Anthony Albanese has sparked outrage from Covid-obsessed Twitter users – first for failing to wear a face mask outside – and then for failing to wear a mask of good enough quality to a Cabinet meeting.
Pandemic narcs ripped into the Prime Minister over two innocent photos of himself conducting official business over the past few days.
On Sunday, the PM posed outside – where Covid is said to be vastly less transmissible – without a mask on at a family day he hosted at The Lodge in Canberra.
And on Monday, Mr Albanese again posed for the cameras with his band of government ministers hiding their faces behind masks – leading to criticism that few of them were wearing N95, top-line masks.
On Sunday, PM Anthony Albenese posed in a packed crowd of people without a single mask in sight at the family day he hosted at The Lodge in Canberra
But on Monday Anthony Albanese paraded his new cabinet in Canberra all wearing face masks despite evidence they make no difference to the spread of the disease
The photograph on Sunday sparked uproar online after the PM tweeted it, with his followers furious at the lack of masks being worn at the gathering.
‘Disappointed to see not one person masked!’ posted one. ‘Where. Are. The. Masks.’ demanded another.
One added: ‘I do wish you were wearing masks. I’ll pretend they went back on after the pic was taken.’ Others however pointed out the picture was taken outdoors.
On Monday though, the PM and his Cabinet were all masked up when they posed for pictures for their first meeting in Canberra – in line with the government’s advice that face masks should be worn in high-risk indoor settings.
But, again, the pictures sparked outrage.
Some online mask advocates blasted most Cabinet members for wearing surgical masks instead of higher grade N95 masks, and for not having them on properly.
Some online mask advocates blasted the Cabinet members for just wearing surgical masks instead of the higher grade N95 masks, and for not having them on properly while others railed against the return of mask mandates
‘Not many N95s in this picture… which would have been better for both the public health message and, you know, not spreading Covid around the ministry,’ wrote one.
Another added: ‘Few seem to have pressed the metal bar to ensure a good over nose fit either…’
The mask display at the Cabinet meeting also infuriated many who are sick of the constant demands to revert back to lockdown-type conditions, led by the ABC.
‘Why mandate masks? What’s wrong with personal responsibility?’ raged one on Twitter. ‘I don’t need Albanese to tell me to put one on. I can think for myself.’
Another added: ‘Albo’s been on an international tour since the election hugging world leaders but now it’s mask time. Not only theatre but bad theatre.’
The mask display at the Cabinet meeting also infuriated many who are sick of the constant demands to revert back to lockdown-type conditions, led by the ABC
The gratutious stunt came after an ABC campaign to bring back the hated mask mandates for Australia ahead of a fresh wave of the infection
The Cabinet mask signalling comes just three days after the PM dismissed calls for a return to mandatory mask wearing, admitting his health chiefs had not asked for it.
‘The clear decision of the AHPPC, the peak body where you get all the state and territory chief health officers together with the chief medical officer, Professor (Paul) Kelly, haven’t advocated that to me at all,’ he told the ABC on Thursday.
The mask display comes just three days after PM Anthony Albanese dismissed calls for a return to mandatory mask wearing, admitting his health chiefs had not asked for it
‘The other thing you need to bear in mind is the mental health aspects of restrictions on people’s behaviour.
‘We need to get the balance right and I think that’s something the chief health officers have borne in mind.’
The AHPPC did however recommend masks be worn indoors, but stopped short of calling for a mandate.
A Labor caucus party room meeting on Monday was also held with everyone wearing masks.
The stunt comes despite evidence to suggest masks make little difference to Covid’s spread or death rates and follows an ABC campaign to make them mandatory again.
Daily Mail Australia revealed last week that new data shows Covid cases in masked-up Singapore and New Zealand have overtaken mask-free Australia.
A Labor caucus party room meeting on Monday was also held with everyone wearing masks
Foreign minister Penny Wong and trade minister Don Farrell (pictured right) both wore top of the line N95-style masks, along with environment minister Tanya Plibersek, but others like PM Anthony Albanese and Deputy PM Richard Marles (pictured left) wore lightweight surgical masks
However the ABC has led a call for the return of mask laws, with TV and radio presenters haranguing politicians about the issue.
