Saturday, March 28, 2020

Ventilators or Warships

Ten years ago, the New Zealand government bought frigates costing about $300 million each to defend the nation from mostly imaginary enemies. They are now spending another $300 millions of dollars upgrading them with the latest technology. Military spending is always popular, because it provides toys for the boys and girls of the navy.

Epidemiologists have been saying for years that another serious pandemic was inevitable. If the government had recognised that that threat as a serious enemy, they would have spent a few million dollars on several thousand ventilators, heart monitors and personal protection equipment and stored them in a large warehouse in preparation for the pandemic.

If the government had made this preparation, the risk of the health system being overwhelmed would have been mitigated, and we would probably not have needed to enforce an extremely disruptive and costly shutdown. It would have been far cheaper than another frigate, and probably not so quickly redundant, but far more effective in keeping people safe.

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