Covid and the political economy of mass hysteria

This is the best single article on the Chinese flu I have seen from anywhere and from anyone, and here it is by Adam Creighton in The Australian: Coronavirus lockdown lunacy is frying our minds. I hope my saying so doesn’t put the moz on him, but let me take you to the text.

The west, and Australia and New Zealand in particular, are suffering mass psychogenic illness, where only sociology, psychology and the perverse incentives of large welfare states, can explain the ongoing obsession with COVID-19 and our medieval responses to it after almost a year of improved treatments and new information.

Great start, but it gets even better.

For three German and Spanish economists, it’s time to ask this question: have we forgotten the rationality that’s meant to define policymaking in advanced liberal democracies? Their new research paper, COVID-19 and the Political Economy of Mass Hysteria, lays out how our biological tendency to overreact coupled with a social and mass media that profit from panic, plus powerful welfare states, make mass psychosis likely, and hard to reverse.

It does seem that we are locked in with the lockdown mentality and the probability of reversal in the short-term seems very unlikely. We are in the grip of mass lunacy. To continue:

Some seriously weird behaviours have emerged…. Australia and New Zealand have incurred costs equivalent to a world war — and more than any other nation has — fighting a pandemic that has killed not even 1000 people, with a median age in the mid-80s, between them. And this is widely seen as brilliant.

What he means, of course, is that in reality we are collectively speaking utter fools.

Having insisted early last year that lockdowns were necessary to “flatten the curve”, rolling capital city “snap” lockdowns of millions of people have become the norm, at extraordinary economic, psychological and social cost, without a single person in ICU across either country.

Yet the hysteria goes on, and on.

The venerable Economist magazine even wrote last week that 150 million people would die (three times the number killed by the Spanish flu) from COVID-19 without strong government action, a claim breathtaking in its absurdity. Globally, 2.4 million people have died from or with COVID-19, yet every year other communicable diseases kill more. A death is a death, whatever its cause, yet the world is not shut down. It’s time our leaders started pouring cold water over an electorate that’s worked itself into a lather.

Our leaders should level with voters that we can’t remain an open liberal society without incurring further deaths and cases from COVID-19. Let vulnerable groups be vaccinated, and let everyone else get on with their life. The three authors, at universities in Spain and Chile, argue that hysteria dissipates more quickly in nations that respect civil liberties, where the minority who wish to behave rationally “can just ignore the collective panic and continue to live their normal lives”, illustrating to the hysterical majority that they too can safely return to normal.

And if you are interested in the paper Adam cites, you can find it here: COVID-19 and the Political Economy of Mass Hysteria. This is the abstract. “Nocebo”, by the way, means “detrimental effect on health produced by psychological or psychosomatic factors such as negative expectations of treatment or prognosis”.

In this article, we aim to develop a political economy of mass hysteria. Using the background of COVID-19, we study past mass hysteria. Negative information which is spread through mass media repetitively can affect public health negatively in the form of nocebo effects and mass hysteria. We argue that mass and digital media in connection with the state may have had adverse consequences during the COVID-19 crisis. The resulting collective hysteria may have contributed to policy errors by governments not in line with health recommendations. While mass hysteria can occur in societies with a minimal state, we show that there exist certain self-corrective mechanisms and limits to the harm inflicted, such as sacrosanct private property rights. However, mass hysteria can be exacerbated and self-reinforcing when the negative information comes from an authoritative source, when the media are politicized, and social networks make the negative information omnipresent. We conclude that the negative long-term effects of mass hysteria are exacerbated by the size of the state.

There will come a time when our generation will be seen as the biggest bunch of fools in the history of the world, even more inane than the folks who used to burn witches at the stake.

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80 Responses to Covid and the political economy of mass hysteria

  1. Walter Plinge says:

    Dan Andrews’ technique: treat ’em mean, keep ’em keen. It works.

  2. Tezza says:

    Adam has been consistently excellent and courageous on this topic.

  3. yarpos says:

    We are fortunate enough to live in regional Vic and have been less impacted than those in Melbourne. Recently we started meeting up with friends still living in Melbourne and it was noticeable how much the lockdown had affected them. Quite a few of them had become obsessive about it and a bit gun shy of public places.

    These are otherwise bright people with successful careers. I guess it brings out who is resilient and who is a bit fragile. I cant imagine what the bottom half of the bell curve makes of all this and how much they just sit and wait for the next Dan Directive.

  4. mem says:

    “Quite a few of them had become obsessive about it and a bit gun shy of public places.”

    I found myself trying to make alternate arrangements to see a businessman who has an office in one of the major shopping centres, not because I am scared of covid but because I’m scared of being isolated for fourteen days if some infected dickhead quarantine worker’s misses goes to buy buns and toilet paper at the same center. I cannot afford the luxury of being in isolation.

  5. Mooka says:

    Well you can also include the imbeciles who imagine that building windmills and solar panels is going to affect the temperature of the planet and if we don’t we are all going to die. No matter how much contrary evidence you show these people they won’t waver from this belief.
    Unfortunately they are dragging us all down with their madness.

  6. Davo the spy says:

    I’m surprised they even published his article…even the Oz now has so much rubbish

  7. Simple Simon says:

    There will come a time when our generation will be seen as the biggest bunch of fools in the history of the world, even more inane [sic] than the folks who used to burn witches at the stake.

    It may be insane (‘mad’, ‘deranged’) to burn at the stake people you consider witches but it is by no means inane (‘lacking meaning or purpose’), especially not for those poor souls burnt alive, and not even for the societies gripped by such collective mania.

    The current hysteria, too, is not inane. If it were we would have nothing to worry about.

  8. Turtle says:

    I’ve heard it said that the hysteria when AIDS appeared in the eighties was backed by the gay lobby and fellow travellers to deflect blame onto heterosexuals.

    I’m surprised they haven’t resurrected the AIDS reaper. I’m sure that’s been said here before.

    What’s concerning is that climate, plastic bags and corona are only three examples of mass hysteria and overreaction in the last 15 years.