The latest Covid data appears to show masks have little impact in the spread of the disease or death rates.
Masks are worn everywhere in densely-populated Singapore while New Zealanders must wear them at indoor public places such as shopping centres and libraries.
But both now have higher case numbers per million than Australia, where compulsory mask rules have been abandoned in most indoor settings.
Shock data has revealed Covid case numbers in New Zealand and Singapore – where masks are reularly worn all the time outdoors, as seen here – have overtaken Australia in the latest Omicron wave despite ultra-strict mask mandates
The figures appeared to smash the ABC’s push for widespread mask mandates, which now only apply on public transport and in aged care and healthcare centres in Australia.
From David Speers on Insiders to Michael Rowland on News Breakfast and Patricia Karvelas on Radio National, there has been a relentless mask campaign.
On July 8, Rowland went as far as suggesting health minister Mark Butler and his political colleagues were ‘accepting’ deaths by not re-introducing compulsory face coverings.
As of last week there had been fewer than 300 Covid-related deaths of Australians aged under 50, from a total of around 11,000 fatalities.
Butler said the advice from chief health officers was that the nation had ‘moved beyond the era of very broad mask mandates and lockdowns’, and that Australians could make their own choice about wearing a mask indoors.
Rowland refused to accept that position and kept pushing for mask mandates.
‘We do know there are studies reflecting this, that compulsory mask mandates have close to 100 per cent success rate,’ he said.
‘[That’s] as opposed to what you’re saying, just asking people to wear them. You’re not worried about people not making the right decision here?’
Butler hit back by saying Australians could ‘take control of their own circumstances’ in the pandemic’s third year as they got used to living with the virus.
On July 8, ABC News Breakfast Michael Rowland (above) suggested Health Minister Mark Butler and his political colleagues were ‘accepting’ deaths by not re-introducing compulsory face coverings
Radio National’s The Health Report host Norman Swan said on July 18 the country could be ‘stuffed’ unless mask mandates were brought back before the next Covid variant arrived on our shores
Leading the call for masks, as he has from the beginning, is Dr Norman Swan, host of Radio National’s The Health Report and the Coronacast podcast.
He warned on July 18 that the country could be ‘stuffed’ unless mask mandates were brought back before the next Covid variant arrived on our shores.
But his role and the direction of the ABC are under constant scrutiny.
Sky News host Chris Kenny will present an hour-long examination of the 90-year-old institution on Tuesday night called Your ABC Exposed.
Kenny has long been a critic of the country’s biggest broadcaster and has noted its presenters’ fixation on wanting Covid restrictions to be imposed by government.
‘Right from the start of the pandemic the ABC has led the charge in fuelling hysteria and public paranoia while encouraging maximum government intervention,’ he said.
‘No matter how many times Norman Swan and others have been proven wrong, they have simply doubled down.
‘Yet, even now, with everyone who wants a vaccine jabbed up to four times, and all the evidence and lived experience showing most people have little to fear, ABC presenters keep up the fear-mongering and push for mandates and illiberal approaches.’
Since Australian mandates began to ease last October, per capita case numbers in Singapore exceeded, matched or lagged behind Australia, before rising ahead again.
In New Zealand, case numbers were six weeks behind Australia’s Omicron wave in January, but since February they have matched or exceeded Australia.
Death rates in New Zealand also overtook Australia per capita at the start of March, despite the Kiwis being on the highest code red mask mandate restrictions – and have stayed higher ever since.
NEW ZEALAND’S GREAT COVER-UP
New Zealanders are told to wear a mask whenever they leave home. The country has a traffic light system of restrictions and was on code red until April when it moved to code orange.
Under code red, Kiwis had to wear masks at universities and colleges and in schools from Year 4 up, and when visiting early learning centres.
