Described as Germany’s most celebrated virologist, Professor Hendrik Streeck this week issued a warning to nations going back into lockdowns.
“Hold your nerve and don’t succumb to the pervasive mood of mass hysteria,” he said. “It’s time to stop all this alarmism. We can outsmart the virus using all our knowledge. We have to learn that Covid-19 is going to be with us for a long time and we must learn to live with it. We can’t keep shutting down our daily lives and paralysing everything.”
The Professor supported Germany’s first lockdown based on the alarming original data from Italy.
But with so much more knowledge since he argues extreme panic measures are no longer necessary. “I neither trivialise the virus nor dramatise it. We must find a proper balance.”
AND IN BRITAIN
Meanwhile in Britain 32 top science and medical academics have written to the Prime Minister urging him to reject a second lockdown and to stop presenting Covid-19 as a mortal danger. They wasted their time.
FINALLY NEW ZEALAND
We’re a month away from a general election but unlike any before there’s no election fever.
The lockdown freezing everything including I’ll cynically suggest, Labour’s huge polling advantage, is a key factor.
But most of all the National Party is to blame. Their tweedled-dum, tweedled-dee approach is woeful.
Plainly the strategy is to combat Jacinda-mania by presenting a “soft” Judith, in the process diluting her strong and well justified, much needed no-nonsense approach.
It would be very un-National to do something bold but here’s a suggestion.
Why not announce no further lockdowns. That should play well in Auckland in particular and as I’ve argued on this blog, is supported by the evidence.
Additionally, open the borders to returning Kiwis coming from safe countries with the proviso, taken on trust, they’ll stay home for a week.
Also, open the borders to tourists from Taiwan, Japan and other sound nations with low virus statistics.
In short, set the policy agenda with bold actions, failing which the Party is heading into a historic defeat. That would be very unhealthy for our democracy.
Sadly, this has been known, published, and ignored, since March. Germany was outcome oriented and pivoted its strategy, fast, when it realized better health and economic outcomes could be achieved by a different strategy. New Zealand has never deviated from its original strategy, merely adjusting tactics to fix gaps, and perversely took pride in not having a plan B. Project management 101 teaches on day one whether outcomes or the first strategy is what needs to be stuck to. Nor are such principles new. In ‘war’ settings, Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, likewise…
Bob, spot on.
Something I have been advocating for months.
The economy is totally stuffed for the foreseeable future, not because of Covid but due to our response to it.
The best comparison is with Queensland.
No level 4 shutdown, no suicidal borrowing and a booming economy.
You cannot have a world class health system without a robust economy to pay for it.
Explaining that to the Neanderthals currently running our government is apparently futile.
We are doomed unless an ACT / National administration wins the election.
To be fair, would National have done differently? The response since March suggests captivity to dogma was universal, exacerbated by overwhelming media sycophancy (with a few notable exceptions, drowned out by the noise).
Neither opposition nor media tested the thinking, neither outcomes-orientation, nor even strategy, until very late in the game, and even now remains mostly focused on tactics, eg figuratively whether we need a soldier with rifle or bayonet guarding quarantine facilities, not suggesting different strategy such as whether quarantine itself even necessary.
More importantly, neither opposition nor media (then, or now) has properly opened any real conversation about the right outcomes, eg media (rightly) slammed ‘economy over health’ (even though Bridges didn’t quite put it that way) but consistently treated them as alternatives, without enabling broader conversation about simultaneous ‘health and economy’ focus being better for both health and economy than the ‘health then economy’ approach adopted, simply falling in line unreflectively that latter ‘must’ be better. Nor is opposition or media having these discussions even now, so, would Nats done better? Personally, I doubt it, but everyone will have their own view on that and rightly so.
Judith opposing lock down is excellent advise. I hope she takes it.