  9. Tim Neilson says:

    Imagine being a family in Mildura that had been planning for months for a wedding, a 21st or a 50th anniversary, or planning for a week or so for a funeral, to be held on Saturday 13th.
    On Friday 12th, Maximum Leader announces that because a week ago one single person tested positive in Melbourne, and over the next several days the positive tests in Melbourne had skyrocketed to about 13 in a state of over 6.6 million people, so that, even though you were over 500 kilometres away from any positive test he was cancelling your function on 24 hours’ notice.
    The sad thing is that some people would react by thinking “only the government can save us! All hail Maximum Leader!”

  10. Bruce in WA says:

    We have a friend living in the extreme S-W of WA. Where she lives there has NEVER been a single case of CV-19.

    One of her closest friends is having a big birthday party to celebrate her 80th. Our friend won’t go. Why? There will be people who have flown into Perth from intrastate and interstate — and she won’t be near anyone who has been on an aircraft, because CV-19.

  11. jupes says:

    There will come a time when our generation will be seen as the biggest bunch of fools in the history of the world, even more inane than the folks who used to burn witches at the stake.

    We already were the biggest bunch of fools in the history of the world, well before the China virus came along.

    Dunno how people in the future will explain the current state of affairs.

  12. pbw says:

    I’ve just started reading The Politics of a Pandemic Moral Panic, by Cooper and Navarro-Génie, who are Canadians. I think it was published last December.

    Will any of this stuff make any difference? Has anything made a difference to the Global Warming moral panic?

  13. Fang says:

    Its not because were scared of covid-19, but dear leader keeps changing the rule’s! Your wedding, birthday, anniversary and funeral out in regional Victoria, are not really affected by 1 or “2” cases of the Wuhu flu.
    But as individuals, what the hell can you do, when a couple cop cars turn up to close a hi vis clothing store down in a 12000 pop town????
    The owner was beserk, with rage! And I don’t blame him, yet other businesses were open and trading!!!!!
    Lock down the house of said infected person, code red the suburb, code orange the surrounding suburbs, code yellow next out surrounding suburbs, and then code green the outer ones from that! Idk, something simple like this could work at a minimum???
    Isn’t that what NSW is sort of doing?

  14. rickw says:

    I’ve spent a lot of time talking to people about this slow motion train wreck.

    The front line workers get it, they think Dan’s a Dickhead who’s wrecked everything.

    The office types, not so much, they think Dickhead Dan saved them.

  15. rickw says:

    But as individuals, what the hell can you do, when a couple cop cars turn up to close a hi vis clothing store down in a 12000 pop town????

    Fucking ignore them. Oh, and in a small town, you have an advantage, you know where the fuckers live.

  16. maree says:

    That piece was up there with Adam Creighton’s best. I read it yesterday in The Oz, just before driving our son to the local regional airport on his latest attempt to get back to work in WA. He flew back to NSW in December for Christmas/New Year with our family when state borders were open, having been locked into WA since Jan 2020,, and has been cooling his heels here ever since.

    Fortunately he has been on full pay as he has essential skills for his work in the Pilbara, but internal border closures have played havoc, not only getting back to WA where he resides, but going through QLD en route on Jan 9 the day the palace chook locked down the city without warning, so that he had to book the next flight back here to Newcastle and wait it out until McDuck lifted WA quarantine restrictions for NSW as of this week.

    Adam Creighton called it correctly as mass psychogenic illness. Politically induced.

  17. maree says:

    Further my comment above, Newcastle has not had a single case of WuFlu. Full stop. One or two cases appeared in Port Stephens and the lower Hunter early on, from a Sydney visitor, but since then, nothing, nil. We live life pretty much as usual thanks to some sane heads, but we aren’t planning on a trip down the M1 anytime soon, let alone the 1hr flight to Danistan that we used to do regularly.

  18. Publius says:

    i’d like to list myself somewhere, ffs anywhere, for posterity, that i resisted from the start and was de-personed by twitter, fb etc multiple times as a result.

  19. Tom says:

    My feeling is that even Dan’s most ardent zombie doormat supporters have had a gutful of his antics. The ludicrous punishment of 6.5 million people — and the entire state economy — because of the bumbling incompetence of the Victorian public service-designed hotel quarantine fiasco has left anyone paying attention in no doubt it has nothing to do with public health and everything to do with Andrews’ decision to run in the 2022 state election as a tough guy.

    The ALP caucus system in Victoria has effectively been replaced by the public service activists keeping Andrews in power. No-one in the parliamentary caucus is game to take him on.

    Andrews is ruling in a peculiar form of autocratic narcissism. You have to remember this is all he has ever done. He has no other life experience.

    He studies the politics of fear the way Machiavelli would. Because he listens to no-one, he plans to ride it all the way to the 2022 state election.

    Victorians in the early 21st century are his guinea pigs in the same way Mussolini used Italy to project his murderous tough-guy self-image. With 90% of the news media in his thrall and the ALP parliamentary caucus emasculated, there is no-one to stop him.

    Footnote: I also filed the Adam Creighton article as the best summary of the madness being inflicted on Australians by their governments.

  20. Herodotus says:

    There is the possibility that Adam regards older folk as over-remunerated in retirement and at the same time expendable.

  21. Mark M says:

    When the people in charge have lost their minds over an imaginary climate crisis, their response to an actual threat was predictable in that their reaction would be idiocy on steriods and stilts.

    Building a quarantine station now is a sign that the new normal is going nowhere for the future.

  22. MACK says:

    It’s interesting that almost all the developed world had a second wave, regardless of policies. Then the numbers all started reducing in early January, again regardless of the interventions and every other variable.

  23. Rabbi Putin says:


    We can only hope it ends for Dickears the same way it did for Il Duce.
    And speaking of economic and social wreckage, isn’t this AFR headline curious: Top uni grads now see government as their most preferred place to work, citing “ Positive values, good working conditions and job security”

  24. miltonf says:

    Great analysis Tom. It became pretty obvious as last year progressed that it was nothing to with public health and all about controlling the citizens. A softening up for travel restrictions once automobiles and air travel are restricted to people like Julie Bishop. It was also an attempt to crash the US economy to ‘get’ Trump and his supporters of course. An added bonus was to punish the Brits for wanting to leave the evil, sclerotic EU.

    Further, there is a playbook which has been played in Michigan, New York, Wales and of course Victoria. Read up on Mark Drakeford the pissant first minister of Wales. These people must talk to each other.

