Ben O’Shea: Mark McGowan was wrong on WA’s COVID spike and must admit he let the virus rip

The dictionary defines the word “peak” as “reaching a high point”.

Someone should share that definition with Prime Minister Mark McGowan.

Ben O'Shea: Mark McGowan was wrong on WA's COVID spike and must admit he let the virus rip

Just before Easter, the prime minister turned to the state to provide an update on the Omicron outbreak.

“There is good news, and that is that we are past the peak of our Omicron wave,” he said.

It came about two weeks after WA hit a record high of 9,754 daily infections and was prompted by a steady decline in the number of cases.

This drop, with cases dropping below 6,000 a day and occasionally exceeding 8,500, had put significant pressure on the government to ease restrictions.

Camera icon Prime Minister Mark McGowan. Credit: Ian Munro/The West Australian

So you could suggest that it was politically coincidental that WA passed its COVID peak, as it justified fateful masks, venue capacity limits, and other unpopular public health measures.

And, of course, the justification came in the form of that old chestnut, “the best health advice,” and who can argue with that?

Well, your faithful columnist, that’s who.

Although my qualifications as an epidemiologist only extend to being able to say “epidemiological modeling” five times fast – try it, it’s not as easy as you think – and interviewing COVID experts twice a week for two years was the idea that WA had succeeded peaking in mid-April seemed highly questionable.

For one thing, the vast majority of West Aussies at that point had not contracted the virus, casting doubt on the idea that we had reached the peak of infections.

Second, there is a strong correlation between daily case numbers and PCR testing, so on days when the PCR testing went up, the case numbers went up.

But on days when PCR tests were lowered, which happened fairly consistently around the time of the prime minister’s peak statement, the number of cases also dropped.

Recent days have sharpened the Prime Minister’s decision to scrap public health measures.

Whether it was complacency or the school holidays, people weren’t being tested, and the daily case numbers indicated that we were moving past the pandemic at least as much as any suggestion,

This point has been made repeatedly on The West Live in recent weeks. Feel free to confirm that no matter where you get your podcasts from.

They say, in retrospect, it is 20-20, but recent days have sharpened the Prime Minister’s decision to scrap public health measures.

Last week, the state reached a new record level of infections, a new peak, which was exceeded 24 hours later.

That spike was hit again this week, and now experts say even higher infection rates are ahead, with more hospitalizations and deaths sure to follow.

The Prime Minister finds himself in an impossible position, caught between protecting jobs and the economy and looking after the health of West Aussies.

And its performance cannot be diminished – our record number of booster doses is an incredible result.

But there’s no question that he peaked too early, and now he has to acknowledge that WA is letting COVID rip, which is the one thing he said his government would never do.

Lori J. Kile
I love to write and create. I love photography, design, travel and art. I am a full time freelance writer and photographer.I am very excited to be creating new content and opportunities for my readers.