Masks also had to be worn in public places like shops, shopping malls, cafes, bars, restaurants, libraries, hairdressers and beauty salons.
All indoors events and indoor gatherings needed to be masked up,
Masks also need to be worn on domestic flights, taxis, ride-sharing cars and public transport, plus healthcare, judicial, remand and aged care centres.
But masks don’t need to be worn outdoors or while exercising.
Since April, masks are not now needed in schools, indoor events, museums and libraries or at hospitality venues, but must still be worn everywhere else.
The country is tipped to return to code red on Thursday as NZ case numbers surge.
In Singapore, death rates dropped below Australia in April after racing ahead between October and Christmas, but are now surging wildly and are set to overtake Australia once more.
The Singapore findings were shared on Twitter by Australian National University infectious diseases professor Peter Collignon as debate rages on the need for masks.
The post, originally made by a Singapore resident, added: ‘Singapore has never dropped its mask mandates. Masks are required indoors at all times.
‘Australians aren’t wearing masks much at all. Let’s compare the data.’
Next to a graph of the statistics, he added: ‘It doesn’t matter.’
The data has been revealed as Victorian children over the age of eight are now asked to wear a mask in classrooms until the end of winter amid a spike in cases.
The state government has insisted the new advice is not a mask mandate, with students encouraged to wear a mask indoors and on public transport.
Parents have described the new rules as a ‘mandate by stealth’ but former Labor Leader Bill Shorten said kids should be encouraged to wear masks where possible.
‘We’ve had 300 days of home-schooling, and the schools closed,’ he told Karl Stefanovic during an appearance on the Today Show on Tuesday morning.
‘To me it’s a no-brainer, do you want your child sick at home or do you want them running around wearing a mask?’ the father of one said.
NSW and Victorian health ministers have both so far resisted the growing calls for a return to mask mandates, but critics say the looming state elections in October and November are the main reason behind any delay in bringing them back.
The new data shatters the case for mask mandates to return to Australia, pictured, where they are now only compulsory on public transport and in aged care, medical and remand centres
The new figures come as it was revealed the median age of those dying from Covid in Australia is now 83 years old, the same age as the nation’s average life expectancy.
The federal health department’s latest Covid report explodes the myths being used to drive Australian authorities to re-introduce mask mandates and continue having Covid cases isolate for seven days.
VITAL COVID FACTS
Just 293 people under 50 have died of Covid
If you’re under 50 and catch Covid, you have a 1 in 10,000 chance of dying
St Vincent’s Hospital ICU currently only has one or two Covid patients
Most people who die are men over 70 or women over 80
The median age to die from Covid is 83
The average life expectancy in Australia is 82.9
Even frail elderly residents in aged care homes have a 95 per cent chance of surviving Covid infection
More than 60,770 aged care residents out of the 63,875 infected have recovered from Covid
Just one in 20 in aged care homes have died after they caught the virus
The vast majority of those who have caught Covid are under 50, with 3,121,953 cases so far. Just 293 people under 50 have died of the virus since the pandemic began.
The statistics show that since Australia’s mass vaccination rollout began, those under 50 face a less than one in 10,000 chance of dying from Covid.
‘The median age of all those infected is 31 … [but] the median age of those who died is 83,’ the latest federal health department ‘Coronavirus At A Glance’ report states.
Australia’s average life expectancy is 82.9 years of age.
Most killed by Covid were men over 70 and women over 80, accounting for 7,585 deaths out of the nation’s total virus death toll of 10,582 as of 3pm on Friday.
And even if Covid breaks out among elderly frail residents in aged care centres, more than 95 per cent of those infected will survive.
Of the 63,875 who caught Covid in Australian aged care centres, 60,771 recovered, with less than 1 in 20 of infected residents dying, for a tragic toll of 3,104.
NSW Premier Dom Perrottet admitted last week that the current flu wave was now a bigger threat than Covid.
‘At the moment, the current strand of influenza is more severe than the current strands of COVID,’ he told 2GB.
‘As we move through the next phase of the pandemic, we need to balance up the competing health issues.’