COVID crisis in NSW

Lock down hard or you’ll be stuck where you are until Christmas, NSW has been told by the Melbourne Burnet Institute, who did the modelling which helped Victoria escape its long lockdown in 2020.

Let me say at the outset that I agree with Professor Catherine Bennett, Deakin University’s Chair in Epidemiology, who said in an article in The Age that:

    harsh measures like a nightly curfew and kilometre limit might not be required in NSW.

    “I do think that the routes of transmission that they’re seeing in NSW should guide the interventions, not just putting things in place because they’ve been used elsewhere,” she said.

Back on June 24 Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant told us Why a snap COVID-19 lockdown won’t work for Sydney’s Bondi outbreak. The Delta variant was already well and truly abroad and could not be reined in by a three-day lockdown like those other states had used.

Less than three weeks later with all of Sydney plus some adjacent areas locked down, harder than before, new cases rose from 11 to over 100. The virus was winning in the community:

On Monday, with the modelling released, Professor Tony Blakely told Patricia Karvelas Hard lockdown [is the] only option as COVID cases reach triple figures in NSW. The report included this scary graph:

The short story is that the Burnet modellers found that the Victorian restrictions at Stage 3 plus masks were similar to the NSW restrictions instituted from 9 July. On the assumption that the Delta variant is twice as infectious as the one the Victorians were dealing with, they found that cases would not decline significantly in the coming month unless NSW tightened restrictions further.

However, if NSW moved to the Stage 4 restrictions used by Victoria from 5 August 2020 then the outbreak could be made manageable within four or five weeks.

(Note: This Live Science comparison of coronavirus variants says that Delta is 60% more infectious than Alpha, which was 50% more infectious than the Wuhan strain. My maths says that makes Delta 2.4 times more infectious than Wuhan.)

This graphic contains the more detailed differences between the state scenarios:

Apart from the nightly curfew and kilometre limit, Victoria in Stage 4 shut down food courts, closed non-essential retail, and closed all but the most essential sectors of industry. Burnet could not model these factors separately, because they were all implemented together.

Some have said that NSW is having the lockdown when you don’t have a lockdown, because so much of the economy remained open. Certainly in NSW more discretion has been left with businesses and people.

As more retailers are designated ‘exposure sites’ and amid confusion about ‘essential work’ authorities are appealing to common sense.

One reason for allowing more activity to continue is that many people need to work to put bread on the table and pay for the roof over their heads. We need to remember that Victoria’s Stage 4 lockdown was made when JobKeeper was $1500 per fortnight, or $750 per week, which is equivalent to the basic wage. I suspect that the Commonwealth benefit of $500 per week, paid in Victoria this year during a lockdown after JobKeeper finished, would be significantly short of what most need to maintain a dignified existence.

Now NSW and the Commonwealth have come up with a joint plan of personal and industry support which lifts personal payments to $600 per week, and will cost $500 billion per week overall.

I can’t find a link, but Patricia Karvelis was told on ABC RN Drive yesterday that overall the package amounted to 2.5% of NSW state product. As such, the NSW economy would go backwards. Today the Commonwealth Bank found that the NSW event would see Australia’s GDP in negative territory for the September quarter, which could flow through to the December quarter, giving us a net recession.

Daniel Hunter, Business NSW CEO, told Karvelis how industry had been working with NSW and the Feds to come up with a workable package. Business confidence was improved by the fact that the Commonwealth was going to hand over industry support money for Services NSW to distribute. They hoped the NSW-Commonwealth deal might establish a new template that could help other states.

Jennifer Hewett in the AFR today captures the politics of the situation:

    The new package negotiated between Macquarie Street and Canberra allows both governments to come together to share the financial cost and try to limit the political pain.

    That made the joint press conference performance by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Gladys Berejiklian on Tuesday a delicate exercise in political management. They had to demonstrate their two governments can cushion the impact of their mutual failures – but without publicly holding the other leader to account.

    It included repeated expressions of both leaders’ confidence about Australians’ ability to get through a very tough time with generous support from their state and federal governments “having their back”.

Instead of blaming each other both governments blamed the Delta variant and circumstances. No mention of Commonmwealth failures in quarantine or of botched vaccine acquisition and delivery.

The Victorian Government released a scathing statement on Tuesday afternoon:

    which stated residents were “sick and tired” of having to beg for help and that the support for NSW represented a “double standard”.

    “Everyone in Australia believes that people in Sydney and NSW deserve every possible support as they battle a second wave and a long lockdown,” the statement said.

    “But Victorians are rightly sick and tired of having to beg for every scrap of support from the federal government.”

    “It shouldn’t take a crisis in Sydney for the Prime Minister to take action but we are seeing the same double standard, time and time again.”

Victorians were constantly lectured last year, especially by Josh Frydenberg, about their quarantine failure, and the notion that if they had a contact tracing/testing/isolation system as good as the ‘gold standard’ of NSW, they would not need lockdowns. This year as Victoria fought a virus that escaped via a Victorian who had quarantined in Adelaide and subsequently showed up infected in Melbourne, they again copped jawboning rather than help.

It is completely unthinkable that the kind of cooperation we have just seen with NSW would happen between the Commonwealth Government and the current Queensland government. We get help on their terms, or not at all.

Because NSW is so large and so central, the rest of Australia will suffer damage but receive no support.

For example, Whitsunday tourism operators were hit immediately with cancellations. Yesterday I heard that bookings had recovered to 80% of capacity before the latest outbreaks, so there was finally some optimism after experiencing disrupted school holiday bookings for two years. Now interstate people are not just deferring, they are asking for their money back.

Last weekend questions were asked as to why Morrison, emerging from lockdown, would travel to Sydney. It is now clear that he did it to stand behind Gladys Berejiklian:

This, from the AFR, is the comparative trajectory of the current NSW outbreak compared with what happened in Victoria last year:

Rafael Epstein in asking some salient questions about the NSW event believes NSW is making the same mistakes that Victoria made last year.

Victoria is once again under virus attack, including over 2000 spectators having to isolate after going to the footy. It seems likely that a short sharp pre-emptive lockdown will occur.

If they do they will get no help from the Commonwealth unless the Commonwealth ‘hotspot’ is triggered, and a lockdown of more than 7 days has resulted.

It is possible that NSW and the Commonwealth have seriously underestimated the Delta variant, so that strict lockdowns are seen as a ‘last resort’ as contact tracing becomes overwhelmed.

Berejiklian says that the COVID beast will be defeated if people do as she asks.

In my humble opinion she should base her plans on what she thinks people will do, not on what they should do.

However, my hope is that she succeeds, in the interests of all.

188 thoughts on “COVID crisis in NSW”

  1. The number to watch is the number of new cases that have been wholly or partly abroad in the community before testing positive, ie the orange, red and likely some of the grey in the graph in the post.

    Over the last few days the number has stabilised. Today it was 28 of 65 cases, yesterday 24 out of a larger total.

    Berejiklian pointed out today that only from now on will they see the effects of tightening restrictions last weekend. She says the aim is to get that number down to one or two that haven’t been out and about much, then check all the data the CHO has access to and listen to the health advice.

    On the latter point, last year Berejiklian and Brad Hazzard were giving Annastacia Palaszczuk a pasting for hiding behind the health advice.

    Having heard treasurer Dominic Perrottet interviewed today, I think following health advice may be an attractive alternative to cabinet discussion.

    I’ve been listening to the NSW press conferences on NewsRadio most days. They normally run for about 45 minutes. Today the press were angry, hostile and hectoring, calling for more clarity and direction.

    It’s not possible for me to have a sense of what it’s like in Sydney right now, but Berejiklian keeps asking for less movement than she is getting, and it sounds like it’s not working to her satisfaction.

    The latest problem seems to be infections past in pharmacies and medical centres, where people are going for help when they feel ill.

  2. From the AFR today, the metrics from CBA are a forecast hit of 1.4% to Australian GDP for the September quarter, making for a negative 0.7% outcome.

    Meanwhile Victoria is expected to go into lockdown from tonight.

    Predictably, the leader of the opposition thinks differently:

      “This is not what we needed not where we should be, we can’t keep going into lockdown when we get 10 or 12 cases in the community,”

    News just through, it’s a hard lockdown for Victoria for 5 days from tonight.

    Andrews says you only get one chance to go hard and early. They say it’s two chains of transmission, but faster than anything seen before. One is from the man who was infected by the furniture removalists from Sydney, who went to the footy with his mate, infected him, who carried it to a school while two others at the footy were infected, and so it goes.

  3. The ABC has an excellent statistical compendium of all aspects of Charting the COVID-19 spread in Australia.

    I also found this opinion piece from Prof Catherine Bennett – Did Sydney’s lockdown come too late? Here’s why it’s not that simple written late last month.

    I find myself in agreement with her that every health authority needs to make their decisions in real time in the context of their own situation. I tend to think that NSW and Victoria are similar in that they have large cities at the centre.

