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.
It amuses me in a horrifying when when I see something as carefully worded as ““saved” only a couple of years of life for a large fraction of Australia’s eventual COVID victims.”
We are expected to overlook that eventual victims is a subset of the population. Please ignore all those who never became victims.
I love cost benefit analyses, especially “executive summaries.” I wonder how she would feel if she “only” saved two years of quality life. Or, more accurately, were one of those asked, ever so nicely, to sacrifice only two years of quality life so “the children” could grow up to have more plastic toys.
I’d go further and ask if anything she said made any actual sense?
There have been a million lives lost, at least in part because of failure to put up with the horror of lockdowns (aka social distancing,but lockdown sounds so much better) and the loss of freedom from being forced to wear masks. I can remember a time (because I read about it) when doctors felt insulted if they were asked to wash their hands.
If all Australia did until now was lockdowns, then of course another wave would be very deadly. Lockdowns don’t provide long-term protection, they only protect as long as they are in place and enforced. Actual infections (lockdown failures) can be protective, although the protection wanes with time and actual infections can result in long COVID.
The data are clear that vaccination is protective (and of course, doesn’t cause long COVID). Vaccine protection wanes over time, hence the boosters. The vaccines have kept millions out of the hospital and out of morgues.
Vaccination *does not* prevent re-infection, and infected people can spread the virus to others, including the unvaccinated. Public policy must be to maximize vaccination and minimize the contact of unvaccinated people with the vaccinated populations.
You went where I was going to go with this. The vaccines did prevent the earlier Covids and provided protection against severe illness from the more recent Covids. Long Covid being an outlier to having Covid. I do not know if I got that right.
And yes, you can get it again or latter after the vaccine weakens. It makes sense to distance oneself from others and to maskup in crowds.
Indeed. My Lovely And Talented Wife® went to work today in order to meet with her boss, the director of the oncology division at Washington University School of Medicine. Both she and he are up-to-date on their boosters. But infections are up in St. Louis now, and he just got back from a couple of meetings, so she’ll be masking up. This is how responsible adults behave.
G’da would’a muttered something under his breath about dead horses …
Well Duh. Is there anyone who did not expect a surge of infections when the public health measures were dropped? Or that infections almost always mean that some will die?
Covid data has been graphed and tabled and charted to death, but “far more” can’t be quantified in the text? I guess that is why it is an “essay”.
according to what i have read, “lockdowns” enacted early enough (very early) in an epidemic, targeted if posible to situations where transmission is most likely (schools, in the case of flu. i don’t know about covid), can stop a pandemic its tracks. the problem with covid is that no one did anything useful before the pandemic got a foothold. “The Premonition” is a good read for the layman. “Uncontrolled Spread” is a less good read by someone at the top of the United States health bureaucracy. both books, taken together at bedtime, will lend a little nuance to your prescriptions.
Australia is an island nation with tight border controls. Their strategy made a lot of sense. For much of the pandemic, it was possible for Australians to continue as if COVID was not a problem without paying for that in illness, death and hospitalization. It’s much harder to contain omicron which is nearly as infectious as measles. Vaccination makes it even less harmful and cuts the number of cases.
In the 19th century and well into the 20th, people from western nations derided those in the Islamic world as fatalists, taking whatever was dished out as Allah’s will. I never expected America to be first western nation to adopt inshallah as a political motto, but Trump was right up there with “it is what it is”, a secular version. Aren’t we supposed to be a nation of fighters? Mario Puzo once said that to eat well, stick with Italians. If you need medical care, go to the Jews, because they don’t believe in God the way we do. They’ll keep fighting to the very end.
P.S. My website link takes you to a chart from Science showing that (1) COVID has been getting more infectious and more likely to reinfect people and (2) that natural immunity wanes in about five or six months, so it is not all that different from vaccination.
” . . . natural immunity wanes in about five or six months, so it is not all that different from vaccination.”
But with vaccination, you can restore your immunity with a booster without the risk associated with “natural immunity,” i.e. infection. Big difference.
There is nothing unnatural about immunity gained via vaccination, but it is safer than immunity gained via infection.
Good answer and a point well made. Thanks.