Agreed. I think if govts keep relying on total lockdowns as the solution to fight this disease the economic effects of such will lead to so much lack of productivity and so much unemployment, and all the knock on effects from that, there will be societal breakdown that will cost as dearly or more than the disease!! The trick will be identifying and protecting those at risk while allowing others (with some restrictions) to get on with their lives.
Haha, if I recall correctly, what Sir Bob said in March/April…
Personal responsibility seems to have gone out the window. If you are vulnerable to the virus wear a mask and or isolate yourself but let the healthy free!
I agree with you Sir Robert. Unfortunately the sheeple in NZ think that the lockdown policy is the only option. When I talk to persons who I would normally consider having above average intelligence about opening up the borders they all say “just too risky, can’t take a chance”. They don’t seem to comprehend the unfolding catastrophe. I agree National should be a lot bolder on this but I guess they can see that any moves in this direction don’t go down well with a risk averse country. Shame though. Let’s hope post election that some semblance of sanity prevails.
Well said fredwillcroft. And as Sir Bob points out, a balls-out,radical declaration,such as “no more lockdowns” would be so un-national,but would really put a wildcat among the pigeons,and would,perhaps electrify this dowdy pre-election, by providing a radical alternative to the tweedledum/tweedledee consensus.
However,currently,in this social media dominated age,any dissenting opinion is not just severely frowned upon,but if you’re in the 22-40 year old demographic,is political AND social suicide.
Jacinda and her advisors know this,and will play this card to the Max.
Unless National grasp this fact,they will sleepwalk toward defeat,and maybe a substantial one.
However,there is still time for National or ACT to take this approach,ie, No more lockdowns
and perhaps reap the rewards.
Fortune favours the brave.
This would also provide a possible mandate for the ruling party to perhaps ameliorate the economic dark age which otherwise lies just around the corner, and which Jacinda and her Socialists seem to be ignoring.
Great commentary Waldosimon. If I could moderate the last word ‘ignoring’ to ‘engineering’ I would.
Going soft on Labour just perpetuates the PM’s illusion of success. Her fan club need to see that knocked down hard.
Yes, but just as some look to Plato’s “Republic” or Machiavelli’s “The Prince” for instruction, Saccharine Cindy’s fan club would likely just interpret a get-tough approach by Collins as an example of what happened in that timeless political treatise from Classical History, the movie “Mean Girls”! 😳
A lot of them don’t like being losers and would quickly abandon her. In fact that is probably her inevitable fate eventually.
I 100% agree that National is too softly softly and have written to them often. But I am afraid the level of fear in people is so high (even in people I once thought were sane) that it would be political suicide to talk about opening anything. Cindy is even using the fact National hinted at this some time ago against them.
Be plain old fear of death or basic cowardice people are terrified to a point of paralysis if you mention opening anything.
Winston’s old voters in particular fall into this category as they believe Cindy has saved them. I have even had some of this group say the “deserve” the lockdown to save them.
All of this is why National are in trouble.
Combine ignorance of the long term financial effects of recent actions along with fear of death and you have many votes for the incompetence we are witnessing not just here but throughout the world.
With politicians demonstrating incredible power to ruin lives and livelihoods, at any perceived spook, without debate and accountability, we need to think about their status in our lives altogether.
Imagine if NZ broke itself up into 16 micro-states, with electronic border control, unified under a single federal head (that has very minimal powers)…you could then easily walk away from an idiot state before it ruins you. Foot-voting is the great missing link. I resent that someone like Jacinda can have so much much power, to do so much much damage, on myself and others.
Hmmm! I hear revolution or is that evolution?
I have some good plans for my Island also. Starts with no welfare, no race based policies, pass a test to vote, pass a test to procreate, etc.
The last 2 are brilliant.
The decision-makers are unaffected by the present decisions. They are all feeding out of the same (Government protected) income trough.
All this is just common sense, so it’ll never happen.
I read somewhere earlier that you predicted a change of govt…!! what changed?
