Opinion

Learning to live with COVID-19 means choosing not to prevent deaths in the pandemic

By John Quiggin
Updated September 7 2021 - 3:01am, first published September 6 2021 - 6:30pm
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian pointed to recent death rates of influenza when suggesting Australia needed to learn to live with Covid. Picture: Getty Images

Arguing that we should "learn to live with Covid," and that some of us will necessarily die as a result, NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian invoked a fairly standard piece of whataboutery, noting that "outside of a pandemic, we lose between 600 and 800 people every year [in NSW] to the flu." In one sense she's right: examples abound of deaths we could prevent but don't, including many of those caused by smoking, road crashes and domestic violence. But is the problem that we are too unwilling to accept deaths from Covid, or that we have been too willing to accept deaths from other causes?

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