Andrew Dickens: The real fear mongers of the Covid crisis

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Mon, 12 Oct 2020, 1:07PM
(Photo / NZ Herald)
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Andrew Dickens: The real fear mongers of the Covid crisis

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Mon, 12 Oct 2020, 1:07PM

One thing I’ve noticed in long running stories is that people seem to forget that things change. 

Often that change happens within a week.  What is true at the beginning of the day is not the case by sundown, 

I thought this as Dr David Nabarro from the WHO appealed to world leaders yesterday, telling them to stop "using lockdowns as your primary control method" of the coronavirus. 

His main reason is that lockdowns are make the globe’s poor even poorer.  He could have added that it also makes the globe’s sick even sicker as they miss out on ongoing treatment. 

This is a chilling message as many countries, like the UK and Canada, look to re-enter lockdowns due to a re-emergence of outbreaks 

It’s also led to many people claiming that the widespread use of lockdowns in the first place was the wrong thing to do.

Now, that’s not the right way to look at things. Lockdowns should only ever be used when transmission is high.  A short sharp shock to break the back.

What’s changed since the beginning of the year and now is that we have some knowledge about how best to handle new outbreaks, most national and subnational interventions can be much 'lighter' than the full suppressions we have seen at the beginning of the year. 

Things change because things happen.  At the beginning of the outbreak modelling portrayed all sorts of doomsday scenarios.  Those scenarios didn’t occur because we did things and as soon as we did things the parameters moved and the numbers changed. 

I was thinking that at the end of last week when Sharon Zollner, the economist from the ANZ, reported that business confidence was soaring and the economy is doing much better than expected with many sectors doing better than they were in the pre-Covid times. 

How can this be? We were told we were heading to hell in a handcart. Some people were throwing the word “depression” around willy nilly. It’s because we didn’t just sit there.  We changed the way we did things, we changed the things we do.  We adapted. 

I also thought that during last week’s Front Bench when Chris Carter said we’re doing well because there were 9000 new jobs created during Covid. The rest of the panel roared with laughter and asked how can he say that when we lost 40,000 jobs. 

Well, we lost the jobs but we didn’t just sit there and stay unemployed.  We pivoted. We found new jobs.  9000 of them. This is a good sign. Statistics out last week show nearly 30,000 new companies have been registered this year. Again, we’re dealing with the new reality by growing and changing 

Things change. Humans own this planet because we are the best on the planet at adapting. What was true at the beginning of Covid is not true now.  We’re not in a great place but we’ve not arrived in hell in a handcart. The people that tell you we’re rooted are the real fear mongers of the Covid crisis.