Dan O'Heirity

Australia is Still Over-Stating Its Case About The Country’s Covid-19 Problems

According to my preferred data source – which is updated in real time for the daily number of new cases and fatalities with the data being reset at GMT+0 – there have been 15,406,323 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 virus and 631,030 deaths. However, I remain most interested in Australia, the country where I live, because Australia seems to provide a case study for whether this virus is really as serious as we are being led to believe. Two days ago Australia reported 359 new cases bringing the total number of cases to 12,428 cases. There were 3 new deaths bring the total number of deaths to 126. This means that as of yesterday 1% of those who contracted the virus died from the virus. Yesterday there were 468 new cases bringing the total number of cases 12,896. There were 2 new deaths bringing the total number of deaths to 128. The fatality rate remains at 1% of those who contracted the virus. There have ben 406 new cases today bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 13,302. There have been 5 new deaths bringing the total number of fatalities to 133. The fatality rate remains at 1%.

Australia’s Alarmist Obsession with Covid-19

A story from yesterday, 22nd July, 2020 has a headline from ABC News, “Australia records highest daily number of coronavirus cases, surpassing March record”. The figure provided for new cases is 502 cases in a 24 hour period (the news story was updated at 11:59 PM). The story also reports that 2,414 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Australia over the past week which would cover the period of 15th July through to 22nd July. The vast majority of these cases are, as I have reported on previous occasions, in the city of Melbourne, Victoria. Melbourne is currently in a stage 3 lockdown meaning that people can only leave their houses for grocery shopping, medical care, work / education that cannot be carried out from home and exercise. Victoria is now considering a stage 4 lockdown but it is a little difficult to determine what stage 4 might actually look like. The ABC news story also reports that 90% of people who feel unwell are failing to self-isolate. I do wonder how exactly one would generate data that would show that the majority of unwell people are not self-isolating. That point aside, it is pretty my guaranteed that Australians will fail to follow simple steps to prevent the spread of the virus.

There is a second story form ABC news, also published yesterday, which covers a lot of the same points made in the first story. However, there are a few additional facts. First, the story reports that 205 Victorians are in hospital, with 40 in intensive care. Secondly, the story reports two men in their 90’s dying on the night of the 21st July taking the total number of deaths in Victoria to 44 . It’s impossible to get an overall picture of the data from this story so I’m going to use a live data source for my figures for the State of Victoria. Since reporting for Victoria began on March 3rd, 2020 there have been 7,125 Covid-19 cases and 49 deaths. This gives a death rate of 0.68%. There are currently 3,630 active cases in Victoria so if we assume the 0.68% fatality rate then there will be 25 deaths from the 3,630 active cases. Going back to the ABC news story, the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews was asked about stage 4 lockdowns. He said that a stage 4 could not be ruled out and that his decision would be driven by the data. However, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said that he was not sure that a New Zealand-style lockdown would work because Victoria more extensive community transmission.

Following the Influenza Argument Once Again

There is a certain amusing irony in the second ABC news story which provides a link to a story reporting that by mid July 2019, 430 people had died from influenza. The flu story, also from ABC news, reports that from January to the end of June 2019, more than 132,000 people were diagnosed with the flu. Seriously, am I the only one that sees the funny side of this reporting. ABC news is filling its digital pages with data about Covid-19 that shows that there have been 7,000 or so cases of Covid-19 in the State of Victoria. Australia as a whole has only 12,896 cases of Covid-19 as compared with 132,000 flu cases for the same period in 2019. Granted, if Covid-19 cases had matched the number of influenza cases from 2019 then we would have seen more Covid-19 deaths as compared with influenza deaths. However, let’s say that we take the figure of a 0.68% fatality rate for Covid-19. We would have seen 897 deaths from the 132,000 Covid-19 cases. This figure could be significantly reduced if vulnerable members of society such as the sick and the elderly were protected from the virus. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Australia – and perhaps other countries around the world – have over reacted to the Covid-19 virus.

First Published July 23rd, 2020

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