Last month I wrote about good news not getting much airplay. The other issue which gets lost in media hype and political hyperbole is perspective. In 2017 there were 56 million deaths around the world. That number may have been slightly different in 2020 but would be comparable.
The worldometer website reports that as at today there have been 2.8 million deaths from Covid19 in total – which is over 15 months. Annualised this would make Covid 19 the cause of 4% of total deaths in 2020. The other figure that doesn’t get much publicity is that the top five countries by case numbers (USA, Brazil, India, France and Russia) account for 50% of total cases and 44% of all deaths.
Case numbers and daily fatalities have fallen sharply over the last three months in the USA and in the UK. Yet little is made of this. Why?
Meanwhile in Australia we have again seen a snap lockdown and border closures over a positive test. As usual NSW did not panic and despite the almost hopeful predictions of doom – there has been no issue in NSW. It appears to be the only jurisdiction in Australia that is capable of testing and tracking in an efficient manner.
Those with long memories may remember the call to “flatten the curve”. The purpose of this was that if cases arose at a rate that the health system could cope with then the pandemic was manageable. The intent was not zero cases. Somehow this got lost and we are now at the stage where a single positive test (even if the person is not unwell) is portrayed as an existential threat.
The other prediction which, a year later, has not aged well was that Australia would run out of ICU beds by April 4th 2020.
One could almost ask the question – are there people who don’t want this to end?
Australia has not had to act with the urgency of the USA or UK with regards to a vaccine roll out. So far over 160 million vaccine doses have been administered in the USA. This represents nearly half the population or six time the Australian population.
In Australia it has suited the political purposes of some to criticise the rollout of the vaccine. By the end of the first week of April around one million doses will have been administered and with local production cranking up this number will start to accelerate.
Again this is good news but does not get reported as such.
And here comes the real kicker. It is the case that the vaccine significantly reduces the likelihood of serious infection. It does not mean that one cannot get the virus, nor does it mean that it cannot be transmitted.
If the chances of serious infection are significantly reduced and (as with flu) we can do our best to protect the aged and vulnerable, then for the rest of us – getting it won’t actually matter!
Let this sink in.
Thus at some point pressure will need to be brought to bear on state premiers whose only metric is the presence of a positive test. There will continue to be positive tests as the virus is not going away. But we don’t close the economy or borders for cold or flu illnesses. This is where we need to get to with Covid.
However, the demand will have to come from citizens demanding their rights and lives back. When the state increases its power over citizens, it rarely gives it back voluntarily.
Medical Doctor, author, speaker, media presenter and health industry consultant, Dr Joe Kosterich wants you to be healthy and get the most out of life.
Joe writes for numerous medical and mainstream publications, is clinical editor at Medical Forum Magazine, and is also a regular on radio and television.
Joe is Medical Advisor to Medicinal Cannabis Company Little Green Pharma, Chairman of Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association and sits on the board of Arthritis and Osteoporosis WA. He is often called to give opinions in medico legal cases.