COVID 19 salon 3/4

The wretched virus has stolen our conversation, so I decided to run with it and post some new material here in ‘salon’ style.

1. Can you catch the coronavirus twice?

The answer is that we don’t know yet, according to the New Scientist.

Coronavirus is a broad spectrum virus that includes the flu and the common cold. With some viruses there is a short immunity period of a few months. With Covid 19 there have been anecdotal reports of a man and a woman in Japan and some reports from China. However, the tests may have been faulty.

    Early signs from small animal experiments are reassuring. A team from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing exposed four rhesus macaques to the virus. A week later, all four were ill with covid-19-like symptoms and had high virus loads. Two weeks later, the macaques had recovered and were confirmed to have antibodies to the virus in their bloodstream.

    The researchers then tried to reinfect two of them but failed, which suggests the animals were immune.

Some virologists are confident that infection confers lifetime immunity, but the truth is that we don’t know for sure.

2. Why finding the true source is important

There were 400 markets like that on in Wuhan. According to Donna Lu in the New Scientist Chinese scientists think some infected humans working at Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Market in December may have caught the virus elsewhere. The South China Morning Post reports on Chinese government documents that suggested the earliest case of covid-19 may have been a 55-year-old person from Hubei province who seems to have contracted the virus on 17 November, much earlier than the first that was noticed on 8 December.


    A study of six children who contracted the covid-19 virus identified a girl who developed symptoms on 2 January (NEJM, She and her family live in Yangxin, more than 150 kilometres from Wuhan. None of them had travelled outside the county for a month before she became ill, and the researchers weren’t able to identify how she became infected.

They say that the virus probably came from bats, but not directly. Rather it was amplified in larger animals and may have jumped to humans more than once. Unfortunately most samples from the Huanan Seafood Market have been destroyed.

Richard Kock at the Royal Veterinary College in London says:

    identifying the source of the outbreak is crucial, given that three coronaviruses – the SARS, MERS and covid-19 viruses – have all emerged since 2002. “In evolutionary terms, that’s in microseconds,” he says. “The risk of these things happening has enormously accelerated. We have to get a grip on that.”

    Knowing more about the event that led to the covid-19 virus spreading to humans could help us figure out how to stop it from happening again…

There are more where that one came from, and the next one may be worse.

The Chinese were actually on virus watch. Next time they may handle it better.

BTW scientists are certain the virus is not a human construct which escaped from the lab.

3. The importance of messaging

Anne Leadbeater told Linda Mottram last week Get the messaging right or trust is lost and people won’t act. It’s actually pretty simple:

    you tell people what you know, you share with them what you don’t know, you explain what you are doing and then you tell them what you need them to do.

Let’s take that slowly

    1. you tell people what you know,

    2. you share with them what you don’t know,

    3. you explain what you are doing and

    4. then you tell them what you need them to do.

Clearly and unequivocally.

4. Bill Bowtell is cranky

    Bowtell is an adjunct professor at the Kirby Institute for infection and immunity at the University of New South Wales. He was the architect of Australia’s world-leading response to the AIDS epidemic several decades ago. More recently, he worked for 15 years with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He knows a bit about the insidious way diseases spread.

That was from Mike Seccombe’s article in The Saturday Paper published on 21 March – What Morrison did wrong on coronavirus. It’s worth the sub to read the whole thing.

Nick Eversham and Graham Readfearn have done an overview of what happened. This chart comes from the university of Melbourne:

Bowtell’s big point is that Scott Morrison and Greg Hunt should have acted on January 23. When Mike Seccombe contacted him, Bowtell let fly:

    “Let’s cut to the chase,” he fires down the phone line, before even being asked a question. “They were warned 12 weeks ago by WHO [the World Health Organization] and others what was coming. They did not accumulate test kits. They did not accumulate the necessary emergency equipment. They did not undertake a public education campaign. They gave no money to science, no money to research, no money to the International Vaccine Institute, no money to WHO. They diligently did not do anything useful.”

We put in place some travel bans, especially people coming from China, but mostly too late, and ignoring the US and Europe too long.

    “We were out there thumping our chests and putting people on Christmas Island, but we should have at the same time been saying, ‘Okay, what are the scenarios from here? Can we order some ICU machines? What else will we need?’

    “And we should have been paying more heed to what was happening elsewhere in the world.”

Meanwhile we should have followed:

    China, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong – that responded early and decisively and have succeeded in flattening the curve of infections, if not stopping the spread of Covid-19 almost completely. We should have been emulating them, says Bowtell, but instead Australia’s response to the plague has been more akin to Europe and America.

Then on February 27 Morrison, Hunt and the deputy chief medical officer, Paul Kelly, held a media conference to announce the government was activating a coronavirus emergency response plan.

    Between them the three men said the word “plan” 32 times, but in reality it was more like a blueprint for bureaucratic consultation. There were no concrete actions mentioned. None of the three men uttered the words hygiene, handwashing or social distancing.

That was when it was still OK to go to the footy, have Chinese meals etc.

Friday March 13 saw the government start to get a bit serious, but that weekend was a train wreck in communication, as Dr Murphy shook hands with everyone at the ABC’s Insiders, and Scotty first said he would, then said he wouldn’t go to the footy.

You can see why Bowtell was worried by March 21.

The article says the Australia has a strong health system, but it has been getting weaker since 2013 (when Tony Abbott was elected):

    OECD data shows us well down the list on the number of hospital beds: 3.8 per 1000 population. That is about the same as Norway, a little ahead of Italy and Spain, but way behind Japan and Korea, which have nearly four times as many. Even China has more.

    Between 2012-13 and 2016-17, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), funding for public hospitals rose by an inflation-adjusted 1.8 per cent on average each year, while private hospital funding went up 2.9 per cent.

That’s while Australia’s population grew at more than 1.5 per cent annually and the number of Australians over 65 increased at roughly twice the rate of the working-age people. Public hospitalisations are increasing three times as fast as extra beds are appearing.

We are doing as little as we can get away with in most public expenditure areas, and I believe Morrison and company have carried the same philosophy into countering the virus.

5. Where is the modelling?

On Thursday I heard Bill Bowtell interviewed. He was pleased that the curve seemed to be flattening at last, but said that we were not maximising our potential to come out of the clampdown. He would like to have a crack at developing some alternatives, if he could see what they were basing their policies on.

During the same afternoon Greg Hunt said that the modelling had been released weeks ago, and printed on the front page of the paper of the journalist who was asking.

The next day Phillip Coorey in the AFR seems to have found it:

    According to modelling Morrison released on March 15, the six-month strategy does include forecasts of up to 4 million people contracting the virus by October, the vast majority of whom will be sick but emerge OK and immune on the other side.

    By flattening the curve, the serious cases should be able to access the hospital beds.

    Either way, by October 1, there will still be people out of work, a lot of businesses will never re-emerge, and there will still be a risk of people falling ill.

That can’t be right, as 4 million works out to over 22,000 new cases per day. There is no way the medical system could cope.

Today the AFR said that new cases in Qld, NSW and Victoria were all at between 4 and 5%. Hunt said yesterday, that the current trend was good, but not yet good enough, with Morrison emphasising that government actions had prevented about 3,000 cases.

I’m cynical enough to think that the current communication policy will allow the government to claim success, whatever happens. The latest is that modelling will be released next week, but I hope it is more helpful than modelling that recently came out of the ANU which suggested that the number of deaths would be somewhere between 2,500 and 50,000.

If you agree with Bowtell’s assessment of our response, then it points to negligence having caused thousands of avoidable cases and even deaths.

6. Claims about testing

Hunt has recently been boasting that Australia has been testing more than every other country, having tested 1000 in every 100,000 of the population.

In straight language, that is 1% and not enough to support his claim that we have a really good handle on the disease. It implies that Iceland, where everyone was tested, and Germany, which has exceeded 1% and are currently aiming at 500,000 per week, are not countries.

Germany is attempting to test contacts; to date in Australia you mostly had to have two risk indicators to be eligible for a test.

Queensland authorities have said that some contact tracing has involved finding 300 people.

We will need much enhanced testing, tracing, and isolating regimes if life is going to go back to anything like normal. Even then, oldies will have to be isolated until a vaccine is found.

Morrison keeps saying he has to worry about the economy. Raina MacIntyre’s focus is clearly on the health system, as in the recent Four Corners:

    We’re going to have healthcare workers facing the brunt of this in the health system, and they’re going to be forced to work either without PPE, or with inadequate PPE. They’re going to be infected, they’re going to die. Like they are in Italy and like they’re getting infected in the United States. It would take a generation to replace healthcare workers, they’re not like, you know, drugs and vaccines that we can just crank up the production and get some more. We can’t afford to take a soft approach or a gently gently approach because we have to ensure that our healthcare workers are not in that situation as they are in Italy or Spain. In Spain doctors are weeping, because they have to take the ventilator out of patients to give it to other people who are younger, you know, because those patients are too old and they’re getting infected. They’re treating their own colleagues. They’re seeing their own colleagues dying, we really should be doing everything we can to make sure we don’t get to that point.

She has said that our medical A team are at risk. It takes generations to build that kind of team, apart from compassion for the individuals.

Yet frankly the dilemma does not seem to weigh so heavily on our leaders shoulders. We could trust them more if they told us what they know, what they don’t know, and exactly what they are trying to achieve.

7. Elsewhere

Vietnam has shown that you can fight COVID-19 despite being a third-world country.

One reason is that not being particularly democratic, and they still own much of the health infrastructure, hence can make decisions easily, which do seem to be accepted by the population. Phillip Adams discussion with Satyajit Das was gold, but he made the point that important societal infrastructure should be in government hands, and that the Chinese had this advantage.

BTW there has been a disinformation campaign suggesting that Chinese figures are fake. Dr Murphy said he thought the Chinese were being transparent, but then he said that the only stats he trusted were ours. The ABC typically dropped the first bit. Richard Mcgregor from the Lowy institute said the Chinese figures were like their GDP figures. Produced with astonishing rapidity, but then only revised later a point or two and reliable in showing the trend. He said there is no way Xi’s minders would have allowed him to visit Wuhan if they were covering up large number of deaths in the area.

256 thoughts on “COVID 19 salon 3/4”

  1. Thanks Brian

    Yes, finding the true source is very important.
    Didn’t Qld (in particular) have trouble with an equine disease spread by bats?

    So it may be that a primary animal source was not actually sitting in a cage in a “wet market”; the animal in the cage may have been infected by a wild colleague*. Perhaps wild bats were vectors of the disease, perhaps ‘super spreaders’, perhaps without symptoms; and which bat-seller or snake-retailer or pangolin merchant was going to be super fussy about a disease she didn’t notice? Apparently viruses are really tiny.

    So a wet market may not have been the origin.
    It might have been an efficient incubator.
    It may have been the primary location in which humans became infected.

    The pangolin trade needs some investigation.
    It is claimed that pangolin skins have magical, mystery powers.
    It’s a cultural thing.
    Rhino horn is much sought after too ( a cultural thing).
    Whale meat is superb, to some East Asians (culturally speaking).

    * years ago at a small aviary in Australia we saw a parrot (sitting on the top of one of the cages, free as a bird) communing with its imprisoned cousin. Heart rending. And infection-sharing, no doubt.



    PS after the recent Brotel stories, I will refrain from any comment on Richard Kock.

  2. I’ve seen some of the performance of Trump and his son-in-law. Morrison and co have been less than satisfactory but they’re light years ahead of the national disaster in the US.

  3. Didn’t Morrison call this a pandemic before China and the WHO, and got criticised for it ?

  4. Brian: At this point it is unproductive to analyse what should or should not have been done in the past unless it is relevant to the actions that need to be taken now and in the future. (This doesn’t mean no review when the crisis is over.)
    At the moment we have a dud leader who spends too much time babbling on the box trying to reverse the negative perception too many people have of his performance during the bushfire crisis. It would help if he got out of the way and let good communicators do the communicating. These could be public servants or some of the better government communicators.

  5. At this point it is unproductive to analyse what should or should not have been done in the past unless it is relevant to the actions that need to be taken now and in the future.


  6. I did mentioned it in previous thread and provided relevant links about the lack of communication skills and transparency from the top, as well as ironically the branding of the situation and expected outcome in marketing terms. Morrison is a dud but also a stooge of the contemporary squattocracy of the economic realm. He acts accordingly and it will end up in tears one way or another. Perhaps now is not the time to tear him down. But the current regime needs to be more open and specific what their plans are in terms of the pandemic and economy to avoid a sell out of pitch forks at Bunnings. We are early in on the this experience, some places are two or three weeks ahead and there you can see frailing moods, people getting restless with too much time on their hand or worried witless about the future.

  7. I heard Minister Hunt and the Chief MO give a press conference (on ABC News Radio) about a week ago.

    The Minister was calm, measured and seemed to understand the medical and logistics problems.

    No boasts.
    He said “This week we received X masks and there are Y due early next week but I’m not going to count them yet.”

    The whole emphasis was on social distancing and preparing hospitals. It seems to me the nation has bought time…. which must have allowed planning and physical preparations. For example converting standard hospital beds into ICU.

    Small glimmers of hope. Could it be correct that ordinary, standard CPAP machines might be effective in helping some patients (rather than repirators)? What would I know.

    Mr J, I recall many medicos interviewed by journalists, expressing puzzlement and concern that the “official pandemic declaration” seemed slow in coming.

  8. Zoot: Interesting to get a glimpse into how some parts of the world “think”. It s a bit scary.

  9. Mr A, who ever thought up the “social distancing” même out to be strapped in a chair and forced to watch hardly normal ads nonstop for a week.
    You don’t need to work for Saatchi & Saatchi to understand the difference of ‘physical distancing’ and ‘social distancing’. In these times when we need each other more than ever. ‘Muddled’ is just too kind of a description for such essential communication.

  10. Mr A, it would help if the ABC “ journalists” weren’t scathing about everything Morrison does from their safe seats.

    I’ve got a great many criticisms of the measures thus far but trying to calm the panic in a time of confusion is a tight rope Morrison is on and going OK.
    Not so much the media.

    Time will tell the eventual health/economic outcomes.
    There just too many unknowns yet to be sure.

    I will again stress, it’s the State Governments responsibility for health preparedness and the Fed for quarantine. Both found lacking.

  11. Inside story had an article, “Let’s not waste this crisis” It talks about integrating private and public hospitals to cover the medical workload better.
    It also talks about the real problems with limited regional medical infrastructure and trained people to deal with the crisis and/or move patients to city resources. (My years living in the serious outback including being responsible for emergency services for a mine and town of 1000 doesn’t fill me with confidence that the town would get the resources it would need if the virus reaches the town.
    My take is that some of the trained people shortage could be met by very targeted training of assistants that could help the experts be more productive.

  12. John, to get decent health services in Qld you need to be in range with one of the teaching hospitals outside Brisbane, which I think means Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Rockhampton, Townsville, Cairns. Even then anything complicated will be medevacced to Brisbane. For years my brother-in-law drove about 3 hours to Toowoomba and got a very fair km allowance from the public purse.

    One of the problems is that a lot of the staff in rural Qld are overseas trained and the cultural fit is not always good. Mark had a research project lined up to study the issue. Actually approved, and then cancelled by Wayne Swan as he struggled for a budget surplus.

  13. As to “Let’s not waste this crisis” I agree completely. Some of the temporary improvements like the increase to Newstart will be pared back, because the current mob have indicated that they want to stick with the tax cuts and won’t get into savings on negative gearing or franking credits. The passion for small government is likely to resurface.

    OTOH the Qld Government Chief Entrepreneur thinks it is a good time to be alive, and was noting that plenty of people are looking on the present situation to do new things, or old things differently.

  14. Mr J

    My point there was a criticism of the WHO, being too slow to “declare” a pandemic. The critics were (as I recall) epidemiologists in Europe and North America, not so much Australian. For us, it was an earlyish stage. But the infections were being seen in Taiwan, Iran, and beginning to be spread in several Eutopean countries.

    The WHO was saying “be careful”, but not making its declaration.

    There were dark mutterings that WHO was under pressure from the PRC, not to declare.

    In a sense, it didn’t matter. Any govt anywhere in the world which was paying attention, was perfectly capable of making preparations and deciding (for example) whether it should have staff checking every arriving passenger’s temperature at airports and ports. Or prohibit arrivals from particular regions.

    I applaud the prohibition here on returning or first year University students from the PRC, unless they self-quarantined elsewhere. Without that, every State capital in Australia most likely would have become a COVID “hot spot”, thoroughly dwarfing the Ruby Princess effect. Up Ship Creek with not much hope of paddling.

    My view is that this Federal Govt, so far, has made some reasonable decisions. Not the best performer in the whole world, but far from the worst. Credit where credit is due.

    Making the emergency payments a fixed amount seems the fairest way.

    By the way, Mr J, I agree that many of the ABC journalists have been shrill to the point of hysteria. Not helpful. The sky was not falling down: it doesn’t help medical centres (GPs, hospitals) to have mass anxiety. Thousands of false negatives on the phone or fronting up. Amongst the ABC fearmongers I would single out Fran Kelly. But that may be unfair, there might well be worse individuals (and the producers who help select interview topics and interviewees).

    Personally, I’ve found more reliable information through this blog and its links and other sources.

    One of the habits that ABC journalists have, when a new crisis arises, is to use as their main sources a parade of special interest groups.

    This didn’t begin with COVID.
    It’s been going on for years.

    “How will the bushfires and smoke affect…..”
    This animal shelter
    That boutique tourist accommodation
    This builder of rammed earth cottages
    This summer concert that the reporter simply loves
    This caravan park
    That artisanal beekeeper


    OK, it’s good to have illustrative examples and make a general problem concrete in some way. But it’s also lazy journalism.

    As if “opening the lines to talkback” gives a picture of every day life. In the 60s and 70s, TV journalists began using the so-called Vox pop = random interviews of 15 seconds in the street. Sound bites before pollies saw their value to pollies. Lazy journalism.

    the ancient Romans said
    Vox populi vox dei
    I think that’s right.
    “The voice of the people is the voice of the gods”


    And the Romans now, sing from their balconies, bless them.


