Where are they now?
The hysterical headlines have receded. Hospitalisations and intensive care numbers are less than half of what they were, having never reached predicted thresholds. QR check-ins are being abolished because nobody has been monitoring them for months. Mass testing of healthy children is set to follow because it is so obviously pointless a third of parents aren’t even doing it.
Of course this last measure was put in place because of predictions that reopening schools would cause an explosion in cases and put teachers and children at risk. It never happened.
And now we have formal confirmation from the Australian Bureau of Statistics that not only did so-called “Covid deaths” account for just one per cent of fatalities during the pandemic, but 92 per cent of that one per cent were people with pre-existing health problems ranging from pneumonia to heart disease.
All the scare-mongering was wrong, all the catastrophic predictions were wrong, all the fear and fury at lifting of restrictions was wrong, wrong, wrong. NSW briefly eased restrictions, Victoria didn’t. Both states had the same result and are now easing restrictions again in lockstep with one another. It literally could not be clearer.
So where are they now?
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Where are all the doomsaying experts, online warriors and outraged finger-pointers who struck fear into the heart of ordinary Australians and tried to paint level-headed policy-makers as bloody-handed monsters?
They’re certainly much quieter than usual, especially after their deity (Victorian Premier) Dan Andrews announced he would be easing restrictions in the exact same way as Covid bogeyman (and NSW Premier) Dominic Perrottet.
Sadly for them the disaster never came. Surely they could have at least the grace to publicly admit they were wrong? Or at least that they’re disappointed?
But they won’t. This is the same political class that endlessly demands apologies from others for even the mildest transgression and yet when they get caught out, provably wrong — and wrong for so long — on the greatest single issue facing the world over the past two years there is an eternal silence.
They know who they are. And those of us who have been urging a sense of proportion ever since the outbreak began also know who they are. We know them because they were the ones who endlessly berated and abused and accused us. We know them very well.
So now that we’ve been vindicated and they’ve been proven false will they finally say sorry or issue a retraction or, God willing, delete their accounts?
Of course not. They will keep telling themselves that they were still right about this or that or that they would have been right if not for this or that, or perhaps seek solace in the same misguided outlets that fuelled all the fear in the first place.
But they will hopefully at least be quieter about it and have at least the decency to know when they have been shamed.
Because while epidemiologists, paediatricians, states and territories and different layers of government have all differed over how to respond to the virus, the one constant undercurrent — the one political prerogative that has overridden all of it — has been the panic and irrational fear in the community, stoked by commentators and political leaders either oblivious to the facts or serving their own self-interest.
In some cases this has produced the absurd scenario of people going through absolutely pointless rituals — such as mandatory QR check-ins which served absolutely no purpose — purely to placate a panicked public. Yes, we are talking about 21st century public health orders based purely on superstition — a truly surreal thing for any rational mind to observe.
In other cases the overzealous response may have even worsened the situation the public was panicked about. Hospitals already under pressure were placed under even more pressure because of strict close contact definitions and isolation requirements that created staff shortages. At one point 2500 health workers were in isolation in NSW alone.
At any rate, hospitalisations and intensive care numbers are now continuing to plummet — Covid cases in ICU were in the double digits yesterday — and NSW and Victoria are casting off restrictions like a stripper on speed. Sanity is finally returning to our shores — or at least the eastern ones.
So, again, where are all the panic merchants and chicken littles now? Where is the apocalypse they swore would come?