An impressive group of Australia's leading thinkers from the fields of economics, law, politics, academics & business have signed an open letter to our political leaders to refocus what they currently consider "the greater good" of the nation. At the very least it has exposed the advice those leaders have relied on thus far as highly debateable, if not largely arbitrary.
I've seen the initial response from the Prime Minister and it was little more than a government brochure - a pro forma letter with no personalised attention to the matters raised. This is disappointing in the light of not only the calibre of the letter's signatories but also the sensible & balanced recommendations contained therein.
The letter observes that COVID-19 is here and not going away, and a vaccine may never exist, and certainly not any time soon. Another coronavirus variant, SARS, still has no vaccine.
There is a cost to every benefit, and in seeking the benefit of eliminating COVID-19 from the community at any cost, the letter argues, "More damage is being caused by the lockdowns than prevented."
"While lockdowns limit the number of deaths from COVID-19, they also increase deaths from other causes and cause widespread misery. To analyse the COVID effect it is necessary to understand it as shortening life. But the lockdowns and the panic have also had a cost in shortening life for others:
- The lockdown will decrease national income by denying work to the most productive and this will have a measurable effect on the length of the average lifespan equivalent to thousands of casualties from COVID, because it mainly effects the elderly who suffer from comorbidities while the decrease in income will affect younger Australians.
- Thousands of lives per month due to disrupted normal health services. This includes cancer deaths that would have been prevented with normal services, inoculations that were cancelled or postponed, and cancelled and postponed hospital operations. In the UK the UCL has estimated an increase in cancer deaths over the next 12 months of 20%. Using Australia’s rate of cancer fatalities of 50,000 per annum, that would translate to a shortening of 10,000 lives here.
- Thousands of future suicides by the unemployed and others whose lives have been ruined (the AMA estimates 750 to 1500 per annum)."
The letter argues the worst case credible scenario was about 10,000 deaths in Australia even if we had the same death rate as Sweden, however the cost of the lockdowns will be many more preventable deaths due to the neglected early diagnoses of greater dangers such as cancer, heart disease, mental health and more.
In concluding the letter is critical that the innaccurate epidemiological models relied upon to lockdown the nation were not robust or transparent. The decisions made were opaque bypassed normal democratic scrutiny. The Commonwealth and State leaders have shifted the goalposts but have not trusted the community to adequately explain their reasoning.
The letter finally offers five practical points the nation's leaders can learn from their mistakes and better policies to be implemented before any further damage is done, and in future similar scenarios for the greater good:
- No forecasting model can be used where the program code is not publicly available for analysis and download;
- A cost-benefit analysis, including lives saved versus lives lost, both directly and consequentially, based on the best available information, must be completed before any action is taken;
- Weekly or daily non-epidemic death figures should be posted as well as deaths from the epidemic;
- The types of people who must be part of the advisory group to government should be specified in writing, and be more inclusive than what we appear to have at the moment;
- No directive or regulation restricting individual rights can be promulgated without approval by Parliament within a one-month window.
The full letter, it's source references and an opportunity to add your name can be found here.
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Dave Pellowe is a Christian writer & commentator, founder of The Good Sauce, convener of the annual Australian Church And State Summit and host of Good Sauce's weekly The Church And State Show, also syndicated on ADH TV. Since 2016 Dave has undertaken the mission of arming Christians to influence culture from Perth to Auckland through Christian political events, videos, podcasts and articles published in multiple journals across Australia and New Zealand. [more]