COVID virus news 20/6

Sundry news about COVID 19.

World-wide, the 7-day average of new daily cases is now above 140,000 and rising, with a spike above 150,000. See WHO warns pandemic is ‘accelerating’ with record spike in new infections.

That article also reports that sampling of wastewater in the northern cities of Milan and Turin shows the virus was in Italy last December, at least two months before the country’s devastating outbreak. There is no concrete evidence that the outbreak came from those early infections, although one would hardly think it faded away. Perhaps the infected people were not identified as having a ‘novel’ virus.

In the US and the 7-day moving average of new cases has been going up from about 10 June. How much is attributable to all the rallies and how much to states loosening up before they are ready is not clear. I suspect the latter as the more important factor, because rallies are in open air and many wear masks.

Coronavirus surges in six American states – and it’s getting worse:


    • New coronavirus infections have hit record highs in six US states, marking a rising tide of cases for a second consecutive week as most states moved forward with reopening their economies.

Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas all reported record increases in new cases on Tuesday after recording all-time highs last week.

Seems that Arizona, with a population of 7.2 million and about 3,200 new cases per day is in danger of having its medical facilities overrun.

This link identifies 23 states with rising daily cases:

California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, Missouri, Utah, Kentucky, Arkansas, Nevada, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Oregon, Idaho, Vermont, Wyoming, Alaska, Hawaii and Montana.

Trump is about to hold his first election rally in Tulsa Oklahoma.

If previous rallies are anything to go by it will take about 7 hours from when the doors open to the end of Trump’s speech.

Apparently there were 95 new cases in Tulsa alone the other day, a city of 400,000.


In Brazil the 7-day new cases average is approaching 30,000 with a one-day spike of 55,209, surely a record for any country. The BBC reports:

President Bolsonaro has frequently clashed with state governors and his own health officials over coronavirus, describing their reaction to the “little flu” as “hysteria”. He also argues that their restrictions on movements and business are creating an unnecessary drag on the economy.

The president’s actions have incurred political costs in recent weeks, with his popularity falling in opinion polls. Nightly protests have also been held in Brazil’s biggest cities, with residents banging pots and pans and shouting “Get out, Bolsonaro!”

The Brazilian Report (can’t copy any of their text) says the the ministries of agriculture, economy and health have issued a joint proclamation to establish WHO-conforming protocols to control the spread of COVID 19 in slaughterhouses.

Of course, Brazil is a huge producer of beef.

How not to feed America

The United States also produces a lot of beef, chicken and pork, and the above story shows how large-scale industrial food production systems can be threatened by the virus (please note, the article was published on 11 June, when the national new case-load was subsiding):

The Covid-19 crisis is subsiding in America’s major cities and the nation is beginning to open up, but the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic has left behind at least one time bomb: a looming food supply crunch. The meat and poultry industry has already been badly disrupted by Covid-19 outbreaks at processing facilities around the country; now, as the summer fruit and vegetable harvest season approaches, the virus is spreading among seasonal farm workers. Food is reportedly being dumped even as queues for food banks are lengthening.

The situation is likely to worsen.

Food companies are not obliged to release data on their operations, but by 8 May the CDC had identified 115 plants with COVID cases. Many of these shut down.

Not surprisingly, meat and chicken supplies quickly ran short on supermarket shelves. The consequent panic buying was aggravated on 26 April when Tyson Foods, one of the country’s largest meat producers, placed a full-page advertisement in major Sunday newspapers warning that “the food supply chain is breaking” and “millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain.”

Trump issued an executive order:

declaring meat and poultry processing an essential industry and forcing plants to remain open “to ensure a continued supply of protein for Americans.” The companies were happy to comply — the executive order shields them from any health or safety liability — and most workers were unable to resist demands to return to what is often the only work available, despite a continuing lack of protective equipment and health safeguards.

On food insecurity:

A Brookings Institution study drawing on two national surveys in late April found that more than one in five households, and two in five of those with children under twelve years of age, were experiencing food insecurity. The incidence of hardship — as measured by respondents who reported children not eating enough because the household lacked the means to buy food — has increased more than fourfold since 2018.

As with meat processing most fruit and veg are harvested by casual workers with no sick leave. In addition, around half the harvest workers lack legal status.

At the same time some companies are able to profiteer through grants made to compensate farmers affected by Trump’s trade war with China.

So it goes in the land of the free.

How it all went wrong in the UK

That New Scientist article says that the UK government failed or underperformed in every possible way at combating the coronavirus.

The Worldometers site for the UK shows that the UK peaked in new cases around mid-April, whereas other major European economies peaked two weeks earlier. At time of writing (published 3 June) the UK had:

the highest absolute excess deaths in Europe, 59,537 more than usual since the week ending 20 March, and the second highest per million people, behind only Spain for countries with comparable data

The UK has 2.64 times our population, but has had 40 times the cases.

Whereas other major European economies peaked by about early April, the UK peaked around two weeks later, then practically flat-lined for three weeks, whereas in comparable counties the new cases fell away fairly quickly. The UK now probably has the situation under control, but

Early in the outbreak the UK had only 300 contact tracers, the same as Queensland, with 13 times the population.

For a long while only coughing and fever were recognised as symptoms indicating the need to test. A lack of taste and smell were added to the list a month later than in France.They messed up on nursing homes. Many medical workers did not have PEE, because the UK was too late into the market, so many health workers got sick and died.

Third party testing labs offered to help, but got no reply.

Worst of all, no-one in the government has admitted anything or said sorry, so there is a question as to whether there has been any learning.

One win was to increase the number of ventilators, but not sure that is particularly helpful (see below)

Ventilators – not just a breathing mask

It’s a tube that goes down your throat to your trachea, and then you breathe involuntarily according to the rhythm of the machine, with pain killers so you are practically in a coma. A Canadian nurse (from a email, and unverified, but I think with the ring of truth) said this:


    • After 20 days from this treatment, a young patient loses 40% muscle mass, and gets mouth or vocal cords trauma, as well as possible pulmonary or heart complications.

It is for this reason that old or already weak people can’t withstand the treatment and die. Many of us are in this boat … so stay safe unless you want to take the chance of ending up here. This is NOT the flu.

Add a tube into your stomach, either through your nose or skin for liquid food, a sticky bag around your butt to collect the diarrhoea, a foley to collect urine, an IV for fluids and meds, an A-line to monitor your BP that is completely dependent upon finely calculated med doses, teams of nurses, CRNA’s and MA’s to reposition your limbs every two hours and lying on a mat that circulates ice cold fluid to help bring down your 104 degree temp.

If not paywalled, see Ventilators may not be the best treatment for severe covid-19 and People put on ventilators for covid-19 may need lengthy rehabilitation.

When the articles were written, more than half the patients put on ventilators in the UK died.

For those who survive, the sedation can be slowly lessened – this is a very frightening and bewildering experience, says Brian Cuthbertson at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, Canada. As the opioid medication is reduced, they may suffer hallucinations and agitation, like someone coming off heroin. “A classic terrifying delusion is that the nurse is trying to kill you,” he says.

People become extremely weak:

At first, people may be too weak even to breathe for themselves, so the time they spend off the ventilator has to be slowly increased. For this, the patient needs to have a tracheostomy, when a breathing tube is put into a hole in their neck instead of going down their mouth, so they can easily switch back and forth between breathing independently and on the machine.

Apart from long-term physical disabilities:

For reasons that aren’t clear, people who have been in intensive care may also have memory or concentration problems and higher rates of depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions. Studies suggest about one in 10 experience post-traumatic stress disorder, involving flashbacks and nightmares.

I think for oldies like me it’s about one in eight chance of survival, against a terrible way to die. Makes one think whether to include specific instructions in an advance health directive.

If you have time, BilB sent me this link to a YouTube of the surviving partner of a yachtsman who died through intubation. The video is very moving. As the disease progressed the surviving partner was starting to think of the practicalities of life with her partner in a wheel chair. The video allows us to vicariously live through the experience, also raising questions of medical access and medical insurance, in this case in South Africa.

Finding a vaccine

Another New Scientist article asks the question 124 coronavirus vaccines are in development – but will any work?

The only way to find out for sure how well these vaccines work is to give them to thousands of people of all ages. A University of Oxford team trialling a vaccine that uses the gene for the spike protein inside a viral shell is now expanding its initial trial of 1000 people to 10,000 people, including children and people over the age of 56. It is at this second, larger stage of human trials that vaccines usually fail, says Hibberd.

There is a big problem in chasing the virus around the world, because the trial can’t be done experimentally by infecting people.

Bioethicist Nir Eyal at Rutgers University in New Jersey has pointed out that a healthy person in their 20s has a less than 1 in 3000 chance of dying from COVID 19. Some 26,000 people have volunteered, but you would need a company and a country willing to play ball.

It would help if we found a cure first, which is all we’ve got with HIV-AIDS.

Then apart from the technical difficulties, if you want immunity for at least a year, then you have to test for a year.

I we are going to have to learn to live with the beast.

Meanwhile in Victoria…

From the ABC Victorian coronavirus restrictions tightening as cases continue to increase


  • Victoria recorded 25 new coronavirus cases overnight, including 14 linked to existing outbreaks and one returned traveller in hotel quarantine
  • Plans to increase the number of patrons in restaurants, libraries and places of worship are being delayed, meaning the 20-person limit will remain until at least July 12
  • Gyms and cinemas can still reopen again on Monday but they will be limited to 20 patrons


Mr Andrews said:

there had been instances of people gathering in large numbers at the homes of family and friends, even though they had been told to self-isolate.

“We have even had people who had tested positive and have been told to go home and isolate and instead they have gone to work, instead they have gone and visited loved ones in large numbers,” he said.

“It is pretty clear that behind closed doors when one family comes together in large numbers … they are not practicing social distancing.”

He also said Premier warns cops will go ‘door to door’ to enforce COVID-19 limits.


Victoria’s coronavirus spike could see interstate travel delayed

See also Victorian restrictions explained.

Apparently the British public were on the whole co-operative and compliant. Some here will have to learn the hard way.

194 thoughts on “COVID virus news 20/6”

  1. New post now here. I was interrupted by a phone call when I was about to hit the button.

    None of the four people I know who passed on in the last few days was virus affected, but what happens then surely is, and people need to talk.

  2. In Queen Victoria State.

    One thing the Premier dare not mention is that some Citizens have Failed to Wash Down their High Drays adequately.

    How very dare they!!

  3. And more,

    Apparently the Germans have a more relaxed approach than Australia.

    As Germany draws down social distancing restrictions, and slowly reopens schools and businesses, the emergency mechanism is designed to stop a COVID-19 outbreak locally before it spreads further by reintroducing restrictions on public life. In most parts of the country, the restrictions are expected to be lifted on May 11.
    Also referred to as an “emergency brake,” the mechanism is triggered if 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants are detected in a district or city.

  4. In the meantime “Donald Trump says he ordered slowdown in coronavirus testing in speech to rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma” One way of reducing the number of new cases reported.
    Trump is not doing as well as he thought he would: “Crowd numbers at Donald Trump’s Tulsa rally fell short of expectations.”
    As the event moved closer, the Trump campaign said the 19,000-seat BOK Center in Tulsa would be full, and 40,000 extra supporters would be accommodated in an overflow area outside. Plans were made for Trump to give a speech outside once he finished the indoor rally.
    But the outside crowd never showed. The outdoor stage was being dismantled before Trump took to the podium inside.
    At the BOK Center, there were plenty of empty seats, and the standing area in front of the President was about half full.

  5. Given Mr Biden’s age, his choice of Vice Presidential nominee becomes important.

    She will automatically become President should he move on to the great white house in the sky.

    I hope she’s a better candidate than Hillary was.

  6. I hope she’s a better candidate than Hillary was.

    Ms Clinton received something around 3 million more votes than the Donald. And I would remind local pundits that at this stage of the 2016 race she was considered a shoo-in (a %99 chance if you will).
    Have you heard the latest? He got a standing ovation for drinking a glass of water. Probably the saddest news I’ve ever had the misfortune to witness.

  7. I heard about the German meatworks on SBS News. They have the same issue as elsewhere with low-paid workers, this time from Eastern Europe.

    The company took full responsibility and apologised.

    Germany began opening about 6 May. If you look at their
    worldometer site the 7-day moving average was about 1,000. That came down to less than 300 about 5 days ago. Then they had a one-day spike of about 1,100 followed by three days at about 550 or so.

    I don’t think it rates as a second wave just yet.

  8. zoot, please pay attention.

