Insights from Quadrant

What next, premiers?

At the Coles near Quadrant‘s Melbourne office, the counting of heads allowed into the supermarket at any one time has stopped. At night, when shopper numbers are low, the rat’s maze of serpentine access lanes laid out with red tape is now routinely ignored. At a Western suburbs florist, the proprietor was telling customers a ‘closing down’ sign will go up in the window if Premier Daniel Andrews’ restrictions on commerce and normal life are not dismantled post haste. Though still well below former levels, the latest numbers from Transurban, which operates the tollways, show traffic is creeping up again. Taken as a whole these signs and portents are a pointillist portrait of a metropolis whose sap is rising.

It’s those little things, the petty violations of formerly observed edicts and protocols, that signal lockdown fatigue is reaching the point where the politicians who found it expedient to offload responsibility to their chief medical officers will soon have to demonstrate what they are paid for: making tough decisions.

The question, then, is how such a resurrection is to be managed, especially in light of the surge of COVID-19 infections over the past few days linked to the Cedar Meats processing plant? Dilute the restrictions, put  schoolkids back at their desks, allow shops to open and citizens to go about their normal business and we’ll see more outbreaks in a population prevented by the doctrine of social isolation from gaining any sort of herd immunity. In other words we’ll be back at square one, except stony broke to boot.

The various premiers’ reactions will vary, but a group of US critical care physicians’ recommendations offers a potential roadmap based on the recognition that “it is the severe inflammation sparked by the coronavirus, not the virus itself, that kills patients.  Inflammation causes a new variety of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), which damages the lungs [and other organs]”.

Powerline reports on the medicos’ now-regular newsletter detailing treatments and prophylactic measures:

Dr. Paul Marik, Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the Eastern Virginia Medical School, published a Critical Care COVID Management Protocol along similar lines. As a preventive measure, Dr. Marik recommends a combination of Vitamin C, Vitamin D, zinc and melatonin. Dr. Malik notes that “while there is no high level evidence that this cocktail is effective; it is cheap, safe and widely available.”

As pressure from below builds on state and federal governments and the national economy collapses, they might find it instructive to tap perspectives beyond those of their lock-’em-down in-house medical gurus.

This would be a good place to begin

— roger franklin

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