Australia will reach one million people officially living with a Covid diagnosis within days – more than lung disease and cancer – with one in every 20 New South Wales and Victorian residents already contracting the virus, the latest VaxEnomicTM Forecaster from C-suite strategy group Provocate reveals.
Provocate Managing Director Troy Bilsborough – a former senior advisor to Federal Health, Aged Care and Child Care Ministers – warned this could leave a lasting legacy beyond the latest Omicron wave that could swing the health vote at upcoming Federal and state elections.
Provocate’s VaxEnomicTM Forecaster shows Australia passed three-quarters of a million (760,000+) cases yesterday (7/01/2022), with about one-in-10 (73,000+) recorded on Friday alone, as the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared it a “mistake” to declare the Omicron variant ‘mild’.
Mr Bilsborough said Provocate expected this, combined with growing “electionomics”, would see a swift shift in pressure on governments and businesses to treat Covid and any long-term health risks as chronic illness.
“The big risk for incumbent governments in 2022 is the growing number of Australian households directly impacted by a Covid diagnosis vote based on what their health, not their head, says,” Mr Bilsborough said.
“Healthcare influenced more votes than any other issue at the last Federal election.
“One million Australians being diagnosed with Covid means the virus itself – not just talk about it – has gone mainstream and it risks leaving a lasting legacy in voters’ minds once Omicron’s been and gone.”
Mr Bilsborough said prior to Christmas, Covid had largely been a theoretical threat for most Australians, meaning governments were being judged on their competency as emergency and economic managers, not their healthcare credentials.
He warned governments to be careful transitioning their sales pitch to Covid being akin to a common cold too quickly or risk alienating voters further, particularly after the WHO warned labelling Omicron mild a “mistake”.
“The fact there’s now more cases of Covid than other key chronic health election issues like cancer, kidney and lung disease almost guarantees it will feature as a key issue in the minds of voters in 2022.
“Governments and business must navigate the next few months carefully and gently, particularly given the predicted increase in Long Covid claims and how any alleged chronic illness will be treated, funded and supported under Medicare, private health, social services and industrial law.
“There currently seems little incentive for a March Federal election, which would provide a window for some of these matters to be neutralised in the government’s pre-poll Budget depending on their appetite.”
Image: Dom Perrottet, Fiona Kotvojs, and Andrew Constance at the Moruya Cup. Photo ACM
Canberra Times JANUARY 6 2022 :
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has come under fire for enjoying a country cup race day while waves of COVID-19 continue to engulf the state.
Mr Perrottet was one of a clutch of politicians spotted at the Moruya Cup on the NSW South Coast.
He was seen alongside Bega MP Andrew Constance, Liberal candidate for the Bega by-election Fiona Kotvojs, Deputy Leader of the NSW Liberal Party Stuart Ayres, and Liberal Senator Marise Payne on Monday.