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Elimination, not Suppression

The Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has warned attempting to eliminate the coronavirus would destroy the Australian economy.

This is capitalism in its most worst, class-ridden, form. Labour (i.e., workers, flesh-and-blood, visceral "natural persons") are literally disposable if their continued existence gets in the way of profit.

"You don’t just shut the country down because that is not sustainable" #ScottyFromMarketing told Triple M on Wednesday [1].

Actually yes it is. It is very sustainable. Because you don't have to do it on a permanent basis.

As early as March, New Zealand adopted a path of "go hard, go early" [2]. Their strategy was not a "sustainable" level of coronavirus in the community to keep the wheels turning, but its elimination, and starting with a higher level of infection per capita than Australia. But by adopting a policy of elimination, they have been able to restart early as well. Yes, there have been cases since then from people coming into Australia - and yes they have every single known case in isolation.

It also seems that #ScottyFromMarketing is confused about the elimination strategy and international trade.

"Unless we’re going to not allow any freight or any medical supplies into Australia, or not allow any exports or anything like this, there is always going to be a connection between Australia and the rest of the world".

Seriously? An elimination strategy allows for imports and exports. It is possible to put goods in quarantine, you know? The transmission rates from imported and exported goods are, shall we say, "not very high".

And then there's his confusion about state and federal relations.

"The right strategy is the one that we have altogether been pursuing as a country, and the national cabinet has been very important to ensure everyone is moving in the same direction."

But we're not moving in the same direction; different states are moving in very different directions according to the policies of their respective leaders. And apparently some of these leaders think it's OK to return to "business as (almost) usual", whereas others a putting a higher value on human life.

The reality is that it will be at least eighteen months to two years before there is a vaccine available if there is ever one at all. A "go hard, go early" approach to virus elimination will most certainly be economically painful, but it does mean an early return to a more normal environment. We cannot have a society that fluctuates between being half-complacent and half-paranoid every several weeks as cases bounce around.

Elimination, not suppression, is necessary. It is a sound health policy, and it's a sound economic policy.


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