Coronavirus climate change image

Apartheid Israel and the UK are among world leaders in Covid-19 vaccination having achieved 63% and 64% of total population fully vaccinated, respectively. However premature cessation of Lockdown and related measures in these countries has led to increased infection and death. For economic and political reasons Australia proposes to follow suit when it achieves substantial vaccination in a few months’ time but faces the possibility of thousands of preventable Covid-19 deaths as a consequence.

Australia has performed very well in the Covid-19 Pandemic in comparison with other prosperous European countries. Thus as of 10 September 2021 “Covid-19 deaths per million of population” is 41 (Australia), 5 (New Zealand), 593 (the World), 2,150 (Italy), 2,024 (US), 1,959 (UK), 1,763 (France) , 1,106 (Germany) and 783 (Apartheid Israel) [1].

The reason for this success was that the Australian people demanded that the Federal Government and the 6 State and 2 Territory Governments should minimize Covid-19 deaths by listening to the medical experts,  following their advice, and  implementing requisite health measures.

In terms of “Covid-19 deaths per million of population” Australia (41) has not done as well as its sister country New Zealand (5).  Nevertheless both countries have excellent health services and successfully applied measures for the near-elimination of the coronavirus, namely border closure and quarantining; PCR-based infection case detection coupled with exhaustive contact tracing and quarantining of positives; and hygiene and social distancing measures (hand washing and sanitizer use, masks, lockdowns, intra-national border controls, curfews, and heavy penalties for non-compliance).

Key  elements in this Australasian success were geographic isolation, being surrounded by ocean, economic prosperity  (coupled with democracy, good education, good health services,  and high social altruism as reflected in good social services), and relatively small  and manageable  populations, to whit that  of New Zealand (5.0 million) and of the largely self-governing 6 States and 2 Territories making up the confederated Commonwealth  of Australia (population 25.8 million), specifically New South Wales (NSW; 8.0 million), Victoria ( 6.4 million), Queensland (5.0 million), Western Australia (2.6 million), South Australia (1.7 million), Tasmania  (0.5 million), Australian  Capital Territory (ACT; 0.4 million) and the Northern Territory (NT; 0.2 million ).

(1). The neoliberal Federal and NSW Australian Coalition Governments put “private profit” before “public welfare”.

Australia (1, 066 Covid-19 deaths and 41 Covid-19 deaths per million of population) would have done as well as New Zealand (27 Covid-19 deaths and 5 Covid-19 deaths per million of population) but for (a) the Ruby Princess passenger ship debacle in which Covid-19- infected passengers were allowed to disembark in Sydney on 30 March 2020 in violation of Federal Border Protection measures under the Coalition Government (resulting in over 900 infections and 28 Covid-19 deaths nation-wide including about 12 in the hospital outbreak in North West Tasmania), (b) the disastrous Second Wave in Victoria in 2020 due to failure of Federal quarantine (about 800 deaths, mostly in private aged care homes that were the responsibility of the Coalition Federal Government), and (c) the present disastrous  Delta Strain outbreak in Coalition-governed  NSW enabled  by the failure  of the neoliberal Coalition NSW Government to immediately  impose tough Lockdown measures (it is now out of control in NSW, has killed about 150 people so far,  and has spread to the adjacent, Labor-ruled entities of Victoria and the ACT).

It is useful to compare “Covid-19 deaths per million of population” as of circa 7 September 2021 of New Zealand (5.0), Australia (41), New South Wales (NSW; 22.9), Victoria ( 123.4), Queensland (1.3), Western Australia (3.4), South Australia (2.3), Tasmania  (24.1), Australian  Capital Territory (ACT; 7.5) and the Northern Territory (NT; 0.0 ) [1, 2].

