Dr Nick Coatsworth makes major admission about Covid-19 pandemic

Dr Nick Coatsworth (pictured centre) has been one of the most senior health officials during the Covid pandemic
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A top doctor who led Australia’s response to Covid-19 has admitted that governments and health officials have lost public trust and goodwill over the way they handled the virus.

Dr. Nick Coatsworth, who was deputy chief medical officer during the pandemic, said the draconian measures to contain the virus were taking too long and were causing people to drop out.

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In an interview with Body and Soul, Dr Coatsworth said Australians agreed with what was being done to promote ‘public health’ during the first year of containment measures.

“They were receptive to what we were doing,” he said.

“I honestly think if we had lifted restrictions a little earlier in 2021, a lot more people would have stayed with us.

“We had the opportunity to really change the way people think about health, but I think we lost that opportunity in 2021. As a result, people completely mentally blocked out 2020 and 2021.”

Dr Coatsworth has previously said “groupthink” and exhaustion led to poor Covid responses in a ten-page submission to the special committee of inquiry into the pandemic.

Dr Nick Coatsworth (pictured centre) has been one of the most senior health officials during the Covid pandemic

Dr Nick Coatsworth (pictured centre) has been one of the most senior health officials during the Covid pandemic

He also made a stunning admission that imposing vaccination mandates was wrong, after a Queensland Supreme Court ruled in February that forcing police and paramedics to take the jab or lose their jobs was “unlawful”.

While Dr Coatsworth said Australia had assembled a top team of medical experts to advise on how to tackle the pandemic, it lacked an ethical framework, making the focus too narrow.

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“This allowed the creation of a ‘disease control at all costs’ policy path dependency, which, while appropriate for the first wave, was poorly suited to the vaccine era,” he said.

Dr Coatsworth argued that the restriction and testing policies adopted to contain the first deadliest variant of Covid in 2020 have outpaced their relative advantage.

He also believed that the differing approaches among states and between them and the federal government confused the public and eroded human rights.

“I strongly encourage the inquiry to recommend an amendment to the Biosecurity Act to ensure that all disease control powers remain with the federal government during a national biosecurity emergency,” Dr Coatsworth wrote.

Dr Coatsworth said dragging on Covid restrictions for too long was alienating the public

Dr.  Coatsworth said allowing Covid restrictions to continue for too long was alienating the public

Dr Coatsworth said leaving Covid restrictions in place for too long was alienating the public

This means that the federal government has control over closing state borders during a pandemic.

Outside of “biosecurity emergencies,” states would retain their disease control powers.

Dr Coatsworth has previously taken particular aim at the Victorian government, under then Labor Premier Dan Andrews, for its tough Covid responses, while dismissing criticism of Liberal Prime Minister Scott Morrison during the pandemic.

“Scott Morrison did not fine children for crimes against disease control, nor did Scott Morrison close two towers full of Australian refugees and migrants,” said Dr. Coatsworth.

“There were very real democratic rights that were hampered over the course of this pandemic.”

Dr. Coatsworth was referring to the July 2020 closure of Melbourne’s Flemington and North Melbourne social housing towers, which ultimately led to the Victorian government offering a $5 million settlement to those affected.

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After the Covid inquiry was announced in September 2023, Dr Coatsworth took aim at Mr Andrews, who ‘believes the Covid inquiry should focus on vaccines, national medical supplies and personal protective equipment’.

“It’s a word he would rather never have entered into the historical record of our (and his) pandemic response. But it will,” he said.

“None of these address the core question. Proportionality,” Dr Coatsworth added.

“It’s a word he would rather never enter into the historical archives of our (and his) pandemic response. But it will happen.”

In his last interview, Dr. Coatsworth admits that the public exposure brought to him by the pandemic has brought him media opportunities, such as filling in as a presenter on Channel Nine’s Today program and creating a new show, Do You Want to Live Forever?.

This opportunity arose because of the pandemic [because] people knew my face,” he said of the new documentary series on extending lifespan.

‘I love what I do in the hospital, but it is often too late.

‘Once someone has a chronic illness, you can’t really make a difference. You make the biggest difference if you can prevent them from getting a chronic illness in the first place.

“So I thought television was the best way to get that message across and communicate how to live a healthier life.”

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