    My difference would be in the treatment of risk. She asks whether you should take pre-emptive action just in case there might be a super-spreader event like the party where everyone no vaccinated was infected.

    She suggests, no, I would lean to yes.

  4. Just heard on the news that the Commonwealth is going to support people affected by losing work in the Victorian lockdown.

    It seems peace might be breaking out.

  5. Today national Cabinet failed to accept the deals done for NSW and Victoria as a new national template, but the intent is that the Feds will provide support if the Chief Health Officer deems their lockdown worthy. What this would mean in practice is hard to foresee.

    I’m not sure I made the point in the post, but I kinda feel sorry for Gladys B on this one. She has tried to plot a path that is least disruptive for those who live in her state. Today once again the numbers did not go her way, and everyone (almost) is telling her she must make hard decisions.

    Not everyone, actually, and specifically not Prof Margaret Hellard, who led the Burnet modelling (she’s in the first segment of ABC RN Drive tonight) or Professor Gemma Carey, Director of Centre for Social Impact UNSW in the second segment.

    The fact is that many people are living on the margin and simply can’t afford to miss a few hours work a week, especially when they are in one of the world’s most expensive cities.

    The Commonwealth got the level of support about right last year, but left a couple of million people outside their circle of care. This time there will be people left out as well, and many will simply not get enough.

  6. I heard most of the NSW press conference today.

    The numbers are still essentially flatlining, the NSW authorities have responded with a significantly tighter lockdown. I won’t go into detail, because I’m relying onm memory, but non-essential retail has been closed, the building industry has been closed down, and home repairs are only allowed if safety or essential work is a factor.

    The virus has been pretty well contained within the SW Sydney area and has not migrated to the provincial areas. Greater limitations apply to moving in and out of the city.

    Dr Kerry Chant said she did much of her medical practice in SW Sydney, so understands how the community works and what needs to happen to keep people fed and safe.

    We’ll need to wait 5-7 days to see whether it all works.

  7. I’m tired today. Could have to do with having my second AstraZeneca shot. Of interest, I was first on the list for AZ today, just after Red Hill Doctors had been running a session of dispensing Pfizer. I think we are due to get a million a week from about next week, so things are looking up. In the AFR a bloke called Christoper Joye, who represents a group which does modelling for business, reckons a vaccine rollout to all who are going to get it is feasible by Jan or Feb next year.

    The AFR has about half a dozen articles on COVID, with many different views. Eg. we learn that Janet Albrechtson has given up on supporting Morrison on the virus, and regards Gladys Berejiklian’s Delta elimination strategy as dystopian:

      “I used to have fabulous dreams,” she said. “Now I have just one. ‘That I never hear from an epidemiologist again.'”
  8. Brian: Sober reading: “England will soon abandon almost all coronavirus restrictions. The Netherlands shows what could happen next.”
    At the start of July, nightclubs reopened and thousands of young people flocked to music festivals around the country.
    If you had a state-issued QR pass on your smartphone showing you were fully vaccinated, had recovered from COVID-19 or had a recent negative test, you were free to party like pre-pandemic days.
    One such “test for entry” event was the Verknipt festival in Utrecht held on the first weekend of July.
    With 20,000 people in attendance, the open-air electronic music festival featured no masks and no social distancing.
    Utrecht’s mayor Sharon Dijksma even scored a ticket, saying at the time the feeling of being around so many people as “special and a little tense”.
    However: “But two weeks since Verknipt, the results have been stark – around 1,000 people who attended the festival are known to have been infected with COVID-19 over the two-day event.
    Ms Dijksma apologised and said she now thinks the 40-hour time frame for accepting negative tests to get into the festival was wrong.
    “It was an error in judgement,” she told Dutch broadcaster NOS on Wednesday.
    Infections jump 500 per cent in a week
    Before the folly of the Verknipt festival had come light, the Dutch government had already started backtracking on restrictions.
    By July 7, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said the government had acknowledged a sharp rise in infections – new infections had doubled to 8,000 in the week ending Tuesday, July 6 – and was requesting urgent advice from the country’s outbreak management team.”
    There are some things like wearing masks that don’t make much difference to people’s lives but do reduce infections per infected persons – Yet pollies want to do it all in one rush.

  9. Is the Indian variant more deadly than the original China virus?

    I’ve seen conflicting information but I’m thinking way less lethal.

  10. No,no.
    Searched and found plenty but on balance it looks less lethal. Despite all the smoke and bullshit in the media one has to balance the weights and make a call.

    What exactly was your comment supposed to achieve other than prove you’re a troll ?

  11. Actually it was to point out that all the information available to us is available to you. If you genuinely want an answer you should be questioning someone who has more information than anyone here.
    It might help if you clarify what you mean by “more deadly”. And it would also make sense to include all of the variants. From my very brief scan it appears the UK variant is the most dangerous at the moment. YMMV.

  12. Is the Indian variant more deadly than the original China virus?

    The first response to this must be, “Depends on where you live”, since most of the deaths attributable to Covid-19 in places like (for example) Trump’s USA, Bolsonaro’s Brazil, and Johnson’s UK were actually due to an incompetent response to the threat rather than any inherent properties of the virus.

  13. Brian: “Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk leaves for Tokyo Olympics to support Brisbane bid for 2032 Games.”
    her quarantine.
    “An online petition with more than 130,000 signatures demanded that Ms Palaszczuk be refused permission to travel overseas due to her successful push alongside other state premiers to halve the cap on Australians returning home to limit the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19.
    There are approximately 34,000 Australians who have indicated to the federal government they would like to return to Australia from overseas, with some fearing the reduction would make their efforts to get home even harder.”

  14. John, the LNP are pathetic if they have nothing better to talk about than who pays for Palaszczuk’s hotel quarantine.

    She is going to represent us. Not to go would be like putting in a job application and not showing up for the interview.

    I’m not wild about us hosting the Olympics, but Palszczuk’s trip to Tokyo has nothing to do with how many people the quarantine system can handle. I was going to post about it, but missed the bus.

    In brief, from memory, Scotty’s mob were gradually opening the joint up by approving more than the agreed numbers. When it came to a head Border Force had lumbered us with 280 + for the day, without prior notice (normal is 1300 pw max, or 185 pd). Qld Police who run quarantine here had to go out and find another hotel. We actually don’t have hotels standing empty in Brisbane. I think there are 16 at present devoted to quarantine.

    When that is the situation you have to find more staff in a tight market, and can’t be too choosy about whether the hotel is suitable.

    Apparently Sydney has hotels, because they are an international city.

    On Q&A David Speers put it to Palaszczuk that she had the right to reject the extra people. Palaszczuk said, it doesn’t work that way on the ground, legally and ethically we have to take whoever Border Force lets in.

    Steven Miles reckoned that people seem to be getting permission to move in and out for fairly trivial reasons, and went to the ABS to find that Border Force were letting in over 100,000 pd.

    They were. However, half of them were Kiwis and lots of others were on the business of the crown. So the Feds started point scoring, telling Miles he was an idiot. In fact the ABS figure showed that minus Kiwis, there was a significant upward trend.

    The Feds conceded, because there was agreement with all states except NSW, and they agreed to that Border Force would improve its communication and act a bit collaboratively.

    I know all this because I listened to the media conferences on NewRadio. However, journalists were too busy being snarky to write what they heard, and made out that Palaszczuk was just doing it to be political and cover for stuffing up when a young woman on the front desk of the Prince Charles hospital, contracted COVID from a helicopter pilot working FIFO in Indonesia until the bug got him.

    She wasn’t in the COVID ward and at the time I think Qld Health had 2/3 of its health workers fully vaccinated, whereas only 1 in 6 aged care workers were fully jabbed.

    Speers, as you know is a rude bugger, and didn’t want to believe what Palaszczuk told him. She said that states had agreed to do hotel quarantine last year as an interim measure to help out the Commonwealth for a few months while it got its act together, which turned out to be never.

  15. Jumpy, NSW has 18 in ICU and 7 of those being ventilated. Earlier Kerry Chant had been specific that young people were included.

    There is also the issue of ‘long COVID’.

    No-one does a clean experiment on this thing. Getting it in Indonesia, or Brazil, is different from getting it in coutries with advaned medical systems.

    I suspect Boris J is relying on luck and herd immunity. In the UK deaths were over 1200 pd at one stage, then a while ago they came down to single figures on the 7-day average, now they are over 40 and trending up.

    Hans van Leeuwen had an article in the AFR In Britain, the herd immunity experiment the whole world is watching. He says:

      Hospital admissions are ticking up – there are now more than 500 a day – but this is a fraction of the 4000-plus daily total seen in January.

    He says that if deaths are kept at the current level COVID will be no worse than the flu.

    That may be acceptable in a place were there has been so much dying. It would not be acceptable here.

