Since this so called “pandemic” began, apparently more than 500 Australians have died from COVID-19. To put this into perspective, this is less than half the number of Australians who die every year from skin diseases, and about one-fifth of those killed in car accidents. Most of these deaths are among people in or above their 80s and living in aged-care homes, although that hasn’t stopped Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews trying to rewrite facts with misleadings ads.We know also that those under 60 without pre-existing medical conditions face an extremely small risk of dying from coronavirus — indeed, very little chance of even getting very ill.
Every life matters, of course. However, according to a seminal study carried out by Justin Silverman and Alex Washburne, the coronavirus mortality rate may well be as low as 0.1 per cent, “similar to that of flu”. Based on data coming from New York City (the hotbed of the “pandemic” in the U.S.), only 1.7 per cent of those in their 70s who contracted the virus have acquired any symptoms which were severe enough to require medical care. For those under 18, hospitalisation from the virus was only 0.01. 
This is only about hospitalisation and not death caused by the coronavirus. Of course, nothing is said here about the many others who never became sick enough to even get tested. The overwhelming majority who contract this virus do not have any significant risk of dying, says Dr Scott W. Atlas, a former chief of neurology at Stanford Medical Center.  The magazine Science reports that 86 per cent of infections are never documented. Even if most of us eventually catch the coronavirus, there will be mild or no symptoms for, well, practically everyone.
Accordingly, we should be taking special measures only for the most vulnerable – namely the elderly who are already suffering from chronic illnesses – and let the great majority get on with their lives.
Based on fundamental biology and the evidence at hand, the appropriate policy to fight the coronavirus should be focused on protecting only the most vulnerable – those who are very old or suffering from chronic illness. As for the vast majority of us, ‘essential socialising’ is fundamental to ‘generate immunity’ and ‘limiting the enormous harms compounded by continued total isolation’.
According to Professor Mark Woolhouse, epidemiologist at Edinburgh University and adviser to the UK government, attempting to control coronavirus through lockdown measures, as Australian governments have done to various degrees, is a “monumental mistake”.  Professor Woolhouse believes the harm such lockdowns cause to education, health-care access and broader aspects of the economy and society, “will turn out to be at least as great as the harm done by Covid-19”. Not only do these lockdowns constitute an unnecessary panic but, according to the professor, “history will say trying to control COVID-19 through lockdown was a monumental mistake on a global scale, the cure was worse than the disease”.
With this in mind, hundreds of US physicians composed an important document as long ago as May 19 referring precisely to these social problems, and asking governments to immediately end the coronavirus shutdowns. The letter reflects the alarm of these medical doctors at what appears to be a disturbing lack of proper consideration for the future health of the population at large. Signed by DR Simon Gold MD JD and more than 500 hundred other medical physicians, the letter authoritatively states:
It’s impossible to overstate the short, medium, and long-term harm to people’s health with a continued shutdown. Losing a job is one of life’s most stressful events, and the effect on a person’s health is not lessened because it also has happened to 30 million other people. Keeping schools and universities closed is incalculably detrimental for children, teenagers, and young adults for decades to come.
The millions of casualties of a continued shutdown will be hiding in plain sight, but they will be called alcoholism, homelessness, suicide, heart attack, stroke, or kidney addiction, unplanned pregnancies, poverty, and abuse.
As can be seen, all Australian governments, federal and state, have created a problem that appears to be much bigger than the coronavirus itself. Of all the most pressing problems created by Australian governments via these lockdowns and other draconian measures, suicide rates are forecast to rise up to 50 per cent due to the socio-economic impact of government measures, particularly among young Australians aged 15-25 years.
Carried out by the Sydney University’s Brain and Mind Centre and supported by the Australian Medical Association, world-leading researchers predict that the impact of government measures may well result in an extra 1,500 Australian deaths a year over the next five years, which is at least 10 times more deaths than deaths caused by the coronavirus. Of course, as noted by The Australian columnist Janet Albrechtsen, “no politician is going to be held responsible for the suicide of an unemployed young man who has lost hope.”
