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Byron Shire
May 9, 2021

Conspiracy or not?

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Andrew Christopher, Byron Bay

Despite having over two million visitors per year, Byron Bay has only had one case of community transmitted COVID-19 (and he was a visitor from Queensland).

Why has Byron Bay been bulletproof? In a nutshell: healthy, outdoor lifestyles. Let’s leave the over 70 at-risk-group aside as it’s through no fault of their own.

Studies have shown vitamin D deficiency is a main contributor to hospitalisations owing to COVID-19. The other main contributor to covid mortality is obesity. Studies have shown countries with high rates of obesity have death rates ten times higher than countries that don’t. Seventy-eight per cent of those hospitalised from covid in the US were overweight.

As the Byron experience, and science, shows; if you’re under 70, sun and healthy living are the key to keeping away this virus.

Yet we have a government who responds with fear-based, one-size-fits-all restrictions whenever there is a case. Bluesfest was a perfect example of this. Despite zero evidence worldwide of any super-spreader events occurring outdoors, the government took the knee-jerk reaction to cancel Bluesfest the day before. Consequently, the town was hit pretty hard. Many local businesses rely on the Easter weekend to generate most of their income for the year. Food stalls were devastated, having bought all the supplies needed for a busy Bluesfest weekend.

In reality, the population of Byron has suffered owing to ‘wokeism.’ We live in an era where feelings matter more than facts. If the government really took a science-based approach to covid, they would isolate those at risk – the elderly and the obese. Why should those who’ve made correct life choices lose their livelihoods to protect those who’ve made poor life decisions?

Yes, we have our share of nutbags here – the Bill Gates microchipping, 5G conspiracy theorists.

But let’s use the Byron Bay experience to help make more informed decisions in future. Where approaches and good outcomes are backed by science. Isolate those at risk, and let everyone else live their lives. Who knows, maybe it’s the wake-up call most people need.


Ed note: The one local man who caught the virus at the Beach Hotel from infected Queenslanders was from Ballina Shire, not QLD.

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  1. Before you get ahead of your self it is a simple case of population density. Any disease has a tendency to affect the unhealthy more than the healthy. And btw one can get plenty of sun and excersize living in central Sydney! Government needs to take a one size fits all approach with a fast moving pandemic lest management becomes overwhelming. Berejiklian has managed this at world gold standard whatever side of politics you are on it is a simple statistical fact considering infection rates and economic impacts. Stopping Bluesfest going ahead was unfortunately necessary. The risk was not worth taking and other states may have well blocked returning visitors.

  2. Byron is not bulletproof.
    That visitor figure you speak of is a growing estimation, averaged over the past 10 or so years.
    Do you honestly think there were 2 million visitors to Byron Bay in 2020?
    If you are going to try using a science-based approach, then accurate up-to-date data is essential.

  3. There are a few things to think about here:

    Firstly the way infection rate and death rate seem to have been used quite interchangeably. What are you suggesting our healthy outdoor lifestyle protects us from: infection or serious disease and death once infected? Clearly if there is little or no community transmission there will be little chance of a high death rate.

    While some studies, I believe, have suggested a slight protective effect from vitamin D, I don’t know that any serious medicos are suggesting it is enough on its own to feel bulletproof. I reckon there’s a fair bit of it India as well as low obesity rates.

    “Seventy-eight per cent of those hospitalised from covid in the US were overweight.” The obesity rate in the USA is around 42%, the rate of people ‘overweight’ (a different yardstick) is likely to be much higher. Therefore you would expect that a significant proportion of any cohort is likely to be overweight. I’m not suggesting it’s not thought a risk factor but it’s certainly not the only one and for many of these a bad lifestyle choice cannot be blamed.

    The idea that you can isolate particular groups (lock up everyone over 65 say?) carried some favour when little was known about the practical realities. Apart from this isolation not being an acceptable measure long term, these groups will require interaction with those moving freely in the community. Look at what happened in aged care.

    The exponential growth of infection has dissuaded many of the more cavalier countries from believing we can “live with the virus”. The consequences can be seen around the globe. Moreover the areas where it surges provide so many more opportunities for dangerous mutations to occur and thus the world has been faced with more infectious and virulent variants that are more resistant to vaccines and behave in new ways eg a greater tendency to infect children.

    Then there is long covid. Even people mildly affected have experienced long-term debilitating symptoms and no-one knows the long-term consequences eg like post polio syndrome.

    The strategy of elimination (pursued by most of the states but not the feds) has served Australia well. You can’t let this virus run riot. The alternative, stamping it out where it arises with swift action has collateral damage but shit happens (like a pandemic). Due to a lot of and good state/territory management the freedom of our everyday lives in this country would be welcomed by most other countries.

    Leave the quick fixes to epidemiologist and expert statistical analysis.

  4. How about a 76 year old female who’s had 2 strokes & frontal lobe damage managing to walk
    4 ks each day & lifting lite weights while weighing in at 8 stone has a right to hang around
    while being a useful member of the community?


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