ABC’s Dr Norman Swan has been the national broadcaster’s face of the Covid pandemic – but he’s notched up a string of predictions that have been way off the mark.

On Tuesday he was forced to apologise after suggesting the deaths of cricket legend Shane Warne and Labor senator Kimberly Kitching, both 52, could be Covid-related.

Senator Kitching had never even tested positive for Covid before her tragic death from a heart attack at the age of 52. 

The blunder is the latest in a series of gaffes and doomsday predictions by the ABC health expert – who hasn’t practised medicine in 30 years – which have proven to be wide of the mark.

ABC health expert Norman Swan (pictured) suggested the deaths of cricket legend Shane Warne and Senator Kimberley Kitching were Covid-related on Tuesday

Shane Warne (left) died aged just 52 of a sudden heart attack on March 4

Kimberley Kitching (right) dying of a suspected heart attack just six days later

Shane Warne (left) died aged just 52 of a sudden heart attack on March 4 with Senator Kimberley Kitching (right) dying of a suspected heart attack just six days later

Dr Swan previously claimed Australia’s health system would collapse within days of Covid’s outbreak in 2020, that the virus was vaccine-resistant and said the protection from masks was ‘very small’.

Dr Swan repeatedly called for unnecessary lockdowns – and even branded those taking the vaccine as ‘guinea pigs’.

Now NSW One Nation state leader Mark Latham has joined a growing chorus for him to be axed by the ABC.

‘Surely Swan should be sacked for incompetence,’ tweeted Mr Latham on Wednesday.

Dr Swan admitted his mistake over the death of Senator Kitching and told Daily Mail Australia: ‘I deeply regret that.

‘I’ve spoken to Kimberely Kitching’s husband and apologised deeply. I don’t move away from that whatsoever.

‘But most of the other stuff is bulls***. Some people just don’t believe in public health measures.’ 

As Australia went into lockdown in March 2020, Dr Swan, 69, took to the airwaves with a grim warning of the health system falling apart within just a few days.

On Q&A, he told viewers: ‘So, the prediction at the moment is that we’ll be out of ICU beds in NSW – Victoria will be behind that – by April 10. 

‘And in that case, ICU physicians will be faced with some very difficult decisions.’

Australia never came close to that at any stage in the following two years of the pandemic, even when new cases hit their peak of 128,000 in a day in January 2022.

As Covid spread across the world, Dr Swan also warned Australia was set to follow Italy’s lead and on a trajectory to hit 70-80,000 cases a day within a week in April.

That forecast never came true either, with cases hitting a peak of just over 700 cases a day briefly in July 2020.

He ruled out masks for the general public early in the pandemic, insisting the protection was ‘very small’ – before later claiming mandatory mask laws came ‘two or three weeks too late’. 

The shameful mistake is just the latest in a series of gaffes and overblown doomsday predictions by the ABC health expert which proved to be well wide of the mark

The shameful mistake is just the latest in a series of gaffes and overblown doomsday predictions by the ABC health expert which proved to be well wide of the mark

When Sydney’s Northern Beaches was hit by a localised outbreak late in 2020, Dr Swan demanded a ‘Victorian-style’ lockdown of the whole greater Sydney area and a ban on crowds at the cricket.

However, with just three roads into the Northern Beaches, the localised lockdown successfully dealt with the outbreak without the city needing to be shuttered.

He dismissed the Covid restrictions in NSW during the Delta outbreak in late 2021 as ‘not a proper lockdown’ and insisted the situation was ‘really serious’ and required a complete shutdown in response.

However by then most of the population was vaccinated – with more than 200,000 a day getting jabbed – Dr Swan’s apocalyptic predictions came to nought.

The Scots-born paediatric specialist – who flirted with acting in his youth –  said NSW had just got ‘lucky’ and insisted its Covid approach was ‘not the gold standard’, hailing instead the never-ending lockdowns in Victoria under Premier Dan Andrews.

When Sydney's Northern Beaches was hit by a localised outbreak late in 2020, Dr Swan demanded a 'Victorian-style' lockdown of the whole greater Sydney area

When Sydney’s Northern Beaches was hit by a localised outbreak late in 2020, Dr Swan demanded a ‘Victorian-style’ lockdown of the whole greater Sydney area

He was a repeated advocate of the Victorian lockdowns and demanded other states follow its ‘ring of steel’-style curfews and relentless restrictions.