The neoliberal Liberal Party-National Party Coalition Federal Government is primarily responsible for these 1,066 Covid-19 deaths because  it has a primary responsibility for border security, quarantine, accessing vaccines, and for private, for-profit Aged Care Homes. While Australia was among world leaders in minimizing deaths it now seriously lags behind other rich countries in vaccination because the Coalition Federal Government  was deficient in organizing vaccine supplies from overseas in 2020.  The Coalition NSW Government was remiss in failing to quickly adopt tough Lockdown measures that have been successful in other Australian jurisdictions. The 1,066 Covid-19 deaths in Australia (albeit small in relation to those of other countries) were largely due to  the incompetence and neoliberal philosophy of the Coalition that consistently puts “private profit” above “public welfare” on matters ranging from participation in illegal and genocidal US wars to world-leading climate criminality. The most fundamental  human right is the right to life, but the eminent former Australian Human Rights Commissioner, Professor Gillian Triggs, has commented that “[The Coalition] is ideologically opposed to human rights”.  Indeed the Coalition has committed Australian forces to all post-1950 US Asian wars, genocidally racist atrocities that have been associated with 40 million Asian deaths from violence and war-imposed deprivation [3].

There are now 2 Australias , (A) NSW and Victoria in which the Covid-19  outbreak is out of control with about 1,500 and 300 new cases per day, respectively (the ACT with about 15 new cases daily may possibly also belong to this category), and (B) the  remaining jurisdictions of Australia  (Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, and the Northern Territory) in which,  occasional  blips aside,  there are zero (0) daily new cases of Covid-19. The large and recalcitrant Covid-19 outbreaks  in NSW,  Victoria and the ACT have led to  Australia’s shift from a near-elimination, SARS-CoV-2 suppression  strategy to vaccination-led control of Covid-19.

(2). Thousands may  die preventably in a constraint-removing , neoliberal Australia’s pandemic of the unvaccinated.

With the virus out of control in  NSW and Victoria  (the most populous states of Australia) and quite likely out of control in the ACT, the only hope of Australia control the Covid-19 pandemic now lies in mass vaccination (plus continuing other  health measures) . However the entrenched incompetence and callousness of the Coalition Federal Government  meant that Australia failed to obtain vaccines in a timely fashion, and has ended up worst in the Developed World for vaccination of its citizens.

Neoliberal pressure for elimination of international and intra-national borders, lockdowns and other restrictions has led to formulation of a “road map” that in its final stage involves substantial elimination of these constraints when Australia as a whole and its constituent States and Territories achieve about  80% full vaccination of those over 12 (about 70% full vaccination of everyone). The Federal, State and Territory  Governments have been guided in accepting this broad policy by the highly respected Doherty Institute of the University of Melbourne that  has been doing expert epidemiological modelling. However the Doherty Institute properly adds the  caveat that such removal of constraints  must be careful and science-informed.

Nevertheless  this loose Federal-State political consensus has already crumbled in the face of the hard reality that daily new  Covid-19 cases are zero (0) in Western Australia,  the NT, South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania,  whereas Covid-19 appears to be out of control in NSW (1,500 new cases daily) , Victoria  (300) and the ACT (15). The Covid-19-free states and territories have already effectively eliminated Lockdown by almost eliminating the SARS-CoV-2 virus,  and naturally do not want to lose their freedom through re-introduction of the virus through removal of key health measures and international and intra-national border controls. The neoliberal Coalition Federal Government in supporting the neoliberal NSW Coalition Government (for which mass vaccination is now the only hope) has threatened the “zero cases” jurisdictions with huge financial penalties if they don’t agree to abolish Lockdowns and border controls once about 70% full vaccination of everyone is achieved.  However sensible people are concerned with the potential human cost of this “let it rip” approach that is powerfully advocated  by the airlines and the tourism and hospitality  industry.

An empirical approach to estimating the human cost of removing constraints when about 70% of the population is fully vaccinated is to consider the empirical realities in key, relevant countries that have roughly achieved this target. Some pertinent estimates are summarized below.

