Daddy, is that Santa? No, son. It’s the PM delivering COVID

In early December I visited Sydney for a week. It was bizarre. At the airport, tourists were greeted with a battery of singing and dancing buskers. There was no hat to donate and they were clearly paid for by the airport or government. They bellowed befouled air over scuttling and frightened passengers.

Presumably, the practice has now ceased with the NSW ban on dancing and singing.

This became my metaphor for the entire trip as, despite the protestations of the combined Perrottet/Morrison regime, the joint was already half shut down amid a mad rush of maskless punters. The lack of turnover meant everything was twice the price. The CBD was a post-apocalyptic desert day and night. Twice I was nearly bashed for no reason by the shambling human refuse that remained. Anger was everywhere.

The whole experience had a toxic vibe of denial so thick you could cut it with a knife.

This denial has now percolated right to the top of our pandemic policymaking. As much of the east coast shuts down, the PM is out again with more of it:

On the virus, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the omicron COVID-19 variant is “a gear change that we have to push through”.

“We’re dealing with serious volumes of cases but not seeing the same impact proportionally from previous variants as to the impact on hospitalisations, ICU and ventilated patients,” he says.

To be clear, I have no issue with accepting that OMICRON is materially less threatening than DELTA. But it is still COVID and “letting it rip” was always going to deliver less freedom not more as households sensibly retrench amid an illness shock.

A far better approach would have been to emphasise community health outcomes over “individual” given that in a pandemic there is no such thing. Everything one person does affects another.

Leaders should have slowed the reopening with basic social distancing policies and people would have felt safer and have gone out more. That is, some curtailments of some freedoms result in more overall freedoms in a pandemic.

Anyways, as the east coast economy grinds to a halt today resulting, perversely, in the further loosening of restrictions to get more infected workers back to work to infect healthy workers, the next body to drop in Morrison’s Pandemic: The Musical is school kids.

And won’t this be fun:

NSW will rely on the mass use of rapid antigen tests as part of its back-to-school plan on February 1, with the Premier adamant the date is set despite the escalation in COVID-19 cases and delays to children’s vaccinations.

The key strategy will be a “test to stay program”, which will involve the rapid testing of students in the same cohort as any who test positive to COVID-19. If they test negative, they can continue to go to school.

Good luck getting your own tests. Just the latest abject failure of foresight by the Morrison Government in this pandemic and, let’s face it, the main reason that RATs are not free. It would underline that there aren’t any.

Just like kids vaccines:

A patchy supply of vaccines for children aged five to 11 has also meant that many are unlikely to get vaccinated in time for the start of school, with doctors forced to postpone appointments. The Therapeutic Goods Administration has yet to decide whether older teenagers will get access to a booster shot. It is still evaluating data on the Pfizer COVID-19 booster for those aged 16 to 17.

GPs and practice managers have said they had to push back their first appointments for vaccines for children by a week.

QLD has it right:

The start of the Queensland school year has been delayed by two weeks and essential workers can now leave Covid self-isolation if they are in key roles, the state government has announced.

But don’t expect Morrison to endorse such a delay to ensure the kids are vaxxed before being thrown to COVID wolves. He is trying to avert another recession in his name. Kids are cannon fodder in that glorious political purpose.

I humbly suggest that as usual, our disordered PM has it diametrically wrong. By mindlessly cheerleading freedom for his own benefit, he is going to deliver the opposite and suffer for it. See the USofA for what is ahead as OMICRON clashes with kids at school:

Chicago Public Schools said it will let parents know over the weekend whether classes would be closed again on Monday, which would be the fourth-straight academic day, as the district continues negotiations with the local teachers’ union over demands for more measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Schools have been closed in the nation’s third-largest district since Wednesday after Chicago teachers voted to shift back to remote learning. The union has insisted that the district put in place more stringent protections from a virus surge driven by the omicron variant.

…School closings are accelerating across the U.S. as omicron infections soar, driving staffing shortages. That’s left tens of thousands of students without in person instruction just days into the new year and parents scrambling to readjust schedules.

