Matt Barrie: Pollies lying about Doherty model “garbage”

Via Freelanceer CEO, Matt Barrie:

The “Doherty Report” is being sold as an economic & health model “created by experts” to move Australia from suppression to opening up and “living with Covid”.

On the 19th of August, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in the NSW daily update “as the Doherty Report says once you get to 80% double doses and you have to open up”. (9 mins 40 seconds).

On the 23rd of August Prime Minister Morrison said in Parliament “The plan as we set out very clearly about…that when we reach 70%, and we reach 80%, we can move through to phase B of that plan, those marks have been set by the Doherty analysis that was undertaken Mr Speaker”.

I spent a late evening reading it.

Neither of these statements are true and the report is being misrepresented.

The report is neither an economic model nor does it set any targets.

It is a report commissioned by the National Cabinet to model health scenarios going from Phase A (where we are now- suppressing Covid) to Phase B (reducing lockdowns, ramping up flights into the country and reducing quarantine) of the National Plan with various levels of vaccination targets. Note that there is also Phase C and Phase D of opening up. The Doherty Report doesn’t look at these phases.

Specifically, based on a set of assumptions, it models what daily new infections, workplace absenteeism from sickness, occupied ward beds, occupied ICU beds and daily deaths would look like under scenarios of 50%, 60%, 70% and 80% vaccination rates, for those aged 16 and above and based on two doses of vaccination for each person. About 80% of the Australian population are aged 16 and over, so these targets are actually 40%, 48%, 56% and 64% of the total population.

It doesn’t look like anyone has actually read the report.

They only run the simulation for 180 days.

Source: Doherty Report.

For example, looking at daily new infections, the new infections per day don’t even peak before the model cuts off at 180 days for the 80% vaccine coverage scenario:

Figure 1: The modeling only goes for 180 days, making the high vaccination scenarios look better Source: Doherty Report.

So the model is producing garbage.

They’ve simply stopped the simulation before the effects of opening up play out.

There’s no reason I can think of to cut a model off at 180 days other than to fudge the data. Furthermore, respiratory viruses are seasonal and you’ll have different results whether the 180 days are in summer or winter.

It becomes even more ridiculous when you look at events that take time to play out (i.e. outcomes lag). For example, infections lead to occupied hospital beds, which some time later, may lead into need for an ICU bed, and some time later lead to a death.

The figures below model occupied hospital ward beds and expected daily deaths but neither model extends beyond 180 days. The simulation simply cuts the data off.

It was so bad that the Doherty modeling only provides graphs at 80% vaccination for daily new infections. For every other outcome, Doherty only shows the 50% and 70% scenarios (worker absenteeism due to sickness, ward bed occupancy, ICU occupancy & deaths) to avoid the embarrassment of showing the 80% graphs with very little actual data. It would be too obvious to even the casual observer that something was wrong with the model.

Figure 2: They stopped showing the 80% graphs as almost all the data would clip Source: Doherty Report.

Even taking the model at face value, over half the data is cut off for the 70% and 80% scenarios.

Figure 3: Modeling clipping again at 180 days. Source: Doherty Report.

This grossly misrepresents the higher vaccination scenarios (70% and 80%) as the totals count less than half the data! In fact, the way it has been modeled, the higher the vaccination scenario, the higher the misrepresentation with the 180 day cutoff.

Figure 4: The totals for 60%, 70%, 80% in the Doherty report are missing data. Source: Doherty Report.

Covid is not going to magically disappear in 180 days. The numbers across the board (cases, deaths etc.) will be significantly higher in all scenarios.

New infections rise to between 55,000 and~120,000 per day.

The report modeled three different vaccination strategies- vaccinating old people first, 40+ year olds first, and ‘all adults’ where vaccinations have no priority by age. The ‘all adults’ strategy was found to be the best. This strategy resulted in new infections rising to ~55,000 per day for the highest vaccination scenario of 80% (Figure 1).

Australia has been running an oldest first vaccination policy mixed with other priority groups. It is trying to go to all adults but it is still functionally closer to operating at oldest first than all adults until there is higher rates in younger groups so predictions fall somewhere between the two.

Of course, this may change over time, however the point is that under the current regime Australia is not currently implementing the best “All Adults” scenario. In the scenario of vaccinating “Oldest First”, daily new infections would rise up to about 120,000 per day (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Daily new infections will surpass 55,000. Source: Doherty Report.

As of writing this, the most infections Australia has accrued in a day is about 900. In the best case scenario for the highest vaccination rate (80% of 16+), according to the Doherty Report, daily new infections would rise over 50x and the country would be facing over 400,000 new infections per week.

Figure 6: Australian Weekly Cases. Source: John Hopkins.

Doherty predicts “even for high coverage” “severe outcomes”.

Under a scenario where lockdowns cease once 70% of the relevant 16+ population is fully vaccinated, Doherty predicts occupied ICU beds required for Covid patients (solely) to go to about 1500 (again the data is clipped).

Figure 7: ICU beds required for Covid to go to ~1500 even after aggressive modeling. Source: Doherty Report.

Looking at total ICU capacity, Doherty estimates there are 1,964 ICU beds nationally assuming 50% can be used for Covid, therefore they assume 3,928 beds in the country.

Figure 8: Source: Doherty Report.

However according to the Common Operating Picture as of 23rd August, there are half that- 2,059 beds available nationally and 825 in NSW.

As of the same date, the Australian reported that “[NSW] has 844 staffed ICU beds available, and 608 of them were occupied on Monday.”

To “open up” under the Doherty modeling, even at 70%, Australia would have to double ICU capacity.

According to a recent study by the Medical Journal of Australia, “Australian ICUs could surge the number of ICU beds by an additional 4,261 (189%) if needed. At that level, however, there would be a shortage of ventilators and likely also PPE equipment. The study estimated that the surge potential of ventilators is just over 2,000, so would only partly meet the maximum surge capacity in terms of beds.

Another issue potentially restricting capacity would be the healthcare workforce needed to operate the ventilators. The modelling exercise showed that at maximum surge capacity, up to an additional 4,000 senior doctors and 42,700 registered ICU nurses could be required.”

Under the 70% scenario approximately 1,500 senior doctors and 15,000 registered ICU nurses would be required under the Doherty, in addition to paramedics, ventilators, other staff, patient transport & equipment.