  15. Sacra Bleu! “Coronavirus fishing restrictions vary from social distancing reminders to fines.”
    “Among the many casualties of coronavirus has been clear and concise information on when — and where exactly — an angler can drop a line.
    Victoria is currently Australia’s only state or territory that has banned recreational fishing, imposing on-the-spot fines of up to $1,652.
    Western Australia is encouraging fishers to stay home.
    Other states and territories say recreational fishing is allowed as long as people follow social distancing regulations.
    However, each state and territory has interpreted the rules slightly differently and there are important details that need to be understood to fish legally.
    Vic seemed to be the most extreme: ” For Vic:
    “A Government spokesperson said:
    “People cannot participate in recreational activities like they normally would, such as fishing or boating.
    “They need to stay home if not for their own health, but for the health of their loved ones and the wider community.
    “If people do not follow the directions of the Chief Health Officer, Victoria Police can fine individuals $1,652 on the spot.”
    Emphasis on the idea that we should be ONLY going out for ESSENTIAL activities while spending the rest of our time cowering in our homes is over the top and not good for our morale or general health.
    What we should be doing is being thoughtful about what we want to do and when we should do it.
    For example, I recognize that shopping is essential and that there is some risk going to the supermarket and decided that I can reduce the risk in my supermarket by planning my shop so that I don’t go very often and going after about 6.30 pm because the number of people in the shop is much lower. I can reduce the risk further by trying to avoid situations where it will be hard to keep the magic distance. I also hold my breath when it is hard to avoid passing close to people.
    Shopping could be made safer by:
    1. Limiting the numbers in a shop at any one time. (Already starting to happen.) AND
    2. Making the aisles one way to reduce the need for people to pass. (It would also help if foot paths were one way where there is a path on both sides of a road.)
    3. Put up hold your breath while passing signs.
    Another thing I do is stay conscious of wind direction. If you are talking to people try and position yourself so that the wind is not blowing from one person to another.
    Bike riding is an important source of high intensity exercise for me. Since the virus crisis started I try and stay on bikeways that don’t have much traffic and avoid riding at weekends because the bikeways have more users at weekends. (More than the one or two I might pass on a one hr ride during the week.)
    As for canoeing and fishing I launch my canoe 50 m from where I live, don’t go near anyone while launching and have plenty of places where I could fish without being close to anyone.
    We should be thoughtful about what we do and how we can minimize risks. But this shouldn’t mean that we only do things that are “essential.” Staying sane and enjoying life as much as practical is important.

  16. Mr J

    Something to gladden your heart on Palm Sunday.

    Latika Bourke, writing in Nine newspapers from London, reports an opinion that the PRC could be sued under international law, because of its initial cover-up of the COVID19.

  17. From an article by Greg Sheridan (The Australian) praising the Federal Govt’s pragmatism:

    [PM Morrison and Health Minister Hunt] they have moved heaven and earth to flatten the curve, to buy time and to increase the number of ventilators. They will double the normal supply of 2200 to 4400, by using all the anaesthetic machines and ventilator-type equipment normally used in operating theatres and for elective surgery.

    Beyond that, ResMed will make 500 ventilators of the type used at home by people suffering, say, motor neurone disease, who can’t breathe on their own. It will also make 5000 of a less invasive ventilator that is a kind of glorified sleep apnoea device. These are not perfect for intensive care but better than nothing.

    If the first 500 ResMed invasive ventilators work perfectly well, ResMed will probably be asked to keep making them.

    We shall see……

  18. ABS

    In 2017 there were 1,255 deaths due to influenza, recording a standardised death rate of 3.9 per 100,000 persons.

    I suspect that number will be hugely decreased.

    In other areas deaths will increase due to the current government actions, not to mention the upcoming added deaths due to the next decade of global and National recession.

  19. Apparently the NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has announced that a criminal investigation will be launched into “the Ruby Princess ” disaster.

    At ten deaths (and counting) I think disaster is an apt description.

    What laws were broken?
    The Commissioner said “all agencies” will be investigated.

    (Can anyone tell us, would a coronial enquiry still go ahead? Can the Coroner call State public servants to give evidence? )

  20. Given our Yankee cousins’ fondness for litigation there must be a class action or two being prepared against POTUS.
    Fox News is already staring down the barrel. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving company.

  21. … deaths due to the next decade of global and National recession.

    How do recessions kill people?
    A recession is an artifact of accounting. Your statement is analogous to warning of the deaths due to double entry bookkeeping.

  22. I don’t understand why some State Governments are being blamed for these cruise ship infestations entering.
    Constitutionally the ports and national quarantine are Federal responsibilities, the ongoing health responsibilities resides in the State jurisdiction.

    We’ve got to get Government levels to concentrate on their core areas of Constitutional responsibilities rather that root around in matters that distract and divert them.

  23. Zoot, you may do just fine in the inevitable upcoming global economic depression, maybe not the folk you care about more than yourself, if there are any.

    We’ll see how Greta’s dream of the end of perpetual economic growth works out.
    Enjoy your dole payments while they last.

  24. Oh, I dunno Mr J.

    Health responsibilities a State matter?
    So would it be a State matter, whether already tested passengers be allowed to disembark and make their way back to Port Augusta or Melbourne or elsewhere in NSW before their test results are known, and everyone else off down the gangplank without testing or 14 days’ isolation?

    I reckon that would be a State matter.

    And quite a few silly journalists are pursuing the NSW Health Dept over it. Are those journalists on a meaningless frolic??

    Down here in Victoria, the most recent arrivals at Melbourne airport have been escorted to hotel rooms for compulsory isolation .

    In my view, that’s an example of a State Govt taking seriously its responsibilities for the health of Victorian residents. As I understand it, the Vic Govt is paying those hotel bills.

    As a Vic taxpayer, I reckon that’s a wise (precautionary) investment of taxpayer dollars.

    Ms Berejiklian isn’t looking too flash just now. Will be interesting to see how her Health Minister fares. Did you catch his recent Press Conference on telly? Difficult to hear him in the strong winds.

    His answers were blowin’ in the wind

    Mr Dylan (not Dylan Thomas, mind)

  25. I don’t understand why some State Governments are being blamed for these cruise ship infestations entering.

    I think it’s got something to do with the Federal Government only being a backup.
    And casting aspersions at me doesn’t explain how recessions kill people. Do they carry assault rifles as a result of their constitutional right to bear arms?

    • (Can anyone tell us, would a coronial enquiry still go ahead? Can the Coroner call State public servants to give evidence? )

    I’ve been following this one a bit and may do a post.

    I heard the police commissioner on the radio. He said there would be a coronial inquiry as well as a police inquiry run by Homicide.

    He said he welcomed a coronial inquiry as it would keep them, the police, honest, which they must be if the public is to have confidence. He sounds as though he meant it.

    I believe class action lawyers are more than stirring.

    My question is whether there will be multiple coronial inquiries since the deaths have been spread around.

  26. Jumpy, Matt Wordsworth, who reads our TV news, is still a working journalist and does a briefing about the news on local radio here most days just before 1pm.

    He said that before the passengers were released there had to be three green lights. One is from Border Force, who are only concerned about whether the passengers had legal permission to enter the country. There was never a problem in that regard.

    The second green light has to come from Biosecurity Australia.

    The third was a NSW Health clearance, which was the main issue.

    As I understand it there was thought to be a not unusual flu cluster, and the boat management had ordered two ambulances. I think only one was used. The woman was transferred directly to hospital and later died from the virus.

    However, there had been some virus checks done in NZ and from the boat, and I believe none were positive.

    The longer story suggests that the boat management suspected or knew they had a real problem, and were extremely anxious to disgorge their human cargo.

    Gladys Berejiklian implying Border Force had some meaningful role was deflective politics, and unhelpful.

    There is more to the fuller story. The journos have mostly been asking the wrong people and believing what any feral tells them if it suits.

    But the law will grind on and it will be of great interest as to what it finds.

  27. In 2017 there were 1,255 deaths due to influenza, recording a standardised death rate of 3.9 per 100,000 persons.
    I suspect that number will be hugely decreased.

    I assume you are saying in your own idiosyncratic way that COVID-19 will kill less people this year than flu did in 2017. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
    If there are less COVID-19 deaths this year it will be due to the measures taken to disrupt the pandemic. Those draconian restrictions of your freedom (and ours) will have saved lives.

  28. For Sir Jumpy of the Central Marches: Just in published “Is capitalism dying or just in isolation during the coronavirus pandemic?”
    “As a free-market economy, successive governments of all persuasions for the past half-century have embraced the idea that government should not run commercial enterprise. They’ve preached privatisation, asset recycling and the fundamental belief that free trade and minimal government intervention will maximise wealth and lift society as a whole.”
    But it is a philosophy now being questioned, and not just here. For while the theory of free trade, and the mathematical formulae that underpin it, still hold true, many economists over the years jettisoned an equally important concept on the other side of the ledger.
    They forgot about distribution. They stopped thinking about how the spoils are divided. They looked on without a care as the wealthy became insanely rich while working class living standards across the developed world declined.
    In the space of a few months, as a health pandemic has gripped the world, all our preconceived notions of economic management are being questioned.
    Community suddenly has replaced competition as our primary motivating force.”
    At the end of WWII Australia realized that free trade had left us vulnerable when something like WWII reduced our capacity to import all the things we needed. As a result new industries started that would not have survived without protection.
    Internationally we also did things to stabilize currencies and and….
    In addition, the threat of Communism resulted in countries and businesses acting to ensure workers got a better deal under conservative governments
    Then we had the Vietnam war that was partly driven by the desire to “stop another Czechoslovakia.” This war and conscription reduced the confidence of the younger generation in the wisdom of their elders.
    One of the ersults was a swing towards free, unfettered markets, floating curencies etc.

  29. Zoot, there was an article in the AFR today that told us there are normally 160,000 deaths pa in Australia, or roughly 440 per day. The author opined that in 2020 the tally could be less than that. He didn’t say why, but I think he may have reasoned that with less activity going on more of us oldies may linger longer.

    When all of this started Mark and I checked the Australian death stats, and from what we were told about likely infection and death rates we reasoned that 60,000 might die, but noted that some of these possibly would have died any way from other causes.

    I can’t replicate what we were thinking back then, but it is safe to say we look as though we are going to do way better than that.

    Should we praise our leaders?


    But an alternative reality if we had someone like Bowtell in charge would have been the ‘scare the sh*t out of us’ early, like they did with the HIV campaign, widely praised around the world.

    Instead of measuring ourselves against Italy and Spain we may have aspired to measuring ourselves against the likes of Taiwan. Population 23 million, total cases 363, never more than 30 a day, and last I heard, hadn’t even locked the joint down.

    We should try to learn from and aspire to the best. It isn’t too late.

    I don’t think we need a scare campaign now. Just complete information shared, and aspire to excellence in tracing, isolation etc.

    We proceed from where we are.

    The AFR article also said we need to test a structured sample, like the pollsters do, or used to, to get a grip on what is happening. Hunt said the other day that with our superior testing we have a good idea what is going on.

    The truth is we can’t get a proper handle on what the virus does unseen, so reproduction rates, the proportion of serious cases, and death rates, are still not known.

    Or so it seems to me.

  30. Agreed Brian. I get fed up with the horse race thinking of our Mackay correspondent who can’t seem to grasp that it’s not just the total deaths that’s important.
    By taking the second best option of locking things down we have increased the chances of our health system not being overwhelmed, which would have led to many more deaths than usual (and not just from COVID-19). (Gawd that’s an awkward sentence but I think you’ll know what I’m getting at. Don’t have time to clean it up – have to go collect my dole)

  31. Zoot I think I agree, but I have to maker a final choice on which pharmacy I’m going to get home delivery from (where I am there are about 7 pharmacies to reasonably choose from) and tend to some family correspondence.

    Friday week ago a cousin died, nothing to do with Covid 19. I’m younger than the youngest of that family, and he was the fourth of nine to pass on, as it were. I didn’t know him well, having left the district as a teenager, and when I was a boy he was a man, and we were both quite shy.

    However, there is other trauma in the family as well. I’m continuing to work, being physically separate and going cashless. For the last month or two I’ve been busier than I have been for a while.

    I was looking forward to cataract surgery for a break, which would have meant 2 weeks off, but that has been cancelled, although it is highly unlikely that the Qld Eye Hospital will be called upon to help with Covid 19.

  32. Yeah go fetch your double-dole, your welcome.
    My comment that you quoted at 11:39 AM is as written, your interpretation is wrong.

    And no, I can’t grasp that total deaths are not important.
    In talking about covid19 related deaths v government response related deaths.
    Thank goodness we have independent Nations that have differing approaches so we can learn from and change if possible.

    I get the feeling you’d rather the UN or WHO or some global panel of “ World Leading Experts “ to dictate the perfect response for every Country, State, region, town, street, home and individual.

    No wonder the socialists are fuckin up the global warming problem with that same approach. It doesn’t work.

  33. Brian, Taiwan is a bit unique in its distrust of China and a recent close history with other China viruses.
    We could certainly learn from them alright.

  34. In 2017 there were 1,255 deaths due to influenza, recording a standardised death rate of 3.9 per 100,000 persons.
    I suspect that number will be hugely decreased.

    As written that means you suspect the number of deaths due to influenza in 2017 will become much less than 1,255 in the future.

    Which is nonsense.

  35. Ok, you think these government measures and covid 19 attributions won’t reduce 2020 influenza deaths total and I do.
    Let’s see next year.

    You also believe huge economic depressions don’t add deaths, so, I’m pretty confident.

  36. you think these government measures and covid 19 attributions won’t reduce 2020 influenza deaths total

    I have never stated that.
    I asked you to correct me if I was wrong. Instead you responded with abuse. Had you explained yourself instead, you would have found I agree that the lockdown will almost certainly reduce the incidence of flu. It should also reduce the incidence of every other infectious disease.

  37. You also believe huge economic depressions don’t add deaths

    I have also never said that.
    Just for you I’ll repeat it. Recessions and depressions are artifacts of accounting. They don’t kill people.
    More people die during depressions because our system does not distribute wealth in a way that ensures everybody receives the necessities of life.

  38. There you go, it was not nonsense, I was correct, you now agree.
    All is peaceful again.

  39. Oh no, peace interrupted !
    Your latest comment disagrees with itself.

    Could someone else please help this poor fellow out, Ive had enough of his analytic stupidity for today?

  40. There you go, it was not nonsense

    What you wrote was nonsense.
    What you meant made sense.
    Perhaps you should have spent less time making that teacher cry.

  41. Reduced contact (for a few months?) will doubtless reduce the numbers catching (and hence deaths caused by) infectious diseases.

    ‘flu, whooping cough, typhoid, pneumonia caused by infection, maybe a few STDs??

    I predict another factor this winter {do you have winters in Qld??} may be a higher proportion of oldies getting their ‘flu vaccinations this year. Because
    1. last year’s ‘flu was horrible
    2. they’ve heard that having ordinary ‘flu AND COVID19 is a very, very bad idea

    But I’m no medico.

    If you believe, Mr J, that recessions or depressions cause the overall death rates to rise…. is this because of
    a) more suicides?
    b) more marital murders?
    c) more drunken aggression?
    caused indirectly by business failures and unemployment….?

    Or is it a much more subtle and malignant effect you anticipate, i.e. that poverty, unemployment, poor nutrition, inability to pay medical costs, homelessness, or hopelessness
    tend to lead to higher mortality rates, including for diseases or deficiencies that should be quite easily prevented

    If it’s that, then you may understand why some folk who visit this blog HATE poverty with a passion. And want policies enacted to reduce its negative effects.

    Welcome to social democracy, Mr J.

  42. Hahaha !

    Welcome to social democracy, Mr J.

    Not so fast Mate, I’m not into voting socialism in ( which is the definition of social democracy in my book. Perhaps you have a different definition that you could )

    Anyway, the next 2-4 weeks will be peak China virus 19 in Australia I recon, work has started to slow in my area. Next year could get seriously ugly commercially.

    For the first time in my business life I’m actively clawing back my tax dollars back to see my Men survive this government shutdown.
    It’s more of risk to their well-being than the viruses.

  43. Mr J

    Would you care to comment on the reasoning in these sentences?

    and I quote….

    Or is it a much more subtle and malignant effect you anticipate, i.e. that poverty, unemployment, poor nutrition, inability to pay medical costs, homelessness, or hopelessness
    tend to lead to higher mortality rates, including for diseases or deficiencies that should be quite easily prevented

    If it’s that, then you may understand why some folk who visit this blog HATE poverty with a passion. And want policies enacted to reduce its negative effects.


  44. Mr A, I HATE poverty too.
    That’s why I’m on the side of the biggest reducer of poverty the World has ever developed, Capitalism.
    The evidence is undeniable.

    Ask Venezuelans how Social Democracy is working out. They voted socialists in after being quite Capitalist. ( Marx dream opportunity, cherry ripe for the transition)
    Anyone’s guess how badly they’re affected by this latest China virus on top of crippled economy.

  45. Tiger at New York’s Bronx Zoo tests positive for coronavirus as COVID-19 surges in US
    “A tiger at the Bronx Zoo has tested positive for the new coronavirus, in what is believed to be the first known infection in an animal in the US or a tiger anywhere, a zoo spokesman said.

    Key points:
    Seven animals have fallen ill at the Bronx Zoo in New York City
    All the animals were in contact with the same worker
    This is believed to be the first known infection in a tiger
    The four-year-old Malayan tiger named Nadia — and six other tigers and lions that have also fallen ill — are believed to have been infected by a zoo employee who wasn’t yet showing symptoms, the zoo said.” and
    “There have been a handful of reports outside the US of pet dogs or cats becoming infected after close contact with contagious people, including a Hong Kong dog that tested positive for a low level of the pathogen in February and early March.”
    Question is how many other species could be infected by contact with virus affected people or surfaces etc. contaminated by people? And transfer it back to people?
    Seems to me the more we know the scarier it gets. (We are not sure yet what species was the source of the virus that has infected people.)

  46. That’s why I’m on the side of the biggest reducer of poverty the World has ever developed, Capitalism.

    I could be convinced, but going by your earlier remarks on this forum the only way it could deal with COVID-19 is to sacrifice as many people as it took to “save the economy” (well, they’re old and in the way aren’t they).
    And after 300 or so years of “the biggest reducer of poverty” doing its best people are still dying from widespread poverty. It’s lamentably inefficient. I’m sure humanity could come up with a better way.

    • (We are not sure yet what species was the source of the virus that has infected people.)

    I think they are pretty sure it started with bats. They live in great density, and apparently individuals can move from one mob to the other. The bats themselves have been around for many millions of years, and have evolved defence systems, or rather self-repair systems which allows viruses to live in them without hurting them.

    Hope I’ve got that right!

