Cooped up in quarantine, contributor Marc Hendrickx put on his actuary’s hat to consider Australia’s on-again/off-again lockdowns and their cost. He writes:

If we use Sweden, a country that instituted minimal restrictions in response to the pandemic as a base line, then on a population basis, if Australia had instituted similar measures (and made similar mistakes in not adequately providing for people in aged care), we would likely have had about 36,000 COVID deaths by now. As it stands, as of August 2021, we have seen less than 1000. But what is the cost of those 35,000-or-so lives “saved” by our authoritarian approach to managing the pandemic — an approach not recommended in previous government-approved pandemic plans but one inspired by the example of China, the source of the virus.

While Sweden has continued to open up and reduce restrictions, after 18 months Australia still has over half the population under house arrest and the rest locked into their state boundaries under the threat of lockdowns should a handful of positive COVID-test results arise. Schooling has been disrupted, putting the education of many tens of thousands of children at risk. The damage being done to our youth in the name of saving the old and frail will see many of our young carrying psychological scars into adulthood.

Small businesses, sole traders and family enterprises have been smashed. Hospitality, tourism and entertainment businesses are dropping like flies. Normal screening for other diseases has been disrupted , so there are deaths from cancer and other causes that should have been caught but weren’t. There is no prospect of international travel in the medium term as the government chases vaccination targets that have not been met by any other nation. What is the cost of those 30,000+ lives claimed to have been saved?

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