(a). United Kingdom. The Australian population of 25.845 million is 0.307 times that of the UK (84.098 million). The UK has fully vaccinated 64% of its population (about 80% of the over 12 population), has removed Lockdown constraints,  and is reporting 133 Covid-19 deaths each day (8 September, 7 day average; Google covid deaths UK).  We can accordingly crudely estimate that the culturally and economically  similar country of Australia would in similar circumstances suffer 0.307 x 133 deaths per day = 40.8 deaths per day or 14,914 Covid-19 deaths per year.

(b). Apartheid Israel. The Australian population of 25.845 million is 2.771 times that of Apartheid Israel  (9.326 million). Apartheid Israel is among world leaders in coronavirus  vaccination having fully vaccinated 63% of its total population (78% of the over 12 population), with this permitting removal of Lockdown constraints. Apartheid Israel is presently reporting 25 daily Covid-19 deaths (8 September, 7-day average). We can accordingly crudely estimate that the economically  similar country of Australia would in similar circumstances suffer 2.771 x 25 deaths per day = 69.3 deaths per day or 25,312 Covid-19 deaths per year.

(c). Canada. The Australian population of 25.845 million is 0.678 times that of Canada  (38.133 million). Canada has fully vaccinated 68% of its population, has removed Lockdown constraints,  and is reporting 21 Covid-19 deaths each day (8 September, 7 day average). We can accordingly crudely estimate that the culturally and economically  similar country of Australia would in similar circumstances suffer 0.678 x 21 deaths per day = 14.2 deaths per day or 5,200 Covid-19 deaths per year.

(3). Estimates of Australian deaths from vaccine rejection.

Some Australian epidemiologists  suggest that Australia could achieve 90% SARSCoV-2 vaccination, this optimism being based on over 90%.  vaccination being achieved for child vaccinations against diseases such a measles, diphtheria, whooping cough and polio.   However presently about 20% of Australians  are refusing SARSCoV-2 vaccination, with about half   being  vaccine hesitant and  half being convinced anti-vaxxers. If we assume that 20% of the Australian population rejects  vaccination then 0.2 x 25.845 million = 5.169 million Australians will remain unvaccinated. Presently in Australia there have been 68,041 cases and 1,066 Covid-19 deaths (10 September 2021)[1] , this corresponding to 15,667 Covid-19 deaths per million of infected people (1.6%).  Assuming that the vaccine hesitants eventually get vaccinated  and that  all of the remaining hard-core 10% of anti-vaxxers  will eventually catch the highly infective Delta strain of SARS-CoV-2,  then one obtains an upper estimate of 15,667 deaths per million x 2.585 million = 40, 449 Covid-19 deaths. Spread over 2 years, this would amount  to 20,250 Covid-19 deaths per year.

However if we assume that Australia has learned its lessons from 3 major outbreaks in nearly 2 years of the Covid-19  Pandemic, and achieves the present  New Zealand  value of 27 deaths per 3,813 cases (0.7% [1]), then a lower estimate of future unvaccinated deaths would be 27 deaths per 3,847 cases x 2.585 million cases = 18,142 Covid-19 deaths. Spread over 2 years, this would amount  to about 9,000 Covid-19 deaths per year. This crude estimate is similar to the Canada-based estimate of 5,200 Covid-19 deaths per year set out in 2c above.

(4). Predicted preventable Covid-19 deaths from premature relaxation of measures compared to 64,000 preventable Australian deaths annually.

The death rate for Australians is 6.65 deaths per 1,000 of population (UN Population Division, 2020), and with an Australian population of 25.845 million  this translates to 171,869 deaths per year. However it can be estimated that 64,000 of these annual deaths are preventable deaths from the following “lifestyle choice” or “political choice” causes: (1) smoking, 22,200 [4], (2) adverse hospital events, 13,900 [5-7],  (3) obesity, 11,300 [8, 9], (4) air pollution, 5,700  [10], (5) suicide, 3,318 [11], (6) heat stress 3,000 [12], (7) illicit  drugs, 1,865 [13], (8) alcohol, 1,317 [13], (9) vehicle accidents,  1,148 [14],  (10) drowning, 294 [15], and  (11) murder and manslaughter, 239 [16].