    Ambi, from upthread, the bat/horse thing is known as the ‘Hendra virus’, after the Brisbane suburb near Eagle Farm Racecourse where it first happened. Still deadly, I believe, but the market isn’t big enough to develop a vaccine.

  47. Thanks Brian.

    Bats, eh?

    Bats in the belfry is difficult enough.
    Bats in the market should be a thing of the past. At a certain point (pandemic? whale populations dropping) “cultural practices” must come into question.

    Society exists.
    The world community exists.
    Both can do better.

  48. Ambi, the program goes into how embedded the wild meat trade is, from memory providing work for about 6 million.

    In part it is a source of protein, but the tricky one is the deeply embedded unscientific use of animal product, like ground pangolin shell powder to do all sorts of things, including mothers’ milk.

    Chinese attitudes to animals and nature have been ordinary at times. Unfortunately they are not alone.

  49. Today’s news is unequivocally good. I think 1.7 or 1.8% increase in Australia, and 1.3% in Queensland.

    Have a look at the graphs on this site. ‘Active cases’ have peaked and dipped, and ‘recoveries’ exceed ‘new cases’. Could be the turning point right there.

    Mackay has about 80,000 people from memory. Jumpy will benefit if Brisbane and others do the right thing with physical separation. Otherwise it would have ended up being completely gruesome, with Italy and NY looking like a school picnic, if the virus was let rip. Haven’t time to find the link, but Background Briefing has a cautionary tale about what did and what might have happened in Horsham.

    32 active community cases in Qld with unknown sources. Wider testing in Cairns, Gold Coast and Brisbane as a result to try to throttle the little sod.

  50. Ambi: Flying foxes are a traditional food of Aborigines and numerous other societies across the world. They are big enough to be worth hunting even though, according to older missionaries, the eaters had a distinctive stink about them. The unrelated insectivore species are mostly too small to be worth hunting unless really desperate.

  51. Melbourne L-plater has coronavirus fine withdrawn as civil libertarians voice concern
    “Police have withdrawn the fine they issued to a 17-year-old learner driver in Melbourne on the weekend, after she was pulled over for non-essential travel.
    Sheree Reynolds, who was giving her daughter Hunter a driving lesson from their home in Hampton to Frankston on Sunday, said she was shocked by the fine.
    Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said while the fine was legally issued, it had been withdrawn because there was some confusion within the community about whether driving lessons with a parent were allowed.”
    “Non-essential travel” is a pretty vague. Certainly don’t like the idea of the police making judgments about what is and isn’t essential and issue fines that are big enough to have a significant effect on a poor person’s finances.
    It is worth noting that some, if not most, non-essential activities are not going to add to the risk of virus infection provided care is taken to reduce risks. (Can anyone explain what the risk of a driving lesson is?)
    Is this version of insanity just a Vic issue?

  52. John

    That looks like a coomon sense resolution. Authorities have talked about it being OK to be with “someone from your own household” if out exercising in the open air.

    But in Victoria (Stage 3 restrictions) we have been told not to leave our homes unless it is for
    a) purchasing essentials
    b) attending a medical appointment
    c) taking exercise locally
    d) going to work

    So you can see how a driving lesson or recreational fishing in a tinny might catch the eye of Mr Plod.

    This is not a peculiarly Victorian madness.
    Bondi beach sunbathers copped condemnation; a few days later people were frolicking on St Kilda beach in Victoria.

    As I understand it, most Victorian Police on virus patrol have bedn warning people, moving them on; rather than issuing fines.

    In our small town a couple in their eighties went for a stroll a few days ago in a town park. Stopping briefly to sit and rest on a wooden bench, they were told to move on. They did. No big deal.

  53. Ambi, Queensland police have gone beyond warnings.

    Five clowns had a party in a room in Maroochydore. They were busted by police, and now will be each $1344 poorer.

    Their excuse was “Pandemic? What pandemic. Never heard of it!”

    Of course, ignorance is no excuse.

    On the weekend there was a motor rally organised somewhere south of Brisbane with 150 vehicles. Police attended and from memory 58 people were fined $1344. The organisers were probably identified and suitably dealt with.

    I believe police are taking photos of vehicles with camping gear heading off, and will pay for their stupidity.

    It seems we will have to see more of this for the knuckle-heads to get the message. Only when compliance is established will there be any consideration of allowing more commerce.

  54. I believe police are taking photos of vehicles with camping gear heading off, and will pay for their stupidity.

    So “ Suspected intent to commit Camping in a non-Secluded Location “ is a crime now ?

    Only when compliance is established will there be any consideration of allowing more commerce.

    Hmmm….there’s another German Authoritarian type thinker that had that same mind set.

    This thing has exposed the true colours of many folk.

  55. If I decide to jump on my motorcycle ( constantly camping ready, panniers and 40l dry bag ) for a blat to a secluded creek to catch a fish or two, by myself just to de-stress, how much money will Nanny want from me ?

    This shit is illogical and insane.

    There was a very prominent ATSI fellow pass away in Mackay from non-covid19 old age a couple of days ago.
    Good fucken luck keeping that funeral at 10 people max. My guess is none of the mourners will face fines.

  56. What reasoning is behind Nannies arbitrary exact $1344 figure ?
    Was 1343 not enough and $1345 too much for the crime of “ Suspected Intent to Pitch a Tent Away from Others “

    We’ve got a right to see their workings for this mathematical conclusion, we ( some of us ) pay them to do it.

  57. Lord Ambi of the high dray: “But in Victoria (Stage 3 restrictions) we have been told not to leave our homes UNLESS it is for
    a) purchasing essentials
    b) attending a medical appointment
    c) taking exercise locally
    d) going to work
    This may be OK for high dray riders because, as you well know, the Vic police tend not to pick on high dray riders and, if you can afford to be a high dray rider a $1000 fine is just a minor hit on petty cash.
    On a slightly more serious note, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned that social distancing restrictions will be in place in her state “until a vaccine is found”. This could take quite some time, certainly not a few weeks.
    The Vic rules may be OK as a short burst aimed at flattening the curve but they put unnecessary limits on what we do until a vaccine is found and enough people vaccinated to give herd immunity. Think for example of the restriction on “unessential travel.” I would put it to you that travel only becomes an issue if it is used to take people to a place where the passengers indulge in unsafe mixing with people or potentially infected animals.
    I would also put it to you that “taking exercise locally” may be more hazardous than going further for exercise if local exercise means exercising in areas where there are a lot of people or it is too hard to get intense exercise because the area is too flat or whatever.
    Perhaps you need to lift your level of critical thinking while riding around in your high dray.
    The 90 yr old priest across the road walks every morning, regrets that his gym has shut down and says he often drives to a place where he can “look at the sea.” In the Vic police state he would be fined for unnecessary travel to look at the sea!!

  58. Jumpy: “If I decide to jump on my motorcycle ( constantly camping ready, panniers and 40l dry bag ) for a blat to a secluded creek to catch a fish or two, by myself just to de-stress, how much money will Nanny want from me ?
    This shit is illogical and insane.”
    Tick on the wall mate. Couldn’t agree more as long as you meet the crowd and separation laws.

  59. Yes John

    I meant basically going for a walk around the block while maintaining your distance from others. Not running on “The Tan” around the Bot Gardens or using the walkway at St Kilda beach which is usually crowded at weekends

    The police are warning people and fining some, in Victoria, Brian. I didn’t mean they weren’t issuing any fines.

    John, one of our favourite walks is on a beach about 50km from home. Walked there a few weeks ago (Stage 2 then; social distancing ). I agree: that would be unlawful now. See “unnecessary travel”. I empathise with your priest neighbour. Many of us love to look at the sea.

    Mr J, your reference to Herr Hilter at 6.13pm was completely unnecessary.

    In Victoria they are telling us all to stay at home during Easter. (Here, it’s traditionally the last of the warm weather. Yes, I know, I know). So it wouldn’t matter whether you had planned to go to an isolated place with one family member, or to a bustling holiday spot. With camping gear on the vehicle it’d be clear to PC Plod that you weren’t going to the supermarket or the GP or to work. There’s your infraction right there. No need for Plod to surmise wgat your destination or probability of infection might be.

    Plod likes it simple. It is.
    Law abiding Victorians like it simple. It is.


  60. Mr A

    Mr J, your reference to Herr Hilter at 6.13pm was completely unnecessary.

    Conclusion jump fail, that wasn’t the one.

  61. Yes John, consider everyone that doesn’t live in your home has cooties and you don’t.
    Selfishness will help everyone.

    That said, go live life, it’s short.

  62. Mr J

    Who, then?
    King Fred?
    Kaiser Wilhelm?
    Otto von Bismarck?
    Herr Himmler?
    Konrad Adenauer?
    Erich Honecker?
    Karl Marx?
    The leaders of the Baader Meinhof gang?

    Ya got me stumped. First ball.

  63. Ambi: “I meant basically going for a walk around the block while maintaining your distance from others.”
    I was part of a UQ study once on the desirability of high intensity exercise. As a result I try and get 36 mins above double my resting heart rate every week. I get it from about 1 hr of high intensity bike riding twice a week. Used to get it by walking fast up Mt Coutha numerous times per week. A walk around the block wouldn’t provide anything like this and the proximity rules have shut down most gyms. You wonder how many Victorians will die or suffer other health problems because the government now blocks them from getting enough quality exercise?
    Having said all this I have made some changes to my behaviour as a result of the CV crisis:
    1. Don’t ride my bike at weekends because more, but not excessive, people on bike tracks.
    2. Don’t use a particular bike tracks because of numbers of people.
    3. Use a bike track that has very few people for most of my exercise.
    4. Do my beach walking on beaches at the end of my preferred bike track that have few people on the beach. (Plenty of room to maintain separation.
    5. Have stopped taking my canoe to launching places away from home. (Do all my launches about 50m from where I live onto waterways with negligible traffic.)
    6. More likely to shop at times when there a re few people in the shop.
    7. Be generally thoughtful about what i doo and how I get there.
    8. Started going to zoom meetings instead of face to face.
    Are thankful I no longer live in Victoria.

    • Good fucken luck keeping that funeral at 10 people max. My guess is none of the mourners will face fines.

    A few days ago my cousin was buried in Miles.

    Out there people usually give anyone dying a good send-off. In this one the funeral directors live-streamed the funeral, and then made it available on Facebook. You didn’t have to join FB, just ‘like’ their page.

    The whole design of the funeral was adapted to look appropriate on that medium. There were exactly six people plus the MC in camera view, seated under a temporary shade cover, with appropriate distancing. It was a beautiful and moving event.

    However, the cameras were running about 12 minutes before proceedings proper began A collection of about 6-8 extras had collected about 5-8 metres back under the shade of a tree.

    Before proceedings began a woman who obviously was working for the funeral company appeared and shooed them away. She knew what the law said, and no doubt had a thought for the reputation of the company.

    But it was all done with calmness and respect, no need for fucken luck.

  64. I have been concerned about the health impacts of people being cooped up indoors for weeks on end. Wuhan has just let people out after 11 weeks.

    Around here there are a lot of walks available, where you can walk or run. People do, families do and quite a lot of attractive young women do, and seem quite comfortable doing it alone.

    John, I recalled you research involvement but couldn’t remember the details. New Scientist has just published research on whether it is better to walk or run. I should do a short post.

  65. Ambi: Victoria’s stage 3 coronavirus restrictions raise MP concerns about civil liberties, ‘stupid’ measures.
    Victorian crossbenchers have called on the Government to immediately review some of the most draconian regulations put in place to suppress the spread of coronavirus, including directions prohibiting people sitting alone in public spaces and going fishing.
    Key points:
    Stage 3 restrictions should be refined to make them more sustainable, the backbench MPs say
    MP David Limbrick is worried people will start ignoring the rules if they don’t make sense
    Some Victorians say they don’t understand why they can’t go to a park if they practice social distancing
    The Reason Party, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens said many of the restrictions around solitary activities, or activities conducted as a household that abided by social distancing, needed to be fine-tuned to make them sustainable for the long-term.
    At the moment, there are only four reasons Victorians can leave their homes — for food and supplies, medical care, exercise, and work or education.
    Fiona Patten, the leader of the Reason Party, said while the Government had been doing a good job at stopping the spread of COVID-19, common sense had to prevail around some of the more extreme measures that had been put in place.
    “If someone is driving their car to put their baby to sleep, that should be OK,” Ms Patten said.
    Restrictions need to make sense, MPs say
    Ms Patten said she had also heard of Victoria Police members asking to search people’s bags to confirm they had been to the shops, which is currently one of the few valid reasons Victorians have for leaving their homes.

    Liberal Democrats MP David Limbrick said he understood the steps the Government needed to take to limit the disease, but they needed to make sense.

    What you need to know about coronavirus:
    The symptoms
    How to self-isolate
    The number of cases in Australia
    The 20-second handwash
    “If they don’t make sense, people will start to ignore them and that will undermine efforts to control this virus,” Mr Limbrick said.
    “I think there’s a lot of activities people can do where they can remain socially distant from other people, that are currently prohibited.
    “I feel like the Government is prohibiting everything to make the messaging and policing simpler.”
    AMBI/Brian: It is time for state governments to take a deep breath and think what is really necessary assuming that this crisis is not going away quickly. They should certainly not be punishing people for breaching something as vague as “non-essential” (But OK to request and explain why if they really think it is necessary.)
    Qld and NSW should talk about cross border restrictions and whether it makes sense for a restriction line to be south of the actual border and…..

  66. Meanwhile, in Joh Land: “Queensland to bring in new coronavirus restrictions, meaning even residents will need a special permit to enter the state.”

    “The Queensland Government is implementing strict new coronavirus rules for Queenslanders returning home from interstate.
    From tomorrow night, anyone returning home will need a special permit to cross back into Queensland.

    Anyone who has visited a virus hotspot like Sydney will need to quarantine for 14 days upon returning home.

    Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her message to Queensland residents was “now is not the time to go into New South Wales”, and warned border controls could get even tougher.

    “We are not ruling out further measures into the future, so you do not want to get caught across the border,” she said. “

    And the justification is??????

  67. John,

    Thanks for your comprehensive information.

    We Southerners are very happy that you are happy not to be living in Victoria. We follow the old maxim, ‘a place for everything and everything in its right place’.

    Since you have given us a proper reason for not living in Victoria, you are excused and we wish you well in your new location. We bear no ill will towards those Australians who choose to live in warmer, friendlier places. None whatsoever. And we sympathise with all those who find every now and then, a small twinge of regret for their move, however fleeting.

    We advise that one way of keeping sorrowful nostalgia at bay, is to support one of the Melbourne or Victorian teams in the AFL. Not heard of that? It’s a winter game. Formerly played by muddy oafs, thugs and the occasional athlete. We get quite excited about it, a bit of colour and movement in our otherwise drab and dark Winters.

    Also, do try not to resent the fact that Federal Parlt sat in Melbourne early on. It had to be somewhere. Eventually they bought a very dry sheep paddock further north. Any sheep still there?

    We still have a Parlt here, as your quotations from Fiona of Reason (formerly Sex) attest.

    With all good wishes for a safe, healthy and prosperous Easter, albeit a non-Victorian one.

    PS why have you stopped the NewSouthWelshpersons coming in? Sounds like the sort of snobbery Melbourne prides itself on. Please explain!!

  68. John,

    Councils controlling bayside beaches near the City of Melb have been inconsistent. I mean for people wanting to stroll along while maintaining distance. Open one day, police patrolling the next to move people off, then open again the day after….

    With your bike riding, I suppose you might have been puzzled by the recent news of a NZ Govt Minister who lives in Dunedin, getting into a spot of bother by driving his van to a car ark to do some mountain bike riding on a trail?

    His mistake? Oh, the van was one he uses for campaigning, I suppose. Or to keep in touch with his electors: it has a huge photo of him on its side. And his name in very large print.

    Jacinda was unimpressed.

  69. car park

    Not car ark.

    Let’s not bring Noah and his Ark into the story just yet…..

    Apres la deluge, c’est moi!
    Le Roi A

  70. Ambi: You might find it amazing but, when I lived in Melbourne nobody where I worked was interested in AFL.
    Had to wait for the West Coast Eagles before taking an interest. Living in WA meant that the Sat match of the day always included the Eagles so I became a supporter for a while.
    Melbourne was a bit like living on an Aboriginal reserve. The natives had a very foreign culture that was interesting in an anthropological sort of way. My wife’s take on the backward Vic education system was biased by finding people were amazed that she had been able to study French, Latin and German at a country high school in the fifties and “what school did you go to?” was considered relevant.
    We were also amused by the Victorians tendency to address senior people as Mr….. The only people who called the manager of the mine I worked in in the NT “Mr….” were taking the mickey.
    No doubt you would find most of the places I have worked strange and maybe anthropologically interesting.
    After years of working in places where almost everyone came from somewhere else we also found Jumpy’s Central Qld a bit strange too because most people we dealt with had only lived in Central Qld and people who had come from outside Aus were very thin on the ground.

  71. There have been quite a few interesting foreigners in my CQ bubble John.

    One such fellow that I was close with for a decade was Polish.
    A hippie type, walked about his tree filled horticulture rainforest naked, spoke 6 languages, ponytail, well over 6 foot tall, read books over smoko and very up with world politics and very good at his Trade. A more polite, generous, happy a soul as you could meet.
    Accept he had a visceral hatred of Jewish people though.
    I told him I don’t think I’ve ever met one but he said they were everywhere in Mackay, he could spot one a mile away.
    Still don’t understand and the topic only came up once.

  72. John I fixed the link on your comment of 10:49 AM, and while there tidied up a bit. Hope it’s OK now and I didn’t mess up.

    You ask:

      And the justification is??????

    Clearly Palaszczuk does not want crowds on the beaches of the Gold Coast (The Spit, Surfers and Coolangatta have been closed because too many SEQ people from elsewhere were turning up), and she doesn’t want our people sloping off to NSW. I think she would like NSW to close the border too.

    So she is saying that if you go to NSW getting back may not be straight forward. Reasons were given in the link:

      Police Minister Mark Ryan said the change meant drivers with Queensland licence plates would no longer be waved through at the border.

      “No one is immune to these stricter border controls… this is about making sure we’re all keeping safe and we’re all staying within our state and staying at home unless we’re going out for essential purposes,” he said.

      Ms Palaszczuk added: “You’re not supposed to be going on a holiday into NSW. What we’re saying to Queenslanders is, do the right thing, and stay in Queensland.”

  73. Jumpy, the link said:

      Eighty mourners were granted an exemption by the state’s top doctor to attend a funeral on Thursday for a “significant” First Nation elder who died in central Queensland.

