We’ve been here before, right?

In the 1930s, the authoritarian forces of Nazism, Fascism and Communism were in the ascendency in Europe. A doctrine that became common to all of the architects and proponents of these ideologies was that the state must not be bound by the law. The rule of law neccessarily meant that the state was unfree. Giacomo Perticone put it this way in 1931: “During the whole of the evolution of judicial thought, one was led to the conclusion that a regime of law was one in which the State was a prisoner of the law, and as a consequence incapable of action, of will, of power, a State indecisive, emasculated and all that which follows.” It followed that a State bound by the rule of law was unfree and to be free to act justly it must not be subject to the obligation to follow the law. In other words, the State should be able to treat citizens exactly as it pleased. [Ref FA Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty]

The proponents and leaders of these totalitarian forces thus justified their right to ignore the concept of the rule of law. At a basic level, the rule of law can be considered as a legal system in which everyone is treated equally before the law, whether it be statute or common. The totalitarians devised their own justification for doing exactly the opposite. Orwell’s oft-quoted sentence from Animal Farm reads: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” The sentence captured both the concept of differing treatment and the abuse of language to maintain a power hierarchy and authority to coerce others.

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A better roadmap

The Prime Minister's roadmap out of COVID19 and back to normal has been framed within a pretense of knowledge: that governments know best. It clearly foresees the continued use of coercive powers over citizens. This will be counterproductive and extend Australia's misery.

If the World Health Organisation had not changed its definition of pandemic in 2009, COVID19 would no longer be classified as such. Hence, national emergency powers would have been rescinded. The change in definition allowed emergency powers to be maintained, not on the basis of what actually was happening with infections, illness and mortality but on the basis of what might happen. The end result is what we see in Australia right now - 15 million or more people in lockdown in the face of how many actual deaths this year? The answer is twenty one.
An effective roadmap back to normal would begin today with the declaration that the pandemic is over and responsibility for personal health is now handed back to individual people. There is ample knowledge and good sense in the community. People are smart enough to make their own risk-adjusted decisions and mitigations. The real roadmap starts with this acknowledgement. 

Vaccinations do not prevent virus transmission – according to the CDC

The director of the US Centre for Disease Control has confirmed on CNN that vaccines do not prevent the vaccinated from being infected and spreading COVID19.

See this short clip from the interview.

Which means that as a strategy to suppress or eliminate the virus, vaccinations don’t work. Further, vaccination passports and similar restrictions on the unvaccinated would be unnecessary and unjust discrimination.

Truman’s attitude has infected current political leaders to the point of madness

The buck stops here.

President Truman’s sign on his desk. He meant that he was responsible for the decisions and if things went wrong he couldn’t blame anyone else. (What a fantastic film emulsion. I wonder if that photo was shot on the famous Ferrania P30 film? The emulsion is back in production and I have some on order. ISO 80. Classic Italian film look. But, I digress…)

It’s a sentiment that is admirable in times of national emergency. But nearly two years down the track after COVID19 first emerged, there is no longer a national emergency. Or international emergency.

Responsibility for keeping the noses of the public clean should now be handed back to the individual owner of each nose. It is no longer a matter for any politician. Anywhere.

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’.