Cameron Murray for PM

I loath Q&A. It is little more than a bourgeois echo chamber of self-congratulation. What a relief it was to see economist Cameron Murray get on there and stick it to them with elegance, reason and demands for evidence.

I don’t always agree with Cam but his arguments are well-reasoned, he demands evidence and he is never dogmatic. That is, he applies dialectic.

What was most amusing on the program was how the various other pundits resorted instead to Argumentum ad Verecundiam, the fallacious appeal to authority (I’m a doctor and you’re not etc), rather than simply answering Cam’s direct and well-reasoned queries.

The poor little ABC editors reporting on it today have borderline misrepresented Cam’s various points in the usual desperate attempt to cancel anything that they disagree with:

Economist Cameron Murray has caused a stir on Q+A by claiming Australia’s COVID-19 response was over the top and the vaccine “was a stroke of luck”.

Mr Murray’s comments, which also included his opinions about media coverage, the government response being overblown and the lack of a need to vaccinate children, were met with scorn and disbelief from all the other members of the Thursday night panel, which included Australian Medical Association president Omar Khorshid, epidemiologist Kamalini Lokuge, Uluru Statement leader Sally Scales and political editor of The Age and SMH Peter Hartcher.

The issue came to a head when a question was asked about the Melbourne couple who crossed the New South Wales and Queensland borders and whether Australia had now become too complacent when dealing with the pandemic.

Hartcher responded in the affirmative and laid the blame at the feet of the slow vaccine rollout, a “complacent” federal government and people being “comfortable” due to the lack of major outbreaks in Australia.

But once he had finished, Mr Murray went on a tear and said Australians should be complacent when it comes to coronavirus.

“I think people are right to be complacent because I think compared to what we see in the media, I think people have a better judge of the risks than what we’ve seen in the media,” Mr Murray said.

“From a public health perspective, it’s not clear to me that any of our reactions have been ideal.

“I’ve read the pandemic plans from prior to 2020 and most of what we’ve done, were not in them.

“School closures were not recommended, working from home not recommended, border closures not recommended.”

He then said it was nonsensical moving forward for children to be vaccinated.

“We know this virus is a thousand times worse for elderly people than the young and we don’t need to vaccinate 100 per cent of the young people before we open up.

“That’s an imbalance of risks.”

Dr Khorshid then called Mr Murray out on his claims, which led to a verbal stoush between the two.

Which led to Mr Murray questioning if we were the most successful nation at managing the pandemic, to which Dr Khorshid replied: “We have been extraordinarily successful.”

Mr Murray then refuted that response and suggested Australia’s COVID response had actually hurt the healthcare system.

“In what measure,” he said.

“In all public health, in all the delayed births, all those couples who will never have the children they want because the hospitals were delayed or they were scared of the pandemic.

“All those routine health checks that got delayed that we can’t catch up on, you think that they outweigh the risks and are justified?”

Mr Murray then went on to be critical of vaccinating the entire population before international borders open and used Sweden’s widely criticised coronavirus response, which avoided lockdown, as an example of a balanced response.

That is despite Sweden’s government admitting they made errors in how they handled the pandemic, during which the nation has recorded over 1 million cases and 14,500 deaths to date in a country of just over 10 million, the highest numbers amongst Scandinavian countries.

“We know schools were open for the 18 months in Sweden and no children died,” he said.

Waiting to reopen a ‘no-brainer’

His comments this time were met with a response from Dr Lokuge, who was unhappy about the message Mr Murray was sending.

“Can I speak as a public health expert and not an economist,” Dr Lokuge, an associate professor at the Australian National University, said.

“What we are aiming for is a level of vaccine coverage that means we are not going to get to high levels of transmission.”

She then cited the UK as a reason not to open too soon and why Australia should aim for a higher vaccine coverage rate before doing so.

“If you look at what’s happening in the UK at the moment, they have almost 50 per cent coverage and they started to open up.

“Their Prime Minister, their Secretary of the Treasury have said we may need to delay opening up because we’ve got a new variant and got increasing hospitalisations and increased number of cases.