And as that develops here, it is going to be fugly for…err…empathy challenged pollies:

My two youngest grandchildren, aged nine and seven, have COVID-19. Both are high-risk immuno-compromised children. The nine-year-old is also prone to lung infections and has damaged lungs from an especially virulent infection three years ago.

Over the past two years, their parents have done everything possible to protect them against COVID-19. My grandchildren haven’t been to school since mid-June 2021. They lost weeks more schooling than other children in 2020, too.

Neither child had contact with other children for months on end and, when they did again have contact, it was with a small number of similarly protected children. They avoided places where children would usually go and stayed away from many social gatherings. Their parents have been waiting anxiously for them to be vaccinated.

…After 22 hard months, COVID-19 finally caught up with them. On Christmas Eve, their father brought it home from work. My grandchildren were infected two weeks before they could get a vaccine; the rollout for those aged five to 11 is only just beginning.

Both children have had a couple of visits to emergency over the past two weeks. The nine-year-old deteriorated badly one night and had to be admitted to hospital for two days. He waited for five hours in emergency until a bed was available in the COVID ward. The staff were excellent and the care they provided was superb. But they were exhausted and absolutely furious.

This need not have happened. It should not have happened. That it did is the result of the chronic incompetence of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, aided and abetted in the past few months by NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet.


Houses and Holes
Latest posts by Houses and Holes (see all)


  1. My partner and I have been leading very quiet lives since the current outbreak began. No dining out, no visits to or from friends, no shopping at the mall with a coffee on the way, no trips to the local pub. Our friends are all following the same plan, and the voluntary isolation is pretty much what you’d expect to happen as people seek to avoid catching the bug. Our expenditures have been greatly reduced.

    I was at work last week, but have just arranged to WFH. My partner will be WFH for months yet.

    I expected the morning commute to be about normal, but there were hardly any cars on the road. No doubt lots of people are still on holiday, while others are WFH.

    I suspect that economic activity has been substantially reduced.

    • boomengineeringMEMBER

      Wow, not here, none of my clients nor I have been taking any precautions whatsoever. Here it’s as though it doesn’t exist, although I know in some places it does.

    • +1, same with my family and friends.

      On the other side of the coin, I had a manager this morning “reluctantly postpone” an on-site meeting because “a few people had concerns about travelling into the city”. Literally none of the people involved need to be in the office to do their job and yet some incompetent middle management are chomping at the bit to get people back into the office so they can justify their own salary.

  2. To be clear, I have no issue with accepting that OMICRON is materially less threatening than DELTA.

    On an individual level yes, but things are different at the community level. Half the virulence but twice as transmissible means it’s a wash in terms of aggregate morbidity/mortality.

    In fact Omicron could prove more dangerous to the health system because the higher transmission rate compresses the length of the wave. That means the wave passes sooner but it also means the peak is higher.

    • It’s a double whammy of both Delta and Omicron.

      Delta had been suppressed until “Let it Rip” Perrottet took over, now both strains are tearing through the community at the same time, rather than sequentially.
      If Morrison hadn’t stuffed the initial vax roll out, things would have been better. If Gladys hadn’t been corrupt, the incompetent Domicron wouldn’t be stuffing it for the rest of the country. If Morrison had ordered enough RATs and booster vaccines…

      So many points of failure in governance that were easily avoidable.

      • Been stuck in the UK since this started. What has happened here is down to the exact same failures as Morrison is delivering right now. The only thing they did that worked was putting the entire vaccination program out to the NHS rather than the tory crony companies that have fooked up everything else at great expense. eg Test and Trace handed out to an uber crony, meant to be world beating but a complete failure cost more than the entire worlds spending on tracing apps etc £38Billion, all into a few choice pockets. PPE bought via cronies for 10x the normal cost, instead of opening up factories in the UK and run by the government. Right wing politicians have absolved themselves of all responsibility for the health, welfare and common good of the people they are supposed to be representing. You could mix and match UKs RWNJs with Australia’s and there would be no difference. House prices, offshore bank accounts and taxes being paid to cronies is their entire remit.

