By Sir Ray Avery
Covid is here to stay and most countries are learning to live with it and work out how to balance the deaths, disability and disruption caused by the virus with the financial and societal costs of measures used to try to control the virus.
But not here in New Zealand. We are going to keep it out at all costs.
Michael “shut the back door” Baker is calling for the borders to be closed and Jacinda Ardern is flagging that even a whiff of Omicron in the community will put the traffic lights to red and New Zealand will shut down again.
Science says we can’t eliminate Covid and so these lockdowns simply delay the inevitable that Covid will become endemic and we need a plan to learn how to live with it and prevent as many deaths as possible.
International public health experts are making the case that, when it comes to assessing the threat from the pandemic, COVID-related hospitalizations are now a much more valuable marker than overall case counts.
This makes sense to me. Isn’t the end game here saving lives rather than publishing the fearmongering daily infection rates which in the case of Omicron do not translate into a pandemic of deaths?
Our Prime Minister says that we need to keep NZ locked down until our vaccination rates are higher to prevent Omicron from spreading.
What we know from studies in Israel is that even four Covid vaccinations do not prevent patients dying from Omicron.
The United Kingdom was hit by three million infections between July and October last year despite 79.5% of those aged 12 years and older having received two vaccine doses as of 31 October. UK infection rates are higher than those in countries in continental Europe and the surge in infections shows that vaccines alone cannot contain the virus.
Not only does the NZ Government have no plan on how they are going to learn to live with Covid but their authoritarian control of their subjects is preventing their citizens from protecting themselves.
Historically the Government not only steadfastly refused the general public to have access to personal Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) kits, it has insisted that they use government testing sites and passed legislation for the purchase of NZ covid-testing laboratories.
Personal (RAT) testing can be a useful community tool to prevent the spread of Covid particularly in aged care facilities.
The Government has no plan on how it is going to live with Covid because it believes it can prevent widespread community transmission of Covid by shutting down its borders and locking up its citizens.
But can it do this forever?