Flat White

Let’s be more up-front and honest with the daily Covid numbers

23 August 2021

11:30 AM

23 August 2021

11:30 AM

According to the federal Department of Health website, yesterday there were 10,956 active cases of Covid-19 across Australia.

Of these, 603 were hospitalised, and 107 in intensive care.  In other words, all hospital cases add up to well less than ten per cent of the total, and intensive care cases not even to one per cent.

And we don’t know about the age and general health status of those patients, including whether they were carrying co-morbidities.

For many, Covid is just a short-term bug, for more than a few it is a serious, life-threatening illness.  It must be taken seriously, and responded to seriously. It is why our national vaccination programme, with its various state spin-offs, is so important.

Indeed, vaccination is the key not only to significant protection from Covid, but for reducing the virus’s ability to jump to new hosts. Getting national vaccination rates to 70-80 per cent was decreed by PM Scott Morrison as the threshold to banishing lockdowns and other drastic and draconian measures.  For the sake of our collective sanity – weeks and months of lockdown get to people somewhat – we need to get those rates up, and while things are much better now, they still need a big kick along.

While the daily dirges of premiers’ pressers invariably include the call to vaccinate, they still make the biggest fuss of daily new infection numbers, presumably because they (especially in NSW just now) shock people into paying fearful attention. But these include everyone testing positive, from the asymptomatic to the doddery nearly dead. That headline number may grab headlines, but it isn’t the real story.

These are the daily numbers that really matter If we are to be subjected to daily Covid press conferences, presaged by government briefings, there are a few numbers that only sometimes or never rate a mention, namely:

  • Number or currently active cases.
  • How many are hospitalised and how many are in intensive care.
  • How many of these have serious co-morbidities (age, respiratory disease, obesity and the like); and, particularly
  • How many hospital cases are single and double vaccinated.

Given vaccination is so politically as well as medically important, and – as empirical evidence rather than what governments say shows – either prevents someone catching Covid or minimises its effects if they do, why don’t our governments make more of a song and dance about that?

We are often told by our leaders that being vaccinated keeps us out of hospital, and assertions are regularly made that the actual cases involve few fully or partially vaccinated people.

If that’s the case, why not release that data daily, and tell people with evidence rather than glib assertions that if you get the dreaded bug, if you’re vaccinated you’re highly unlikely to be seriously ill with it, let alone die from or with it.

A bit less eyeball-grabbing and a little more information about the true infection picture would go a long way. Perhaps Prime Minister Scott Morrison will find his cojones and mandate a nationally-standard honest reporting format as a condition for access to the torrent of federal relief and support money the states presume is turned on at will – their will.

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