  25. miltonf says:

    There is the possibility that Adam regards older folk as over-remunerated in retirement and at the same time expendable.

    You seem to be implying that crashing the economy and destroying people’s businesses and hence their live was all worth it. I hope I’m wrong.

  26. shatterzzz says:

    Not quite MASS hysteria but more gummint hysteria .. lotza folks (probably, the majority) are only complying with restrictions because of FINES not belief .. this OAP included …….!

  27. miltonf says:

    Gummint-meja hysteria. I never liked the Economist but now it is just another propaganda outlet for the international left.

  28. OldOzzie says:

    Andrews sets the gold standard in the politics of fear

    By conditioning Victorians with fear, Daniel Andrews has been able to use disproportionate lockdowns, curfews and heavy-handed policing to hide his manifest incompetence.

    By Janet Albrechtsen

    The only thing more concerning than the reign of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is the possibility that many Victorians no longer recognise what is within the normal range of leadership.

    It won’t help that Andrews has been nominated for a leadership award by a group presumably seeking attention. That demented decision is an insult to the wellbeing of Victorians.

    Maybe some sharp observations from left-wing journalist John Pilger will help more Victorians see what people outside the state can identify: they are being manipulated by a man who no longer deserves to lead a party, let alone a state.

    “… Covid scaremongering allows Dan Andrews, the verbose politician who runs the state of Victoria, to lock down millions and demand ridiculous wartime powers,” Pilger tweeted. “This is how autocracies are made.”

    While political opponents will enjoy Pilger’s description of Andrews as a “provincial tin pot”, a bigger issue needs to be laid out in plain sight. Andrews has become the premier purveyor of fear in Australia. While other premiers have tried to mimic him, in particular Steven Marshall in South Australia, Mark McGowan in Western Australia and Annastacia Palaszczuk in Queensland, they are the B-grade pantywaists of Australian politics who lack confidence in their ability to manage risk sensibly.

    Andrews also is incapable of managing risk sensibly. But he is different from his peers, too. To use one of his phrases, the Victorian Premier has set the gold standard in the politics of fear.

    Using his excessively loquacious press conferences, Andrews has conditioned a large enough part of the Victorian electorate to be so fearful of COVID-19 that they seem grateful for his extreme measures, despite evidence that his incom­petence caused outbreaks and led to more than 800 unnecessary deaths. Each time the Andrews government is exposed as being responsible for hotel quarantine breaches, substandard contact tracing, obfuscating the truth and blame shifting, Andrews manages to convince Victorians that only he can lead the state out of this debacle. This peculiar form of political grooming is a textbook case of how to use the politics of fear to hide manifest incompetence during a crisis.

    It relies on five key ingredients: unswerving arrogance, instilling fear, authoritarian and frequent restrictions to cover up mistakes, determined obfuscation, and co-opting people to support the indefensible by constantly praising them even while causing them unnecessary damage.

    The Victorian Premier’s arrogance is not the run-of-the-mill variety common in politics. Consider his extraordinary boast on February 9 that his hotel quarantine system was “leading” the rest of the country.

    It was, said Andrews, the “gold standard” of safety. Forty-eight hours later, that boast morphed into what this newspaper dubbed the “gold standard lockdown” of 6.3 million Victorians as a tool to deal with more breaches of hotel quarantine under his watch.

    Behind the dark humour is a darker story of how a purveyor of fear uses political language to cloak incompetence. While Machiavelli advised rulers to govern by being feared, not loved, that won’t wash in a democracy. Instead, Andrews has cleverly inculcated in the community a sense that they might be responsible for killing people by spreading the virus by, for example, playing a round of golf, when in fact mismanagement by his government has been largely responsible for virus outbreaks and the highest death toll in the country.

    Unlike any other leader, by conditioning the community with fear, Andrews has been able to use disproportionate lockdowns, lunatic night-time curfews and heavy-handed policing to fix his own mistakes.

    Last Friday when Andrews plunged the entire state into another disproportionate lockdown, he finessed his politics of fear. The new COVID-19 strain travelled at “light speed”, he said. It was “moving at a velocity that has not been seen anywhere in our country over the course of these last 12 months”, he said. It was “something very different” to what the country dealt with last year, he said. In other words, be afraid, cower inside your home, blame a man with a nebuliser, punish Australians trying to get home from overseas, while Andrews scurries to fix his government’s repeated mismanagement.

    The politics of fear makes no room for facts that allay fears. While someone infected with the original Wuhan strain is likely to pass the virus to 11 per cent of their close contacts, a person with the UK variant will pass the virus on to 14.7 per cent of their close contacts, according to Public Health England. And as health editor Natasha Robinson explained in this newspaper, Victoria’s small case numbers should have been managed by testing, rigorous contact tracing and, at worst, localised proportionate suppression strategies such as those in NSW.

    Another side to Andrews’ creepy style of political grooming is his fondness for telling Victorians how proud he is of them, over and over and over again. More than any other premier, Andrews assumes the role of carer-in-chief even when it is clear that his disproportionate lockdowns will cause untold damage to businesses, to people’s physical and mental wellbeing, and worst of all, to children. On that score, one day in the future when the impact of frequent snap lockdowns on vulnerable children and teenagers is studied, will Victorian health bureaucrats feel proud of their advice during COVID?

    Taking responsibility is a sign of humility. When a chief executive makes a big mistake, and even a small one, they are routinely hounded from office within a few weeks. A footy chief can be removed with enough scorching publicity. As former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett remarked a few days ago, NSW premier Barry O’Farrell resigned after forgetting to declare a bottle of Grange.

    Why then is Andrews still standing? The Victorian media is partly to blame, only recently scathing about the sheer incompetence and obfuscation of Andrews and his government. The ALP in Victoria has been a toothless, useless party, too frightened to remove a leader responsible for untold damage to their state. The Liberal opposition has been ineffective and Scott Morrison has been intimidated into acquiescence with Andrews.

    These elements, together with the Victorian Premier’s knack for the politics of fear, raise the prospect of a deeper tragedy: Victorians may lose sight of what to expect from a decent leader.

  29. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare says:

    It’s interesting that almost all the developed world had a second wave, regardless of policies. Then the numbers all started reducing in early January, again regardless of the interventions and every other variable.

