How many people are there in NZ - given there were 24,068 Covid cases reported last week - who want lockdowns to be implemented with immediate effect, schools to be closed again, borders to be shut down again, overseas Kiwis prevented from returning to their homeland again, masks to be mandated again & nearly every business shuttered, with the government reactivating the wage-subsidy scheme and chalking up a billion bucks of debt a week to pay for it all? I would venture to say .. not a single one.
What would be the fall-out from reactivating elimination? For one thing, the entire nation would have a nervous break-down. Second, the economic wipe-out would mean we would rapidly run out of funding for our health-care system, leaving it in tatters. Third, the abrogation of civil liberties would effectively mean an end to our democracy.
So lets revisit Professor Michael Baker's British Medical Journal article in 2020, which stated as its "Key Message":
A goal of eliminating community transmission of the pandemic virus causing covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2) is achievable and sustainable for some jurisdictions using non-pharmaceutical interventions & will be facilitated by the introduction of effective vaccines (emphasis added).
New Zealand was one of his "jurisdictions". However it was not "sustainable". It was not "facilitated" by "effective" vaccines. Let's re-emphasize the point. Baker's paper was not about whether implementing the lockdowns in 2020-21 were a good idea or not (we all pretty much agree that in the early stages of the virus when there was much unknown about it that such lockdowns were a brilliant response) but instead it advocated elimination as a long-term, sustainable strategy. His BMJ paper even argued that such a policy went hand-in-hand with "economic advantages".
We all know that returning to elimination would collapse our economy & bankrupt the nation. There would be no economic advantages & instead massive costs. Isn't it time for Prof. Baker to admit he got it wrong? If you want to see just how "sustainable" elimination turned out to be in NZ, take a look at our record breaking number of Covid cases: