Is elimination even achievable now? It is not a hard argument to run that the virus has got its hooks into too many nooks and crannies in Victoria to easily dislodge. True, it is not going to be easy. But we also know that hard lockdowns work.
The case numbers, surely, will fall. And if we stay in stage four lockdown, we will eventually eliminate community transmission. The question is how long Victoria would have to stay in stage four to achieve this. We do not know the answer to this question yet. Perhaps in two to three weeks, we might have enough data to model it or hazard a guess. The issue will then become whether achieving elimination of community transmission is worth the economic and social costs of a stage four lockdown.
Numbers being thrown around at the moment are of a six-week hard lockdown costing Victoria and the country about $9bn. Such costs are high. But so too is the cost of not eliminating the virus, and having to live in a spluttering economy – going in and out of lockdown – until a vaccine hopefully arrives.
$9bn is a goddamn drop in the bucket. Especially so given deficits no longer matter.
As a third-time lucky lockdown recipient, let me tell you that we need to kill this sucker or life will become an unliveable groundhog day.
Which is why I find the following to be hysterical garbage:
Shameful what’s occurring in Victoria.
Effective dictatorship declared.
Devastating, destructive power of the state on full display.
Respect for the individual clearly irrelevant.
What’s the point in being alive if you can’t live?
— Adam Creighton (@Adam_Creighton) August 2, 2020
I pointed out how loony this was on Monday. Today, a chastened and defensive Creighton fires back:
If social media is any guide it is our intelligence, rather than our health, that has been dealt a heavier blow by the coronavirus pandemic and the vested interests that benefit from it. The debate about how to respond to the virus has been undermined by widespread ignorance and the plethora of fallacies that surely call for compulsory teaching of logic in schools.
Jeez, mate. Hypocrisy much!
The truth may hurt, Adam. But not as much as the repeated lockdowns that transpire under the suppression strategy which are now a matter of historical record.
Not to mention that the federation makes the switch to elimination almost inevitable, with sick VIC and NSW now isolated permanently. Assuming VIC whips the virus this time, there is NO WAY it will open up to a still sick NSW. So the Premier State will become Australia’s health and economic leper colony.
Nobody is arguing that New Zealand is perfect. There’ll be an adjustment for it, too, as it loses activity in some external sectors. Though today’s 4% unemployment rate looks awfully good versus Australia’s 7.2% and the path to 10% plus (not to mention the real, much higher number).
A few months of pain and recession for a long term fortress economy is a lot better than repeated failures of suppression in terms of quality of life and economic outcomes over the stretch.