Each ICU bed is manned by the equivalent of five full-time registered nurses across eight-hour shifts, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Approximately half of these nurses need to hold a postgraduate qualification in critical care nursing.

Grattan Institute health economist Stephen Duckett has said “When we hit a trigger point of 12,000 new cases every day, then we know that we will hit ICU capacity shortly after if new cases continue to grow”.

Already 20% of Covid deaths in New South Wales this year have occurred due to outbreaks in public hospitals. At least 11 hospitals in NSW have had outbreaks or had to send patients and staff into isolation because of exposure, according to the 7:30 Report. Two hospitals- Westmead & Blacktown, as of today (25 Aug), have paused accepting patients, and the Sydney Local Health District sent out a memo this week saying they are running out of Personal Protective Equipment.

A senior healthcare professional who has actively been commenting throughout the crisis has told me “Given the crippling of our current health care system which was cracking before Covid with ambulance ramping, it will not be functional with higher numbers. Other states know this and I can not see any of them risking opening to NSW in the foreseeable future”.

Remember that Doherty modeling assumes new cases will reach at least 55,000 per day.

Of course, Doherty models that “ICU admissions [assume] unconstrained capacity, even when national thresholds are anticipated to be reached or exceeded”.

Even for a high vaccine uptake, Doherty predicts “severe outcomes” “which are likely to be concentrated [in] geographical areas”. “Unconstrained capacity” will underrepresent deaths from beds not being available for breakouts. Breakouts concentrated in within geographical areas will further create a mismatch between demands on healthcare and proximal supply.

Source: Doherty Report.

Doherty modeling doesn’t take into account excess deaths from non-Covid patients that are unable to find an ICU bed when these beds become full.

Figure 9: Doherty Report assumes “unconstrained capacity” which models deaths favourably. Source: Doherty Report.

The Doherty Report, ending at 180 days, also naturally does not consider Long Covid, where symptoms can sometimes persist for months after infection. It did not include indirect deaths as a result of morbidity from Long Covid. If only 5% of symptomatic cases develop Long Covid (a number from an extensive study in NSW), in the best case scenario modeled by Doherty of 80% vaccination (16 years and above) over 300,000 Australians could suffer from the effects of Long Covid where the virus can damage the lungs, heart and brain, increasing the risk of long-term health problems.

It does not consider the effects on children. There are an estimated 4.7 million children aged 0–14 lived in Australia, non of which are eligible for vaccination. According to the NIH, “Evidence from the first study of long covid in children suggests that more than half of children aged between 6 and 16 years old who contract the virus have at least one symptom lasting more than 120 days, with 42.6 per cent impaired by these symptoms during daily activities”.

“The study found that the mean duration of symptoms after initial infection was 8.2 months. 94.9% of the kids had at least 4 symptoms.. fatigue, headache, muscle & joint pain, rashes & heart palpitations, & mental health issues like lack of concentration & short memory problems.”

Doherty model is premised on mythical “test trace isolate & quarantine”.

Doherty “test trace isolate & quarantine” assumed in the modeling is based upon the performance of the Victorian public health response at the height of the ‘second wave’ in 2020.

Source: Doherty Report.

These cases peaked at 700 per day. In the best case scenario in the Doherty modeling the cases peak at over 55,000 a day (up to 120,000 a day). The assumption that public testing, tracing, isolation & quarantine can perform at the levels Victoria performed at 700 cases a day is fantasy.

Figure 10: New daily infections (Victoria) Source: Google/John Hopkins.

The herculean effort of the NSW contact tracing team (who should each be awarded Orders of Australia) failed above 200 cases per day. Above this number, cases have stopped being linked or are “under investigation” as can be seen below.

Figure 11: NSW linked cases by source (not identified in grey) Source: Juliette O’Brien @juliette_io.

On the 21st of August, testing demand exceeded capacity in NSW LGAs of concern and 72 hour surveillance testing of workers was turned off.

Isolation and quarantine, similarly, have been challenging and will only get worse as new infections head above 50,000 per day in the Doherty modeling.

The government-managed hotel quarantine system, whose poor running is the root cause of all of Australia’s problems (the virus is not coming into the country by cargo or there would be postmen sick and wildfires everywhere), bringing in only a few thousand travelers per week has had one breach for every 67 infected.

It is reasonable to expect that breaches from self-managed isolation & quarantine managed at home with shared dwellings, shared ventilation, individual circumstances and reliance on people being capable and willing to do the right thing will have a higher failure rate.

Figure 12: Covid-19 Australian Hotel Quarantine Breaches Source: / Mike Honey @Mike_Honey_.

The Doherty report also models “optimal TTIQ” as if the country had a magic wand with perfect testing, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine. These numbers should be completely discounted and appear only to be published to make the modeling look better than it is, as the results have no practical value.

Doherty modeling shows lockdowns occurring 80–273 days a year.

Even taking the assumptions and modeling used at face value, the Doherty Report says that at 50% vaccination rates we would need to go into lockdown harder than NSW is now (25 Aug) 273 days per year, 168 days per year at 60% and 80 days per year at 70%. Harder as in no household visitors, curfew and stay-at home orders.

The 60% and 70% numbers are not believable, let alone the 80% because the modeling ends at 180 days. In the case of 80%, over half the data is missing for every single outcome being modeled (new infections, workplace absentees, ward beds occupied, ICU beds, deaths).

Source: Doherty Report.
Source: Doherty Report.
Figure 13: Likely too embarrassing to show the 80% graphs because the data is already half missing at 70%. Source: Doherty Report.

The whole premise of the modeling is to show the path from Phase A (where we are now), to Phase B “lockdowns less likely but possible”. Under Doherty, under the most optimistic model, we would be in a hard lockdown 80 days a year in perpetuity. But remember, the 70% and 80% numbers are clipped because the simulation ends at 180 days, so I have doubt if that is anywhere close to realistic.

So much for vaccination being the “ticket to freedom”.

Figure 14: Phase B. Source: National Plan to transition Australia’s National COVID-19 Response.

Doherty assumes total infections start at 30.

As of today, Australia has over 11,000 active infections.

Source: Doherty Report.

