In the race to stupidity by the Australian state chief health officers, the three stellar performers, far ahead of all others and guaranteed podium finishes, are the entrants from Queensland, South Australia and Victoria. But when it comes to sadistic and cruel stupidity, South Australia’s representative joins the also-rans. Like a famous predecessor washing his hands of the decision to execute a troublesome Jew, Victoria’s CHO deftly flicked any responsibility for the decision by junior health bureaucrats who refused permission for a funeral to be held in Warrnambool, 250km west of Melbourne and well away from any recent coronavirus infections.
In a tragic accident, 8-year old Cooper Onyett drowned in an indoor swimming pool during overnight camp with his class from Merrivale Primary School. His family had planned to hold his funeral in their hometown of Warrnambool on Friday 4 June, which unfortunately for them, was the first day of the state’s seven-day lockdown. Rules are rules, said the health fascists. Such exemplary dedication for rules-based order in Victoria. I’m sure it hurt the bureaucrats much more than it did the parents, but hey, someone’s got to do their duty. CHO Professor Brett Sutton was inconsolable: ‘This is the most tragic of circumstances’, he sobbed: ‘I can’t express enough how sorry I am for the family’. I think most of us would have preferred he acted to grant an exemption.
Meanwhile, in Brisbane, Sarah and Moe Haidar had returned to Australia from Qatar and were quarantining in a hotel before flying home to Melbourne. On 26 May, 30-week pregnant Sarah Haider was rushed to hospital with complications for an emergency C-section delivery in the early hours of 1 June. Moe Haidar was not allowed to leave their hotel to accompany her. Ilyas was taken immediately to the neonatal intensive care unit while the couple were isolated in a specialised Covid-19 room in the hospital. Neither parent was allowed to see or touch their 9-week premature baby, instead relying on FaceTime. Both had received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine and tested negative for Covid four times. They finally managed to see Ilyas on Wednesday. Like Professor Sutton, Dr Jeannette Young was really, really torn by this ‘very very difficult situation for those parents’ but the specific health principles to keep everyone safe could not be contravened.
In both cases, the cowardly politicians hid behind the petty health bureaucrats.
Meanwhile, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics report on mortality statistics published on 26 May, there were 21,720 deaths, or 368.1 daily, from all causes in January–February 2021. This is 831 deaths (4%) more than the 2015–19 five-year average. In fact, as shown in the table below, they have been tracking above average since 1 November 2020.
Cancers and dementia are among the exceptionally high death totals. In January–February this year, there were 318 (4.3%) more deaths than the five-year average of 7,372; and 356 (18.8%) more deaths due to dementia than the 2015–19 average. Incidentally, New Zealand has also seen 3 per cent higher excess deaths since November. As a reminder, Australia has had the grand total of just one Covid-related death this year. So what is going on? Could it possibly be the lingering after-effects of repurposing our health effort to combat Covid and ignoring other causes of deaths? How many were due to deferred screenings, cancelled consultations and postponed treatment of other potentially fatal ailments; elevated stress owing to heightened fear and anxiety; increased loneliness and despair? This should be a major national story and possibly even a national scandal.
On 22 May, in discussing India, three of the core arguments were: cases and deaths rise and fall along similarly steep curves; cases seemed to have peaked around 9 May; and, if the usual pattern holds, deaths should begin to fall after about two weeks. On current official data, on a 7-day rolling average, daily new cases peaked at 391,232 on 8 May and deaths on 23 May at 4,190. On 7 June, 30 days later, cases were 117,347, comparable to 116,238 on 9 April, 31 days earlier. Daily new deaths have been falling almost twice as fast as they rose. They peaked at 3,941 on 23 May and were 2,773 on 7 June, 15 days later. The comparable number on the upslope was 2,662 on 27 April, 26 days before the peak. Furthermore, the graphs also show that the up and down slopes of the much more gradual curves in the three-month first wave last year over August–October were similarly symmetrical.
Since I wrote about Dr Anthony Fauci, his halo has slipped. Analysts are busy scrutinising the trove of emails being released under freedom of information demands. They confirm everything I described about Fauci’s tendency to bob, weave and duck, to say one thing in private and another in public and to have abandoned scientific rigour and objectivity for the media limelight and public adoration. But not for the truly faithful. MSNBC anchor Nicole Wallace was among the first to interview Fauci on 2 June after the emails became public. Instead of interrogating him about the many public-private inconsistencies, flip-flops and links to the Wuhan lab, she skipped all the controversies and gushed: ‘The true mark of someone is if they look good even when their personal emails come out, so you pass the test very few of us would pass’. Huh? More importantly, someone should ask him this cruel but brutally honest question: how many lives were lost in America and the world because of your funding support for the wicked ‘gain-of-function’ research in Wuhan about making the virus jump from bats to humans?
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