    Herd immunity kicking in with an interactive population in Continental Europe and the UK.
    Something we don’t have in Australia because we’ve had virtually no exposure. Luckily there is a vaccine now and we don’t have to face an inevitable, and awful, day of reckoning for many who are over 70.

    We need to vaccinate the elderly (here’s my arm, I’ll take that risk) and whoever else wants the vaccination and then ignore Covid 19. Let it spread slowly as a sniffle through the younger populations just as it has in Europe and the UK. No lockdowns, no panics. We are lucky this virus doesn’t strike down the young and healthy. When we get one that does, then we should be prepared. How about we put all the wasted money from that other great mass hysteria, global warming, into vaccine preparedness … and our own economic security with plentiful energy supplied by coal, gas and our own oil refineries and storage?

    Or would all of that be just too sensible?

  30. cuckoo says:

    There will come a time when our generation will be seen as the biggest bunch of fools in the history of the world

    I just hope I live to see it.

  31. OldOzzie says:

    At my second home RNSH yesterday (back Friday and 2 days next week), I saw people calmly going about their everyday lives, with Efficiency and constant application of Cleanliness down in Cancer ward.

    What worries me is the acceptance of Covid-19 fear by my kids, especially Melbourne one – all seems to be driven by Social Media worrying from their friends

    I, as a Comorbidity Oldie, am responsible for my own life and take necessary precautions, and believe Covid-19 should be treated like the flu.

    The Hospitals are not swamped and as Adam Creighton says above

    without a single person in ICU across either country. Yet the hysteria goes on, and on.

  32. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare says:

    As well as vaccines, we now have treatments. Treatment – that’s a word that can stop mass hysteria too, and it should be used widely by all who now see the damage done by the mass hysteria and seek to end it.

    It’s a word someone should whisper into Dan’s ear too.

  33. Mother Lode says:

    I had a meeting yesterday with someone from Melbourne, New Zealand, and someone else in Sydney. The Melburnian and the key we are both in lockdown.

    Whilst waiting for them to join the meeting I spoke to the other fellow from Sydney. I mentioned the absurd lockdowns in Melbourne and New Zealand and with affected wistfulness said “Ah! Do you member when lockdowns were really about flattening the curve rather than elimination? Those were the days.”

    He responded a little nervously, as if he did not really regret the lockdown craze.

    Mind you, I have the feeling he may have some serious health issues. He doesn’t discuss them, but he has this strange thing where he will steady, small coughs. So in his mind, with his other condition(s), Covid likely figures as a greater and more imminent threat.

    Still, it is interesting to see how many other people are startled when they recall that it was originally about flattening the curve and surreptitiously the change was managed by escalating stories of deaths and outbreaks and contact tracing and the desperate quest for a vaccine.

  34. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare says:

    OldOzzie, as a fellow ‘aged co-morbidity’ I too believe in taking due care. I went overseas in the early stages of this pandemic in March 2020 and did so ‘taking due care’. It was a delight yesterday to go to the Edgecliff Shopping Centre in Sydney’s east and see a number of older people in wheelchairs, wearing no masks, enjoying a snack and a day out. There was no ‘social distancing’ anywhere that I could see, not in the seating areas nor in the Coles supermarket, and almost no masks in general. But this is only possible because of quarantining, and it could change quickly otherwise. This is the bind that politicians have got themselves into by trying to avoid the rest of the world. A vaccine and ‘treatments’ should reduce both the hysteria and the need for rigid quarantine and all of its expensive ‘test and trace’ concomitants. We have to face up to the world as soon as we can to get this over with. Why we ever went from a necessary ‘flattening the curve’ and limited infection management to an eradication strategy is beyond me.

  35. Mother Lode says:

    The Melburnian and the key we Kiwi are both in lockdown.

    Tried using voice recognition composing that text.

  36. Figures says:

    Treatment – that’s a word that can stop mass hysteria too

    No it isn’t.

    The Right absolutely loves bending over and taking it from the Left. Literally every lie that leftists claim is wholly believed by practically everybody on the Right. After a month or so it becomes clear that the Left was just lying but by then the damage is done. The Left go on to make something else up and the Right believe it.

    The Left believe in Big Pharma and particularly Big Injection. That should be proof enough that we need to imprison every GP, virologist and immunologist in this country. But no. The Right worship doctors and say “oh no, the Left would never ever lie about something as evil as poisoning people”.

    You don’t need treatments for a virus that doesn’t exist. And treatments for such a virus aren’t (obviously) going to work so how do you propose they will stop any hysteria?

    We will be in a state of rolling lockdowns until we go broke and can’t afford to pay the police to enforce them.

    And not a second before.

  37. OldOzzie says:


    last Friday my wife and I drove to Palm Beach to catch the 1100 Ferry to Patonga to meet up with my wife’s sister and her husband at the Boat House Restaurant at Patonga opposite the wharf . (Best Boat House Restaurant we have been to)

    We had to wear face masks sitting outside on the ferry, but no face masks at the restaurant – go figure.

    Great Day and the 1500 return ferry was keeping Pittwater time arriving 1520. Sitting outside with masks on, was like a mini Manly Ferry ride through the heads,

  38. Barry says:

    #3759050, posted on February 17, 2021 at 6:53 am

    It’s interesting that almost all the developed world had a second wave, regardless of policies. Then the numbers all started reducing in early January, again regardless of the interventions and every other variable.

    Read Briggs for enlightenment on this most wise and valid point.

    His view is that the peak in January is due to testing driving cases and people huddling in their homes, either from cold, or from lockdowns. As he says, “Lockdowns kill”

  39. Diogenes says:

    It’s interesting that almost all the developed world had a second wave, regardless of policies. Then the numbers all started reducing in early January, again regardless of the interventions and every other variable.

    Not all that unsurprising. SARS-COV2 is a respiratory illness, and respiratory illnesses start to increase in autumn, peak in winter & reduce in spring.

    Do not be surprised we see “outbreaks” for no apparent reason from after Easter until the end of August, especially in the southern states, regardless of vaccine status. That is why I am worried that the polliemuppets will go even crazier than they did last year judging by the way they have behaved during these summer outbreaks, and yes I include Gladys Bin-chicken in this.

