Covid-19: doctors, lawyers, politicians and billionaires

I mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe

– William Blake in ‘London

Are waged medical staff in the public hospital system middle class (are their interests separate from the workers and marginalised people whom they treat)? Of course many doctors, physios, psychologists and other professionals run their own businesses and so they are by definition petit bourgeois and their class interests may be different from the bulk of their patients.

Many Australian doctors and other health professionals consider the lockdown measures to be disproportionate, unscientific, excessively authoritarian and the cause of widespread suffering for many Victorians.

Thereby, we Australian Doctors and Health Professionals, in solidarity with thousands of international doctors, call for the cessation of all disproportionate measures that contravene the International Siracusa Principles.”
– Statement of the Australian Covid Medical Network Ltd, Monday 5th October 2020 @ https://covidmedicalnetwork.com/about-covid-medical-network/declaration-statement.aspx

I am sorry, but this statement flies in the face of established medical practice. I am not saying this is good, nor am I saying it is bad.

By and large, the state of Victoria has simply been following the medical model. Measures taken are a standard medical response to pandemics.

Moreover recent statements outside the Victorian parliament by anti-vaxxers suggest Covid 19 measures are somehow the exception and that there is some kind of medical conspiracy afoot.

Lockdown, masks, quarantine, border restrictions are standard medical measures taken during pandemics for over 100 years.

The badly named Spanish Flu claimed more lives than Covid-19 (they didn’t have vaccines then) but similar measures were put in place by Queensland state ministers at odds with the Federal government in Canberra.

The Evening Telegraph 17 Feb 1919 https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/185311315#

When I was studying Medicine these preventative measures were part of courses in established preventative medicine. I am not saying I totally agree with them, I am just saying that if the doctors are truly concerned about the measures be taken they need to adopt systemic changes within their profession and to take a critical approach to the medical model itself.

“The Corona Investigative Committee was founded on July 10, 2020 by four lawyers in order to determine, through hearing expert testimony of international scientists and other experts: 1. How dangerous is the virus really? 2. What is the significance of a positive PCR test? 3. What collateral damage has been caused by the corona measures, both with respect to the world population’s health, and with respect to the world’s economy?” – see https://www.aeginagreece.com/aegina-island/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Transcript-testimony-Reiner-Fuellmich-.pdf

I do not think lawyers can sensibly answer these questions, this is a medical problem not a legal one.

“Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust at the end of 2020 called the shots in the proclamation of the worldwide corona pandemic, and made sure that mass PCR tests were used to prove mass infections with Covid-19 all over the world, and then pushed for vaccines to be invented and sold worldwide.” See https://www.aeginagreece.com/aegina-island/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Transcript-testimony-Reiner-Fuellmich-.pdf

Duh.

Neither Bill Gates nor Leon Musk run the world, not yet, anyway.

Quarantined Steamers held offshore from Moreton Bay during Spanish Flu pandemi (1919).

One comrade says: “It’s a political and societal issue as well as a medical one. The Australian Covid Medical Network doctors make that clear in their 7 recommendations (below).  

It’s a political and societal issue as well as a medical one. The Australian Covid Medical Network doctors make that clear in their 7 recommendations.

I agree, but it is matter that most affects aboriginal people, workers, migrants and refugees from war torn countries  and marginalised people … where is there voice in the current debate? In 1919 Torres Strait Islanders were hit hard by the pandemic. Now aboriginal people in the NT are being hit by Covid-19. Where is there voice other than being filtered through concerns expressed on the ABC by well meaning journos.

“In light of these concerns we (the doctors) respectfully call for the following seven actions:

  1. An open, honest and transparent discussion with the general public, with easily accessible information made available about the evidence and underlying assumptions used to inform decisions about the management of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak. This should include, in particular, the evidence to justify the grave impacts on children and adolescents as well as clear estimates of the broader health and socio-economic costs and impacts
  2. More collaboration and engagement with a broader range of medical specialists, other healthcare professionals and a diverse group of interdisciplinary leaders who can inform and assist in responding to the growing public health and socio-economic crisis we are witnessing, especially among the young, the disadvantaged and the vulnerable in our community.
  3. An urgent review of the role of State of Emergency and State of Disaster powers in the management of public health issues and crises, with consideration given to how other more democratic approaches could be utilised in the future
  4. An urgent review of the general management of pandemics in Australia, including an examination of the need for better communication, coordination and collaboration between State and Federal Governments. There is also an urgent need to establish clear and well-defined ‘stand-down’ parameters, in case of ‘false alarms’ or when it becomes foreseeable or evidential that the harms of the controlling policies are greater than the direct health impacts, or fatal potential, of the disease under consideration.
  5. Consideration of the Commonwealth Government taking on greater responsibility and a more central role in organising and implementing a coherent and effective nationwide response in the management of future pandemics and national public health crises.
  6. Consideration of an international initiative to create reliable and effective ‘early warning systems’ which would deliver accurate assessments of the dangers and realities of emerging pandemics, and would assist in more considered and proportionate responses to bio-security threats in the future.
  7. Finally, we implore the governments of Australia, state and federal, to be ever mindful of the balance between loss of freedoms and basic rights and the promotion of public health, never losing sight of the potential for collateral harms to exceed the effects of the disease being managed.
1919 during the Spanish flu pandemic

Ian Curr
24 Nov 2021
E: iancurr@bigpond.com
M: 0407 687 016

One thought on “Covid-19: doctors, lawyers, politicians and billionaires

  1. At Long Island Jewish Medical Center, a loudspeaker announces an emergency in one of the rooms. It is March 2020, and the Covid-19 pandemic has just begun to take hold in the U.S. A team of nurses and doctors in the hospital is preparing a patient for intubation. A doctor leans over the patient, whose name is Patrick George.