    Only 5 people have died from Covid in Qld, and no-one since April last year. Many people voted for Palaszczuk last year because they believe she has kept us safe and the other one, Ms Frecklington, said 62 times we should open up, before she flipped.

    Hans v L says:

      But perhaps the surge in infections could leave huge numbers of people with debilitating “long COVID”. And perhaps it might allow a new, vaccine-busting variant to emerge; one that could then feed back into the inoculated population, sending Britain, like Australia, right back down the bottom of the pandemic’s snakes-and-ladders board.

      That’s the gamble Johnson is taking. If he’s right, he’ll be a messiah. If he’s wrong, he will never be forgiven.

    • Another pointer for the totally non-racist Man of Mackay.
      The Delta (nee Indian) variant is going great guns in Florida.
      Of course this is actually another demonstration of how obstinate incompetency makes things easy for the virus.

    • It’s not just deaths, it is incapacitation as well. If you wind up in an ICU your prospects for a life as usual afterwards are significantly reduced. That’s not something you get with the standard flu.

      Just had my first Pfizer shot.

    • Saw my GP today for a routine visit, asked her how their vaccination program was going.

      They are working their way through the 40-50 yr-olds with Pfizer, as well as mopping up with second AZ jabs.

      She had a rant about the baby boomers. Many of them rejected AZ and insisted on waiting for Pfizer. She pointed out that thereby they were slowing the rollout of Pfizer to people who really needed it.

      She said the Gen X were far easier to deal with and more likely to respect doctors’ advice.

    • Of course this is actually another demonstration of how obstinate incompetency makes things easy for the virus.

      Above I wrote: Of course this is actually another demonstration of how obstinate incompetency makes things easy for the virus.
      I should have written: Of course this is actually another demonstration of how criminal recklessness makes things easy for the virus.

    • A few new things.

      Jennifer Hewett in the AFR has declared Victoria to be the new ‘gold standard’.

      Thing is, Victoria are not sure they can beat the Delta variant, which has now snuck into SA. Yesterday at 2am the authorities knew they had one popping up. By midday the next day there were five, so they locked down.

      A Monash modeller has come up with 5 as the magic number. If you have five who have been loose in the community, you are about to lose control.

      That’s all very well, but I think states need to do the best they can in their own situation. It depends who the infected people are, where they’ve been and how it all fits together, plus what tools you have at your disposal.

      Dan Andrews said he wouldn’t mind NSW getting priority with vaccinations. They did this in Canada to help Montreal out where the virus was bad, it seems.

      Hunt said it would be strictly according to state population. Thing is they don’t understand need in Canberra.

      No-one is talking about Queensland, but we have another one too. Student in Melbourne, vaccinated, stopped on the Sunny Coast on her way back to Atherton Tableland. CHO says we’ll contact trace etc, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

      I think our sporting crowds are a disaster waiting to happen.

      Meanwhile Boris Johnson is taking the action you would take if you pretended you had done your bit, and now it’s up to everyone else, and why not give the virus its best chance of developing a new more infectious strain.

    • BTW Alan Kohler worked out that if people younger than 40 have AstraZeneca they have a 0.00044% chance of dying from blood clots.

      That is not no chance, and it depends on public tolerance.

      When Jeanette Young our CEO said she did not want to see a young person dying from AZ she was speaking as CHO in Qld, where we have had five deaths, none since April 2020, and if you vaccinate say 2 million younger Queenslanders, on average you would expect to see 8.8 deaths (my maths could be wrong, but check it out).

      I can assure you that if she had encouraged younger people to see their GP and get the AZ jab, and one died, the journalists she was talking to would come to get her.

      It was good to hear respectful journalists in Adelaide today.

    • If you can read these two (first SMH, second AFR) please do:

      Gladys B was right when she called a national emergency. It’s in all our interest to get it sorted, but ‘national’ cabinet failed.

      Morrison and Frydenberg show no sign that they are up to the job of industry and personal income support.

      BTW, Qld wasn’t at the meeting. When the link to Palaszczuk in Tokyo was insecure, Morrison would not accept acting premier Steven Miles. The CEO of our Health Department was allowed to sit in.

    • Alan Kohler: “The Delta strain means the exit plan has to mutate as well.”
      Key scary statement: “The truth is that the Delta variant has completely changed the game and herd immunity through vaccination has become difficult, if not impossible.

      Professor Tony Blakely of the University of Melbourne explains that the new R0 number of COVID-9 is five (that’s the number of people one infected person infects, on average), which means that 80 per cent of people (four out of every five) have to be immune to prevent the virus from spreading.

      But Professor Blakely added that because no vaccine is 100 per cent effective – Pfizer is 80 per cent and AstraZeneca 60 per cent – 90 per cent of people have to be vaccinated to achieve 80 per cent immunity.
      Vaccinating 90 per cent of the total population, including children and anti-vaxxers is basically impossible, especially with the confusion around whether to take the AstraZeneca vaccine.”
      Time for plan Z??????
      The good news is that the above calcs are simplistic. The new covid RO5 could be driven down by strategies such as:
      Using facemasks.
      More rigid social distancing.
      Using temperatures as a quick test. (Most of the symptoms are rather vague and the isolation after testing is a real negative.
      Speed up test results.
      Limit isolation after testing to encourage testing.
      Random testing. And….

    • Jeez, John, I missed this comment, and missed the Kohler article, which is strange because I usually keep and eye on the New Daily.

      Thing is I spent last night and this night trying to do something somewhat similar.

      I think we are going to have to look at mandatory vaccination if people want to participate in the benefits of social living.

      Kohler says:

        If the Doherty Institute says the Delta mutation prevents any realistic chance of achieving total herd immunity, the exit plan will have to shift to making sure all Australians have the opportunity to be vaccinated, and then to limit the activities of those who refuse. No jab, no footy or travel.

      I don’t think we can vaccinate children under 12 until research has been done on the effects.

      I’ve got a bit more to say. Might still do a post.

    • Here is the Covid dashboard for the Netherlands.

      Total infections, … over 10% of the population.
      Total Deaths … 17,801

      Population 17 million.

      What is the difference to Australia?

      Two thirds of Australia’s population living in two thirds the area of Tasmania.

      Australia benefits from the population being spread out. ie being clustered together increases infection rates. Look at how rapidly the infection rate sky rockets when restrictions come off (last peak).

    • John, I’m wondering whether that last comment belongs on this thread.

      bilb, in Oz 918 people have died — 820 in Victoria, 67 in NSW, 13 in Tasmania, 9 in WA, 5 in Queensland, 4 in SA and 3 in ACT.

      In other news, a backpacker staying in Roma St hostel has tested positive to COVID-19.

      This is alarming our CHO, so she has us wearing masks. Appears this guy was yet another leak in hotel quarantine.

      Also we’ve had 13 incursions in the past 6 weeks.

      We’ve also landed 19 sick Filipinos in a boat at Weipa, many of whom will end up in a Brisbane hospital. I’m betting the Feds don’t pay for that. Weipa direct is further than Brisbane to Adelaide.

      The idiot flight attendant and her friend who drove up from Ballina, did what pleasured them, lied to the authorities, and more, ended up him being fined $10,000 and her$4135.

      Now they have been identified, and I’m expecting they will be on the front page of the Courier Mail in the morning.

    • Morrison, down in the polls, shakes the money tree:

      View from The Hill: Morrison shakes money tree again in bid to avoid second recession

      This may help:

      Over 18 and considering the AstraZeneca vaccine? This may help you decide

      Thgis on also comments on comparison of AZ and Pfizer.

      When will we reach herd immunity? Here are 3 reasons that’s a hard question to answer

      When will herd immunity be reached? Given that vaccination resistance rates are near 25% in adult population, probably never.

      Today we here what National Cabinet makes of the Doherty modelling, but PM has indicated we should all be good by the end of the year.

      There are increasing calls for mandatory vaccination.

    • The backpacker man contracted the virus before he went into quarantine. Returned from the Philippines, I think via Perth.

      And it’s the A variant.

      Qld health people saying we’ve had a bit of luck, really, that vigilance is a day by day thing. Keep wearing masks, and they say the QR code checking in has been very helpful in contact tracing.

      NSW say current restrictions in targetted LGAs are strictest ever seen in Oz.

    • Today the news here is that a 17 yr-old girl at Indooroopilly High School has tested positive to COVID-19. The family of five live at Taringa. None of them has been travelling. CHO is anxiously waiting for genomic testing, because there is no obvious way she might have been infected.

      They think she was two days at school and three days in the community while infected.

      There is no zoning for Qld shools, so the student population would be drawn from many suburbs around. Its in a loop of the river, near Qld University. They say the school population is now 2000. When I was working it was, I think, 6-700 from memory.

      It has always been an elite school in a sense, with quality kids and quality staff. QU university academics often send their kids there, because to get your kids into a private school in the area you’d have to book them in pretty much when they were born. Many of them were living elsewhere at that time.

