YOU have to laugh when Australia’s robotic health ‘experts’ are asked to explain the superior covid situation in Sweden or Florida. Well, you would if reporters ever asked them. CHOs and politicians would be too proud to admit their diktats achieved little; they would cop out with a vague reference to jurisdictions ‘opening’ at the Goldilocks juncture: not too early, not too late but at just the right time (which they can never pinpoint). The idea that remaining open is what made the difference in Sweden or Florida cannot be conceded. Vaccines, of course, have become the handiest tarpaulin of all. Cases dropping? Vaccines. Not dropping? Slow rollout. A high percentage vaccinated but cases still climbing? They’re anti-vaxxers. Still a lot of people in hospital, though, right? Booster coming soon. How do we know natural immunity in virus-endemic places isn’t responsible for decreased mortality or that the unvaccinated in ICUs skipped innoculation for medical reasons relating to co-morbidities? Shut up.
From the start, I believed the rise and fall of this virus would follow the classical bell trajectory of flues, even if idiosyncrasies of climate, culture and population density would make for a plot line more jagged in one place than another. It wasn’t that doing nothing was the best policy but doing what had to be done to everyone was always about politics, not science. Which brings us to Japan and a “puzzled” health expert from the Burnet Institute:
On October 1, the country dropped its state of emergency for the first time in six months and the authorities are easing restrictions, such as the ban on selling alcohol in Tokyo’s restaurants and bars.
It’s a remarkable turnaround that has left public health experts “puzzled”, with more than one factor likely responsible…
Japan has left most of the heavy lifting to individuals, because laws protecting individual freedoms prevent authorities from enforcing strict lockdowns like in Australia…
“They are just kind of begging us but we don’t have to pay a penalty or anything,” said Ms Takahashi, who has been switching between face-to-face and online teaching since March last year to protect herself and her students…
Mike Toole, an epidemiologist at the Burnet Institute, said no-one could point to one single reason for the sharp fall in infections.
“The decline has puzzled most Japanese experts in public health and in COVID,” he said.
Professor Toole said Japan has adopted a “vaccine-plus” strategy that combines vaccines with other infection control measures.
The authorities’ success in suppressing the virus was likely thanks to a combination of measures such as compliance with social distancing directions, mask-wearing and a high rate of vaccine uptake, he said.
Odd that the professor doesn’t mention the absence of police state violence, insane lockdowns and demonisation of citizens as important. He does go on to rate as significant, however, that pleasant weather in Japan had enticed millions to leave air-conditioned apartments for the outdoors where the transmission risk is lower. I don’t recall the Burnet Institute encouraging Australian premiers to acknowledge that elephant.