Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Australian  Economics professor argues that Australia would have been 'better off' WITHOUT a lockdown

An economics professor has been slammed as 'cold' and 'heartless' for suggesting  Australia prioritised health over the economy by going into coronavirus lockdown.

University of New South Wales Professor Gigi Foster sparked outrage from fellow panellists and other economic professors while answering questions about the  impacts of shutdown measures on Q&A on Monday.

Professor Foster suggested Australia hadn't properly weighed up the economic consequences of tough restrictions introduced to reduce the death toll, and argued the 'economy is about lives' too.

'What frustrates me is when people talk about the economic costs of the lockdown they often don't think in detail in terms of counting lives,' Professor Foster said.

'Has anyone thought about how would you get a measure of the traded lives when we lock an economy down? What are we sacrificing in terms of lives?

'Economists have tried to do that and we try to do that in currencies like the value of a statistical life.

'If you do that kind of calculus you realise very quickly that even with a very, very extreme epidemic, in Australia, we are still potentially better off not having an economic lockdown in the first place because of the incredible effects that you see.  'Not just in a short-run way but in many years to come.'

Her views prompted a shocked response from fellow panellists on the ABC program. 'How can you say that?' ACTU secretary Sally McManus fired back. 

'We're avoiding what's happened in the UK, what's happening in the US, the idea of having our ICUs overrun, our healthcare workers dying as well is just the most horrible thought.'

'It's horrible either way,' Professor Foster replied. 'The coronavirus has made the world awful. There's absolutely no doubt about that.

'In order to have a proper discussion about trade-offs, you need to think in terms of lives you're giving up.

'I know it's invisible lives and difficult to imagine when we aggregate, for example, all of the health effects and the mental health effects and the effects of people right now who have illnesses other than COVID-19.' 

Earlier in the program, Professor Foster said human welfare costs should be considered more broadly. 'I reject the idea it's lives versus the economy. It's lives versus lives. The economy is about lives,' Professor Foster said. 'It's about protection of lives and human welfare and livelihood.'

Simon Longstaff, executive director of The Ethics Centre disagreed with Professor Foster's argument.

'There's so many things we can do to address the economic consequences on people's lives. It's not just the economy. Incidents of mental health. There's many things which are human fact beyond those,' he said.

Professor Foster later proposed Australia could implement a herd immunity strategy until a coronavirus vaccine was found.

Her comments on the program sparked division on social media, with some accusing her of being 'harmful and arrogant' and others praising her for her 'rational' response.

'She lacks capacity to appreciate that a mass outbreak would lead to same shutdown within a short time frame. A broad and orderly controlled shutdown is preferable to chaos of humans and companies dropping like flies,' one viewer tweeted.

Another added: 'Has Gigi considered the economic cost of post traumatic stress on a population like Italy? Is there a model for the way the economy and people behave after that?'

'What a disgraceful and cold thought process this woman has,' a third said. 'Has no respect for humanity, is all about the economy and the money.' 

Professor Foster was also criticised by some in her own profession. 'Hundreds of us warned today against the views like Gigi Foster's,' University of Melbourne economics Professor Chris Edmond tweeted.

'I’m an economics professor, and Gigi does not speak for me,' Steven Hamilton, a U.S-based professor tweeted.   

But not everyone was critical. 'Gigi Foster makes some excellent points and should not be trolled,' one supporter tweeted. 

'Gigi Foster is very much sharing a holistic rational view on coronavirus, not an emotional one that clearly doesn’t appeal to the everyday Australian,' added another.



Study will test if common anti-inflammatory drug can prevent serious COVID-19 complications

Study participants will receive the drug by mail within 48 hours of diagnosis.

An international study will test whether a common anti-inflammatory drug can ward off serious complications from COVID-19 and possibly prevent patients from ending up in the hospital.

The study, which would involve 6,000 participants in the U.S., Canada and Europe, is designed to be "contactless" — participants will receive the drug, called colchicine, by mail, and will be monitored by phone or video visits. Participants will receive the drug within 48 hours of a COVID-19 diagnosis.

"This is one of the very few COVID-19 trials designed specifically for patients who have not yet been hospitalized," Dr. Priscilla Hsue, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and principal investigator for one of the sites involved in the trial, said in a statement. "We suspect that early treatment, before the onset of severe symptoms requiring hospitalization, may provide the best chance to improve outcomes. By the time extensive lung damage has developed, it may be too late to intervene successfully."