      Seems teenagers must wear masks in the community, but not at school unless they want to. Also don’t have to wear them coming and going to school, and I suspect there are special school buses. There certainly are to St Peters Lutheran School (1600 kids) which is just across the road.

      Right now, in Qld people are allowed to have 100 people in their home. I checked that a couple of days ago. There would have been birthday parties and such, where people from several schools are likely to be involved because of family friendships, and shared primary schools.

      Have just heard that a doctors clinic in Ipswich has closed this morning without prior warning and no reason given.

      I have a feeling life here may be about to change. I’ve always thought we were vulnerable in these suburbs, because many have incomes that allow them to flit around the country for a weekend or some such, pretty much at will.

    • Brian: I suspect Sydney is now in a worsening situation because people didn’t really grasp that the delta virus is a lot more virulent than the originals. These means that, on average, someone who has the delta virus will infect 5 people (N=5 if nothing is being done). From memory the originals were running about 2.7.
      For N=5 over 80% of people would have to vaccinated to get herd immunity if nothing else has been done.
      SA did something different to help contain the infections. It used double ring contact tracing. What this means is not only tracking the contacts of known infected people. For the double ring the contacts of the first contacts are also contacted.
      I don’t know how successful single ring contacting is but it needs to be 80% to handle the delta virus on its own.
      Something smarter than what NSW has done is needed for the case that you are taking about.

    • John, I think it may be worse the N=5. It’s really a different ballgame from the original.

      Have just logged and haven’t caught up with Doherty modelling, but on TV they said phase one was 70% vaccinated, meaning 70% of people over 16, which means 52% of the total population . That sounds a disaster in the making, but I’d better inform myself.

      I’m inclined to say offer 100% a vaccine, then let the rest take their chances.

    • Here’s the story on Indooroopilly:

      It seems anyone associated with Year 11 is being asked to quarantine:

        Indooroopilly State High School acting executive principal Derek Weeks emailed the school community late on Friday with details from Metro North Public Health Unit physicians, saying year 11 students and staff were “being asked to be tested as a priority group”.

        “Students and staff members in quarantine must make every effort to remain separate from others in the household,” the doctors said.

        “This includes having their own bedrooms, eating separately, and having access to bathrooms that are separate from use by other family members.

        “Where a contact is unable to remain completely separate from others in the household, all household members must undertake quarantine together for the full 14-day period.”

        The note added that the school would be “closed for all activities other than testing for up to two weeks”

      On Thursday evening they had a subject choice expo, involving staff from at least three universities. Staff attending are also quarantining.

      CHO Jeanette Young will be hoping like Hades that genomic sequencing links this one to ones she already knows about.

    • John, I have to work today, so no time for links.

      Had a look at Doherty and what national cabinet ‘decided’ last night. Also looked at Grattan Institute modelling, which is impressive.

      Doherty is basing their vaccination on 16+. Grattan is basing theirs on 2+.

      Grattan is assuming the replication rate is N=6. Elsewhere I have heard 4-7, so 6 sounds around the mark for modelling.

      There is no life after COVID, but there will have to be life with COVID, and it means people will catch it and some will die.

      Grattan are saying there is a lot of difference between 75% and 80%. With 75% peak daily cases would be 73,250 per day and a total of 7590 (I think that is in a year) will die.

      With 80% that becomes 11250 pod and 2250 die. I think flu deaths are about 4,000, and road deaths in the order of 2-3000.

      I’ve heard Raina MacIntyre say we should aim at 80 to 90% of the whole population.

      Other than that, Doherty isn’t saying open right up at 80%, just that lockdowns should be rare, and we should start allowing people to move in and out of the country if vaccinated.

      There is an issue with vaccine efficacy, with Pfizer cleraly better than AZ for D variant. I’ve heard AZ last better, but Pfizer is easier to tweak, so I’ll leave that to the experts.

      There has not been enough emphasis on the fact that Pfizer has 2.5 months start on AZ to achieve full protection. I think authorities want to see as many jabs as possible.

      There is also an issue with Long COVID, which is worse than generally appreciated.

      Also vaccination does not prevent getting the virus and passing it on without symptoms. We need to have a vaccination passport, and restricted activities for those who don’t.

      Gotta go.

    • PS I’d like to see Grattan comments on Doherty and national cabinet.

      Breaking news. We have D strain and 7 new cases, 5 family members, including family members, a sibling at Ironsides primary school and I think a teacher, and a university student who is a tutor of the initial 17 year-old girl. They suspect he is the index case that started it.

      We have lockdown from 4pm today until Tuesday. More severe than we’ve had before.

    • Quiggin says we need 90% vaccinated (I think he means the whole population) with a 90% effective vaccine, based on D variant being N=5.

      I think as a precautionary principle we should take the higher N in the uncertainty range. So if Grattan are saying N=6 I think Quiggin should justify why he’s using N=5. He’s not an epidemiologist. Otherwise, an interesting article.

      We probably will end up with COVID passports, and there are entirely rational reasons for excluding those who won’t have one.

    • Today’s local COVID news is not good. Nine new cases, involving five schools – Indooroopilly SHS, St Peters (across the way), Ironsides Primary (between Indooroopilly and QU in St Lucia, plus bot Brisbane Grammar and Brisbane Girls Grammar. BGS and BGGS are on the edge of central city and probably draw from 100 + suburbs. There was an open day at one of them recently.

      Only 11,400 tests were done yesterday. Authorities say they need four times that many. CHO says D variant can be picked up in seconds, and you can pass it on 30 hours later.

      Catherine Bennett verifies that there has been one documented case of a 30-hour transfer in Does one size fit all?

      Again, an interesting article. I have two problems. One is that in an evolving situation you don’t have the luxury or a formal evaluation. And what you do has to be the most effective in your situation, given your own resources. People should realise that states run health and they all have their own circumstances. You can’t expect consistency, now how much academics and large corporates would prefer it.

      Secondly, lockdowns aren’t he first option, they are the last option, if you want to keep your people safe and not have the health system overrun.

    • On our local outbreak, seems a man returning from Singapore infected a man returning from the UK, either on the plane or in quarantine, and thence to the Sunshine Coast.

      His strain infected a medical student at QU who was tutoring the 17 yr-old Indooroopilly HS student. Now they think there was an intermediary, and they don’t know who it was. So they won’t rest until they find out.

      Exposure sites include multiple shops in Indooroopilly Shoppingtown a news agency in Moggill and few sites in Jindalee across the river to the west.

      There are only four reasons I can leave home, and then only by 10km. The reasons include “essential” work. I can’t take the same attitude I did last year, because I’m expecting dobbers, even if I’m working on places when I’m the only person there.

      I’m thinking there is Buckley’s chance this is only going to last 3 days.

    • Brian: I think it is realistic to assume that new covid versions will evolve with N>5 which means 100% vaccination will be required unless other strategies including better masks and faster tests are developed.
      Would help too if more effort was put into phycology. Too many of the people making decisions don’t seem to realize what effect a day or two off has on many families chronic financial crisis.

    • John, thanks. Your first link didn’t work, so I had a go at fixing it. Here it is again:

      An important article, I think. Inter alia it says:

        A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine this week, revealed two doses of Pfizer was 88 per cent effective at preventing symptomatic disease from the Delta variant. AstraZeneca was 67 per cent effective.

        Both are almost 100 per cent effective in stopping death from COVID-19.

      Both reduce but don’t eliminate transmission:

        In April, Public Health England revealed the results of a study of more than 365,000 households, each with a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated members.

        The results showed Pfizer and AstraZeneca reduced the chance of onward virus transmission by 40 to 60 per cent.

      So if N=6 roughly halving it still makes for a potent virus.

      The goal must be as full vaccination as possible. And it is a race that our Federal leaders chose not to run for a goodly stretch.

    • 13 new cases here from yesterday, all linked. 10 of the 13 have been younger children, seems to be linked with karate classes at Ironsides SS.

      St Joseph’s, Gregory Terrace, an elite Catholic school, near Brisbane Grammar and B Girls Grammar has been fingered, but I’m wondering whether it is actually what is known as Nudgee Junior in Indooroopilly.

      Exposure sites proliferating, but none within about 5km of us yet.

      Lockdown has been extended to Sunday afternoon.

      We also have Brisbane woman who flew to Rockhampton and back, working on the Rockwood Weir project, testing positive. The site has been closed, but we have two plane flights of people, and some of the shift had dispersed.

      Brisbane Ekka, (still happens in The Valley, central Brisbane), had 85% of the prep done, due to open Thursday week, has been cancelled.

      The initial pathway has changed. It came from the Sunshine Coast to the Taringa family. Not sure which family member was first, but apparently not the 17 yr-old, who then infected the medical student who was tutoring her, and it spread from her.