At 70%, Phase B of the National Plan assumes

  • International border caps and low-level international arrivals, with safe and proportionate quarantine to minimise the risk of COVID entering;
  • Restore inbound passenger caps at previous levels for unvaccinated returning travelers and larger caps for vaccinated returning travelers;
  • Allow capped entry of student and economic visa holders subject to quarantine arrangements and availability;
  • Introduce new reduced quarantine arrangements for vaccinated residents;

With one quarantine breach in every 67 infected travelers to date, immigration set to lift by many thousands per week and a lowering of quarantine standards under Phase B, the Doherty modeling assumptions are way off.

Phase C & D are not modelled by Doherty, but politicians are presenting it like they are. Experts who have predict 154,000 hospitalisations & 29,000 deaths.

There is still a Phase C and Phase D which Doherty does not model at all. At Phase C (80% of adults or 64% of the population), the travel caps come off in a big way and quarantine is even looser (“letting it rip”). At Phase D, everything it open. Naturally Phases C and D will lead to significant more morbidity & mortality which Doherty does not address.

Figure 15: Phase C. Source: National Plan to transition Australia’s National COVID-19 Response.

Doherty assumes for Delta that R0 is 6.32 and Reff 3.6.

The basic reproduction number, R0, is defined as the number of cases that are expected to occur on average in a uniform population as a result of infection by a single individual, when the population is susceptible at the start of an epidemic, before widespread immunity starts to develop and before any attempt has been made at immunisation.

The CDC places r0 for delta between 5 and 9. Doherty models it at 6.32.

If the Doherty numbers were run at r0 = 7, 8 or 9, all the numbers would blow out as is a difference in transmissibility from x⁶ to x⁷, x⁸ or x⁹.

Source: Doherty Report.
Figure 16: Delta has R between 5 and 9. Source: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Reff, the effective reproduction number at a point of time, is the average number of people in a population that are being infected by each individual. Reff changes with individual immunity following infection or by vaccination, public health measures and as people die.

Doherty uses Reff = 3.6 based on “average observations in March 2021”.

Source: Doherty Report.

Tomas Pueyo’s paper “Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance” provides an excellent overview of how the goal of pandemic response is to get Reff below 1. Below 1, the virus is not replicating and will diminish over time. Above 1 it continues to grow. As part of this, there is the concept of an R budget.

Figure 17: The R budget. Source: The Hammer and the Dance

In the case of the Doherty modeling, here is the R budget. Note that the y scale is logarithmic which is confusing, so that unlike the R budget from “The Hammer and Dance”, the distance on the scale between 0.5 and 1 and the distance between 4 and 8 are the same.

Figure 18: Note the non-linear y axis. Source: Doherty Report.

Delta is so transmissible, the vast majority of the work to reduce the transmission potential has to come from public health safety measures, not through vaccination. If one were to replot this with a linear axis, it would look more like the following figure:

Figure 19: As above, but with a linear y axis shows most of the contribution to reducing transmissibility is from public health measure.

Because of the way Doherty has drawn the graph squishing the y axis, it is not immediately apparent, but despite almost all the focus on vaccination, from Doherty’s own modeling, the difference contributed by 50% vaccination to 80% vaccination bringing down the R budget below 1.0 from a start of 8.0 is about 0.7 units. The other 6.3 units come from public health measures.

Opening up prematurely at 70% would mean that we would perpetually be in a world of “low“ and “medium” public health safety measures i.e.

Source: Doherty Report

The elephant in the room: vaccine reduction of transmission.

The Doherty Report is being used to construct an argument that public health safety measures (restrictions on movement into the country, quarantine, lockdowns) can be dismantled because of vaccination.

At the heart of this, the Doherty Institute makes the assumption that vaccination vastly reduces transmission.

However not all vaccines are equal. Sterilising immunity is where the immune system stops the virus entering cells and replicating e.g. if you get chickenpox or a vaccine for the measles you are unlikely to catch either disease again.

As Professor Robert Clancy, Emeritus Professor of Pathology at the University of Newcastle Medical School, and member of the Australian Academy of Science’s COVID-19 Expert Database said in COVID-19: A realistic approach to community management:

“The objective of any Covid19 vaccine is to limit virus replication within the mucosal compartment of the airways. This requires specific activation of the mucosal immune system, which differs from systemic immunity, geared to protect the internal spaces of the body. Blood antibody levels characterise the systemic immune response. These antibodies are very effective at neutralising virus that passes through the blood stream in its normal course of infection, such as the measles or mumps virus. These vaccines readily induce sterilising immunity

The influenza and Covid19 viruses are different. They enter the blood stream only in late disease, when the inflammatory response to the virus has become the main cause of tissue damage, and when immune containment has become irrelevant [..] Mucosal immunological memory for corona viruses is predictably poor”


  • “Little protection against infection occurs, although protection against symptomatic disease is significant, but is likely to be far less than 90%.
  • Re-infection in vaccinated subjects appears to occur at a similar rate as it does for community non-vaccinated controls.
  • There is no realistic chance of herd immunity, given the high rate of asymptomatic infections in vaccinated individuals. This becomes more probable should the current intention of about 30% of the population (US figures) to not be vaccinated irrespective of advice given, be accurate.”

The Doherty Report, on the other hand, assumes 57% and 86% reduction in transmission for one and two doses respectively of AstraZeneca, and 62% and 92% for Pfizer. Thus Doherty is almost assuming sterilising immunity (~90% reduction in transmission) from two doses of either AstraZeneca or Pfizer.

These are very big reductions in transmission. One would think you would see the effect in the overall case numbers overseas in highly vaccinated countries. Certainly looking at US, UK and Israel, if there is a reduction in transmission it is overwhelmed by the increase in delta transmissibility.

Israel is one of the most vaccinated countries in the world with 60% of the population (or ~75% of 16+ year old adults to compare to Doherty) as of 25th August. While deaths are clearly reduced, the rate of growth of the third peak of cases, i.e. transmission, doesn’t look affected very much by vaccination. According to Doherty, that peak shouldn’t be growing anywhere near as fast, it assumes 60% of the population should be 90% less transmissible.

Figure 20: Israel. Source: John Hopkins.

This goes to the very heart of the Doherty model. It makes an assumption of a massive (~90%) drop in transmissibility on double dose targets. The overall new daily infection numbers from highly vaccinated countries don’t appear to back up anywhere that level of damping.

