COVID’s Cost, Consequences and Culpability

As COVID-19 continues to cut its path through the population, afflicting most who contract the virus with an unremarkable head cold, the cost a pigheaded lockdown brigade is imposing on Australia can only deepen and its consequences become increasingly protracted. The impact of the recently implemented Melbourne lockdown will impose a cost estimated at between $6 billion and $10 billion, figures that do not take into account the full collateral damage — the closed shops, wilting restaurants and jobless legions, to mention but a few. Instituted by privileged bureaucrats and enforced by the edicts of politicians who find it expedient to ignore what they must surely recognise as the immense long-term damage of such policies, they are crippling the prospects of millions of their fellow citizens.

What makes it even more galling is that, at the end of the day, none of it will be seen to have had even a minimal impact on the long-term trajectory of the virus, except to prolong the pain and increase the damage to the economy.

These measures are championed by the the ABC, where the collective intellect embraces fervent belief in the catastrophist contention that the climate can be regulated for evermore by managing the miniscule atmospheric input of human-induced CO2. This is the calibre of wisdom — or rather, the complete lack thereof — that prevails. Worth noting, too, is that the likes of Victoria’s chief medical officer, Brett Sutton, were preaching climate doom before switching seamless to warning of viral catastrophe.

It is indeed ironic that one of the most candid announcements by a national leader in relation to COVID-19 emerged from Iran over the weekend. President Hassan Rouhani claimed studies of antibody seroprevalence conducted throughout his country had established that approximately 25 million Iranians have been exposed to the Wuhan Flu, rather than the official statistics of a paltry 270,000. This represents the ten-fold increase in true virus exposure that has been demonstrated time and again, from Iceland to Spain to Germany, the UK and US, by antibody seroprevalence studies consistently returning results that are, at a minimum, ten times the published caseloads. The pronouncement and acknowledgement by Rouhani, the first national leader that I am aware of to do so, recognises that the caseload globally is likely in the order of 130 million to 200 million and growing exponentially. 

Recent COVID-19 antibody studies by the US Centre for Disease Control & Prevention (USCDC), drawn from geographically separated localities all over continental US,  returned exposure rates between ten and eighteen times greater than official case statistics. I use the term ‘exposure’ as many infections are either asymptomatic or so mild as to barely register. Yet despite this degree of prevalence throughout the globe, the pandemic panic merchants in public health bureaucracies, the politicians who heed them because that is safer than taking responsibility themselves, and much of an easily led mainstream media, with few exceptions, have consistently misled the wider community by failing to acknowledge and account for this much greater increase in exposure. Were they do so, lockdown’s true believers might then have to admit that this is predominantly, by a vast margin, a mild upper respiratory tract infection with overall mortality rates equivalent to a virulent influenza strain, but nowhere near as deadly as the Spanish Flu of a century ago, which claimed the lives of some 15,000 Australians. With proper accounting for all-case exposures, mortality statistics for COVID-19 are in the ballpark of 0.1 per cent – 0.3 per cent of cases.

Australian authorities have steadfastly steered clear of undertaking and publishing widespread antibody seroprevalence studies in the broader community. And while it is true that there is likely a far lower exposure rate here, due to the initial international border closure limiting the influx from the rest of the world and, hence, the incidence of COVID-19, the emerging situation in Victoria demonstrates that once the China Virus gets in, it is very hard to get it out.

In spite of the irrefutable evidence that COVID-19 has resisted all attempts at containment on a global level, a small number of countries, mostly islands, managed to prevent widespread establishment in the early months of the pandemic. New Zealand, for example, swears it is now as free of COVID-19 as it is of snakes. The question is: what next? Unless Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern intends to follow the example of Japan’s 17th century Tokugawa shogunate and seal itself off from the world indefinitely, this readily transmitted virus will return with the tourists. As deeply affected nations emerge with increasing degrees of herd immunity, those yet to host the virus are indeed the most vulnerable.