Professor Ian Hickie, former mental health commissioner and head of the Brain and Mind Centre, has reportedly said annual suicides caused by the government answer to the “pandemic” could rise from 3,000 to as 4,500, with youth suicides making up almost half of the expected deaths. Apparently Professor Hickie has specifically advised the Australian government about the impact of economic measures, with the greatest blow falling on the young and those who in rural and regional Australia. ‘What happens in recessions is that suicide rates go up dramatically … and they hurt the young the most’, Professor Hickie says.
This important advice appears to have fallen on to deaf ears. The Prime Minister and the state and territory leaders and the so-called ‘national cabinet’ all bear their individual and collective responsibilities for this unmitigated and ongoing disaster. These authorities, both federal and state, accepted the “pandemic” to be real. They blindly swallowed the alarmist and totally inaccurate World Health Organisation (WHO) prediction of 3.4 per cent mortality, and suddenly brought about all these disruptions of personal freedoms that have cost millions of jobs and the closing down of countless businesses.
The anger and resentment is coming particularly from those who have lost their jobs or had their businesses entirely destroyed. Of course, none of the privileged members of the country’s political elite and the two million employees in the public sector are affected. They comprise a superior caste of privileged individuals. For them the present crisis represents no more than an opportunity to increase their power and influence over society as a whole. Government agencies are also acquiring extraordinary powers to monitor people and to detain law-abiding citizens.
Dr John Ionnidis, professor of medicine, epidemiology, population health, and statistics at Stanford University, believes the rate of death for the coronavirus, when adjusted from wide age range, could be as low as 0.05 per cent. He explains that no less than 80 per cent of all those who contract the virus never have any symptoms or are very mild. Of those under the 50s age group, at least 99.5 per cent will survive, which is even less problematic than the normal round of the flu. If that is the true rate, Ionnidis concludes, locking down the world with potentially tremendous social and influential consequences may be totally irrational.
A similar opinion is expressed by David L. Katz, founding director of Yale University’s Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center and former president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. Dr Katz has three honorary doctorate degrees and is the recipient of numerous academic awards for his “significant contributions to public health”. The “unique” nature of COVID-19, he says, is that it results in only “mild” symptoms in 99 per cent of cases and that it appears to only pose a high risk to the elderly”. Hence his sobering conclusion: “Our fight against coronavirus’ may end up being worse than the disease”.
By taking an “at war” approach to fighting COVID-19 – the widespread shutdowns and isolation of the entire population – rather than a “surgical strike” approach focusing on the truly vulnerable, Dr Katz believes that “we have set ourselves on the path of “uncontained viral contagion and monumental collateral damage” to our society and economy. “The [normal] flu hits the elderly and chronically ill hard too, but it also kills children,” he says. “Trying to create herd immunity among those most likely to recover from infection while also isolating the young and the old is dauting to say the least.”
These facts make the disease particularly suited for a more strategic containment effort, rather than our current unsustainable society-wide approach that is ravaging the economy. According to Dr Katz, it is deeply concerning that “the social, economic and public health consequences of a near total meltdown of normal life – schools and business closed, gatherings banned – will be long-lasting and calamitous, possibly even graver than the direct toll of the virus itself.” Economies will bounce back in time, he says, “but many businesses never will. The unemployment, impoverishment and despair likely to result will be public health scourges of the first order.”
Unfortunately, this sort of advice appears to have been largely ignored by the Australian government, the Prime Minister repeating endlessly that his government is simply doing what a panel of scientists is telling them to do. Has it occurred to him that maybe he has assembled the wrong experts? Good leaders do not evade their responsibility by conveniently hiding behind a few medical “experts”. Should the PM wish to broden the advice he receives there are leading medical practitioners who strongly oppose social distancing and lockdowns solely on health grounds. For instance, a rural GP recently explained:
The government should open up the economy for people under 65 to get back to socialising and working, and those of us who are older to play it safe with continued social distancing and voluntary isolation. It appears our medical system will be able to cope with the much lower rates of hospitalisation and mortality becoming evident from the available data especially if we continue to protect the elderly. What can’t be coped with is the social and economic cost of this.
