Popular radio host Ben Fordham has blasted ‘bogeyman’ Norman Swan for being a voice of doom as Aussies are learning to live with Covid.
Swan, who became a naysaying fixture on ABC platforms during the pandemic, said that 2022 is Australia’s ‘worst year’ of Covid on Tuesday.
Yet Fordham took issue with Swan’s remarks on Wednesday, saying he ‘wants to take us back to the bad old days’.
Ben Fordham (pictured with his wife Jodie) erupted on air over Norman Swan’s recent remarks
Fordham said, ‘We are trying to get on with our lives after losing two years and Dr Swan has come in off the long run-up and he’s bowled another frightening fear campaign’
‘I think he must be bored,’ Fordham told his 2GB audience on Wednesday. ‘Because we have learned to live with the coronavirus, so he’s not as relevant as he used to be.’
Fordham said the ABC stalwart was suffering from ‘a chronic case of relevance deprivation syndrome’, before suggesting his ABC appearances may be starting to ‘dry up’.
‘We are trying to get on with our lives, after losing two years, and Dr Swan has come in off the long run -p and he’s bowled another frightening fear campaign about Covid,’ he commented.
Fordham is referring to an interview Swan did with the national broadcaster on Tuesday.
The ABC health commentator said the Covid death rate figure could grow to 13,000 in another 12 months, after 5,000 Australians died with the virus this year.
‘With these new subvariants coming out we’re increasing our vulnerability, lots of people are getting infected,’ he told ABC News Breakfast.
It’s not the first time Swan (pictured on Tuesday on the ABC program) has come under scrutiny, with Sky News Australia’s Chris Kenny calling into question his ‘numerous failed predictions’
‘This is the worst year of the pandemic and nobody’s talking about it.’
Fordham said that Swan was ‘addicted to peddling fear’ after the doctor compared the low rate of Covid-related deaths in the country to ‘jet crashes’.
Fordham admitted there were ‘many deaths happening, everyone of them tragic’ with 285 over the past seven days, but said lockdowns can do damage too.
‘Does Dr Swan want us to follow China’s lead, and cage people inside their homes?’ Fordham asked.
Swan said on Tuesday the number of deaths was worrying, but downplayed ‘going back to lockdown’.
Former national deputy chief medical officer Dr Nick Coatsworth said last month that the death rate in Australia was quite low, compared to the case numbers.
‘At the really pointy end, which I think is what we always have to bring it back to with the pandemic, is how much actual morbidity and mortality is this disease causing?’ he says.
‘It’s really quite small compared to the number of cases that there are in the community.’
Fordham said that 99 per cent of the 139,000 active Covid cases in NSW had mild symptoms, and lambasted Swan for not talking about that.
It’s not the first time Swan has come under fire, with his lack of recent medical practice as a pediatrician coming under scrutiny.
Sky News Australia’s Chris Kenny said Swan had not practiced his profession in decades and called into question last October his ‘numerous failed predictions’.
Dr Coatsworth called Swan a ‘non-official’ after the Sydney Lord Mayor sought advice from the health adviser last year.
Fordham’s on-air gripe came after three new Omicron sub-variants known as BA.2.12.1, BA.4 and BA.5 recently made their way into Australia, but are not known to be severe.
Dr Coatsworth (pictured) called Swan a ‘non-official’ after the Sydney Lord Mayor sought advice from the health commentator last year.
Australians have also been put on alert about a new virus circulating that combines both the flu and Covid, dubbed ‘flurona’.
An unvaccinated Victorian woman in her 90s has been the first death linked to the illness in Australia, after she caught the flu and coronavirus at the same time.
There is some evidence to suggest flurona can lead to more severe health effects, with Australians urged to receive both the flu and Covid jabs.
Australia had 57,637 cases and 51 deaths on Wednesday, with 3,102 people in hospital, down by 66, and 66 in ICU, down by 2.
Victoria had 13,973 cases and 17 deaths – the highest daily number since January. There are 533 people in hospital, up by 14 and 33 in ICU, down by 1.
NSW had 12,265 cases and 11 deaths, and 1,452 people in hospital – down by 86 – and 48 in ICU, down by 7.
Queensland had 7,427 cases and 10 deaths, Tasmania had 1,058 cases and no deaths, while Western Australia had the highest number of cases in Australia on Wednesday – 17,033 cases and 3 deaths, with 275 people in hospital.
Fordham said on Wednesday, ‘we are trying to get on with our lives, after losing two years, and Dr Swan has come [and] bowled another frightening fear campaign about Covid,’