedly begun to ask questions about the validity of these decisions. 

With determination that the illness was caused by a coronavirus, and with past experience from other coronavirus infections (SARS in 2002, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in 2012), a quarantine period of two weeks was imposed, subsequently reduced to seven and then five days. The quarantine procedures were haphazard — the use, for example, of hotels with infection-controls immensely difficult and all too often impossible to implement. Questions remain about the pandemic policies of Victoria’s then-premier Daniel Andrews for which, or so it seems, absolutely no one was responsible. The public inquiry, overseen by former coroner Jenny Coate, a Labor stalwart, was a farce. With its limited scope, its incurious chairwoman, and all involved subject to sweeping memory lapses, it achieved the intended result of appearing to do something while actually achieving nothing.

Freedom of information requests were blocked by the Andrews government, suggesting there is much that was hidden and remains so today. It was known, for example, that evidence from the Coate hearings would be inadmissible if criminal charges were to be laid. Victoria’s Office of Public Prosecution has characterised this as “a loophole” — a very handy loophole for those who would otherwise have had to explain themselves in a court of law. The result: no charges, no accounting, for the 768 Victorian lives lost.

The role of mask-wearing has been and remains disputed. Despite what mask advocates would have you believe, the reality is that masking conveys only a limited benefit in inhibiting the spread from those already infected. There is little evidence masks block disease acquisition. Surgical and cloth masks, even in the unlikely event they are worn properly, were a waste of time. The more effective N95 masks did at least bestow some limited benefit. Yet despite masking’s overall lack of efficacy, this latest Covid upsurge, the eighth so far, has once again seen calls for mass masking. Similarly, the use of social distancing, and hand- and surface-cleaning has not been proven to be of any great benefit.

The different and often conflicting state-endorsed medical advice regarding bans on outdoor gathering, where infection was unlikely, undermined public confidence and further affected the various restrictions’ effectiveness. The state decisions, based on never-revealed medical advice, were selectively adopted by premiers for their own purposes. One area which should have featured but did not was the importance of air conditioning in spreading the virus. This recognised source of airborne spread has never been evaluated.

Adding to the confusion, the total unreliability of epidemiologists’ forecasts — predictions that make Treasury’s economic projections and the Bureau of Meteorology seem oracular by comparison. Previously failed predictions (think here of mad cow disease and bird flu) did nothing to deter authorities from producing their grossly inaccurate projections.



THE RAPID development and deployment of Covid vaccines was due to work done on earlier, related corona viruses. Normal vaccine development generally takes around 10 years. Inevitably, with the pandemic’s urgent demand, the whole world wanted supplies. The usual safety and efficacy testing was limited, with potential side effects remaining a contentious issue. Fears of side effects were not helped by inept comments from the Queensland Chief Medical Officer. Conflicting advice from different states also undermined the roll-out. Meanwhile, the Department of Home Affairs attempted to control what bureaucrats deemed “misinformation” by leaning on compliant social media platforms to ban problematic users and take down their posts. Many of those same posts, by the way, have proven proven correct.

The subject of vaccine mandates was and remains controversial. It was necessary in the early stages to protect the vulnerable in nursing homes and hospitals, but did it need to spread to low risk areas? Even more disturbing is the fact that, while the disease has become no more than a bad flu, mandates remain in place for some occupations. Some emergency workers, even those working outside, have still not been allowed to return to work in Victoria, even though the booster doses provide only limited protection. Currently, the low risk of new variants makes it difficult to justify ongoing booster shots, shots which seem to have only limited efficacy.

Even more problematic has been the use of “off-label” pharmaceuticals such as chloroquine and ivermectin, with conspiracy theorists suggesting their use was politically unacceptable because of support by President Trump; some studies certainly suggested a reduced mortality with ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, but these have been medically contested. It is also suggested that Big Pharma may have influenced decisions by the medical agencies to block their use, instead opting for more expensive anti-virals.