He flip-flopped on the vaccine rollout as well, claiming in December 2020 that the federal government could afford to wait and see what happened overseas.

‘We’ll learn a lot just by waiting eight or nine weeks,’ he said at the time.

But just a few months later in May 2021, he blasted the government for ‘losing the race’ to push it out to the Australian public as quickly as possible – and that had been obvious since ‘late last year’.

That same month he ruled the vaccine a failure after cases in Singapore where vaccinated people had caught Covid but recovered after being mildly ill.

He then claimed: ‘This is a vaccine-resistant virus.’

Dr Norman Swan  flip-flopped on the vaccine rollout as well, claiming in December 2020 that the federal government could afford to wait and see what happened overseas (pictured, a couple walk down Oxford Street in Sydney in April 2020)

Dr Norman Swan  flip-flopped on the vaccine rollout as well, claiming in December 2020 that the federal government could afford to wait and see what happened overseas (pictured, a couple walk down Oxford Street in Sydney in April 2020)

Dr Swan  was a repeated advocate of the Victorian lockdowns and demanded other states follow its 'ring of steel'-style curfews and relentless restrictions (pictured, Melbourne during lockdown in October 2021)

Dr Swan  was a repeated advocate of the Victorian lockdowns and demanded other states follow its ‘ring of steel’-style curfews and relentless restrictions (pictured, Melbourne during lockdown in October 2021)

And he also branded those getting the vaccine ‘guinea pigs’ in an astonishing outburst in August 2021 when he bizarrely claimed combining lockdowns and Covid jabs was an experimental approach.

‘Residents in Greater Sydney are guinea pigs in this, to see whether or not if you can really intensify vaccination, can you bend the curve downwards?’ he said on ABC News Breakfast.

The comments drew a furious response from the medical profession, with former chief medical officer Dr Nick Coatsworth lashing the TV doc.

‘No, Dr Swan, they are not guinea pigs,’ Dr Coatsworth hit back on Twitter.

‘I vaccinated during measles in Chad in 2005. Rapid vaccination during an epidemic is part of epidemic control. 

‘And it’s what every other country has done with Covid19.

‘Restrictions plus rapid vaccines works.’

Sr Swan said NSW had just got 'lucky' and insisted its Covid approach was 'not the gold standard', hailing instead the never-ending lockdowns in Victoria under Premier Dan Andrews (pictured, police quiz a beachgoer in Melbourne's St Kilda in September 2021)

Sr Swan said NSW had just got ‘lucky’ and insisted its Covid approach was ‘not the gold standard’, hailing instead the never-ending lockdowns in Victoria under Premier Dan Andrews (pictured, police quiz a beachgoer in Melbourne’s St Kilda in September 2021)

And in September this year, he tweeted a link to a scaremongering outdated article from April 2020 when the virus first broke out which linked the disease to strokes long before studies of the disease had even properly begun.

He added in the tweet: ‘This is not a benign virus. Wishful thinking won’t make it go away.’

The tweet was slammed by Melbourne University Professor Fiona Russell who told him  to talk to ‘qualified people’ about Covid effects.

Dr Swan’s bungling comments have now sparked calls for him to be sacked by the ABC.

2GB’s Ben Fordham said it was time for the veteran to ‘shut up’.

‘The ABC’s resident health expert has got a huge platform to spruik his views,’ he told listeners on Wednesday after Dr Swan’s comments about Senator Kitching.

‘And he’s been responsible for a whole range of doomsday scenarios during coronavirus.

‘If you need someone to scare the life out of people, call in Doctor Norman Swan.

Sr Swan  ruled out masks for the general public early in the pandemic insisting the protection was 'very small' - before later claiming mandatory mask laws came 'two or three weeks too late'

Sr Swan  ruled out masks for the general public early in the pandemic insisting the protection was ‘very small’ – before later claiming mandatory mask laws came ‘two or three weeks too late’

‘His latest effort is one of the most despicable and irresponsible things I’ve ever heard.’

He added: ‘Norman – you’re no better than anti-vaxxers blaming every high profile death on the vaccine.

