Why we are not all in this together.
Like all Sydneysiders about to enter their eighth week in lockdown, I’m no wiser about the exit strategy.
Waiting until we hit 70 percent vaccination rates in November before we are done with lockdowns hardly instils hope.
With case numbers continuing to rise, clearly the current strategy is not working.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.
But that’s what Gladys Berejiklian’s daily press conferences look like.
Journalists focus their questions on the minutia of the latest public health order and press for more restrictions while questioning of the overall strategy is almost non-existent.
Meanwhile businesses are going to the wall. Working people - not the elites on the North Shore, swank beach or harbourside suburbs - are struggling to put food on the table.
An article tweeted today by former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson was headed The cruelty of Australia’s endless lockdown.
It argues that if the hip pockets of elites were hurting as much as small business owners and the lower classes, another strategy would be found.
It’s hard to argue with that.
Why can’t we have a debate about the proportionality of the risk of having Covid in the community versus the economic and mental health impacts?
I’ve argued previously that with the majority of Australia’s vulnerable population now vaccinated, and therefore protected against the risk of hospitalisation and death, we should open up.
The billions we are spending on business and income support could be channelled into bolstering the health system to help it cope with bigger case numbers until the vaccination rate rises before Christmas.
We could even give people the choice of staying home by providing income support to those who prefer to live in lockdown.
Surely economic modelling would show this to be cheaper than the current strategy.
Let the rest of us go free. For those who choose not to be vaccinated, they can take their chances with Covid.
As an act of grace, in the same way the public health system does not discriminate against smokers and those with bad diets, we should provide unvaccinated Covid victims with the best health care.
Again, this would be cheaper than the rest of us living in lockdown limbo.
Let the emergency focus be on saving lives, because despite the taxpayer cash rolling out the door, it is not saving livelihoods or mental health.
It is racking up a massive debt our kids will pay.
While England has a vaccination rate around 75 percent, its large population means millions still have not been vaccinated.
Yet since “freedom day” on July 19, hospitalisations and deaths have been falling.
Vaccination along with easing of restrictions is working and the health system has not been overwhelmed as some doomsayers predicted.
Australia’s zero Covid strategy is a fantasy.
By giving people the choice to stay at home, leave and take their chances with Covid or get vaccinated, Australia could come out of lockdown tomorrow – or at least by the end of August to allow for this adjustment in strategy.
I’m sure some computer modeller would ridicule this as “letting the virus rip”. But why can’t we even debate risk versus reward?
As Anderson’s tweeted article argues, we might be having that debate if our elites were feeling pain.
Sadly, we are not all in this together.
Lyle Shelton is Director of Campaigns and Communications for the Christian Democratic Party. The Reverend Honourable Fred Nile MLC has nominated Lyle to succeed him in the NSW Parliament when he retires in November. To keep in touch with Lyle and the CDP, sign up here.