Indeed in Israel, case rates have climbed almost as quickly among people with two doses as among the unvaccinated.

Figure 21: Case rates growing almost as quickly for 2-dose. Source: FT / Israeli Ministry of Health
Figure 22: United States. Source: John Hopkins.

The numbers change between which “Doherty Report” you read.

I’ve based my numbers off the report I downloaded dated “12 August”. I noticed something when looking at an old tweet. Doherty has uploaded a new report and overwritten the older one without maintaining a link. Here’s an archive link:

Figure 23. Source: Doherty Report (12th August).
Figure 24. Source: Doherty Report (30th July).

Apparently this is explained by 70+ year being double counted.

Figure 25. Source: Doherty Report.

Checking the numbers this appears to be correct but I remark out of curiosity that the difference in deaths is therefore more than double the difference in ICU admissions for 70+ year olds. I guess they are modeling a lot more 70+ year olds dying either at home or from being denied ICU than deaths from progressing through ICU.

Figure 26: Calculations based on the Doherty Report.

Regardless I have worked off the newer, better numbers.

The “Addendum”.

That isn’t the only revision that has been made to the document. Prior to these latest revisions, one can already tell that Doherty was already told to go back and redo their work because at page 42 of the original report the analysis was done all over again as an “addendum”.

One senior health expert at another research institute, who has been modeling Covid, told me “advisers/consultants, even very reputable ones like the Doherty folk, can be asked to revise/redo”.

In that addendum, they were told to assume that the magic wand of “optimal trace track isolate & quarantine” had a magic wand:

Source: Doherty Report.

Under this scenario, with 70% vaccination we get crazy error bars with somewhere between 30 and 300 new infections per day worst case, nobody ever occupies a ward bed, nobody ever goes to ICU and maybe one person dies in a given day every week or so.

If only.

Figure 27: Garbage in, Garbage out. Source: Doherty Report.


The Doherty Report is a model of what happens after 180 days in the first step of opening up, nothing more.

The Doherty Report is not an economic model, not a plan written by health experts on how to open up the economy, nor does it derive a vaccination target for opening up.

It is a series of health models of daily new infections, workplace absentee rates, ward bed occupancy, ICU bed occupancy and deaths based on vaccination levels provided as inputs by the government, based on a set of unrealistic assumptions combined with aggressive modeling.

In the Doherty world, any trace of the pandemic disappears after 180 days, even though the numbers for daily new infections, workers absent due to sickness, ward bed occupancy, ICU bed occupancy and deaths are still climbing for the highest vaccination scenario of 80%.

The very heart of the Doherty modeling is that the pandemic is a single phase infection curve that goes to zero at some point in time due to an assumption that there is a 90% damping effect on transmissibility from a double dose of AstraZeneca or Pfizer.

If this was even remotely close, new daily infections in the US, UK and Israel would be well under control by now. They are not.

Israel- one of the most heavily vaccinated countries in the world at 60% double dose of the full population (equal to about 75% of people aged 16 years+ in the Doherty modeling) hit 51,000 new infections this week (22 August), the second highest since the pandemic begun. It is anticipated that within two weeks infections will be at an all time high.

Cases among those that are double-dose vaccinated in Israel are growing almost as fast as the unvaccinated, according to the Israeli Ministry of Health. Clearly the key assumption in the Doherty modeling- that double dose vaccination reduces transmissibility by ~90% is wrong.

Already the data is showing waning immunity and, similar to the flu shot, boosters will be needed regularly. People will be less enthusiastic to take the third, fourth or fifth shots. AstraZeneca has limited use for booster shots in the future because the immune system develops antibodies to the simian adenovirus vector used. The virus will also continue to mutate, which could lead to further antigen shift and vaccine escape.

Figure 28. Source: University of Oxford, Office for National Statistics & FT.

The Doherty modeling appears to be nothing more than manufactured scientific opinion to achieve a political outcome by working the numbers backwards.

Abdication of leadership to reliance on a modelled scenario is simply a way to blame someone else if it all goes pear shaped, which the Doherty Institute appears all too happy to play along with, either because it is a captured entity or doesn’t see what is coming.

The country doesn’t have to open up based on any modelled scenario. It is simply a prediction of a range of things which might happen if we do.

Unfortunately for Australia, the arbitrary 70% and 80% 16 year+ vaccination targets, together with the 180 day modeling period appear to be more driven by the next federal election, which will be called before May 2022.

We should not be in this position. Australia has a natural advantage as an island nation in a pandemic which made us the envy of the world.

Taiwan, another island nation has crushed Delta. Today there are 6 new cases from a peak of 600:

Figure 29: Taiwan has crushed delta.

Failure to adequately secure quarantine is the primary reason for where we are today. We ran quarantine in hotels that are not fit for purpose, with shared ventilation in the worst place possible- the dense CBD.

More than 18 months in, we have still not issued the correct personal protective equipment for all quarantine workers including drivers, medical and front line staff- police, army, public transport etc.

A paper recently published in The Lancet by researchers from institutions including the University of Oxford, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Switzerland, London School of Economics and Political Science and INSEAD entitled “SARS-CoV-2 elimination, not mitigation, creates best outcomes for health, the economy, and civil liberties” found that:

“Countries that consistently aim for elimination — ie, maximum action to control SARS-CoV-2 and stop community transmission as quickly as possible — have generally fared better than countries that opt for mitigation — ie, action increased in a stepwise, targeted way to reduce cases so as not to overwhelm health-care systems.”

Figure 30: Countries opting for elimination fare better for health, economy & civil liberties. Source: The Lancet.

Joint modeling for the “opening up” strategy has been conducted by the Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing at University of Western Australia, the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University, the Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis at the University of Melbourne and an independent modeling expert.

“If 70% of adult Australians (excluding children <16 years) were fully vaccinated, but with a 95% vaccination level for those aged ≥60 years, the AZ-mRNA strategy would eventually result in some 6.9 million symptomatic COVID-19 cases, 154,000 hospitalisations, and 29,000 fatalities.”

It concludes:

“The consequences of opening up prematurely could prove to be both irreversible and unacceptable. Australia must not squander its opportunity and capacity to devise a safe and affordable path to a ‘post-COVID-19’ era”.

