Politics

Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Mike Hosking – Elimination strategy was doomed from the start

OPINION:

Why won’t the Government admit it?

Elimination has failed.

The numbers tell the story and the numbers are there for all to see.

Don’t get me wrong, the decision on Monday was the right one, in fact if you look at the numbers for the past couple of weeks there is a very good case to say that using the same criteria (i.e. elimination doesn’t work) that we could have and should have gone to level 3 a week earlier than we did.

The trouble with not admitting it, is too many people have ended up fearful.

We have been told to be afraid, and tragically the more susceptible and vulnerable have taken that on board and let it define them.

The trouble with the Government is they value popularity above all else.

Fear worked for them when there was no vaccine.

But as the lockdown dragged on, and the numbers didn’t do what they were supposed to, i.e. go to zero, they became stuck.

So instead of accepting it like Victoria did, like New South Wales did, and saying the plan has changed and we are living with it, they started spinning some more.

Linked cases, unlinked cases, mystery cases, we got a science lesson in how epidemiology works in the vain hope that we would become so bewildered that when they finally gave up on Monday and put the white flag up the pole we wouldn’t notice.

Even Grant Robertson on my show was arguing we could still eliminate in level 3. Really? Well, why weren’t we in level 3 from the start then?

Zero cases is when the virus has been eliminated, and just for the record I always thought the very word was poorly used, elimination to me is permanent, it has been eliminated, the end.

It was never the end, we had brushed it outside the border several times for what we knew was a finite period, it was always coming back.

And in that approach, post the vaccines intervention, has been the con.

The idea that we could, as we have for the better part of this year, pretend things weren’t what they really were.

That, just because you can line up a series of days when we perceived ourselves to be “Covid free”, was somehow a victory.

We were never Covid free, we have wasted the better part of this year living our delusion, because the Government failed to buy vaccines fast enough and roll them out.

I am not sure what the bigger crime is, them telling us we didn’t need to roll it out quicker because we had no Covid, or us believing them.

We, like Victoria and New South Wales, are now in the mad dash to make up for lost time and hope we can limit the damage until we get to whatever the jab rate they find acceptable.

That, by the way, is another mistake: no targets, no incentives, no mandates … although we hit our vaccine resistance wall at quite a high number, the lack of pace last week and this, is a very telling sign that the work to get to wherever we are going numbers-wise, is going to be hard graft.

I’d be surprised if we turned out to be any different from anyone else – a bit over 80 per cent in places like Malta, Chile and Singapore appear gold medal. As much as it would be brilliant if we blew those numbers out of the water, I’m not holding my breath.

The next problem of course is the hospital capacity. If it turns a bit pear-shaped, it will be another glaring omission.

Job number two after securing early vaccines in abundance, was to boost ICU capacity, have they? Of course not.

In fact, short of closing the border, which as we’ve discussed many times was hardly a skill, just what is it they’ve done well?

Well, not even closing the border was that effective given it kept leaking. So what about vaccines? No. Hospitals? No. MIQ? No. Contact tracing? No.

As we enter this new phase, the elimination dream dead, the cold hard truth is being laid bare.

We closed the border and pretended. Pretended it wasn’t there, wasn’t going to be there, and as long as we pretended, it was all good news.

The one thing they did get right was Delta. Delta, they have told us ad nauseum, has “changed the game”, it has.

It’s exposed them for being the architects of the charade.

The charade of elimination, that finally got laid to rest Monday, thank god.


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