Who is paying for this?

New South Wales is entering its third week of lockdown, 18 months after the virus first arrived and was almost eradicated.

For those who believe the vaccinations are a risk worth taking, the vaccination rates are pitifully distant from a level we might consider useful or, sotto voce, herd immunity.

So, back under the duvet for the residents of the biggest economy in the country, because, to paraphrase the head of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Omar Khorshid, “the only alternative to lockdown is more lockdown”.

You may be wondering whether it’s possible to seek a second opinion on that diagnosis and prescription.

The idea of giving up on the tacit “zero covid” strategy was floated in anonymous briefings to the press last week, only to be met with ridicule and accusations of inhumanity but no tangible or executable answer to the question, “the current strategy has clearly failed, so what do we do now?”.

The school holidays finish on Tuesday and thousands of children will be banished to their bedrooms to attend dysfunctional zoom calls with their teachers whilst using the Alt/Tab function to switch back and forth between “class” and Minecraft.

Of course, that describes the kids whose parents are paying attention and haven’t already given up on them. There’s another group, for whom school was probably their last chance of being socialised and staying out of trouble.

Their parents won’t be checking their attendance at virtual class, their internet access and smartphone use will be unrestricted and it’s unlikely they will be prevented from leaving the house during the school day to smoke vapes at the local skate park.

Our local high school suspended more pupils in the term following the last lockdown than they did in the several years prior, combined. The Principal’s hypothesis was that those kids had little to no adult supervision during the lockdown schooling and brought that freedom to misbehave back into the classroom when school returned.

Eventually, and despite the ridiculous Education Department policies aimed at preventing any semblance of consequences for anti-social behaviour, the school sent these kids home either for short term suspensions or, in the extreme cases, they were “invited” to seek an alternate venue for their education.

The impact of this is going to have dire social consequences. Kids who missed significant portions of school life are not only disadvantaged educationally, but have also missed the last safety net between being a normal member of society or living on its periphery, spending increasing amounts of their lives in and out of the criminal justice system.

Bill’s Opinion

You may think these forever lockdowns are the correct response to outbreaks and that we can see the tangible benefit to them in terms of reducing the deaths and hospitalisation of the infected.

Consider the possibility you are only seeing one side of the balance sheet.

In the UK, for example, it is estimated 7 million people avoided non-covid health appointments since the virus arrived. What percentage of those will result in a later terminal diagnosis that might have been avoided if caught earlier?

5%? 10%?

The official death toll from covid (without questioning the difference between “of” and “with”) is 129,000. If 5% of missed appointments lead to an avoidable death, the covid death count will be less than half of the human cost of “saving the NHS”.

Similarly, the feral kids running around the local area while the middle class kids sit at home in class will become a more visible cost over time. Just because we don’t see the impact now, doesn’t mean you aren’t paying. Remember this in five years time when you have a barbecue discussion about the rise of burglaries, car theft, muggings, drug use, etc.

One can avoid reality but one cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.

8 Replies to “Who is paying for this?”

  1. As a supposedly healthy person and with no expectations of death in my immediate family, I offer this biased and selfish perspective.

    The sanctity of life is a philosophy that can be over done. Euthanasia is an understandable back lash against the ludicrous efforts society makes in protecting the sanctity of life.

    The pendulum has swung too far, again. That’s natural, of course, and so is the counter force that stops it.

    Pandemics are natural and should be left alone so they can do what they are supposed to do. Herd immunity will develop within a few years but before then many of the sick and elderly will perish.

    This lockdown is trying to be an ark that saves people from death. It won’t work. It will create more deaths than it will save. Social problems and delayed diagnosis/treatment of life threatening conditions is just the tip of the iceberg. The unintended consequences and multiplied disruptions will be with us for decades.

    Nature most oftenly trumps science. God always trumps man essentially.

    Deadwood builds up in every forest and fire is essential to clear it out. Let this pandemic run free like wild fire, let’s celebrate the dead for their life, let’s look forward to a new era.

    As long as it doesn’t affect me and my family.
    Self preservation is nature also.

  2. Schools have been closed in the Philippines for two years, look like remaining closed for years to come. These disastrous policies are going to measurably ripple through the generations. I wonder, twenty years from now, how we’ll look back at these decisions.

    1. Seems awfully reminiscent of the 2008 financial crisis; old people being bailed out by the young, without their permission.

  3. When the basic idea is to remain alive then quantity of life matters more than quality. Some years ago, perhaps fourty, my Father said to me that the doctors at the home my Grandfathers shell was at had just cured him of pneumonia again, and he wished they would just let him die. He also said that when he gets to that stage just give him the rifle and leave him to it. Then he added, but I suppose at that stage I won’t know what its for.
    I read a couple of days ago that the average age of death from covid in Oz is 85, which is over life expectancy. Dad got the funeral he had been waiting for a few years ago at the age of 95, and I thought of it as a release, not a tragedy, when he vacated his shell ten years later than he should have. It is a sad thing when you survive all your friends and acquaintances and are left on your own with only your children left who you can recognise.

  4. If a vaccine stops you from dying from covid but doesn’t stop you spreading it, what exactly does herd immunity mean?

  5. There have been and will be many terrible consequences of the government actions in response to COVID-19, but the effect on kids’ education will not be easy to recover from.

    The Dutch run standardised national tests for all primary school kids twice a year. In 2020 those test happened before and after the first 8 week school closure. Comparing the results with previous years, on average the kids lost about 8 weeks of learning with kids from less advantaged families doing worse. In other words, average kids learnt nothing in 8 weeks of schooling from home.

    The study reporting the results above suggested the Netherlands was probably a best case scenario for the results of schooling from home because they have good internet access. My brother was trying to teach kids by correspondence because of limited internet so those kids really struggled. Add in parents losing jobs, the stress from random policies and government fear mongering and the costs will be high for the young and all society.

  6. At least the residential property market has finally tanked as Billy has been predicting for years.

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