Houses and Holes
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    • I think it’s more a case of modelling that is too optimistic, and limited in scope, combined with certain types of lollies that already want to hear certain results and are happy to jump on a favourable model’s results without looking any deeper and getting other perspectives.

      That is: I think there’s more incompetence and impatience here, than conspiracy.

      • This is what you get when you pay for “Modelling as a Service”.. First step in that engagement is work out the intended outcomes of the customer… every step after that is about ensuring the people who are paying get what they are paying for..

      • Anders Andersen

        “I think it’s more a case of modelling that is too optimistic, and limited in scope, combined with certain types of lollies that already want to hear certain results and are happy to jump on a favourable model’s results without looking any deeper and getting other perspectives.”
        Who set the model requirements? I think Barrie’s comment about setting up the Doherty Institute for any fall is spot on, this is Morrison to a tee and he’s been doing this all along, throwing people under the bus to deflect blame away from himself.

        “That is: I think there’s more incompetence and impatience here, than conspiracy.”

        No, this is deliberate; conniving for a set outcome to enable Morrison to go to an election under an “opening up” banner and if it turns to shit he lays the blame at the feet of the experts.

    • SnappedUpSavvyMEMBER

      hows this, in NSW people who wont get the vax in LGA’s of concern cannot come to work from 30th Aug onwards unless you have rapid antigen testing set up with a health practitioner administering the test which is totally out of the question for any small or medium sized business to set up. So no vax no job.
      Bin Chicken and HH announced this last week and it turns out the RAT is unavailable till end of Sept anyway due to high demand and no prior warning from Govt LOL

      this permit was also brought up last week and website still says this

    • Peter PanMEMBER

      Some reality injected into the political lies and spin.
      Perhaps we let NSW run with it. It seems to be the path they have chosen or at least had chosen for them.
      Then in 6 months we put this to bed and reassess how accurate the Docherty report modelling was, how hospitals are coping, how well the vaccines actually work and make a choice then.
      Another 6 months of being COVID free for most outside NSW may be worth the wait to make an informed decision.

  1. So Gladys and scummo are misrepresenting/lying about modelling which is optimistically wrong and planning a strategy (I mean, narrative) around that.

    This isn’t gonna go well.

    • Sheesh, they’re hardly going to interview the ones who were asymptomatic or had a mild case are they? That doesn’t push the agenda or keep people frightened and thus malleable.

      Besides, the media has a specific role to play in this, refer to the “Motivate” workstream, point 3 and 4 on page 33 (may appear as page 39 in your reader, but document numbering is page 33):

      Have a look for yourself and see what your odds are:

        • I recently finished having my Life, TPD and salary continuance insurance re-done. I asked for to $2m, $2m, $14.5k/mth salary continuance after 8 weeks (~60% of gross).

          After going through the full underwriting process the insurer offered $2m for Life, $700,000 for TPD and $6k/mth for salary continuance. The stated reason for the TPD and continuance reductions was covid.

          The insurer was willing to pay out $2m on my death in the middle of a pandemic but was only willing to insure me for 35% of my requested TPD sum and ~41% of my continuance.

          It appears insurance underwriters fear that long covid is going to be a very big deal.

      • C'est de la folieMEMBER

        Lemmiwinks take a look at the below chart……

        It comes from FT earlier a fortnight ago

        Lockdowns compared: tracking governments’ coronavirus responses

        Now sure, I get that there are a zillion questions to ask about Covid 19. Sure I get that it affects some people more than others, and those some people have varying issues affecting their survivability. Sure I get that for most people it is simply a matter of a very bad flu at worst.

        But from there I would observe that a glimpse at that article and at that chart – and it goes back to the very start of Covid day by day – tells me that at some point or another virtually every single government in the world has had some form of restriction due to Covid.

        Now at that point I – as a non medical specialist or epidemiologist – find myself thinking there is a fork in the road.

        On the one side it may well be that every government in the world has major concerns about this particular virus as a health event – and I get that those concerns will reflect a range of factors. From not enough vaccine to worrying about the ability of their intensive care structures to cope with the potential impacts. But whatever the driver is almost every government on the planet has had to strike some sort of balance between ‘letting it rip’ and ‘locking it down’ and at least for some time it has gone with the latter.

        On the other there may be a vast conspiracy to frighten people into authoritarianism – maybe to cement the 1% into power, maybe to line the pockets of the pharmaceutical uber set, maybe to divide whole societies into haves and have nots (apartheid maybe).

        Now at this point I would like to think that although I am profoundly sceptical of public institutional and political decisionmaking processes almost everywhere on the planet, and have spent a chunk of my own life exploring the ways in which corporates and power interact, and the forms that corruption can take, and have worked in the media and the public sector and know the processes through which utter bullshit is both generated and disseminated down the throats of gullible publics around the world with an intrinsic granularity I still find it difficult to think that the advent of Covid is some species of magnificent epic fraud being perpetrated. Despite all the above my personal take is that there is a once in a century major health event, of a type which has plenty of predecessors, and that it is falling to our generation and the people about in 2020, 2021 and 2022 to somehow come to terms with the process.

        Now from there I would observe that Australia had – until the epic level cock up or lies from Gladys Berejiklian and Scott Morrison – an ability to exclude itself from the onset of the virus. If Covid 19 is in Australia it is solely the responsibility of Scott Morrison and Gladys Berejiklian.

        From there I totally get the idea that lockdowns are a right pain in the arse. They certainly do have major mental health impacts, and they demonstrably aggravate domestic issues in many households. They add to stress through economic disruption and potential financial collapse resulting in countless thousands of very heavily indebted peoples questioning their ability to service their lives, and concern that their families and children may experience profoundly reduced economic circumstances, and that the ability to shape that dynamic is taken out of their hands.

        But in the first instance, this pandemic has to be played as a health event. As a health event the bulk of global opinion seems to me to be that Covid represents a societal threat which has an ability to overwhelm hospital systems (and has done in some instances). The same global experience seems to be that the only scope to eliminate the virus – particularly where it is still possible to do so, and Australia is still potentially incredibly fortunate in this regard – is to lock down and to allow the virus to play out in those whom it has already infected and to prevent these from interacting with others to the greatest extent possible.