Plea to ‘protect our vulnerable people’

Despite those pleas, one audience member seemed to agree with Mr Murray as she asked if precautions were over the top.

Mr Murray then reiterated one of his major points.

“We’re closing down our normal health services and it’s time to ask questions about the balance of risk and reward from the response,” he said.

This time, it lead to a rebuke from Ms Scales, who said as an Indigenous woman she thought the policies were correct.

“I will always be cautious when I’m a part of a group that is always going to be vulnerable,” Ms Scales said.

“Aboriginal people have got underlying issues, I’m always going to caution and make sure we’re protecting our elderly.

“If COVID got into an Aboriginal community, we don’t have the luxury of quarantining by ourselves.

“And turn around for the Royal Flying Doctors is eight hours to Alice Springs or Adelaide.

“In a case of someone else gets COVID, and is a vulnerable person, they’re getting to die before that plane comes back.

“Let’s protect our elderly, let’s protect our vulnerable people and it’s everyone’s job to do that.

“Every time there’s a new strain, I will keep saying that because I’m not getting to mess around with people’s lives.”

Vaccine ‘a stroke of luck’, Murray says

Mr Murray then got into another stoush when he made a claim that the medical industry simply got lucky with vaccines and said he felt they had no plan for a pandemic.

“What was your plan if there was no vaccine for another two years? Be honest now? I’d really like to know that.”

That led to Dr Lokuge saying that was simply not the case and said while some of the measures of past pandemics, such as social distancing, were in play, they were not the only plans available.

“The fact is the influenza pandemic that everyone keeps referring to happened more than 100 years ago,” she said.

“It happened directly after one of the most traumatic events in history, World War I, and in a time when biomedical research and health systems were rudimentary at best.

“We’re in a different situation. I had every expectation we would have vaccines.”

Asked about the need to vaccinate kids, Dr Khorshid responded to Mr Murray about the need to do so as new variants of COVID emerge.

“Kids don’t catch COVID as much, that is one of the realities,” Dr Khorshid said.

“However, if they do get it they certainly don’t follow the rules.

“And unfortunately with the latest variants, we are now starting to see children getting sick and ending up in hospital with COVID.

“Children have died from this virus around the world.

“I can tell you now the scientists, the experts that make these decisions will not recommend these vaccines for children until there’s a direct benefit, not just for the community, but for the children themselves.

“They’re not going to vaccinate kids to protect us or older Australians. They’re getting to vaccinate kids if it’s good for the children themselves.”

Not only should the ABC make Cameron Murray a regular, but he should also run for PM!

David Llewellyn-Smith
Latest posts by David Llewellyn-Smith (see all)

Comments

  1. The next question we should be asking is how come denying routine check-ups, standard cancer treatment, etc., to the whole population for nearly a year hasn’t resulted in any adverse health outcomes.

      • Well, no. Primary healthcare was shut for months. People should be succumbing in every second aisle of every supermarket, but they’re not. Perhaps most of the health system is – ahem – useless?

        • Even StevenMEMBER

          More likely the consequences are spread over many years to come… gradually.

          A bowel polyp undetected in 2020 won’t lead to a death in 2021, but it might in 2032. My expectation would be a very gradual lifting of the mortality curve (all else equal) but whether this is sufficient to be detected given the long term trend improvements in medical technology, life expectancies etc, don’t know.

          • darklydrawlMEMBER

            ^^^ This. Many of these things have long lead times and develop slowly. I would suspect there will be longer term impacts for some diseases / conditions – but it will be a few years before this maybe apparent (it might be too subtle to be noticed too). I also suspect depression and mental health issues are rife – especially for those struggling with isolation and/or financial pressure.

          • Nup. The actual treatment kills people faster than lots of things. Better outcomes without the treatment. People just don’t want to believe.

        • Duke_WellingtonMEMBER

          Every interaction I have with the our Health services I get this impression, Over provisioning of services, always being reccomended to “specialists”…. to very little clear end.
          Health practitioners talk thier own book, defend thier own book and love to point you to a friend practitioner down the road – oh , you have private health coverage yes?
          It is so bad in child health that I actually think these health servcies contribute to alot of the anxiety in mothers out there.
          Its a massive industry that gets a free pass. This has been massively on display the past year “trust us, we got this”
          no.