If a “no Lockdown” Australia follows the Apartheid Israeli path of Covid-19 outbreak despite about 70% full vaccination of its whole population, then Australia’s predicted 23,266 annual Covid-19 deaths would top the list of annual preventable Australian deaths.

Yet this Israeli-style  “no Lockdown”, “no border closure”   and “minimal constraint” path   at  “78% vaccination of the over 12 population” (63% pf  the total population)  appears to be the ”official   strategy” advanced by NSW,  Victoria, and the  Federal Government. Professor Sharon Lewin, director of The Doherty Institute (a key medical adviser to the Federal Government): “What we’ve learned from [Israel], and what’s consistent with the modelling … is that even at 80 per cent [vaccination of those over 12], you need to have some public health measures in place to contain transmission. Israel flung the door open at the time Delta hit, and once things take off and you’ve got very large numbers, it’s very hard to bring that under control” [17]. Indeed NSW and Victoria, the 2 biggest states of Australia, both admit that the Covid-19 infection is now out of control in relation to suppression, with daily new cases totalling about 1,500 and 300, respectively, as compared to zero (0) in all the other states and territories except for the ACT (15 cases).

Overwhelmingly excised from public discussion about Covid-19 and Apartheid Israel in the Zionist-subverted West and in Australia (second only to Apartheid America as a supporter of Apartheid Israel)  are  the following Elephant in the Room matters: (1) Apartheid Israel has refused to vaccinate its horribly abused 5.2 million Occupied Palestinian Subjects (except for 5,000 medical workers and 120,000 Occupied Palestinian day workers) in gross violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention), and (2)  50% of Palestinian Israelis live under the poverty line [18] and dire poverty is likely to contribute  to the Covid-19 outbreak in Apartheid Israel. Indeed in Melbourne, Victoria, and Sydney, NSW,  the worst affected suburbs  are the relatively poor “working class” and “multi-cultural” areas  to the North and West of Melbourne and to the West and South West of Sydney [19].  Similar disparities have been quantitated in the UK and the US. Thus in the UK the probability of dying from Covid-19 is about  4  times higher for adults in the  poorest areas than for those in the wealthiest areas of England [20]. African Americans are much poorer than White Americans and make up 12.5% of the US population but account for 22.4% of Covid-19 deaths [21]. Indigenous Australians suffer major socio-economic disadvantages and are recognized as being at far greater risk from Covid-19 than non-Indigenous Australians.  However full Covid-19 vaccination of Indigenous Australians is about half that of Non-Indigenous Australians overall, being 3 times lower in WA but about the same in the progressive jurisdictions of Victoria  and the ACT [22].

Clearly vaccination, while necessary, will not be sufficient to crush the Covid-19 pandemic in Australia, even when 80% full vaccination of  those over 12  is achieved. As indicated by Melbourne’s eminent   Doherty Institute,  other health measures and PCR testing and contact tracing will be required in addition to vaccination in order to avoid the deadly scenarios presently being played out in the UK and Apartheid Israel. Further, in New South Wales (NSW) there is a presently expertly expressed fear that hospitals will be overcome by further worsening of the Covid-19 cases. It is already apparent that our dedicated and heroic health workers are presently sorely stretched. Even in Western Australia with zero (0) new Covid-19 cases daily the hospitals are running at full capacity with non-Covid-19 medical cases variously requiring hospitalization, surgery or location to Intensive Care Units (ICUs).

Final comments and conclusions.

Australia was among world leaders in suppressing Covid-19 but due to Coalition Federal Government incompetence and neoliberalism it now lags behind other Developed Countries in terms of vaccination. The out of control outbreak of  the highly infectious Delta coronavirus variant in the big states of  NSW and Victoria means that vaccination is an urgently required  necessity. However the 63-68% fully  vaccinated countries  of Canada, the UK and Apartheid Israel  have daily Covid-19 deaths of 21, 133 and 25, respectively, and  crude population-based  analysis of this data predicts annual Australian Covid-19 deaths of  about 5,200, 14,900 and 25,300 respectively, when Australia achieves such substantial vaccination and promised relaxation of anti-Covid-19 measures.