        From there I totally get that there countless questions to ask along the lines of – ‘If we are doing X to deal with Covid why aren’t we doing Y to cope with …….[take you pick of issues – all of which will have health, mental health etc effects]’ They are totally legitimate questions.

        But they aren’t questions for addressing Covid right here right now.

        The question right now before us is ‘Do we let it rip? – is that an appropriate national response to the advent of the virus in Australia? as things currently stand’ or ‘Do we lock it down? – is that an appropriate national response to the advent of the virus in Australia? as things currently stand

        As things currently stand it appears that NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian with the urging of the Prime Minister Scott Morrison have embarked on a let it rip approach with a view to taking the scope to lock it down out of the hands of the other states of Australia…….and are subsequently telling people in Non NSW states to accept that as a fait accompli.

        • “Fair accompli” is a good way to sum that up. The question is of course – don’t assume they aren’t intelligent people. If they are actually intelligent there are legitimate reasons why they want people to think that. None of them consider anyone in the community (pro freedom or not) I’m sure.

        • Do we let it rip or do we lock down? Sweden, UK and Israel provide the test data as they head into winter. Sweden 7 day rolling average for deaths is 2, UK is 101, Israel is 25.

          To do this, we must ask ourselves what % of deaths is Australia prepared to accept from this disease? Unsure there is a right or wrong answer and will vary per individual on so many factors. Are you healthy or sick? Are you young or old? Do you have immunocompromised loved ones? What impact are lockdowns having on your life? Everyone’s view is valid and will likely represent their situational spectrum.

          Regardless of the individual view, I believe that CV-19 will decide this question for us regardless if we like it or not. I dont accept that our systems, processes, policies and political will is refined enough at a federal and state level to achieve anything else. With that said, if you accept that this is coming, ready or not, what do you do to prepare yourself?

        • I don’t think it’s a conspiracy so much as “never let a crisis go to waste”. As another commenter linked in another thread, public policy is formed on a cost benefit basis everywhere else but covid:

          If you look at this:

          You’ll see the government has already committed $5bn to vaccines and another $2bn for delivery and administration. That’s not walking around money.

          Pfizer has a first quarter 2021 profit of $14.6bn and projected $70bn for the year (so they anticipate increased demand as the year goes on).

          All with immunity from prosecution during the largest human trials ever conducted. At this point, based on Israel, there is no end in sight to booster shots.

          Makes ya think eh?

          • C'est de la folieMEMBER

            Makes ya think eh?

            Completely agree. The ‘never let a crisis go to waste’ mindset will be across the board – organisation companies and especially politicians everywhere will be working at how to ‘shape developments to favour them. But that, to me, doesnt mean there isnt a crisis, to start with, and it doesnt get us away from what I see as essentially a ‘fact’ that the only way to really deal with the virus is to lock it down.

            Indeed I see the ‘let it rip’ thinking as mainly an expression of the ‘never let a crisis go to waste’ line of thinking. The pharmaceutical companies will sell the vaccines, the bureaucrats will start signaling ‘back to normal’ and the business world will get back to business fueled by stimulus with a public which would like to spend.

            All the stuff you point to – quite rightly, as there are a lot of questions to ask about a lot of decisions – should be the basis if a Royal Commission.

        • But whatever the driver is almost every government on the planet has had to strike some sort of balance between ‘letting it rip’ and ‘locking it down’ and at least for some time it has gone with the latter.

          And, I’d also note, in many cases have locked down despite convincingly saying they wouldn’t, such as NSW recently.

          • And, alas, alack, too late.

            I will not forget this at the next Fed and state elections.

            Baseball bats.

            Regional NSW, no cases for weeks, locked down till a week before school hols.

    • This is a bit like the US docos with reenactments, I can understand why people don’t want to be on camera when they are sick but it would be better to interview patients while they are in hospital being treated, one of the 3 looks a little authentic but I am not sure why the other 2 have civilian clothes on albeit under a hospital gown.

    • Reus's large MEMBER

      Typical ABC propaganda, I would not trust a single thing that comes from the ABC these days.

  2. Well done. Most of what I’ve been thinking has been articulated here and more.

    Of course when you throw in potential variants, and what happens when systems are at capacity (deaths aren’t linear, they ramp up big time once the hospital risk control is exhausted) it gets even worse.

    We had the chance to continue being the envy of the world post-COVID and to re-invent our economy into one that rewards skilled workers, is self-sufficient, has a good environment, our housing foreign debt problem reset by the RBA and a lifestyle other countries can only dream of.

    Gladys and more importantly with botching quarantine Scomo blew this one off chance.

    “Failure to adequately secure quarantine is the primary reason for where we are today. We ran quarantine in hotels that are not fit for purpose, with shared ventilation in the worst place possible- the dense CBD.” -> which should seem obvious to anyone who’s seen what they usually do around infectious disease control.

    The gravity of what we’ve lost by letting COVID in isn’t yet appreciated by most people IMO.

    • The gravity of what we’ve lost by letting the government turn authoritarian apartheid regime isn’t yet appreciated by most people IMO.

      • Agreed, but not entirely. That’s already been made possible by letting the virus in the first place, and putting the community last. Now that they are frightened its either give powers to government OR take the risk (i.e. the rock and the hard place). The virus has denied us the freedoms already without more risk to the individual, families and communities. Gives them a crisis to gain more powers and control; but is IMO a total failure of what governments should be about.

        Besides staying in a quarantine facilities for week or two if I decide to travel (many average families never do) WA and QLD are looking like very freedom orientated places right now.

      • The gravity of what we’ve lost by letting the government turn authoritarian apartheid regime isn’t yet appreciated by most people IMO.

        Pretty sure most people appreciate this is comical hyperbole and an absurd comparison.

      • Arthur Schopenhauer

        Can’t tell if you are working for the LNP, CCP or Heritage Foundation.

        As a satire, your comments are quite funny. 🤪

    • This. Yet another opportunity squandered. NSW didn’t mismanage, it wasn’t incompetence, this was a deliberate policy at the behest of a sociopath PM. Hell-bent on getting re-elected. I much prefer him in Hawaii, after all, he doesn’t hold the needle mate.