Colchicine is a widely available drug used to treat gout, a type of arthritis that causes pain and swelling in the joints, particularly the big toe, according to the National Institutes of Health. The drug works by reducing joint pain, inflammation and swelling.



The Canadian Way of Dealing with a Pandemic: Ineffective, Clueless, and Dishonest

The only thing certain about the etiology of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it originated in and spread from China. Whether the local origin of the disease was a wet market in Wuhan specializing in bat soup or a Chinese lab with inadequate safety protocols is immaterial. The culprit in the lethal melodrama that is being played out around the globe is China.

Yet, if we are to believe many of our politicians and journalists, the good guy working to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 is—you guessed it—China. Some self-serving politicians in the U.S. would like to refer President Trump to the International Court of Justice in the Hague for crimes against humanity for his handling of the crisis—Ohio State Representative Tavia Galonski apparently can’t stomach Trump’s promotion of hydroxychloroquine, which ironically has already saved the life of fellow Democrat Karen Whitsett. A reporter for Phoenix TV tried to put Trump in a bad light by asking whether he was cooperating with China, in her estimation obviously the heroic partner in the struggle. It turns out that Phoenix TV has intimate ties to Communist China and is linked with the PRC’s Ministry of State Security.

Joe Biden is a big fan of Communist China and has profited from his family’s business relations with the regime. Trump is beset by those who would like to see him fail in his ongoing effort to find a way between averting economic collapse and maintaining public health. Nonetheless, Americans can remain confident that a responsible president, for all the trials and confusions he must contend with, has their wellbeing at heart and labors tirelessly to provide a solution to the current disaster.

Canada, not so much. The country’s dilettante leader, who has no viable answer to the crisis, is not so embattled. The lying press, luxuriating in the prime minister’s $600-million bribe, is almost universally on his side, and his inept and intellectually challenged ministers are ritually lionized. 600 mil clearly helps you get your priorities straight. The sheer amateurism of this government is evident in its policy initiatives.

Some of these decisions defy belief. Shades of the famous Tennessee Ernie Ford song, Canada sent sixteen tons of PPE (personal protective equipment) to China while undergoing shortages of much-needed supplies, such as masks, goggles, gloves, and appropriate clothing, in the fight against the virus. University of Ottawa epidemiologist Amir Attaran was surprised to learn of this supernumerary gift. “It was absolutely certain in early February that we would need this equipment,” he said. “This decision went beyond altruism into high negligence and incompetence because Canada did not, and does not, have surplus equipment to spare.” Canada, as was to be expected, has no emergency management agency in place and no way of dealing with the export restrictions of needed medical supplies adopted by countries around the world.

Justin Trudeau: Canada’s National Disaster

Theresa Tam is Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, appointed to the office by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on June 26, 2017. According to her resum√©, she is “a physician with expertise in immunization, infectious disease, emergency preparedness and global health security,” and is chiefly responsible for the coast-to-coast lockdown of the country. A daily presence on national TV, Tam has become the face of the anti-COVID task force and the regulations intended to check the spread of the disease. But she remains something of an enigma.

Writing in The Council of European Canadians newsletter, an online site which has reaped the displeasure and vicious slander of Canada’s progressivist “social justice” warriors and multiculti vigilantes, Kidist Paulos Asrat asks, “Who is this woman now in charge of providing the ‘chief’ medical information concerning Canada's lockdown? Where did she come from?” His research has produced little information of value. “There is very little available on her biography,” he continues, “very little personal (and even professional) information on Tam,” including her date of birth, place of birth (other than ‘raised in Hong Kong’) and the dates of her degrees. Indeed, the listings of her theses, dissertation, and alumni profiles seem to be missing, though Asrat has searched the University of British Columbia and the University of Alberta websites where such data should be available.

What do we know about Tam? We know that Tam is a feminist who attended the 2019 Women Deliver conference in Vancouver, whose mandate is promoting “gender equality and the health, rights and wellbeing of girls and women.” As for the health, rights, and wellbeing of men and boys, nary a hint, which is why she seems to have expressed no interest in the fact that men are more likely to be infected by COVID-19 and twice as likely to die from it. We know that she is intimately associated with the World Health Organization, significantly funded by China, that initially downplayed the scope of the disease, and whose Director-General Tedros Adhanon Ghebreyesus is a Marxist and a loyal defender of China, “uncritically repeating information from the Chinese authorities.” A petition is now circulating calling for his resignation.