We see this pattern emerging within countries such as the US, where areas such as New York that were heavily impacted initially are now protected from any additional surge in cases while areas that were spared early, such as Florida, are now playing catch-up. The protracted attempt to pursue a strategy which envisages a nation can entirely eradicate and prevent entry of COVID-19 over the long run is nothing better than hopelessly wishful thinking. The consequences of adherence to such a strategy, as favoured by Victoria’s chief medical officer, Professor Sutton, is grim as can be: a perpetual re-entering of lockdowns and onerous restrictions with protracted damage to every other facet of life, especially the economy.

The collateral damage is accruing every day and will ultimately make a lie of the argument that keeping case numbers low corresponds with lesser damage. Indeed, if Australia chooses to remain in the delirium of its lockdown fever as every cluster of presentations arises, then we are in for a very bleak future. Perhaps those who bear the title of chief medical officer should switch the signs on their office doors to ‘Chief Coronavirus Officer’, as they clearly have little regard for all other public health outcomes.

Meanwhile, in what could only be called the single greatest act of elitist hubris in living memory, we have seen and heard Victoria’s premier, Daniel Andrews, berating the little people of his state for their “complacency”, rather than his own monumental bungling, which saw hotels set up to contain the virus become fountainheads of its propagation. Then there was tolerance with which he indulged the 10,000-odd protesters who clogged the CBD to protest the killing half a world away of an oft-convicted armed robber by a thug cop whose extensive record of complaints should have seen him booted from the force years ago. The protesters were, of course, the Left’s constituency, so the Premier cut them a mile of slack. Today, journey too far from home to patronise, say, a favourite butcher and you’re apt to pulled over and hit with a $1600 fine. Such is life and logic these days in Dan Andrews’ kingdom.

But what of the lockdowns’ moral dimension? Again, we are bombarded by public health bureaucrats’ pronouncements and those of their political masters (or is the other way around?) that they are ‘saving lives’. When they proudly choose not to consider ancillary deaths related to COVID-19, they spit in the faces of those facing financial ruin for themselves and their families brings the world crashing down on top of them. Tellingly, as the SMH recently reported, Victorian Health Department data shows emergency room visits by mental health patients, as a proportion of overall emergency room visits, rose by a third in April compared with a year earlier. The ethics of lockdown policies have become very opaque indeed.

To hail the benefits of locking down normal life and commerce requires a complete indifference to the broader and deeper consequences. The next time you hear Daniel Andrews spout the mantra that he will do whatever it takes to ‘save lives’, do not hesitate to translate that as a further indication he will trade one life for another that carries less political risk. This is the political game we have now entered, the one where premiers seek to score political brownie points, as recorded solely on a COVID-19 scoresheet.

Those who remain convinced of the public good in derailing economies and imposing lockdowns in order to hide from this virus might want to consider the WHO’s recent statements that as many as 90 million people will fall below the poverty line, while some 130 million risk outright starvation from COVID-19’s impact. It is also worth bearing in mind that at a recent UK parliamentary enquiry, Professor Neill ‘Pants Down’ Ferguson conceded that approximately 66 per cent of those who have succumbed to the virus in the UK would likely have died within the same calendar year from pre-existing age- and chronic-disease related morbidities. Add to this the emerging recognition in the UK that COVID-19 death statistics have been radically overstated, the co-morbidities ignored, leading the government to suspend daily publication of these statistics until the irregularities are addressed and rectified.

For Australia, the only way forward is, as enunciated by Professor Carl Heneghan, director of Oxford’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, and epidemiologist Tom Jefferson, of the Cochrane Policy Institute,to learn to live with the virus by implementing targeted interventions to protect the aged and most vulnerable.  In the long term, the blunt instrument of continued lockdowns will have protected nobody, the alleged ‘cure’ being far worse than the disease.

12 thoughts on “COVID’s Cost, Consequences and Culpability

  • Biggles says:

    It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong. – Thomas Sowell

  • pgang says:

    I posted this link at Peter Smith’s latest article, but here it is again. It offers a historical context from a year ago when were facing a severe flu season, much more dangerous than anything COVID-19 has ever presented.
    So what did we do when faced with such a crisis a year ago?
    What were the consequences?
    Who knows – they were too insignificant to go on the public record.
    This article gives the lie to all that we are told we must do from the government/media complex today. It also clearly shows how gullible and stupid people are, willing to capitulate to any little fear. It’s no different to the irrational fear of global warming.