  3. Lol, the lucky country.

    The only silver lining in the sky is that, Scomo and Dutton abted their constitutional requirement so they don’t take the blame if it goes wrong and they’re about to get creamed because they didn’t do anything.

  4. So…Doherty is optimistic, and does not model all the main envelopes of scenarios.

    The assumptions around vaccine efficacy are the main concerns for me, as they assume a best case scenario without enveloping the lesser efficacies. That should have been covered.

    Similarly, models with R0 envelopes should have been produced, instead of just assuming a single R0 on the lower side.

    As this article points out, I’m also concerned that the Doherty report may not model other health system impacts, to provide further perspective on how the system as a whole might cope, and how it might still fail in the real world, outside of the report’s scope, which seems irresponsibly limited.

  5. Considering I was complaining the other day about various parties going at each other (including MB) with various modelling that everyone just seems to take at face value, this little piece is a welcome change. thank you MB.

    • Frank DrebinMEMBER

      Well his opinions/analysis were spot on in that article (at least to my way of thinking), but his predictions have been horribly wrong. So far – and therein lies the rub.

        • Yes, they had vaccinations early, Population with a community spirit not a selfish spirit and remember, they live in fear of the CCP taking over their government by force, making them far more likely to trust them….

    • SnappedUpSavvyMEMBER

      they also charged quite alot for a covid test so no one got tested. I deal with companies in Taiwan, its not crushed, no one gets tested they just stay at home. they did do a pretty strict lock down for awhile

    • I susect having an epidemiologist as Vice President helped. Along with a President that would listen.

    • Mark WalmsleyMEMBER

      I mean if you get shingle, viral pneumonia, or HIV/AIDS: you’ll be given a range of medications staged at different times to match the bodies escalating/changing response to the viral load.
      If you get COVID-19, then you get…nothing. Stay at home till you can’t breath then go to the ED and hope there are beds left.
      And we pretend we are in a first world medical system.
      See FLCCC chief medical doctor presenting on early treatment success.

      • TheLambKingMEMBER

        I mean if you get shingle, viral pneumonia, or HIV/AIDS: you’ll be given a range of medications staged at different times to match the bodies escalating/changing response to the viral load.

        You must be young. It took about 15-20 years to develop effective antiviral drugs that were effective against HIV.

        Sure, you could wait for a Covid antiviral drug, or give yourself some Sheep drenching medicine and hope for the best – but I am double vaxxed because they have actually been proven to work.

        • It took about 15-20 years to develop effective antiviral drugs that were effective against HIV.

          Plus the side effects associated with the early attempts were pretty ordinary.

        • Mark WalmsleyMEMBER

          It’s not one or the other. Even if Thanos gave everyone the first vax today, it is five weeks till it is effective.
          We have folks being turned away from the ED because they are full.
          And we have folks dying at home because the hospitals are full.
          Early treatment is a bridge to vaccine effectiveness without having 100s/1000s of people dying at home.
          Or do you see it differently?
          Vaccines the only way forward and people denied viable treatments in the meantime even though we don’t have enough vaccines or the capacity to do everyone right now?

          • LK’s point was that at this stage in our experience there was no treatment for HIV/AIDS – it was first described in 1981, and AZT (which had been developed in the 1960s as a cancer drug), the first HIV treatment was first given to a HIV patient in clinical trials in 1985, and given FDA approval in 1987.

          • TheLambKingMEMBER

            There are no effective early treatments. None. That is why you need to be vaccinated.

            I checked a couple of your links – first one was recommending zinc, hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin. All proven to not work! I checked the method – 320 cases! We have 214MILLION cases world wide and they publish a study on 320 people? Large sample size trials have shown they don’t work. A couple of others were also recommending the sheep dip (that people have died from using) – garbage.

        • Mark WalmsleyMEMBER

          I’m not sure where you’re getting your ‘early treatment protocols’ don’t work info from.
          Try It chronicles 63 trials, 613 scientists, 26,398 patients, 31 RCTs
          72% improvement in early treatment, 58% in death. That’s just one drug on it’s own. As part of a multi-drug therapy early treatment works.
          And try for details on all trials related to all drugs that show utility for COVID-19.
          But how about this. You do you and just go with the vaccine and don’t take any early treatments if offered.
          I’m fully vaccinated with Pfizer, but the evidence from Israel is it wears off after 6 months and their hospitals are filling up with vax’d patients. This is why we need early treatment. Plus kids under 12, pregnant women, folks with immune system disorders etc shouldn’t be vax’d. For all these reasons we need the early treatment protocols that are used elsewhere in the world.
          The current plan is for people to suffer alone at home with panadol until they can’t breath then crash the hospitals. How’s that going to work in Sydney with 6 million people and like 600 ICU beds? Hmm, not I would say.
          Could I also respectfully suggest you be a little more curious in your investigations, and less certain in your pronouncements.

          • SoMPLSBoyMEMBER

            Well phrased MW!
            There’s been a huge (deliberate?) lack of recognition towards the re-purposing of existing drugs as helpful and likely curative treatments against C19. For those (and there’s many on MB) who advocate and argue that there’s no pathway forward except for vaccines are suggesting medicine abandon all the protocols at their disposal, their position is NQR and smacks of dishonesty.
            This limited way of approaching a complex problem is most peculiar and inconsistent with all logic imo.

            If the ‘mission’ is to get a needle in every arm where no other preventative/ curative can be considered so as to raise the share price of big Rx manufacturer so the C- suite execs and shareholders ( and net/vlog contributors) see a benefit, then by all means inject away! At least be truthful and don’t hide behind duplicity as we’d perhaps respect you then a little.

            I agree that vaccines have ( had) their role but we are only a few innings into a long game and I’m certain that soon enough, the world (including Straya) will be scrambling to identify and implement any and all methods to deal with what’s coming down the line with C19.

  6. When it gets to 5,000 in 3 weeks, do we all still sit around smiling at each other through masks? When everyone realizes Feb 15 is the minimum date for let up, will the riots overwhelm the inner cities? Because it’s clear, it’s lies and spin all the way from here.

      • Frank DrebinMEMBER

        The problem is that half the rioters will be rioting about one belief, and the other half will be rioting about the complete opposite.

        It could get awkward.

