Australia should conduct “bio-burn” and let coronavirus spread across Australia, state-by-state, with the goal of achieving herd immunity, an international security expert has suggested.
Exclusive: Australia should conduct controlled "bio-burn" and let coronavirus spread across Australia, state-by-state, with the goal of achieving herd immunity, an international security expert has suggested.
Allan Orr, an Australian counter-terrorism specialist, said Australia's response to the coronavirus pandemic was not just wrong, but it had shown Canberra was woefully underprepared for a bio-terror attack.
A cataclysmic bio-terror attack, using an agent like anthrax or botulism, is the doomsday scenario most feared by counter-terror agencies, Dr Orr told nine.com.au.
"If coronavirus were much more serious, we'd all be dead by now."
The Federal Government's "under-resourced" national stockpile of face masks and PPE underlined just how vulnerable Australians was, if a terror cell had unleashed a bio-weapon far more deadly and virulent than coronavirus inside Australia.
"If you sit down with counterterrorism specialists and ask them what the nightmare scenario is, every one of them will tell you bioterrorism," Dr Orr said.
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Dr Orr said he had seen bioterrorism scenarios of pathogens with R Factors (the average number of people each person with a disease will infect) in the high single digits and low double digits.
Such an attack could easily and rapidly kill millions.
COVID-19's R Factor is estimated to be around three.
The infection fatality rate (deaths from COVID-19 divided by total number of cases, not just reported cases) is estimated by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at 0.65 per cent.
Dr Orr suggested Australia now needed to take a herd immunity approach which he described as "ruthless" and "almost Churchillian" - but one he claimed made sense in the long term.
He called the strategy "biohazard burn", likening it to the fire management practice of back burning.
"We need to throw up a Hadrian's Wall around each state and then take them down one at a time," Dr Orr said.
According to Dr Orr's theory, the ADF would build army field hospitals in each state, like the British Army and Chinese military did during the early stages of the pandemic, in case hospitals were unable to cope.
Medical, ADF and police resources would be ordered into each state or territory.
Dr Orr said the youngest and oldest would be "sequestered away" for the duration while each state, one by one, goes for full herd immunity, "the old fashioned way".
"Herd immunity is how civilisation survived past plagues. It may be how we fight this one," he said, referencing Sweden as a possible example.
As infection numbers have surged again in much of Europe, Sweden has some of the lowest numbers of new coronavirus cases.
Dr Orr said the Federal Government's refusal to entertain any notion of a second national lockdown showed we were already on a "covert herd immunity policy" while hoping for a vaccine. The Federal Government's public goal is aggressive suppression.
"Basing strategy on a vaccine down the road, touch wood, is insanity," Dr Orr said.
"In every war there are casualties and sometimes the weight of history just falls down upon us as a generation, sometimes it's just our turn to put in.
"I fear the economic and standard of life consequences of this policy [the government has] adopted will cripple future generations for at least 50 years, and the political and social costs of that.
"We are where we are because previous generations going back eons made the tough calls."
Australia can literally no longer afford the elimination or suppression strategy, Dr Orr claims.
In June, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the coronavirus and the lockdown could deliver a $200 billion hit on the economy.
"It is about strategic mathematics," Dr Orr said.
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Trials of the heralded Oxford vaccine have been paused twice after two participants developed what the pharma giant admitted was "unexplained neurological symptoms".
In documentation, AstraZeneca said its goal is a vaccine with 50 per cent effectiveness, the minimum threshold for FDA approval.
If that turned out to be the ultimate efficiency of an AstraZeneca vaccine, Dr Orr said the rest of Australia would be reliant on herd immunity anyway.
'Epic intelligence fail'
Dr Orr believed the COVID pandemic would go down with the "all-time epic intelligence fails".
"You have debacles like Pearl Harbour, you have 9/11 and now you have the cataclysm of corona taking its place among that kind of notorious company."
Dr Orr said he was "astonished" that Australia's early plan to manage at the time a "largely unfamiliar pathogen" revolved around an honour system of self-quarantine and trusting overseas returnees to isolate themselves.
"They refused to monitor returnees through cellphones using ASIO and they refused to use ankle monitors even when it became apparent that the percentage of those people who were not self-isolating in good faith was far too high."
In the face of a nascent global pandemic threat, he called those strategies "drastically naive".
"Perhaps the most unforgivable strategic slip up was the failure to maintain the national medical stockpile," Dr Orr said.
During the initial months of the pandemic, Australia's PPE stocks were exposed as being massively under stocked and unable to cope with the demands of the virus.
Frontline medical staff, police and the ADF lacked correct equipment.
Dr Orr said if mass infections had swept through the police and ADF, Australia could have lost control of a population gripped by rising panic.
"We didn't even have the capability to manufacture our own PPE until very recently," Dr Orr said.
While scrambling to secure supplies around the globe, the Federal Government's medical advice during the first half of the year was that face masks had limited protective effect for the public.
Once supplies had been replenished, and a pipeline of stock secured, the messaging from state government shifted to encouraging the public to wear face masks outside.
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Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-should-australia-go-for-herd-immunity-strategy-dr-allan-orr-suggests-bio-burn/259bcb97-48f4-41fc-a482-7a27be2522df