‘What a shameful abuse of your position. Stop using the misery and heartbreak of others to push your agenda.

‘And next time you’re asked to comment on something you know nothing about, please think twice.

‘Or just shut up!’

Dr Swan rejected the calls for him to resign as the ABC health expert and told Daily Mail Australia: ‘Mark Latham is free to make whatever comments he wants.

‘If anyone else wants to call for my removal that is conversation between them and the ABC.’

He insisted the best practice was for lockdowns to stem the spread of the disease and said lockdowns in NSW were piecemeal, allowing it to spread into other states.

‘You’ve actually got to go quick and hard,’ he said.

He initially denied saying Sydneysiders had been used as vaccine guinea pigs but then insisted: ‘That was about using the vaccine rather than being locked down.

‘That was an experiment. There was no strong evidence for that internationally that you could bend the curve downwards by just using the vaccine.’

He admitted he had been wrong about his early comments about the use of masks.

But he said there was a supply issue at the time and there was still not a general awareness of the aerosol spread of the virus.

‘I was probably wrong at that point if I said that,’ he said. ‘But the evidence became clearer later on.

‘You’re quoting back stuff to me I can’t remember. Obviously you have been digging, digging, digging. 

‘I can’t remember the context of [everything] you’re quoting back to me. I have no idea what it refers to.’

JUST SHUT UP: BEN FORDHAM’S MESSAGE TO NORMAN SWAN 

I think by now we have learned to ignore Dr Norman Swan.

But there’s no way in the world I’ll be letting this one go by without calling him out.

The ABC’s resident health expert has got a huge platform to spruik his views.

And he’s been responsible for a whole range of doomsday scenarios during coronavirus.

If you need someone to scare the life out of people, call in Doctor Norman Swan.

His latest effort is one of the most despicable and irresponsible things I’ve ever heard.

We know that medicos are supposed to respect confidentiality between doctor and patient.

And in the public space, there’s an unwritten rule.

Be careful commenting on medical matters when you have no knowledge of the patient or their circumstances.

You’re not in a position to know.

And ‘speculating’ is both disrespectful and dangerous.

Because chances are – you’re going to upset family members or make an idiot of yourself.

Yesterday, Doctor Norman Swan did both of those things.

He went on TV and said – “it’s too much of a coincidence that Shane Warne and the Labor Senator in Victoria died not long after COVID infection.”

Can you believe it?

The Labor Senator is Kimberley Kitching.

This is the kind of stuff you’d expect from a gossip website.

This guy is supposed to be the most respected health expert working for the national broadcaster.

He has used his platform to speculate like a gossip columnist about why two people passed away.

2 people he didn’t know.

2 people he never treated.

There is no evidence whatsoever that Shane Warne or Kimberley Kitching died as a result of coronavirus.

None whatsoever.

People who peddle rumours surrounding the deaths of famous people are usually found hiding behind a computer screen in their bedroom.

We call them trolls or keyboard cowards.

But Norman Swan made the comment on ABC television.

Kimberley Kitching didn’t even have Covid-19.

Senator Kimberley Kitching was not recovering from coronavirus at the time of her death.

There’s no record of her ever testing positive.

For the record, Doctor, her family confirmed she was being treated for a thyroid condition, which caused heart complications.

She suffered a heart attack in March at the age of 52.

So what about Shane Warne?

There’s not an ounce of proof that coronavirus contributed to the death of Shane Warne.

He had it twice and he said when he was alive.

“The first time I was quite bad.

“It was only like a little flu the second time.

“The second time was just a bit of a sniffle.

Shane Warne died of a heart attack.

He was famous for smoking cigarettes, eating pizza and living life in the fast lane.

But no, Doctor Norman thinks he knows better.

So he peddles a conspiracy theory,

“It’s too much of a coincidence that Shane Warne died not long after COVID infection.”

He doubled down to the Daily Mail saying.

Shane Warne “had lots of risk factors for heart disease.

“But if he was going to get a bit of extra inflammation from COVID – that could have tipped him over the edge.”

Norman – you’re no better than anti-vaxxers blaming every high profile death on the vaccine.

What a shameful abuse of your position.

Stop using the misery and heartbreak of others to push your agenda.

And next time you’re asked to comment on something you know nothing about, please think twice.

Or just shut up!

 





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