As I yest again witnessed the other day in conversation with elderly friends. They are both what would be termed higher risk, elderly with preexisting conditions. Their take on the whole matter is, money is not an issue, life is more important. Suffering of the younger generation is of no concern what so ever. Themselves born in the 40’s and 50’s, never had to go to war, amassed huge capital gain wealth, swung in the 70’s, now enjoyed phenomenal medical advancements. Yes, these are the people who have the least life to lose. Now they want youth to give up their futures for their selfish belief that they will live forever. Though I digress, lets get back to the humor, a vaccine will soon be available which will cure old age. Given that development, yes we should totally lock out and lock down the nation. Special exemptions for sports votes permissible.
Most of the older age group that l know don’t want the country in any lockdown. They want to save the economy for the sake of their children and grandchildren. They are happy to isolate if they have to and wear masks. They are much more responsibility minded than most!
I was at an investment bank in 2008.
The feeling was bordering on panic. Banks were collapsing all around us. The regulators came to the rescue. They were decisive and fast, working all hours of the day to stabilise the situation.
This crisis is much, much worse.
What is surreal to me is how chilled out everyone is at the moment. People are pretending its business as usual.
I can only assume the common man has absolutely no idea about the train wreck that is coming. The public seem to believe that the collapse of the biggest industry in the country (tourism) won’t have much effect on the medium-term affordability of government programmes such as health, education and welfare. How will say National Superannuation be sustainable in this environment? The denial is surreal.
To be fair to National, this mass denial creates a problem for them. People want to believe that hiding under their beds won’t result in that bad an economic downturn. The economists have reinforced this view, with frankly negligent forecasts, involving V shaped fairy tales.
Nonetheless, I agree with the article.
National (and ACT) need to stop collaborating with this fiction. They are almost certainly going to lose the election anyway – they should go down fighting…
It is time to crush the phoney consensus…
Eventually the roosters have to come home to roost unless the money machines just keep going world wide.
At which point all debt is written off or, better still, handed to China.
Totally agree Sir Bob
Thanatophobia is commonly referred to as the fear of death and it so grips the populace driven by the unrelenting media onslaught promoting fear that rational coherent critical thinking is completely sidelined. Add to that a bevy of privately funded government scientists who computer model 80,000 deaths from Covid in NZ job tidy!
Mainstream media for example has US deaths from Covid at over 190,000.
Total Deaths for the US are as follows: Jan:May 2017 976K – Jan:May 2018 >1 M, – Jan: May 2019 989K, – Jan:May 2020 740K
Critical thinking would say whats going on here – but the insanity prevails. Why?
Judith Collins will need to demonstrate exceptional levels of leadership to navigate around New Zealanders mental roadblocks made additionally difficult with the media narrative being one way traffic – Fear
As a small business owner I’m no longer concerned about losing my life. I am however, concerned about losing the life I’ve built.
This is the approach Judith Collins needs to consider in conditioning voters to accept no further lockdowns!
Bob, I note in today’s Economist they give a stark contrast to our Covid response to that of Taiwan, the country ACT want us to emulate.
New Zealand has suffered 0.5 deaths per 100,000 with our economy sinking by 12.2% for the June quarter.
Meanwhile, Taiwan suffered 0.03 deaths per 100,000 and their GDP sank a mere 1.4% for the same quarter.
A stark contrast indeed.
Demonstrating, yet again the economic vandalism wrought upon us by our current socialist / communist government.
Worse, also graphically demonstrating our failure to protect our border.
Should read “our socialist, soon-to-be communist Labour-Greens government.” Watch the celebrity Greens bully a very weak Labour team with wealth taxes and horrors beyond.
Jacinda Ardern will win this election with a combination of the fear of C19, a toadyish economically illiterate media and the discovery in the bowels of the Beehive of continuous money printing machines.
As Richard Prebble stated in the Herald this week, Labour has discovered “Zimbabwean economics.”
God help us.