      Some people infect no-one and some infect masses, which I think was the point of John’s second link.

    • Brian: It is all very well to talk about listening to the technical experts re covid. Problem is that, while most of the experts advice is technically sound it can quite often be well off the mark when it comes to recommending the best strategy. This is because technical experts don’t always understand how other people live and how they think. Good strategy has to consider reasons why people may be very reluctant to follow the tech advice.
      Getting people to go to testing is a good example:
      Current policy is to insist that people isolate for days after testing until test results are available. There are a number of problems here:
      1. The symptoms of early covid are vague and overlap with the symptoms of numerous other things like hay fever, the winter sniffles etc. (See list at the bottom of this comment.)
      2. The medical experts want people to isolate until after test results become available. (Technically best but…)
      3. The experts preferred test takes days to produce results. Not OK for someone who is struggling to earn enough to live on and doesn’t have the option of working from home.
      4. It can takes hours waiting for a test.
      Don’t know how many people infect others because they delayed testing in the hopes that the cold weather sniffle was just that
      There are other, not so accurate test methods that can give results in minutes and appear to be something that people could do at home:
      Rapid antigen testing isn’t perfect. But it could be a useful part of Australia’s COVID response
      Despite the technical limitations of these tests we may get a better result because people will be more inclined to do a test that does not force them to isolate for days no matter what.
      It may even make strategic sense to use the old method and not insist on isolation. (The decision might be made on the basis of symptoms when tested – For example high temperature may be a better indicator than winter sniffles .)
      It may also make sense to do a lot of tests without insisting on isolation.
      What are the symptoms of COVID and when should I get a test?
      The symptoms of COVID-19 are wide ranging, and everyone who gets the virus will experience it a little differently.
      A person can experience just one symptom or mild symptoms, or severe symptoms that require urgent medical attention.
      A person can also have COVID-19 and be infectious but not feel or show any symptoms (this is known as asymptomatic).
      The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include:
      • fever (37.5C or higher)
      • night sweats or chills
      • coughing
      • fatigue
      • sore throat
      • headache
      • runny nose or congestion
      Other symptoms of COVID-19 include:
      • muscle or joint pain
      • loss of smell
      • loss of taste
      • diarrhoea
      • vomiting or nausea
      • loss of appetite
      Severe symptoms of COVID-19 include:
      • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
      • chest pain or pressure
      • loss of speech or movement
      The highly infectious Delta variant of COVID-19 is becoming the predominant strain of the virus.
      The Delta variant has the same symptoms as described above, however the following four symptoms are commonly reported:
      • headache
      • sore throat
      • runny nose
      • fever (37.5C or higher)
      Are my symptoms the flu, a cold or allergies?
      The symptoms of the flu or a cold are similar to the symptoms of COVID-19.
      The only way to know which one a person has is with a COVID-19 test.
      Allergies can also have similar symptoms to COVID-19, however there are some key differences between the two.
      Fever is a common symptom of COVID-19, but does not occur with allergies.
      Allergy symptoms can also include itchy or watery eyes, and sneezing.
      How long before COVID symptoms show?
      Symptoms of COVID-19 can appear between 1 to 14 days after a person is exposed to the virus.
      GET YOUR FLU JABS: They will help reduce false signals.

    • Gladys B today was suggesting that she while she would not exclude the possibility of suppressing community virus COVID cases to zero, she would look at opening things up a bit at the end of August if vaccination rates are up around, say 50%.

      She is partly going on British experience, but there are a couple of cautions she might want to think about.

      Firstly, there has been masses more community transmission in Britain, so there is vastly more immunity in the unvaccinated population.

      Secondly, when Boris Johnson’s ‘freedom day’ arrived, new cases were about 40,000 per day and deaths about 40. They don’t appear to be exploding from there, but that is there and we are here.

      Gladys B will have to be careful on this one.

    • John, re your comment of 1:11PM, I agree with all of that.

      From your link on Rapid Antigen tests:

      The Therapeutics Goods Administration has so far approved 20 rapid antigen tests for use in Australia.

        But antigen tests can only be supplied to accredited laboratories, medical practitioners, health-care professionals working in residential and aged-care facilities, or health departments. The commercial supply of COVID-19 antigen kits for self-testing at home is prohibited.

      Mary-Louise McClaws has been recommending Rapid Antigen tests for yonks, but she advises the WHO, not our govt. And different methods of quarantine for different cases and circumstances.

      Secondly, son Mark and I have agreed that ATAGI and the primacy of health advice has been an example of governance failure.

      ATAGI was not established to advise on government policy in a pandemic. They provide straight medical advice on infectious diseases. There is an argument that even so there is too much academic expertise on the group, and no practitioners, leading to group think and neglect of how medicine is practiced.

      IMHO ATAGI should be a technical group that hangs off a broader group which can evaluate the personal/social/economic implications of the straight medical advice. The group should be no larger that 12-14 (maybe 9 is best), and have no more than 3-4 epidemiologists.

      I think there needs to be an intermediate deliberative body before politicians look at it. NSW and the Feds have gone from rubbishing Qld for following medical advice last year, to hiding behind it this year, except when Morrison want to blame them.

      Finally, possibly the biggest failing of the Commonwealth from the outset was not to provide income support for all.

      For example, there should have been ‘COVID leave’ paid for people who with marginal incomes who work in essential jobs to get vaccinated, get tested, and to isolate.

      Alan Kohler has had a crack in Allowing some families to be financially ruined is unforgivable, except I don’t know where he gets a “few” families from towards the end. It’s also more than families.

    • I’m in a household of three quite strong-willed people, so we are spending time sorting out COVID matters.

      COPVID exposure sites have now appeared for Kenmore, where my younger bro lives, and the locality near Rockhampton where my older brother lives.

      So far Ashgrove is free, but Ashgrove central has three supermarkets, three pharmacies and quite a few eateries, so it can’t be long.

      Peter Dutton has a kid in one of the elite schools affected, so is grounded. I’ve heard that the same applies to 98 doctors in the Royal Brisbane Hospital, so a problem there.

      Here’s three of the articles Mark has sent me:

      Travelling school children key to Brisbane lockdown transmission

      Strategically Qld authorities should have foreseen that schools would be a problem. In the following article NSW is now strategically vaccinating school children, because they are such good spreaders.

      NSW is adapting its COVID vaccine strategy. Should we be diverting vaccines there too?

      In this one Prof Greg Dore from the Kirby Institute looks at alternative approaches, mainly gleaned from Europe, to allow more activities for vaccinated people:

      Australia needs a Covid plan B that gives more freedom to the vaccinated

    • Brian: The Davidson’s had both had our second jab by 15 July so yes, a better deal for the fully jabbed has its attractions.
      The risk here is that some people are drifting towards the vaccination solution as the answer to everything just as others have become lockdown obsessives.
      My particular take is that we need to do things in parallel and not to be in a rush to end strategies that don’t have a large impact on people’s lives.
      We also need R&D aimed at improving current strategies and developing new ones.
      We might also give some thought to the plight of people who need to lip read in these times of face masks.

    • John, in case anyone thinks we are in good hands, When Morrison announced his 4-phase plan and commissioned the Doherty modelling he said:

        “we do what we need to get where we want to get”

      without any specifics, because Doherty was going to tell him.

      Today he launched the Doherty thing and Prof Jodie McVernon told us that what she had produced was a “thought experiment, not a prediction”. Also it is purely on immediate clinical outcomes, doesn’t take any other effects into account, not even health effects.

      And it is on Australia-wide data, they are now going to look at regional differences, so there is nothing there which will help NSW strategise what it is doing, given Sydney demographics and circumstances.

      And general whats-his-face has no basis to prioritise sending more vaccines to any particular place on the basis of need, or the greater good.

      McVernon was somehow able to say very definitely that the 30-39 yr group should have priority over the 16-29 yr-old group, and yes they are thinking about the 2-15 yr-old groups but they have no data to work on.

      Yesterday in Brisbane from memory 10 of 13 cases were 9 yr-olds and younger.

      As to Phase 2 with 70% of 16+ vaccinated, and Phase 3 with 80% vaccinated, they say we need to transition to trying to live with a degree of disease and death, but don’t ask for detail, because they haven’t worked anything out yet.

      However, Scotty from Marketing ended the session by talking of hitting triple gold by Christmas, after reminding us that we are doing better than anyone on the planet etc etc.

      BTW, Treasury have done modelling that shows that a short sharp pre-emptive lockdown is five time better, even if you have to repeat it, than letting things run. This is the bright new revelation.

      They’ve also just discovered that a vaccinated population changes everything.

      Jesus wept.

    • John, thanks for your link at 1 PM and comment at 12:44 PM.

      I know that medical research has been a national priority, but I’m astonished at how many professors of epidemiology and related areas there are in the country. And so much modelling. last night on 7:30 we had Emma McBride from James Cook, also modelling.