      The service was given the green light by Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young, despite strict rules dictating only 10 people were permitted to attend a funeral.

    Jeannette Young said on TV it was a tough call. Why can’t you leave it at that instead of predictably grizzling?

  74. Coronavirus is hurting America’s place as a world leader while China appears to rise:
    “Reassessing America’s place in the world order
    Robert Spalding, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, believes coronavirus has shattered the “myth” of American global supremacy.
    As a former senior director of strategy at the National Security Council — the President’s most important advisory body — he offers a sobering assessment of America’s place in the world today.
    “I think the myth was that the US was still the main power acting throughout the world,” he told the ABC.
    A man in a face mask holding up a sign reading “We Need Protection Equipment”
    PHOTO: Health workers in New York have protested to demand more personal protection equipment as they treat COVID-19 cases. (Reuters: Mike Segar)
    He describes the current crisis, and America’s less-than-optimal response, as a “wow” moment for many in Washington.
    “All our pharmaceuticals are manufactured in China. All of our masks are manufactured in China. Basically everything is manufactured in China,” he told ABC.
    “We have this incredible logistics capability for deploying [military] forces abroad but it’s all dependent on the help of the Chinese Communist Party.”
    And he sees that as a clear and present threat to the United States.
    “We don’t have to have a conflict in the traditional sense of the word to actually be threatened by the fact our supply chains are over there [in China].”
    The message is that free trade globalization is not always in a countries interest (nor the interests of all citizens.)
    Time for a big rethink of free trade.

  75. Brian

    Jeannette Young said on TV it was a tough call. Why can’t you leave it at that instead of predictably grizzling?

    I’ll remember that the next time a non-ALP politician acts with cowardice and blatant racial prejudice.

  76. Jumpy, for Young it was an act of cultural sensitivity, with the event planners taking every measure to keep people safe.

    Yet they knew they would have to put up with puerile comment from the peanut gallery, which included the pathetic God-bother Tim Mander, the best the LNP can find as deputy leader of the opposition.

    Truly pathetic!

    There is a fair chance that if the authorities had not co-operated then the event would have gone ahead, less carefully planned, and then there would have had to be punishment.

    That would have been a worse outcome all around.

    Please understand we are dealing with peoples who are trying to maintain cultural identity, trying to live within the law, but who never actually ceded sovereignty.

  77. John, some are saying that the US is being revealed as a failed state. Trump’s latest pathetic manouvre is to try to deflect blame onto the WHO and to threaten to withdraw funding. This is a distraction people do NOT need when trying to save lives.

    Project Syndicate provides some valuable comment:

    Kenneth Rogoff – Mapping the COVID-19 Recession

    Dani Rodrik – Will COVID-19 Remake the World?

    Joseph Stiglitz – Internationalizing the Crisis

    Elizabeth Drew – The Trump Presidency Turns Deadly

    Jeffrey Sachs – The East-West Divide in COVID-19 Control

    Sachs points out that East Asia has been outperforming Europe and the US in controlling the virus, and that the West should pocket their pride and learn. East Asian economies have managed to stay more open as well.

    Sachs is on the money, I think:

      In the world’s advanced economies, compassion should be sufficient motivation to support a multilateral response. But global action is also a matter of self-interest. As long as the pandemic is still raging anywhere, it will pose a threat – both epidemiological and economic – everywhere.

    In our attitude to the crews of tour boats, and to casual workers, students and others who are residents but not citrizens, we have failed the compassion test miserably.

    Christian Porter says you have to draw the line somewhere. Why?

    Must there always be an undeserving category so that those who get from help from the government will appreciate it?

    Stiglitz’s comments on trade and debt are also worth following.

  78. And has Australia (so far) been outperforming East Asia?

    The b*stard Council here has closed our live bat market. Only dead ones available tor human consumption now. Nanny State. And the price of Pangolin has gone through the bl**dy roof. Before all this nonsense they were a reasonable figure.

    We need a bit of Invisible Hand working for the bat munchers.

  79. Brian, I don’t know or care about Tim Manders religious habits, but I do know he was a very good NRL referee.
    As such he’d be aware of the danger in applying the rules inconsistently.
    You lose control of the game and get the crowd baying for blood.

    Obviously there are some that excuse terrible calls if they go against a team they hate.

  80. Mr A, people in Countries where the invisible hand has a modest grip have no need to eat vermin.

  81. Mander was indeed a good referee, but you need to be a bit anal about rules to be a good referee.

    Mander is the bloke behind the parsons in schools program. Basically a fundamentalist Christian. Just the sort of bloke to run a sophisticated modern state.


    • no need to eat vermin.

    What do you classify as vermin?

    Dogs were wolves until they became ‘man’s best friend’. Chickens were once Chinese pheasants.

    On the farm growing up we ate wallabies, pigeons, plains turkeys, but not scrub turkeys (meat too tough), but didn’t eat snakes, goannas, frogs, dogs or cats as some do.

    Bats serve a useful role in the environment, for example in cross-pollination, and spreading seeds.

    Wild pigs and feral cats are vermin, but not, I think, bats as such.

  82. Seriously,

    One of the many topics we will “need to have a conversation about” in coming months and years, is public hygeine.

    I can remember the days when
    *mothers made sandwiches at State school tuckshops
    * there were tuckshops
    * people serving in delis and sandwich bars wore neither hairnets or thin gloves
    * mobile Chest Xray vans came to do a regular check for TB
    * contact tracing was done when a SE Asian student brought TB into Victoria (1970s)
    * you had the flying foxes/horse problem in Qld
    * SARS was considered difficult, ditto swine flu, with mass chicken culling, bovine encephalitis in UK etc
    * many nations had Quarantine Stations
    * seeing open drains in Denpasar
    * seeing stepping stones set across streets in Pompei so people could avoid walking in open drains
    * Aussies raised backyard chooks, ate rabbits they’d shot; killed and consumed calves or sheep on farms
    * ditto fish they’d caught, ducks they’d shot
    * I draw the line at possum, emu, wombat but crikey: wasn’t “bush tucker” all the go? We saw a brief TV doco showing an indigenous person caking an echidna in clay then baking it slowly. The spines came off easily when the the clay was removed.
    * there were no health regulations on school fetes selling jams, pickles, cakes, biscuits – all home produced in kitchens without certification
    * parts of Melb and Sydney and a lot of bushland or farm homes were unsewered

    How many early deaths does it prevent??

  83. Part of a much broader summary: “A grim milestone has been hit as the global death toll of COVID-19 passes 100,000, and in South Korea, recovered patients are testing positive in what appears to be a second round of the coronavirus.”
    On the recovered patients testing positive:
    “South Korea says recovered patients testing positive again
    South Korean officials report 91 patients thought to have recovered from the new coronavirus have tested positive again.
    Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), told a briefing the virus may have been “reactivated” rather than the patients being reinfected.
    South Korean health officials said it remained unclear what caused the second round of infections, with epidemiological investigations still underway.” Hope this does not mean being infected does not create immunity. Makes reaching herd immunity all that much harder.

    • you had the flying foxes/horse problem in Qld

    We still do, Ambi. There are country towns where the flying foxes take over trees near the centre of town, so the ground around becomes their lavatory, not to mention the noise pollution.

    You can almost bet that some enthusiastic animal rights people will defend the rights of these creatures.

    I’m afraid I would assert human rights, even if it meant some culling. Mercifully I have never had to confront this situation.

  84. Ah, interesting, Brian

    The citizenry of Melbourne was faced with an infestation of flying foxes in one part of the Royal Botanic Gardens, not far from the Yarra Creek.

    Solution? Park staff persuaded them to nick off. (From memory, using sound waves directed at the creatures.) The colony relocated to a bank of the Yarra in a reserve in Ivanhoe I think. = an inner north-eastern suburb, not a Walter Scott novel.

    Win-win: no slaughter during unseemly culling, new home for the refugee beasts; Bot Gardens still usable – quite an attraction for overseas and interstate guests.

    John: I wonder if that might be similar to malaria coming back years after a person’s initial, severe case? Is that ‘reactivating’?

  85. Brian

    What do you classify as vermin?

    Oh just the usual. Crop destroying, plagues of disease spreading, noisy stinking rats with wings.

    Obviously their numbers have exploded due to all year round western fruit cropping and they don’t die off in their millions in the drought years and lull seasons.

    How about just not eating them if alternatives are available?

    Perhaps rats too.

    ( as an aside, has there been anything I’ve ever said that you don’t furiously disagree with ? )

  86. That’s unfair Mr J.

    From memory, you agreed on some rugby matter but being a Mexican I didn’t follow the gist at all.

    “Vermin” is tricky.
    Recently people have been claiming that in the future, humans will need to get some of our protein from grasshoppers. I reckon a few wheat farmers would class those insects as vermin.

  87. Someone I know who lives in London calls pigeons “flying rats”. Yet people ate pigeon pie. And what about the squirrels. Do urban foxes spread disease in Britain?

  88. Mr A, first search for “ animals that carry most diseases “, then search for countries that culturally or out of necessity eat those animals.
    Now suggest if they stop that please, it’s spreading death to others. Like passive smoking only real.

    It’s incredible what the left will defend to the death if a conservative type doesn’t like something for legitimate reasons, regardless if it contradicts their other leftist principles.

  89. I’m of the opinion that ScoMo, Albo and their select small teams spent many many hours together coming up with this latest omnibus bill.
    It hasn’t got a dominant ALP or Coalition stamp either way.
    I recon ScoMo invite Albo ( although he wasn’t obligated to and many wouldn’t ) into the tent with swords sheathed.

    Who cares what the greens wanted, they’re irrelevant and silent.

    • ( as an aside, has there been anything I’ve ever said that you don’t furiously disagree with ? )

    Surprisingly, Jumpy, there has, but I don’t comment on everything that gets written here.

  90. Jumpy, Ambi is right about rugby league. I often agree with what you say there.

    On your comment @ 5:02PM I think I almost agree, but I’m not sure exactly what you are saying.

    Ideally it would be good to have the leader of opposition on a national cabinet. However, the current configuration seems to be working. They just have the nine leaders, no health people and no hangers on. So I’d incline to keep it that way.

    Albo doesn’t know what he thinks until he’s consulted with shadow cabinet, and at times the party room. It’s better he has a considered critique, even if it comes a bit later, rather than get involved with executive decisions. I’m saying I think that is better for democracy.

    When NSW and Victoria made it clear they were going to do what the felt they had to, Morrison recognised their right, recognised that the situation is not the same everywhere.

    Daniel Andrews when the press tried to get him to criticise Morrison, refused to do so, said Morrison had a tough job at the worst time and was doing it well.

    I was impressed with that, because it kept the attention where it should be.

    At the same time, I’m not happy with parliament not meeting for a long period.

    If the Greens and others have something to say, they should be listened to.

    I took your comment seriously. Are you happy with that?

  91. Interesting one: “What are stage 4 coronavirus restrictions and what could those measures look like for Australians?”
    The article does not define stage 4 but it talks about strong measures taken by other countries.
    At this point in time Australia’s stage 3 includes:
    “As of Easter Saturday, April 11, the rules in place at a federal level are:

    No indoor or outdoor gatherings of more than two people unless you’re all part of the same household
    People should not leave their house except for essential reasons: to shop for food or other essentials, attend work or education (if you can’t do this from home), exercise, or for medical care or compassionate needs
    Some state borders are closed except for people with exemptions for essential travel
    There can be a maximum of one visitor (not a member of your household) to your home — but some states are taking a less strict approach to this rule
    People must maintain a 1.5-metre distance from each other if they are in contact with members outside their household (ie. going to the shops, the workplace, out for exercise)
    Many non-essential venues are now closed to the public. Restaurants and cafes are only allowed to offer take away or home delivery, while pubs, gyms, cinemas, casinos and places of worship are closed. Some non-essential retailers are still allowed to be open as long as they comply with social distancing measures
    All travellers arriving in Australia must go into 14 days of self-isolation at a designated quarantine facility”

    Measures/proposed measures elsewhere are a bit disconcerting. For example:
    “New Zealand has described stage 4 as an attempt to “eliminate” the virus in the community after the outbreak was deemed unlikely to be contained and widespread community transmission was detected.
    On March 25, New Zealanders received a text message telling them they would have to stay wherever they spent that night for the duration of stage 4 measures and to only have physical contact with those they were living with.
    Schools have been completely shut down, even for children of essential workers, whereas those in all states and territories in Australia remain open to at least these families.
    All non-essential places of business have also been closed, including non-essential retailers.
    New Zealand is over halfway through its stage 4 lockdown, although the Government has warned the period could be extended.”
    The UK declared a lockdown on March 24, with Britons only allowed to leave their homes once a day for exercise, to shop for essential items like food, for any medical needs or to help a vulnerable person.
    However, over 70s and vulnerable people have been asked to remain indoors for a full 12 weeks while the country grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Two children watch the Queen on television, their backs to the camera.
    PHOTO: In the UK, there have been instructions for vulnerable people to not leave their houses for at least 12 weeks. (Reuters: Andrew Couldridge)
    Vulnerable Britons, including those going through cancer treatment or who live with medical conditions that can supress the immune system, have been told they shouldn’t even leave the house to get groceries or to exercise.

    Australia could introduce similar measures to protect people who are more likely to die from COVID-19.
    The groups already identified by the Australian Government as being at risk during the pandemic include:
    People aged over 70 and people over 65 who have pre-existing medical conditions
    People with weakened immune systems
    People with diagnosed chronic medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart and lung conditions, kidney disease and diabetes)
    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who have higher rates of chronic illness
    These people have already been strongly advised not to leave the home “unless absolutely necessary” but a stage 4 lockdown could see firmer measures taken to protect the most vulnerable Australians.”
    Didn’t like the bit about over 70s and vulnerable people have been asked to remain indoors for a full 12 weeks. Exercise is important part of the healthy living program for people my age and 3 months without vigorous outside exercise would leave me less healthy that I am now.
    Would be a bit pissed off if I had to spend 3 months looking from my balcony to the place where I now launch my canoe about 50 m away, a place where the risk of close human contact is negligible and couldn’t take long bike rides on a track with very few people.
    Premature death due to lack of exercise is just as fatal as premature death from the virus. We need to be careful re what is legally restricted and look for things we can do to reduce risk.

  92. John, I agree with your last three paragraphs, and I don’t have a lot of confidence that the authorities know what they are doing.

    Maslow said the three basics were food, shelter and safety, but leaving that to one side, because ‘safety’ in his terms did not include a rampant virus.

    The basics for health in old age, we are repeatedly told, are diet and exercise. To that you can add sleep, and mental well-being.

    Our mental states and immune systems will deteriorate if we can’t get both good eats and exercise.

    Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore have never locked down as much as we have, and are doing OK. Vietnam has locked down and is doing well if you believe the figures, which I tend to. Thailand is doing fairly well, but can’t stay locked down and feed itself for much longer.

    China locked down hard, but is now easing up, but all the while preparing to react to the same or bigger threat.

    These are the countries we should be learning from, rather than patting ourselves on the back because we are doing better than countries that were equally unprepared.

    Frydenberg said today the LNP was still the government of low taxes, “growing the economy” and suggested there would be no substantial change in trade policy or industry subsidisation.

    Please, everyone, understand that the leopard has not changed spots; there will still be structural inequity and an ‘undeserving’ class, because, apparently, you “have to draw the line somewhere”.

  93. Three worst things I have heard recently:

    One, Spain thinking of opening up because new cases are falling, but still 5,000 plus per day.

    Second, England, where some health personnel do not have protective gear, but are treating Covid 19 patients nevertheless.

    Third, Qantas staff don’t have to isolate after flying home infected people. Some are being infected, their families too, but don’t get paid if they don’t show up to work.

  94. BTW that bright spark, Wayne Pearce, said he had permission to restart rugby league.

    NSW police said they were free to do so, provided that they met health guidelines.

    Pearce thought that was his green light!

    So now all he has to do is work out how to have teams of no more than one and tackle from 1.5 metres away.

  95. Third, Qantas staff don’t have to isolate after flying home infected people. Some are being infected, their families too, but don’t get paid if they don’t show up to work.

    My oldest friend has a son who is a Qantas pilot on the Heathrow run, currently stood down. As well as hunting and gathering for his parents who are well within the most vulnerable group, he is supporting his partner who is a nurse in ICU caring for COVID-19 patients amongst others.
    He refused to fly people home from London because after each flight (3 or 4 days there and back) he would be obliged to spend a fortnight in quarantine without pay. For some reason the prospect didn’t appeal to him at all.

  96. On a less pessimistic note, so long as we’re going anecdotal, a long term Midwife friend of ours today recons the current policies of just home isolationan and the double-dole, given the huge uptick in alcohol sale may result in a baby boom in the early New year.

    She, being a public service health expert, said this number new babies may well exceed the amount of deaths from this latest China virus.

    That’s pretty good news.

  97. Zoot, your oldest friends son is a selfish coward.

    He earns enough to rescue Australians in this emergency.
    Your anecdote contradicts Brian’s third “ worst thing I’ve heard today.
    Perhaps a link to where this was heard may clarify things.

    I’m ever concerned about the medically depressed and anxious at the best of times, this constant doom merchandising from the ABC and MSM in general is bad enough, we as individuals would do better to turn to more optimistic outlets.

  98. Brian, I think it’ll be a boon for the first contact sport to restart.
    My guess it’ll be UFC rather than Rugby League.

  99. Brian: I think it was appropriate to take a hard line with the virus in the last few weeks but I am a bit concerned that some of the hard line is creating problems that could be avoided and that politicians are becoming addicted to hard lines and cops enforcing things that could be handled differently.
    For example:
    1. It is crazy to have the Qld exclusion line at the state boundary because this boundary runs through the middle of the Tweed/Gold coast mega city and people well south of the border have traditionally used Gold coast/Brisbane shopping, medical resources, theaters etc. rather far away Sydney or Newcastle. (There are various logical places South of Ballina that would have very little daily commute crossings.)
    2. Don’t like vague things like “un-essential travel” being used to fine people nor do I like the idea “staying at home” being enforced for the over seventies. (We are not all feeble and in need of intensive care.)
    3. I realize Morrison’s lack of empathy is a side effect of him being a robot who has not been programmed for human feeling, HOWEVER, what about the young (and others) who have found true love and actually want to spend time with time with their true love and even want to be closer than two arm lengths?
    BTW I have had a few ZOOM meetings in the last couple of weeks. One was an executive meeting, another a presentation on UBI equivalents where those listening could click the raise your hand button and another “meeting” with Hazel working out how to use it. Liked how easy it was to present documents and change the relative space allocated to the speaker and document. (Perhaps a ZOOM coffee some time?)