    • Not to mention there are many more letters left in the Greek alphabet (a total of 24).
      The more warm bodies Omicron finds, the more likely it gets it will mutate into something else, almost certainly more virulent
      (although not necessarily more deadly). We’re about to find out…

      • Actually viruses naturally mutate into less virulent forms. They have difficulty in replication, bits are multiplied in an infected cell which bursts, and the fragments are joined up out of the soup. Viruses don’t have a check method to ensure a correct assemblage, Omicron is behaving in a natural way,

        • As someone who face bereavement at a young age I always find this type of “think of the dead” comment as disgusting. You have no idea what the personal circumstances of those affected families are, nor do you really care. You are just trying to make a virtue signalling point.
          Reality is its the one thing nobody gets to avoid is death, its how you deal with it that matters. And you can’t live in a hermetically sealed bubble.
          Perhaps it is a modern society thing with all the fantasies available on tap that people don’t think about it so much any more. Too much risk aversion to death that they don’t bother to live. I almost put mortgage serfs in this category, spending all your life paying huge mortgage/debt that you forget to live.
          Your number could be up at any moment. We are luck that this current pandemic largely affects the elderly, which whilst it is always sad in some cases these people can be very frail and for some families it can actually be a blessing that there was not years of suffering.
          The rest of us battle on until a proper herd immunity is acheived by those able to develop it (this will never be acheived by solely relying on a leaky vaccine and paying 6th monthly tribute to Pfizer). The quicker this is achieved the less deadly this thing will be in the long run.

      • Mr SquiggleMEMBER

        Comparing omicron to delta is next to useless. Hardly anyone in Australia had Delta. Those that have had a vaccine have immunity to the spike protein from the original wildtype covid.

        Who cares about delta comparisons?

      • However the hopititals are becoming seriously stresssed. Far more than any cold or flu pandemic in the last century. Staffing levels are also down thanks to covid. The other issue at play in our favour is that there are better treatments now than last year which is making a bid difference to the numbers going critical or dead.
        Note: this figures are last week so more this week as the sheer numbers are up even though the daily increase rate has dropped since people are isolating and masking again.

  3. They wanted LIR from the get go. They had a few cracks at it, delayed border closure, Ruby Princess, etc but it turns out it’s super hard to get a pandemic going in Oz.

    So now all the money has been spent and the bridge has been built and we’ve all crossed it BUT we didn’t do the “everyone catches covid and it become endemic and accepted as part of life” bit and we’re becoming the hermit kingdom and the population ponzi is on the rocks!

    So, now, they’ll take whatever LIR they can get! They don’t care if circumstances arn’t great and there are no tests or vaccs for kids. Previous LIR attempts failed so they’re making sure this time! Just LIR FFS and get those migrant slaves in ASAP JFC!!!!

    They’ll pay. Whatever the price politically, they’ll pay it.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      I’m guessing they think they have to get it over and done with because the economy is about to implode.

      Letting it rip this time smells like a hail mary.

  4. LOL last two years was thank the front line workers for the incredible job.
    This year its like, get back to fing work, heres your vaccine, you’re out of luck.

    We are run and ruled by a bunch of pyschopaths.

  5. RobotSenseiMEMBER

    If you think this is bad, spare a thought for how we would have gone with this psychopath PM two years ago with no PPE and no vaccines to protect people. It would have been utter carnage.

    • Yes, lets not foreget that! And back then it only seemed they locked down after they realised people & business had already started locking down themselves.

  6. Everyone’s an expert it seems.
    There is probably hundreds of unique policies out there in the world on how to deal with COVID all claiming they are right and they have the best approach.
    There are countless different opinions on the effectiveness, benefits and risks of vaccines, on lockdowns, on masks, on social distancing. Then there is the combination of those elements which complicate things more.
    We have traffic light systems strategies, road maps, zero -covids, let it rip and everything in between.
    We have countries with no mandate, full mandates, some mandates.
    We have countries with some restrictions, others with no restriction. Even have countries with no national restriction but locals state full restrictions. Some with exemptions, others with none.
    Some certify one type of vaccines, others don’t. Some give 2 shots, some 3, others 4.
    Some give the spacing between shots 4 weeks apart, other 12 weeks.
    Some say you can mix and match vaccines, others say you should stick with the same one.
    Some say you have to wear a p2 mask other say cotton is ok. Others say it doesn’t even matter as both work, while others say its doesn’t matter as neither work.
    Some say we need to protect our children while others say our kids are fine.
    Some say natural immunity is the best and our way out. Others say the vaccine immunity is better and our ticket to freedom.

    and here we are, 2 years into it and still clueless and the only thing that is clear to me that no one should be telling anyone what to do and how to do it. No one.

