An economist criticized Australia for its mistakes in responding to the pandemic, but health experts responded in a Q&A on Thursday night.
An economist slammed Australia’s response to the pandemic, arguing that the authorities made mistakes by closing schools, forcing people to work from home, and trying to vaccinate most Australians, and finally—at some point in the track— Reopen the border and return to normal.
Cameron Murray said in a question-and-answer panel on Thursday night that the coronavirus is “a thousand times worse for the elderly than for young people, and we don’t need to vaccinate 100% of young people before opening.”
“From a public health perspective, I don’t know that any of our responses are ideal,” he said.
“Look at the number… all the delayed birthdays, all the couples who will never have the child they want because… they are afraid of the pandemic, all the routine health checks that we can’t keep up with are delayed, you Do you think their risk is greater than the risk?”
Omar Khorshid, President of the Australian Medical Association, has heard enough and interrupted.
He asked: “Are you seriously implying that Covid will not affect young people, or that our border closure has not made us almost the most successful country in the world in dealing with this epidemic?”
Mr. Murray questioned whether Australia was “the most successful”. Dr. Khorshid told him that Australia was “very successful”.
Kamalini Lokuge, an epidemiologist at the Australian National University, told Mr Murray that countries that did not do what Australia did have paid a huge price.
“Cameron, if you look at the data of every country that didn’t do these things, all of this has happened, and many people have died from the new crown virus,” she said.
“Can I speak as a public health expert instead of an economist? If you look at what is happening in the UK, their coverage is close to 50%. They are starting to open their hearts. They are open to the rest of Europe.
“They have to be close to Portugal now. Their prime minister, their finance minister said that we may need to postpone the opening because we have a new variant and the number of hospitalizations and cases are increasing.
“Therefore, I think waiting a few months to reach the level of vaccine coverage where we know we don’t need to take strict measures to control this disease is effortless.
“One of the problems I encountered during the pandemic was that people did not have the proper expertise to comment.”
Pitjantjatjara woman Sally Scales told Mr. Murray that she also supports a more cautious approach to reopening.
“For me, when I belong to a group that is always vulnerable, I will always be cautious,” she said.
“Indigenous people have potential problems. I always choose to be cautious and make sure that we protect our elderly. Not being cautious is a luxury.
“If Covid enters the Aboriginal community, we will not be able to isolate ourselves.
“For my community, if we have Covid, then everyone will have it within a day. The Royal Flying Doctor’s transfer time is eight hours to Alice Springs or Adelaide.”
Australia’s almost virus-free ability to live has been praised by the international media, including Washington post with New York TimesBut this comes at a price-ask Victorians who will lift the fourth lockdown in 18 months on Friday.
But the country’s vaccine launch has been slower than expected, and there are concerns that the international border will not be reopened in a few years, because attempts to actively suppress it means that even a small number of new cases need to be severely restricted.
According to Gigi Foster, an economics professor at the University of New South Wales interviewed by news.com.au earlier this year, it is difficult to estimate the full cost of Australia’s response to Covid-19.
But she said the blockade may do more harm than good.
She said: “What I can say is that under any reasonable assumption, the cost of our blockade response is far greater than its benefits in the new coronavirus world.”
“It was clear early on, and that’s why I have been saying for nearly a year that we made a huge mistake in implementing the lockdown in response to Covid.”
New South Wales and Queensland are the latest states to experience fear of new cases after a Victorian couple escaped the lockdown and drove across the border between the two states when they were infected.
So far, there are no other cases in these two states, but the authorities in both states have listed a long list of exposure locations.
— With Alexis Carey