  100. First Jumpy. Making babies comes naturally, and tends to happen in times of external stress. Here’s a graffiti I picked up. It comes from Barcelona:

    Jumpy, Alan Joyce is using staff as an expendable human resource. So you are saying that the pilot should do his job under the dangerous work conditions specified by his employer, even though it might kill some of his family and promote the virus within the community where it will kill others.

    Everyone else has to isolate after contact with an infected person until they are cleared by testing. Why should Qantas have to work under different conditions?

  101. Brian, UFC is the Ultimate Fighting Championship run by Dana White. It’s Mixed Martial Arts ( MMA) based.

    On the QANTAS thing, im not convinced that the situation is as you paint it and if that is what is actually going on.
    I’d like to see the primary sources of the info to check its veracity first.

    Perhaps someone made a “ tuff call “ gave QANTAS an exemption, so we can leave it at that and stop the grizzle.
    I don’t know.

  102. On the QANTAS thing, im not convinced …

    Brian wrote what he had heard. I responded with what I had heard. Whether you are convinced or not is completely immaterial.

  103. Zoot, it is when Brian makes allegations like this,

    So you are saying that the pilot should do his job under the dangerous work conditions specified by his employer, even though it might kill some of his family and promote the virus within the community where it will kill others.

    I’ve asked both Brian and yourself for the source of this perceived situation without luck.
    As I said I don’t know yet.

    I do know that the Australian aviation sector is one of the most highly regulated in the world and QANTAS has a long record of being the safes for both passengers and staff.
    The story doesn’t make sense unless you prove it legitimate.

  104. I’ve asked both Brian and yourself for the source of this perceived situation without luck.

    When I commented I cited my source, the father of a pilot on the flights between Australia and Heathrow.

  105. From you, completely immaterial, and most likely fiction given your history of evasion and rejection of accountability.
    You did it to yourself, it didn’t have to be that way.

  106. Why didn’t you say that in the first place?
    Would’ve saved time and energy for both of us.
    BTW, media reports reflect the accuracy of my “fiction” but since they’re not the Daily Stormer you’ll probably call them fake news.

  107. What media reports fool, that’s what I’ve requested from the start.
    Then truth seekers can start a validity test and things can go forward.

    Matter of fact, forget you, your a pest intentionality of nett negative impact.
    I’m ignoring you for the benefit of the most important thread this blog has ever had.

    I suggest others do too.

  108. It’s about time you displayed some good faith instead of your usual bluster and obfuscation. Give us the media reports of your so-called midwife first.
    Alternatively you could always demonstrate your mastery of DuckDuckGo (which I believe is your search tool of choice).

  109. I agree that this is an important thread.

    Lives are at stake, in many countries. The Aussie economy is entering a big stress test. Ditto govts and Oppositions.

    Lives are also at stake when humans face medical crises, refugee surges, wars, bushfires, domestic violence, road collisions, gunshooting sprees; and in severe climates, droughts, famines.

  110. Mr A, the olde influenza virus kills more annually, we supposedly have vaccines and no one suggested destroying the economy for that.

    Struth, there are quite a few causes that put this thing perhaps as just a small nudge alone toward death.

    We haven’t panicked about any of those to these extremes.

    You do realise we’ve burdened another 2 or more generations with crippling National, State and Local Council Government debt to slightly extend the lives of lucky folk that have just experienced the easiest last 70 years of human existence?

  111. There’s a lot of incredibly fortunate old folk being very selfish.
    Which they should be, but should the government actively subsidies that selfishness at the expense of the young ?

  112. You do realise we’ve burdened another 2 or more generations with crippling National, State and Local Council Government debt to slightly extend the lives of lucky folk that have just experienced the easiest last 70 years of human existence?

    You do realise just how totally half-arsed wrong that statement is?

  113. “have just experienced the easiest last 70 years of human existence”

    yes, and tell that to the families of deceased babies or children; young and middle aged health workers; the deceased who had decades of vigorous life to look forward to.

    It’s not just about the elderly, frail expendables, Mr J.
    I dare say a few robust young Libertarians have been very ill also.

    “Ask not for whom the bell tolls.
    It tolls for thee.”

  114. (Mr J appears not to have been noticing that there is quite a spread of ages of seriously ill and deceased COVID infectees. )

    Here’s a clue Mr J: hospitals in Italy, China, Spain, the UK, the USA etc are NOT staffed exclusively by nurses, doctors, cleaners and specialists in their 70s and 80s.

    Ditto for the observed age ranges of cruise ship staff and cruise ship passengers.

    Surely you know a few nurses at hospitals, or GPs, or other hospital employees who are younger than 60? I think most Australians would…..


    PS: I hope you don’t suffer from that old Elementary Statistical/Logical Error, Mr J.

    It goes something like this.
    1. Most of those who succumb are very old.
    2. All of those who succumb are very old.

    That is fallacious reasoning Mr J.
    Here endeth the tutorial.

  115. Andrew Leigh on The Guardian Australia, has the temerity to suggest that “inequality is not inevitable in Australia .

    Things have come to a pretty pass when people in public life start start saying that sort of thing. Next you’ll be telling me that the Archbishop of Canterbury thinks inequality is horrid, too.

    Hasn’t he heard that Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you.” ??

  116. Jumpy “You do realise we’ve burdened another 2 or more generations with crippling National, State and Local Council Government debt to slightly extend the lives of lucky folk that have just experienced the easiest last 70 years of human existence?” Your comment appears to lead logically to sending everyone to the gas ovens when they reach 70. I hadn’t realized just how far right you are.

  117. Mr A, please go compare covid 19 stats to the common flu stats.
    Give yourself a tutorial of fact, I don’t need a reasoning built on sarcastic false assumptions.

    Your zoot is showing, tuck it back in Mate.

  118. And JD plays the Nazi card to boot.
    Situation – not normal- illogical lashing out.

    Calm the fuck down folks, no panicker is valuable in a crisis.

  119. Calm the fuck down folks, no panicker is valuable in a crisis.

    Says the Chicken Little panicking about the money.

    And John, how dare you suggest Jumpy would be in favour of gas ovens, he’s obviously a lethal injection fan.

  120. “to slightly extend the lives of lucky folk that have just experienced the easiest last 70 years of human existence”

    is very explicit, clear and specific, Mr J.

    You wrote it.

    It doesn’t matter what opinion you have of my sarcasm, or what you presume are my opinions. Your own words are there for all to see.

    If any of us is misinterpreting what you meant by that phrase, here is the place to inform us. Go ahead.

  121. Jumpy, as you’ve noticed people die. Greg Hunt said in a media release:

      Chronic conditions include arthritis, asthma, back pain, cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and mental health conditions. These are leading causes of illness, disability and death in Australia.

      In Australia, these common chronic conditions contribute to 61 per cent of the burden of disease, 37 per cent of hospitalisations and 87 per cent of deaths.

    In the end you have to die, and the doctors have to write something on the death certificate. Sometimes they should really just write “old age”.

    Hunt also said today that if we had let Covid 19 rip we would have had 15 million people would have been infected and probably 150,000 die. That’s at 1%, although the death rate is looking more like 6% at Johns Hopkins, with some infected still to die.

    Dr Norman Swan pointed out that four and a half months ago there was one infected. Now it is 1.8 million and 115,000 dead.

    See also This Is How Many People Die From the Flu Each Year, According to the CDC.

  122. PS there are about 160,000 deaths in Australia every year, or one every 3 mins and 11 seconds, so 150,000 from Covid 19 is large.

  123. Over Easter it seems Qld police held pride of place in issuing fines. We have been told that all fines issued will be reviewed and those which are deemed over-zealous will be withdrawn. Presumably that will include the poor bloke who got pinged for taking rubbish to the dump, when the dump was open to receive it. Noteworthy that Bunnings is open and I believe is well-patronized.

    John, back in this comment you said:

      It is crazy to have the Qld exclusion line at the state boundary because this boundary runs through the middle of the Tweed/Gold coast mega city and people well south of the border have traditionally used Gold coast/Brisbane shopping, medical resources, theaters etc. rather far away Sydney or Newcastle. (There are various logical places South of Ballina that would have very little daily commute crossings.)

    Ideally I would agree. However, there is little doubt Palaszczuk would have consulted her NSW counterpart who for her own reasons decided not to play ball. The problem really stems from Alfred Deakin, who grabbed as much territory as he could for NSW in the Federation carve up to make it the premier state.

    The Gold Coast has a population of 560,000 (7th largest city and more populous than Tasmania. There have been community outbreaks in Sydney, the Gold Coast and Brisbane. Sydney especially was looking like a basket case at the time the decision was made.

    I can’t find how many people go to the Gold Coast as visitors/tourists, at times like Easter, but Brisbane markedly empties out. It seems to be in the order of about 500,000.

    Obviously it would be not good for a flood of people to come to the GC and then fan out as they go back.

    In Italy over a million people shot through from the north when it first went bad. The same kind of thing happened in New York.

    WA has segmented the state and set up internal barriers. Qld no doubt considered the same.

    Qld daily new cases are now in single figures, and NSW are heading in that direction too.

    When Morrison, Murphy et al first got involved we were told that the virus was essentially unstoppable, we could flatten the curve, but the same number of people would be effected in the long run. Now people are talking about virus extermination rather than mitigation.

    So it was a tough call, but we may have a different perspective in hindsight, depending how things work out.

    Theaters are not open, but it surprises me if Ballina people can’t access specialised medical services on the Gold Coast.

    On Zoom, we are starting to put our foot into the water. Margot had a go, but appeared upside down in the first effort. However, our medical needs are complex, and we haven’t got everything sorted yet. I was due for cataract surgery, but it has been cancelled against the extremely unlikely prospect that the Qld Eye Hospital will be pressed into Covid service. So my regime of putting drops and gel (four different products), into my eyes around nine time a day continues.

  124. BTW road traffic on the highway around the GC was 13% of last year, which was held to be a good result.

  125. Jeepers Brian.

    Just suppose we added the 150k to the 160k.

    Simplistic, but let’s try it.
    I get 310k.
    An increase of 15/16 X 100 in percentage.

    I get a93% RISE.

    How about you, Mr J?

  126. In Jumpyworld, does a PM make no changes or restrictions, allow a 93% rise in the national death rate – with huge financial effects – and just cop it on the chin?

    The only place I can see that happening might be the DPRK (North Korea).

  127. The only place I can see that happening might be the DPRK

    The USA is giving it a go (admittedly a half-hearted go).

  128. From “The Independent” (London)

    Dr David Nabarro, a WHO special envoy on Covid-19 and special representative of the United Nations secretary general for food security and nutrition, said the world health body “pleads with governments and just about everybody” to be respectful of how viruses from the animal kingdom are rife.

    Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Dr Nabarro said while WHO is not able to tell governments what to do, their advice is to close wet markets.

    He replied: “You know how WHO and other parts of the international system work – we don’t have the capacity to police the world. Instead, what we have to do is offer advice and guidance, and there’s very clear advice from the Food and Agriculture Organisation and WHO that said there are real dangers in these kinds of environments.

    “75 per cent of emerging infections come from the animal kingdom. It’s partly the markets, but it’s also other places where humans and animals are in close contact. Just make absolutely certain that you’re not creating opportunities for viral spread,” added Dr Nabarro.

    Traders sell fresh produce, fruit and vegetables in wet markets alongside wild and domestic animals mainly for consumption in wet markets, which are common in China, South Korea and southeast Asia. Not all wet markets sell exotic meats, but poor legal controls allow for the controversial product to enter the supply chain.

  129. Mr A, your still riffing on the 150000 deaths prediction by some model made with who knows what assumptions, ok.
    Looking at the actual stats we’re under 100 overall and a dropping trend.
    You look to be expecting a second wave to be huge.

    Sweden’s response was to not have a second wave and do what I was suggesting rather than totally ignore their Constitution and obliterate their economy.

    Work your math skills and tell the group how many deaths per population as a percentage please.

  130. Looking at the actual stats we’re under 100 overall and a dropping trend.

    Because we didn’t do what you suggested.

  131. Jumpy

    I am not predicting a huge death toll.

    Go back and look. I said that (partly because the country is taking drastic precautions) the epidemic here is unlikely to follow an exponentially rising curve for very long. Ootz said I was being too complacent.

    Around that time I delivered the lecture about exponential growth and “the rule of 70”, or 72 that Brian was wont to use.

    Later I linked to Dr Fauci who had just said that his experience of epidemics told him that the toll never reaches the ‘worst case scenario’. He should know.

    My only point here, was that, faced with the possibility of an infection rate becoming too high for our medical systems to save as many lives as possible the govts, Federal and State, followed medical advice.

    There are dozens of models and scores of very knowledgeable medicos here and overseas. Personally, I’d rather Govts were acting on advice from epidemiologists and infection control people, than advice from the peanut gallery.

    I’m in the peanut gallery too. Pity help any Minister that took my opinions seriously.


  132. Sweden’s response was to not have a second wave and do what I was suggesting rather than totally ignore their Constitution and obliterate their economy.

    And , with less than half the population of Australia they have had 919 deaths with 101948 current cases.

  133. Zoot,

    Because we didn’t do what you suggested.

    No, ScoMo didn’t do what I suggested.
    We shall see in hindsight who was correct.

    I’m guessing that you will say both ScoMo and I were wrong.

    Just out of curiosity, what would you have done differently to ScoMo or are you now a fan boi ?

  134. Mr J

    This isn’t a footy game.
    We’re not in a bar swapping predictions about winning margins.

    You seem to want numerical predictions so you can “score” people later. I’m not playing. (You may mark me down as a coward, poltroon or twerp.)

    To quote a famous Victorian footy commentator, “People say football is a matter of life and death. They’re wrong; it’s more important than that!”

  135. Just out of curiosity, what would you have done differently to ScoMo
    My criticism of the Prime Minister is that he should have acted sooner. Whether I would have is a moot point since I’ve never been PM.

  136. 919 virus deaths in good old Sweden where they refused to abrogate their Constitution (according to lawyer J).

    Well, good for them.
    Fine, sturdy upholders of their Constitution.

    So 919 deaths.
    I’m guessing they must have 10 to 15 times our population. About 250 to 370 million. All squashed into that tiny area, eh?
    Must be all that Swedish Free Love and Scandinavian Birth Control we used to hear about. Compulsory nekkid saunas for pretty blond boys and blonde girls. Cavorting like rabbits, they were.

    Yep, the Swedish Model’s fantastic!!

  137. Yes, 919 out of 10 million with minimal economic destruction.

    Hey Mr A, ya worked out that as a percentage yet ?
    I’m guessing a touch less than 1%.

  138. 919 out of 10 million

    A rate which would translate to something around 2,000 deaths in Australia. But they were probably all on their last legs anyway or just old and in the way, not really worth keeping alive.
    That’s right isn’t it Jumpy?

    And it’s not over yet.

  139. Our loss, z-man.

    Not really Ambi. I value people before profits so I’d make a dreadful PM; the balance sheets would be appalling.

  140. This is going to be a brilliant thread to rehash over the Xmas holidays.

    Given that we’re not all dead that is 🙂

  141. Jumpy, are your parents still alive?
    And if they are, have you let them know you consider them expendable?

  142. Apologies Mr J

    I shouldn’t resort to numbers when you’re about.
    Last night when I estimated the Swedian pop to be 250 to 370 million it was sarcastic.

    They doing really well?
    Oh, compare their 900 with our 60, they must have a high population…. No???

    Well then, the arithmetic says they’re not doing brilliantly.
    That is, if you think a death rate is a key statistic when a pandemic is in the air.

    But maybe you’re immune to arithmetic??

    Good luck, old chap.

  143. WE are doing really well at present, so we have
    Just five new infections, but “many more months” of restrictions ahead: Premier

      “But we all must remember that we can’t rest and relax about this — we’ve got to make sure we are continuing to flatten that curve.

      “We want to smash that curve, so we do require these restrictions for many more months.”

    I thought we had flattened the curve. People are getting restless and stir crazy. The real problem is that we don’t seem to know what we are aiming at:

      Professor Glasziou said the question remained of what the authorities’ endgame strategy was — containment or eradication?

      “It’s very hard to predict,” he said.

      “If you’re aiming at eradication, that’s a process that may take months and is very difficult to achieve — I have no idea what the Government’s thinking is.”

    See also Norman Swan in Can we eliminate COVID-19, what’s the endgame and a reality check on a vaccine?

  144. That Norman Swan program has a transcript. Check out towards the end his interview with Ian Frazer, who discusses the difficulty of developing a vaccine. The degree of difficulty is high, and us oldies will be locked up until they do.

    I understand that many oldies who die are not in the count because they don’t do viral tests on corpses.

    How big a problem this is I cannot say, but it has been reported on late night talk-back.

  145. I understand that many oldies who die are not in the count because they don’t do viral tests on corpses.

    I saw somewhere that the US CDC usually records around 1600 deaths from pneumonia each week but presently they are running around 4000, which would suggest deaths due to covid-19 are being under reported.

    And here’s an exhaustive explanation of why modelling covid-19 is difficult.

  146. “Have we given police too much power to enforce coronavirus rules?” :An unemployed man fined $1,000 for sitting in his car.
    An L-plater on a practice drive fined $1,652, before having the fine withdrawn due to “confusion within the community”.
    A woman followed by police while driving to visit her son’s grave.
    A funeral interrupted by uniformed police officers with firearms who strode into the church to count the number of attendees, while the deceased was being carried out.
    This list of fines handed out by the states would have been unthinkable weeks ago.”
    Coronavirus update: Follow the latest news in our daily wrap.
    But when Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced new social distancing rules to address coronavirus, many states hastily slapped together enforcement measures — becoming law at midnight, subject to revisions as confusion emerged and, most notably, reinforced by heavy fines and jail time.
    We were told a full lockdown was not needed because, as the Chief Medical Officer argued, “we are not Italy”. But we are facing sanctions for flouting the rules that are heavier than those in Italy.
    In NSW, for example, you can receive a fine of up to $11,000 or six months in jail for violating social distancing restrictions.
    Compare this with Italy, with harsher lockdown laws, where the fine started at €200 ($346) when introduced and increased to €400 to €3000 ($700-$5,310) in late March.
    Satirical One dog on the moon said it was like Xmas for the police “because they could now treat all of us like they treat Aborigines.”
    In this context the link at the top of this comment said that:
    “For example, Coonamble (where around a third of the population is Indigenous), saw 10 per cent of NSW’s infringement notices, despite having just 0.04 per cent of the state’s population and no confirmed COVID-19 cases.
    Almost a third of fines have been issued in Western Sydney, which has the largest Indigenous and migrant populations in Australia.
    Earlier this month, only two of the 151 fines for flouting lockdown rules issued in NSW were in Waverley, in the Eastern suburbs, despite having the state’s highest number of confirmed cases.”
    On the good sense side “‘You can’t keep people in homes non-stop’: WA Police Commissioner says people must be able to exercise. ” With the article going on with more good sense from the commissioner.
    Me I am concerned as by the use of large fines that remain the same no matter how much you earn as a form of punishment. Small slap on the wrist to the average person from Waverly. Disaster for the people on low income in Coonamble who will probably end up in jail because they can’t pay the fines for doing ??????

