Did the Morrison government really prevent 40,000 COVID deaths? A health economist checks claims against facts

Bottom line: the relevant regional comparison is to New Zealand

Morrison needs to gild the lily because  his boast has proved 1) to be false, and 2) Any saving of lives not his doing but rather the work of the States.The Ruby Princess was Morrison’s kick start.

To say there has been a saving of 40,000 lives relies on a comparison to the northern hemisphere at the beginning of the pandemic when Australia had a climatic cloak of protection and a safe distance from which to learn from overseas evidence.

New Zealand provides a more useful comparison if we’re to judge the success of the Morrison government’s pandemic handling. Our neighbour faced the closest set of climate and wider conditions to us and had similarly high levels of PCR testing (at least until Omicron overwhelmed testing in late 2021). On this comparison, Australia did not do well.

By September 15 2021, COVID case rates in Australia were almost four-fold that of NZ (3,038 versus 796 cases per million) with more than eight times the death rate (43 versus 5 five per million) – further puncturing the Morrison government’s 40,000 lives boast.

In November 2021, the federal government claimed it was well prepared for Omicron, but 70% of all COVID deaths in Australia (4,579 out of 6,569 as of April 11) occurred after that date. The majority of those were in 2022 and are therefore not accounted for in the 2020 and 2021 comparison underlying the 40,000 lives saved claim.

Source: Did the Morrison government really prevent 40,000 COVID deaths? A health economist checks claims against facts

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