    He drank the glass of water with style, panache and rare skill.
    Yes, it was the style of a NY ‘tycoon’ with questionable acquaintances, the panache of a guy who just can’t believe he’s on the comeback tour, the skill of a ……

    Oh, I give up.

    Not a very pleasant man, indeed.
    But elected.


    (If ‘pundit’ derives from Pandit, it doesn’t apply to me.
    Look to Jarwahalal Nehru and his ilk.)

  9. I just heard Trump is heading to Arizona for his next rally. In the post above, Arizona was identified as a place where the medical facilities were close to being overwhelmed.

    On NewsRadio I heard an American academic explaining that contact tracing wasn’t really possible in most cities in the US because they simply don’t have enough skilled people to do it.

    I suspect they don’t have the money at state level, and Trump is unlikely to help.

    At the same time, Victoria is getting contact tracers from SA to supplement their local effort.

  10. Of course if you contracted the virus in the US, the first thing you would do is drive as fast and as far over the Canadian border border as you can to present at a hospital there . Treatment costs in the US are reported at around the million US Dollars if you don’t have medical insurance.

  11. Yep, BilB.

    It’s an unusual system.
    Mr Trump was selected after a national election; his selection surprised no-one after the electors’ votes had been counted. It followed the usual College of Cardinals WHOOPS Electoral College procedure.

    What I found surprising was
    a) his confirmation as candidate
    b) Hillary’s wooden, unconvincing speeches
    c) Donald scarcely missing a beat after that audio tape was released
    d) Hillary’s foolishness in using a private email server and deleting thousands of old emails – wasn’t she a senior Cabinet Secretary under Obama? Something to do with foreign govts?? Traditional playground for spies and underhand dealings???
    e) “basket of deplorables”

    My conclusion after she lost – to him if all people – was that she must have failed to impress huge swathes of voters, including millions of women.

    But I realise many others disagree.

  12. I’d actually be in favour of an Electoral College system in Australia when we become a Republic.

    The US system basically says that the least populous State gets 3 College votes and that every other State gets a College vote for every 1/3rd of that State, translated to their population.

    So, for example, Tasmania would get 3 College votes, Queensland gets 28, NSW gets 45, Vic gets 38, WA 14, SA 10 and the Territories get 3 ( 23rd Amendment style).

    That’s 144 so 73 wins it.

    Interesting thought experiment non the least.

  13. BilB, I believe you would do that.
    The Canadians may possibly not allow your infected self in.

    But hey, you made a hate point, mission accomplished.

  14. Jumpy: “I’d actually be in favour of an Electoral College system in Australia when we become a Republic.” Why on earth would Australia want something as cacky handed as the US electoral college system that was designed for another world?
    If Australia becomes a republic the President should be the winner of the TPP vote.

  15. John, it’s about State representation.

    I’ve never once heard you bitch about Tasmania having too many Senators or NSW having too few.

  16. I’ve never once heard you bitch about Tasmania having too many Senators or NSW having too few.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m sure if we become a republic we won’t have to abolish the Senate.
    This effort by the Australian Marxist Collective goes into the byzantine provisions of the “system” the Yanks use to elect a President (starts around the 33 minute mark). The founding fathers certainly didn’t imagine a Trump ever occurring.
    I’m with John D here re winner of the popular vote – particularly if our President has only the powers of our current head of state (bless her).

  17. Strange political systems abound.

    After the disappearance of Mr Holt, who had been SELECTED as Liberal leader and elected as PM, the Country Party leader VETOED the selection of William McMahon as Liberal leader (and hence PM).

    Ms Gillard was initially SELECTED as Labor leader (and hence PM) before at an election becoming leader of the largest Party in the House and being SELECTED as PM by MPs Windsor and Oakeshott.

    Mr Turnbull was SELECTED by his governing Party to replace Mr Abbott as leader (and hence PM) before being elected as PM, narrowly.

    Likewise was Mr Keating SELECTED as PM before election. The electorate’s endorsement of Ms Gillard was negated when her Party SELECTED Mr Rudd to be leader (and hence PM, briefly).

    Mr Beazley won a popular vote but the peculiar, arcane system under which a House of Reps is formed, denied him his rightful PMship.

    And that’s only a few recent decades.

    What a strange, almost unfathomable polity we inhabit!

    Would the UN call us a democracy? Should some more meritorious democracy send its troops here to sort us out??

  18. My apologies.
    The above comment has been tested and found to be entirely COVID-19 virus free .

  19. Jumpy: “I’ve never once heard you bitch about Tasmania having too many Senators or NSW having too few.” Probably not but this doesn’t mean I like a system that gives more value per voter for small states.
    You might have noted in that, in the past I have argued for weighting a parliamentarians vote in parliament to take account of votes received or the number of voters in an electorate. This could mean that the states all retain the same number of Senators but the votes of these senators would be weighted so that a voter in NSW has the same influence as a voter from Tas. (Maybe we should do the same for Aboriginal voters by treating them as a separate state for the purposes of the Senate vote.)

  20. Jumpy, I think you should do as BilB has requested.

    Have a look at the second YouTube he linked to if you need to understand the problem of affordable medicine in the US.

  21. Today I heard about a nurse texting the ABC to say that the coronavirus was not a pandemic, it is endemic.

    I think she is right. The virus is with us for the foreseeable future. We will have to adapt in ways that are not yet foreseeable.

    Meanwhile, I’m allergic to the phrases “back to normal” and “the new normal”.

  22. Well, the NASCAR noose wasn’t anything to apologise for.
    Turns out it was fake noose.

    Same as the fake nooses in that Oakland park. Turns out they were exercise ropes put there by an black gentleman.

    Same as Jussie Smollett fake noose.

    It’s almost as if some folk want there to be rampant race hate in America, can’t find any so they invent it.

    And no, I’m not going to apologise to BilB, his hatred of the US medical system is quite clear from his many other posts.

  23. Brian, I still agree, there is no irradiation of this.

    The question still remains, how many devastating economic damage fatalities do we trade off to avoid how many covid fatalities ?
    That was the question from the get go.

  24. Jumpy: “his hatred of the US medical system is quite clear from his many other posts.” My understanding is that it can be very good you are filthy rich or have a job that pays for health insurance. Part of the reason it is expensive is that lawyers grow rich on negligence claims that can pay very high damages.
    Australia is less than perfect because the better off can afford to get much quicker treatment than some one who can not afford to pay. Bad for things like knee replacements.

  25. Jumpy: “The question still remains, how many devastating economic damage fatalities do we trade off to avoid how many covid fatalities ?
    That was the question from the get go.”
    Personal question: “How many people would have to be saved for you to be willing to sacrifice your life?”
    Saying that economic fatalities are “devastating” suggests that covid fatalities are somehow less important.

  26. The reasons why the US medical system is problematic was clearly set out in BilB’s second YouTube. It’s basically a problem of access and affordability.

    Jumpy “hate” is a strong word. You are attributing feelings to BilB, and are suggesting that his judgement about the US medical system is wrong, and merely attributable to some unwarranted reaction on his part.

    You are being quite offensive, and I am asking you to withdraw and apologise.

    A quick search turned up this:

    Would you have to pay for a coronavirus test? It depends.

    Towards the end it discusses costs if you need more than a test – clearly problematic for many.

    Then this:

    54% of Americans worry about expenses tied to coronavirus—here’s how to cut medical costs if you get sick

    Following the links:

    32% of American workers have medical debt—and over half have defaulted on it

    That’s 32% of people who are employed and typically have health insurance.


    Rising health-care costs stall Americans’ dreams of buying homes, building families and saving for retirement

      In the U.S. today, it only takes a single medical issue to drain your bank account and force you to put major life events on hold.

    Jumpy, I’m asking you come up with evidence countering the information in those article’s and in BilB’s YouTube link, or withdraw and apologise.

  27. That’s quite a wide list, Brian.
    Thanks for your providing medical information.

  28. Ambi, the US has just had the second highest number of new cases in a day ever. The 7-day average has gone up from about 21,000 to over 30,000 in the last two weeks.

    It gives them plenty to work on in doing research on the disease.

    In a new study they have not found any noticeable effect of the protest rallies. See What have protests taught us about the coronavirus?

    By telephone tracking they have found that there is more social distancing overall when there are rallies, mainly, it seems because most of the population stay home to avoid being caught up.

    I don’t think you could assume the same here.

  29. Brian, how did you conclude that I disagree with BilB about the US medical system or that I’m defending it with this,

    BilB, I believe you would do that.
    The Canadians may possibly not allow your infected self in.

    But hey, you made a hate point, mission accomplished.

    He has made his hatred for the US medical system clear over many years.
    The main point of my comment was that Canada wouldn’t let him in if he was covid positive,

    If you’re a foreign national, and you have symptoms of COVID-19, you won’t be allowed to enter Canada.

    ( oh how I wish for the help buttons to come back, especially the preview button)

  30. Anyway, I’m thinking the case numbers are even even less relevant than death rates per week.

    The “ flatten the curve “ wasn’t only to not overwhelm the medical system but to also buy time to refine treatment.
    A cure was never going to be found inside 6 months, maybe never ( like HIV/AIDS).

    I’ve tried without success to find an up to date, 7 day fatality totals graph. Only useless cumulative stuff.

  31. Anyway, I’m thinking the case numbers are even even less relevant than death rates per week.

    Thank goodness nobody with any authority is taking notice of you.

    BTW, my (admittedly informal) study of construction sites indicates a preponderance of obese smokers. Keep safe Jumpy.

  32. Yes, “flattening” was to buy time and ti reduce deaths. Fewer infections => fewer deaths.

    That sign means “implies”.

    Assumptions :
    1. roughly, a fixed percentage of infected people will die, even if medically treated
    2. also, some seemingly asymptomatic people will suddenly die (too quickly for medical treatment to be able to prevent death)
    3. the fewer infected, the fewer recovered persons carrying long term ‘battle scars’ from COVID which may shorten their later lives

    Jumpy, you’re correct to assert that “buying time” also meant that many people infected later in the pandemic might have better survival chances, as treatments or even a vaccine became available.

    On a point of logistics, it gave extra time for goods like masks, testing kits, ventilators, special hospital wards, disinfectants etc. to be imported or manufactured or transported to hospitals and clinics across the land (wide and brown as it is).

    Being a changing and multicausal pandemic, I think it’s unlikely the medicos will ever be able to untangle the statistical importance of these (and many other) factors.

    The only thing you can bet on, is that many politicians are just itching to claim credit for a job well done.

  33. And I’m as obese as Brian, only younger, I’m fine.

    You seem to have a problem with WHAT I said. I will attempt to parse it for you,
    Jumpy, if my observations are accurate you have many people working with you who are obese and who smoke. These people are in a higher risk group and therefore pose a higher risk to you. Please take care.
    I made no comment about your BMI or whether you smoked or not.

  34. Any problem with WHAT I said ?

    Yes. Thank goodness nobody with any authority is taking notice of you. To only look at deaths caused by the coronavirus is to miss probably three quarters of the damage it does.

  35. zoot, I must admit I too* thought you were referring to the generality of building workers, since you cited your own observations of building sites. As far as I recall you live in WA, and I think it highly unlikely you have ever seen (or sighted) Mr J and his employees or building mates at work.

    * me and you both



    Reckon we could make a blank verse out of that.

  36. Zoot

    To only look at deaths caused by the coronavirus is to miss probably three quarters of the damage it does.

    That’s interesting. I’d have thought the government actions were primarily to reduce deaths.
    Please expand on the other three quarters of the damage Covid is doing.

    I’m being totally genuine with this.

  37. I’d have thought the government actions were primarily to reduce deaths.

    Of course they were. What’s your point?

    Please expand on the other three quarters of the damage Covid is doing.

    Your legendary Google-fu on the blink again?
    You could start here and here . I’m sure you can find more. Knock yourself out.

    PS you really should apologise to Bilb.
    I realise you probably consider yourself something of an expert on hate given how you hate the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton (though goodness knows what they ever did to you) and you have often expressed your hatred of Socialism and collectivism, and Bill Shorten and the Premier of Queensland, but Bilb’s comment had nothing to do with hate.
    Were you perhaps projecting?

  38. Zoot: Worked at quite a few construction sites in Central Qld. The work was quite physical and I wouldn’t have talked about lots of overweight people.