  147. Thanks zoot at 12.55

    That link certainly gave an exhaustive explanation of the difficulties in modelling this pandemic, several of which have been mentioned on this thread…. But crikey the link is clearer!!

  148. John D I’m not sure what can be done about the systemic bias in policing. I’m sure every police force would be aware of it at a senior level.

    People generally seem to be happy about what the Federal and State authorities are doing about the virus, but Less so about other Aussies’ behaviour.

  149. Morrison has said that we are going to adopt a strategy of ‘aggressive suppression’ rather than ‘extermination’ as is the aim of NZ.

    In general terms this means we have to get our ability to respond to outbreaks in top gear through testing, tracing and isolation.

    Morrison has said we need at least another month of the present regime to do this.

    He has said that further policy will be made on the basis of Australian modelling of Australian statistics.

    Testing criteria have been extended, but we are still only testing people who are symptomatic. In terms of the incidence of asymptomatic community infection, we are not trying to get a good handle on this.

    I heard most of Morrison’s briefing in the raw. He and Murphy handled it quite well, I think.

    It’s clearer now what we are aiming for – aggressive suppression and staged relaxation of current distancing from about mid-May, if they feel they can cope with spot outbreaks.

  150. The conversation had this interesting one on “This isn’t the first global pandemic, and it won’t be the last. Here’s what we’ve learned from 4 others throughout history” It provides statistics for some of the big ones and the impact of the plagues on society. For example:
    “The 14th century Black Death pandemic is thought to have catalysed enormous societal, economic, artistic and cultural reforms in Medieval Europe. It illustrates how infectious disease pandemics can be major turning points in history, with lasting impacts.
    For example, widespread death caused labour shortages across feudal society, and often led to higher wages, cheaper land, better living conditions and increased freedoms for the lower class.
    Various authorities lost credibility, since they were seen to have failed to protect communities from the overwhelming devastation of plague. People began to openly question long held certainties around societal structure, traditions, and religious orthodoxy.
    This prompted fundamental shifts in peoples’ interactions and experience with religion, philosophy, and politics. The Renaissance period, which encouraged humanism and learning, soon followed.”
    The Black death killed 30 to 50 million deaths, a massive hit on the Eurasian population of the time.

  151. Good summary article, John.

    I think the notion that this pandemic will mark a change in history is apposite.

    About 32 million deaths from HIV/AIDS is worth noting. The bowling ball ad was OTT however, and arguably caused unnecessary fear and added to discrimination.

    BTW if you dump everything from the ? on in the link, it should still work:

  152. To avoid a return to pre-coronavirus traffic congestion, experts want to talk about change right now
    Part of the problem is that public transport capacity will be reduced because of the need for greater spacing between passengers. (Nobody standing and spacing between sitting passengers?)
    On the other hand a lot of workers and managers will have got used to working at home and sorted out the bugs. Some people who used to commute 5 days per week will have found that they can work efficiently from home or close to home. Others may have found that they can do some of their work at home and reduce the number of commutes per week and/or time commutes to avoid peak traffic.

  153. Have just logged on for the first time today.

    We’ve had some existential issues in our family over the last little while. Nothing to do with the virus, but not helped by it either.

    Now I need a walk in the park to clear my head, so I’ll catch y’all later.

  154. It’s not going to be miraculously cured, only effectively treated.

    Could you BilB please show where Trump said there was a “ miracle cure “ ?

    I’d really like to rub my pro-Trump friends of mines noses in that.

    Or maybe it’s just more fake news.

  155. Grattan report on coronavirus pandemic projects 3.4m to be out of work
    “The Grattan Institute has crunched the numbers on the unemployment fallout we can expect from the coronavirus pandemic by analysing how many Australians’ jobs rely on working in close physical proximity to others, such as performers.
    Coronavirus update: Follow the latest news in our daily wrap.
    Researcher Brendan Coates said the institute’s analysis found between 14 and 26 per cent of the entire Australian workforce will lose their job, if they haven’t already, as a result of government shutdowns and physical distancing rules.
    Coronavirus questions answered
    Coronavirus questions answered
    Breaking down the latest news and research to understand how the world is living through an epidemic, this is the ABC’s Coronacast podcast.
    That means as many as 3.4 million unemployed.
    “That leads to an unemployment rate of somewhere between 10 and 15 per cent, which would be certainly the worst recession we’ve had since the 1990s and probably since the 1930s,” Mr Coates said.”
    Given that we have now got closed boarders and infection rates have fallen we may end up stopping or reducing separation requirements which are the reason for most of the shutting down.
    I suspect the 1.5 m separation is a guess which is easy to police given 1.5 is about 2xarm lengths. Perhaps some research or modelling of separation is needed just in case we are killing the economy without evidence? (We may also be assuming transmission is due to airborne virus rather than contact with surfaces or….?)

  156. Thanks for the links, folks.

    Jumpy, Google ‘Trump + coronavirus + miracle cure’ and take your pick. I don’t have time to read that stuff.

    John, I think the general gist of your second link is good, ie Coronavirus crisis shows both China and the US aren’t equipped to lead the world. However, they simply assert:

      Beijing’s lies about the infection rate and death toll of COVID-19

    I haven’t seen anyone give any evidence of this. I’d suggest that people choose to believe or disbelieve the Chinese stats, but both Brendan Murphy and Paul Kelly both accepted the WHO report on China. Most of the modelling done around the world was based on Chinese stats.

    Stats are a human artifact, and everyone knows they don’t represent ‘truth’, but if people are going to assert that deliberate lies are happening, they need to justify that.

  157. Here is a little update for this mornings Jumpy starter, …..
    The sub headline is “Trump fails to understand information from non Video or FOX sources” or “understaffing of WhiteHouse leads to unchecked epidemic in US” .

    Stand by for a wave of dismissals at WHO as Trump denies everything and destroys evidence.

  158. Just for you Jumpy….
    And… might be hard for you to watch an ABC fake news item..
    …that takes it all the way up to game changer.

    But as you know only Trump performs miracles, so he can’t call this an actual miracle until all of the patent rights and creation history has been assigned to him, then it will ascend to full miracle status despite the deaths it leads to.

  159. BilB, so in your head “ It may work, it may not work “ ( from your own link ) sounded like “ miracle cure “

    Ok then.
    I’m not going to try and diagnose what that is.

  160. I’m not going to try and diagnose what that is.

    Oh go on.
    Goodness knows why, but you don’t have enough yet to rub your pro-Trump friends of yours noses in.
    What have you got to lose?

  161. Well, since you asked.
    They would call it Trump Derangement Syndrome ( TDS ).

    I’d guess it goes far far deeper than that.

    Your turn, what name would you give it ?

    [ please respond on the WS as it’s off topic here ]

  162. Jumpy, if you want to see a collection of what Trump has been saying about the virus, there is a piece in the Atlanta What’s So Hard to Understand About What Trump Has Said?

    I thought Friday March 13 marked a turning point, when Morrison started to place limits on crowd sizes and such.

    Fo me the day before yesterday, Monday 20 April was a pivotal day, when Qld announced 0 new cases. Next day there were 6, and yesterday 0 again, as the talk moves to how the ‘lockdown’ may be eased.

    I missed a few media programs which I’ve heard were notable – namely Four Corners and Q&A on Monday, and Foreign Correspondent last night, which I’m told was about the virus in the USA.

    The USA may be formally a democracy, and China an autocracy, but there is a legitimate question as to whether the USA is now a failed state. By contrast the Chinese state seems to be functioning pretty well in terms of the welfare of its citizens, provided you are not a member of a group that the state deems problematic.

    At the same time being poor in the US is difficult, especially is the colour of your skin is dark or darkish.

  163. there is a legitimate question as to whether the USA is now a failed state

    Here’s an argument in favour of the proposition.
    In my considered opinion we are witnessing the result of the Republican Party’s successful campaign to destroy democracy in the USA. It became visible with the ascendancy of Newt Gingrich but the seeds were sown during the Nixon administration.

  164. From Matt at WTF Just Happened Today?:

      Today in one sentence: The director of the federal agency responsible for developing a coronavirus vaccine was removed after pressing for rigorous vetting of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus, which Trump has repeatedly embraced; the WHO warned that coronavirus remains “extremely dangerous” and “will be with us for a long time”; state and local governments are warning of layoffs and pay cuts after getting left out of the latest federal coronavirus relief package; the first U.S. death from the coronavirus happened nearly three weeks earlier than U.S. health authorities had previously known; and the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services tapped a former dog breeder with minimal public health experience to lead the agency’s day-to-day response to COVID-19 in the pandemic’s early days.

    That’s incredible, I thought, so I Googled and found this report from Reuters:

    Could only happen in America.

  165. Meanwhile in Australia: “What you can do if your employer is ripping you off with the JobKeeper subsidy”
    “It’s expected to be a lifeline for more than 6.7 million Australians during the coronavirus crisis.
    “But employment law experts say they’re already seeing cases of employees being exploited when trying to claim their payment from the $130 billion JobKeeper scheme.”
    My boss says I’m not eligible for JobKeeper
    If you want to access to the subsidy you will need to make sure you are eligible.
    You qualify if you have been stood down since March 1, or you are currently employed either full-time, part-time, or as a long-term casual.
    But there are a number of conditions and it also depends if your employer qualifies.
    To see more specific details, check out the Government’s official advice.
    If the company has closed down and you’re made redundant or fired, you’ll instead have to apply for JobSeeker.
    Maurice Blackburn employment law principal Giri Sivaraman said he’s already seen cases of employers taking advantage of the scheme, with some sacking workers so they don’t get the benefit and others lying about being eligible.
    “We have a wage theft epidemic in this country,” he said.
    “We just see example after example of bigger and bigger wage theft.
    “Employers who have stolen from their employees in the past will steal from them again, and they will use this scheme to their advantage rather than passing on the benefits to employees.”
    In the short term, we need to replace this mess, pensions and jobseeker payments with a simple UBI where the payment may depend on age but not on earnings, assets, employment history or the honesty of employers.

  166. John, I couldn’t agree more. I don’t think anyone has gotten anything out of this government yet.

    The companies need to pay their employees before they get paid, so with no cash flow they need to go to the banks.

    Nothing has trickled out yet.

    Meanwhile I believe the Vietnamese are sending a plane to rescue their students. Don’t think we will ever see them back, and they will tell their friends Australia is a place to avoid.

    Vietnam have had no new infections for a week and are starting to starting to ease the lockdown.

    Joseph Stiglitz has given Trump a huge serve and says the US coronavirus response is like ‘third world’ country.

    That’s actually bad for all of us.

  167. This afternoon I caught a fragment of last night’s Late Night Live. The guest was quite definite that there will be future pandemics. Seems reasonable, there’s been a few over the course of our history.
    This being the case we really need to set up our global and national economies so they don’t get wiped out by pandemics.
    (Disclosure: I don’t think it will happen. It would involve taking back a lot of our money from the oligarchs and they won’t allow that, and they control the system).

  168. zoot, not sure which program, I think LNL, but there was an amazing analysis of what Russia will try to make out of the virus.

    Their aim is to destroy our trust in our institutions, because that way the Russian Mafia can make more money if corruption and social breakdown is the norm. They never attack the Chinese, because they know it won’t work on them and if they make China an enemy they won’t win.

    China sometimes uses methods that are similar, but in the end they are committed to an international order, just not one that the US controls.

    Elsewhere the New Scientist reckons a half or more of the European deaths come from care homes.

    I think there is inconsistency as to whether these are counted. I understand the UK doesn’t.

    When the Chinese added in community deaths, many saw this as them cooking the books, while their own cooking is deemed OK.

  169. In news just in,
    The New York Times speculates that the high (per capita) virus death toll in Ecuador may be partly due to the “migration corridor ” it has with Italy and Spain.

    Then there’s the poverty, social inequality, poor public health services and so on.

    The President, Lenin Boltaire Moreno Garcias, who rules from his wheelchair, was elected as the candidate of a social democratic group. Then abandoned some of its lefter policies upon attaining office.

    His name? Well according to Wikipedia, his Dad idolised Vladimir Lenin and his Mum was a fan of Voltaire. Then a typo occurred.

    – from the cable service of Pedants Intergovernmental, with NYT and Roytus.

  170. Then there are the not quite anticipated side effects. For example: Coronavirus concerns see family courts rush through applications linked to COVID-19:
    Urgent cases relating to children caught up in parenting disputes will be rushed through the courts within 72 hours, as the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court report a rise in calls for help during the coronavirus crisis.
    We are talking about rises in domestic violence including controlling personalities using the rules to make it harder for victims to get away. Also talking about access becoming more difficult because of the virus rules and perceived risks.
    All the above can be made worse by people losing jobs or becoming worried about losing jobs (OR people who used to think they could leave and get a job that is no longer there in these dark times.)

  171. The Victorian govt has been alive to the possibilities of increased domestic violence, and has taken some measures to ameliorate the problem. This is consonant with its Royal Commission into DV, its response to the findings, and reform measures that are flowing….

    This primarily in response to the murder at a sports ground of a young boy (by his estranged father); it appeared afterwards that sharing of information between depts might have saved the boy’s life.

  172. FYI: How long does coronavirus stay on surfaces and can they infect you?
    Research conducted on the new coronavirus and others similar to it, such as SARS, suggest the virus can spread through particles in the air and via contaminated surfaces. How does this happen? Moreover, how long can the virus survive on surfaces and what can we do to protect ourselves?

    Covid-19 is a respiratory illness and is largely spread via droplets in the air, says John Lednicky, a virologist who studies coronaviruses at the University of Florida. These are typically expelled when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

    Read more: How to fight infection
    But speaking also releases droplets. The heavier of these will fall to the ground, but smaller, lighter particles can travel further and linger in the air, and are more likely to infect other people, says Lednicky. “You can inhale those, but they can also come into contact with your eyes,” he says.

    Even if you keep your distance, there’s a chance of coming into contact with a virus as you walk through a cloud of expelled particles, says Lednicky. It isn’t clear if this is the case with the new coronavirus, but other, similar viruses can spread this way, he says.

    There are other, even less pleasant, ways virus-laden particles can get into the air. The symptoms of the coronavirus can vary, but some people experience diarrhoea. “If you use a flush toilet, you create an aerosol full of infection,” says Lednicky.
    The new coronavirus has also been found to persist for days on surfaces. Last week, a team led by Vincent Munster at the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Montana published research suggesting the virus can survive on plastic and stainless steel surfaces for up to 72 hours.

    But other research suggests that SARS and MERS, which are similar coronaviruses, can persist on metal, glass and plastic surfaces for up to nine days. And on Monday, the US Centers for Disease Control published a report suggesting traces of the new coronavirus could be present on surfaces for even longer – RNA from the virus was detected on surfaces in the cabins of people who had vacated the Diamond Princess cruise ship 17 days earlier, including those passengers who hadn’t shown symptoms.

    This doesn’t necessarily mean these virus particles could still infect other people, says Lednicky. On the one hand, virus particles coughed or sneezed out may be covered in a protective layer of mucus that helps them survive. But plenty of other factors also come into play. Ultraviolet light can destroy the ability of some viruses to reinfect people, for example. And heat and humidity can also inactivate viruses.
    The new coronavirus has also been found to persist for days on surfaces. Last week, a team led by Vincent Munster at the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Montana published research suggesting the virus can survive on plastic and stainless steel surfaces for up to 72 hours.

    But other research suggests that SARS and MERS, which are similar coronaviruses, can persist on metal, glass and plastic surfaces for up to nine days. And on Monday, the US Centers for Disease Control published a report suggesting traces of the new coronavirus could be present on surfaces for even longer – RNA from the virus was detected on surfaces in the cabins of people who had vacated the Diamond Princess cruise ship 17 days earlier, including those passengers who hadn’t shown symptoms.

    This doesn’t necessarily mean these virus particles could still infect other people, says Lednicky. On the one hand, virus particles coughed or sneezed out may be covered in a protective layer of mucus that helps them survive. But plenty of other factors also come into play. Ultraviolet light can destroy the ability of some viruses to reinfect people, for example. And heat and humidity can also inactivate viruses.
    Read more:
    I have a vision of putting ultraviolent light into air conditioning ducts and organizing air flows within buildings so that it is flowing away from people towards air conditioning inlets. There is also a case for sitting people next to each other with UV treated air blowing into their faces.

    • air blowing into their faces.

    If so, pls make it gentle, or maybe people who suffer from hayfever and sinus will have to wear a shield.

  173. John, that New Scientist article is now over a month old. I remember the traces found in the Diamond Princess cruise ship 17 days after being vacated was particularly disturbing.

    I googled ‘How long does the coronavirus last on surfaces?’

    Here is what the WHO says:

      The most important thing to know about coronavirus on surfaces is that they can easily be cleaned with common household disinfectants that will kill the virus. Studies have shown that the COVID-19 virus can survive for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel, less than 4 hours on copper and less than 24 hours on cardboard.

      As, always clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.

    The NSW advice is much the same.

    The ABC goes into more detail. This seems important:

      People who have COVID-19 and may not realise it if they don’t have symptoms at that time, or if their symptoms are mild, can still leave traces of the virus behind.

      But just because viable virus particles can be found on a plastic surface for up to three days, doesn’t mean your risk of infection stays the same over that time period.

      There is a risk of infection, Professor Tangye said, but it’s diminishing every minute since the virus was put there, because of the breakdown of the virus on the surface over that time.

      For example, the study found the median half life of SARS-CoV-2 on plastic was 6.8 hours, meaning that 6.8 hours after it first got on the plastic surface there was half as much there as there had been at the beginning.