Second, as the term itself conveys, a “medical expert” is likely to be an expert in only one particular field. However, this current crisis is not solely a medical issue and therefore requires a more holistic approach and the balancing of multiple considerations. The lock-’em-down advisers handpicked by the political elites appear to have little or no holistic understanding of the matter. They have no expertise in the other and equally relevant fields of psychology, sociology, economics and constitutional law.
According to Woodhouse, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours which advises the UK government, advisory boards dealing with COVID-19 ‘need to have members from a wider range of fields’. To avoid more people being harmed by the collateral effects of lockdown and other government measures than by the virus itself, he argues that government advisory boards should be comprised of a broader range of people, “receiving equal input from economists to assess the damage to incomes, lives and livelihoods; educationalists to assess the damage to children; and mental health specialists to assess levels of depression and anxiety especially among younger adults; as well as psychologists to assess the effects of not being able to go to the theatre or a football match”.
The federal government estimates unemployment to be about 11 per cent. This is rather deceptive and the real numbers will be revealed only when JobKeeper goes and business will be unable to reopen. Out of Australia’s 13 million employed in March 2020, there are now 6 million on JobSeeker and JobKeeper. This means that half of those in the private sector are now dependent on government aid while earning at least 30 per cent less than they did before China shared its virus with the world. Most of these people will eventually discover they are actually unemployed. They will never be able to resume their jobs simply because the companies for which they had been working have shut down permanently.
The Morrison government has so far spent more than $500 billion, allegedly to protect our jobs, although the unemployment rate is now well above 10 per cent (20 per cent in Victoria), with the national debt heading towards a trillion dollars. According to an analysis by the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), over 230,000 small businesses are expected to close by the time COVID-19 measures are finally removed. The closure of these small businesses would permanently destroy 470,000 jobs, based on average small business employment.
“The disproportionate destruction being visited upon small businesses by lockdown measures is demonstrated by their heavy reliance on government support, such as JobKeeper, for survival,”, writes Kurt Wallace, a research fellow at the IPA. He observes also that it is totally unsustainable for small businesses to continue to rely on government support for survival. “The legacy of the lockdown restrictions will be an economy dominated by large conglomerates with local communities being stripped of the small businesses that are integral to their character,” Mr Wallace argues.
However, ‘both state and federal governments are in denial’, writes TMIT’s economics professor Sinclair Davidson, who then correctly reminds us that
The economy is about people; their plans, their expectations, their relationships. For all the talk about competition, the economy is about co-operation. The economy is not a machine that can be switched off and on at will. The interrelated web of co-operative relationships that was the February 2020 economy is gone forever. The economy that now exists is a lot smaller than what it was just six months ago. The problem now being that we can’t be sure which part of it will revive and which part of it won’t.
Here are some tough questions the Australian governments would need to answer:
# How do COVID-19 compare with an awful flu season that kills young people too?
# How many people died from other medical conditions that were not treated because of the lockdown?
# How many additional suicides were caused by the lockdown?’
Of course, as Janet Albrechtsen correctly points out, ‘no politician is going to be held responsible for the future suicide of an unemployed young man who has lost hope. But they imagine they will be held responsible for the immediate death of a 94-year-old from, or with, Covid-19’.
The level of delusional thinking is truly astonishing, although it certainly reveals the authoritarian mindset of politicians who expect extreme obedience and unquestioning submission from the Australian people.
Dr Augusto Zimmermann PhD, LLM, LLB, DipEd, CertIntArb is Professor and Head of Law at Sheridan Institute of Higher Education in Perth/WA, and Professor of Law (Adjunct) at the University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney campus. He is President of the Western Australian Legal Theory Association (WALTA), and former Law Reform Commissioner with the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia, from 2012-2017.
