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Beware, the Covid Quislings, they could kill you

Matt Canavan
Matt Canavan - "We should change our approach, end the lockdowns….”

| Quotes selected by KJ

“Quisling: a person who collaborates with an enemy occupying force, or more generally a synonym for traitor” - Wikipedia

ADELAIDE – Matt Canavan’s numbers, cited in a recent article in the Australian Financial Review, are interesting but irrelevant.

“In the latest Delta outbreak, the case fatality rate has been reduced by almost 90% to just 0.4% of all cases…. The estimated cost of each life saved is $330 million. On any measure, this is an unjustifiable expense…. We should change our approach, end the lockdowns….” – Senator Matt Canavan, ‘Swallow hard reality pill on virus deaths’, Australian Financial Review, 5 August

Trying to figure out the cost in dollars of lockdowns versus the cost in dollars of not having lockdowns is an immensely complex and difficult problem.

Canavan and others of his ilk think that the latter will be much less than the former but the evidence from overseas suggests that there are massive costs involved either way.

The exact quantum of costs involved may be of academic interest but hardly matters in the midst of the pandemic.

“According to new research published by the Australian National University and University of Melbourne, circuit breaker lockdowns are one of the best responses to Covid-19 outbreaks for high income nations like Australia” – ‘Study supports ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown response to Covid-19 outbreaks’, The Mandarin, 7 June

In terms of life years lost, there is no contest between lockdowns versus letting Covid-19 rip.

I give you Brazil or Indonesia or India as clear evidence of what the ‘let ‘er rip’ approach entails.

Basically, shiploads of lives will be lost and, perhaps just as importantly, a large but indeterminate number of people (10% to 20% of survivors maybe) will be permanently disabled to varying degrees thanks to the as yet barely understood impact of what is being called ‘Long Covid’.

That said, Canavan’s arguments begin to make more and more sense as we approach the magical point where ‘herd immunity’ is achieved.

This is thought to be around 80% of the population vaccinated or infected, although no-one actually knows.

At that point, the trade-off between health and the economy tips in favour of the economy.

Until the last few days, this point seemed to have been reached in the UK and the US.

“A further 31,808 confirmed cases in the UK were announced on Friday. The recent rise in cases was driven by the Delta variant”– British Broadcasting Corporation – 7 August
“Infections and hospitalizations are increasing rapidly as the Delta variant spreads. For the first time since February, the United States is averaging more than 100,000 new cases a day”
– New York Times, 6 August

In the UK and US the anti-vaxxers, the vaccine hesitators and the plain unlucky are being left to their fate. Based on the evidence shown on our TV screens that fate will not be nice.

They will pile up in Emergency Departments and Intensive Care Units costing shiploads of money that Canavan and his mob seem to either ignore or entirely discount.

“Delta was spreading 50% faster than Alpha, which was 50% more contagious than the original strain of SARS-CoV-2… A study from Scotland that found double the risk of hospitalization compared to the Alpha variant” – ‘How Dangerous Is the Delta Variant? Here’s What the Science Says’, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 5 August

There will be multiple PhD theses in all this down the track.

But it remains to be seen whether we collectively will be any wiser.

“Australia faces one of the worst crises in modern history, and its prime minister is misrepresenting the terms by which he makes decisions related to it” - Erik Jensen, editor-in-chief, The Saturday Paper, 7 August


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Lindsay F Bond

Integral to interest in each Olympic Games is the metrics accomplished and more that are hoped for.
To celebrate an era when coal was the goal, see "Test at Nyora 50 trucks":
Since one of my forebears drove on that line, its depletion occurred and (if improved) method has relocated and forebear's skills went to other lines. The Olympics too are venturing into new contests.

Now about metrics and for inducing sleep, one fabled method is imagining "counting sheep". Thus if Senator Canavan thinks he is required to convey 'scold' metrics, it might be asked does he close out wake-ness by counting grief?

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