Saturday, May 30, 2020

Frank Newman: Straight Talk: It's getting ridiculous

Things are now getting ridiculous. It's time for She-Who-Shall-Be-Obeyed to look beyond her own stage performance and remove all COVID-19 restrictions that apply to internal work and travel.

There is only one case in New Zealand. One case!

Many people are being more sensible than the Prime Minister and behaving as though no restrictions exist. Unfortunately, there are still quite a lot of dimwits who need politicians to do their thinking for them. These are the people that scream "social distancing" when a shopping trolley passes within spittle distance. And then there are the businesses that must behave according to the government's definition of "responsible" because if they don't they will get dobbed in by the busy-bodies and end up with Mr Plod knocking on their door.  

The risk for the government now is that with the benefit of hindsight their response to the COVID-19 "pandemic" is looking very much like a gross over-reaction. They have caused colossal economic damage and that is getting worse while the politicians dither and contemplate what's best for their political interests. Even those who have been generally favourable of the "go hard, go early" approach taken by Ardern, are now saying enough is enough.

Questions are also being raised about the government's decision to rely on the "science" of worst-case scenario modelling (that was clearly predicated on pessimistic assumptions) instead of using a little bit of common sense.

Here's the common sense part. We know, and knew from the outset, that this virus is highly contagious - more so that the flu. We also know that it can have serious health consequences and may be fatal. But we also know that for most people the virus is not fatal. We know that the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk. That is clearly evident in all of the figures. In New Zealand, the youngest person to die from COVID-19 is 65. The average age is likely to be around 80. Common sense would therefore focus the mind on the +65 age group.

The other thing we know is that the virus was imported. Why then not limit the lock-down to our borders, retired folk (600,000) and those with underlying health conditions? Everything else could function as normal. The economic effects would still be significant but the affected group would be much more targeted and could be assisted much more efficiently without destroying the economy.

Instead, we now have the pretence of there being a threat when common sense says there is none.

Frank Newman, a writer and investment analyst, is a former local body councillor.

1 comment:

Ross said...

They still have not got it right, in my view. I was talking to a guy this week who returned from PNG, 3 weeks ago. I asked if he went into quarantine and he said he spent the 14 days in an Auckland Hotel. I asked if he was tested.
"No, they only test if you show symptoms but we had our temperature taken each day"
I would have thought if ALL of any group were to be tested, it should be returning travellers. But at the very least they should be tested before they are allowed out of quarantine.
So the protocols are still reasonably loose.

Having said that I agree, Frank, we should be removing all restrictions on internal work and travel.