It’s hard now to remember the shock of finding out that we were to be put into “Stage 3” lock-down in Australia, despite the low number of Coronavirus infections and their restricted and charted spread. This was despite the innocent presumption that our “home quarantine” would be just fourteen days, while the outbreak was brought under control.
It rapidly became clear that the government’s presumptions were entirely different, with three months confinement and no “return to normal” after that.
The only thing that would allow a return to some sort of normality and restore our freedom to travel and interact with others was evidently a vaccine, with initial reports that it could take six months to find and produce one quickly disputed by claims from other authorities that this might be two years or more – or even that one mightn’t be found!
How could we wait that long for our freedom?
The most worrying feature of this Orwellian nightmare world we were thrown into was the bland acceptance of the new abnormal by so many in our “left-liberal” demographic – who seemed almost to relish virtual meetings, video bingeing and home-cooking, while rapidly forgetting their previously indispensable social lives – dressing up, driving, dining and drinking.
What they also forgot – if they ever knew – was the other half of society; the working classes for whom “working from home” means working from your home base, and claiming travel expenses if you are lucky.
The reality for those millions of workers, whose jobs disappeared overnight or were furloughed with a government dispensation, had still barely registered in the mainstream narrative when the “second wave” hit.
We had been – in the words of the Victorian Government – all “staying apart to keep us together”, and now must spend six more weeks in purdah because some people had stayed together.
One might wonder how it was that Victoria, which like the rest of Australia had barely suffered a first wave of Coronavirus infection – a mere 1450 diagnosed cases – was picked out as a warning to the world on the dangers of a second wave, along with the city of Leicester and a few other places that reintroduced lock-downs.
In what also seemed a strange coincidence, the spike in detected cases accompanied a huge testing blitz which was performed on the general population regardless of symptoms.
Without this ever being acknowledged – or at least made publicly known – it must be assumed that many of the hundreds of new cases of COVID19 infection discovered were asymptomatic, and the results a surprise and shock to the persons tested, who would then be obliged to stop work for two weeks and isolate themselves from friends and family.
Many children have also been tested in Melbourne’s poorer suburbs – the ones initially locked down – and they could be assumed to have shown no symptoms either.
The recognition that there could be a significant proportion of cases of Sars-CoV-2 infection that were asymptomatic came very early, with the implications considered by numbers of observers.
One such study in early April, by researchers at the University of Oxford Tom Jefferson and Carl Heneghan was published in a paper in the BMJ looking at the incidence of asymptomatic Sars-CoV-2 infections discovered in Chinese testing of overseas arrivals.
For various reasons, tests for the novel Coronavirus outside China had been conducted almost exclusively on those people showing obvious symptoms, and on health workers who were exposed to the virus. Apart from some notable exceptions, this was the case in most countries around the world, including Australia.
Despite recognition that CV19 infection was mostly mild in younger people, and rarely observed in children despite their obvious exposure, little interest has been shown then or since in testing the wider population, nor much consideration given to the possibility that infection might be far more widespread in the population than realised – a fact now becoming increasingly clear.
In the BMJ paper “COVID 19: four-fifths of cases are asymptomatic, China figures indicate”, Tom Jefferson and Carl Heneghan cite the figures for a single day – April 1st – when 130 out of the 166 new cases of infection in China were found to be asymptomatic.
Because China had begun to get on top of its outbreak at this time, testing was strongly focused on stopping new infections coming into the country and so applied to all arrivals.
While this may seem a small sample, a similar proportion of asymptomatic cases has been found since in different countries where testing has been done on the wider population. But as the authors note, this feature of the novel virus had already been well established in China –
“Citing classified data, the South China Morning Post said that China had already found more than 43 000 cases of asymptomatic infection through contact tracing.”
In an article on the website of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine in late March, Jefferson and Heneghan, director of the centre and editor of BMJ EBM, expanded on the implications of their findings:
“There can be little doubt that covid-19 may be far more widely distributed than some may believe. Lockdown is going to bankrupt all of us and our descendants and is unlikely at this point to slow or halt viral circulation as the genie is out of the bottle.
“What the current situation boils down to is this: is economic meltdown a price worth paying to halt or delay what is already amongst us?”
The authors made these observations at the same time as lockdowns were being introduced in both the UK and Australia, at the end of March. While the acceleration of cases in the UK might have justified such extreme action, their imposition in Australia was undeniably a gross overreaction.