    • RobotSenseiMEMBER

      There is probably hundreds of unique policies out there in the world on how to deal with COVID all claiming they are right and they have the best approach.
      And hundreds of unique cultures and moral/ethical groundings on autonomy, paternalism, medical equity, etc. Not having a go at any one particular group etc, but for example what would work in Thailand won’t work in Florida and vice-versa.

      • There should only be one coherent message if the science was properly allowed to be worked out. But we have Religious, cultural, economical, political and social mechanisms that have made that impossible

      • what would work in Thailand won’t work in Florida and vice-versa


        One size does fit all when it comes to vaccines circa 2021. The vaccines are safe and effective and that is all anyone needs to know. Differing [mis]information should be removed.

        • RobotSenseiMEMBER

          I’m talking social movement, masks, outlandish theories that unproven drugs are useful in preventing and curing Covid, everything. The vaccines work. Of course when you’ve spent so long hitching your wagon to the ivermectin argument in the face of no legitimate studies whatsoever well, you’d hardly be mistaken for someone with any credibility on the matter.

          • Ivermectin is a tried and tested anti-viral drug with wide usage in humans and animals.
            The question is not IF it works against Covid, but how well it works and if something else is better.

            Sadly this available off-patent drug has been heavily censored by the elite in favour of expensive dangerous drugs that other elites would like to sell. Now the question is: Why are elites doing this, and why are govt elites not stopping this behaviour.

            I haven’t hitched my wagon to any drug. The only wagon here is the Vaccine bandwagon, and you my friend are clearly on it.

          • RobotSenseiMEMBER

            I can unequivocally guarantee you that ivermectin will not be used in the treatment of Covid in Australia.
            Not because of any big conspiracy. But because there’s no proof it works.
            Compare and contrast with vaccines, for which there is now ample data on both safety and efficacy.

    • clear to me that no one should be telling anyone what to do and how to do it. No one.

      Which is why we need less strict gun laws.

      Grassy knolls tend to make politicians think twice before they tell us what to do.

  7. Display NameMEMBER

    I read somewhere today that Chemists do not get given RAT’s tests to hand to Concession care holders, they have to buy them and claim them back. is this correct, a special kind of LNP stupid?

  8. Gladys is right. Scott Morrison is simply evil. Can we really expect the architect of RoBo debt to to give a shit about his fellow Australians?

    Failing to secure enough vaccines while telling everyone to go get vaccinated. The tongue in cheek comment that we “can’t make everything free” regarding RATS to coverup the fact THAT THERE ARE NONE.

    And now having “let her rip” before children could be vaccinated combined with the previous two failures. Was Christmas really worth it?

    I feel like being voted out or even losing his seat is not enough. If anything it’s a handsome reward paid by us. This is criminal negligence.

      • I would genuinely like to understand why people are so terrified for kids, when the data tells us not to be terrified. If the vaccine does improve outcomes for kids in terms of serious illness, why are they terrified of unvaccinated kids if their kids are vaccinated? It is very clear given the current situation in VIV and NSW that vaccinated kids are going to catch it and spread it. Why wish ill on unvaccinated kids?

    • Yes, I wanna see the data they used for covid risks compared to risks from the different vaccines as everything I’ve seen on it from reputable medical sources suggests on an individual basis for this age group they have greater risk from being vaccinated! (unlike older groups).

          • BoomToBustMEMBER

            Plenty of information is available if you put the effort in to look for it. Also plenty of medical professionals speaking out against it (including Dr Robert Malone the inventor of mRNA vaccinations), if your only source of information comes from the biased, paid and conflicted large media companies then you are only getting 1 side of the story, and like the old saying goes “there are 2 sides to every story” – I challenge your to do your own research and see what you find!! And for those of you who say it’s not possible to do online research, how much do you do when looking for information whether a holiday, vehicles or any one of a massive amount of products or services available?