          • Perhaps if medical specialties were adequately funded by the Commonwealth/States in public health settings?…

          • drsmithyMEMBER

            If you don’t think you’re sick enough to need diagnosis or treatment, why are you going to the doctor in the first place ?

          • BubbleyMEMBER

            Maybe people aren’t getting their regular prostrate checks. An issue might be found early and treated
            Nobody wants to have one done and this is a great excuse to avoid it, but if you’re peeing blood, loosing weight and have a sore lower back, it might simply be too late.

            The lack of checks now might result in untreatable cancer in 5 or 10 years.

        • Too true I suspect. Anecdotally, a friend of a friend who was head of the cancer unit at the Alfred said if diagnosed with cancer she would refuse all treatment.

    • Why would you say there have been no adverse outcomes?
      I have been involved in a number of cases where symptoms were scheduled for investigations which were postponed for 4-6 months or longer due to the shutdown. When patients finally received their tests they revealed cancers which are likely further progressed than they otherwise would have been with surgery happening later than it otherwise should have. Survival will likely be duly shortened.
      Unprovable, of course, as we can’t rewind the clock to see what would have happened but highly probable.

    • Note: the below is based on observations from working inside a public health system and closely with primary care in NSW.

      Primary Health Care was not shut for months.

      Referrals to specialist medical specialist was not shut for months.

      Let’s not let facts get in the way of a good story.

  2. BRAVO CAMERON MURRAY!!!

    The sole voice of reason on a panel of intellectual ninnies. Although, Cam if I can offer a word of advice you need to speak in short sound bites that virtue signal more than any actual point you might be trying to make.

    You must use identity politics and victimhood in your responses in order to engage the QandA audience.

    “As a proud trans indigenous refugee… (pointless point)… I think X”

    QandA audience does their Jerry Springer equivalent by clapping and shooting rainbows from their chests like care bears as tears of pure wokeness roll down their cheeks.

    You can’t use facts and critical thinking on this show. You were there to cop flak, just like Gigi Foster did.

  3. MathiasMEMBER

    I dont think thats how the audience saw it. After watching that show, I got the feeling Cameron was being silenced and shutdown.

    Cameron may have had something to say but I dont think the people heard it. All they saw was a greedy cold economist putting profits above the lives of there loved ones and family.

    My observations is Cameron may need to work on his verbal presentation a little. Perhaps, sell the benefits so people know what your trying to achieve?

    As for the message, I get a little lost in the forest with so much going on in Australia. There is just so much BS going on in Australia that we practically need a new country. For me, it seems like we are arguing over trivial stuff everywhere while ignoring important issues. We change the odd thing on the side and call it progress but Australia needs holistic changes. There is just so much we need to fix, that where would you even begin? It just goes on, and on and on.

    I dont know enough but House Prices need to come down. I often wonder which team Camerons now on 🙂 If SAPs changed its policies then I cant see myself voting for anyone at the next Federal election. I think I’ll just take the fine.

    Cameron might be accurate but I think he needs to sell the benefit because people might not have any clue what he’s talking about. He did get shut down. That seemed pretty obvious to me.

      • ChinajimMEMBER

        Did you actually read DLS’s post? If you didn’t then why are you commenting? If you did then why did you add a link to the very same article that was in the post?

        A new level of muppetry, even for you.

          • Are you even Australian bourkl? or are you just another loud mouthed Migrant from Sydney?

            Many of Austalias Boomers will be dead in 10 years. What motivation do they have to see Australia turn into a good country? Its not like Boomers will be around to see it. Just grab as much cash as you can before you die.

            We shouldnt be listening to the Migrants or the Boomers. Neither of them have any interests to see Australia go anywhere?

            There are some people who actually LIVE in this Country. Maybe its time we start listening to them instead of all these wannabe foreigners and those who already have one foot in the grave already? Todays young are the Aspirations to Tommorrows Australia. Australias so corrupt we’ve destroyed there dreams, tied there hands and stolen all there money.