  39. Hi all
    I’m hoping to punctuate this thread a little as I see it inching beyond objectivity.

    Albo has today reached out seeking to engage with the LNP on climate. But it has been flagged by Renew Economy’s Michael Mazengarb ( that Labor will support CCS if the LNP will deal on Climate. It just can’t be true. CCS has failed wherever it has been researched, and even the LNP should know that, so should Albo. So why post it?
    I liked Albo’s attempt to draw LNP into meaningful discussions that would ultimately bring down emissions. But to even mention CCS is nonsense. I have not seen a considered LNP response yet but I think they have scoffed at the outreach. Pity.

  40. Good try Geoff, but you forget our genius correspondent from Mackay is not only a leading epidemiologist but also embodies the epitome of energy and climate change on top of being a wizard on risk management, global expert in economics and finance, not bad in international relations … besides you are confused as this is the COVID thread and this belongs into the salon.

    Not that it makes a difference, now that this serial pest has managed to derail and make it all about himself again, demands of apologies and all. All hail the mighty jumpy, fountain of wisdom and slayer of anything red and left. In a few years they will name one of the massive holes with toxic sludge at the bottom left over in the Galilee basin after him.

  41. Geoff

    I am also still a sceptic on C capture and storage.
    It doesn’t seem to make sense from these points of view:

    Chemistry, and

    Apart from those three minor obstacles, why not go for it?
    Aussie Aussie Aussie…..

    Let me say it bluntly: seeking to capture the CO2 produced by combustion sounds so expensive (of chemical energy and physical equipment) that it sounds less efficient than a
    Perpetual Motion Machine.

    Mind you, that’s only a hunch.
    I have to admit I didn’t anticipate low energy lasers, transistors are a mystery….. Perhaps a breakthrough in catalysis will do the trick?

    But to me it sounds like the “cold fusion car” that Joh spruiked. It was a moment of malicious joy to physics graduates around Australia, when the “engineers” who had scammed Joh, somehow forgot the car keys, at the much-hyped launch of that vehicle by Premier Joh.

    Ah, memories.

  42. Guten Abend, Ootz

    How’s your paradise of fruitfulness going?

    Ambi of the Overflow

    “I had written him an email
    Which for want of better info
    I had sent to an old addy
    On a gmail long ago.
    And a letter came a speeding
    As my hopes were fast receding
    Said they thought he was a roaming
    With his clippers and his swag.
    They thought he mighta
    Tried his luck at Galilee
    Or Kath’rine,
    Or at Jabiru or at Isa,
    But the FIFO
    Was a mug’s game
    For a shearer, that’s for sure.

    “We dunno where ‘e’s gawn,
    But if he’s in a coal mine
    It won’t just be his thumbnail
    That he’s gone and dipped in tar.”

  43. Jumpy, you have offended someone and your response to my request that you apologise is, No way, I really meant it.

    That says something about you.

    Please understand two things.

    (1) My patience is not infinite.

    (2) If zoot were not doing the job he’s doing, you would be off the blog. Without zoot’s work someone visiting the blog may assume that everyone here agrees with you.

  44. Brian, thanks for your support. In the interests of harmony, I release Jumpy from his obligation. We all know that good sense, empathy and humility are beyond Jumpy’s abilities.

  45. BilB, thank you.

    For everyone’s information, I’m not angry. I don’t do ‘angry’ anymore. Jumpy could have made the point that Canada would not let someone in automatically.

    I have a sister and bro-in-law living in Toronto. I know you have to go through the hoops to get across the border from that side.

    Barbara Ehrenreich in Nickel and Dimed reported that people serving you in a pharmacy could not afford to buy many of the drugs they were selling to the public, and, like others, often went to Canada to buy those drugs if they lived near the border.

    There is much not to like about the American medical system.

  46. Ambi: “I am also still a skeptic on C capture and storage.
    It doesn’t seem to make sense from these points of view:”
    Would agree if we are talking about electricity production but you may not be right if we are talking about something like steel making.

  47. Albo was saying Labor would be open to any clean technology, except nuclear. My take is that carbon capture and storage would only be considered if it was cheaper than other clean alternatives.

    I took heart from his speech, which I listened to plus questions, because he made very clear that Labor would respect the science, which may change before the next election, and he understands the policy way better than Shorten did.

  48. The USA has just had over 40,000 daily new cases, a record for them. The AFR says 33 states are now on the increase, and whatever approach the US had has broken down.

    The AFR also reported a lockdown in northern Germany involving 500,00 people.

    Last night from the BBC I heard a report that Bolsinaro in Brazil is still ignoring the virus. One southern state is too, with the governor saying it’s a pity about people dying, but he will do nothing to inhibit the economy. Not much testing is going on, so the dreadful stats coming out of Brazil are unlikely to cover the full situation.

  49. I spoke with Albonese personally a number of times back in 2007 and he was vacilating on Climate Change policy then. Here he is 13 years later and he is still uncertain. The guy, and Labor for that matter, are frauds on Climate Change.

    As for Nuclear, the one thing that is keeping global commerce going right now is shipping. Yes land based Nuclear is a permanent potential disaster to any one on the one fifth of the Earth’s surface we can comfortably occupy, but moving goods around over the other four fifths will require Nuclear Power.

    How can they, Labor …the supposed rational non corrupt thinkers of our (your) society, not have a rock solid fully considered strategic plan? the answer is that they are not rational, they are as corrupt as the right wingnuts, and they are no longer acting in the interests of Australians or humanity for that matter. Politics is all BS.

    And yes John D, CCS is a fraud of a concept and it is disgraceful that Australia has thrown 1.5 billion dollars at it.

    Not that any of that matters. Get used to the reality that the current leaders, whoever they are, are just care taker pacifier governors keeping calm till China makes the move to Annex Australia. China will sort it all out. Why? Because they do have a long term strategic plan. A plan that makes Australia’s perpetual flip flopping from one form of stupidity to the other all made possible by the country’s mountain of minerals that bail out the country out every time it heads for bankruptcy.

  50. I was thinking what China’s strategy will be, and I think that they will take Western Australia first. The remoteness is a perfect defence, and it is where the minerals they need, iron ore and lithium, are. They can knock out most of Australia’s air force in a week by waiting for the planes to waste fuel flying over the 3000 kilometres of nothing on the way . This notion is supported by where the Chinese survey ship was working. Its highly probable that an Albo government would rationalise and cast the New Chinese Western Republic adrift, something the WA people have wanted for a long time.

  51. Bilb: You seem to be unusually bitter and twisted today. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that much of what you say may not end up being right no matter who is governing Australia.

  52. Its a timing thing, JohnD. The only good news is that Trump’s Sociopathy is finally burning through his support. That doesn’t mean that Republicans can’t steal the election with extensive criminal activity. Did you see the footage where in Kentucky Primaries they just locked the voting area doors early, that is after reducing the number of voting places by a huge number. The video shows a building surrounded by people all banging on the glass and shouting for the doors to be opened. Trump being re elected is vital to an accelerated global realignment and border restructuring. This is not play school. Trump’s Barr ‘s complete corruption of the US justice system, plus the very recent political total take over of the Voice of America coupled with the mind blowing election rigging underway should be warning enough. but for anyone who thinks this is ludicrous, look to the fate of Syria which collapsed to a pile of rubble in just a couple of years.

    Trump cowers to brutal or powerful dictators, largely because that is how he sees himself and wants to be part of that “club”, so do you see the US coming to defend Western Australia? I certainly don’t, particularly as “just going in there and taking what you see as yours” is precisely Trump’s thinking.

    The pace of global change very largely hinges on this coming US election, and mainly because it governs who has their finger on the US Nuclear Button.

    And then there is Albonese, the best that Australian Labor can scrape up to be the Defender in these huge (potential) Global Events. He has already failed at Climate Change, how do you think he would cope with a Chinese Invasion?

    Bitter? Yes. Mainly because I can add things up better it seems than many others.

  53. Yes JohnD

    I meant carbon capture and storage applied to electricity production from fossil fuel combustion.

  54. Bilb: Australia had some very very unfair electoral systems in places like Qld, SA and WA. Eventually cleaned up in a WA that was fair to both sides. (Kiwi Joh simply took over a very biased Labor system and twiddled it to be very very biased in favour of the country party.) We now have electoral systems controlled by respectable electoral commissions but there is still a problem of people like Palmer being able to buy an election result.
    Trump and the Tea Party have highlighted some of the problems with the US system. Maybe some conservative Republicans will find it within themselves to support radical reform.

  55. It would be a decent start if they could bring themselves to support reform full stop. Then, when it was clear that the electoral sky hadn’t fallen in, they could move to “radical reform “.

    D*mn fine idea to take electoral system decisions (e.g. boundaries) out of the hands of politicians. Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion.

    It’s salutary to remember that Joh simply re-directed a crook polity to favour the Country Party. Thanks, John.

  56. For everyone’s information who didn’t see it, I’ve trashed a comment from Jumpy (8:10pm) which was designed purely to get up my nose.

  57. BilB, Albanese has to respect ALP democracy. There was an ALP party conference scheduled for December this year, which is meant to set party policy.

    However, it’s clear that ALP policy will be based on the received wisdom of the IPCC, which many counties have picked up and turned into a net zero by 2050.

    Of course that’s not adventurous enough. No-one in politics anywhere in the world seems to understand that 400 plus ppm is way too high, and that we need urgently cool the planet.

    Sorry, Adam Bandt probably does understand that, but he prefers to talk about exporting coal.

    Albanese is also looking for bipartisanship. That may be a splendid idea in theory, but will never happen while we’ve got the climate denying Nats and the Coalsheviks like Angus Taylor within the Liberal Party.

  58. Brian: It is noticeable that Andrews has responded to the surge in Vic new cases by reimposing the same old brute force measures in the affected areas. No sign of any recognition:
    That the research is showing that even cloth face covering significantly prevents virus escaping from infected people into the atmosphere. (Good face masks are more effective.)
    Or that reducing air re-circulation helps reduce the concentration of virus in rooms.
    Or that temperature testing may help decide who needs testing priority. (And other simple checks?)
    Or that insisting that supermarket aisles be one way avoids the close encounters that cannot be avoided in two way aisles. (Ditto paths where practical.)
    Or that immigrants might be having trouble understanding the government messages, particularly when changes seem to be taking place every day and some immigrant groups put so much importance on physical closeness.
    Worst of all there is no sign of any attempt to understand why countries like Taiwan and Vietnam are doing better with much less economic and social damage.
    Ambi: Time your boss man got off his high dray and looked more widely for answers.

  59. BilB, you sinophobia is surprising and yet not. Very few people outside of China and it’s immediate neighbours understand Chinese culture and psyche, which is intricate and has ancient roots, their view is long term. However, Aussie culture is the opposite, see tweet by Tony Windsor:
    “” War is imminent….”we won’t stand for it”. Iron ore exports to be cancelled. Gina and Twiggy support the move because of their love of Australia’s sovereignty. Downer apologises to East Timor.””

  60. John, Norman Swan is now routinely talking about the value of masks as a preventative measure for everyone.

    Last night I heard that California mandates wearing masks in public. Probably you know that.

    Zoot, good link, but to spell it out for those who don’t follow links:

      Now, more than 300 studies from around the world have found a prevalence of neurological abnormalities in Covid-19 patients, including mild symptoms like headaches, loss of smell (anosmia) and tingling sensations (arcoparasthesia), up to more severe outcomes such as aphasia (inability to speak), strokes and seizures. This is in addition to recent findings that the virus, which has been largely considered to be a respiratory disease, can also wreak havoc on the kidneys, liver, heart, and just about every organ system in the body.

  61. I’ve just been browsing through YouTube – the usual ultra radical left sites like MSNBC and CNN – and it struck me that (mainly courtesy of POTUS and the Republican Party) we are witnessing a great experiment: will opening up the USA before the pandemic is dealt with save their economy.
    My hunch is that it won’t.

  62. My American son had this to say about a recent trip in California “Driving up to Wilton and back down again a couple of days later was a little weird – we went up via a minor freeway with lots of small very republican towns full of Trump signs on the way and when we pulled in for petrol no-one was wearing masks at all. I came back down the main arterial freeway that runs between San Francisco and LA and pretty much everyone was wearing masks at the petrol stations.” The American right seems to have gone all macho and in denial about the virus. Guess they have been denying climate science for so long that their reflex reaction to any science is to deny.

  63. John,

    It’s a bit more nuanced in Victoria.

    Letter from Victoria
    :: Pigeon Post ::
    This Saturday, post -solstice.

    Our State Govt is (at last, too late?) paying more attention to getting safety messages out in a variety of languages.

