Fear-mongering Covid zealots are pushing for mask mandates and enforcing social distancing to keep Australians at bay during the pandemic – although there is no official health advice to support the measures.
Two highly-infectious substrains of the Omicron variant, known as BA.4 and BA.5, are spreading worldwide and causing global staff shortages in schools, hospitals, and the private sector.
In the 24 hours since Friday morning, 43,491 new cases of covid have been found across Australia.
While the strains are more infectious than previous sub-variants, governments have resisted reimposing restrictions because there is no evidence to suggest they are more dangerous than previous Covid mutations.
However, that hasn’t stopped lockdown-happy extremists from spreading unofficial advice to scare others into joining their fear campaign.
In early July, influential American author and speaker Stephanie Tate, 35, told her 31,000 Twitter followers that the government had ‘abandoned us all’ and taken it upon themselves to spread terror amid the current wave.
Influential US author and speaker Stephanie Tate (pictured), 35, told her 31,000 Twitter followers that governments had ‘left us all behind’.
‘If you have not worn a mask in public, you will receive a BA.5,’ Ms Tate wrote on Twitter.
His tweet was widely shared by Australians for what he had to say.
‘If you don’t wear a mask in public, you’ll get a BA.5. If you’re wearing a surgical (or heaven forbid cloth) mask in public? You will get a BA.5,’ Ms Tate wrote.
‘Now eating indoors in restaurants is a guarantee that you will be infected in this wave. Eating out in most restaurants is unfortunately still a good risk with BA.5, as there is not enough distance from others to fully reduce the risk.’
He suggested that governments are actively trying to hide the severity of the new strain and that people should not rely on official health advice to inform their behaviour.
‘Reduce your risk by cutting back on any non-essential interactions you can. Can you switch to curbside/delivery? do it Even if you have access to n95 or higher rated quality respirators, if you can avoid it, then it’s extremely reasonable right now,’ she wrote.
He suggested that governments were actively trying to hide the severity of the new tensions (tweet pictured).
Ms Tate told her followers not to heed the health advice in a series of tweets (pictured)
‘Take any gathering outside, and even then you must use a mask. If you need to eat/drink keep each house away from each other and resume masking once finished.
‘If you’ve managed to dodge Covid so far, please don’t assume that what you’re doing is still safe. This is not the same covid as it used to be.’
Ms Tate went so far as to tell others that there was no imaginable way she could live a normal life: ‘I’m sorry but there are no shortcuts or jail-free jobs that will allow you to live normally now and be mask free. . Sorry.’
The unsolicited Twitter spiel was not representative of the latest advice put forward by governments.
Officials who claim new restrictions are not needed amid the latest wave are the same officials who shut down the nation twice in the past two years — once when the pandemic began, and again amid the rise of the Delta variant.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured) has consistently rejected calls for national mask mandates and restrictions despite the BA.4 and BA.5 wave.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has consistently rejected calls for national mask mandates and restrictions despite the BA.4 and BA.5 wave.
“We know the Covid pandemic is not over and people should continue to act according to health advice,” he said on Friday.
‘We want to keep the economy open and the key to that is limiting the health impact on Australians.’
Ms Tate is not the only one spouting her own agenda on social media, ignoring official health advice.
Tony Windsor, a former New England MP in NSW, continues to push for the reintroduction of masks and restrictions on his Twitter page.
He retweeted a post by former Sydney MP and Australian Medical Association president Kerin Phelps, who criticized Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk for ‘strongly encouraging’ mask wearing indoors rather than enforcing the rule.
Mr Albanese has argued that a mandatory seven-day isolation period is needed to combat rising Covid cases and ease pressure on hospitals.
‘See if “strong promotion” as a public health strategy is more effective than “requiring” and “recommending” wearing masks indoors,’ the post read.
‘Without a mandate, people are ignoring public health advice.’
Meanwhile, Dr. Phelps also retweeted several calls for the rollback of mask mandates and other restrictions.
She retweeted a woman who suggested Australians could not categorize themselves as a community.
“When we force our weak, infirm and elderly to isolate themselves at home, to fend for themselves, while the rest of the population does whatever they want,” the post read.
In a tweet directed at Mr Albanese, she wrote: ‘The only way you can protect the vulnerable is to take some tough decisions about reducing #Covid19 transmission, including PCR testing, supporting isolation and masks.’
The mother-of-four from Melbourne told her Twitter followers she ‘almost cried [Labor MP] Stephen Whitlam said we should “treat it as local”.’
‘It made me realize that politicians are not looking at the curve of the epidemic. Next version will be after BA.5. Another bounce. It’s not local.’
Former judge and Melbourne University professor Alastair Nicholson last week criticized Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews for being ‘weak’ and failing to roll back the mask mandate.
He wrote on social media, ‘I cannot believe the current weakness of the Andrews government on Covid.
Many Australians appear to be in favor of scrapping the mandatory seven-day Covid isolation period after Anthony Albanese refused to change his stance on the rules.
It appears to have completely lost its nerve and succumbed to commercial pressure by ignoring the advice of the CHO and the AMA on wearing masks. Since when has business had such an impact on public health issues.’
Mr Andrews championed some of the tougher Covid measures in Australia across Delta Wave in 2021 despite heavy criticism.
He introduced night curfews and mandatory masks in outdoor settings, with armed police officers patrolling parks and children’s playgrounds.
Another user, Dr Phelps and Mr Windsor, called the retweeters ‘freedumbs’ who are ‘too stupid to realize they know each other from their likes and conversations’.
Mr Albanese, meanwhile, has argued that the mandatory seven-day isolation period was necessary to combat rising Covid cases and ease pressure on hospitals – although the bulk of the strain on the health care system is coming from a surge in influenza cases.
Australia recorded its worst May on record with 65,770 confirmed influenza cases – more than double the number set before the lockdown in 2019.
There is no mandatory isolation period for influenza.
Those with Covid are not required to self-isolate in countries like the UK or Switzerland, while in the US they are only ‘recommended’ to self-quarantine for five days.
Face masks are not enforced in the UK or Switzerland – while Australians are required to wear them when catching public transport or going to hospital.
Even countries like Sweden no longer classify Covid as a ‘serious disease’.
Why did Albo backflip on the $750 a week payment when reducing the Covid reinfection period
Covid-related staff shortages at Australian hospitals, schools and businesses have been exacerbated by new rules that can send patients back into isolation if they become reinfected with Covid.
The Australian Health Protection Principals Committee, which advises state health ministers on public health protection, decided on July 12 to reduce the re-infection period from 12 weeks to 28 days, given the growing outbreak of the less deadly, but more contagious, virus. Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5.
The Labor government signed off on the decision and it was made mandatory across Australia.
A well-placed source said the decision was ‘unilaterally made by bureaucrats without any consideration of what it meant in the real world’ and ‘exposed the naïveté of the new Albanian government regarding health advice’.
‘I mean, it’s always just advice,’ the source said. ‘There was a “lie” Australians were told by leaders throughout Covid that we were “just following health advice”. That was never true.’
The decision to adopt a re-infection period means that if someone becomes re-infected with Covid after 28 days, they will be forced into a further seven-day isolation period.
Previously, Australians did not face seven days of isolation until 12 weeks later.