The Plan Should Be How To Live With It, Not Destroy Lives
On my last post, I stated that Victoria would have it's a roadmap to getting out of the House-Arrest/Police State it has become. I did add that "I didn't have high hopes". So I can't say I was disappointed with the decision which ultimately was a plan to keep people locked down and businesses shut until at least the end of November. November! And only if they are lucky. I say lucky because to get there it's dependant on some extremely unrealistic targets for a city of Melbourne's size.
If anything the plan is suggesting to Victorians to not get yourself tested anymore. By doing that it will drive the cases down and thus the state can reopen quicker. Which is irresponsible. I'm not saying that is what they have said, but it could happen as a sign of rebellion to open the state up quicker. However, it is clear that we are now needing to live with the virus otherwise the long term damage is going to be far worse. The Victorian plan is also effectively an eradication strategy which we have seen, does not work. Now in the early days of this pandemic, we all thought this was going to the "Doomsday Virus" it was even touted in the media as the "New Ebola". If you contracted it, you will die.
It was perfectly fair to say at the time, we needed to shut it all down to protect the healthcare system and buy us some time. We are closer to a year since this virus allegedly was discovered and began spreading around the world. In that time we have had the following stattics or at least a sample size of:
COVID Cases - 27,457,298
Deaths - 895,848
Recovered - 19,500,325
So worldwide that's a mortality rate of 3.2%. A recovery rate of 71% with a remaining 25.71% of them still infected and are being treated. Out of that, there are:
Mild Condition: 7,000,865 (or 99.2%)
Serious or Critical: 60,260 (or 0.8%)
If these numbers and timeframe aren't enough of a sample size to get an understanding of this virus as we move forward, then I don't know what is. So I think it's fair to say that Governments and people need to start planning for the worst-case scenario that we don't get a vaccine. If we get one, Jackpot! But the risk of putting all eggs in one basket on a vaccine whilst destroying livelihoods isn't the answer anymore. If one thing is clear it's that this isn't the Doomsday Virus it was touted as.
Since it started worldwide in March we have now seen that medically the mortality rates are going down and recoveries are going up. We are seeing that people now are receiving effective treatment and recovering quicker. Fighting an illness or virus also starts with awareness. When it comes to COVID people now know the risks and the symptoms more and are getting themselves tested and treated quicker than before. Further to this when people even have a sniffle they don't go to work anymore and if they do go to work then people are calling them out to go home and even get tested. Regardless of the HydroChloxiquacine and Ivermectin debates like any disease the earlier you know you have it and start treating it the better the outcome. So when people have a sniffle they are getting tested for COVID and if they have it can start getting treatments in those early stages and the better the outcome.
So Victoria, why, despite your "Super Computer" are you still trying to pursue an eradication strategy? An eradication strategy can also lead to a false sense of security that the virus is gone when it hasn't. We are probably seeing that occur in New Zeland right now.
Victoria is stating that it is following the "medical advice" well when a leading Medical Journal, The Lancet, has stated:
"In our analysis, full lockdowns and widespread COVID-19 testing were not associated with reductions in the number of critical cases or overall mortality”.
Are they serious that every "expert" on Andrews' panel agree with the lockdown path? Keeping them under curfews and at home? Allowing people to visit only a "nominated friend" ONLY. That's no joke, if you live by yourself then you can nominate only one person to visit you now.
Over 500 doctors have written to the Premier stating their concerns about Victoria's action on the Virus and this was before the road map. Since the announcement of the road map, many leading Epidemiologists are also stating publicly their concerns with the new plan. So it's also hard to believe Mr Andrews that this is your "only option" moving forward.
In an amazing interview, not by a journalist but an ex-AFL footballer, sports commentator and FM radio host of all people, Luke Darcy took it to Daniel Andrews. Darcy also has a family background in hospitality and also lost his father during the COVID pandemic, not due to the Virus but he feels it was due to the isolation and the fact his father couldn't see his family for some time. During this interview when questioned as to why we can't live with the virus I think Andrews accidentally admitted the real problem with Victoria right now:
"It won't just be COVID patients who will be sick and in hospital, it will be other patients who need urgent care. Heart attacks, strokes, those kinds of patients and they just won't be able to get the kind of care that they need."
So Mr Andrews have you effectively stated that with only 266 cases in hospital (25 in ICU) out of 19,574 COVID cases that Victoria's Health System is already bursting at the seams and can't cope right now? If this is the case, then Victoria's problem is far worse than COVID.
Darcy, like many, also knows that people are dying from suicides and as a UK report has stated 4000 extra people are believed to have died from not seeking medical assistance for illnesses out of fear due to medical facilities being reduced in a COVID only mode. I firmly believe that these numbers are going to be far higher than COVID in the long run.
Now if we are to look at why Victoria might be wanting such low case numbers before reopening it does make sense. On May 24th when Andrews announced from June 1st Victoria was starting to reopen again, daily cases of COVID cases was in single digits. So it makes sense if you want to get back to that before we reopen. But to get back to that ability the plan states that there have to be no more than five cases a day for 14 days straight. That is also not estimated to occur until the end of November. However, there is a massive difference this time around. What caused this second wave:
“Comments made by the chief health officer to the media have suggested that it might even be that every case of Covid-19 in Victoria in recent weeks, could be sourced to the hotel quarantine program.” - Tony Neal QC
Hotel Quarantine is no longer run in Victoria, so we don't have that problem that was spreading the virus during that time in April-July. At last, though Victoria is updating their Contact Tracing team, allegedly. This like Hotel Quarantine is something that Victoria has tried to do its own thing.