    On the Melbourne arterial freeways, overhead signs advise:
    Got symptoms? Get tested now.
    Get tested, even if your symptoms are only mild

    At our GP clinic, a forehead temperature test is now being done at the entry for all persons arriving.

    It appears our Melbourne “quarantine hotels” haven’t been up to scratch.

    Noticeably, not all people at supermarkets and in shopping streets are being as cautious as they were back in March, April.

    Not entirely clear yet where the new infections are arising from. Suggestions abound, of course. Eid? Ethnic parties? City demonstrations? Relaxation? Schools? Family gatherings?

    In my limited observations, only about 5% to 10% of people “out and about” are wearing masks.

    :: End of pigeon ::
    Pie will be served shortly.


    Those serious after-effects of COVID are worrying, zoot.

    Ootz: yes there are sinophobes in many countries, including Australia.
    And sinophobia here was a nasty social problem at least as far back as the Victorian Gold Rush around the 1850s and later.
    (Example: Chinese gold prospectors prohibited from landing at Melbourne, disembarked at Robe in South Australia and walked to Ballarat or Bendigo . This was not a practice exercise for Mao’s “Long March”.)

    But criticism of the PRC, or of the CCP, or of President Xi, is not necessarily due to sinophobia.

    It may be based on opposition to totalitarian rule, for instance. Or distaste for communist rule. Or a critique of residual Maoism. Or opposition to anti-religious policies. Or adherence to Falun Gong. Or critique of Capitalism Without Political Rights. Or support for Hong Kong protestors. Or support for Taiwan. Or opposition to building islands in the South China Sea. Or support for Tibet. Or support for the Uighurs. Or appreciation of the thousands of years of calligraphy, literature, mathematics, science that Old China produced (see, for example, the Belgian Pierre Ryckmans who taught at ANU then University of Sydney).

    Graham Greene liked his opium smoking, by the way. Doesn’t make it a fine habit.

  64. Meanwhile, back in the USA: “Co-founder of ReOpen Maryland says he has COVID-19, but won’t help contact tracing efforts”
    “A co-founder of the ReOpen Maryland movement said on social media that he tested positive for the coronavirus this week but won’t work with public health officials trying to track and limit the spread of the pandemic.
    Tim Walters, a two-time Republican candidate for the General Assembly from Linthicum, said in a series of Facebook videos starting Tuesday that he has come down with COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.
    “I was diagnosed yesterday at the ER with COVID-19 and here I am months after not wearing a mask at rallies, churches and so on and so it’s funny how capricious this thing is,” he said.
    Walters helped organize ReOpen Maryland protests in Annapolis, on the Eastern Shore and elsewhere in Maryland to challenge state and local measures put in place by Gov. Larry Hogan to slow the spread of the virus. In a new video released Friday morning, he said the protests were about infringement on freedom to worship and he was critical of The Capital for not contacting him Thursday night when it first reported on his announcement.”
    They may speak English but sometimes you are reminded that the USA can be a very foreign country.

  65. John, indeed. He talks about “freedom to worship”. Some of them are talking about their “health rights”, whereas Dr. Anthony Fauci is saying, do it for yourself, and for others.

    America will never be great again if it’s up to litigious rights-bearing isolates.

  66. America will never be great again if they re-elect Trump.
    Asked for his top priorities if he wins a second term he answered

    Well, one of the things that will be really great — you know, the word “experience” is still good. I always say talent is more important than experience. I’ve always said that. But the word “experience” is a very important word. It’s in a very important meaning.
    I never did this before. I never slept over in Washington. I was in Washington, I think, 17 times. All of a sudden, I’m President of the United States. You know the story. I’m riding down Pennsylvania Avenue with our First Lady, and I say, “This is great.” But I didn’t know very many people in Washington. It wasn’t my thing. I was from Manhattan, from New York.
    Now I know everybody. And I have great people in the administration. You make some mistakes. Like, you know, an idiot like Bolton, all he wanted to do was drop bombs on everybody. You don’t have to drop bombs on everybody. You don’t have to kill people.

    To allow this incompetent, ignorant, stupid, arrogant grifter to remain in the White House is to ensure the USA will become just another banana republic. It’s already well on the way.

  67. zoot: “Now I know everybody” can’t be reassuring to those distrustful of Washington who sent The Donald to the White House to clean up the swamp .

    John: the news from Linthicum is sad, indeed.
    it’s funny how capricious this thing is “.

    Yes sir.
    Listen to Dr Fauci, sir.
    Listen to your GP, if you have one.
    Google “infections and illness”
    Google “infectious”.
    Sir, are you aware that bacteria and viruses are almost invisible to the naked eye, however pious and reckless the owner of said eye may be????

    Brothers and sisters, let us pray for those who have been capriciously infected by a capricious germ, whose capricious and egregious nastiness none of us could have anticipated or protected ourselves from.

  68. Sir Ambi of the high dray: Poor old Vic caught with a premier that thinks all he has to do to deal with a second wave is use the same strategies as he quite rightly did in the first case. If nothing else he should be insisting on the use of face coverings in public.

  69. Yes John.

    I’ve been surprised at how few indoor places are testing forehead temperatures before a person can enter.

    The first one I heard of locally was a retirement village/nursing home; fair enough.

    The Premier seems to think we can nip this in the bud if we concentrate testing in the ‘hot spot’ suburbs.

    Unfortunately, the hot spots are – as we speak – smearing out across the State, because school holidays began on Friday 26tg June. Expect large numbers of families to visit: Mornington Peninsula, Great Ocean Road, Warrnambool for whale watching; high country for skiing and snowboarding; wine regions; Phillip Island; Gippsland Lakes; Grampians; Murray River townships, etc.

    Normally Victorians would descend like a locust swarm, upon sunny Queensland, or warm northern NSW, or – at a pinch – Tinseltown.

    Apparently we’re not welcome.

  70. Don’t worry Ambi, ScoMo has said ‘we’ can smash this thing, so it must be so.

  71. Biden Takes Dominant Lead as Voters Reject Trump on Virus and Race:

      Sitting down with CNN’s Victor Blackwell on Saturday morning, Axios White House editor Margaret Talev stated that Donald Trump’s declining poll numbers can be attributed to – among other things — a large part of his voting base beginning to question whether he is up to the task of managing the COVID-19 crisis.

      “The president’s re-election bid appears to be in trouble,” host Blackwell began. “A poll has President Trump 14 points behind the former Vice President Joe Biden nationally and new data from the New York Times shows the president losing by double digits in Michigan and Wisconsin. and states that helped him win in 2016.”

    It’s 50/36

  72. Ootz, its a bit hard to see what Tony Windsor is war mongering about.

    Sino phobia? Hmmm. I was a huge China fan till,…

    Some data points not necessarily in order:

    I have a big TV screen in my Emu Plains factory and while setting up machines I liked to watch SBS News in the morning. For a while there the Chinese news was dominated by daily presentations of their military might showing huge naval armadas steaming at speed in formation, the same for flights of fighter planes and bombers including missiles being launched from submarines with animated cross sections of the nuclear ware head triggering mechanisms, and whole armies in landing barges storming beaches.
    China moved onto Islands within territorial waters of their neighbours and despite claims to the contrary converted these islands into military bases, then demanded other nations stay clear or else.
    China have used their military newest survey ship to survey waters off the West Australian Coast.
    China launched yet another far reaching cyber attack on Australian businesses and government web sites.
    China recently gave their Leader life time tenure, the kind of change that usually precedes huge change.

    The Chinese Government is not known for doing things for amusement of entertainment value. The new revelation that Trump looked for re election help from China speaks to there being a higher level of global re alignment thinking amongst certain types of leaders. Last week Trump fired the head of voice of America and installed a stooge who immediately fired the heads of all of the organisations divisions. In other words Trump just staged a coup gaining a global megaphone for his class of rhetoric, he believes.

    Looking at things from a historical level playing field perspective, if China made a move on Western Australia, population 2.76 million people claiming a higher need for the land, how would that be any different to the British landing on a beach and claiming the land for Britain?

    Think about it. China with 1.2 billion people and a huge responsibility providing cheap product for the world, or their economies will collapse (certainly at least that their rich people would be facing hardship with no cheap goods to profit from). China needs Iron Ore, Lithium, Uranium, Coal, Natural Gas, Farm Land, Solar Energy, and Space for its highly compressed population. What are the needs of 3 million poorly performing entitled people to those of 1,200 million people?

    I am being analytical here, not any kind of phobic. Remember it was me who was calling out Abbott for being sociopathic long before he became prime minister (who was it was the primary Abbott apologist?), it was me calling out Trump for being a psychopath long before he was elected (who is Trumps main apologist here?) . That doesn’t mean that I am right about this, but it should suggest you look a little harder at the evidential breadcrumbs scattered all around.

  73. Bilb: Hope you are wrong about China’s overseas ambitions and WA. China seems to be doing a good job of pissing other countries off at the moment and COVID-19 has given the world a clear demonstration of the dangers of depending on China as the main supplier of various goods and/or markets.

  74. “Australia is defeating coronavirus but remains at risk of losing through an ‘economic own goal'”
    As a new report from the Grattan Institute warns, aside from allowing a second wave of virus transmission to take hold, the biggest mistake Australia can make is thinking the economy is back on track just because COVID-19 is under control.

    “During the Great Depression, and in many advanced economies in the past decade, premature moves to austerity held back recoveries and, in some cases, created new recessions,” the report cautions.
    “Rushing too quickly to consolidate the budget position would be an economic ‘own goal’ — hampering job creation, growth and ultimately the bottom line.”
    The federal cabinet did a good job of getting the virus under control despite our lack of preparedness. However, in management terms Scomo has been very kacky handed when it came to setting up jobseeker and jobkeeper with their complexity and unfairness. Not showing any changes that he has learned anything or will let more competent people look after the details.

  75. John, thanks for the link to the article about the Grattan report on COVID recovery. CEO John Daly has an opinion piece published today in the AFR.

    You can download the 122 page report itself from here.

    Plenty to chew on.

    One matter not mentioned by Janda is that they are saying the government should concentrate on the main issues only. If they try to change too much they will end up doing too little.

    I think they will try to change everything. Already they have majorly stuffed up on higher education, research and childcare. On energy it looks like a major push on gas rather than on cheaper renewables.

    As usual, at present, I’ve started a post I will probably struggle to finish.

    They say that matters “such as tax, industrial relations, and skills policy changes should be put on hold while governments tackle a huge agenda of urgent policies over the next six months.”

    They are saying there is no evidence that changes in industrial relations will improve productivity.

    Maybe not, but restoring human dignity should not have to wait.

  76. Brian: Gough was only in power from 1972 to 1975 yet he was our outstanding PM when it comes to making radical, durable changes that we all take for granted these days. It helped that he became a member of parliament in 1952 and leader of the Labor party in 1967 thus had plenty of of time to think of what he wanted to do when he beat the coalition.
    Morrison’s problem is that he won the unwinnable election when the LNP was looking pretty frayed. It is not uncommon that winning under those circumstances means a big loss the next election so if he is going to achieve he hasn’t got much time left if he is going to achieve much. To make matters worse the expectation of losing meant that LNP does not appear to have spent much time thinking about what they really wanted to do when they won.

  77. John, I think Morrison is basically shallow, has compassion when suffering becomes visible, but is basically elitist and thinking that the populous divides into lifters and leaners, and that there is a division between the deserving and undeserving poor, who should be punished.

    He believes that it is his duty to keep Labor out of power, and all means are justified.

    Lies are a primary tool in avoiding accountability.

    The big thing about COVID is that it has allowed him to break free from the constraints of neoliberals attachment to markets and competition. All the balls are in the air, so he can intervene directly to favour his value system.

    I think we are living in a dangerous time where there is greater freedom than usual to reshape social/political arrangements

  78. From Jess Hill’s report comes

    It was the first time energy demand had fallen in Australia in more than a century. According to Hugh Saddler, demand was falling for three key reasons: the impact of energy-efficiency schemes and appliances; the decline of electricity-intensive industry, like aluminium smelters; and, from 2010 onwards, a response to rising prices. …….

    This last factor, Saddler says, was a reaction to the Coalition’s doomsday preaching about the carbon tax, and its insinuation that the tax was driving prices up even before it was introduced. ………

    “People suddenly stopped thinking about the price of petrol or milk, and started thinking about the price of electricity and how they could actually save a bit,” says Saddler. In other words, was Tony Abbott the best friend energy efficiency had ever had? “Yes indeed.”