The addition of vaccination schedules to children is controversial, two doses having been recommended for all over the age of five. Although side effects are rare, so is significant COVID illness, unless there are comorbidities; UNICEF reported around 8,000 deaths in those under 10, from a total of over 4 million infected. There was no excess mortality in those under 25. Meanwhile routine childhood vaccination rates slumped, an estimated 67 million fewer being administered over the three pandemic years, setting inoculation programs back by a decade.

Schools were closed, resulting in further deterioration in the nation’s already declining literacy. Strangely this also affected children’s social skills, surprising because many seem to communicate by mobile phone, rather than direct conversation. Since the decline of COVID, the levels of stress amongst children have remained unexpectedly high, with self-harm at its extreme, and school refusal also affecting educational outcomes.

The incidence of much publicised long-COVID is still disputed, it seems to be no more than the post-viral syndrome sometimes seen following the flu and other viruses. The recent House of Reps standing committee report recommends better data collection, suggesting there may be hundreds of thousands affected, with a $50 million grant for research advised. There is some suggestion that anti-virals may reduce the incidence of long COVID, difficult to ascertain as the problem seems to be in younger individuals who are not eligible for this therapy. COVID “fatigue” has now set in, and the booster vaxx rate is falling as the variants become less aggressive.

The effect of unnecessary lockdowns has been enormous, with Melbournbe, the lockdown capital of the world at 262 days, leading the way. Premier Daniel Andrews grandiosely stated “Victorians can be proud of what they achieved”, skating over the often brutal overreaction of his police force. Even there, the politically correct were allowed exception. A Black Lives Matter protest of 10,000 occurred without arrests and Extinction Rebellion protest were similarly ignored. By contrast, much smaller anti-lockdown protests resulted in hails of rubber bullets, beatings, pepper spray and more than 400 arrests.

The federal government spent an extra $500 billion to compensate for state border closures and lockdowns, doubling our national debt, to help businesses survive. The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated a cumulative $158 billion loss in GDP. There remains no logical explanation for increasing sales of toilet rolls.

Comparing mortality rates from different countries with different strategies has been informative. Worldwide there have been an estimated 700 million Covid cases, with around 7 million deaths, (who knows what the real figures are), an average mortality of one per cent. Allowing for lack of testing in many areas, WHO estimates a true mortality rate of between three and four per cent. The US performed relatively badly, with a 1% mortality rate, and an incidence of 3,500 deaths per million. European per-head mortality, with lockdowns, has run between 2000 and 3000 per million of population. The statistics are around 2000 for Sweden, with its policy of open management with protection of the elderly. Denmark and Norway were lower still at under 2000. Australia’s death rate was less than 1000 per million (0.2% of cases), with similar rates in New Zealand. Another interesting statistic is the Swedish excess mortality of 7.7 per cent, compared with Australia’s 15.3 per cent in 2022. There has been no proven difference in outcome between lockdowns and, with precautions for the vulnerable elderly, letting the disease run its course. The Senate inquiry has failed to address this issue.       


THIS MASSIVE disruption to health care has continued to affect management of pre-existing conditions and delayed diagnosis of new cases. Waiting lists for surgery have ballooned, with one person in ten waiting more than a year for elective surgery — a dramatic rise in what was formerly two per cent. Psychiatric disorders have risen, not only from the illness itself, but from isolation, job insecurity, and financial stress. Worldwide, an estimated 250,000 children died due to reduced pandemic health care, and 75 million more are in poverty.

The Senate Select Committee review on COVID 19, concluding in April 2022, was dominated by Labor, whose members turned it into a political report, resulting in a separate dissenting report from the Coalition. Much of the responsibility for the controversy has remained buried, particularly the role of medical advice and its use for political purposes. Apart from medical issues with containment, some fundamental decisions, as with never contemplated border closures, school closures and lockdowns, need to be addressed before another pandemic occurs.

Then there is the “small” matter of the $500 billion in increased debt, Labor in opposition claimed the support schemes were shut down too early; now in government, and dealing with the debt, they complain too much was spent. What is certainly required is a Centre for Disease Control (CDC), with centralised decision making and clear lines of responsibility, standardised changes with their basis revealed and, as Tony Abbott required, regular testing of the plans to ensure readiness.

