Dan O'Heirity

Is the Covid-19 Pandemic Really as Serious As We Are Being Led to Believe?

Yesterday I was writing about whether this pandemic really is a pandemic. For example, seasonal influenza in 2019 was far more prolific in Australia than has been the case with Covid-19 in 2020. I also started to query the “Covid-19 pandemic” story that is being spun around the world. Today, in what seems like an astonishing coincidence there is a report from Sky News host Alan Jones entitled, “The economy ‘is in a coma’ due to government’s response to ‘so-called’ pandemic”. Jones is essentially making the point that governments around the world might have had a strategy of protecting the most vulnerable from the virus. Instead governments have all followed one another in going “lock down” mad. Jones goes on to say that “what is curious about Covid-19 is that it is not a particularly serious disease”. This is undeniably true if you compare the Covid-19 virus with the 1918 Spanish Flu where around 50,000,000 people died. There is also an interview with Adam Creighton, economics editor at The Australian, who says that the response to Covid-19 has been completely disproportionate to the actual reality of the virus.

So, on the line of argument that I am following, if you compare the infection rates and the death rates from the Spanish Flu and Covid-19, then it is very clear that the impact from Covid-19 is absolutely minimal as compared with the Spanish Flu. However, I believe that the argument that I made in my previous post is more telling. Seasonal influenza has a very high infection rate and it kills a significant number of people each year, albeit it people who are older. One could argue that if left unchecked Covid-19 would have surpassed the infection rate and death rate from seasonal influenza. However, the Australian Prime Minister said early on in the spread of the virus that 9 out of 10 people will suffer only mild symptoms. If that is the case, and if only a faction of those 1 in 10 people will die, then why did Australia shut down the whole country for months on end instead of isolating the most vulnerable, the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions. Even more so, why does Australia not isolate the most vulnerable from seasonal influenza?

We Should Be Critical of Our News Sources

It should be remembered that Alan Jones is a host on Sky News, owned by Rupert Murdoch and Sky news is not without its critics. “The Conversation” has this to say on Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.

Aping the worst of the American media – notably Murdoch’s Fox News – it rails against science, ridicules the measures being taken to suppress the outbreak, and tries to politicise a germ. It also propagates hate speech, vilifying ethnic and religious minorities in whose suburbs, schools and housing towers clusters have broken out.

“The Conversation” provides plenty of examples from Murdoch’s newspapers and news channels to support the various contentions in the quotation. However, the article does rather miss the point that all news reporting is invested with the interests of those who own and control media outlets. It is just that the interests differ according to the agendas of those who are actually in control. In other words there is no world in which reporting is an unbiased and dispassionate affair. In this context, I choose to draw on Sky News because it is just about the only news outlet that is countering the Covid-19 pandemic narrative.

The article also fails to address fundamental questions about the actual severity of Covid-19. For example, the author cites research from “The Lancet” on the effectiveness of face masks in reducing the risk of infection and takes Alan Jones to task for questioning whether we should be using face masks. That point is fair enough but the deeper question has to do with whether Covid-19 is really severe enough to worry about the wearing of face masks. These days I am tending to the view that Covid-19 has been significantly over played. I would hold to this point even though some countries with high infection rates have also seen high death rates because these death rates need to be looked at much more closely. For example, to what extent was data misreported early on in the pandemic? Did we see high death rates in countries with a significantly ageing population?

Statistics Showing That Australians Have Confidence in the Prime Minister

If you took the headline from the next news story from “The Conversation” at face value then you might forgiven for believing that the Australian public believes that the Prime Minister and the Federal Government have done a good job in handling the Covid-19 virus pandemic. The headline reads, “Australians highly confident of government’s handling of coronavirus and economic recovery: new research”. This assertion is supported with data that shows that 54% of respondents have confidence in the government. First, let’s note that 54% is rather obviously only slightly more than half of the respondents. Secondly, 54% of respondents had confidence in the World Health Organization (WHO) and 61% had confidence in Universities. So 54% of respondents have faith in the WHO despite the WHO’s complete mishandling of the pandemic. 61% of respondents had confidence in Australian Universities that are in a state of financial turmoil because their very highly paid vice chancellors over exposed them to the international student market. My point is that we should not put much stock in the Prime Minister’s approval rating.

First Published July 21st, 2020

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