The ADF (Australian Defence Force) was on offer to everyone but Victoria apparently? We know that is a lie, Andrews' own words and press releases prove that. When it came to Contact Tracing, Victoria didn't sign up to an automated Technology that other states were signing up to and was, according to Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt was encouraged as the National Model and was offered in March.
Now it's fine for Victoria to look at its own course, however, when it wasn't working and was raising alarm bells months ago. Instead of deciding to go hat in hand and work with the other states and Federal Government to get on top of it, Victoria felt it was better to continue the course instead of losing face and now Victorians and the Country are paying the price for this.
Proof that Victoria was wanting to go down its own path was that it didn't even push the Federal Government's COVIDSafe app in the early days. Now when it comes to that app, yes it was a failure. The Federal Government opted to also "re-invent" the wheel to have an app that wouldn't log location, like many of the apps around. This app would just pick up the ID number via Bluetooth of another phone within 1.5 metres of you that were also running the app. That phone would also get your Apps ID number. The app would retain the data for a rolling three week period. If you were diagnosed with COVID then you had the opportunity to share your app's data with the Health Department so they could pass that on to the Contact Tracing team and they could alert all the IDs you logged through the app that they needed to get tested. But wouldn't share where the exposure occurred. Ironically Australia went down this path to appease Civil Liberty concerns about the app charting exactly where you were 24/7. The thought of someone watching all the COVIDSafe dots on a screen was the concern so they made the app this way to avoid that. Well, now there are no Civil Liberties in Victoria. If we were as they say "all in this together" then Victoria would've pushed for uptake on the COVIDSafe app at the time to assist itself with contact tracing, to have every tool available to its team.
The Victorian Department of Health's contact tracing team is reported to be a team of 150 personal. Whereas in New South Wales their contact tracing team is double that amount of personal and mostly automatic. Whereas Victoria is, as admitted by the Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton, still using the phone, fax machines and paper trails. It's no wonder they put into the "Super Computer" that came up with this plan that Contact Tracing would only succeed no more than 25% in cases.
At last, it seems Victoria is sending personnel up to New South Wales to learn from them on how to do this properly. But one thing is for sure, New South Wales has never beaten around the bush. We have seen that when someone, whether a worker or a patron has attended a business or a location and tested positive to the virus that location is instantly named in the media so everyone knows that if they were there they can get tested immediately. Test results in New South Wales are also given to patients within 24hrs. In Victoria, any potential cluster is kept quite for substantial periods and people who have tested positive for the virus have passed away by the time the Contact Tracing team has even advised that person they had the virus.
The Chief Health Officer of Victoria has admitted on the radio as well that all the deaths of COVID in Victoria have been with people who had other medical issues, comorbidities. Rightly so he did add that at least 40% of the population has other medical issues and would be at risk if they were to contract this virus. But we are now at the point where people need to make those decisions for themselves.
Despite a Lung/Heart Stress test, I did some time ago that effectively said "there are no signs of asthma" I still have the medication that I don't even take. However, that would surely put me in the at-risk group. However, here I am in America. I am travelling freely, people are working, I can go and sit in a coffee shop and have a coffee or go to a restaurant and have a meal if I choose to do so. Albeit all under social-distancing rules and precautions. That's what is happening in America and many other countries right now because they are seeing that their livelihoods are more important and supporting the economy is more important. Right now the economic crisis is the concern. People are having the choice to make their own decisions.
Despite what people might be seeing on the news, COVID is not the issue it was in the US. If someone wants to stay at home and be a hermit, they are doing it. If they want to get out and about and take precautions then they are doing that too. They are making the decision themselves. The US healthcare system too isn't the best in the world and their citizens know that. But they also know that if they don't have a job or an economy then things will be far worse in the long term.
Despite Australian states locking down their borders to other states, which is now ridiculous in the current climate, these states are returning to life under a stringent COVID Climate. By this I mean going to restaurants you log your phone number and party details to assist with Contact Tracing if someone was to be diagnosed with the virus so it's easier to trace back who was around them in that location. This doesn't happen here [USA] but many Australian states are getting back to normal in a COVID climate, getting their economies back to normal. Proof of this is that 60% of the Federal Government's JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments are going to Victoria and the rest of the country is going to have to pay for the Victorian Government's failings.
The longer these lockdowns go on for Mr Andrews then businesses are never going to return, Victorian businesses are already pulling the plug. Victoria and Melbourne being the events and culture capital of the country are now gone. Victoria economically will take generations to recover.
The Age Newspaper had a poll of over 110,000 people. This newspaper is the Centre-Left paper of Victoria and 84% of respondents has stated that they disapprove of Dan Andrews' plan. A petition asking for the Victorian Governor to dissolve the Victorian Parliament has attracted 50,000 signatures in just a couple of days.
Hopefully at last people are starting to realise that this Government, in the long run, does not have Victoria's best interests at heart.