            So when Australia collapses and all the Migrants bugger off back to there Native Lands, where do Australians migrate to? This is our home. Your damn right I wont be silent.

            The Boomers have a lot to be sorry for. Half the National Security Problems in this Country all link back to them. If Chinas such a damn threat, then why are the Boomers selling houses to them? Close the borders. Problem solved. Sydney is the most corrupt state in Australia and the entire State needs to be bulldozed.

        • ha ha… thankyou for pulling me up. End of week and tired, I guess.

          I dont know. Confused by the whole thing. I want to see change in this Country but after you’ve dealt with such bullying, fraud and manipulation for years… its hard to see if this country can ever be restored to something good.

          Australias in pretty bad shape and there is a group of Australians who are not above murder to see there objectives through. I guess in the grand scheme of things, it all begins with little steps but there’s just so much wrong with this country now, its just unbelievable.

          Im shocked that Australia hasnt demonised him and thrown him against the wall. Knowing Australia, Im just shocked they havent sent the death squad after him. The fact he’s been written up in two newspapers and given exposure is baffling to me. Australias Media is nothing more then a propaganda machine shedding light on whatever serves there interests. I guess MB must be getting some traction and these other news outlets must be running out of stories to report on. Its good that he got it but Im expecting them to turn on him in good time. They arent here for him. Thats not how Australia works.

          Australias corrupt from head to toe. I’ll never knock a good thing but I guess we will see what happens. A leopard never changes its spots and I find I cant see Australias corruption being gone overnight. The Boomers dont do anything which ends up hurting themselves. Its probably just a charade until someone has to pay a price, then it’ll all be disbanded and told to go away.

          I have no faith in this Country. I suspect thats obvious 🙂

          • I said I admire your dedication. Why have a go at me? I assure you I’m very Australian.

          • I apologise bourkl. I thought you where attacking me. Perhaps Im just used to be attacked 🙂

        • Australias a Country thats so Corrupt it cant even get its own Anti-Corruption Commission.

          I mean, we can focus on whatever trivial piece of media puff we want, but lets start there.

          Anything else from that point onwards, makes Australia nothing more then just a laughable joke.

          A fish rots from its head and Australias rotten to the core. Its media is no exception.

          Australias a Nation of Criminals. Its nice we catch one once in a while, but thats not even the point.

    • Your first post is right Mathias. I’m a Cam fan, but he could have come across better by getting the crowd on side for starters. He lost me on a few points: vaccine a stroke of luck? why then do we have so many vaccines; people should be complacent? no, people won’t wear masks unless they’re told to and are selfish or stupid, like driving from Vic to Qld; and as for kids, Delta seems to spread amongst kids easily. Cam, get the crowd on side with a point they can cheer you with, then hammer the panel.

      • Peter SMEMBER

        Agree. It was a very uncomfortable performance that made him look like an anti-vaxer, which he is not.
        He should have stated his position first and then moved to explore alternatives that might work better in the future.
        Harry Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but over the past 18 months, everyone has been learning on the job and that continues.
        Challenging the combined wisdom has to be done with a little nuance. (hate that word)

  4. Well, they are not really vaccines yet……more like quite effective prophylactics that enable us to keep the consumer economy rolling on. Perhaps the Sanofi vaccine slated for next year will be the real thing.

    Until then for those at the front line be aware that the symptoms of the Delta variant are quite different, no loss of sense of smell and taste, much more earache and tonsilitis like throat problems, the cough is much less and different. Cases are taking off in the UK now and just started ticking up in the US as well. There are quite enough people still at risk to cause hospital problems still.

    https://twitter.com/dgurdasani1/status/1402886602356150274

  5. Much has been learnt from this experience, fields such as epidemiology will advance as a result, and we will be better prepared next time. A lot comes down to how much the government is willing to spend to be prepared. There is no doubt that as this pandemic is studied further management of future pandemics will be done differently. Hard to criticise the public health response when they’re working on the fly.

    Dr Lokuge “We’re in a different situation. I had every expectation we would have vaccines.” How? you’ve never worked in drug or vaccine development.