      She makes a lot of sense usually, but I wonder whether our total effort is covering what we need, or whether much of it is plowing the same ground.

      I think Bill Shorten said Labor favoured setting up a national CDC, but it’s not in their policy statement.

    • I’ll definitely have a new post up tonight.

      Meanwhile get a load of this, from Michael Pascoe:

      We were wondering what happened at National Cabinet when Gladys Berejiklian went cap in hand to get get a larger share of vaccines to try to put out the wildfire in SW Sydney. We were left with the feeling that something strange happened.

      Seems Lieutenant-General John Frewen, in charge fancily-named COVID Shield blew up like a volcano, went “apoplectic”. Morrison let him go, actually turning away from the camera and stoking a fire behind him.

      Pascoe makes a point about the militarisation of government, at least since 2001, Tampa and children overboard. Morrison certainly contributed with his ‘Sovereign borders’ approach to asylum seekers in boats.

    • Brian: “McVernon was somehow able to say very definitely that the 30-39 yr group should have priority over the 16-29 yr-old group, and yes they are thinking about the 2-15 yr-old groups but they have no data to work on.”
      My guess is that the 16 to 29 group socialize more and thus will be greater spreaders.
      In this context it is worth reading “We’ve heard of R numbers and moving averages. But what are k numbers? And how do they explain COVID superspreading?” A key part of this article is that there is a lot of variation in the number of people an individual person infects. Most will affect none but others are super spreaders who may infect hundreds. My speculation is that part of this maybe related to degree of socialization and risks take.
      But “COVID-19 superspreaders
      Many superspreading events have occurred in the current pandemic. An infectious volunteer dressed as Santa Claus, for example, visited a care home in Antwerp in December 2020, and infected 40 staff members and more than 100 residents.

      Even more drastic is a South Korean woman who caused a superspreading event resulting in more than 5,000 cases in the South Korean city of Daegu.
      read more: How to prevent COVID-19 ‘superspreader’ events indoors this winter
      Meanwhile in Australia, we have seen many examples of cases being detected, but not infecting a single other person.
      So, how can this disparity be explained?
      “We’re unsure why this is the case. It could be some people are naturally social animals, or fail to maintain social distancing, mask-wearing, or hygiene.
      Alternatively, it could simply be that some people have a much higher viral load than others or tend to emit virus particles as aerosol clouds more than others.”
      You really need to read the whole article.

    • John, I had read it, but I’m still not 100% convinced, although it’s definitely beyond my expertise. I don’t know whether that research was done on the D variant; I suspect it wasn’t.

      Kids, especially from elite households, when they get a bit of independence, get around a lot to various activities, share transport, and seem to talk in packs with their heads very close together.

      With D the rule of thumb is when anyone gets it, the whole household has it before the contact tracers get there. So from there it fans out via adults of child-bearing age, and siblings.

      I’m not sure anyone can identify which group should have priority for vaccination.

      I haven’t looked at the Doherty document yet. I heard the presentation on the radio and there was plenty reference to slides. I heard this segment on PM and have just found this link:

        The Doherty Institute’s Jodie McVernon said access should be opened up to the 30 to 39 age group from the beginning of September, and the 16-29 cohort from early October, which is broadly in line with the current strategy.

        Vaccinating children, she said, would have little impact on transmission.

        “Children can get COVID and we are concerned about them becoming infected and infectious, but they’re nowhere near as good at it as their parents are,” Professor McVernon said.

      Leaving aside what the terms “children” and “young adults” refer to (which are being used with gay abandon in the media), that last two statements, meaning presumably 2-15 yr-olds, are very definite. She may be right, but I’d like to hear it confirmed by other epidemiologists with specific reference to D variant.

      If she is right, it gives us hope here in Quinceland, because in the last two days the majority of the infections here have been children under 9.

    • Brian: Yep the superspreader argument is a bit hard to follow.
      My take on “superspreaders” is:
      1. Someone can be a superspreader because they will produce more infections than someone else in the same situation. This implies that superspreaders do something like produce more virus and/or have habits that increase the risk. (Ex: Tend to get closer to people than lesser spreaders.) AND/OR
      2. Someone can be a superspreader because they spend more time in environments where it is easier to infect. (Ex: Crowded Discos.) AND/OR
      3. Someone can appear to be a superspreader because they spend more time with vulnerable people or people who don’t follow recommended action to reduce the risk of infection.
      “However, in the context of superspreaders, it’s equally important to find out who infected the original diagnosed case, as that person could potentially be a superspreader.
      Forward contact tracing of that potential superspreader would likely lead to many more cases being detected. In fact, modelling has found looking backwards as well as forwards could prevent two or three times as many infections. This is known as backward contact tracing and is now widely used in Australia.”
      At this stage we should have a lot of data about where people are being infected and what they were doing when they got infected.
      Maybe it is all there and being used. Certainly hope so.

    • John, listening to Jeanette Young, I think she is looking at chains of reproduction, and how they have performed, infection-wise.

      The Cairns case that popped up is unrelated to what is happening in Brisbane, I think was an already vaccinated pilot, and she said had a small virus load.

      There were no surprises among the new cases here today, so we still have a chance of tying it off.

      In NSW it looks as though it is testing the limits now of contact tracing, and around 50 in ICU. From what the team say, I think the best they can hope for is the squeeze the main avenues of infection and keep vaccinating like crazy until N becomes less than one over a 7-day average, especially cases occurring in the community.

    • Meanwhile in crazy horse country: As COVID Breaks Records in Arkansas, Its GOP Governor Regrets Ban on Mask Mandates.

      “The spread of the highly contagious Delta variant shatters coronavirus case records in Arkansas, its Republican governor is scrambling to reverse a ban on local mask mandates he signed into law just months ago. But as Gov. Asa Hutchinson admitted in a press conference Monday, rolling it back will be difficult—and something he probably can’t do without broader support from his party’s lawmakers.”
      “While Hutchinson was just one of many GOP governors to enthusiastically embrace a ban on mask mandates earlier in the pandemic, he is the first to try to roll back such an order. His move stands in stark contrast to other Republican governors still doubling down on them, as in Florida, Mississippi, and Texas, even as their states see cases explode. As I wrote earlier:
      On Saturday, Florida recorded 21,683 new cases of COVID-19, breaking its one-day record for new cases. But even as the state swells with fresh infections, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis remains hellbent on his war against mask mandates. He even recently barred school districts from instituting mask mandates when classes reconvene in August.”
      Bloody hell!!!

    • John, yes there are crazies around.

      (BTW, I fixed the link)

      Today I heard people in the Philippines were avoiding the jab, because they thought that the charming president, Rodrigo Duterte, would then be able to kill them with the flick of a switch.

      Professor Mike Toole, talking with Patricia Karvelas tonight had a couple of interesting things to say.

      He said Dr Fauci reckons you need 80% of the whole population vaccinated to achieve sufficient herd immunity, so we can live and sometimes die with COVID.

      Secondly, he said he was alarmed by some modelling showing that cases in NSW were doubling every 10 days. Now the 7-day average is just over 200. So in 20 days it is 800, and in a month 1600.

      He worries that the strategy of localised lockdowns and targetted vaccinating may not be sufficient.

      It was not good news in NSW with NSW records 262 new COVID-19 cases and five deaths as Hunter and Upper Hunter go into snap lockdown.

      Apparently there is a heavy load of virus on the sewerage in Dubbo and Armidale.

      Here In Qld things are looking surprisingly positive.

      We’ll see what the next little while brings. Victoria thought they had the thing beaten.

    • NSW have 291 new cases, a new record, and Gladys B says expect higher number in the days coming up.

      It seems to be a race between and strategic vaccination.

      Kerry Chant gave on chilling example.

      A customer went to a KFC and infected a staff member.

      Over the next little while all staff were infected (12, I think). They went home and infected their families.

      Then everyone who went to the KFC for about a week had to be contacted and tested.

      She didn’t say this, but all the people that and places that family members of staff had been near would need to be identified.

      In Qld another good day. 10 new cases, only 2 had been in the community, each for one day and that in lockdown conditions.

      Here are a couple of articles on the Doherty modelling:

      I find the second impressive. I can’t believe Doherty used N=3.5

      JCU used N=5-10.

      They say if you vaccinate all the adults, the kids will spread it among themselves, and we have to be concerned about long-term effects.

      We’ve not heard much from McBryde, but she had always seemed very credible to me. She says that after the elderly and vulnerable the focus should be on the late teens and young adults as high transmitters. Where you go from there is a question, but we may need to vaccinate everyone older than 5, but only if it is safe.

      We may never reach herd immunity:

        Herd immunity is not the only possible target. Even if we don’t reach full herd immunity, we may achieve “herd protection”. This provides some reduced risk to people who can’t or won’t be vaccinated, and it will make outbreaks smaller and easier to control.