    What the article says is no doubt true, but it appears that there needs to be a certain aggregation of healthy virus to make the jump to the next victim.

    I recall Norman Swan saying that the virus only lasts about 10 minutes on your hands. However, if someone infected sneezes into their hand, then puts their hand on the rail you hang onto getting out of a bus, or on the counter next to the cash register, you can easily put your hand there, and then touch your itchy eye.

    I recall Swan saying that aircon is not a problem. What gets through the filters is too dispersed, unless in a medical setting where a patient is seriously ill with the virus, where the air can become a virus soup.

    Re toilets, closing the lid before flushing is standard. However, I’ve heard that if there is more than one in a dwelling and one has the virus, then separate bathrooms and towels are necessary. Also you couldn’t, I think, realistically share the kitchen, and hard surfaces on electric jug handles, door knobs, light switches and such become problematic.

    That would be very much the case in our house, currently occupied by three.

    Disclaimer: I’m not a virologist and have no relevant qualifications.

  174. Disclaimer: neither am I.

    What seems to be apparent, is that the full, detailed facts about the behaviour of the virus fragments; the course of infection and infectiousness of a human; the reason(s) for widely differing effects on those who ‘catch it’, the effectiveness of face masks and social distancing, the efficacy of ‘contact tracing’, the efficiency for cleaning of soap or hand wash or antibacterial gels; the source and initial measures taken (or not) in Hubei Province….. all of this and more, will become clearer only after many months or years of study…..

    And yet we all face what might be called The Here And Now of protecting ourselves, our families, our closest friends and the wider community: from potentially fatal disease and from financial ruin.

    We have limited information, very limited indeed.
    We have clues from previous similar viruses.
    We have experience with epidemics and pandemics.
    We have skilled and experienced nurses, GPs, hospital specialists, pharmacists…..

    (And as an extreme contrast, a political leader musing out loud that: it might be an idea, you know, if you could disinfect inside the body, under the skin, mebbe in their lungs, you know, like a kind of hand sanitiser inside under the skin, makes sense to me, we have a wonderful lab, they’re doing great work, my uncle did some great work on infectious diseases, I understand this stuff; I might sack Dr Fauci if he thinks we can’t open up the country by Easter Sunday – wouldn’t that be great? Yeah he died on the cross, but you know the really great part was he came back to life, and there’s a whole lotta folks who wanna, you know, just get it all started up again; we got a trade war on our hands, and Rocket Man wants to open up some new Trump Resorts on his East Coast over there in Vietnam…..

    God Bless Florida – great State, great people.)

    You’ve got a lot to answer for, Hillary!!
    “What Happened”
    ?? You lost to a clown, Secretary Clinton.

  175. Ambi, if the American Republicans had any moral fortitude, then Amendment 25 would have been employed ages ago.

    On how he got there, a lot of things had to fall his way. Hillary made mistakes, but would Bernie Sanders have done better?

    I still blame James Comey and the announcement of the email investigation.

    There is no doubt the Russians tried to interfere, but whether it made any difference, I don’t know.

    Meanwhile, Trump’s main thing is his re-election chances, where the economy was his biggest ally.

    That will be down the crapper to a greater degree than most pundits calculate. And that matters to us.

    Meanwhile the most important story yesterday was the AFR front page headline about the Chinese ambassador threatening boycotts of our products.

    The tragedy here is that our advocacy of an ‘independent’ (would any external investigation be independent?) investigation going into China makes it less likely that it will happen, and makes it almost certain that the Chinese will see it necessary to teach us a lesson.

    That leaves us with no good options. Does Morrison think the Americans will save us? We can be sure they wouldn’t, and in this instance couldn’t.

  176. I have been wondering what is going on in Russia. Found this in ABC Just in:
    “Russia overtook China in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases on Monday when its tally climbed above 87,000, as pressure rose on the Government to consider easing lockdown restrictions for businesses to help shore up the rattled economy.
    Russia, the world’s largest country by territory, has been in lockdown since President Vladimir Putin announced the closure of most public spaces on March 25.
    These measures are due to expire on April 30 and Mr Putin has not yet said if he plans to extend them, but the head of a safety watchdog said the lockdown should continue until May 12.
    On Monday, the authorities reported 6,198 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total to 87,147, with 794 deaths.
    Mainland China, where the virus first emerged, reported a total of 82,830 cases on Monday. China is now fighting an increased number of new cases coming from Russia.

  177. Brian: “Meanwhile the most important story yesterday was the AFR front page headline about the Chinese ambassador threatening boycotts of our products.”
    Problem for the Chinese is that a lot of countries are getting sick and tired of Chinese bullying. Add the problems countries have had when the Chinese could not supply things during this crisis. Any sensible country should be looking for markets and supply outside of China and will be less willing to be talked into continuing reliance on china.

  178. I think it’s possible to have an independent inquiry.

    There are literally hundreds of medical experts in dozens of places, not just in Europe, Canada and USA; but also in Japan, India, Russia, China, South America, Middle East, Singapore, NZ, Thailand, Indonesia…. (not all white faces)… who would be well-qualified to undertake particular roles.

    Were the WMD inspectors in Iraq independent? As far as they could be, I believe. Organised and funded by the UN.

    Presumably the PRC wishes to remain in the UN?

    There are dozens of apolitical global organisations, e.g. civil aviation, maritime, weather, every branch of science, every branch of medicine; International Criminal Court; World Court in the Hague; whaling; Antarctica; World Heritage, UNESCO, etc.

    Nations like Australia have an interest in strengthening them.

  179. Was it OK to send WMD inspectors into sovereign Iraq?
    What if Saddam had threatened trade sanctions??

    (Thank heavens Mr Whitlam’s attempt to obtain election campaign funds from Iraq failed!! Imagine being dependent on a foreign nation. Oh, wait……)

  180. Ambi, I don’t think the analogies and precedents help. Investigation needs cooperation. Australia has more research contact with China than it does with the USA. Megaphone communication via ABC interviews is not the way to go.

    Personally, from what I know so far, I don’t think the precise animal-human transfer is ever going to be found. By the time it became known there were cases already elsewhere in China. Plenty is known about the potential pathways and the biggest concern is with preventing similar crosses in the future.

    We started badly by sending people repatriated from China to Christmas Island, when a hotel down the road would have done, then ignoring the fact that people returning from the USA were a big problem.

    We’ve had a major problem since Turnbull made his comments, loud and proud for internal consumption, and we have gotten more and more tangled since.

    Have to go to work now, so seeya tonight.

  181. The Chinese ambassador’s reaction creates the impression that the Chinese are really trying to cover something up.
    Would have been smarter to support an investigation even if it does show that China, like much of the rest of the world made mistakes.

  182. The Chinese govt is certainly angry.

    But why?
    Why was that doctor who shared news if patients with serious symptoms (which he surmised might be SARS re-emerging) – why was that doctor taken in by police, very early on, and accused of spreading false rumours?

    He treated many patients, as doctors do.
    He died of the virus, as many other health professionals also have died.

    Personally, I would like to see his statue erected somewhere in Australia.

    No need to be provocative: don’t put the statue in a Chinatown or over the road from the Embassy. Let us praise the medical work that doctors and nurses and hospital or clinic cleaners do. Let us condemn “leaders” who obstruct those lifesaving efforts.

    (Whether that occurs in China or the US or Italy or Iran or Burma or Australia or elsewhere.)

  183. Call me naive, but I’ve formed this prejudice: that if it was important to “speak truth to power” when Indian nationalists confronted British colonialism; then it must also be important when confronting
    Bank misbehaviour
    Company tax avoidance
    Invasions by foreign armies
    Chinese Govts being economical with the facts
    A US President spouting brain farts worse than pseudoscience
    The death penalty
    Nuclear weapons
    Secret police

    and so forth.

    Scatter gun? Perhaps.

    Occasionally, the “power” seems to evaporate….. for instance Soviet “power” in Eastern Europe during 1989. Most so-called Kremlinologists failed to see the possibility of that power vanishing (as colonial master).

    There once upon a time was a Chairman Mao in China who was fond of calling his enemies “paper tigers”. How fitting, how poetically apt it would be, if the PRC turned out to be a “paper tiger”.

    (I will grant that quite often, protest movements fizzle out. Truth is spoken to Power and Power doesn’t listen, or adapts

  184. Ambi, please know that I’m not defending China, it’s just that what our government did was pointless and will result in harm to us if we are not careful.

    We’ve had the US exceptionalism for over a century. Now we also have Chinese exceptionalism.

    The best take on it so far has been Richard McGregor talking to Linda Mottram. He is Senior Fellow at the Lowy Institute and former Beijing bureau chief for both The Australian and The Financial Times newspapers.

    He said that what Australia proposed was beyond reproach, but will happen as much as it will any way. Any inquiry, he says, will need to be done co-operatively with China. It can’t happen any other way.

    China for it’s own reasons has decided to push back when people blame it for the virus. They have already had kerfuffle in Africa, France etc. They will punish us if they need to in order to bring us to heel. They do this in a way that doesn’t hurt their own economy, and may not hurt ours overall, but something very visible is quite possible.

    McGregor says they don’t want to, but they will. They have learnt how superpowers behave from the Americans. He says Morrison should have lined up his support from a string of other countries if he wanted to pull this one.

    McGregor says we’ve been on the outer with China since 2016. Since then we have had no senior contact with the Chinese. Morrison has only met Xi briefly at the side of another meeting they both attended.

    If you want to hear how angry the Chinese were, listen to Patricia Karvelas talking to Stephen Dziedzic who described the Chinese as “downright belligerent”.

    If we are lucky that’s where it will stop, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they suddenly found some contaminated beef in a shipment, or the heavied the local wholesalers to buy NZ or Argentinian wine instead.

    The lesson is don’t pick fights you can’t win.

    I thought Dr Margaret Harris from WHO was good on inquiries. She said, bring them on, we always learn something. The Chinese are not in the same frame of mind, and we are not going to change them.

  185. Thanks Brian

    I’ll have to listen to those viewpoints.

    (The international lawyer Geoffrey Robertson argued recently that the route to follow with the UN is to avoid the Security Council where five nations (including China) hold a veto.)

  186. Yes, China, Russia, the US tha UK and France are permanent members, with a veto, which makes them useless much of the time.

    Today in the AFR there were two opinion pieces. One by a former adviser to the foreign minister 2016-18, who was streessing that China by making a fuss is making sure every country that can will seek to have alternative supply lines or markets.

    The Chinese are smart enough to realise this, so they help where they can and make sure they tell us about it.

    The other was Stephen Roach of Yale Univ and chm of Morgan Stanley Asia.

    He said that China and the US were co-dependent economies, but under Trump have finally broken the relationship entirely. This is to the detriment of everyone.

    China’s economy is only 20% export exposed, and not all to the US. However, the US market is an important source of external demand.

    OTOH China is the US’s third largest export market and the fastest growing.

    Another factor is that bonds are issues in the US to cover their big deficit spending, while debt looks like exceeding WW2 levels.

    Guess who is the biggest purchaser of US bonds?

    Trump has sought to deflect his abysmal early performance on COVID 19 by heaping blame on China. Domestically it seems to be working.

    China’s bungling of the early phase mattered a lot, but so did Trump’s which went on a lot longer, and continues. Taking a measurement now, I’d suggest the US bungle has been more problematic to us.

    Roach says Covid was an opportunity for rapprochement, which appears to have been missed. Morrison might ask where the blame lies.

    the truth is that Morrison is a klutz in international relations. Ask the Pacific Islanders what they think. Apart from Adern, no-one much has had to pay much attention to him. Widodo probably knows who he is. However, he can’t play the game until he’s learnt the rules and had a bit of practice.

  187. Australia’s Attorney-General opines:

    Christian Porter ….. say(s) he believes China’s ambassador to Australia, Cheng Jingye, was “emotional” when he responded to Australia’s call for an independent investigation into the Covid response:

    I think that the Chinese ambassador’s response was largely emotional and generally speaking those type of emotional responses are relatively short-lived.

    – Guardian Australia, Thursday 29th

  188. and that was after the A-G said,

    But I would describe that an emotional response to what is, I think, just an inarguably reasonable proposition that a virus which has killed enormous numbers of people, brought the world economy to a grinding halt, brought the Australian economy to its knees – from which position we have to recover – should be the subject of a forthright investigation so that we can understand the origins, the early transmission, the way in which the disease was administered, well or not well in its early stages.

    And that’s a matter of global concern. The idea that you wouldn’t have an investigation like that is irrational, illogical, unreasonable, and the response suggesting that that style of investigation is not warranted and necessary, to me is an emotional response. So, you know, we stand by the need
    for an investigation of the origins of the virus. It’s as simple as that.

  189. If you meet a bear in the woods it is a luxury (and stupid!) to be considering whether the bear is emotional or not. Have these people not heard of Realpolitik?

    In the real world it is never as simple as that. The analogy with weapons inspection is particularly inappropriate. It assumes a power differential like there was between the US and Iraq.

    Nothing will be achieved by a group of foreigners blundering around Wuhan without the blessing and facilitation of the Chinese authorities.

    It’s essentially unthinkable.

  190. On News Radio when I turned on there was a ‘love-in’ going on with Twiggy Forrest, Greg Hunt and a Chinese person who seemed to be there with the complete blessing of the Chinese Embassy if not part of it.

    Why would thew ABC report this online and leave the Chinese person out?

    Is that their idea of balance?

  191. There was another comment I wanted to make.

    One thing we are certain about is that when the young doctor alerted the local authorities he was persecuted. It is less clear whether the central authorities joined in the cover-up when they were alerted.

    Kevin Rudd said that what happened was what you would expect in the Chinese system.

    It was highly unusual that President Xi disappeared from public view for two weeks. This indicates that there may have been severe internal ructions.

    Whatever, he emerged and decisive action was taken. It’s axiomatic that every day delay has cost many lives.

    Do we always welcome whistle blowers?

    I was reminded of our Dr Death experience with Jayant Patel in Bundaberg, who at one stage was linked with 80 deaths. My recall was that the whistle blower lost her job, and at the time seemed unemployable. I’d love to know how she’s getting on now.

    Patel in the end did a plea deal, guilty of fraud and deregistered as a doctor within Queensland.

    At the time managers who could manage were being preferred over people who knew what they were managing. Also it was very clear that only good news travelled up the line.

    On the whole I think we’ve improved – a bit.

    I think the Chinese are smart enough to reflect on how this happened in political/management terms. However, they have perceive and accept that there is a problem before there will be any movement to change.

    Having the Americans who are perceived as enemies tell them what they should do will hinder the learning process. They won’t be differentiating fully between us and the Americans, if we seem to be promoting the American POV.

  192. …..and a Chinese person who seemed to be there with the complete blessing of the Chinese Embassy if not part of it.

    His name is Zhou Long, China Consul-General.
    Sun Tzu is a nickname that is appropriate.

  193. Hi Jumpy!

    “The Age” highlighted the Chinese man’s diplomatic position and claimed that Twiggy invited him along.

    Perhaps the Consul General is angling for the Canberra Ambassador’s position – should it become vacant……?

  194. On weapons inspectors.

    The UN had taken up the case that Iraq must abandon WMDs.

    Not just the US.

    Iraq had a leader then who thought it was smart to boast about his WMD. Having earlier sent troops to invade Kuwait, he was already unpopular with many nations.

    Not just the US.

    The US certainly has veto power in the Security Council. However, I don’t accept that the UN is a sock puppet of the US.

    France has veto power too. Did the UN intervene to save France from defeat in Vietnam in 1954? Did the UN insist that Algeria remain a French colony?

    Britain has veto power in the Security Council. Does the UN show pro-British bias?

    Realpolitik is a handy word. I don’t think it appears in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

  195. Jumpy, yes I saw who the Chinese person was on the evening news.

    Ambi, I much admire your mastery of current affairs and your ability to assemble related facts.

    Do you know, I think this all started with the interview by David Speers with Marise Payne by asking her whether she trusted China. I believe the public interest would be served by the abandonment of ‘gotcha’ journalism from journalists who like to think they are holding politicians to account.

    After the Twiggy/Hunt/Zhou love in it would be better if pollies just said nothing. However, David Sharma went on ABC RN Drive and carried on.

    Not helpful in the long run. Any way, here is Stephen Roach’s article The End of the US-China Relationship:

      It didn’t have to end this way, but the die is now cast. After 48 years of painstaking progress, a major rupture of the US-China relationship is at hand. This is a tragic outcome for both sides – and for the world. From an unnecessary trade war to an increasingly desperate coronavirus war, two angry countries are trapped in a blame game with no easy way out.

    When elephants fight mice can get trampled. That’s all I’m saying.

  196. And mice get trampled when elephants make love, apparently.



    Thanks, Brian.

    I don’t have any mastery at all.
    My obsession with politics began as a skinny, silly teenager who was scared witless by the possibility – remote as it may have been – of a nuclear war. Wanted to understand how humanity had reached that perilous point. Later, looked around for positive, hopeful signs.


    When modern elephants fight, mice get vaporised and the other animals deal as best they can with the fallout.

  197. Ambi, you do very well.

    My first memory of war was the teacher pointing out how close the Japanese came in the Coral Sea battle. That was a couple of years after it happened, but the war was still happening when I started school, very young for my age. That will indicate how ancient I am.

    When at university and later I had a vague plan B that I would walk to our family farm in the case of a nuclear attack, a mere 400km trek, where we could live through subsistence farming. I didn’t expect to make it to old age.

    In the Fin review this morning Michael Cronin, chair of China Matters and having spent 6 years leading the Austrade network across greater China, has an opinion piece A new Australian envoy could break the impasse with China. He says:

      Australia can ill afford to be collateral damage in the US-China strategic rivalry.

    Our focus should be on building co-operation, which is what Marise Payne’s response to David Speers reflected.

    In other news, the NS reports that in many countries the Covid 19 death statistics are less than half the real count.

    Also the Chinese have published a study in Lancet based on
    what happened in Shenzen from mid-January to mid-February. They found that kids were infected at about the same rate as adults.

    The sample of kids within the larger sample was not large, but the point is that China is not a primitive country and tries to use science to inform policy, as do we.

  198. “It didn’t have to end this way, but the die is now cast. After 48 years of painstaking progress, a major rupture of the US-China relationship is at hand. This is a tragic outcome for both sides – and for the world. From an unnecessary trade war to an increasingly desperate coronavirus war, two angry countries are trapped in a blame game with no easy way out.”
    My take is from before the time of the GFC China used free markets and the floating $US to weaken the US. (China controlled the value of its currency and retained many controls and is prone to using its financial strength and internal government powers to increase their international power and grow trade to their advantage.
    The corona virus crisis should be making us all consider the problems that free trade has caused.