  6. BirdynumnumMEMBER

    I do not feel we are adequately informed about the risk/ reward of this vaccination programme. We are being sold without question that the efficacy of the vaccines are ~95%. It appears far from the truth that being fully vaccinated will reduce the risk of contracting COVID by 95%.
    Whilst it may be more difficulty to explain, we should have a proper conversation regarding the efficacy and the relative risk reduction (RRR) versus the absolute risk reduction(ARR). Using the Pfizer vaccine as an example, from the trial data the vaccine group 0.044% got COVID, whilst in the control group 0.884% got COVID. The ARR of taking the vaccine is then 0.84%, <1%. We would need to vaccinate 119 people to prevent 1 case of COVID. However what we are being sold is the RRR, which is the ARR (0.84%) divided by the control group rate of 0.884% which *100 = ~95%. ARR <1% versus RRR of ~95%. I feel the latter is a little misleading.
    The vaccine is most likely a very good choice for the vulnerable and those with comorbidities, however for the vast majority of the population the ARR seems to be small. Whilst certainly not a panacea I wonder how much better we would be prepared, and for a fraction of the cost, if we focussed more on preventative health such as healthy diets, exercise and sunshine/ vit D.

    • Desperate times call for desperate measures.

      If the experimental jab kills 1 in 4000 and the COVID-19 kills 1 in 400 then perhaps the jab is the least bad option.

      But forcing the jab on people will kill obvious victims. This is not something that we do with vaccines. Even a tiny death rate is enough to call off previous medical experiments.

      Also in these desperate times, IF we believe the benefits outweigh the risks, we must keep track of both the benefits and the risks as the situation develops. As new data comes to hand, the benefit/risks WILL change and we can only make the correct decision at the time if we have up-to-date data.

      These times call for thinking, not believing. Taking these jabs are a calculated risks. They are not a religious experience, nor a tribal issue.

      I take calculated risks every day of my life. I will take an experimental jab for the good of myself and others. But only if I am given information that I trust. At the moment I don’t trust what I am being told by “experts”.

      Real science is never settled. Settled science is politics.

    • TheLambKingMEMBER

      if we focused more on preventative health such as healthy diets, exercise and sunshine/ vit D

      Ah, the classic line brought out by the anti-vaxxer to try to show how it wasn’t the polio vaccine that eradicated polio it was ‘a good healthy lifestyle.’

      These are vaccines where you have a higher chance of dying in a car accident on the way to get vaccinated than you are of dying from the vaccine, used to prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths in the community.

      • Yeah Boom Times

        These are the same arguments I’ve been trying to make for 12 months about COVID itself!

        Of the 900 odd COVID deaths in Australia, only 5 of them were people under the age of 50. No doubt they were fat slobs with underlying health issues too.

        Not everyone is the same chance of catching COVID, nor same chance of dying from it. The odds are wildly different depending on age and lifestyle.

        Same as driving on the roads. The 18 year old who just got his motorcycle licence and likes to get it up to 250 km/h on the open road is a far greater chance of dying on the roads than the person who drives an SUV, sits in the left lane doing 5 km/h below the limit and keeping a safe distance from the car in front.

    • Yeah Boom Times

      There’s virtually no chance of someone under 50 with no underlying health issues dying from COVID.

      Plus not everyone is the same risk of catching COVID even if it was endemic in Australia.

      If you interact with the public for work, like to socialise at public venues then you are probably a minimum 1000x more likely to catch COVID than someone who works from home, doesn’t go to pubs, gyms, etc.

      As for promoting healthy lifestyles, well, that wouldn’t be politically popular would it?

      67% of Aussies are classified as obese. All the fatties would be up in arms claiming it’s a basic right to be a fat, unhealthy, slob of human being if they were told to get in shape and that their own health is their own responsibility not society’s

      I should not have to go into lockdowns, have my movements restricted, be forced to take an experimental medical treatment to protects all the fatsos out there.

      Most of these slobs have no problem popping pills for their cholesterol, blood pressure, made up mental illnesses, so of course relish the idea of an experimental medical treatment to solve their problems.