  9. Sh!t sandwich – WA is the place to be right now… lets hope Mark M has some balls and keeps the COVID out for another 6 months. We’re just fine living without it TBH. 🙂

  10. reusachtigeMEMBER

    The coming push and extreme societal pressure to give 5-11 year olds a vaccine they almost 100% do not need is going to be pure evil in action. Just watch.

  11. Scomo “the omicron COVID-19 variant is “a gear change that we have to push through”.
    Err they knew this a month before they lifted restrictions, but thought who wouldn’t be like South Africa. Then even when it was apparent the vaccines weren’t going to stop omicron spread ing just as fast they still did nothing to try and slow it, so any issues with supplies, overcrowded hospitals, high rates of sickies, home schooling etc etc are the governments fault. Had they gone early, gone hard none of this would be happening.

  12. gauntfaceMEMBER

    Is there something wrong with my maths here?
    There were a record 18 deaths yesterday in NSW with Covid.
    According to ABS 160k deaths expected annually in OZ. NSW approx 30% of population so 48k pa, or 131 daily deaths expected in NSW as BAU.
    18 COVID deaths represents around 14% of BAU daily expected deaths.
    303k active cases in NSW (Most are saying this is an underestimate by a significant factor – so more likely conservatively a million active cases). That translates to around one in 8 people in NSW with covid, or around 13%.
    This is very close to the percentage of COVID deaths as a proportion of expected BAU deaths (14%).
    Most people die in hospital. Everyone in hospital gets tested for COVID, so the death rate with COVID in hospital should at a minimum track pretty closely the percentage of people with COVID in the general population, which it appears to be doing.
    If COVID were generating significant excess deaths wouldn’t we expect a lot more than 18 deaths a day?

      • Watch what you say, or Sweeper will give you a terrible flogging for being an unbeliever. We should all be wearing Hazmat suits while throwing unvaccinated people into bonfires.

        • Do you and the partner have monogrammed Hazmat suits, or do you share the same one?

          January 10, 2022 at 12:47 pm
          My partner and I have been leading very quiet lives since the current outbreak began. No dining out, no visits to or from friends, no shopping at the mall with a coffee on the way, no trips to the local pub. Our friends are all following the same plan, and the voluntary isolation is pretty much what you’d expect to happen as people seek to avoid catching the bug. Our expenditures have been greatly reduced.

          I was at work last week, but have just arranged to WFH. My partner will be WFH for months yet.

          Cue Reusa: Chickensh!t!

    • No your maths is fine. In fact there is almost certainly more than 1,000,000 active cases. Then you’ve got the hysterical about a child dying, but if you do the maths that is to be expected if you do the same numbers that you’ve just presented. What’s more interesting is that Victoria only recorded 2.

    • Ronin8317MEMBER

      There is roughly a 2 weeks delay from infection to death, but even under the most pessimistic scenario, the death rate is 0.1%, so 8 million people in NSW means 8000 death. It’s bad, but not nation breaking bad.

      Hospitalization rate however is estimated at 1% : that’s 80000 beds needed. That’s why having it spread out over 2 months instead of 2 weeks is so important. If those who needs a bed cannot get one, the probability of death goes up immensely.

    • Maths appears OK, if based on some general assumptions.

      Lateral thinking though, has to be a fail.

      Some of the pertinent questions you should have asked yourself in arriving at your “model”:

      Is the death figure static?

      Where are we at in the curve of infection?

      Are than any external controls on the amount of fatalities due to covid? Are they implicitly more effective than the controls on other deaths occurring? Do the controls on covid deaths also affect totals in counts of other deaths?

      What do you expect the number will be tomorrow? Or next week?

      If it’s 27……do you then say we have a problem? (that is a massive 50% over BAU…see? any fool can do maths.)

      Note: I am not making any predictions; merely pointing out your post is facile.

  13. kierans777MEMBER

    A far better approach would have been to emphasise community health outcomes over “individual” given that in a pandemic there is no such thing. Everything one person does affects another.

    Well written. Neolibertarianism is bovine manure

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