To put this in context, presently annual Australian preventable deaths from  “lifestyle choice” and “political choice” reasons total 64,000. Clearly vaccination is necessary but is insufficient to prevent future mass mortality from Covid-19.  As indicated by the expert Doherty Institute in Melbourne, both a high degree of vaccination, together with other  vital, presently applied  health measures and PCR-based testing and contact tracing, are required to largely prevent this mass mortality, and to reduce annual Covid-19 deaths to the low levels associated with vaccine-addressed annual flu.

Key anti-Covid-19 measures include  mass vaccination; international border closure and quarantining; PCR-based infection case detection coupled with exhaustive contact tracing and quarantining of positives; hygiene and social distancing measures (hand washing and sanitizer use, masks, lockdowns, intra-national border controls, curfews, and heavy penalties for non-compliance); and clear, expert public education.

Unfortunately, opposition to such measures comes from 2 major sources, (a) ill-informed and scientifically untrained contrarians, libertarians,  anti-vaxxers and “vaccine hesitant” people (who  variously deny the reality of the Covid-19 Pandemic, dispute the efficacy and safety of the vaccines and masks, reject the validity of PCR testing, allege conspiracies by the powerful, support unproven remedies, reject science-based advice, and oppose limitations to personal  freedom inherent in anti-Covid-19 public health measures), and (b)   neoliberal politicians (who  consistently apply a pressure to put “private profit”, including “political profit”,  before “public welfare”, as exampled by consistent advocacy of premature  cessation of key anti-Covid-19 measures). The anti-science claims of the “denialist” contrarians are so absurd that one suspects involvement of significant “manufactured dissent” for Trumpist political purposes  (by analogy with Professors Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky in their seminal book “Manufacturing Consent. The Political Economy of the Mass Media” (1988) that described US Mainstream media  acting as mendacious agents of US governments) [23, 24].

These 2 dangerous groups should be opposed by clear  and science-informed public education. Thus the anti-science Trumpist denialists should be publicly demolished by (1) the absurdity of non-scientists rejecting the expert, science-based  conclusions of about 99% of millions of scientists, medical scientists , medical doctors and health professionals, and (2) the compelling reality that about 99% of Covid-19 deaths in Developed Countries are presently of people who have not been fully vaccinated i.e.  it is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. The politicians relentlessly  putting  “private profit” before  “public welfare” should be exposed by (1) the public trial of gerocidal politicians responsible for huge numbers of 99%-preventable Covid-19 deaths  with 95% being of those 60 and over (134,000 in the UK under Boris Johnson and 675,000 in the US , mainly under Donald Trump),  and (2) the public shaming of neoliberal politicians endangering lives by supporting premature cessation of anti-Covid-19 measures for private profit and political profit reasons.

References.

[1]. Worldometer, “Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic”: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/?zarsrc=130   .

[2]. “Covid-19 pandemic in Australia”, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_pandemic_in_Australia

[3]. Gideon Polya, “US-imposed post-9/11 Muslim Holocaust & Muslim Genocide”, Korsgaard Publishing, Germany, 2020.

[4]. “Tobacco Atlas”: https://files.tobaccoatlas.org/wp-content/uploads/pdf/australia-country-facts-en.pdf .

[5]. The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care: https://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/sites/default/files/migrated/advrsefact.pdf

[6]. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), “Admitted patients”: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/myhospitals/sectors/admitted-patients .

[7]. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), “Australia’s health 2018” : https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/australias-health-2018/contents/indicators-of-australias-health/adverse-events-treated-in-hospital .

[8]. ABS, “Causes of death, Australia”, 2019: https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/causes-death/causes-death-australia/latest-release

[9]. Tim Adair and Alan Lopez, “Early cardiovascular disease deaths  linked to overweight and obesity are rising ”, Pursuit, 4 August 2020: https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/early-cardiovascular-disease-deaths-linked-to-overweight-and-obesity-are-rising .