      • blacktwin997MEMBER

        I blame the lack of effective proactive fat-shaming for this situation. Back in the day when you could recreationally poke fun at fatty boom bars we didn’t have this whole obesity thing, it was a rarity rather than a relatable basis for reality TV shows.

        Death rate by BMI would be an illuminating statistic even given BMI is less than perfect as a measure of body fat percentage.

        • Yeah Boom Times

          Twice as many people in the US died from heart disease as from COVID last year. I’m sure many of those death classified as COVID deaths would have been fatties who would have died from heart disease in the coming years anyway. Another 250k deaths from strokes and diabetes too. Not to mention you don’t just drop dead overnight from these diseases you have poor quality of life, multitude of health issues in the years before dropping dead. These slobs are a tremendous burden on the health system.

          The young generation grew up without being bullied for their character flaws. Bullying builds character. If it’s a choice between being normal or being ostracised by your peers for stuffing your face with that meat pie and washing it down with a carton of Oak then you lose the b1tch t1ts.

      • TheLambKingMEMBER

        There’s virtually no chance of someone under 50 with no underlying health issues dying from COVID.

        I should not have to go into lockdowns, have my movements restricted, be forced to take an experimental medical treatment to protects all the fatsos out there.

        So what happens when Covid is running uncontrolled (like Italy, US & UK)? Well, the hospitals fill up and the paramedics, doctors and nurses get sick (and some die.) So when healthy under 50 have a car accident or older people have heart attacks they were more likely to die because the health system and all the hospital beds can’t cope.

        And the case fatality rate in the 30-50 age group is still non-trivial.

        • The hospitals fill up because they are chocka with geriatrics that lost their marbles years before. The elderly in the rest homes should have been afforded a dignified death with family rather than moved into hospitals as covid swept through.

        • Yeah Boom Times

          For 30-50 the death rate basically is trivial if you are healthy. You first have to catch the virus (which is fairly easy to avoid taking basic precautions), then you have next to no chance of dying.

  7. turvilleMEMBER

    Sounds like Cameron hasn’t a clue what he’s talking about – it’s not as if anyone in the world was well prepared for the virus that was dumped upon us ex Wuhan and on purpose.

  8. ‘Course it was a blessing. At minimal cost, we got an opportunity to reconsider the dominant program of quarry Australia, edu-migration, mass migration, and rising house prices 4eva. Except, we’re heading right back there, ASAP.

  9. Yeah, nah. And your argument here is just the fallacy fallacy…

    First of all, I cannot watch Q A either. So if I am relying on the ABCs poor reporting than please clarify. And it’s clear the ABC is showing bias here as they don’t call Dr Murray by his title, but do for the other panellists. Maybe there is an argument as he is commenting outside his area of expertise, but pandemic responses are outside the expertise of MDs also so that’s tenuous at best. Only the epidemiologist can be considered an expert in this context I think.

    Firstly, Dr Murray’s claim that the vaccine development was just luck is absurd. If we interpret this as ‘we should not have expected a fast vaccine development in making decisions’, I think this should not be misrepresenting Dr Murray’s views. If we make the further charitable assumption that the probability of the scientific community developing a vaccine quickly is <50% I think we can show how ridiculous this is…

    The global scientific community has at present independently developed 16 WHO approved vaccines, with 85 candidate vaccines in developemnt – https://www.raps.org/news-and-articles/news-articles/2020/3/covid-19-vaccine-tracker

    So with the benefit of hindsight and a charitable interpretation of his views Dr Murray has a 0.001% chance of being correct. Except he only made that claim WITH the benefit of hindsight! Maybe being an expert in the area is useful in making these decisions.

    On vaccinating children- How fast we have forgotten about herd immunity… This was the main (terrible) argument against shutting down the first time. High vaccination rates can actually deliver this. How about benefits to children themselves? Once the older population gains immunity, we have just given the virus an extreme selection pressure to target younger people. Only variants that can effectively target children would survive and spread. So if herd immunity more broadly is not reached, the need for vaccinating children is… just inevitable. But vaccine eligibility is done by gradually lowering the age so children are vaccinated last… and with new information about herd immunity or otherwise we can just stop at any time…

    As for people being able to make these risk decisions themselves… perhaps but I don't really see evidence of this. Maybe Sweden it went OK (I'm not up to date with outcomes but I remember Sweden not doing that well). America it was clearly a different story. How could you know in advance of making the decision?