 The Economist, ‘Why a Study Showing that Covid-19 is Everywhere is Good News’, April 11, 2020, at https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2020/04/11/why-a-study-showing-that-covid-19-is-everywhere-is-good-news. See also: Edwin Mora, ‘Study: Coronavirus Fatality Rate Lower than Expected, Close to Flu’s 0.1%’, Breitbart, April 13, 2020, at https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/04/13/study-coronavirus-fatality-rate-lower-than-expected-close-to-flus-0-1/?fbclid=IwAR3_We1yIPw9ILaFvUnEoyfg60MnUkycuYY7_QEAWckRp5Fwgl7p2WR0CF4
 E Bendavid et.al., ‘COVID-19 Antibody Seroprevalence in Santa Clara country, California’, Stanford University, April 11, 2020, at https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.14.20062463v1.full.pdf
 Scott W Atlas, ‘The Data is in – Stop the Panic and End the Total Isolation’, The Hill, April 22, 2020, at https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/494034-the-data-are-in-stop-the-panic-and-end-the-total-isolation
 Lucy Johnston, ‘UK Lockdown Was A “Monumental Mistake” And Must Not Happen Again – Boris Scientist Says’, Sunday Express, August 24, 2020, at https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/1320428/Coronavirus-news-lockdown-mistake-second-wave-Boris-Johnson
 Alex Swoyer, ‘500 Doctors Tell Trump to End the Coronavirus Shutdown, Say it Will Cause More Deaths’, The Washington Times, May 21, 2020, at https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/may/21/500-doctors-tell-donald-trump-end-coronavirus-shut/
 Simone Gold MD & >500 physicians, ‘A letter signed by hundreds of doctors warning of adverse health consequences stemming from the coronavirus shutdowns’, at https://www.scribd.com/document/462319362/A-Doctor-a-Day-Letter-Signed
 Simon Benson, ‘Coronavirus Australia: Suicide’s Toll Far Higher Than the Virus’, The Australian, May 7, 2020, at https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/suicides-toll-far-higher-than-coronavirus/news-story/25a686904b67bdedbdcd544b1cab7f96
 Janet Albretchtsen, ‘Coronavirus: Charting a Way Out of this Crippling Pollyanna World’, The Australian, May 7, 2020, at https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/coronavirus-charting-a-way-out-of-this-crippling-pollyanna-world/news-story/cfd6913dfc2c5c7e082b7e8d398d0075
 John P.A. Ionnidis, ‘A Fiasco in the Making? As the Coronavirus Pandemic Takes Hold, We Are Making Decisions Without Reliable Data’, Statnews, March 17th, 2020, at https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/17/a-fiasco-in-the-making-as-the-coronavirus-pandemic-takes-hold-we-are-making-decisions-without-reliable-data/
 David L. Katz, ‘Is Our Fight Against Coronavirus Worse Than the Disease?’, The New York Times, March 20, 2020, at https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/20/opinion/coronavirus-pandemic-social-distancing.html
 Johnston, above n 6.
 Sinclair Davidson, ‘The Economic Crisis Is Still to Come’, The Age, Melbourne/Vic, August 6, 2020, at https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/the-economic-crisis-is-still-to-come-20200806-p55j5f.html
 Alan Moran, ‘Revealed: The True Cost of Our Stimulus Spending’, The Spectator Australia, May 7, 2020, at https://www.spectator.com.au/2020/05/revealed-the-true-cost-of-our-stimulus-spending/
 Dennis Shanaham, ‘Morrison Keeps Danbursters At Bay Over Second Coronavirus’, The Australian, August 8, 2020, at https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/morrison-keeps-danbusters-at-bay-over-second-coronavirus-wave/news-story/f6ab808ca813beb58856810891a06354
 Kurt Wallace, ‘Small Business And Jobs Smashed By COVID-19 Lockdowns’, IPA Today, August 10, 2020, at https://ipa.org.au/publications-ipa/small-business-and-jobs-smashed-by-covid-19-lockdowns
 Davidson, above n 21.
 Janet Albrechtsen, ‘Coronavirus: Old or Young – Every Life Has a Different Value and We Accept That’, The Australian, May 6, 2020, at https://www.theaustralian.com.au/commentary/coronavirus-old-or-young-every-life-has-a-different-value-and-we-accept-that/news-story/ecc95caa9307a7a047aca5847c6bd88d
 Albrechtsen, above n 13.