  199. Startling figure: “The death toll in the US has now passed 60,000, surpassing the number of American lives lost in the Vietnam War.” (30/4/20) Despite this:
    “President Donald Trump has said the US Government will not be extending its coronavirus social distancing guidelines once they expire this week.
    Key points:
    The White House’s ’30 Days to Slow the Spread’ guidelines are due to expire on Friday (AEST)
    Donald Trump says those guidelines are now “fading out”
    Mr Trump said he sees the “new normal” in the US “being what it was three months ago”
    To underscore his confidence, Mr Trump said on Thursday (AEST) he plans to resume interstate travel after spending more than a month mostly cooped up in the White House, starting with a trip to Arizona next week.
    He also said he was hoping to hold mass campaign rallies in the coming months with thousands of supporters, even though medical experts have said there is little hope of having a vaccine by then.”,000/12203198

  200. Looking at covid 19 deaths per million the US numbers are mediocre if we remove Andrew Cuomo’s New York.
    More like somewhere between Austria and Norway numbers.

    Despite Scomos bumbling ineptitude and Princess Jacinda being perfect, the DPM is the same for both NZ and Australia, way better than the Scandinavian models..

  201. Jumpy: This link provides growth factor graphs for a range of countries. The graphs suggest that there is not a great deal of difference between countries but the article does warn that the results depend on how much testing is done (and how well it is targeted.)
    Some commentators suggest that changes in death rates give a closer guide to what is happening. The UK, for example was only counting virus deaths that occurred in hospitals and ignored deaths in aged care facilities. Total deaths showed just how scary what is happening in the UK really is.

  202. Somewhere I have a link that says statistical methodologies vary to make comparisons almost meaningless. I don’t go all the way along with that – Australia’s performance is a mile better than many countries we normally compare ourselves with – but the count of deaths is especially problematic.

    Probably the stats are most useful to monitor trends within a country.

    Using this site the US figures look good compared to some European countries. However, people are saying that in the Spanish Flu the second wave was worse than the first.

    Meanwhile I look for the daily new cases, and a downward trend in the active cases, which means that new cases are likely to be less than new recoveries. If you look at that you can see that Germany with quite high numbers seems to be in control.

    Canada has work to do. The UK and USA don’t have all the graphs, but there is no flattening yet in the active cases.

    This ABC site shows Oz doing well, and differentiates the states.

    ALP members had a phone briefing last night. Palaszczuk said Qld’s stats were better than NZ with much the same population. She said the doubling average for Australia was now 39 days. For Qld it is either 51 or 53, I forget which.
    She wants to bat on and eliminate it.

    I heard Gladys Berejiklian say a day earlier that they would have to live with it. I suspect Victoria is going for the kill, the ACT is there, so too probably NT, and I think SA, WA and Tas are also heading that way.

  203. On the Australia-China kerfuffle, I’d simply ask people to listen to Jonathon Green’s interview with Professor Kishore Mahbubani, who is Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the
    National University of Singapore, was a long time diplomat and did a stint as President of the United Nations Security Council between January 2001 and May 2002. See Could COVID-19 mark the dawn of the Asian century?

    He says that for the last two millennia China and India were the wealthiest countries in the world in terms of total GDP. That changed in 1820.

    China particularly remembers the state of servitude it suffered from 1842 to 1945, when it re-emerged, albeit with some parts cut off.

    The US imagined a uni-polar world from about 1991, but China is back, and from here it will forge ahead of the US.

    Of course he is aware that the US is under particularly bad management at present, and should not be underestimated.

    He says humans are perhaps not the smartest monkeys. Who could imagine monkeys engaging in tribal warfare when the forest is on fire?

    On the current kerfuffle, he says you don’t drop lighted matches when the place is saturated with gas.

    He says that China does not want to be the USA, it wants to be itself. That, he says, is not easy, when you have 1.4 billion quite diverse people in the one country.

    There’s more, but he is calm and rational and seems to know a bit. I was impressed.

  204. Mr J

    Does NY wish to secede?
    Do the other States wish to expel NY and New Joisey?

    If not, you can’t simply excise that territory from a nation.
    (That’d be like ALP voters elsewhere wanting to cast Qld adrift after the 2019 Federal election. Not going to happen. Youse need us!!)

    Italy might have wanted to excise northern parts; China to excise Hubei Province, etc. Nup.

    NZ has been lucky with the virus.
    Ms Ardern is facing an uphill battle to be re-elected.

  205. Ambi, if I said or gave the impression that the US dominated the UN, that would be wrong. It appears to get very frustrated with UN entities that it can’t dominate.

    I guess what we are talking about is the rules-based order. First we had the Bretton Woods settlement with the IMF and the World Bank, then the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which eventually sporned the World Trade Organisation.

    The US was a dominant player in setting them up, and on important points got their way. They were definitely interested in the projection of power and ideology.

    The case of the Europeans is more complex, so I’ll leave it there for now. Not so sure about the UN. Our Doc Evans had a bit to do with it.

  206. Yes, the Doc.
    Mr Evatt.

    And I hear that Eleanor Roosevelt helped with some drafting. Those old days, a dearth of international legal bods; a dearth of case law; primitive international bodies compared with 2020.

    And the WW2 victors given a veto on the Security Council. Apparently a necessary compromise at the time.

    They had the very recent failure of the League of Nations (Abyssinia etc.) to use as a bad example. Europe was in ruins. Japan, China, and many Pacific nations reeling. Waves of refugees. North Africa with tank treads all over the sand. Greece in civil war. Eastern Europe occupied by the Red Army, cranking up the election-rigging.

    Austerity, rationing in some victor countries.

    A War Crimes Tribunal to organise: setting precedents for decades to come.


    (BTW, on the veto in UN. Apparently the multinational army sent to South Korea was under the UN flag only because the USSR couldn’t veto it, because their delegate was absent after storming out indignantly over some dispute. Never made that mistake again!!)

  207. The UN and its agencies have many faults and errors…. but I notice that it is still appealed to as an international arbiter,


    we shouldn’t be invading Iraq until the UN weapons inspectors have completed their work and Hans Blix has reported to the Security Council

  208. Excellent portrait of the turbulent times, Ambi.

    I remember an influx of refugees into this quiet country district where I grew up.

    A happy German chappie, who could sight read anything on the piano – except it was an organ.

    Three Norwegian brothers, tough hombres, but the youngest had a soft heart and went to work for the Salvos.

    A German guy who served in an elite regiment of 175. When it was reduced to about 25 it was recalled and rebuilt. That happened 15 times, and he survived. Eventually shot through the hand swimming a river to get away from the Russians, Still had a deformed hand to show for it.

    Was in a bunker being shelled for two days at one stage. Suddenly though, gotta get out of here. He did and dived into the bunker next door, just as a shell landed where he had just been.

    At uni, met a Swiss guy who worked as a gigolo in flash hotels after the war to save enough to emigrate.

    That’s probably enough.

  209. Hmmmm never actually met a gigolo.
    Well, there was a rumour about a sprightly, muscled chap, but….

    My wish is that int’l agencies like Whaling Commission, Red Cross, Red Crescent, Medecins Sans Frontieres, UN, WHO, Int’l Criminal Court, Amnesty Int’l, PEN, Int’l Energy Agency, …. should flourish and – all of them – lift their games.

    (Is there a global body, so to speak, that protects the rights of gigolos? Should there be?)

    [It’s an Italian word, Mr J.
    Look it up.]

    ♡ ♤♤♤ ♡

  210. Queensland has become the first state to provide approval for NRL players to train ahead the planned season return on May 28.
    Key points:
    Queensland will allow NRL players to train from next week
    NZ Warriors are waiting on Border Force approval to enter Australia, but the Prime Minister anticipates that being granted
    NRL plans to restart competition on May 28
    It follows Prime Minister Scott Morrison declaring he anticipates approval to be granted by the Australian Border Force for the New Zealand Warriors to be allowed entry to Australia.
    Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was as “keen as anyone else to see the NRL return, and I meant it”.
    “The only condition was that it did not put our excellent work containing the spread of COVID-19 at risk and the Chief Health Officer advises that the NRL plan is workable,” she said.
    Bit hard to take Qld and its oppressive border restrictions seriously if the premier is caving to the NRL. (Or is she confident that the Chief Health Officer will kill it?

  211. The NRL has every right to void every single player contract due the Government interference.
    All current players are now off contract an free to find employment elsewhere.

    Those that choose willingly to join a new libertarian NRL to play again can, and the rest can please themselves.

  212. Jumpy: “Those that choose willingly to join a new libertarian NRL to play again can, and the rest can please themselves.
    As long as they stick to the distancing rules while training, socializing and playing I have no problem. Any ideas for how to do this without making the game boring, boring, boring?

  213. Ambi, he was a nice bloke. Reasonably handsome of course. He’s the only one I ever met, now no longer with us, sadly.

    In case people missed it, the ABC LNL interview with Richard Gowan, UN director of the International Crisis Group, last night was priceless – Could the pandemic promote peace?

      The UN Security Council plans to call for a 90-day ‘humanitarian pause’ in conflicts worldwide as part of the ongoing struggle against the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s hoped that in some of the world’s worst conflict zones, this could lay the groundwork for longer term peace agreements.

    Problem is that it is taking about 90 days to negotiate. trump wanted the ‘Wuhan virus’ mentioned, which of course the Chinese would not wear. The Russian are negotiating a carve-out so that they can still kill terrorists in Syria. Problem is they define ‘terrorists’ and it means anyone they oppose.

    The US also says it will still kill terrorists, Gowan says just about everyone still wants to kill someone.

    The main real positive is that the Saudis are using it to save face and start peace talks in their war with Yemen.

    I suspect the real story, with the bottom dropping out of the oil market they can no longer afford wars.

    The whole schmozzle seems to illustrate how diplomacy works in the UN Security Council.

  214. John, about the NRL, I thought starting so early was a joke, but Ambi is right. Politically sending the whole NRL action south was not acceptable.

    CMO Jeanette Young decided, but I suspect Palaszczuk put in a special plea, or called in a favour, or something.

    As to the closed border, I suspect it is going to stay closed. Palaszczuk has said she is aiming at virus elimination. Andrews in Victoria I believe has said the same. The other states are heading that way.

    Berejiklian has said that we have to live with the virus, so aggressive suppression is her aim. I suspect she will open too early and get a second wave.

    So, sorry, but I think the border will remain shut. Time will tell, as they say.

  215. Perhaps the most interesting thing I heard today was CMO Brendan Murphy, standing next to PM Morrison, saying that the Chinese established human to human infection around January 21 he said from memory. They immediately told us and the rest of the world, he said.

    Prior to that it was possible that each case was an animal to human infection.

    I think in the case of the ‘Hendra’ virus, it passes from bats to horses to humans, who usually don’t live long after that. I can’t remember there being any human to human infection.

    The article John linked to suggests the US got it more from Europe than from China.

    A lesson to be learned there, I think.

  216. TRUMP’S 100 DAYS OF DEADLY CORONAVIRUS DENIAL A fascinating read that goes day by day over what Trump and a few others in the 100 days till April 28. All I can say is “bloody hell!!” The Republican senators who decided not to impeach Trump are responsible for a lot of American deaths.
    Also reminds us how well the Aus government system works no matter who is in power. (That is forgetting that we had to get rid of prime minister Pig Iron Bob to get our WWII war effort going properly.)

  217. The Republican senators who decided not to impeach Trump are responsible for a lot of American deaths.

    That’s assuming Mike “I refuse to wear a mask” Pence would have done any better than the Toddler in Chief.
    Given the response of its state governors as well as its inaction federally I think we can safely say it’s the Republican Party which is responsible for tens of thousands of American Deaths.

  218. John, a seriously good article.

    zoot has a point IMO. A couple of days ago I heard Pence say that the US handling of the virus demonstrated the superiority of their democratic system over those which have a more authoritarian shape. Anyone who is so divorced from reality you wouldn’t trust with anything.

    Our national government system worked OK this time, not so well on the bushfires.

  219. It takes a special kind of person to do this:

      April 6

      Trump removes Glenn Fine, the independent watchdog overseeing $2 trillion in coronavirus spending.

      • Governors complain that the White House is intercepting their orders for protective equipment and ventilators. Trump is “basically playing political games around life-or-death issues and leaving states to fend for themselves,” a Democratic consultant tells the New York Times.

      • The US death toll passes 10,000.

    And then on April 22:

      Dr. Rick Bright says he was removed as the head of the federal Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority after questioning efforts to push hydroxychloroquine.

  220. Further to the China spat, the Weekend AFR has a number of articles including:

    Tillett and Smith say Greg Hunt did not know the Chinese man was consul-general for Victoria, Zhou Long. He thought he was a rep from industry. So Hunt had to make a split second decision whether he should call the whole thing off, or roll with it.

    He chose the latter.

    Andrew Forrest says Hunt did know.

    Who to believe? I don’t know.

    Morrison eventually had to say something, which he did. I thought he closed it off quite well and I hope he has told his mob to leave it there.

    The word is that the matter has settled with the Chinese knowing that Morrison will stand his ground.

    However, everyone thinks that the relationship is now more sensitive than ever. The upside is that the Chinese appear to dislike Morrison less than they disliked Turnbull.

    Clark puts forward contrasting views from Peter Jennings and Hugh White. Jennings is the current head of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), a Canberra-based defence policy think tank enjoying close ties with US defence contractors. White is a former head of the same body. They now present contrasting points of view.

    Jennings thinks the Chinese are over-aggressive, their strategy is self-defeating and foolish, but we along with the US and Europe must stand up to them.

    White uses a neat literary analogy:

      An author and one-time professor of strategic studies at the ANU, the erudite White likens the Morrison government’s approach to a global COVID-19 inquiry to Stephen Dedalus, the central character in James Joyce’s novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Dedalus observes how wetting his bed may at first generate a warm feeling, but it soon turns cold.

    He’s saying that diplomacy is about getting a result.

      “it’s inexplicable that the government called for an inquiry which made it clear that the blame would be sheeted home to the Chinese when the question should be how can we best learn what went wrong and what could be done better next time.

    I thought “learn what went wrong and what could be done better next time” was what Morrison said in the end.

    My tentative conclusions is that Donald Trump started the ruckus by heaping blame on China and talking about reparations to distract from his own shortcomings.

    China was always going to push back on that. How they did it was not edifying, and not smart in that it will cause them harm.

    We didn’t have to say anything, the Europeans are pushing for an inquiry, but when we did, Morrison closed it off quite well.

    However, as White said it’s a business relationship, and we need to come to terms with the fact that our biggest trading partner is not our ally, but is immensely powerful.

  221. Here’s two articles on China about to put tariffs on our barley exports

    There have been dumping claims before, and it seems China will now ramp them up. They’ve given us 10 days to explain ourselves.

    I think China is allowed to do that if they think a prima facie case exists.

    Hard to think such a case would exist. Australia’s barley exports are down from $1.5 bn to $600 mill through the drought, and China needs our barley.

    They can do it because they can. Even if we take it to the WTO and win our farmers will take collateral damage while the case is being heard.

    This is very much the pattern of trade disputes, whether it be US vs the EU or whatever. The target is chosen to cause political pain.

    It’s not big bikkies, but could be an initial taste of more to come. I suspect it’s about the member for ManilaMackay:

      Queensland’s The Sunday Mail newspaper reports a federal parliamentary committee intends to summon China’s ambassador to give evidence and explain why China has “economically threatened” Australia before and after the coronavirus outbreak.

      The joint parliamentary investigation was set up by maverick Queensland MP George Christensen without the approval of key cabinet ministers.

      He believes “enough is enough”.

      “This inquiry will be the first major look into Communist China’s infiltration of Australia, through rampant foreign investment.”

  222. I think Christensen is betting the yellow peril will play well with the electors of Manila Mackay.
    China accounts for around 2% of foreign investment in Australia according to DFAT. Hardly “rampant”.

  223. The latest seems to be that most of the barley is grown and exported from WA. Because of the drought in the eastern states we had to buy barley from WA, presumably to make our beer.

    Most of WA’s barley was committed to the export market, so the eastern states had to pay top dollar.

    The Chinese looking at this from outside would say that they are being sold cheap barley below the Australian market price, which is ‘dumping’.

    Dumping is usually done when the exporter has an excess of supply it can’t sell, or to distort the market by flooding it with cheap goods to eliminate the competition and damage the home industry, so it can then charge monopoly-type prices.

    This is obviously not what is going on.

    The Chinese are alleging that the Australian government are aiding and abetting this through diesel fuel rebates and drought relief, would you believe.

    It has been shown umpteen times that Australian and NZ farmers are among the least government-supported in the world.

    Funnily enough Australia and NZ are about the only countries in the world that play the ‘free’ trade game with the naive assumption that free trade is an unmitigated good thing.

  224. Free trade is an unmitigated good till Governments mitigate it.

    Just a clarification, The Member of Mackay “ is a Queensland State title.
    Currently occupied by Julieanne Gilbert (ALP)
    Mackay has been a labor seat for 105 years.

    George Christensen is “ The Federal Member for Dawson “ from South Mackay to South Townsville.

    And if China want to bully us, we should do what needs to be done with bullies. We have plenty of friends, China has very few.

  225. That’s quite an article Mr J.

    But I’m puzzled by the first caption. The lady being escorted away by two police persons is described as “a protestor of conspiracy theorists”.

    Is she against such “theorists”?
    Or does she support such human organisms?

    By the way, another location of a demo is named as Rosa Luxemburg Platz in Berlin.

    What think you of Frau Rosa, Mr Jumpy?

    And please don’t be unkind to Mutti Angela, the best Chancellor in Europe!!

  226. Jumpy, thanks for the info about the local electorates. My bad.

    Your link to German protests shows incredible personal distancing in a mass protest in Stuttgart. Only in Germany, I think.

    Mutti Merkel is doing OK. People need to have a look at this site.

    There was a one-day spike in deaths immediately after relaxing lockdown. And that was after zero deaths the day before, which may have something to do with the fact that Germany closes down on Sundays. There is no causal relation there to the loosening. None at all. The ‘new cases’ graphs look under control, the ‘active cases’ graph continues to trend down, and daily ‘recoveries’ continue to exceed ‘new cases’.

    However, even Norman Swan seems confused.

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