    “George,” the doctor shouts, “do you want to be put on a respirator?”

    “Put me on,” George responds weakly.

    “We’ll let your family know, OK?” the doctor says.

    George is struggling to breathe and knows it’s his last hope.

    “Put me on now,” he says.

    If you have survived the pandemic without going inside a Covid ward, you will likely be stunned by the grim intimacy of this scene and the fact that you are witnessing it, with real-time urgency, in Matthew Heineman’s new documentary, “The First Wave.” The scene offers the kind of life-and-death drama that medical staffs have staggered through every day while the rest of us rarely or never saw it. We were — and are — isolated from the traumatic realities inside U.S. hospitals as more than 750,000 souls perished from the virus.

    This opening scene, not yet 30 seconds long, twists in ways you cannot forget.

    A nurse puts a phone, encased in a plastic bag, in front of George’s face. On the other end, seeing him via FaceTime, is George’s wife.

    “I love you, baby,” she cries out.

    “I love you too,” George responds.

    “OK, be strong.”

    “Bye,” George says.

    “I love you,” she repeats.

    “Bye bye,” George says. “Bye bye bye bye bye bye.”

    This scene is not done with us but I won’t say what happens next. What I can say is that “The First Wave” is necessary to watch. Unless you have already seen and heard the kinds of events it shows, you have an incomplete understanding of the pandemic and of what three-quarters of a million deaths mean — when instead of a statistic in a news story, the casualties are a man on his back, his wife on the phone, and the nurses and doctors doing everything they can to save his life.

    The saving grace of this film, if that’s the right way to put it, is that it journeys around the epidemiological trenches at this New York City hospital and brings back a variety of stories, some of them uplifting, and they thread into an effective narrative. There are patients who seem on the verge of death and struggle back, there are family members urging them along on those plastic-encased phones, and there are medical staffers whose trauma-filled work is getting the attention it deserves in our less troubled lives.

    It sounds strange to say, but there is art in this film too. The way the camera lingers just long enough at the right moments and not too long at others, the way the lifted brow of a nurse speaks louder than words, the way the film breaks out of Long Island Jewish and moves into the streets of New York City, taking us from the gasps of Covid patients to the “I Can’t Breathe” chants of the Black Lives Matter movement — this is masterful work.

    Heineman is no stranger to documentaries. He directed the Academy Award-nominated “Cartel Land,” about the drug trade on the U.S.-Mexico border. He also directed “City of Ghosts,” an award-winning film about citizen journalists in Raqqa, Syria. Those films demonstrated a willingness and ability to work in dangerous areas and gain the confidence of people who otherwise might not let an outsider into their worlds. Those talents are what went into the making of “The First Wave.”

    Heineman used his experience and contacts to gain unparalleled access to Long Island Jewish. Across the U.S., hospitals were shutting their doors to journalists as the pandemic began. Only a handful gained entry, and their visits were short, usually just a few hours or a few days at most. Heineman’s team was at Long Island Jewish for months. Hospital administrators have cited safety and privacy concerns for keeping journalists out, but as Heineman’s experience showed, they could work inside Covid wards without getting in anyone’s way or spreading the virus.

    That’s what makes the footage in his documentary so extraordinary. I worked for months on an investigative article that delved into the way hospitals cracked down on reporters in the U.S., and I spent a lot of that time scouring through the imagery that was published by journalists, including filmmakers, and by medical staffers (some hospitals even threatened doctors and nurses who shared photos or videos). I’ve seen nothing that comes close to Heineman’s graphic portrayal of Covid victims.

    The only visual documentation of the pandemic that’s in the same league comes from far away. The director Hao Wu, working with Chinese journalists in early 2020, got relatively unfettered access to four hospitals in Wuhan, where the virus originated. His powerful documentary, “76 Days,” came out last year and won an Emmy. Until the emergence of Heineman’s film, which opened Friday, Americans who wanted a visceral look inside a Covid ward had to watch a film shot in China.

    It is hard to categorize “The First Wave” because it crosses boundaries: It is a documentary that also feels like a horror film, an exposé of social injustice, and a love letter. In its review of “The First Wave,” the Washington Post has a line that manages to be insightful and off-kilter at the same time. “The film feels like a viscerally effective time capsule from the recent past,” wrote Michael O’Sullivan, “yet one whose arrival in theaters may still be too soon for many.”

    A time capsule is filled with the familiar objects of a civilization. But what’s in “The First Wave” is unfamiliar to most of us; we have not seen it before and perhaps have been unable to imagine it. There is the anguish of patients as they labor to breathe, the medical instruments warning of hearts no longer beating, the body bags zipped up and hauled away, and the moments of silence before nurses rush to the next room to try to save another life. Stumbling onto this time capsule, we are visitors from another world who are seeing for the first time what the Covid pandemic really meant.

    This film has not come too soon. It has come too late.


    https://theintercept.com/2021/11/20/the-first-wave-covid-documentary/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=The%20Intercept%20Newsletter
    CATCH TRAILER:
    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt13391444/

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