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The Current Pandemic & the AUSDIC

From a September 2007 government report titled Australia’s Preparedness for a Human Influenza Pandemic.  

September, 2007... the dying days of the Howard Government.

Emphasis mine.

Background and context
1. An influenza pandemic would have enormous social and economic consequences. In addition to the potential human suffering caused by sickness and death during a pandemic, the World Bank has estimated the economic losses resulting from a human influenza pandemic could be as high as $US800 billion a year. 

2. The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that the world is moving closer to an influenza pandemic as ‘the [H5N1 Avian influenza] virus has met all prerequisites for the start of a pandemic except one: to spread efficiently and sustainably among humans’.2 It is not possible to predict when the next pandemic will occur or how long it will last. The last major influenza pandemic in Australia was in 1918–19. An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus strain, to which there is little or no immunity, spreads between humans and is capable of causing severe disease. The new strain can spread rapidly across the globe, causing worldwide epidemics or pandemics with high numbers of cases and deaths.

My default assumption would be that the successive Prime  Ministers following Howard, Rudd and Gillard, would have taken action on that report and that any action they did take, was undone by the next PM, Tony Abbott. I hope someone will correct the assumptions if in error.

But the main point is, the facts counted on in this report were mainly sourced from the the World Health Organization (WHO) - so in effect, the whole world has had around 13 years to plan for this pandemic, but very very few countries seems to have done so.

And the slow action, accompanied by so many mixed messages is symptomatic of the same ideology that prevented planning to start with.

We need to reset priorities.

We need to stop being reactive and try out the opposite.

We need to stop fiddling at the edges and make any changes that need making.

This pandemic could have and should have been all but over by now. Cutting programs for the budget bottom line has been and always will be false economy. But it will not matter to this government that stripping of preparedness is now going to cost exponentially more into the future than the cost of being prepared.  This is more about ideology and greed than it is about health and economics.

Dodgy but hugely expensive submarines to combat potential aggressors into the future, or more doctors, nurses and ICU beds, along with stockpiling of medical supplies, to combat a certain future pandemic should be  a no-brainer,

To put it most accurately, the Australia/US Defence and Intelligence Complex (AUSDIC) must be fed - the rest of us? We can eat cake.

Some might recall that the government also had plenty of warning about the bushfires disaster preceding this pandemic. Those warming came in reports via emails, letters and probably carrier pigeon, from all the experts we have in the field.

We know what the government did when those warnings became reality. Went on vacation and told us they don't hold the hoses.