‘Experts’ and their inept models destroy economy

Peter Campion (Queensland)

The expert consensus on COVID-19 says it’s been circulating in Wuhan since at least October. Direct flights from Wuhan to Australia only stopped on January 23, so there was plenty of opportunity for the virus to arrive here well before it came to the notice of the health bureaucracy. 

Some experts suggest COVID-19 has been quietly circulating in Australia since early December, often passing as an ordinary cold or flu.  Our “Day One”, as it applies to disease modelling, was probably about 26 weeks ago.

The experts’ COVID-19 models show three scenarios plotted over two years from Day One of the outbreak.  These are labelled “uncontrolled”, “quarantine plus isolation”, and “quarantine plus isolation plus social distancing (lockdown)” and refer to the number of ICU beds that would be required.

“Uncontrolled” is that scary spike you’ve seen on the graph shown on TV, where hospitals are swamped and patients languish untreated in corridors.  “Quarantine plus isolation” is the middle curve, still scary and still swamping hospitals but with fewer corridor patients.  “Quarantine plus isolation plus social distancing (lockdown)” is the “flattened curve” that our health bureaucrats were aiming for, where the hospitals cope and everyone who needs treatment receives it promptly.

For the first 15 weeks after Day One of COVID-19 in Australia we were living the “uncontrolled” model scenario because Australian lockdowns only began on 23 March.  Under that “uncontrolled” scenario we should have had 9000 ICU beds in use by 23 March.  We didn’t.  We should’ve had 35,000 occupied ICU beds by 20 April.  We didn’t.

If our default lifestyle of clean, spacious suburbs, general good health, and plenty of sunshine was effectively “quarantine plus isolation” compared to China’s crowded, cold, dirty, sunless cities, it could be argued that we were really already living the second modelled scenario.  That would’ve filled 5000 ICU beds by 20 April.  It didn’t.

The third model scenario is “quarantine plus isolation plus social distancing (lockdown)”, very much like China’s.  That “flattened curve” reflects what we’ve actually seen at Week 25, with very few beds occupied and hospital staff with very little to do because of the cancellation of elective surgery. But if Australia was really living the third scenario we would have had to have begun the extreme lockdowns in December.  We didn’t, so we’re not living that scenario either, even though the experts and the politicians are claiming we are.

In effect, all the modelling has been completely wrong and all the alarmism based on it has been entirely unjustified.  If COVID-19 could achieve “community spread” under Australian conditions we’d have known it by late February.  If COVID-19 was what it was claimed to be, our response was too little too late and we’d have many more dead.

What seems to have happened is that our experts didn’t do their own homework, they appear to have simply copied China’s via the World Health Organisation.  COVID-19 spread readily in freezing, crowded, polluted cities where residents had compromised respiratory systems and poor hygiene habits.  COVID-19 has not spread in our warm, sprawling cities and suburbs where our healthier residents have better hygiene habits.

The economic destruction we have suffered and will suffer for many years has not been caused by COVID-19 but by governments with too much power to micromanage our lives.  It was caused by the suspension of our democracy and the adoption, without a referendum, of technocracy: rule by unelected experts.  Those experts relied on computer models, which we know from the climate wars are always wrong.

The lesson to learn from this mess is we must reduce the scope and powers of all governments, and adopt a bill of rights for citizens that is strong enough to prevent any repeat of the corona panicdemic.

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