March 23, 2022
Opinion: When It Comes To Our COVID Numbers, We All Smell A RAT
When It Comes To Our COVID Numbers, We All Smell A RAT
The hallmark of a working democracy is to entertain a debate without fear and without favour. Right now everyone has an opinion on why we are testing for COVID with Rapid Antigen Test kits, and why the daily COVID positive numbers are a sham.
Here at Whānau Ora we have the largest Māori Data Warehouse in Aotearoa along with our own epidemiologist and clinical support so we have contestable advice.
On Tuesday February 23rd the Ministry of Health issued a directive saying all PCR testing was to be stopped and replaced with Rapid Antigen Testing. Just one year before Dr Ashley Bloomfield had denounced them referring to them as the least effective testing modality. Twelve months later it was then made the only testing device.
Every Kiwi reading this knows that COVD tracing and reportage of positive or negative RAT’s has absolutely tanked. It has tanked because we all worked out that once RAT’s became the go-to tool, Mr Bloomfield and the Government had surrendered to the inevitable mass transmission of Omicron. They just thought we were all a tad stupid. COVID fatigue is now upon us.
If only Dr Bloomfield had donned some PPE Gear and explained that to the thousands of whānau who drove through our facilities for a PCR test, only to be handed a RAT to take home. It was presumptuous of the decision-makers to think we would simply accept this without questioning its validity or stupidity.
The media were stating at the time that laboratories were overrun by PCR tests with some results taking up to seven days to process. I don’t dispute this was the case. However, on all the modelling this Government has been undertaking and all the experts they have been paying with our money, it would be imprudent to think they had not forecast this.
A lot of experts and epidemiologists said New Zealand can and should have done better than Australia by learning from their mistakes. The beauty about Australia is it provides a marvellous proxy for what goes on here. Particularly Melbourne and Sydney as they have inner city density as well as rural areas. So it gives us a good spread of what is happening across their different populations; rural, provincial and in the cities. Their health systemic is much the same as us although like a lot of international countries RAT was introduced to mitigate the herd running in the wrong direction and prevent overloading PCR testing. To this day Australia maintains the availability of the more expensive PCR in conjunction with RAT.
Here at Whānau Ora we have RAT and saliva testing available for staff with a plan to provide PCR testing laboratories up and down the country through our network.
To buy ten testing labs is $50,000 and that can turn over 240 tests every three hours. That’s good for an organisation of our size because you know you are looking after your backbone who are running the services and you have to look after your staff and their whānau at all costs.
Since RAT became the new testing regime, you and I will easily be able to name at least one person we know who has tested positive for COVID. We know that not everyone will report a positive test as they may not have the capacity, the inclination or the desire to be honest. And there can be no judgement based on a flawed system that sees the amount of people self-reporting their results dropping by the thousands every day against a backdrop of 100,000’s of RAT being deployed.
Now that we know what we are facing, if you have pre-morbidities you will have a stronger issue there’s no doubt about it. But if you are double dosed with a booster, it would appear on global evidence that it will be DNA or pre morbidities that mean you are up for a heavier hit. We know that the majority of deaths happening are due to existing, underlying conditions with 58 being the average age of those hospitalised here with COVID-related issues.
With Omicron now rampant throughout Aotearoa the rules are slowly being loosened for those isolating, for international travellers and inevitably the unvaccinated. Looking forward at this forever changed landscape I wonder what liberties we will lose post COVID? Māori do not want to go back to a pre-COVID life as we have discovered and embraced just how resilient we really are and able when others get out of our way.
The battle with COVID is never over and as winter approaches our concerns are elevated to include influenza, meningitis and the measles. As that realisation sinks in it also makes one thing blindingly obvious, this Government was absolutely saved by our Kiwi summer. And that’s a fact, it’s not just an opinion.