Like police officer Derek Chauvin, Premier Daniel Andrews has his knee on the neck of Victoria and is determined not to loosen his grip until a vaccine arrives. Unfortunately, when and if that day dawns, the Victorian economy is likely to be as dead as George Floyd unless the premier starts listening to expiring businesses gasping for air and pleading that they can’t breathe.
Every day Andrews and his Chief Corona Kommissar Brett Sutton trot out the latest statistics on cases and deaths, as if they justify the ‘choke-down’ of the lives and livelihoods of six million Victorians. It doesn’t occur to them to announce the daily bankruptcies and the businesses on life-support, the jobs lost and the lives taken as broken people sink into debt and despair. The cost to the Australian economy of Victoria’s lockdown had been estimated at $10-12 billion, with a 10-15 per cent fall in house prices, the most significant asset most Australians own and unemployment rising to 10 per cent.
Behind the black mask, Andrews looks like a highwayman ready for armed robbery and his corona cops have collected millions of dollars in fines. Having discovered a nice little earner, Andrews has no desire to give it up. His announcement that he wants to extend the state of emergency for another 12 months should surprise no one. As C. S. Lewis wrote, ‘The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.’
It seems not to have occurred to Andrews that people are fed up with living in a corona dictatorship. He says that citizens should simply ‘accept the fact that we have a need for rules,’ claiming ‘they’re not about individual liberty, they’re about public health. They’re about protecting everyone.’ When asked whether he would consider giving parliament a say in a monthly extension of a state of emergency, Andrews seemed indignant, saying he wanted ‘the scientists absolutely committed to the science, not having to necessarily engage in a political process every two or three weeks.’ It’s as if democracy was just a tiresome sideshow, not the means by which he would be forced to test his whacky nostrums against the ideas other politicians have about how to run the state. Back in March, scared witless by dire predictions that turned out to be phantasms based on dodgy modelling, Britain abandoned thoughts of following Sweden and opted to lock down. Australia followed suit. Now Mark Woolhouse, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology and a leading member of the group that advises the British government on the pandemic, says lockdown was a ‘monumental mistake,’ it took no account of the risk levels to different age groups, foolishly concentrated on schools instead of age care homes, ‘the cure was worse than the disease’ and he ‘never wants to see national lockdown again.’
New research also seems to show that the reason why so many people have a mild or asymptomatic response to Sars-Cov-2, is because 80 per cent of us have crossover T-cell immunity developed through exposure to common cold human coronaviruses. So, most people may not need a vaccine because they are already immune and the path to herd immunity is much shorter than imagined. Yet, while Britain has abandoned lethal lockdowns and Sweden has developed herd immunity, Australia’s political leaders, infected with herd mentality, grimly stick to Britain’s failed policy.
If the demise of the Victorian economy worries Andrews, he didn’t blush at taking a pay rise during the pandemic and is now the highest-paid premier in the country. Yet Andrews has done an appalling job of managing the virus. Rejecting the federal offer of army assistance, his keystone corona cops, who were trained in political correctness instead of infection control, turned hotel quarantine into a virus breeding-ground which spread through the community until it made its way into 126 aged care homes, infecting 1,667 residents, 1,506 staff and 471 close contacts. At present Victoria has a Covid-19 mortality rate of 67 deaths per million, far worse than the rest of Australia, with under 5 deaths per million. If we were to add to that another 1,500 deaths of people in aged care facilities, that would put Victoria at 300 deaths per million, three times the world average.
The most depressing part of this sorry saga is that if the polls can be believed, those who, like Tammy Wynette, stand by their Dan, outnumber those who disparage him as a dictator. Yet even the Age, which is normally in the former camp ran a sympathetic article this week headlined ‘We can’t keep living like this,’ quoting Fiona Patten of the Reason Party.
Although our state and federal governments seem blind to it, there is a very simple way out of pandemic prison. If Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos, of Greek ancestry, would speak to Sydney-born Professor Sotiris Tsiodras, the specialist in infectious diseases who spearheaded Greece’s successful campaign against Covid-19, she’d learn that the nation of more than 10 million people has had almost half as many deaths as Victoria and one of the lowest mortality rates in Europe. Why? Because, undeterred by the disgraceful attempts to discredit cheap drugs to treat Covid-19, the Greeks have been using chloroquine, which they manufacture, coupled with azithromycin.
If the Victorian government really wanted to champion women in science, instead of just giving lip service to a leftist mantra, it might pay attention to the ground-breaking work of Dr Kylie Wagstaff who discovered that the life-saving, anti-parasitic drug ivermectin is also a powerful antiviral which, according to world-famous Australian doctor Professor Thomas Borody can clear up a Sars-Cov-2 infection in days, when taken early in a simple triple therapy.
Howard Florey was the most important man ever born in Australia, said our longest-serving prime minister Robert Menzies. It was he, together with Ernst Chain, a Jewish refugee who fled Nazi Germany, who turned the penicillin mould discovered by Alexander Fleming into a drug that has saved at least 200 million lives. Yet not only have Australians largely forgotten Florey, we seem to have largely forgotten that it is possible to treat infections; finding a cure should be the first step in stopping a pandemic, not sitting around hoping for a vaccine that may never show up, like a pair of tramps in a Beckett play, waiting for Godot.
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