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  • rmacculloch

Holding the experts to account: How has Prof. Michael Baker's British Medical Journal Paper "aged"?

In academic life, we refer to whether our papers have "aged well". That is, have their claims stood the test of time? On that note, here is the "key message", both in the conclusion & abstract, of Professor Baker's (of Otago Medical School) article in the British Medical Journal, "Elimination could be the optimal response strategy for Covid-19".

"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 and will be facilitated by the introduction of effective vaccines".

Elimination proved not to be "sustainable" in any jurisdiction in the entire world. It was not "facilitated" by the introduction of vaccines. NZ now has one of the highest rates of Covid infection, even though practically everyone is vaccinated:

Here's another line that hasn't aged well in Baker's paper, "One of the perceived barriers to applying a vigorous response, such as elimination, to the covid-19 pandemic is the belief that this might sacrifice the economy & ultimately result in more hardship & negative health effects. Our preliminary analysis suggests the opposite is true". Yet the IMF now ranks NZ as the world's worst country (apart from Equatorial Guinea) in terms of projected 2024 GDP growth. Our current economic problems are a result of our slow opening up as elimination was relentlessly pursued past its sell-by date. The futile setting of elimination as a long-run objective (even though it was a great short-run one when little was known about the virus & vaccines weren't available in 2020) by Hipkins, who was Covid-19 Response Minister, resulted in huge borrowing & spending, $50 billion of RBNZ money printing & NZ's plummeting GDP ranking. The billions lost left our health-care system imperiled due to lack of investment.

The PM caused our current economic malaise. It's not even a matter of debate.


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