COVID-19 Lock downs do not work. Returning travellers and poor quarantine are the cause for cases. A Hunch. 

 

Vien Quang Le Tran, B.Pharm, August 21st 2021, Sydney, NSW, Australia. 

 

I have a bombshell hunch. Take it which way you want. 

 

Full disclosure:

I’ve had my first Pfizer vaccine. I’m a pharmacist of 10 yrs. I’m a COVID vaccine skeptic. I’m into holistic health. 

 

My Hunch:

Backed by my simple analysis of the data, it would appear that Australia’s COVID cases are NOT due to local Aussies travelling about town, but due to returned travellers – and associated quarantine leaks. 

 

Waves:

I’ve been looking at the timings between waves: 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc… of other countries and most are spaced about 6 months apart – give or take one or two months. Interestingly, Australia did not have a repeat wave for 12 months until now (Aug 2020 vs Aug 2021). What makes Australia special? Was it our iron-clad border policy? Was it the vaccines? Well for one we are an island nation UNLIKE Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina, South Africa, India. The exception is New Zealand (I’ll double back to NZ). What makes all these countries similar? Their general climates are temperate to sub-tropical and situated in the Southern Hemisphere. I did this to seek trends as often viruses prefer a colder climate like influenza. This accords with Australia’s winter (Jul-Sep) case spikes. Yet, the aforementioned countries do NOT follow the winter pattern – they have waves basically every 6 months. Now I don’t want to insult your intelligence, but that’s not your typical period between two winters. 

Verify for yourself: Google “Australia covid”

 

Origins of Variants

Lets take another angle, and look at origin of variants like delta which arose from India in September 2020. We see that their Delta strain arose at the peak of their 1st wave and eight months later, peaked in May in the infamous India tragedy we all saw in the news. So consider that for a moment, in a country with a virulent strain, it took eight months. Jump to Beta strain originating in South Africa also in September 2020 – theirs peaked in a 2nd wave in January, that’s four months later. Jump to Gamma strain originating in Brazil shortly after in October 2020, their country saw a peak in March 2021, their 2nd wave – five months later. Now what I’ve merely shed light on is that countries with highly virulent strains take on average 6 months to have a follow-up wave. But this doesn’t say anything about countries where virulent strains did not originate. So let’s quickly look there. USA saw its 1st wave in Jan 2020, winter season, followed by a 2nd wave in August 2021 (the time of this writing), their summer. That’s eight months a gap. Argentina (6 months), Uruguay (4 months), Indonesia (6 months), Burma (8 months), Iran (6months and 4 months), Italy (4 months), France (5 months), Germany (4 months), UK (6 months). Notice those latter few countries are in the Northern Hemisphere yet still hold true to the average 6 month pattern. So regardless of north or south, country of origin, the virus comes in waves of every 6 months approximately. 

 

Ok let’s not hold you in suspense any further and give the final analysis.

 

Inbound Travel

This is where Australia and NZ are unique cases – both are 1st world countries that are also island nations. Both display what one could say similar climates. Below is a graph of inbound travel caps for Australia. It averages about 5000. Note the pull-back in return travel at the end of 2021 and mid-July 2021 marked by the green arrows. What’s going on there? The first pull-back is likely due to the American winter peak – our government must have been scared of a similar trend here so got nervous. Yet flash back to the top graph, cases were flat-lining during the same period….no need to worry. Inbound travel resumes until July 2021. We all know why this is, the tragedy that is India’s 2nd wave and the Delta variant. Australia was resting too long on its flat-line I believe. Super-imposing these two pictures we can see Australia merely got lucky that the surge in USA didn’t affect us much, but the surge in India caught up to us. But not solely due to Indian cases, other countries in the top 5 list also had surges.

Verify for yourself: https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2021/jul/07/australias-travel-restrictions-how-the-cap-on-international-arrivals-has-changed 

 

Australia’s cases super-imposed atop Australia’s travel intake caps 

USA: 

USA’s peak in Dec 2020 scared Australia into reducing inbound travellers. We got complacent thereafter.

India: 

India’s 2nd wave began in March 2021 and peaked in May 2021. Australia imposed a travel ban April 27th 2021 – half way through the tragedy.  

Brazil: 

Brazil’s 2nd wave in March 2021 remained so till July 2021. Australia in fact increased inbound travel coinciding with their peak period. Note the Gamma strain was first discovered here and is a ‘Variant of Concern’

Iran: 

During Iran’s 2nd wave Australia did not slow down inbound travel, and even slightly increased it. 

Indonesia: 

Our neighbours to the North practically had a 2nd wave the same time we had our 3rd wave. I couldn’t glean much from this. 

New Zealand: 

Trans-Tasman travel bubble with our easterly neighbours began April 19th 2021 with fits and spurts ever since. Prior to that NZ had also opened a travel bubble with Niue on March 24th and Cook Islands on May 17th the same year. New Zealand could stand as a model case of a country that has completely shut its borders and has only opened travel bubbles with three other countries. When travel occurs, we see a spike in their case numbers followed by immediate clamp downs on their travel bubbles. 

 

The recent lockdown in NZ was triggered by a Sydney traveller entering on August 7th 2021. NZ authorities are ruling out the airport and hospital, leaving just the hotel or medical facility as places of leakage into the community. 

Basically, I do not believe lockdowns work while we continue to have international travellers returning (be they Australians or not). The problem needs to be examined carefully before a solution can be proffered. In the state of NSW, lockdowns and curfews seem like rudimentary, blunt objects that have not worked to contain and reduce case numbers. Sure, limiting movement and mask wearing can and do help, to an extent. Perhaps the problem lies elsewhere? Poor quarantine measures is a likely cause as demonstrated by previous community leaks in NSW and NZ. Nosocomial (a fancy word for catching an illness while in hospital) infections suggest also that our hospitals are sources of COVID – as seen by the cluster at Napean Hospital and St George Hospital this week. 

 

I’m not anti-vaxx, nor anti-Police, nor anti-Government. But I would appreciate a good hard look at the situation in it’s true light.