  40. The Fifth Bike Rider of the Apocalypse says:

    Here’s an interesting thought from a writer for the US media outlet Newsmax:
    Strip Governors of Their COVID Emergency Powers
    By Betsy McCaugheyTuesday, 16 February 2021
    ‘From Pennsylvania to California, Americans are re-learning what Lord Acton warned more than two centuries ago: Power corrupts.
    Giving governors “emergency powers” to fight COVID is destroying our civil liberties and endangering our lives.’
    She could have been writing about our state premiers, especially that chappie ruining Victoria.

  41. OldOzzie says:

    Search for a better solution than hotel quarantine

    The Australian Editorial

    The sight of a quarantine resident being escorted from a central Melbourne hotel wearing a plastic garbage bag over their head is emblematic of the urgent need for a reset. Evacuation of the Holiday Inn on Flinders Lane was necessary because of a malfunction in the building’s fire sprinkler system that damaged four of eight floors on Sunday. Buses were used to ferry residents, some as single occupants, to another hotel. Officials insist the plastic bag was the disrupted resident’s idea. They could have offered a blanket. As these events unfolded, 6.5 million Victorians were still under stage four lockdown because of a handful of COVID-19 cases in the state. Despite there being only two new infections yesterday, both among known contacts, Premier Daniel Andrews was unable to say whether the five-day lockdown would end as scheduled on Wednesday.

    The hotel quarantine system was an ad hoc response introduced when knowledge of the COVID-19 virus was rapidly evolving. Using hotels helped to dull the financial impact for hospitality venues starved of paying guests by government restrictions on travel and movement. Things have moved on and there is now debate about whether special-purpose facilities should be built to play a longer-term role. So far this debate has centred on where new facilities should be located, what they should look like and who should take responsibility for running them. With the rollout of a vaccine program about to start, it is reasonable to ask how much longer a quarantine system will be required. Adoption of a vaccination passport and compulsory testing as a prerequisite for travel to Australia may reduce the need for quarantine considerably, but not yet.

    As we reported on Tuesday, Australian Border Force data shows more than 253,000 citizens, residents and visa holders have travelled to Australia by air and sea since the hotel quarantine system was set up on March 28. In total, more than 461,000 Australians have returned home since Scott Morrison first urged them to come back on March 13, and 41,000 Australians registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade are still waiting to return home from overseas. If ongoing quarantine facilities are required, the best response may be to have purpose-built sites with dedicated staff.

    There has been favourable comment regarding the Northern Territory’s Howard Springs facility, where travellers are housed in single rooms with a private ensuite and access to fresh air. All arrivals are given face masks, which must be worn at all times when outside of an allocated room, with physical distancing of 1.5m, except for immediate family groups. There are no cooking facilities but meals are provided each day and residents have access to an online shopping service with Coles, Kmart and Big W. In Victoria, travellers are met at the airport, given a health screening and issued a direction and detention notice before being transferred to a hotel. While in quarantine arrivals must stay in their room and not allow anyone inside. Medical reasons and emergencies are the only exceptions, with heavy fines for transgressions.

    Arguments in favour of using city-based hotels for quarantine include proximity to the airport and medical services. It has been claimed that putting facilities in remote locations could increase the risk of wider exposure because of greater travel. This week, private individuals have proposed building facilities near established second-tier airports, including Avalon in Melbourne and Wellcamp airport at Toowoomba near Brisbane. Construction of appropriate quarantine facilities seems to be a sensible goal, particularly if they can provide a greater level of security for the community from the spread of COVID-19 and a higher level of comfort for those put into quarantine. Given that hotels currently being used are privately owned, there is no reason purpose-built centres could not be as well. But there appears to be another agenda by some states to push greater responsibility on to the commonwealth. West Australian Premier Mark McGowan said existing facilities under the control of the commonwealth, such as the Garden Island naval base in Sydney and the immigration detention centres at Northam in WA and Christmas Island, were the logical alternatives to the hotel quarantine systems run by each of the states. Given they fought to retain control, shifting from hotels to new centres should be no reason to absolve state leaders and their health authorities of responsibility to manage the centres and be liable for the quarantine outcomes they deliver. Nor should it be a reason to extend mandatory quarantine schemes for travellers beyond what is necessary.

  42. Bruce says:

    Speaking of cause and effect:

    Has anyone seen the images of smashed wind generators in Texas.

    Smashed by ICE AND SNOW. In TEXAS!

    EVERYONE with two neurons to rub together should read “Scared to Death”.

    Written well and truly pre-Covid-19, by Christopher Booker and Richard North, it documents all manner of “managed” dire threats to life and limb.

    See also H. L. Mencken:

    “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.”


    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

  43. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare says:

    Covid 19 is not influenza. It is a different type of virus, a Corona virus like the common cold, but one with a twist to it. From what I’ve read, it is a pretty nasty virus that some specialists now regard as a contagious vascular disease more than anything else. It mostly enters through the respiratory system, where it has a partiality for the alveoli of the lungs, in that it causes a fatal pneumonic inflammation, but (and this is important) it can lodge in the ACE2 cells that exist in the circulatory system in the lining of blood vessels and even the heart, causing clotting and death, and it can also affect the same cells lining the bowels and possibly transfer to the brain. By attacking the ACE2 cells it can interfere with the hormonal system that regulates blood pressure; it can also cause prostration and general muscular debility, as does influenza. It can also enter through the eyes. Younger people have a better immune system and can deal with it at the point of entry, as a sniffle; older and sicker people do not.

  44. Fang says:

    It’s a word someone should whisper into Dan’s ear too.

    More like, take some black poly pipe and smack the the stupidity out of him, and send Dan to the road side reserves to pick up rubbish! As that All he can cope with! 😡

  45. OldOzzie says:

    Normalizing the Forever Pandemic

    Have you noticed that every picture of Biden and the people around him involve wearing masks?

    Even if Biden is all by himself signing executive orders? He wears a Mask.

    When he is getting off Air Force One? He wears a Mask.

    Hanging out with his wife Jill? Wears a Mask.

    Biden has received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccination, and probably everyone in close proximity to him has, too. So why the continued need for the Mask Theater? Apparently, this is why:

    Pres. Joe Biden says he’s keeping his mask on during his remarks to NIH staff, after consulting Dr. Collins and Dr. Fauci.

