Dominic Perrottet’s modestly brisk approach to reopening NSW is having a predictably unsettling effect on the usual suspects. As they have throughout the Covid scare, the Mainstream Media have been quick to give prominence to finger-wagging experts who are duly wagging their fingers at the NSW premier, warning that a ‘spike’ in cases ‘might’ follow the modest relaxation of social distancing restrictions he has scheduled for next Monday. Their greatest fear, of course – just to be clear – is that no such spike will occur, and that their ‘Covid is the 5th horseman of the Apocalypse’ hype might be shown to be baloney, waking the great unwashed from the compliant trance in which they have languished since this wretched, deceitful business began.
The finger-wagger in chief this time, now that Dr Kerry Chant has been sidelined, seems to be Dr Michael Bonning, Chair of the NSW Australian Medical Association. Dr Bonning lacks the asset that seems indispensable to the new class of health gauleiters that infests out TV screens, namely a face like a slapped bottom. Despite this handicap, he did his best to scare us, in a busy morning spent obliging all our TV channels with a series of minatory interviews in which, as well as the familiar ‘spike’, he threatened viewers with the prospect of the ‘already stretched’ hospitals being overwhelmed.
A particularly choice example showed up on Channel 10, where the talking head who introduced the interview referred to a rise in cases following lockdown lifting, ‘such as we have seen in the UK’. Now in fairness to Dr Bonning, when you actually listen to the interview, he doesn’t actually make that claim, but neither does he disavow it. And he should have, because, as surely knows, it’s a flat out lie – fake news on stilts. The UK lifted its lockdown on 19th July, at which point its new daily cases were running at 48,500 – (by the way, that’s about 730 per million. NSW new cases are currently about 70 per million, less than a tenth!). Immediately following the lifting of its lockdown, far from seeing a spike, as claimed by Channel 10’s talking baboon, the UK saw a steep decline in its daily new cases. The rates of infections have since wobbled around the mid-30,000s, but have never approached the figure at which they stood when lockdown was lifted.
More to the point, while, and as one would expect, following the spike in cases which preceded the opening up, UK has seen a modest rise in Covid deaths, but nothing that would justify Dr Bonning’s alarming warning.
As to his claim that hospital services are ‘overstretched’, this has always struck Harrumpf as, well, a bit of a stretch. NSW has just over 20,000 public hospital beds, with several thousand more in private hands. Influenza incidence is considerably reduced (the Federal Dept. of Health reports one case hospitalised since April this year) and with road fatalities for 2021 running at about 20% below the 5-year running average, it seems likely that injuries are similarly reduced.
As of 6th September, there were just over 1,000 Covid patients in hospital, of which 175 were in ICU. So, in the midst of a contagion we are supposed to believe is ‘raging’, a mere 5% of the state’s hospital capacity is devoted to caring for its sufferers. Unless there is something badly, systemically wrong with our health system, Dr Bonning’s claim that the hospitals are ‘stretched’, oft-voiced though it may be, seems odd, to say the least.
Do these people not realise that sooner or later the public will wake up to their deceit, and will not forgive them for it?