  7. Semi-related question, but have any researchers done a CBA on the death/sickness toll of COVID-19 versus the full impact of lockdown? As in including the longer term economic implications, cost to business and employment, non-COVID negative health outcomes, suicide, mental health issues, so on and so forth?

    People like Glenn Greenwald make (what I think to be) a fair point when noting that we’re not looking at the full picture if the scenarios we’re using only compares lives saved/lost as a result of COVID-19. Correct me if I’m wrong on this, but the expert advice from ATAGI about not taking AZ was based on two scenarios – dying from a blood clot, and the Australian community with NEXT TO NO COVID-19 cases. If that’s accurate, it’s an absurd comparison – why were we looking at a scenario where COVID-19 barely exists, instead of a scenario where the virus is leading to extended lockdowns? Yes, ATAGI has sinced changed its scenario so that taking AZ was the better option compared to a lockdown environment, but it raises an obvious question – why didn’t we use the lockdown scenario in the first place, or at least a number of options ranging from no cases to full blown Black Plague epidemic?

    If all the current research is ONLY looking at COVID-19 related impacts, and not considering any of the associated impacts, then surely that needs to be addressed by somebody in the public health space? Even if it confirms what the experts already believe about keeping lockdowns going for longer, you’re at least providing a more holistic look at the unintended consequences of lockdown, and can hopefully find longer terms and more effective measures to address these downsides.

    • Atagi completely screwed up, demonised AZ In a straw-man analysis that never held any weight, delayed Australia’s vaccination rollout by several months, and as a result here we are with Delta running rampant. But, listen to the experts …

  8. response to Bystander:

    why didn’t we use the lockdown scenario in the first place, or at least a number of options ranging from no cases to full blown Black Plague epidemic?

    Wasn’t it because we weren’t actually in lockdown as we had virtually zero cases and therefore the risks of taking AZ (blood clots) were greater than the risks of not doing so and waiting for Pfizer (particularly given the shorter period between doses for Pfizer). Obviously that changed very quickly.

    • Yes, that’s my understanding, but it seems a ridiculous scenario to compare to. It’d be like looking at measures to prevent the GFC being compared to the pre-2007 market where nothing had crashed, and concluding that the measures would impose a greater cost than not doing anything. Which is great, except that they should be comparing to a scenario where things go wrong, not when everything is fine.

  9. Nice work David. Thank-you. This is why I read MB.

    As I mentioned a couple of days ago, anyone with a calculator can work out the likely mortality rates. Simply take the ages by cohort – from ABS data – and then the numbers unvaccinated, one dose and two doses – and then the infection mortality rates from the (large sample) UK and US and you can back out the likely number of mortalities. This is a static calculation, as it assumes a stable antibody rate from vaccinations, but it gives an indication of the likely cost in terms of lives.

    I’ve done the calculations for NZ and it came out at about 9,800-10,000 lives. As Australian vaccinations are similar to NZ, then multiply by 5 and you get the ball-park for Australia…I think 29,000 is probably too Low.

    • Nice work? It’s literally a wholesale cut and paste of someone else’s article.

      I’ve often wondered whether MB has the appropriate permissions in place to republish in the way it does.

      • Ha, didn’t notice that. I just jumped into reading the article. Yes I agree on publishing, but I do like having a one stop shop for a lot of this.

        Thanks for pointing this out. I guess Nice Work Matt Barrie.

        • MB is run by two people. For you to get your ‘one stop shop’ if they had to do the amount of detailed and time consuming research and analyses that so many of the topics they cover demand it would require a staff of 10-20 and cost accordingly.

          I for one am grateful that MB can gather and disseminate such top quality analysis that it would take the average Jo Blow a month of Sunday’s to find in their own.

          Thanks again DLS for this.

          • I don’t mind that they aggregate. It would be nice to know that they have the permissions in place to do so, especially when it’s an entire article rather than a few paragraphs.

    • This. The best models are usually the simplest. I’d like to see the open-up crowd start with this calculus and try to work their way back to their preferred conclusion.

    • Except don’t use UK or US vaccinated data, because of the high rate of antibodies already present in the population which we don’t have.

      • Yep. UK apparently at 94% of the population with antibodies. Florida with a slightly smaller population than Straya, and 52% vaccination are currently experiencing over 200 deaths daily.

        70% vaccination over 16 being the equivalent of 56% and antibodies could see us in a similar position.

  10. I have a question for all you virus modellers out there.

    Imagine 4 scenarios. In each case a 50 year-old teacher is in class all day with 25 children. Two of the teachers are vaccinated and two of the classes are vaccinated. So we have.

    Case A
    Teacher unvaccinated. 25 students unvaccinated.

    Case B
    Teacher unvaccinated. 25 students vaccinated.

    Case C
    Teacher vaccinated. 25 students unvaccinated.

    Case D
    Teacher vaccinated. 25 students vaccinated.

    We want to model the risk to the teacher being virus-damaged by the children. Is it worthwhile vaccinating the children to save the teacher? What is the mean time to catch Covid of each case? Does it make a worthwhile difference?

    I ask this because there are several extremely powerful giant companies looking at potential profits of many many $ billions if they can push their relatively untested products onto our children. The only thing standing between them and huge profits is the morality of our politicians.

    There is a huge marketting campaign now being run to get everyone “fully vaccinated”, yet only about 1% of the population knows the difference between an mRNA vaccine and a conventional vaccine. Things are very complicated. Do we take the complicated route and try to figure out the best thing for ourselves? or do we take the simple option and trust the advertisements on the TV?

    • In all scenarios the teacher has the worst statistical outcome relative to the students. No one under 18 in AU has died from CV-19, not saying it wont happen but the odds are stacked against the 50 year old.

    • Take the simple option of not trusting pharmaceutical companies that have in the past been tried for fraud, and keeping the prevalence of side affects hidden and under wraps, and similarly withhold trust from governments who have shown that they are objectively opposed to the welfare of the people and nation by engaging in immigration replacement of the population to their detriment, a project they have kept up for decades.

      Also remember the media who tells us our replacement is a “racist conspiracy myth” despite the fact it can be verified with one quick look at government collected census data.

      They do not deserve our trust, therefor everything they ask is extremely suspect, and almost never for our benefit but those they really answer to. The people who have their ear.. globalist capitalists (who are also on the record as hating us and wanting to replace us).