Oh no!  Vaccination is ineffective, and deaths in Australia are surging!

Let’s check back in on the authoritarian hell hole of Australia.

Donald Boudreaux is still tirelessly working to educate people about the dangers of lockdowns and the wisdom of the Great Barrington Declaration strategy of “focused protection”.  Today he quotes this paragraph from an essay by Gigi Foster posted at – hold your breath! – the Brownstone Institute:

Many of those spared death in 2020 or 2021 from COVID are succumbing now in 2022 as our borders re-open, meaning that enduring the horror of lockdowns “saved” only a couple of years of life for a large fraction of Australia’s eventual COVID victims.

Australia is now experiencing far more COVID deaths and infections than when lockdowns and other draconian restrictions were being imposed, while COVID restrictions have largely been eased on the back of triumphant politicians’ claims that the COVID injections have been the game-changer that we all needed to escape lockdowns and start to live normally again.

This leaves the impression that Australia’s efforts to suppress COVID-19 until a vaccine arrived simply didn’t work:  many of those saved by the lockdowns are “now succumbing” to COVID.  And it suggests not only that the lockdown failed to do much besides delay death for a couple of years, but that the vaccines don’t work.  Note the snark about vaccines being a “game-changer”.

Is this really true?  Or is it just more anti-vaccine propaganda from our friends at the Brownstone Institute, credulously amplified by Boudreaux?  (The anti-vax propaganda at Brownstone has become increasingly open, see here and here.)

Foster points us to an executive summary of a cost benefit analysis she did of the Australian “lockdown” policy.  In it, she claims that Australia’s policy saved 10,000 lives.* 

From Our World in Data:

The death rate in the United States has been 10 times higher than in Australia.  So if Australia had our death rate, they would have lost 80,000 people, rather than 8,000, an increase of 72,000 deaths.  If Australia had Sweden’s death rate, the increase in deaths would have been 44,000. 

It seems to me that it is at least arguable that locking down made sense in Australia and New Zealand during the initial COVID waves.  And it may well have made sense to keep the lockdown in place while a mass vaccination campaign was under way.  (I’m not saying that policy in these countries was perfect; I’m just saying it may have made sense relative to the alternative of letting COVID spread more or less freely, with a bit of “focused protection” thrown in.)  But maybe this is wrong.  I’m still waiting for proponents of “focused protection” to roll up their sleeves and do even the most basic analysis.  Instead, what we get is dissembling and disinformation.

*I think this what she is saying, but I’m not 100% sure.  She works in “quality adjusted life years” or QALYs.  I think she is assuming 10,000 lives saved, and each death averted led to 5 QALY’s enjoyed, for a total of 50,000 QALY’s gained.  If I have misinterpreted her I am happy to post a correction.