This is taken from Nick Cater’s article in today’s Oz: Victoria: From a state of emergency to a state of tyranny. Daniel Andrew’s level of incompetence is astonishing, but the high regard so many still have for this utterly stupid buffoon is more astonishing still. Here is the story as told by Nick.
The Andrews government serves as a living example of why governments that rule by fiat are more prone to failure than those forced to run the gauntlet of parliament. Decision-making is restricted to a handful of individuals who lack perfect knowledge and are vulnerable to groupthink. Contrary facts, discordant data and alternative strategies are suppressed. Since all power emanates from the emperor, no one in his inner circle is game to tell him he has no clothes. Increased power leads to an excess of hubris. Any reserves of humility the leader might have had are depleted as the god complex begins to set in.
From the start of the outbreak, there were many who tried to argue for a different strategy, one a lot less like that employed in China and more in keeping with the principles of individual liberty and personal responsibility that have served us well. The alternative approach advocated focusing protection on the elderly and vulnerable instead of pretending the risks were equally shared. There was strong evidence in March 2020 that the World Health Organisation’s estimate of a 3 per cent fatality rate was wildly overstated. It was also known the risk of death for the elderly was substantial, but the risk for the young was statistically insignificant.
Yet instead of putting all available resources into protecting the few, most governments were fixated with the false indicator of the incidence of Covid-19 in the general population. Kids with almost no risk of becoming seriously ill were kept home from school and barred from playgrounds to stop infection spreading to the elderly.
The strategy failed. The notorious hotel quarantine bungle that led to Melbourne’s outbreak in the winter of 2020 was a minor hiccup compared with what happened afterwards in Victorian nursing homes. The government followed flawed advice that Covid-positive residents should be treated in their nursing homes, supposedly to prevent hospitals being overwhelmed.
By early July, it was apparent that scores of residents were dying in nursing homes who might have survived if they had been treated in hospital. Since nursing homes lacked the experience and equipment to abide by the highest protocols of quarantine, the virus rapidly spread to other residents.
Nursing homes were screaming for ambulances, but Andrews’ bureaucracy was slow to react. In mid-July, chief health officer Brett Sutton said the official strategy was to keep the virus out of aged-care homes by screening healthcare workers who entered, rather than removing sick residents: “I don’t think moving residents out who are infected is always the control measure that is required.”
Belatedly, the policy was changed, but by then the coronavirus wave was passing and the damage was done. In 2020, 678 nursing home residents died, all but 19 in Victoria. In 2020, three out of four Covid deaths were nursing home residents. So far this year, with the new policy in place, the figure is one in 50.
The core to understanding Victorian policy is to understand that it is entirely the will of Andrews who is a particularly stupid man. I would also add that he seems to have taken all of his policies from Andrew Cuomo, who was at the time the Governor of New York. Putting elderly covid patients back into nursing homes was a particularly deadly killer. But for those who have not died, they are grateful to be alive and think it is in some way because of Andrews they have been spared.