dr.  Nick Coatsworth (pictured), Australia's former deputy medical director, has long had a disagreement with fellow physician, Dr Norman Swan.

Doctors Nick Coatsworth and Norman Swan wage war on Covid death toll as ‘plane crash every week’

Two of Australia’s best-known doctors have renewed their longstanding animosity with conflicting views on how to describe Australia’s… COVID-19 capital punishment.

ABC presenter Dr. Norman Swan said Covid deaths amounted to “jet crashes every week”, which at around 300 deaths a week seems like a reasonable comparison.

But dr. Nick Coatsworth, Australia’s former deputy chief health officer, said this is not correct as Covid deaths are disproportionately elderly.

“A plane crash has everything between babies and people at the end of their lives and everything in between,” said Dr Coatsworth.

dr. Nick Coatsworth (pictured), Australia’s former deputy medical director, has long had a disagreement with fellow physician, Dr Norman Swan.

“So it’s not a reasonable analogy to draw when we talk about largely the very frail elderly, who are very likely to succumb to infection whether there is a pandemic or not.”

Ben Fordham of Radio 2GB called Dr. Swan a “fear seeker” and “Covid bogeyman” for his comments about jet crash, to which he replied: “I don’t care what people call me, I just care about saving lives.”

The disagreements between Dr. Coatsworth and Dr. Swan on how to deal with Covid goes back almost as long as the pandemic itself.

Last week, Dr. Coatsworth takes a swipe at those who are increasingly demanding Covid rules – saying strict restrictions did more harm than good for many people.

“We locked down our societies, stopped children from going to school, closed playgrounds, fined the least fortunate, separated families, created mental illness, all in the name of protecting our most vulnerable, but for some it will never be enough.

‘When will the moralizing end?’ He wrote.

The views of Dr. Coatsworth are very different from some of the more risk-averse commentators, such as Dr. Swan and former president of the Australian Medical Association, Kerryn Phelps, who advocate restrictions.

“The problem is that group is loud and influential,” he said. “It’s actually a bit tiring.

ABC presenter Dr.  Norman Swan (pictured) is risk averse when it comes to the Covid-19 pandemic

ABC presenter Dr. Norman Swan (pictured) is risk averse when it comes to the Covid-19 pandemic

“I thought it would be all done and dusted by now — not the pandemic — but this damn argument.

It’s also bad for the gamblers. Nobody wants to see dueling experts, but then you have a choice. Will you shut up and let them run the story?’

Last February, Dr. Coatsworth to 2GB that restriction advocates such as Dr. Swan and Dr. Phelps, need to recognize that Australia’s policies must be designed to protect the vulnerable now that most of the country has been vaccinated.

“I think they might think it’s dangerous to say, ‘It’s okay if someone dies with comorbidities or if they’re old’.

‘Well, nobody says that. People say there are vulnerable people in our society, they always have been and always will be, so the social safety net for them is not massive community restrictions two years after a pandemic,” he said.

Pictured is a young woman receiving the Pfizer vaccine at the Royal Exhibition Building Vaccination Center in Melbourne on August 25, 2021

Pictured is a young woman receiving the Pfizer vaccine at the Royal Exhibition Building Vaccination Center in Melbourne on August 25, 2021

dr. Coatsworth said community-wide restrictions weren’t fair to the rest of the community, which is already protected by a robust health care system alongside mass vaccination.

“We have that, and so the vulnerable are protected and we can move forward with this, so I think people like (Dr Swan and Dr Phelps) need to change their perspective and move with the times,” he said. †

In August 2021, Dr. Coatsworth Dr. Swan for failing to ‘accurately report’ on Covid after comparing Sydneysiders queuing for vaccination to ‘guinea pigs’.

When asked about their dispute, Dr Swan said he thought Dr Coatsworth was “angry” at him for criticizing government medical experts who originally believed Covid spread primarily through respiratory droplets rather than in the sky.

Photo shows a drive by patient being vaccinated against Covid-19 in Melton, Victoria on Sunday, August 8, 2021

Photo shows a drive by patient being vaccinated against Covid-19 in Melton, Victoria on Sunday, August 8, 2021

“I think he’s mad at me,” Dr. Swan the Australian at the time.

“I think it annoys him that I put forward the view that was prevalent in government for most of 2020 that airborne dispersion was not important.”

“I’m not annoyed by Norman Swan, but in my opinion he has failed to recognize and accurately report the government policy movement that has recognized a greater role for air transmission,” replied Dr. Coatsworth.

He also attacked Dr Swan’s “guinea pig” comment, in which he said ABC has a responsibility to “report as accurately as possible during a disaster.”

“Calling the entire population of larger Sydney guinea pigs doesn’t fall into that category,” he said.

dr.  Nick Coatsworth (pictured left) has long called for removing Covid restrictions when they no longer work

dr. Nick Coatsworth (pictured left) has long called for removing Covid restrictions when they no longer work

When Dr Swan made his ‘guinea pig’ comment, he didn’t claim the vaccines were experimental – just that the government’s strategy of using vaccination to control the outbreak had not been tested.

“I don’t think this has been tried anywhere else in the world where you’re trying to use vaccination to contain an outbreak,” he said.

“And in a sense the inhabitants of New South Wales, or Greater Sydney, are guinea pigs.”

But dr. Coatsworth said vaccines are being used to stop outbreaks around the world — even pointing to his own field experience in Africa.

Sydneysiders are pictured exercising in Bondi when Covid-19 restrictions were eased last September

Sydneysiders are pictured exercising in Bondi when Covid-19 restrictions were eased last September

“No, Dr. Swan, they are not guinea pigs. I was vaccinated for measles in Chad in 2005,” he wrote on Twitter.

‘Rapid vaccination during an epidemic is part of epidemic control. And that’s what every other country has done with Covid-19. Restrictions plus rapid vaccines work.’

The battle between doctors Swan and Coatsworth doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon.

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