    You know that wearing this mask through the next year here can save lives, a significant number of lives,” Biden says.

    We have gone from 15 days to slow the spread to 333 days with COVID still active, along with new strains. We went from only those most vulnerable should wear masks in March, to we’re masking up until 2022 to “save lives.” Candidate Biden blamed Trump for COVID deaths and poor response to the pandemic, and said he would work to create a plan to end the pandemic. Apparently, plans to end the pandemic have been put on pause, if not given up altogether. What we have is forever pandemic language, with its symbol being normalizing Mask wearing—and maybe wearing several.

    It seems it doesn’t get better.

    Biden said in that same Thursday conference that the “end goal” is “beating COVID-19.”

    But with each new press conference, he keeps moving the goal posts, and the American people have noticed.

  46. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare says:

    North Head would be far enough away to quarantine people. That was its original intention and it still holds good. A dedicated ferry could bring them from the airport directly there; no need to travel through the city. Currently the old station is a 160 bed hotel on government land, with no surrounding housing and ocean winds cleaning the air. Sounds ideal to me. Seriously ill cases requiring ICU could be airlifted to four major hospitals: Royal North Shore Hospital or Northern Beaches Hospital on the north side and St. Vincents Hospital or The Prince of Wales Hospital on the eastern side.

  47. Chris M says:

    There will come a time when our generation will be seen as the biggest bunch of fools in the history of the world

    Baby boomers? Well not entirely foolish but easily the most destructive at least.

  48. Roger says:

    The west, and Australia and New Zealand in particular, are suffering mass psychogenic illness…

    A dubious claim.

    What we’re suffering from is a lack of rationality.

    Ironically, medicos and scientists have been in the lead.

    Cowardly politicians have forfeited the field to them.

  49. Epicurious says:

    “There will come a time when our generation will be seen as the biggest bunch of fools in the history of the world, even more inane than the folks who used to burn witches at the stake.”

    Not my generation who have lived through war and major recessions. This hysteria is driven by the generation now in control, was that x,y or z I can never keep up with them? When I retired as a CEO 20 years ago I said the next generation of managers (business, government, bureaucracy, etc) would undo all the past good works. Look around, Proof in the Pudding!

  50. PB says:

    “Baby boomers? Well not entirely foolish but easily the most destructive at least.”

    Blanket-blaming of generations defined by artificial datelines is also pretty destructive, and very Internet.

  51. Epicurious says:

    #3759043, posted on February 17, 2021 at 6:25 am
    There is the possibility that Adam regards older folk as over-remunerated in retirement and at the same time expendable.

    There is a high probability Herodotus is talking BS.

  52. OldOzzie says:

    Why not Mining Dongas at Avalon?


    1000’s of buildings ready across 1000’s of kilometres

    Our 17 national locations are ready to supply transportable offices, lunchrooms, toilets, showers and first aid rooms at short notice. If your project is large scale and complex, our dedicated remote accommodation team will assist you in delivering 1,000+ room camps that are fully operational with a gymnasium, dry recreation room, wet mess, catering and all related services.
    Our experienced operations staff are the best in class, and the safety of our team and yours is always our priority.
    Comfort no matter the location. Our most popular transportable accommodation buildings are available for hire. We build tough to endure rugged Australian site conditions without compromising on comfort and safety. Our wide range of options for hiring transportable buildings provides extra flexibility to add, substitute or remove buildings as your project changes.

    Ausco Modular’s range of transportable buildings are the perfect solution to the challenges that face our customers who operate in the mining and resources sector. With a range of accommodation and workspaces available, both for short term hire or as long term, permanent solutions, we can support your operations as you scale up and down. Our fleet is easily moved from location to location, allowing us to expand as your project does ultimately saving time and money.

  53. Rob MW says:

    There will come a time when our generation will be seen as the biggest bunch of fools in the history of the world, even more inane than the folks who used to burn witches at the stake.

    Yep and it all started with the hole in ozone layer, which has been there for billions of years. It’s time to put the heads of these do-gooding health commissioners, wedded flunkies and politicians under the mammogram machine to check to see if they have any sort of an IQ. That’ll flatten the damn curve.

  54. cuckoo says:

    Andrews has now announced a partial end to the “short, sharp” lockdown. As someone said to me the other day, this constant tinkering and adjusting of the “rules”, to the point where ordinary citizens (which includes me) no longer know what they are, is the hallmark of a tinpot state.

  55. OldOzzie says:

    Thanks areff
    #3759199, posted on February 17, 2021 at 10:31 am
    This is good too

    Excellent – sums up Dictator Dan of VictoriaStan perfectly.

    The COVID-19 panda-demic or, as I prefer to call it, the Wuhan Sniffles, is every would-be despots’ dream. It has everything they could wish for to justify making people into sheeple, many so relieved to be in the care of such devoted shepherds that they bleat their gratitude in unison — just listen to talkback radio or follow the #IStandWithDan crowd on Twitter. Indeed, taking control of every aspect of daily life inspires such thanks that there are bonus points to be awarded even for monumental stuff-ups. Thus do we see Victoria’s Dan Andrews nominated for a “courage and leadership award” despite the incompetence that has left almost 800 dead on his watch. You couldn’t make this stuff because, well, you don’t need to: it’s already happening.

    Most appealing of all is that, at the first sign of the Wuhan Sniffles, you can impose arbitrary and authoritarian lockdowns enforced by your tame police force. Having proven incapable of stitching up a cardinal and investigating the rorts of Labor staffers who wear red shirts, it’s nice to know Victoria’s boys and girls in blue (and Star Trooper riot drag whenever the opportunity arises) are still up to arresting pregnant ladies in their pyjamas and at the beach.

  56. thefrollickingmole says:

    There will come a time when our generation will be seen as the biggest bunch of fools in the history of the world

    And the current crop of students being severely educated now will graduate and say “Hold my beer”…

    I spend a lot of time doing risk assessments, not flash or glamorous, for mining jobs.

    Now either no-one in state governments has ever seen one or the risk being “managed” is all political.

