Swedish Covid approach
I have been criticised for having an unscientific approach to lockdowns, in my backing for the Swedish approach.
Sweden's government is perhaps alone in the world in delegating the country's Covid-19 response almost completely to its public health agency, not to politicians.
Lockdowns are an experiment which have turned a crisis into a global catastrophe.
Politicians panicked for fear their health services would be overwhelmed, and based decisions on spurious models predicting vast deaths.
Sweden's outcomes show how wrong the models were. Governments acted with good intentions, to try to save lives, but presumably not realising the incredible economic and social impact lockdowns would create.
We have been told this is a one in a 100-year event. Really? In my lifetime we have had four flu pandemics at least (Asian flu 1957/58, Hong Kong flu 1968/69, swine flu 2009/10 and now coronavirus).
In New Zealand we are left with a $100 billion bill (what the Government will pay out, plus the $49 billion shortfall the IRD predicts in the tax take).
If our death rate had been similar to Sweden, the cost per life saved in New Zealand would be over $35 million per person, (only 4 per cent of deaths would be below the age of 60, and 68 per cent above age 80).
We are told 400 people here will die of cancer as a result of work not done in the lockdown.
We have almost zero immunity and thus will have a long period of isolation with no overseas tourists and very few international students, and no choice but to keep our borders effectively closed until a vaccine arrives.
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Unemployment will soar, conveniently not until after the election, and we will be feeling the effects for many years; not just in economic terms but in the social and medical areas also.
Surely the strategy to be adopted should have been to protect and isolate those who are vulnerable, in rest homes and those with significant health issues, and let the rest of the population get on with their lives - with some restrictions. [Abridged]
The question of the legality of lockdown measures is significant only as a point of law and for possible amendments in favour of the future legal ability to act by government in such a way as it did in the emergency Covid-19 presented, in my view. ( Editorial, The point of testing lockdown legality, July 31 ).
Clearly, as the evidence here and overseas indicates, to not enforce the lockdown would have threatened the lives of many more vulnerable people, with many more casualties being the result.
Yes we need to protect democracy and the rule of law. But in an emergency, where lives are at stake, if the law is not on the side of such measures as lockdown, then it needs to be tweaked to allow for these.
Individuals are charged under law for reckless behaviour causing injury or death. To not be able to legally enforce measures such as lockdown in such circumstances could see governments and the law itself held accountable for upholding and supporting similarly reckless behaviour with the same dire consequences.