    • The vaccines were “luck”, considering that previously there has never been a vaccine for a coronavirus and that the closest anyone had come was a vaccine for SARS that had a higher mortality rate than the virus itself, which is far more deadly than the genetically engineered Wuhan virus.

    • Drivel there was reason to think that vaccines would make any difference to the mortality rates. The best evidence at the start of the pandemic was the meta-analysis by cochrane which showed no reduction in mortality from use of influenza vaccines. They do make billions for pharma companies though, which was why there was a huge push for them.
      https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD001269.pub6/full?highlightAbstract=influenza%7Cinfluenz

      • Anders Andersen

        “Drivel there was reason to think that vaccines would make any difference to the mortality rates. The best evidence at the start of the pandemic was the meta-analysis by cochrane which showed no reduction in mortality from use of influenza vaccines.”

        Really! So because the influenza vaccine doesn’t have any impact on mortality in HEALTHY adults (which was never its intent, anyway. It was to reduce lost work time) means a cv vaccine will have no impact on mortality in HEALTHY adults? Well, my understanding was that was never the intent anyway. You don’t have to die to end up in hospital and occupy a bed and an ICU bed at that.

        I always though the intent was to prevent the health system being overwhelmed and people dying as a result of that. Plus to protect those susceptible to cv.

      • mrsnrubMEMBER

        Baseless analogies to influenza is the bread and butter of the let it rip crowd.

        Clinical and animal trials of several coronavirus candidate vaccines (for the previous coronavirus outbreaks) demonstrates that your claim is utter rubbish. A systematic review of a specific type of flu vaccine for a specific cohort was in no way the ‘best evidence’ for coronavirus vaccine effectiveness.

        Not surprisingly, the experts took the opposing view and emerging evidence suggests they are right again. Imagine that.

  10. kierans777MEMBER

    I watched Q&A and even submitted a question for Cameron. I disagree with you DLS. Cameron came across as an arrogant jerk. He wasn’t really interested in any of the answers the other panellists said (I personally think Omar Khorshid engaged and responded well). I know that “appeal to authority” is a logical fallacy, but it’s also ignorant to ignore the experience of people in a profession as over time to you learn more and more about your field that is hard to communicate in sound bites. Perhaps some humility from Cameron would have helped the overall discussion.

      • Peter SMEMBER

        By QandA standards, that was a good panel. Even Hartcher made sense and showed some humour, which is a sign of intelligence. Dr Khorshid is a fantastic appointee in his role, who has broad experience in community medicine.
        Cam was breathing hard and his heart rate was pounding. He was cruz’ín for a bruz’in, which is not a state that delivers well thought out and logical dialogue.

      • kierans777MEMBER

        I am flattered you’re paying enough attention to my online activities to label me an “ABC and Reddit” addict.

        I don’t disagree with everything Cameron said. He asked some good questions of the other panellists and made a few good points (his point about the luck of vaccine being one). I disagree with the way he overall acted in terms of his attitude and looking like a jerk. This isn’t about “the feels”. There is solid psychological research about how to engage with people when you actually want to change their minds as opposed to “winning the argument” and actually achieving no change in outcome. If Cam’s goal was to try and shift public opinion, or even the opinion of the other panellists he failed.

        (Using Sweden as an example was a terrible idea as the evidence has showed that Sweden suffered terribly for no real economic benefit compared to countries that locked down.)

    • happy valleyMEMBER

      +1 Arrogant – would be good company for virtually all federal LNP pollies (eg Tim Wilson) and Saint Gladys of NSW and even with Jayne Hrdlicka of Virgin.

  11. Ronin8317MEMBER

    Every single regime that didn’t shut down, including Sweden, changed their stance when their hospital become overrun. The number of infected requiring hospitalization versus beds available is the key issue. Everything we have done is to protect the health system, and Australia simply did not have enough hospital beds if infection rates is in thousands per day.

