Funny man Mel Brooks coined the greatest horror movie tagline of all time —‘Be afraid. Be very afraid’, which is why it’s perfect for the pantomime our political masters are putting on to frighten us into doing as we are told. Our heroine New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian took centre stage this week to tell us ‘this was the scariest time since the pandemic started’ as she announced that residents of all of Sydney and its surrounds would be locked in their rooms for a fortnight to protect us from Deadly Delta, the latest Covid variant of concern, the scariest scariant of them all.
On cue, all the other premiers rushed to lock down their states, like children playing a game of ‘Statues’. The last one to lock down is presumably a rotten egg. Shoppers eagerly played their part, stripping supermarket shelves of every scrap of toilet paper. Constable Plod dutifully pursued three people who flew a private plane from plague-stricken NSW to a karaoke bar in outback Coober Pedy in South Australia, arresting them while they were singing the Queen anthem, ‘I Want to Break Free’. The only other sign of resistance was online where people shared memes such as ‘Beware a third strain of propaganda and a new wave of bullsh*t.’
Delta dominance over its Covid competitors seems like something to celebrate, for anyone with a modicum of maths. A study published this week by Public Health England looked at the 82,458 people who caught the now dominant Delta since 1 February, of whom 29,612 were fully or partially vaccinated. The vast majority (52,846) were under 50 and 98 per cent of them were unvaccinated but only 6, or 0.01 per cent, died. That’s ten times less than the mortality rate for the flu, 0.1 per cent in an average year.
Bear in mind that the risk of severe Covid in any age group reflects the underlying medical conditions of the individual. PHE didn’t provide this information but US data shows that 65 per cent of all people hospitalised with Covid between the ages of 18 and 49 were obese. If Western governments were looking for a cheaper alternative to lockdown, they could have put every plus-size person in the country on Jenny Craig for the entire pandemic for a fraction of the cost.
In people over fifty, 90 per cent were fully or partially vaccinated so it’s perhaps not surprising that 65 per cent of fatalities were in that group. Yet even then, the mortality rate was low, about 1.13 per cent, a survival rate of almost 99 per cent. Only 976 unvaccinated people got sick and only 38 died, under 4 per cent. Had they been treated early with ivermectin and other drugs, virtually none would have died. To put that in perspective, the case fatality rate for Sars is about 15 per cent, for Mers it is 34 per cent and for Ebola it is 50 per cent.
PHE claims that its 7.2 million Covid-19 vaccinations have prevented 27,000 deaths but this also means that only for 0.37 per cent did the risks of vaccination definitely outweigh the benefits, suggesting that far fewer people — only those with a significant risk such as, for example, one or more co-morbidities —should get vaccinated.
The thing nobody is allowed to be afraid of is vaccination, even though it is, at present in Australia, far deadlier than Covid. Only one person died of Covid this year whereas 318 deaths have been reported to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) following vaccination, from the time Australia started its vaccine stroll-out on 15 February until 20 June.
The TGA is still investigating those deaths and makes it clear that it considers most of them to be unrelated. The rule of thumb is that anyone who dies within 28 days of testing positive for Covid is listed as a Covid death, even if they were run over by the Number 54 bus, whereas any death after a vaccine is purely coincidental.
The TGA, nonetheless, accepts that the 64 cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia are caused by the vaccines; 25 of the most serious involve clots in the brain or abdomen, 17 in more common places like the leg or lungs and 22 elsewhere. Most occurred two weeks after vaccination although the range was from one to forty-four days. Fourteen required treatment in intensive care, five are still in ICU, another nineteen are still hospitalised, forty-three have been discharged and two died. There were also 31,641 reports of injury including anaphylactic shock, deafness, transient blindness, stroke, heart attacks, shingles, and Bell’s palsy.
Yet despite the risk, and despite the availability of safe treatments for Covid, it seems our politicians are holding us hostage until 80 per cent of us are vaccinated, a figure nominated by Ms Berejiklian. Indeed, vaccines have now been mandated for all aged care and quarantine workers. Never mind the Nuremberg Code, put in place after the Nazi medical experiments of the second world war, and the Declaration of Helsinki, both meant to prevent people being coerced into participating in medical experiments.
Never mind that vaccines such as these have only been granted emergency use authorisation and are still experimental. A new indemnity scheme has been announced protecting GPs who administer the AstraZeneca vaccine to any age but there is no compensation for people who suffer vaccine injury and death.
The light at the end of the tunnel is that even in the UK new Secretary of Health Sajid Javid has said people have to learn to live with Covid as have Singapore’s trade, finance and health ministers.
But don’t get your hopes up. Vaccine rollout chief Lieutenant-General John Frewen says Australians need to ‘become comfortable with the prospect of public health measures being in place for years’. Incredibly, our fundamental freedoms have been abolished because of the threat posed by a virus so deadly that most people don’t even know that they’ve got it, like Jon Rahm who tested positive while beating every other golfer in the world.
Trapped on our island paradise, some days it feels like Lord of the Flies, but mostly it is more like being one of 25 million castaways, with our professors and millionaires, shipwrecked on Gilligan’s — or Morrison’s – Island, with no escape in sight.
Until our politicians rediscover their duty to protect us from the tyranny of the state, it’s not the Delta variant that’s dangerous, it’s our governments.
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