    IF I believed this was black death Mk2 and appropriately risk assessed it would I have rent a cop mongs looking after security?
    Would i have quarantine in the guts of the city?
    Would i have some form of PPE for those detained to be able to leave the hotel in an emergency? (fire etc)
    Would i have people in the city wearing masks and the mongs actually closest to those possibly infected mask free?

    We are fortunate this is not a deadly, easily spread disease or our idiots in charge would have killed millions.

  57. thefrollickingmole says:


    They could have had a 1000 man camp set up in less than a month.
    Unlike other solutions, our accommodation is easily mobilised and quick to set up. Our accommodation is kept on wheels, so there’s no waiting on cranes to get everything in place. In most cases we can have a camp mobilised, set up and operational on site within 3-4 days of receiving an order. Watch the video below to see how mobile we are.

  58. OldOzzie says:

    #3759226, posted on February 17, 2021 at 10:51 am

    They could have had a 1000 man camp set up in less than a month.


    seems to be a number of suppliers – I note that my link above did not work – here is the link

    Austco seems to be pretty big –


    Anytime or anywhere, Ausco Modular has the experience and service excellence to deliver everything you need on time.

  59. Tom says:

    Victorians: if you don’t want lockdowns forever, vote for anyone but Dickhead Dan on November 26, 2022.

    Mired as they are in their hysteria about global warmening, leftard premiers like Sneakers McGowan, Pony Girl and Dickhead Dan are attracted to Kung Flu hysteria like flies to shit.

    Pony Girl has already used it (thanks, media) to get herself re-elected, Sneakers is about to next month and the dickhead will ride it all the way to election day in 2022.

    Kung Flu hysteria is the latest political toy for leftist politicians and they will keep using it until people start voting against it.

    In Victoria, unfortunately that may mean voting for the Liberal Labor-lite opposition as a protest vote, otherwise there will be no change of government. These days, there are few non-Labor oppositions worth voting for, but there have never been so many incompetent, big-spending Labor state governments that should be thrown out.

  60. Botswana O'Hooligan says:

    Maybe Mr. Creighton is maturing for of late he seems to have shelved the idea of having the value of the family home indexed for pension purposes and other impossible penalties placed on old folk, impossible for one who uses logic aka common sense as it is called on this site, but not impossible for governments and those of the left, but if one comments on his column and suggests that had governments world wide used common sense in the first place we wouldn’t be in this predicament with an economy in ruins, the comment is rejected asap.

  61. Macspee says:

    Maybe do up the old quarantine station at Portsea. The locals would welcome them in true Portsea spirit.

  62. incoherent rambler says:

    The COVID-19 panda-demic or

    Without so much as a hat tip. [ sniffle sob ]

  63. John A says:

    OldOzzie #3759117, posted on February 17, 2021, at 8:38 am

    Search for a better solution than hotel quarantine

    The Australian Editorial

    As these events unfolded, 6.5 million Victorians were still under stage four lockdown because of a handful of COVID-19 cases in the state.

    This, too, is a partial untruth. We are under worse than Stage 4, with the 5km travel limit and masks everywhere except at home rules, which were Stage 5 last time. Dastardly Dan has fiddled with the language again, while Melbourne seethes.

  64. OldOzzie says:


    Victorians will re-elect DickHead Dictator Dan of VictoriaStan

    They suffer from Pure Stockholm Syndrome

    He also wouldn’t rule out further lockdowns in the state is needed.

    “I can provide no guarantees because I’m not prepared to pretend to the Victorian community that this is over, there can be some notice period but we don’t have the luxury of giving people a month’s notice,” he said.

    “I’m just not in the business of ignoring advice, or shopping around for advice that suits me.

    The only thing that suits all of us is to keep control of this.”

  65. Rayvic says:

    “Top uni grads now see government as their most preferred place to work, citing “ Positive values, good working conditions and job security”.

    Re “job security”, irresponsible public servants are immune from being named and shamed, even when their negligence has been investigated by formal inquiry, e.g. non-screening of disembarking Ruby Princess passengers, and reckless oversight of Chairman Dan hotel quarantine system, both resulting in hundreds of Covid-19 cases.

  66. Spurgeon Monkfish III says:

    It’s time to put the heads of these do-gooding health commissioners, wedded flunkies and politicians …

    … in a guillotine, prior to being placed on pikes in public squares.

  67. Professor Fred Lenin says:

    A cousin in London had the astre seneneca vassine on the 8 januaryn,he emailed me on the 28th he was getting over covid he described it as a bad flu with extreme tiredness ,which weeks later he still suffered with he is 45 and a medical practitioner . Another cousin in the N[orth West of Eng;and tells me 1 in 30 people in his county had covids at any one time and one third showed no symptoms he is a journalist of the old school and described this as Scary ,certainly is .

  68. OldOzzie says:

    Is this describing VictoriaStan?

    At the end of January I watched a video message from the commissioners of the suburban Philadelphia county where my wife and I reside. According to them, it may take Pennsylvania up to a year to administer COVID vaccinations to all persons over the age of 65. We oldsters (my wife and I are 76) were told to register with the county and prepare for a long wait.

    This information decided the issue of whether or not we should take up residence in Florida for the remaining winter months. Not only would the weather be more congenial, according to our Florida friends, but our chances of receiving the COVID vaccine in a timely manner also would increase exponentially.

    And, in fact, within 11 days of our arrival in Florida, we received our first jabs of the Moderna vaccine and will receive our second doses in mid-March. We are now among the 2,355,792 persons who have been vaccinated in Florida as of February 13, 2021.

    The comparison between Florida’s efficient handling of COVID vaccinations, under the leadership of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, and that of Pennsylvania, under Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf, could not be more telling. And the favorable comparisons don’t end there.

    Pennsylvania has been in a COVID lockdown for almost a year. During that time, lives, livelihoods, and businesses have been destroyed en masse because state health authorities deemed the lockdown to be a necessary means of reducing the rate of COVID infections. Nevertheless, COVID has spread throughout Pennsylvania and, thanks to the state’s callous and ill-advised decree that forced nursing homes to accept COVID patients, a shockingly high and avoidable number of its senior citizens in long-term care facilities have died.