    “In August 2012, with rising electricity prices threatening to blow up her government, the then prime minister, Julia Gillard, finally linked the price hikes to the networks’ spending on infrastructure. In a keynote speech to the Energy Policy Institute in Sydney, she said, “At the heart of all this is a simple market design problem: a clear regulatory incentive to overinvest in infrastructure and pass on costs to consumers.” The then Opposition leader, Tony Abbott, responded immediately: “The problem is not the regulation of power prices. The problem is the carbon tax putting up power prices … This is a fabrication by the prime minister.”

    This is the way Abbott twisted Rudd’s good intention into the knife that brought down the government.

    It is true that prices were going up before the Carbon Tax was introduced and that is because announced an electricity price increase schedule along with dates. you should be able to find it in the SMH. The reasoning was that the CPRS was proceeding, Rudd thought, and he wanted the industry operators to have the funds in hand when the structure was working. What happened though was that Abbott killed Turnbull and renigged on the CPRS deal. He then has the gall as evidenced here to cane Labor for the electricity price increases.

    The infrastructure rort is an extra offence in which the energy distributors were able to distort the long standing cost break up for a third each for energy generation, energy wheeling (the high tension cable system) and the local distribution, to a new breakup where the wheeling of the power took 50% of the retail return.

    There was money flowing every where. there was the Stokes family and friends who bought a swiss manufaturer of smart meters for a handful of millions, did a deal with Victorian Energy, then sold the meter business to Toshiba for some two billion dollars.

    My 3 cents per unit levy proposal was criticised for “It’ll create a huge slush fund, and we all know what happens to those” at the time.

    So when you look at what the outcome has been, you might understand why I have no good words for Australian politicians. A bunch of grade A dunces.

  79. John D
    Interesting observation about LNP not having thought about policy, expecting to lose.

    I’m told Ms Arden’s govt was even less prepared and spent most of their first year holding inquiries.

    We’ll see what the NZ voters make of that govt, soon enough.

  80. Ambi, I think that the penchant of conservative governments to keep every one in the dark, particularly on fiscal matters means that after 9 years there is a huge need for a Left leaning government to assess the status of the nation to find the best balance of where effort should be applied. Incoming Conservatives on the other hand have just got the keys to the lolly shop and go straight to shutting down social programmes and shovelling money into vested interest group pockets. Assessment not necessary, only ideology.

  81. Bilb: “Conservatives on the other hand have just got the keys to the lolly shop and go straight to shutting down social programmes and shovelling money into vested interest group pockets. Assessment not necessary, only ideology.”
    The LNP is not a conservative party. It doesn’t want to conserve the environment and wants to tear down that don’t suit their ideology.
    When you think about it, the Greens are the closest we have to a real conservative party.

  82. zoot, the link says 30,000 new cases per day in the US. It’s now over 40,000, and I heard Fauci saying it could go to 100,000.

    With around 2.8 million cases, they are still less than one per cent of the population, so herd immunity is not going to help them much for a while.

    However, I heard a specialist from Johns Hopkins who said he thinks the real stats worldwide are probably 10 times more than the official stats.

    I’d heard that before, but was a bit surprised to hear it from him.

    They are actually doing a fair bit of testing in the US, so the undercounting problem may be more about what is happening in India, Brazil, Indonesia and maybe Russia etc.

  83. John, your ‘Greens conservative’ notion may be logical, but I think the tag is mostly applied to social/cultural matters.

    Research has shown again and again that the Right bases their judgements on values and emotions more than the Left, which is more responsive to information, science and reason.

    The Right seeks to preserve privilege and power relations. I was a bit shocked recently to find that the notion persisting that the ‘leaners’ in society are seen as genetically inferior. Eugenics was quite widespread in the 18th and 19th centuries, and it seems that right through the colonial period European powers genuinely thought they were genetically superior.

  84. If you want to wallow in Conservative thinking I’m told there is a site call the Righting . A daily listing of all right wingding articles. It’d be interesting to hear the Wall Street Journals take on it. Head line “The Righting on the Wall”, leaves me musing the headline for Trump walking into a spinning propeller. Please!

  85. BilB

    I agree that inquiries, fact-finding and clearing away obfuscation are important.
    But voters also have a right to expect that some policies will have been thought through, and “modelling” done if need be; so that an incoming Govt has several areas it will deal with immediately, promptly and thoroughly.

    Why, even your conventional political commentator these days usually says that a new Govt comes in with public goodwill and can proceed to implement its best ideas. It need not be ‘spending political capital’ at the start…

    That’s assuming it has some ideas, of course.

    St Whitlam certainly had a very thorough “programme”, much of it based on developing (previously neglected) urban infrastructure. What a surprise: a Federal Govt aware of the newer, “outer” suburbs! Tom Uren was an enthusiastic Minister.

    It was said in Victoria that Labor’s defeat of Kennett, came to most Labor MPs as a big surprise…. but Steve Bracks led a competent Govt even if his Govt’s larger projects took some time to be sorted.

    Out here in RARA (regional and rural Australia – Victorian subdivision) many were VERY pleased to see Mr Kennett’s Govt defeated. We had thought he was basically Melbo-centric. Shame, Jeffrey, shame!!

    (Like the ABC has been Sydney-centric.)

  86. That’s good, zoot.

    Is The Donald some kind of narcissist, would you hazard to guess??

    That quote from Pres Trump that you offered recently seems consistent with that idea.

    “As I drove in the limo down Pennsylvania Avenue with the First Lady, I thought this is kinda cool!” et cetera ad nauseam

  87. Ambi, I am mystified on your Ardern opinion, every thing I see is positive. Ardern is doing an awesome job.NZ is shut off from the world, but they have an economy that is getting back to work. My daughter in Auckland feels lucky to be in NZ during this crisis, if that tells you anything.

  88. I agree that her Govt has done well with the pandemic.

    I was referring more to the whole of the three year term.
    To give you one example: NZ Labour promised to make building social housinb a major priority. Good. An anti-poverty measure, directed to assist desperate homeless people. Good. (Some direct action. I recall that Mr Rudd, on this side of The Dutch, was more talk than action on this.)

    Apparently 0 houses built in Year 1.
    And 10 (??) in Year 2.

    Sadly, PM Ardern had noticed some rudeness about her Govt being “do nothing”, so she announced that Year 2 would be The Year of Achievement.

    10 houses (compare target 1 thousand).
    That’s not “achievement” in my book.

    I think the word ‘pathetic’ would be apt. Social housing building was supposedly a flagship policy. Not some minor afterthought.


    Yes she’s young, enthusiastic, photogenic, gentle, a mother and a fine National Healer.

    Is that enough??

  89. If reduced death from covid is the prime objective for a PM then SloMo is doing slightly better that Princess Jacinda.

    Haven’t gone through the comparative economic devastation yet.

  90. If reduced death from covid is the prime objective for a PM then SloMo is doing slightly better that Princess Jacinda.

    And he trails Nguyễn Phú Trọng by quite a few lengths. Maybe he’ll close the gap when they hit the home straight.

  91. Jumpy, owing to the Victorians (well, some of them) ScoMo has just slipped behind.

    If you go to the worldometer site and look at the cases per million population column, Australia is now 307 to NZ 305. Both badly lag Vietnam (4), Taiwan (19), Thailand (45) and China (58).

  92. Brian: “If you go to the worldometer site and look at the cases per million population column, Australia is now 307 to NZ 305. Both badly lag Vietnam (4), Taiwan (19), Thailand (45) and China (58).”
    And Australia’s leaders seem to be determined to learnn nothing from what the leaders are doing.

  93. Exactly, John. Instead they bask in the glory of the fact that we’ve done heaps better than countries we normally compare ourselves with.

    Yesterday I heard for the first time right through Norman Swan’s interview with Prof Brett Sutton, the chief medical officer of Victoria (transcript available). Sutton says that Victoria is left with trying to run a suppression strategy, ie. living with a contained rate of infections, when the other states have effectively eliminated the virus. That makes it difficult to keep up the discipline of distancing etc.

    From what I’ve seen the virus would have a very happy time if it came back in Qld, which it almost certainly will.

    What he says suggests that he’s looked at places like Taiwan and South Korea, but has he really? At least Victoria seems to be aware that with nine multi-story public housing towers with infections, they need enforcement officers on every floor of every building.

    In Taiwan this would not be necessary, because if quarantined you would be required to have a phone app that monitors your building, and there would be a notice pinned to your door which tells your neighbours who the can ring if you are not complying.

    Towards the end of the interview Sutton says they are considering wearing masks.

    Our street is having a street party this afternoon, just across the street from us where the road divides for a bit, to welcome a new bub born over there.

    We are not going because chances are we would be the only only wearing masks. What’s more my wife typically coughs a fair bit as a bit of chill comes into the air. It’s not because she’s got a cold, it’s just what happens every day, given the condition of her sinuses etc. She’s been to all the best specialists, and that’s the way it is.

    So we don’t want to spend the afternoon explaining why we wear masks.

  94. Coronavirus spreads through the air as aerosol, 230 scientists write in open letter to World Health Organisation: :
    The World Health Organisation (WHO) has downplayed airborne transmission of COVID-19 since the pandemic began but now more than 200 scientists are making a plea for action, warning people they aren’t as protected as they may think.
    The WHO’s view has so far been that COVID-19 is spread predominantly through large respiratory droplets — the ones that come flying out of our mouths when we cough, sneeze and speak but then quickly fall to the ground.
    The risk of airborne transmission has not been recognised by the WHO, except in some health care settings.
    But now 239 scientists from 32 different countries and many different areas of science (including virology, aerosol physics and epidemiology) have penned an open letter urging the WHO to change their advice.
    “We ignore COVID-19 airborne spread indoors at our peril,” the scientists say.
    If their plea is heard, the ways in which the world attempts to control the virus could change dramatically.
    Me, I am getting increasingly disturbed by the failure of Australian governments to use more strategies in parallel including more compulsory use of masks and consider the effect of airflows.

  95. Yes John,

    I believe you noted (on this blog) the likely importance of air flow, quite a few weeks ago.

    And as far as I know, your experience is in mining engineering, logistics, project management etc.

    But your knowledge of basic physics and chemistry and biology stands you in good stead to make informed judgements and predictions. My hypothesis is that there may well be a dearth of that understanding of the physical (including biological) world, amongst Australian public decision makers.

    If true, very sad.
    Sometimes, society doesn’t get much of a second chance.

    [An unrelated anecdote. One Westerner who avoided death or injury at that massive tsunami disaster, owed his life to a local who while running at top speed away from the beach, yelled “Tsunami!!” The lucky westerner understood the word and took off running too.

    Occasionally, “a little knowledge is a very handy thing” – not dangerous at all. ]

  96. May I just convey, on behalf if the High Dray Drivers and those of us still mounted on our High Horses, that we Victorians wish to apologise to anyone who may have been hurt, offended, inconvenienced, sacked, hospitalised, vety unwell, or lost considerable sums of money while putting in an appearance at the old man’s failing business.

    We trust that recent suggestions that our fine State would do best to secede from the Federation or simply slink away, were typographical errors – which we are confident they must have been.

    Best foot forward.
    Things can only Improve.
    Onya Dan!

  97. Messages from the convict state:
    Keep your drays locked up!
    Please give us a lend of your high horses for a day or two. We need more high horses to ride upon for a week or two.
    Secede Woodonga to NSW so the good citizens of this town don’t suffer for the incompetence of those uppity Melbourne people. Or perhaps a wee bit smarter – expel Melbourne from Victoria and close the border?
    (Just demonstrating that I am too creative to have ever been a mining engineer.)

  98. Sometimes it’s not even basic chemistry they make mistakes in ….

    This from “The Age” today:

    New York: A tell-all book by US President Donald Trump’s niece that has been the subject of a legal battle will be released next week, one week earlier than originally scheduled, due to“high demand and extraordinary interest”, its publisher says.

    The book by Mary Trump, titled Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, was originally set for release on July 28, but will now arrive on shelves on July 14.

    Look, I’m as keen as the next Francophile on Bastille Day, but changing the date from 28th to 14th….. is that a week?

    Zut alors!!

  99. The Melbourne breakout of the virus has raised some interesting issues.

    At present there are some very angry people, it seems. I wondered how we would feel about a Chinese TV documentary unit coming here to highlight that anger for the information of Chinese people to understand our culture and governance.

    It raises the general question as to whether we are mature enough as a society to incorporate the necessary mutual obligation in our behaviour if our aim really is going to be suppression of the virus rather than elimination.