  • pgang says:

    ‘…mortality statistics forCOVID-19 are in the ballpark of 0.1 per cent – 0.3 per cent of cases.’
    No, that is an overestimate by a factor of 10. If Iran has had 25 million exposures then it’s mortality rate sits at 0.06%.

  • ianl says:

    Well, never mind the cost. As Quadrant’s own Peter Smith opined, the RBA will simply keep writing dud cheques, which will then be re-deposited with it, where there is then no need to question it’s own probity. In the light of this Ponzi (which is world-wide, common practice with central banks), there is no need for toil and struggle – an issue only occurs when the central banks stop trusting each other, as in the GFC.

    And we see in yesterday’s Oz, that smug lefty Kohler views the situation as Big Gov “saving” capitalism from the pandemic, just as it “saved” the world in the GFC. Kohler also opines that central banks writing their own duds (ie. MMT) will alleviate the need for productivity. Clearly, COVID-19 is the emetic the left have been hopefully waiting for.

    The AMA is staying true to it’s staple Nanny Statism: Everyone Must Wear Masks (says The Lancet too, ignoring the current editor’s propensity for Big Gov papers which are shamefully retracted a few weeks later, and ignoring a plethora of other peer-reviewed papers over a decade up to 2 months ago pointing out that carefully constructed Randomised Trials of masks have shown nothing positive for the general public). Still, as the AMA implies, if one doesn’t comply, Giant Frogs Will Eat Your Children.
    The C-19 viral fragments are recorded as between 15-20nm in size. Compared to the mask-face interline, this is akin to trying to catch a mosquito with a 5cm mesh screen. Even surgical masks are only designed to catch very much larger (x100) bacterial agglomerates.
    What a cowardly country this has become.

  • T B LYNCH says:

    Jack Weatherall reads like a real expert on his subject.
    Ianl sounds like a kindergarten kid who just found his grandfathers dictionary.
    Full of big words, signifying nothing.
    Ianl is one of Xis Useful Idiots [qv Darryl McCann “Emoeror Xi Has No Clothes” 2 May 2020].

  • pgang says:

    Give it up Lynch. Nobody cares about personal vendettas.

  • pgang says:

    ‘…to protest the killing half a world away of an oft-convicted armed robber by a thug cop.’
    Lord, spare us. A conservative yet again sucked in by a far-left hoax. Note the evidence-free vilification of a police officer (but the meeja said so!). The autopsy is now in the public domain. I strongly suggest you read it and then explain to us why this incident was a ‘killing by a thug cop’.

  • T B LYNCH says:

    pgang is the universal expert who didn’t know the difference between a LIVE virus and a DEAD virus.
    [qv Peter Smith – Waiting for the Godot Vaccine – 6 July 2020].
    Dr T B Lynch.

  • pgang says:

    Uh-huh. Yawn.

  • rod.stuart says:

    This article is an excellent companio9n to this American essay:

  • pgang says:

    That is a good one rod. A neat historical summary, but some referencing would have been useful.
    We are currently in the ‘cases are increasing’ phase, which ultimately means nothing but is very handy for keeping the fear alive.

  • T B LYNCH says:

    ianl, doing his job as one of Xis Useful Idiots, labelled me “scientifically illiterate” for expressing a logical argument, that Wuflu was a biological warfare bungle. [just like the escape of Anthrax in the USSR].
    I have fought the commies all my life. In 1975 I knocked off Whitlams Health Minister, a secret commo, and was prosecuted for defamation, which I won because [1] what I said was true [2] I had the documents to prove my claims [3] it was in the public interest and [4] I used Sir Gerard Brennan, later Chief Justice of Australia.
    So readers are entitled to be warned that ianl [whatever ianl actually is] is a dangerous source of misinformation.
    pgang [another mystery source who rudely and rashly queried my knowledge of virology] makes a lot of static of low information content. My grandmother used to say – Empty vessels make the most sound. Maybe we could venture – hollow balls vibrate in spherical harmonics, like the electrons in an atom.
    Dr T B Lynch.

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