Mike's Minute: Politics is creeping into Covid-19 response

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 1 Apr 2020, 9:56AM

Mike's Minute: Politics is creeping into Covid-19 response

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 1 Apr 2020, 9:56AM

If you ever needed more evidence that what is going on here is increasingly political, ask yourself why the modelling the government has relied on for this mess was released publicly.

As soon as it was, Ashley Bloomfield dutifully told us this modelling was why we are doing what we are doing.

The first question to ask is, why this modelling? Is it right? How do we know? Are there those who are experts in their field who argue modelling like this is pseudo-science ? Yes there are. We have featured one such piece of work already this week.

If you missed the dramatic numbers, 150,000 of us are in hospital, 28,000 of us are dead, 3.3 million of us get it, and 36,000 are in ICU. And most who die are older.

They note, and this is your first real sign of the disingenuous nature of this, there would be more deaths than World War One. Not mentioning, of course, a war has no relation to a virus and the population then was vastly different from now. They also compare it to the 1918 influenza. Once again population vastly different, not to mention the state of health care.

Further loose thinking is presented when they say, there are many uncertainties. No kidding.

They introduce seasonal fluctuation . They add 25 percent for winter, and take way 25 percent for summer. Why? Why 25 percent? Why not 28? Or 12? Or 3? Or 200?

Answer, they made it up.

They model contacts. And based on those contacts, which are fictitious, given they have no idea what they really are, they then produce results. And results on things they made up, that’s modelling.

Is that how we are running this? What we do know, and sorry for introducing facts, from the Italian study is virtually everyone who dies has an underlying health issue. In this country, latest figures show 186,000 of us had heart disease. Every year heart disease claims 6000 lives, one every 90 minutes.

We are not crashing the economy for that. Overall we had over 33,000 deaths in 2017. By the way those deaths were the highest rate in 25 years, you won't remember the alarm because there wasn’t any.

This entire debate is driven by politics, alarm, with a reasonable amount of genuine concern for our safety and health. But the latter is starting to get mixed up with the former, as increasingly people ask whether the reaction warrants the concern.

Modelling is slightly educated, partially scientific guesswork. The real answers lie in testing. But we haven't wanted to do anything extensive in that area. We test less than half of what Australia does. You'll note miraculously yesterday Jacinda Ardern decided we need to test more. Ask yourself why.

Ask yourself a lot of questions. Like whether releasing alarmist numbers does anything, other than potentially scare people into thinking this lot know what they're doing, and in scaring us hopefully we all shut up.