    I heard one woman say on the radio just now that she was “incandescent” after being lectured by Dan Andrews, when he was the one at fault, and was less likely to do as he asked as a result. This is the kind of behaviour my wife would have had to deal with occasionally at kindergarten level because most little kids know better than that.

    Meanwhile here in Quinceland we are opening our borders, but of course no-one wants Victorians right now and it seems we need to take steps to actively keep them out. There are reports that in the last few days 709 have been stopped at the road blocks, while 12 decided they really wanted to come and were prepared to be quarantined at their own expense.

    Victoria with community transmission like we haven’t seen in Australia so far has a huge job in contact tracing, which wasn’t necessary when most cases were those being quarantined after returning from overseas. I feel for them as they are being tested to the limit. We all have a stake in their success.

  100. President Jair Bolsonaro has COVID-19, but don’t expect Brazil’s coronavirus response to change:
    Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has tested positive for COVID-19.
    “The populist leader announced his test results personally, on live TV, speaking mask-less and in close confines with a group of reporters, visually signifying that his attitude toward coronavirus had not changed in light of his personal circumstances.
    Mr Bolsonaro has spent months downplaying the pandemic’s hold on Brazil and danger to the world.
    Now he’s downplaying his own diagnosis.
    “There’s no reason for fear. That’s life. Life goes on,” he said as he announced his positive test result.””
    Might save a lot of lives if he dies from it.
    On a similar topic New Scientist (4/7/20) says that Scotland has nearly got the virus under control (On June 29 Scotland reported only 5 new cases out of 815 for the UK as a whole.) Movements across the border from England will make it hard to achieve complete suppression difficult.

  101. As Victoria goes into coronavirus lockdown, it’s time to consider moving infected people outside the home:
    A very critical article by “Mary-Louise McLaws is Professor of Epidemiology Healthcare Infection and Infectious Diseases Control at UNSW. This article originally appeared on The Conversation.”
    Key points include:
    They all should be wearing masks.
    Family members should not be isolated at home with other family members.
    Lockdowns should look after the people being locked down properly to improve protection levels, feed them etc. so that people being expected to stay put are on side.
    Treatment o people locked down in public housing is gross.
    Me, it just pisses me off that Andrews is assuming that all he needs to fix the problem is more of what he has done. Doesn’t appear to have learned anything from the countries that have been much more successful than we have.

  102. On treatment of Covid displacees, some cruising yachties around the world have been treated pretty dreadfully. Indonesia, though has gone up hugely in my esteem for their solution for one group in providing them with a port that they can head towards where they can get fuel and food, and have been offered an uninhabited island to anchor of for the period while also freezing their travel authorities so that they will not expire. Huge thumbs up and thank you to Indonesian Authorities for compassion and common sense.

  103. I would rate yachties as one of the least threatening covid spreaders.

    But they are well placed in such times. Any decent yachtie that isn’t a decent prepper is already dead. The ocean itself a disaster zone often.

  104. Are former Indonesians (such as Sumatrans) well treated in the Netherlands?

    Just wondering.

  105. John, thanks for the Mary-Louise McLaws link. I heard her talking on ABC RN. This bit is also important:

    A pandemic is a long term project, so it’s essential trust is built and maintained over time. Building trust is an investment in resilience that enables our community to continue to respond well during this extended outbreak.

    Sending the coppers in to ring-fence the place before there was any contact with community leaders was a huge mistake. Trust has been destroyed and it is hard to see it coming back.

    Mark has been following this one on Twitter. It is simply unacceptable that a couple of days down the track some people have been unable to get food and pharmaceuticals. One bloke was prevented from going to his cancer treatment.

    Apparently now that the whole city has been locked down the towers are going to be treated the same as anywhere else.

    Thing is, the Victorian government does not have the resources to move infected people out of the towers, like they did in Wuhan.

    I’m wondering what happened in places like Berlin, where the communists built towers which had less internal room.

    The towers were built in the 1960s as a slum clearance project.

  106. Brian: “A pandemic is a long term project.”
    Quite so. We are seeing in Victoria what happens if government’s don’t understand this and don’t set up the task forces needed to develop options for “improving our performance while reducing the damage” and managing a second wave when it comes.
    So here we are, the Victorian second wave is once again being managed by a heavy fisted lockdown. A lockdown management that has appeared to have learned almost nothing from developing science and countries like Taiwan and Vietnam more successful at controlling the virus than we have been.
    It is worth asking why we are not doing some of the things that Taiwan has used. For example, ask why face coverings aren’t compulsory in public, people in isolation aren’t being frequently rung up to check they are still there, temperatures aren’t frequently being taken and hands sprayed as we move around in public?
    We might also want to ask how the hell Vic has locked down a major, crowded public housing building without working out to reducing the risk of spreading the virus within the building and ensuring that the captives get adequate food, medication etc while locked down.

  107. Brian: In terms of the brute force public housing lockdown there seems to be a willingness to allocate lots of enforcers to keep the people in their prison but a lack of willingness to ensure that the people in the crowded prison get the supports they they need. (At least in a real prison you get properly fed !!) Of course the fact that these people are only public housing residents has nothing to do with any of this does it?

  108. John, I’ve been hearing and reading a lot about what went on in the public housing towers.

    In brief, the authorities did not have three days to sit down and jawbone with the community leaders about the best way to do this.

    They didn’t have the capacity to move people elsewhere, and would have met family and community resistance.

    The did not have masses of social workers and interpreters.

    They had nurses and coppers.

    I’ve heard two community representatives say now, in retrospect, that it has been tough, but they appreciate what has been done, one actually thanked the police, and they are more than willing to go on co-operatively from here.

    There is no good answer, I think. The public housing towers act more like communities than middle-class unit owners, who act like isolates. Moreover, sharing laundries (not even one per floor) and lifts that can only hold two people with safe distancing is a problem.

    Still, it is unacceptable that some did not get food, nappies, medicines etc.

    Whoever was operationally responsible for the exercise and their seniors will no doubt review what happened and prepare for a repeat performance, which is on the cards.

    Sorry for my absence here. I’m rushing to get things done, and actually had a COVID 19 test yesterday afternoon. Result NEGATIVE via text this morning. Just a precaution before cataract op next week.

    Our Dr Jeanette Young said this AM Qld had a brilliant team working on the virus. I think she’s right and I think Dan Andrews team might only be 9/10, which is being tested by a formidable foe. I don’t think Dan should resign.

    When I get back to posting, Trump’s niece has written a book about Trump that should sell very well indeed, and on climate we could have 1.5C within five years, but we are still sleepwalking.

  109. Perhaps 7/10 would be a fairer score for the Andrews Govt. Serious questions yo be answered by Ministers for Health, Police and community services.

    Have you noticed that pollies rarely apologise? It’s impolite, but there you are.

    This time, my apology to all non-Victorians is less flippant. 288 cases in Vic out of 314 nationally?

    Way too high.

    BTW I am neither the Premier nor his sock puppet.

    Of ourse, luck plays a part in disease spread, but still……

  110. Brian: People often work ridiculous hours during commissioning, particularly when things are going wrong, a common thing during commissioning. One of the things I observed was that problem solving methods changed when teams got too tired due to lack of sleep.
    Rested teams were more likely solve problems by coming up with a list of potential solutions and often pursuing a number of solutions at the same time because parallel action is often the quickest way to get a plant up and running and making money.
    On the other hand, exhausted teams are more likely to focus one idea and put all the effort into following that idea until it turns out not to work. The exhausted team then goes through the process again and again until, hopefully, they have found a solution.
    In my part, the exhausted commissioning team problem can be reduced by separating out a “driving team” which keeps the commissioning process going (and may work long hours doing this) from a “trouble shooting” team that works less hours and is wide awake enough to deal with difficult problems. (After a while I started insisting that, except under unusual circumstances, my hours were limited to 10 hrs per day to give me some chance of solving difficult problems.
    What I think I am seeing in the Australian pandemic fight is an exhausted leadership team that has got largely stuck on a very limited set of strategies some of which do a lot of collateral damage and wear out the support of the population.
    We need a broader plan that has more strategies working in parallel and this means splitting off independent teams that concentrates on improving what we do so that we can drive down new infections faster while reducing the damage to people and the economy. (An independent team that gets enough sleep.)

  111. Ambi, you could be right with 7/10. I’m not close enough to know.

    John, I agree with all that. From memory, somewhere around 50 hours per week is the max. Go further and you’ll actually get less done than working 40 hrs.

    This was an emergency and I gather they worked through the night. I heard one academic with experience in pandemics say that the Victorian govt was being reactive. I think this is evident from the daily new cases bar graph which went from single figures in mid June to about 20 on 24 June, then over 70 by the end of the month, then suddenly 100.

    They were probably a week too slow in taking action. Victoria is doing a lot of fencing, but if you are going to ring-fence, you need to know where to draw the lines. I know the virus can be detected in sewers. Perhaps that is a way to find where it is spreading.

    In retrospect it is easy to see that they should have had a plan B in place, and should have identified the public housing towers as a vulnerability. I read in the AFR that there are actually 47 of them.

    In John’s terms, there should have been a specialised team already in place looking at the COVID implications for public housing.

    I’ve got a stack of references, but will post this one from MSF – Policing the Pandemic: Melbourne’s Public Housing Lockdown Criminalizes Those on the Margins.

    I’m sure criminalization was not the intent, but can understand it being perceived that way. The article says in the end:

      The State Government should be focused on implementing measures that protect residents, rather than treating them like criminals. Simple, common-sense measures like improving regular deep cleaning of communal areas, sanitation points throughout the building, providing masks, active health promotion and community engagement, sharing timely information with residents on new cases in their residence, setting up testing points close to public housing to increase accessibility. These are just a few measures MSF is implementing in cities, slums and refugee camps all over the world.

      Why couldn’t this happen in the towers? We can only assume that to the government, some lives are worth respecting while others simply are not.

    Thing is, they should have been doing some of this stuff before the virus broke out in the towers. I don’t think the govt was disrespecting lives, but we’d have to say that our track record on public housing is one of the worst in the OECD, and that relates to a lack of respect and valuing.

    Those who would know have said the Victoria’s track record on public housing is one of the worst in Australia. Yet the AFR article says the current minister for housing is a long-term advocate for public housing and is considered one of the tribe by the communities in the towers.

    Chances are he had nothing to do with this episode.

    • This time, my apology to all non-Victorians is less flippant. 288 cases in Vic out of 314 nationally?

    Ambi, it does seem that the hotel quarantine use may have not been handled as well as it might have been in Melbourne, and there is an inquiry now initiated by National Cabinet to establish the best way of going about it.

    However, many here are saying that that kind of breakout could have happened here.

    So apology accepted, but not sure it’s necessary. There have been a lot of jokes, of course.

  112. On general virus news, I heard yesterday (Phillip Adams from David (?) Frum) that the US intelligence knew about the Wuhan virus in mid-December last year.

    Frum is presently holing up in Canada, and said that when you crossed the border you knew immediately that you were in a different and more competent country.

  113. Yesterday we were told that Australian have been coming home at the rate of 7000 per week. This is now being reduced to 4000 a week, in part because Melbourne has been closed as an entry point. I was surprised at the numbers.

    There was also a news item the around half the number of Australians doing PhDs are probably going to drop out. Many were working to support themselves. Now 11% are in trouble buying food, and 5% face homelessness.

    Generally speaking this government is not sympatico to universities and higher learning.

  114. A 30-year-old Texan has died in hospital.

    “Just before the patient died, they looked at their nurse and said ‘I think I made a mistake, I thought this was a hoax, but it’s not,’” said Dr Jane Appleby, the chief medical officer at Methodist hospital in San Antonio.

  115. Ambi, that is actually sad. The CM today told of a 37 year-old who was a warrior against the virus hoax. The virus got him, and three days later he said, this is bad, I wish I could breathe properly again.

    The next day he died.

    I was going to do a shorter post, posing the dilemma we face on policy with some states going for elimination and some going for suppression.

    I think we are being severely tested at present.

    Tonight on Q&A Raina McIntyre said the endgame is a vaccine. Elimination is beyond us, so we are going to have to learn to live with it.

    Seems we may do it the hard way.

  116. Very sad.
    This morning Paul Sakkal in Nine Newspapers claims to have seen leaked emails sent within 24 hours of the Melbourne hotel quarantine annonuncement – from senior bureaucrats, to Vic Dept Health (the lead agency) – asking that Police be assigned to the hotels.

    Implication: the security guards hired would not be up to the job.

    Sad indeed.