    If we vaccinate all the elderly and those at risk, children don’t need to be fully vaccinated before we open up. My mum, who is over 70, got her first dose of AZ yesterday. Her next dose is in September, because you need to wait 3 months for the second dose. Australia’s vaccination speed is what is preventing us from opening up.

    • Correct. Victoria was at risk of running out of hospital beds to house the Covid patients during its second wave. It had to build a makeshift hospital at the Showgrounds. Whilst many people may have misgivings about our political class, the Covid response in Australia was actually pretty decent. I don’t know why we compare our response to Europe where some countries like France and Sweden have infection rates similar to the US.

      • If the Feds had started expanding quarantine last March and spent more on vax, lockdown 2 in Melbourne would had been our only real community transmission period, you’d think we would have had a perfect run and be lauded around the world as geniuses.

      • BubbleyMEMBER

        Yes, an over run health system was always going to be the issue.

        Darwin has only 12 critical care beds and 7 of them are full.

        With a 3% mortality rate and population of 140,000, that would be 4,200 dead in Darwin alone.
        We simply don’t have the morgues or funeral facilities to cope with this and in the tropics we would end up like India and Brazil, with mass graves dug with bulldozers.

        That’s just the death rate, it’s not including the people who get sick, need hospitalisation but don’t die. If that number was only 10% (I believe its more like 20% get really sick and need high level care but I use 10% and under quote it) that would be 14,000 people who need hospitalisation.

        14,000 in a town with 12 critical care beds.

        Sometimes economics doesnt take into account the side line effects.

        • Yeah Boom Times

          IFR is miniscule you’re looking at CFR.

          There’s not a 3% death rate. No wonder people are hysterical if they actually think 3% of people who contract COVID die.

          • The World Health Organisation’s official mortality rate for Covid19 as of March 3rd was 3.4%

            I’m using a slightly lower number as Australia has a better health system than some other countries.

            There is nothing hysterical about facts. Try them some time.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      Yes, the Sweden acolytes never point out that they had the the worst outcome of Scandanavian counties both economically and health wise. They had their oh sh!t moment when they realised they’d messed it up. Now its it’s best to not mention it.

      • Exactly. Cameron using Sweden as an example of what we should’ve done is nonsensical. They never even achieved their herd immunity goal before realising they’d screwed themselves.
        Imagine MBs response if scomo had done the same!

  12. How much of the health budget is spent providing ‘a chat’ for lonely people? I don’t see this as bad, just not something the TP should be covering dr billable hour rates.

  13. I agree with Cameroon re opening up, once everyone has been offered the vaccine we can open (even though I’d like us to keep their borders closed as long as possible so our workforce & wages etc can work through the system, wages rise & unemployment drop as much as possible). Those that are old and vulnerable can get vaccinated & the hypochondriacs can vaccinate their kids, for everyone else they have made their choice, open up and balance the health & the economic costs/benefits. Least time I looked for anyone under about 35yrs old the risk of a blood clot was higher risk than being hospitalised due covid (though other side effects & other covid effects not included).

    It now doesn’t matter that we don’t have herd immunity or are not fully vaccinated now as the hospitals won’t fill up as it’s the old & vulnerable (incl overweight, even normal weight people with high visceral fat, low vit D, general inflammation etc) that end up in hospital not the healthier & younger cohort.

  14. FUDINTHENUDMEMBER

    lol another day another economist bringing up the “swedish model” as a panacea and “restrictions are bad mmmkay”

    Must be lovely to be in a profession where most of your colleagues predictions are wrong, most of the time. Provides a fantastic level of professional cover when you don’t ever have to be right. No need to analyze second order effects, or use non-linear thinking, just some lazy thinking, and say whatever!

    Must be galling that a health/epidemiological response to a crisis has arguably provided greater economic benefits to many Australian’s than the current prevailing dogmas of economics..

  15. Economist who thinks he knows more than everyone else celebrates other economist arguing that he knows more about epidemics than an epidemiologist.

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