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  • Writer's pictureEmilie Dye

Tell Chicken Little to go home and stop making policy

Updated: May 19, 2021

In a state with 8 million people in a city of 5 million, 49 locals this week contracted a virus with a survival rate of 99.3 per cent. On Monday, community transmission in NSW hit a whopping zero. Yet, lockdown enthusiasts have still found a reason to complain.

According to the Twitter mob, zero cases simply means we aren’t testing enough. Those of us who aren’t looking for a reason to panic should be worried. This kind of thinking indicates we won’t see an end to lockdowns and nonsensical restrictions until we say, “enough!”

Whether it’s COVID-19 or climate change, someone is going to think the sky is falling and we are all going to die. As animals evolved to survive in an increasingly safer, cleaner, and more prosperous world, we look around and find nothing waiting to eat us. For many of us, we instinctively can’t quite grasp how good things really are.

Only 200 years ago, life expectancy was only 29 (likely less if you were a convict sent to Australia). In just the last 50 years, since 1971, infant mortality has decreased by 82 per cent. Real earnings have increased by 116 per cent. We have more food, and the average person gets two more years of schooling. Most relevant to the current crisis, life expectancy has increased by 16 per cent from 71 years to 83 years.

Fifty years ago most of the people currently dying of COVID would already have gone. The vast majority of deaths are among those over 70.

But we can’t really blame people for being worried. In recent history, no pandemic, even deadlier diseases like the Spanish flu, has so impacted our daily lives. Since WWII no other event has received so much media coverage, and that media coverage is far from optimistic.

At this time last year, Australian bushfires had made international news. Greta was on stage reprimanding us for destroying the planet and AOC had many convinced the world would burn in 12 years. If you had twelve years left to live would you really want to spend one of those years in lockdowns?

It seems people like dramatised news stories almost as much as they like zombie movies.

Meanwhile, everything in our daily lives is indicating the world is indeed ending. If we enter a shopping centre unmasked we can expect an armed officer to confront and fine us. Much of 2020 we spent under house arrest. We lost our jobs and our businesses. Border restrictions have stopped many of us from seeing our families for months.

All of us looked forward to the new year and celebrating the end of what has been a miserable 12 months. Yet on the last day of 2020 restrictions came rolling back. No kissing. No dancing. No shouting. You must wear a mask when entering shopping centres, supermarkets, shops, theatres, banks, post offices, hair salons and on public transport. In Sydney, you can only have 5 visitors in your home including children.

Any rational person would assume the situation must be bad to warrant such a response. But it’s not. Only 0.1 per cent of Australians have contracted COVID over the course of this entire crisis. The numbers are even better when it comes to deaths with only 0.0036 per cent or 36 per 1,000,000 Australians dying from COVID. At the time of writing, no one in Australia died today or yesterday or this week from COVID.

To many, these cheery numbers indicate that lockdowns worked, or maybe we just live on a giant island separate from the rest of the world. Regardless, right now community transmission is nearly non-existent and these restrictions are battling a windmill, not a giant.

Until our politicians stop enacting policies which unsurprisingly scare the living daylights out of people, Australians will believe we are in crisis. As long as Australians believe we are in a crisis they will want politicians to implement policies to protect us.

This brutal cycle of restrictions every time someone sneezes won’t stop until we raise our voices against it. Even if we hit zero cases (oh wait…we already did that) and essentially eradicate COVID in Australia, the restrictions will keep coming.

Instead of articles about ‘dangerous’ clusters with so few cases you can count on them one hand, we should see more news stories about how few cases we have had. Few Australians have died from COVID. Let’s make 2021 a year of optimism and progress not of neanderthal fears. Let’s pull our heads out of the ground and see the sunshine.

This article first appeared in the Spectator Australia on 5 Jan 2021.

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