  117. From a piece in “The Australian”:

    One of the world’s leading scientists, Paul Davies, says we may have to live forever with COVID-19, putting out “spot fires” when they occur.

    Speaking in Sydney, where he has been stranded by the pandemic, the US-based academic, author and broadcaster, said the two key exit strategies from the crisis – elimination plus a vaccine; and herd immunity – were not certain of success.

    When I were a lad, P. C. W. Davies was a theoretical physicist.

    Later he moved into cosmology, and wrote about the Mind of God, the search for intelligent life in the Universe, et cetera

    A very bright chap, but make of his epidemiological opinions , what you will.

    {“One of the world’s leading experts on muzzle velocity, ballistics and armour design, gave us his opinion on the ‘robodebt’ fiasco.”}

  118. Ambi,

    I am certain that Davies is right. It will be an effort of the kind of stamping out Polio or Small Pox, but a vaccine is essential to make that work. The herd immunity is unlikely simply because the anti bodies do not seem to stay in our bodies for long., and the herd immunity “idea” ignores the plight of the Covid 19 living casualties. you know, those who are incapacitated for life as a result of the destruction the virus causes short of death.

  119. “Al-Taqwa coronavirus outbreak raises questions about schools’ safety during pandemic. ”
    The outbreak started when the school was formally advised that a member of staff had tested COVID-19 positive on Saturday, 27 June 2020,” By 14 July 147 cases have been linked to the school.” “Figures provided to 7.30 by Victoria’s Department of Health show 76 of those cases are students, 28 are staff, 16 are close contacts and 27 remain under investigation.”
    This second wave outbreak demonstrates how scarily fast infection can spread.

    Figures provided to 7.30 by Victoria’s Department of Health show 76 of those cases are students, 28 are staff, 16 are close contacts and 27 remain under investigation.The number of COVID-19 cases linked to the Al-Taqwa College is approaching 150″

  120. The US death rate is about 4% and only around 1% have been infected so far. Population 328m, herd immunity at 60% = 197m so 4% dead gives you 7.87m dead.

    I’m sure that won’t happen in the real world, but Donald T did say I think one time that 200,000 would be ‘good’ result. He looks as though he will overshoot that target by Christmas.

  121. Brian, didn’t you agree with somebody that the infection rate in the US it 10 time more than is reported?
    That’d make it top at 787 thousand.
    200 thousand would be good comparably.

    And I don’t understand why why Trump is being blamed for covid deaths when he controls none of the hospitals or police where the majority of deaths are occurring. His only area is US border closures and he did that before the WHO recommended it.

  122. And I don’t understand why why Trump is being blamed for covid deaths when he controls none of the hospitals or police where the majority of deaths are occurring. His only area is US border closures and he did that before the WHO recommended it.

    To quote Wolfgang Pauli* “that is not only not right, it is not even wrong”.

    * “Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig; es ist nicht einmal falsch!”

  123. No rebuttal, only empty trolling from zoot means I’m on the right track, good.

    But that’s generally the case.

    Incidentally, it wasn’t a question directed at your racist self anyway.

  124. 1. You didn’t frame it as a question. You made a statement – “I don’t understand”.
    2. In making this statement you demonstrated that you have no understanding of the federal/state system in place in the United States.
    3. You also got your facts wrong.
    4. I did rebut it by pointing out it didn’t even hint at reality.
    5. You don’t know the difference between criticism and trolling.

  125. Again, nothing from zoot on the subject.

    Ok a question for you racist troll, does Trump have jurisdictional control of any hospitals or Police in the worst effected areas ?

    What exactly are the Presidential levers he could pull to reduce the death count resulting from the China virus ?

    • Brian, didn’t you agree with somebody that the infection rate in the US it 10 time more than is reported?

    I don’t believe I did. I think Dr Fauci may have said that. I may have cited him, although I can’t remember doing so. I thought it a strange statement at the time. Could be true in some other countries, but the US is usually pretty good at counting things.

    As to what Trump could do, I heard that the states in the USA are obliged to balance their budgets, but the US is one country in the world, apparently, where, because of their reserve currency status, they can pile up as much debt as they like.

    Trump has been erratic at best, often counterproductive. You might recall on the other post:

      The ban applied only to foreign nationals who had been in China during the previous 14 days, and included 11 categories of exceptions. Since the restrictions took effect, nearly 40,000 passengers have entered the United States from China, subjected to inconsistent screenings, The New York Times reported.

  126. So in a federal system like the US, Australia, Canada and Germany, for example, you expect leadership and support from the national government.

  127. Calling Dr Fauci.

    The doctor has said that attacks on his credibility, originating in and around the White House, will rebound against the President.

    Ar 79 years of age, he seems calm. “I guess that’s life in the fast lane”, he told a reporter.

  128. In the US I think it’s about 1 in 100 who have been infected. So most people would know 1 or more.

    In Oz it’s 1 in 2500, significantly fewer outside Melbourne. So most people would not know anyone..

    Overall US isn’t in a second wave. It’s really the first wave with an unsuccessful containment and suppression strategy, if you can call it a strategy at all. The graph looks as though it’s flattening at around 60,000 new cases per day, but the 7-day average is still in an upward trend.

    One would expect it to peak and start to come down before the election, when Trump will crow even more about success.

  129. And I don’t understand why why Trump is being blamed for covid deaths when he controls none of the hospitals or police where the majority of deaths are occurring. His only area is US border closures and he did that before the WHO recommended it.

    Anderson Cooper (yeah, yeah, I know, “fake news”) hints at why this is a ‘not even wrong’ viewpoint.

  130. I watched two of Cooper’s pieces, thanks zoot. Devastating, but scandalous to think that Trump is still seen as a chance.

  131. The fight against the virus: Taking it to a new level
    “A sustainable Covid-19 strategy will mean paying much closer attention to people’s movements, and where they gather along the way” Interesting one with data on what the best performing countries are doing. Seems a bit obsessed on tracking.

  132. I’ve just listened to the Victorian briefing re COVID on NewsRadio.

    Yesterday 363 new cases, up from 217. However, the reproduction rate as defined is around 1, so there is hope.

    Victoria has now made wearing face masks, or face coverings mandatory outside the home. Prof Sutton says the decision was essentially made a week ago, they needed time to get their communication program into gear.

    He said that their research shows that countries mandating masks are coping with the virus. Countries which don’t mandate masks are not coping well.

    Exceptions are in child care, and apparently in banks. I used a mask in a bank the other day. They didn’t shoot me.

    There was other important information. Andrews said that since around the middle of May 80% of community infection was via work places. Of particular concern was places where a lot of casual staff without sick pay were employed. Victoria has instituted a $1500 hardship payment in order to ameliorate the difficulty experienced by such workers.

    Really the Feds should fix this by changing industrial law and paying the sick leave as a social welfare payment. The safety of the community is at stake.

    Sutton said the biggest problem other than work transmission was family gatherings.

    They didn’t say, but I think the problem of the residential towers was a combination of family and insecure work as an amplifying vector.

    A further issue was staff who worked at multiple aged care facilities. They’ve taken steps to encourage the consolidation of workers time at one place.

    Victoria has been criticised for being slack at contact tracing. Rick Morton in How the second wave broke at The Saturday Paper makes a fair case that NSW has a different and superior approach.

  133. Victoria has 275 new cases, down from 363 yesterday. Considering there were 288 cases back on 10 July, that is looking hopeful.

    NSW has 20 cases yesterday as against 18 on the day before, and all were linked to known infections.

    That looks like ‘aggressive suppression’ at work, and is probably what should have happened in Victoria about a month ago, when daily figures got into double figures, then over 20, after having had a series of zero days.

  134. On the weekend NSW police broke up a party in the northern suburbs using the dog squad and helicopters. Reports say that the party was at an Air BnB rental place. There were 60 people, 15 of whom were said to be “fighting”.

    Police said that this one event could stuff the whole state in COVID terms. No doubt there will be fines, and I imagine anyone identified attending will have to isolate for 14 days.

    Apparently in NSW if you are told to isolate, then you have to isolate for 14 days even if you test negative. Not sure this is the case elsewhere, but it should be.

  135. There are now three inquiries into the Victorian government’s handling of COVID. From the weekend AFR:

      Melbourne’s horror day came as the Victorian Ombudsman announced it would investigate the treatment of public housing tenants in lockdown at the 33 Alfred Street tower, in the third inquiry into Mr Andrews’ performance.

      The inquiry announced by the Andrews government into itself by former judge Jennifer Coates begins on Monday and the federal government has announced a review into hotel quarantine to be overseen by Jane Halton.

    Andrews seems pretty much unfazed by all that. He said the ultimately he needs to take responsibility and sees the opportunity to learn.

  136. Over at Nine Newspapers they’ve reprinted a NYT article by Michael D. Shear and four others, headlined

    Inside Trump’s failure : The rush to abandon a leadership role on the virus.

    The article claims to be based on internal memos and emails. The President and his staff trying to pass responsibility to States.

    It seems to be consistent with dozens of statements we’ve seen from the likes of Dr Fauci, State Governors etc. over many months.

    By contrast, PM Morrison and PM Ardern regarded the challenge as one for them, not to be handballed away to other persons.

  137. US new cases seem to be flattening overall between 60K and 70K. However, 25K of that is made up of Florida, California and Texas.

    There are so many state stories, you could spend your whole time on it, but overall at 11, 760 total cases per million it’s more than three times Canada and most European countries. So it is a fail, and in some states the hospital system is being overwhelmed.

  138. From Drayland, south of the Murray River, east of Adelaide and north of the Apple Isle…..

    The judicial inquiry into Victoria’s bungled hotel quarantine system will focus on whether all of almost 3000 known active coronavirus cases in the state are linked to breaches by security guards.

    Opening the inquiry led by retired judge Jennifer Coate in Melbourne on Monday, senior counsel assisting Tony Neal QC said he understood the “profound and ongoing significance” of the second wave of COVID-19 infections to Victorians.

    – from an article in “The Australian”

    Oh dear.
    Oh, dearie me.

    All we can say to the rest of youse, once again is : SORRY!

  139. Ambi, from what I’ve read and heard, it could come back to two events. First, two security guards at Rydges shared a cigarette lighter. Second, Stamford Plaza, where the security guard was supposed to stay outside the rooms.

    The RNA tracing of the virus strain will tell the story.

    Today, Victoria has 374 new cases, NSW 13, with compatible with suppression strategy working.

    Victoria has given us a fright, but longer term I think there was a fair bit of hubris all around, apart from the people who know about epidemiology. Longer term it may be the fright we had to have.

  140. “Premier Daniel Andrews said the numbers had not been coming down “as we would like them to”.
    He said nearly nine in 10 people did not isolate between the time they first felt sick and when they went to get a test.”
    I can understand Andrews frustration. However:
    1. The symptoms are a bit vague until you get a hacking dry cough, high temp and lose your sense of smell.
    2. Isolation can be a financial disaster for some people, particularly casual workers who cant work over the internet. In some cases isolate=lost job=trying to survive on much less than you normally spend.
    Comes back to wearing masks in public places, frequent temperature tests as you go along the street or enter businesses, lots of hand washing stations, proper support of the isolated and shut down the pubs and clubs and….

  141. Indeed, John. The next week will tell the story.

    At the very least it’s not doubling every few days. Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton says they could easily get 600 a day, but he’d rather not. If, instead, it goes over 1000 pd they will have to shut down hard, and will duly be accused of being reactive.

  142. The Coronavirus may actually be saving lives because “Hundreds of Australian flu deaths have been avoided because of the lockdown measures used to prevent the spread of COVID-19”
    “The latest national statistics, obtained by the ABC, reveal from January to June 2020, there were just 36 deaths from the flu.
    That compares to 430 deaths in the same period for 2019.
    Ian Barr, deputy director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, said it was “great news” as influenza was very hard to combat.
    “Experts say school closures, physical distancing, hand hygiene and border closures all played a part in reducing the number of flu cases
    There was also an uptick in influenza vaccinations this year, with 2 million more doses being administered”
    So far Australia has had 128 virus deaths to give a net life SAVING of 266 if virus and flu deaths are combined. There may also be additional lives saved because of reduced travel.
    On the other hand “Suicide rates in Australia are forecast to rise by up to 50 per cent due to the economic and social impacts of the coronavirus and tipped to outstrip deaths from the pandemic by up to 10 times.”
    Tried to find effect of corona virus on total death rate without any luck.

  143. John, I think the bottom line is that it is not a binary (the way Scotty has been calling it) of the economy vs health.

