Australia’s Covid outbreak – catastrophe or pussycat?

Our geography, and the willingness of our government to imprison us in fortress Oz, has deferred, but not saved us from, the contagion which has swept across much of the rest of the world. One regrettable consequence of the apparent success of this policy has been that the loss of a sense of proportion which has afflicted the world at large has become, in Australia, abject.

We are currently being told that our Covid statistics tell a story of catastrophe. Yet on 19th July, the day the UK rescinded much of its lockdown regulation, it recorded 39,538 new cases, or just under 600 per million of its population. The corresponding figures for Australia on that day (when the ‘catastrophe’ narrative was already well established in the public mind) were 119 and 4.6.

The UK’s doom prophets (aka epidemiological modellers) warned that unlocking its society would bring down the wrath of the virus, with cases spiralling to 100,000, 200,000 (depending on whether they were asked before lunch, or after it).

In fact, the UK’s daily new cases began an immediate descent. On 31st July, it recorded 25,754 new cases, or just under 400 per million of its population. Australia’s figures for that day? 475 new cases, or 19 per million.

The UK’s daily new cases seem to have stabilised at around 30,000

On 6th August, the last day for which I could find figures for Australia, the data were:

UK – 31,442 – 472 per million

Australia – 319 – 12.4 per million

In what warped variety of reality can this be said to be a catastrophe?

Tom Forrester-Paton

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