Targeted Risk Mitigation

I am unaware of any country other than Sweden that has taken a targeted risk mitigation strategy to deal with SARS-COV-2. It appears to me that the citizens of other countries have been treated as amorphous, to be pummelled towards the impossible goal of virus elimination. “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.” That cliched quotation, supposedly from a US army general in Vietnam, may be a myth, but it does describe the apparent attitude of most governments in response to COVID19.

Risk mitigation has costs. Therefore, mitigation techniques should be applied only where they are needed and only if they can be reasonably expected to work.

Using Europe as an example, here is the median age data by country:

Across the continent, the median age is less than 44. (It has created up to around 46 in some countries.) That means more than half the European population is aged less than 44.

With that in mind, consider the mortality experience of the last 5 years up to the end of 2020, plus year to date 2021. This comes from the European Mortality Monitoring study that collects data from 29 participating countries. The following chart shows excess deaths (ie different from normal, where normal is based on continuous mortality investigations) for ages up to 44. Each line represents a calendar year of data, split by weeks 1 to 52. I have deliberately withheld the legend so that the lines are not identifiable as any particular year. Your challenge is to guess which coloured lines represent 2020 and 2021.

This analysis ought to inform policy response and mitigation targets. More than half the population is being hammered financially, psychologically and socially unnecessarily.

The panicked Australian political leaders and public health experts (sic)

Most of the population of Australia remains in a COVID19-related lockdown that is unjustifiable by any measure. I wonder if any of those people bring facts into their thinking process? To give an update, here are three charts. I have shown data for Australia, UK and US.

First, the number of new cases:

Next, the proportion of those new cases that are of the Delta variant:

Finally, the numbers of deaths:

The increase in new cases in the UK and US winter of 2020/21 also resulted in an increase in deaths. But the increase in the current northern hemisphere summer has resulted in no increase in US deaths and a marginal increase in UK deaths. What changed? Delta. Virtually 100% of the current new cases is Delta. Last northern winter, virtually none of the new cases were Delta. Delta is more transmissible (apparently) but dramatically less deadly.

Meanwhile, Australia locks everyone up.

Failing on the job

The President of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Khorshid, has failed one of the fundamental requirements of his role. At this link, he says that the lockdown in Sydney may have to stay in effect until everyone is vaccinated, ie. indefinitely. He says that since there are insufficient vaccine supplies to vaccinate everyone it is imperative people stop talking to each other, being close, breathing and coughing on each other. He made no mention of the fact that 100% vaccination rates will never happen, regardless of supply.

Now, some people may watch that news interview and think that the good doctor is giving considered medical advice. They could be excused for thinking that doctors are the best people to give medical advice. In some very limited circumstances, doctors are the best people to give medical advice. Those circumstances are limited to the treatment of one individual person to the exclusion of all other concerns. For example, it applies when you visit your GP, when your dentist is fixing your teeth, when you are on the operating table in surgery and that’s about it. When the health of the public in general is the subject, medical people are just like you and me – they have opinions but these opinions are no better or worse than anybody else’s opinion. All these medical experts advocating locking up citizens in the face of SARS-CoV-2 have no more authority than you or I do to stand up at that press conference. Thus, politicians hiding behind those medicos are cowardly in pretending a political decision to lock up citizens is actually a medical decision when it is nothing of the sort.

Dr Khorshid failed in his role not for any medical reason. He failed for political reasons. The AMA is a political organisation. Doctors don’t need the AMA to practise medicine. In fact, I believe that a large proportion of the country’s doctors are not even members of it. The AMA exists to lobby Government to advance its own political objectives. All professional organisations have similar objectives. By airing statements that many in the general public will see as variously ridiculous, extreme, laughable, unrealistic etc, he has just damaged the credibility and authority of the AMA. A key function of the role of President is to enhance the standing of the AMA, not detract from it. Can anybody explain how such an interview could enhance the AMA’s standing? I can’t. So, Dr Kharshid, let’s mark that interview as ‘Fail’.

The world’s most oppressive authoritarian regimes

When you think of an authoritarian governing regime, what countries spring to mind? Does Australia? It should now.

Take a closer look at this graphic to see the company we Australians are keeping. I included Japan to show where a more liberal country sits on this index. As the note explains, for sub-regions within a country, the most stringent sub-region is used. It is Victoria that is driving the Australian figure.

Brutality and incompetence in Victoria

The State of Disaster declared by Premier Andrews will not have any effect on the COVID19 virus. Severity of lockdowns do not affect mortality outcomes, as many emerging studies of the northern hemisphere experience show. But Andrews’ suspension of democracy, the instant political disenfranchisement of the people, the social and economic catastrophe he has unleashed under the stamp of the heavy handed police state is not going unnoticed outside Victoria.

Two cases in point, first from Greg Sheridan.

and second from Jeffrey Tucker.