Tam has warned against stigmatizing Chinese people, though it is far from clear that such a warning was necessary. Canada’s largest Chinese population is located in Vancouver, where I make my home, and I have not seen the slightest instance, whether in the media or the public, of prejudice or opprobrium. “Racism, discrimination and stigmatizing language,” she stated, “are unacceptable and very hurtful. These actions create a divide of Us Vs Them. Canada is a country built on the deep-rooted values of respect, diversity and inclusion.”

SPLC Blames Trump's 'Racist, Anti-Asian Epithets' for Coronavirus-Related Anti-Asian Harassment
This is merely more of the usual virtue-signaling and self-promoting boilerplate beloved of career politicians of the woke variety. The last thing we need during a health crisis is a lecture on race relations and feel-good multiculti.

Spencer Fernando, whom I regard, along with the redoubtable Rex Murphy, as one of the vanishingly few reliable journalists in this country, pretty much has the goods on Tam. “The facts are undeniable,” he writes. “Tam was late at every step, focused on political correctness and lecturing when the virus could have been stopped, and seemed less informed of the risk than the general public and the MPs who were asking her questions."

"Right now," she said at a critical juncture, "the cases are in China. Very few are exported… the risk is low in Canada." The cases did not stay in China but swept the world, including Canada. Moreover, we were assured that "WHO does not recommend travel bans" and that we need not worry about asymptomatic transmission. Wrong on every count. Her record is deplorable and her sympathies debatable.

Tam is a typical Trudeau appointee: a feminist, a self-aggrandizing special pleader, and a gross incompetent in the office she is expected to manage. There are others like her in the Trudeau cabinet, for example, the lamentable Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland who nearly deep-sixed our NAFTA treaty talks with Donald Trump and has a tendency to tear up at critical moments, though as former NDP Premier Bob Rae tweeted in Freeland’s patronizing defense, “Crying is not a sign of weakness, it is a natural emotional response to a lot of different situations”; and the equally hapless Minister of Health, cultural anthropologist (!) Patti Hajdu with limited experience in medicine, repeatedly said, like Tam, that the risk of infection from the virus “is low,” but now projects that up to 70% of Canadians may be infected. Despite being stroked by a shameless love article in The Globe and Mail, Hajdu’s performance is frankly pathetic. And like both Tam and their boss, she seems to have a soft spot for China, insisting that “there’s no indication that the data that came out of China in terms of their infection rate and their death rate was falsified in any way.” All these gender quota mermaids are swimming fathoms beyond their depth and I suspect their fealty is compromised.

Obviously, we should not be giving away our medical equipment and then hoping to receive apposite supplies from foreign self-interested nations. As Rex Murphy argues in a brilliant column for the National Post, “Take care first of your own citizens, which means limiting the contingencies of external dependence.” Our resources should be reserved for our own security if we are to protect ourselves “against pandemics and other unknown future shocks.” The argument applies across the board to every economic, industrial, agricultural, and medical sector of the country. Murphy points out that it is the salt-of-the-earth Canadians—hard-pressed farmers, unemployed oil workers, cross-country truckers, those who do not tend to vote for a progressivist Liberal Party—who have been hamstrung by their government and forced to pay a crippling carbon tax while struggling to survive a decimating pandemic. They are, unfortunately, outnumbered by the many who have been brainwashed by a compliant media establishment and who elect parasitical governments that fritter away the nation’s resources and mismanage the nation’s business and security needs, including the response to national emergencies.

Meanwhile, at 7 o’clock every evening these brainwashed Canadians step out on their balconies and doorways and bang pots and pans in solidarity with the nurses—though not with the preponderantly male doctors, ambulance drivers, orderlies, and janitors who, being men, are apparently expendable, as good feminist doctrine holds. It is rather sobering to reflect that we have largely become a nation of feminist-inclined pot bangers, as if noisy displays of carefully targeted goodwill were an effective way of dealing with the current pandemic.

You offload 16 tons and what do you get? A nation that owes its soul to the company store.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is hereHome page supplement


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