[10]. Miki Perkins, “Global fossil fuel air pollution linked to one in five deaths”, Sydney Morning Herald, 9 February 2021:  https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/global-fossil-fuel-air-pollution-linked-to-one-in-five-deaths-20210209-p570z7.html .

[11]. “Suicide prevention Australia”, Stats and facts”, 2020: https://www.suicidepreventionaust.org/news/statsandfacts/ .

[12]. Institute for Climate, Energy & Disaster Solutions, ANU, “We know that heat kills; accurately measuring these deaths will help us assess the impacts of climate change”, 25 February 2021: https://iceds.anu.edu.au/research/research-stories/we-know-heat-kills-accurately-measuring-these-deaths-will-help-us-assess .

[13]. AIHW, “Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs in Australia”, 22 July 2019: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/alcohol/alcohol-tobacco-other-drugs-australia/contents/impacts/health-impacts .

[14].  National Road Strategy, “Road deaths by road user”, 2021: https://www.roadsafety.gov.au/performance/road-deaths-road-user .

[15]. Mollie Gorman, “Lockdown link to20 per cent  spike in drownings, 150 per cent jump in rescues”, ABC News, 8 September 2021: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-09-08/20-percent-rise-in-drownings-at-australian-beaches-and-rivers/100441648 .

[16]. Impact, “The tragic Australian count”, 2020: https://www.impactforwomen.org.au/australias-death-toll-2020.html .

[17].  Olivia Willis, “Israel is struggling with COVID-19, despite high vaccination rates. What lessons can Australia learn?”, ABC News, 9 September 2021: https://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2021-09-09/covid-19-israel-vaccination-high-case-rates-lessons-australia/100442304 .

[18]. Harrison Jacobs, “A walk through Israel’s poorest village made it very clear that one of the country’s biggest issues is one no one talks about”, Business Insider Australia, 20 October 2018: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/israel-news-biggest-problem-poor-economic-situation-arab-minority-2018-10?r=US&IR=T .

[19]. Olivia Willis, “COVID-19 exposes Australia’s stark health inequalities – and threatens to entrench them further”, ABC News, 4 September 2021: https://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2021-09-04/covid-19-exposes-australias-stark-health-inequalities/100426178 .

[20]. Patrick Butler, “Covid death risk “almost four times higher” for poorest in England”, Guardian, 6 July 2021: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/06/covid-death-risk-almost-four-times-higher-poorest-england .

[21]. Elise Gould and Valerie Wilson, “Black workers face two of the most lethal pre-existing conditions for coronavirus – racism and inequality”, Economic Policy Institute, 1 June 2020: https://www.epi.org/publication/black-workers-covid/ .

[22]. Lorena Allam and Nick Evershed, “Gap between Indigenous vaccination rates and overall population widens in almost every state”, Guardian, 25 August 2021: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/aug/25/gap-between-indigenous-covid-vaccination-rates-and-overall-population-widens-in-almost-every-state .

[23]. Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky,  “Manufacturing Consent. The Political Economy of the Mass Media” (1988), Pantheon, 2002.

[24]. Gideon Polya, “CIVID-19 Pandemic of the unvaccinated, vaccine hesitancy, manufactured dissent & lying by omission”, Countercurrents, 28 July 2021: https://countercurrents.org/2021/07/covid-19-pandemic-of-the-unvaccinated-vaccine-hesitancy-manufactured-dissent-lying-by-omission/ .

Dr Gideon Polya taught science students at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia over 4 decades. He published some 130 works in a 5 decade scientific career, notably a huge pharmacological reference text “Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds”. He has also published “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” and “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History”. He has recently published “US-imposed Post-9-11 Muslim Holocaust & Muslim Genocide” (2020)  and “Climate Crisis, Climate Genocide & Solutions” (2021). For images of Gideon Polya’s huge paintings for the Planet, Peace, Mother and Child see: http://sites.google.com/site/artforpeaceplanetmotherchild/  .


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