        And without full herd immunity, individuals still benefit from vaccination as they are dramatically less likely to die from COVID.

    • Republican state Florida (population 22m) strong set a new single-day record with 28,317 cases on Sunday, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
      Hospitalizations in Florida have been at record highs for eight days in a row, according to the Reuters analysis.
      Most Florida students are due back in the classroom this week as some school districts debate whether to require masks for pupils.
      Republican America is mind boggling.

    • John, I’ve been listening to the local briefings on COVID. It may surprise, but I think Brad Hazzard is the best politician I’ve heard in talking to the media. He’s very good on his feet, and overall exudes calm, whereas Gladys B communicates anxiety.

      Of the man who brought COVID to your parts and others who are not conforming to restrictions, he said in response to calls for harder measures “We can’t legislate against stupidity, arrogance and entitlement.”

      More generally in Oz I think Morrison has set himself a low bar with ‘greater freedoms when we get 70% of 15+ people vaccinated.’

      Dan Andrews said of that national cabinet agreement, “All we have agreed to is to have a talk when we get to 70%” (my memory, not an exact quote).

    • Brian: Gladys is becoming tired and frazzled. Her problems are not helped by the claims that her old boyfriend was given help he should not have received.
      It all reminds me of commissioning jobs I have been on where working long hours was counter productive because tired, stressed people tend to concentrating on the first idea that comes up instead of running ideas in parallel.
      What needed to happen with covid was/is that things need to be happening in parallel and the R&D needs to be thought through properly. AAAAArgh

    • John, I actually don’t think the relationships of the premiers has much to do with anything right now.

      Today Yvette D’Ath, now Minister for Health, said she and CHO were working with NSW counterparts. I always thought the public servants would be in contact.

      However, NSW people have their hands full at present. I heard most of the press briefing. Gladys B was saying it was the worst day in COVID and things could not go on the way they were. with COVID appearing in the sewerage all over the state.

      I understand the statewide lockdown decision was made an hour or two later, and they just sent the message out, did not call a press conference.

      I think where Gladys is heading is to allow greater freedoms to people who are vaccinated, and allow them to do stuff like meet in pubs.

    • John, if you haven’t seen it, Insiders today is a ‘must see’. Seems there is trouble within the camp at the top in NSW.

    • Brian: “School chaos expected as ‘non-essential’ Queensland teachers trapped behind NSW border.”
      The border from hell! Saw a case the other day of a hairdressing saloon in the Coolongatta/Tweed area that had the border running down the middle of it with the reception area in Qld and the haircutting space in NSW.
      One urgent reform needed is the setting of isolation area borders in places where few people would need to cross on a daily basis.

    • John, clearly they need you as a consultant to sort it all out!

      Nothing that Qld Health do should surprise. They were the mob that gave us ‘Dr Death’ in Bundaberg, then hired IBM to automate the pay system. They buggered it up by not having a proper trial and transition, so health workers were being paid too much, too little, or not at all.

      It was so bad they had to hire IBM to fix it. From memory, I think it cost about a $billion.

      Anna Bligh once said that the only way to fix Qld Health was to blow the place up.

      Luckily the major hospitals seem to work pretty well, and I think it is probably good in parts. Fixing border arrangements during a pandemic doesn’t seem to be one of them.

    • Reminds me that the little German patch in Belgium where Matthias Cormann came from was Germany on one side of the street and Belgium on the other. It mattered quite a bit which side you were. Same, same with France.

    • Brian: The border situation just gets worse and worse. “Gold Coast and Tweed Heads face ‘a dog’s breakfast’ as border restrictions tighten.”
      Qland’s “stuff you” policy is making life difficult for people on both sides of the border: ”

      Key points:
      Queensland has closed its border to all non-essential workers including teachers, tradesmen and hospitality workers
      More than 6,000 vehicles have been intercepted at the border, with 606 turned back
      The restrictions are a further economic blow for the border community.

    • John, I’m not going to get into arguing by anecdote.

      The other day I heard a representative from Mildura, claiming they were the most adversely affected place by the virus in either NSW or Victoria.

      Whenever you draw a line and create a binary where you shouldn’t have to, there are going to be borderline issues.

      I’ve pointed out from the beginning that the Gold Coast by its nature is set up to be a superspreading town.

      I don’t think it’s a case of “stuff you”. Those of us on this side of the border are grateful we’ve been safe, so far, touch wood, without the Nullabor or Bass Strait to help us.

      Yvette D’Ath said today or yesterday that she wanted to move the border south. Problem is, I imagine, Qld coppers lose their authority if they are not standing on Qld dirt.

    • Meanwhile, Victoria is having its problems, not just with 69 at an engagement party, drawing possibly $350,000 in fines.

      Latest I heard they had 13 different strains abroad. The next few days will tell whether they too will go the way of Sydney, with rampant infections until a level of herd immunity cuts in, mainly through vaccination.

      John D, it may be some comfort to know that Qld is giving preference to our border zones with vaccinations.

    • John, I heard on ABC radio today two things that disturbed me about the situation in NSW.

      The first is that 1000 hospital staff are in isolation, and that in COVID cases staff that have no appropriate experience are being pressed into service. Before the latest outbreak the union was planning strike action over stretched staffing. Brad Hazzard admitted they were in trouble.

      Second, contact tracers are pretty much overwhelmed, with over 2000 cases now ‘under investigation’. Apparently some sites like shopping centres are not being listed as ‘exposure sites’.

    • Then there is Byron Shire and anti vaxers: “Security called to Byron Bay and Mullumbimby to enforce check-ins at Australia Post

      Security officers are guarding post offices at Byron Bay and Mullumbimby after staff noted a significant proportion of customers failing to comply with basic public health orders.
      Key points:
      Post Office staff say a third of customers were not wearing masks or signing in
      Police are concerned over the non-compliance
      New border restrictions between QLD and NSW in effect from 1:00am Saturday
      The region is under stay-at-home rules as part of a statewide lockdown affecting all regional New South Wales on the back of a COVID-infected man from Sydney visiting Byron Bay earlier this month.
      The union representing Australia Post staff said that despite the lockdown, more than a third of customers had not been complying with COVID-19 safety rules in recent weeks, putting staff safety at risk.
      “Thirty per cent of customers or more were not QR coding into our post office and not wearing masks,” Shane Murphy from the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union said.

    • John, the press conference today was particularly excruciating.

      Gladys B said, it can’t go on like this, but offered nothing to stop it. She’s pretty much blaming the people for not doing what they are told.

      Some were keen to know what Kerry Chant really thought, suggesting that her health advice was being ignored.

      She said her health advice was clear, everyone should stay from everyone else. However, she realised this could not happen, so was suggesting that a collective decision was necessary taking account of other perspectives.

      I heard yesterday how COVID spread in Canberra.

      The first to get it was a night club bouncers. After spreading it to sundry young people who mix a lot on Saturday night, he went to church on Sunday.

      Families go to church.

      Next thing the virus is in the schools, and in the tertiary boarding colleges.

      It came from NSW, as has the recent case in NZ. NSW people go everywhere.

      Qld coppers turned 1000 back at the border yesterday.

      Justice administered by Qld coppers can be a bit rough, but if you look at the health directives, they are written by lawyers, and it would take a lawyer to make sense of them.

      I’m told one bloke simply rode his motorcycle around the police barrier. They would not have liked that, and probably got his number.

      They also don’t take well to being shouted at.

      All that being said, I think the odds are that we’ll get COVID here too.

      And there is a fair chance that, come election time, people won’t remember who really put us in this stew.

    • Brian: The Conversation asks: “Should we give up on COVID-zero? and concludes that: “Until most of us are vaccinated, we can’t live with the virus.
      I think this conclusion does need to be challenged for a number of reasons:
      1. NSW style lockdowns are doing a lot of damage to the people and businesses in NSW. Ditto what Qld is doing along its Southern border.
      2. The level of vaccination required may have to increase to handle the Delta+++++ virus.
      3. The level of vaccination required will depend on what else we are doing and how well we are doing these things. (We need a combination of strategies that gives a reinfection rate below 1.0.)
      4. There needs to be more attention taken of phycological and cultural factors and the relative success of various strategies.
      5. Short, intense double ring lockdowns make sense when a few infections are found. They have some chance of finding all the infections. But months of lockdown with several hundred new cases per day? Need to check if it makes sense.
      Possible low impact actions:
      1. Better face masks and/or face shields or???
      2. Better vaccines and more of them?
      3. Restrict lockdowns to high risk places?
      4. Encourage people to be more wind aware and arrange where they stand in relation to others?
      5. Ultra violet or ??? in air conditioning ducts?
      6. Make more use of high speed tests to avoid the need for people to lock down while waiting for test results? (Can give slow test at same time.)
      7. Do temperature tests to detect people who should be tested?

    • John, I don’t know what we should do, but NSW at a reproduction rate of 1.3 to date will see cases double by the third generation, and I have no data on what the average time is for Delta. The original version was average 14 days. Delta seems faster.