    While Pennsylvania’s economy and people continue to suffer under lockdown, Florida — while requiring reasonable public health measures — is wide open for business. People here are free to patronize restaurants, bars, hotels, and enterprises of all types and sizes. This place is booming, and, once here, it doesn’t take long to realize just how unnatural, depressing, debilitating, and destructive life in lockdown has been.

    Being in Florida has been like traveling back in time to the America that existed before COVID. It’s liberating and heartening to see people living, working, and going about publicly exercising what were once their unquestioned and fundamental rights to earn a living, to move about, and to associate with one another freely.

    So what has been the response of the Biden regime to the Florida success story? According to this report on of a conversation with Gov. DeSantis and federal health officials, Joe Biden threatened to ban domestic travel to and from Florida purportedly in order to prevent the spread of COVID. The article states that, in opposing this unconstitutional and outrageous threat, DeSantis refused to address Biden as “president” and told him to “go f*** himself.”

  69. old bloke says:

    “Baby boomers? Well not entirely foolish but easily the most destructive at least.”

    The boomers are now all retired folks, sitting at home watching the western world go crazy. Boomers aren’t responsible for your failures.

  70. OldOzzie says:

    Rules for Thee. but NOT for Me!

    Hollywood star and climate change activist Matt Damon reportedly took a private jet to film parts of the Marvel movie Thor: Love and Thunder in Australia, flying from Byron Bay in the northern part of New South Wales to Sydney on Sunday.

    Matt Damon shared a private jet with co-star Chris Hemsworth and members of their entourage, according to a report from the Daily Mail, which ran photos of the stars disembarking from the aircraft. It remains unclear what Damon and Hemsworth were doing in Byron Bay, but they are expected to shoot scenes at Fox Studios Australia, located in the Sydney area.

    The Damon family reportedly arrived in Australia last month and spent their mandatory, 14-day quarantine in a $7,000 per night rental mansion.

  71. Kneel says:

    “Oh, and in a small town, you have an advantage, you know where the fuckers live.”

    And that is why in small towns, the local coppers “swap” with the next town along for RBT and speeding fines – if they stayed in their own backyard, they’d be denied service at the local qwiki-mart, pub, etc etc in no time.

    What can you do in a small town?
    Make sure that the local publican and the local grocery store owner are always at your do’s, and if required, ask them to explain the realities of the situation to local plod – even HM’s finest learn very fast when it affects them more than you!

  72. Simon Morgan says:

    There will come a time when our generation will be seen as the biggest bunch of fools in the history of the world, even more inane than the folks who used to burn witches at the stake.

    -The really unforgivable thing is that it is ‘conservative’ governments in the UK and Australia that have led us down this Alice in Wonderful misadventure.

  73. Kneel says:

    “Then the numbers all started reducing in early January, again regardless of the interventions and every other variable.”

    Missed it by that much, would you believe it, that much!

    There was one thing that changed in early Jan – the WHO recommendation for maximum number of amplifications for the COVID PCR test. They dropped the maximum recommended number. All of cases, hospitalisations and deaths attributed to COVID started their downward trend at the very same time.
    I’m sure it’s just a coincidence though…
    Happened almost exactly the same time as Joe Xingping Biden was inaugurated.
    I’m sure that’s just a coincidence too…

  74. John Bayley says:

    Covid 19 is not influenza.

    Technically true, but its infection fatality rate is no worse. Look up the definitive Ioannidis (Stanford) study from last October.

    Younger people have a better immune system and can deal with it at the point of entry, as a sniffle; older and sicker people do not.

    That is true also, but as Karl Denninger shows here, using the CDC’s own data, it seems that the most important factors leading to an increase in risk from this virus are in the following quote from his post.

    “Fact: The ‘deadly pre-conditions’ for Covid are, as defined by the NYC Coroner, “diabetes, lung disease, cancer, immunodeficiency, heart disease, asthma, kidney disease, liver disease and morbid obesity.”

    Denninger’s point is that if you eat the wrong food, don’t exercise, smoke etc, you will become more affected by one or more of the above chronic conditions as you get older.
    Hence the apparent higher risk factor to older people, which is being attributed to solely age, but in fact has more to do with long-term lifestyle choices.

    A very informative article that one – highly recommended.

  75. another ian says:

    “Sarcasm is Important”

    The solution to covid financial problems –

    “Seek financial revival through interpretive dance – – ”

    More at

    In comments there

    “My favourite comment was “A meeting was had, a discussion was held, and the result was this shit.” “

  76. Sean says:

    The State Premiers…could you find a bunch of bigger flogs in Australia. The worst part is all the border bullshit is an election winning strategy and we are racking up the debt to pay for it.

  77. Squirrel says:

    I’m well aware that it was a relatively harmless slogan many years ago (and was conveniently thus part of the race memory for many Australians), but the recent weaponising of “do the right thing” is about as Orwellian as it gets.

    Liberal democracy is on very thin ice.

  78. Ozman says:

    Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare some critical thinking, and questioning the reason people are not whistle blowers until they retire, leaves one realizing that income, career, and professional status, figures in the equation as to why only about 1000 medical professionals are being vocal worldwide about the COVID hoax.

    A recent CBS (USA) interview ( with Dr Wu Zanyou from the Wuhan laboratory tells us all we need to know. The virus was not isolated and tests tell us nothing. In other words, the virus is a myth. This is the case, even though 10,000 aged dementia patients died from the virus in the UK. Nearly everybody in the USA during 2020, from March to December, died from the virus including road accident victims and gun shot mortalities. The average age of deaths is around that of expected longevity.

    Covid-19 was patented in the Netherlands in 2015. Event 201 (2019) was a brainstorming workshop of how the pandemic (plan) could pan out. Since then COVID-19 has tested positive for coca cola, goats, fruit and other non-human tissue. Meanwhile, everyone is being conned about dead viruses living for hours on benches, aided by mad dictators, as in Victoria, and press(titute) propaganda.

    The anomalies are so many, the whole scam reeks of an anti-Trump/CCP/UN/WHO/Gates/Fauci/Big Pharma/Bankster/global reset agenda, with complicit politicians around the globe–except the President of Tanzania, who called out the WHO fake tests and refuses the vaccines for a virus that does not exist. And he had not heard the truth from Dr Wu Zanyou from Wuhan that was posted on YouTube (24/1/21).

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