Such a draconian measure also transgressed all previously assumed principles of freedom, parliamentary democracy and oversight, and public discussion.
As I have noted before, Australia’s leaders seemed to be following some predetermined plan of action in synchrony with other countries and certain vested interests rather than responding to actual local developments in the viral epidemic.
The predictions of the two Oxford researchers on the consequences of lockdowns – which have inexplicably vanished from their own website – are now being emphasised as a lockdown is reimposed on all five million residents of Melbourne.
For many small businesses, particularly in the hospitality and tourist industries, who were just re-opening as restrictions eased, this new confinement will mean bankruptcy and unemployment. The combination of accumulated debt with loss of income will inevitably lead some to destitution and suicide as the country’s economy collapses into a severe depression.
Worse even than this however, the sacrifices made in the name of “keeping safe” from the Virus are for nothing, as the population remains essentially just as susceptible to another “wave” of infection as before.
Unlike most other countries where more widespread community transmission has inevitably resulted in greater levels of acquired immunity in the population, the recent mass testing in Victoria has shown this not to be the case in Australia.
So it would appear that our only way out – literally as international travel is very restricted – is via a vaccine.
The newly appointed head of the WHO team investigating the handling of the COVID 19 pandemic, former New Zealand PM Helen Clark, has already estimated a wait of at least two years for a generally available vaccine, while others still question whether one will even be found and that we may have to rely on anti-viral treatments or the spread of naturally acquired immunity.
And it is at this point that the truth of what has been done to us by the authorities we trusted to “keep us safe” becomes evident.
Even since questioning “WHO’s conflict of Interest”, further worrying corroboration of the vested interests directing Australia’s COVID 19 “response” has emerged, with this week Remdesevir being approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for use on “Adults and adolescents” hospitalised with the disease.
As a result of the recent testing blitz, there are now about forty new patients in hospital, with a handful in intensive care, to whom the new drug can be administered – at huge cost to the taxpayer and with little benefit.
Had the use of Hydroxychloroquine not been effectively banned, by a combination of false research and sponsored media denigration, then it is likely most of these new patients would never have needed hospitalisation in the first place.
In review, and in consideration of the possible appearance of “herd immunity” in some countries and regions, it is increasingly clear that the policy of lock-down should never have been more than a stop-gap against this particular virus, with its rather unique characteristics of infection that leave most healthy people unscathed, and to which children appear more or less immune.
That this policy was adopted, in the full knowledge that a cheap and available drug treatment could mitigate the worst of the infection and enable a controlled epidemic that conferred natural immunity on the population, is quite simply a crime against humanity.
Following a comprehensive review of the drug treatment, James Gordon sums it up perfectly
Some of the media will do anything to make Trump look like a fool and these faulty trials were the perfect opportunity. The media hostile to hydroxychloroquine downplayed or cast doubt on the many successful studies and trials with hydroxychloroquine and made the most of the faulty trials as proof that the drug Trump had touted didn’t work.
For the media it seems to have been more about scoring political points and increasing their audience ratings rather than investigative reporting which uncovers the truth. For those who are dying and their families and friends as a result of this treatment not being used because of media misinformation it is lives tragically lost, and for the rest of us it is our economies sinking, businesses failing, and unemployment, poverty and suffering rising.
Hundreds of thousands of lives could be saved, and loss ruin, suffering and devastation to our economies and societies avoided if we simply started using this safe, cheap and readily available treatment. It is a ludicrous and tragic farce that because of the massive misinformation on behalf of corporate greed and political point scoring that we are not.
There can rarely be a last word in examining these controversies over the CV19 epidemic, and questions over the lock-down in Melbourne are no exception as hysteria builds over what Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews calls a “wildly infectious” virus. Today he went further, in what seems like a desperate attempt to suppress dissenting opinion in the community. At a press conference he put it like this:
“I have a message for all Victorians – this has taken the life of otherwise healthy people, of all age groups. The notion that this is simply something that will be tragic if you are very ill already, and very old, that is simply not right.”
Global statistics indicate that this dangerous “notion” simply is right, and that we are on a hiding to nowhere, stuck in a cycle of lock-downs and outbreaks until the State is bankrupted.
Originally published by American Herald Tribune
The 21st Century
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of 21cir.
*(Top image: A worker in full PPE (personal protection equipment) walks down the hallway of a locked down residential housing tower in North Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Credit: Chris McLay/ Unsplash)