To those who argue schools should not have closed – with full hindsight of what happened through the COVID pandemic rather than in the heat of moment not yet having a clear indication of the infection fatality rate (IFR), nor lifestage susceptibility variances, let alone long term implications from single or multiple infection, which we are still learning – I suggest reading this article quietly and reflecting.
Then realise that the next pandemic pathogen will have different characteristics.
The one thing I believe we can all be grateful for about COVID is that impacts on young were not so severe.
But that was not the case in 1918.
It is very common in epidemic disease that vulnerable lifestages – the very young and old – are impacted more severely.
Running retrospective reviews are only worthwhile when not run with pre-determined outcomes and/or subconscious bias – that may be the case in some commentary I have read.
Implying anything about how we manage in the next pandemic all-of-life risks to young people – including mental health, education, and so on – from the COVID pandemic must be done very cautiously.
When we inevitably face another pandemic, all issues, again, will require deep consideration in real-time, and it would be best done without carrying over false narratives.
Still think that in the next pandemic schools should not be closed unless and until we are certain that it is necessary to protect the life and long-term health of children?
What is always the case in a pandemic is less healthy individuals living in environments which increase the likelihood of exposure are more severely impacted.
For disadvantaged children to make use of the education all progressives desire strongly for them to lead better lives than their parents, they must first survive, and better survive in good health without long-term health issues.
In the heat of the pandemic it was suggested by some that people like me self-identifying as progressive belied our conservatism as evidenced by the biosecurity measures for which we argued.
Simplistically suggesting that somebody who would argue for closing borders, for example, notably damaging the university sector, is conservative without any consideration of the context is intellectually rigid, and together with the inherent self-interest, is in actuality indicative of conservatism.
Australians have a great deal to be proud of in the way we responded to the COVID pandemic, and those who followed me at MacroEdgo, or have since acquainted themselves with my writing of February 2020, know that the strategy for which I argued strongly was what delivered this result – using our geographical advantage and biosecurity know how to protect as many lives as possible while we waited for our brilliant scientists to provide protective vaccination.
Who else remembers Morrison saying, with exasperation, something like “There are some who argue that we should just close our borders and wait for a vaccine!”.
That was me he was talking about. I don’t say that I was the only one, but you will be hard-pressed to find others saying so publicly in a verifiable manner.
The Albanese Labor government can acknowledge this because we all know that PM Morrison was dragged kicking and screaming against it all the way – and if they need support, just look at more of my writing including my open letters to Morrison, as I held him to account even when left of centre media fell in behind him (just when he was beginning to gather his ‘extra ministries’).
The one aspect of my strategy that was not adopted was to renounce vaccine nationalism because, as a progressive, I spurn nationalism in all its forms.
Sadly many who consider themselves progressive really lost their way on that one!
If the hard and fast lockdowns perfected in the Labor states was followed in NSW, we could have continued to maintain biosecurity protection of our citizens for a few more months – while planning for very rapid vaccine rollout prior to Winter 2022 – allowing our nation to be global humanitarians vaccinating more of the global poor.
It was at this point in time that Mr Morrison tried out one of my phrases – “it’s not a race” – and we know how that worked out for him, because he had not developed any of the reasoning for why we should not race to vaccinate as I had done.
I was disappointed that Labor chose to take full political advantage of this, but that’s politics for you… and I am in no doubt that in this case some will argue that the ends – of getting rid of a societally damaging PM – justified the means.
However, it is a shame that so many self-labelled progressives flipped to such a strongly conservative stance… touché 😉
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© Copyright Brett Edgerton 2023
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