The latest pronouncements from WHO also need serious discussion; they are proposing to introduce a worldwide Pandemic Treaty, effectively giving that unelected and dysfunctional organisation control over national governments. The small print indicates that, in addition to pandemic management, it will also have authority over matters indirectly affecting health, such as climate change and social policy. This attempt at control has been given the approval of President Biden. It needs to be discussed in Australia, before Labor makes a similar commitment.

The Human Rights Commissioner also believes that a Royal Commission is appropriate. Surely 23,000 deaths warrant one!? Ultimately, state leaders, who have used the pandemic for political purposes, should be called to account.

But it seems those who made the Covid decisions are concerned only that their actions will remain unscrutinised. As Yes, Minister prophesised, “only order an inquiry when you know the outcome”. The limited option now in play should ensure their secrets remain safe and self-fitted halos untarnished.

Dr Graham Pinn, FRCP, FRACP, FACTM, MRNZCGP, DCH, is a retired consultant physician

3 thoughts on “Burying the Truth About the Covid Years

  • Bryant says:

    It seems more likely — now — that SARS-CoV-2 was created to push the already manufactured ‘vaccine’.

    It no longer appears to be the other way around.

    • pmprociv says:

      That’s a bit far-fetched, Bryant. The technology is not yet up to it. But a virus escaped from laboratory “gain-of-function” manipulations is very much on the cards, and even likely, as many others have deduced, Sharee Markson being an excellent example.

  • pmprociv says:

    Thanks for a very well thought out and clearly articulated analysis, Graham. Mass hysteria, whipped up by media sensationalism and political alarmism, which itself then fed back upon the actions of politicians and governments, played a critical role in all this. Senior health officials and other bureaucrats naturally saw career opportunities in their responses, some even becoming media celebrities (confession: the one who became a state governor was once a student of mine). WHO served mainly to confuse the picture, its responses at times inexplicable and disgraceful, and of course politically motivated.

    COVID knocked off mainly older folk (which is why using overall death rates to justify a Royal Commission might not be too convincing). Since when has the death of an old person, especially one in aged care because of dementia, become a tragedy? It’s usually a great relief, and provides a bed for someone else waiting in the long queue. It angered me to regularly view, on ABC news no less, the crocodile tears of youngsters going on about “poor grandpa”, who was “such a wonderful bloke and didn’t deserve to die this way – he was only 93, with so much life ahead of him”, thriving happily in a nursing home. Why weren’t they looking after him at home then? Perhaps they couldn’t resist just 3 minutes of celebrity, spruiking faux virtue and victimhood, while awaiting the inheritance? And why were schoolchildren, as well as their parents and teachers, punished by locking down schools, when the risk to them was no greater (probably even less) than from a flu epidemic?

    When I was a medical registrar back in the 1970s, it was our ICU’s blanket policy not to admit anyone over the age of 70 years without special approval from the director. Now, it seems even demented 90-year-olds are routinely kept alive on ventilators (“life support”) – bizarre, if not truly demented, practice. Antibiotics are also routinely thrown around in such cases, when once upon a time pneumonia was seen as “the old person’s best friend”, providing a peaceful departure from this life for those who’d had enough. Since when did medicine become a fight against every death, to prolong every life for as long as possible, regardless of the cost?

    Of course the COVID mismanagement needs to be carefully analysed, seriously, impartially, openly and with findings made public. Because “success has many fathers, while failure is an orphan”, the panel should not include key players from the recent epidemic’s management. We would sure benefit from having an independent, national “centre of disease control”, although inevitably it would fall under political control itself, needing government funds to survive (maybe it should be enshrined in the constitution!?). More power to the WHO is a definite no-no, given that it’s over-politicized already. However, no two epidemics are the same, so when the next one inevitably turns up, with a different pathogen and a new team of players, expect more of the same. Any lessons learnt from this one would have been forgotten, conveniently ignored, or perhaps inapplicable.

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