NY Times Australia Reporter Damien Cave Defends Authoritarian COVID Response

In its futile fight to remain a zero-COVID country, Australia basically suspended democracy, closed borders, locking its citizenry inside, and seemingly devolved to its roots as a prison colony. So Damien Cave, Sydney bureau chief for The New York Times, celebrated the country as a COVID success story with a 2,500-word justification for Australia’s authoritarianism: “How Australia Saved Thousands of Lives While Covid Killed a Million Americans.”

He began with the notion that the pandemic in the U.S. didn’t have to be so tragic if we had just behaved like Australia (click “expand”):

About 900,000 people would have survived if the United States had the exact same Covid death rates as Australia. Maybe the Texas grandmother who created perfect pumpkin pie is still baking. He might still be watching at Fenway Park, the Red Sox-loving husband that ran marathons before Covid.

Many Americans find it difficult to imagine what could have been. We are now at one million deaths and the Nations that kept people alive did a better job than Americans. This is a great moment to reflect on what Americans might have done differently.

Numerous places offer insights. Japan. Kenya. Norway. Australia is perhaps most comparable to the American experience. Both are English-speaking democracies and share similar demographic profiles. In Australia and in the United States, the median age is 38. Roughly 86 percent of Australians live in urban areas, compared with 83 percent of Americans.

Yet Australia’s Covid death rate sits at one-tenth of America’s, putting the nation of 25 million people (with around 7,500 deaths) near the top of global rankings in the protection of life.

In perhaps the most insane assertion, Cave dismissed the idea that Australia — a large isolated island with a population of 25 million — had a massive, built-in advantage with virus containment:

Australia’s location in the distant Pacific is often cited as the cause for its relative Covid success. That, however, does not fully explain the difference in outcomes between the two countries, since Australia has long been, like the United States, highly connected to the world through trade, tourism and immigration…

So, what happened in Australia that went well and in the United States that didn’t?

One, there was border control. The Times America would not support it, even if its citizens were to travel for one year.

It is obvious from the slide-show presentation: Australia has restricted travel and personal contact until vaccines became widely available. After that, they have maximized vaccine intake, prioritizing those most at risk, before slowly opening the country up again.

Australia’s secret? These are little communitarians who don’t have the American trait of individualism. Interpersonal trust, a belief in the ability of others to do the right thing for you and your community has saved many lives.[.]”

He cheered socialism and “intense” (a euphemism) lockdowns:

When Australians are asked why they accepted the country’s many lockdowns, its once-closed international and state borders, its quarantine rules and then its vaccine mandates for certain professions or restaurants and large events, they tend to voice a version of the same response: It’s not just about me.

There were two paragraphs in which he allowed a disease expert to suggest that the “somewhat authoritarian approach….includ[ed] measures that were pretty useless, like the policing of outdoor masking.” Yet even that brief critique was quickly neutered by boasting that “the vast majority of Australians stuck with it anyway.”

All hail the average Australian, who obeys the government “without question”:

All Australians lined up for the test. Without question, who wore masks?These people turned their mobile phones into viruses trackers, and used check-in applications to create food services for the infirm, elderly or those living in locked rooms. Or who provided a shelter for women trapped with their abusive husbands.

Do you think he is admitting that domestic abuse has increased because of lockdowns? He still supported them.

It’s Cave’s second major story excusing the COVID police state. In August 2021 he skipped the shooting in Australia of 15 rescue dogs to stop rescuers from picking up the animals, and the pepper-spraying of an elderly lockdown protester, as well as the banning of news-gathering drones at protests, and bans on exercising outdoors or taking your dog out for a walk.

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