  144. I think the lower flu deaths (possibility) was raised on this blog.
    Perhaps by Mr J.
    Or is that Prof J?

    He certainly forecast a rise in bankruptcies and suicides, as did others.

  145. If the statisticians can untangle the factors, I’ll be interested to see what beneficial effect thorough and regular hand washing by large numbers of us, has had on all kinds of infections.

    Hygeine, eh?
    Simple, really.

    A corollary of the “germ theory of disease transmission”, along with clean domestic water supply and sewerage services.

    Some of the best advances are not high tech. at all.

    Do humans have to re-learn the ideas of “public health” over and over again??

  146. Just heard some of Daniel Andrews press conference.

    Nursing homes are a big worry with now over 500 active cases, more than half of them staff. They have been trying to consolidate part time workers to work in the one home, as many of them work in multiple homes.

    There is a challenge to medical and first responder personnel generally. They are now using ADF personnel to blend into Ambulance teams and are calling on retirees and students.

    Andrews said they did over 40,000 tests yesterday, a record and way above the testing levels ever done elsewhere in this country. He said the average test result time was two days, the problem being that some tests are being sent to interstate labs.

  147. “Andrews said they did over 40,000 tests yesterday, a record and way above the testing levels ever done elsewhere in this country. He said the average test result time was two days, the problem being that some tests are being sent to interstate labs.”
    I wonder how many of that 40,000 isolated while waiting for test results. My take that priority should be given to getting results for the people considered highest risk of spreading the disease on the basis of things like symptoms, whether they work or live in places where they will be close to people etc.
    Andrews ham fisted efforts to force isolation might be better simply asking to reduce going to risky places.

  148. John, my latest news feed on my phone tells that Victoria are already effectively in Stage 4 lockdown. Yesterday’s count was 473 new cases. The 7-day running average pretty much stabilised.

    What Victoria is facing is in a different league to what any other state has faced. I’m not prepared to be judgemental.

    I heard that in the Burnie outbreak earlier on, when the authorities really lost control, hospital staff were told to come to work after they had tested positive. Victoria, with help, has held the line.

    We need to remember also that the Feds are effectively in control of nursing homes.

  149. Here’s Kylie Stevens at The Daily Mail with Daniel Andrews issues desperate coronavirus plea to young people in Melbourne – as it’s revealed Victoria is ALREADY in stage four lockdown:

      Premier Daniel Andrews has revealed Victoria is already effectively in stage four lockdown restrictions as he issued a harrowing plea to young Melburnians to take the coronavirus pandemic seriously.

      Victoria detected another 459 coronavirus cases and 10 more deaths on Sunday, including a man in his 40s.

      For Victorians who fear stage four lockdown restrictions are imminent, the Premier says they came into effect across metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire on Thursday with the implementation of mandatory masks.

      Anyone who leaves their home for essential reasons must wear a mask or risk a $200 fine if they’re caught without one.
      Melbourne is already ‘effectively’ in stage four lockdown with mandatory masks.

      Melbourne is already ‘effectively’ in stage four lockdown with mandatory masks. Pictured is a young woman obeying the strict new rules as she cycles around St Kilda on Saturday

      ‘Masks are effectively our stage four,’ Mr Andrews told reporters on Saturday.

      ‘If they are worn by everybody, we may not need to go further. We can’t rule out going further with rule changes, but it’s a big game changer.’

    The article contains the complete text of what Andrews said on Facebook, including:

      I promise this isn’t a lecture, or a lesson – and I’m not trying to blame you for anything either.

      I’m not your dad, I’m not your boss, and I’m not your teacher.

      But I’ve got a message I want to share with young Victorians.

    He gives them the unadorned facts:

      61 people have lost their lives. 3,995 are sick. 42 are in an ICU bed tonight, their families wondering if they’ll make it to tomorrow.

      Two children are in hospital. Eight people under the age of thirty – young Victorians just like you – with no idea how long they might be there, or just how bad it might get.

      And those people you see on TV, those numbers we plot every morning – they aren’t casualties of some war being fought in a distant place.

      They’re real people – real Victorians – and none of them ever thought they’d be fighting for their lives.

      I know it’s hard, I know it’s frustrating, and I know you’re over this – believe me, I am too.

      But if you’re sitting there right now, deciding if you take that risk or not.

      Know that if we allow this virus to spread – if people ignore the rules, or pretend this isn’t happening:

      Restrictions will get tighter, case numbers will grow larger, and more lives will be lost.

      So please – whether it’s for yourself, your mates, your mum, your nan, your state, or just to get past these restrictions.

      Do the right thing.

    There is a $200 fine for not wearing a mask in public, but I understand the coppers are just warning people for the first week.

    They are rolling out some heavy duty TV ads:

      One ad features middle-aged man Michael, who shares his heartbreaking battle with the virus and compared his fight for life ‘like drowning’ as he tried to gasp for air.

      His wife also contracted the virus while his mother-in-law later succumbed to the disease.

    CHO Prof Brett Sutton thinks Stage Four might not make any difference beyond what they are already doing, so they are just going to see how things work out over the next week.

  150. Brian: What I think I am seeing in Vic is, understandably a very tired, stressed premier who had a lot of success with the first wave by concentrating on a very limited number of brute force strategies backed up by fines and other punishments.
    Problem is that these strategies have not been as successful at dealing with the second wave. Part of the problem is that people are less supportive/more questioning about going back to brute force strategies that are oppressive, economically damaging and socially/mentally damaging.
    I have no real problem with the initial use of brute force because I think Australia needed to act quickly when the first wave started and many potential strategies couldn’t be used at that stage because the resources needed for these strategies just weren’t there.
    Problem is that the federal cabinet didn’t set up the teams tasked with asking questions like:
    1. What else should we do?
    2. What should we ease of first when we think things are under control?
    3. What are the countries who have been most successful doing and how could this work here?
    Part of the problem in Australia is we have a PM who wants to be in control but is not a good manager.

  151. John, yep, I’d agree with that, but not sure “brute force” is the right language.

    That might be reserved for what we saw on the ABC in Wuhan, which, I need to say, was described a world’s best practice by the WMO, is controlling pandemics out of control is your mission.

    Victoria has never been out of control, apart from a few days after the hotel quarantine breaches.

    On Scotty from Marketing, he and Greg Hunt are eager to look in control and to take credit where things are going well, but to divert blame to others when it isn’t.

    They say that there is no politics in this, but when we are dealing with separate human agents, especially those with power, politics is always a thing.

  152. I’ve just heard for the umpteenth time that Germany’s new cases have surged again. Turns out their 7-day average has risen from 342 about three weeks ago to 537 in a gentle uptrend.

    Around five weeks ago it was 582.

    To me they seem to be living with low levels of the virus.

    Spain has had a definite upsurge, as has Canada.

    There is a question as to what ‘control’ and ‘suppression’ and ‘elimination’ really mean. I’ve been working on a post, but have been distracted.

  153. The Germany figure sounds “low level” Brian.
    Here in Victoria we have a similar daily case number, with a much lower population than Germany.

    Some journalists (editors? ) are alarmist.
    But that’s their business model.

  154. I’ve just corrected the current German level to 537. It’s lower now that it was 5 weeks ago.

    Germany population is around 82 million, so roughly 10 times Victoria. So 30 to 50 would be the Victorian equivalent. The Germans have suppressed the virus to something like NSW at present, and seem to be able to live with that with a reasonable amount of opening.

  155. Ambi: The rapid surge in Vic from a single case suggests that things can get out of control quickly. That is why low damage controls like face masks should be kept going even if you think things are OK.

  156. I’m all in favour of masks, John.

    Every simple factor that can reduce transmission should be tried.*

    More expensive ideas like the Davidson Ultraviolet Dazzler In The Air Vent TM might be assessed by cost/benefit.

    * amelioration is an undervalued tool. Analogy: every simple and cheap emission reduction method is worth using; no single, silver bullet; stopgaps are better than zero action. IMO.

  157. I was listening to a chap on radio about Cruise Ships and he spoke of MS The World ( watched it dock at Mackay marina.
    He said in 18 years it’s never had outbreaks of flu or gastro or anything. ( common curse )
    He puts it down to individual air con units rather than central unit.

    They still emptied her for covid from an abundance of caution.

  158. Mr J

    Interesting about the air circulation; John D is onto that too.

    From what I’ve heard, a common ailment passed around on cruise ships is ‘norovirus’ which gives you gastro.

    So the ship’s crew insists you hand sanitise before dining, and some passengers are very careful not to touch banisters, door handles etc with their bare hands.

    I wonder if large-scale cruise ships will fade away? Were you impressed by the one you saw docking?

  159. Just on Mexico the worldometer site shows it’s bad and getting worse.

    Last night on ABC Nightlife Indira Naidoo interviewed an Australian who has been living there for about 10 years. The situaton is bad and getting worse.

    The president has mostly been ignoring the virus, is still running around hugging people and kissing babies. There is virtually no social security system. She is living in a better part of Mexico City and has people knocking on her door looking for work or selling farm produce. She had private health insurance, but when she went to get medical service recently the queue was prohibitively wrong.

    She said there was virtually no testing, and they certainly don’t test bodies, so the death certificate will often just show severe pneumonia.

    She has a 2-yr old son and a Mexican husband. They decided to migrate to Australia, which apparently was not problematic, except for getting here and paying for quarantine, which was going to cost A$4500. They are both paid in pesos and say that amount is like a deposit on a house.

    They were lucky, they booked before 12 July, so avoided the quarantine fee, all they need now is an actual aeroplane ride.

    Contributing to their decision to exit, was a car bomb and grenade attack on a public official about 10 minutes from where they live. She said Mexico City has no go areas, but this happened in a solid M-class area, near where the film Roma was filmed.

    She said she went to Mexico because she went there on holidays and just fell in love with the place. She’s using her head now.

  160. Ambi, I’m told that bookings for cruise ships next year are good. My Canadian sister and bro-in-law are booking to come next year on a large one they have used before. It will be interesting to hear whether any changes will be made to the ship, or how the tour is managed.

    As it happens my bro-in-law has rellies in Mackay, and that is where they plan to disembark.

  161. Ambi: “* amelioration is an undervalued tool. Analogy: every simple and cheap emission reduction method is worth using; no single, silver bullet; stopgaps are better than zero action. IMO.”
    What struck me about the Taiwanese approach was that they were diligently using a number of strategies in parallel instead of doing a few things at a time : “multiple strategies to be run in parallel to help drive infection down faster and/or allow a particular strategy to be avoided in situations where it would have caused economic or social damage. As result, Tim Colepatch could write for Inside Story that: “Large gatherings are banned, but Taiwan has remained open for business: You can go to work, school or university, go shopping or go to a restaurant with your friends. But you will have to wear a face mask in public, obey social distancing rules, and constantly have your temperature checked and your hands sprayed.” Read somewhere that people who were ignoring the rules got spoken to strongly by others.
    Think about it. If you are using a single strategy that is 50% effective and add another strategy that is also 50% effective the combined effectiveness is 75%. Perhaps enough to get the magic “N” number below 1.0 required to send infections into decline.

  162. John, agree 100%.

    Last night, SBS News, I think, we saw an interview with an Australian who manages a theatre complex in S Korea.

    They have been running full houses, no distancing in the seating beyond what would always have been the case.

    Wearing masks compulsory, no problems.

  163. Actually Brian, movies are the perfect place for masks. They could have extra large masks that come prefilled with pop corn.
    Where is my sewing machine?

  164. Yes, John.

    You’re right about the cumulative effect of methods: none by itself may be enough…. but….

    Another analogy:
    1. I use sunscreen when outdoors, but also
    2. I’m not outdoors in the sun in the middle of the day.

    Two separate methods (factors) which enhance each other.

    {Perhaps the authorities – and some of the public? – don’t fully understand risks and their reduction…..}

  165. Ambi: “{Perhaps the authorities – and some of the public? – don’t fully understand risks and their reduction…..}” Sounds like a good theory. so far the show seems to being run by premiers and chief medical officers. See no signs of risk managing experts having much influence on what is happening or anyone influential having time to ask why countries like Vietnam and Taiwan are doing much much better than Australia. (Or getting others with more time to ask.)

  166. American Son said: “about the only thing that’s been a predictor of ‘not covid’ at UCDA’s (University California San Diago)
    is ‘do you have a runny nose’ -> if yes, not covid. pretty
    much every other possible cold/flu like symptom sometimes shows with covid.”
    The conversation had a more detailed article pointing out the overlap between Hay fever and Covid.

Comments are closed.