Are NZ COVID-19 Royal Commissioners Tony Blakely and John Whitehead Employed to Cover Up the Crime? Part One

Tony Blakely Part 1 FI
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The Role of Tony Blakely During Covid

As the country gets a say, finally, on the shape of the new coalition’s promised inquiry into the entirety of the covid response, it is clear that commissioners appointed by the previous government who are comfortable with the Royal Commission’s original – and still current –  terms of reference must be deeply suspect and should be replaced. Here we look closely at the current commissioners; their departure from established public health principles, loyalties to private entities and conflicts of interest. 

John Whitehead and Professor Tony Blakely are the only two current government-appointed Commissioners leading the NZ Royal Commission COVID-19 Lessons Learned. See our previous articles on the Royal Commission dated April 2023 and October 2023.

An epidemiologist with limited clinical medicine experience, Tony Blakely’s profile at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health excludes expertise in the sub-specialities of infectious diseases, immunology, virology and vaccinology. His Otago University profile is equally devoid of any such specialisation.

Nevertheless, theoretical infectious disease modeling, lead-authored by Professor Blakely, guided Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews in his COVID-19 response. Referencing the virus elimination strategy recommended by Michael Baker, Amanda Kvalsvig and Ayesha Verrall in New Zealand, Blakely’s team recommended the following ruthless ten point plan:

  1. Demonstrate strong, decisive leadership articulating an explicit goal of elimination
  2. Convene a group of elimination strategy experts
  3. Close all schools
  4. Provide strict definition of essential businesses and strict rules for reopening non-essential businesses
  5. Implement mandated mask wearing and promotion of 1.5 metre physical distancing
  6. Provide strict definition of essential workers and work
  7. Implement mandated mask wearing for all essential workers
  8. Offer universal basic income implementations for those required to stay at home
  9. Strengthen contact tracing and isolation of cases using digital technology
  10. Suspend international arrivals into Victoria.

As a result of these recommendations which contravene established public health evidence, the Andrews government invoked criminal law against the citizenry to enforce compliance with the strictest covid-19 lockdowns in the world.

Page 3 of the World Health Organization’s own 2019 systematic review of the evidence includes Table 1: Recommendations on the use of non pharmaceutical interventions by severity level in which contact tracing, quarantine, border screening and closures all come under the category of “not recommended in any circumstances.” The same document provides evidence of very low effectiveness for school closures, recommending them only in an epidemic of high severity, for limited duration, due to associated costs, harms and ethical concerns.

Tony Blakely NPI Chart
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Tony Blakely featured regularly in Australia’s mainstream media throughout the pandemic. This included writing a recurrent opinion piece in the Melbourne Age newspaper, promoting virus elimination, lockdown measures and mask and vaccine mandates.

He was treated as an expert on Australia’s ABC News in July 2020 when he contradicted basic public health science with claims that lockdowns, quarantining, testing, surveillance, masking and physical distancing have an impact on transmission control of an airborne virus which, he should have known, floats on air currents for hours to days. In 2021, again on ABC News, he erroneously claimed that covid infection held more risk for children, than vaccination, and that vaccinating children would contribute to herd immunity. In 2022, despite most of the adult population being vaccinated, Australia recorded over 11 million “cases” of Covid. The measures promoted by Tony Blakely have had no impact whatsoever on creating “herd immunity”.

How did a New Zealand epidemiologist without appropriate specialisation find favour with the Victorian government and Australia’s mainstream media? At the same time Australians with relevant expertise such as Professor Edward Steele (immunologist, geneticist, microbiologist) and Dr Phillip Altman (clinical trials and drug regulation expert), who have been speaking out with evidence that contradicts the claims of Tony Blakely, remain ignored and marginalised.

In Part Two we will explore the possible reasons for the elevated status of Tony Blakely, and similar concerns about his fellow Commissioner, John Whitehead.
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