      I don’t know of a country that has beaten the thing with low vaccination rates. Qld as a state has, but I think we’ve been lucky, in part because the Indooroopilly case hit a middle-class area, where people can isolate and still put food on the table and a roof over their heads.

      Catherine Bennett is quite supportive of what NSW are doing in It might not feel like it as cases rise, but NSW is controlling Delta.

      Certainly NSW is limiting the virus, but the graph still looks ugly. Raina McIntyre warns that if the hospital system gets overrun that means if you have a heart attack you don’t get seen to.

    • Brian: Yep, the graph looks ugly and there is no sign at all that the tightening lockdowns are making much difference to the rate of increase and may even contribute to infections once the rate of infections are high enough to swamp the tracking system. Vic has also moved to total state lockdown.
      I know I am on repeat but what I keep seeing is a failure of crisis management made worse as key leaders get more and more tired and find it harder and harder to delegate key activities that need fresh eyes. At the moment Aus/states need teams and gifted individuals that:
      Look at and understand what covid successful countries like Taiwan have done.
      Ditto countries that that have got trapped into failure.
      Work out what might make a real difference and what might need to be done to to take advantage of this insight.
      Repeat, repeat, repeat………

    • Anxious’ but calm regional Victorians back in lockdown amid ‘significant risk’ from growing Shepparton cluster The shutdown was called with only 2 hrs notice.
      Shepperton people seem to be supportive but at least some people in Gippsland (700km away) are seriously pissed off with good cause. One pub owner from Gippsland had this to say”

      Bugger you Dan Andrew’s 2 hours notice do you have any idea what is required to run a business. Again never a case in E Gippsland and 700km from Shep.

      To put 700 km in context the Nth side of Newcastle is about 650 km from Coolongatta. Hornsby on the nth side of Sydney is 786 km.

    • John, I said I didn’t want to argue on the basis of anecdotes. However, since then a constant stream of anecdotes have been quite jaw-dropping.

      I’m afraid a line was crossed when cops on the border were telling NSW people they should see a doctor in NSW rather than their usual GP in Qld. Some being turned away were having treatment they probably wouldn’t get in NSW north of Sydney.

      All I can say is that if I were making the decisions I would not go that far.

      However, Jeanette Young is working on the precautionary notion that everyone in NSW should be regarded as infected, which is actually what the NSW authorities are telling people in NSW.

      Brad Hazzard today made mention of a funeral in Walgett attended by over 300 who came from all parts of NSW.

      He mentioned a party in Maroubra, from memory 39, of whom now 16 are infected.

      And he mentioned a party in Tweed Heads organised by people who knew it was wrong.

      However, drawing a line along the border in some places is like cutting through living flesh. Apparently there will be no bubbles this time.

      Qld did seriously suggest moving the COVID border south to the Tweed River. They got an official “no” with the comment that to move the border would have new effects that would be worse than leaving it where it is.

      I find that hard to believe.

    • John I agree with the suggestion that we need fresh eyes and need to look elsewhere. I had a bit of a scout around. Taiwan may be the only candidate that has conquered the D variant.

      However, remember the story of the Australian who caught the virus last year in Taiwan?

      He was given a phone so the authorities could check on where he was, a notice was put on his door, and all his neighbours were asked to watch him and report if he left his digs.

      Germany has done well but is now facing a fourth wave. Still, with about 10% less of their population vaccinated, they have done heaps better than the UK, which Frydenberg was holding up as a model for us.

      According to my calcs, adjusting for population, Frydenberg reckons we should live with 11,400 cases per day, and 38 deaths per day, making 13,870 deaths per year.

      I’m so glad the Feds are not running Health.

    • Brian: Mungindi cut in half by Queensland’s hard border and locals aren’t happy

      Border town resident Laraine Nolan cannot go down the road to her local shops to get a bottle of milk or a loaf of bread without doing a 14-day quarantine.

      Key points:
      The regional town of Mungindi has been cut in half by Queensland’s hard border
      Services are split and locals cannot go grocery shopping without a 14-day quarantine
      Everyone wanting to cross town must now have at least one vaccine dose
      Her small border community of Mungindi, about 550 kilometres south-west of Brisbane, has been cut in half by Queensland’s strict border with New South Wales.
      Residents south of the border are in lockdown, while neighbours only a few hundreds of metres away live in relative freedom.
      “It is difficult for us because we are so isolated, and people on [the Queensland] side have to travel a long way away if we don’t want to go into 14-day isolation,” Ms Nolan said.
      Services are split – the NSW side of town is the local grocery store, school, ambulance and pharmacy, and the hospital is on the other Queensland side

      Cant get to Morree on a gofer

      It is all very nice for Jeanette Young to be working on the precautionary notion that everyone in NSW should be regarded as infected, But I do think more sense is needed along state borders and pedantically best medical practice wielded by people who don’t give a stuff for the effect of their decisions on people is counter productive because it will lead to people breaking stupid rules in ways that is more dangerous that a more sensible approach.

    • John, there is something wrong with the way you made that last link.

      That technically aside, I take your point. There does seem to be something amiss when the alternative to buying a bottle of milk locally is to drive two hours to Moree.

    • Latest news is 830 new cases in NSW, 65 in Victoria and zero in Qld.

      NSW say they are now vaccinating at world record rates. However, the numbers of people in ICU has lifted from the 70s to the 90s, I think in one day.

      The next few months here in Oz are going to be ugly, with Morrison telling us it’s all going according to plan, and acting like he’s in control.

    • Hundreds gather on NSW-Queensland border to protest COVID lockdown restrictions

      Queensland’s Deputy Premier Steven Miles says the protests are “shameful and reckless”.
      That’s not the kind of behaviour Queenslanders do, it’s very un-Queensland like,” he said.
      “We’ve gotten through this because Queenslanders have done the right thing, we’ve kept each other safe,” he said.
      LIVE UPDATES: Read our blog for the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic
      The Deputy Premier said the border was at the most risk of infection due to the worsening situation in NSW.
      “The border is our riskiest place right now,” he said.
      “By having a protest there, we make the jobs of our police harder, they put their own safety at risk as well as the safety of the community and I’m frankly pretty disgusted.”

      No sign at all of any understanding of the problems he is causing to people on the border or even the slightest sign of looking for compromises that can solve problems while protecting Qld and NSW health.

    • Bilb: I have a general summary to a range of policy matters that runs something like: “Improve the contribution made by X while minimizing the damage done to people, property, communities and the environment.”
      In terms of the pandemic that may come out something like: “Bring the pandemic under control while minimizing the direct and indirect damage to people, property, communities and the environment by the pandemic and efforts to bring it under control.” In this context, communities mean both those communities directly affected and those affected by the actions being taken.
      My problem with Brian and the Qld government is that the whole focus is on protecting Qld from the virus and nothing is being done to minimize the damage being done to people on both sides of the Qld/NSW border. In terms of covid the damage to people and communities would be reduced by moving the covid border further south to less populated area.
      What is needed right now is a Qld/NSW task force to look at the borders instead of leaving the issue to overstretched premiers and medical people.

    • John, if you say your problem is with me, you have not read my comment of 11:06PM last night. In brief:

        I’m afraid a line was crossed when cops on the border were telling NSW people they should see a doctor in NSW rather than their usual GP in Qld. Some being turned away were having treatment they probably wouldn’t get in NSW north of Sydney.

        All I can say is that if I were making the decisions I would not go that far.


        However, drawing a line along the border in some places is like cutting through living flesh.

      Our life here is pretty unconstrained. However, I am uncomfortable with people being harmed so that we can be safe.

      It’s too late now, but the health authorities in NSW perhaps could have learnt a bit from the rapid and pre-emptive action ours tend to take. When Gladys Berejiklian says no-one on the planet has coped with the Delta variant, she seems to be unaware of our existence.

      We get selective news at best, which is cut and framed to be misleading, especially from ABC TV, but their whole news division is pretty bad at objective reporting.

      I did hear a snippet on NewsRadio that health officials on a local level on the Gold Coast and Northern NSW were discussing who matters might be eased. John, you seem to assume that if you don’t know about it, nothing is happening.

      That having been said, I agree with the principles you enunciate, and agree that a task force would be the way to go.

    • Brian I am not blaming you but I don’t like what Qld is doing on the border and no apparent attempt to fix some of the problems.
      Most of the states have done OK but NSW and Vic have big cities where a lot of people have entered the country. Gladys didn’t hit hard and soon enough to handle delta. Her tracking system could not keep up when it got going. Add a very exhausted woman and it doesn’t help.

    • Way back at the beginning of this pandemic, I recall a seasoned epidemiologist saying that authoritarian action is not the way to go, and community co-operation was the key.

      Today we saw the kind of kickback you’d expect from authoritarian action in the centre of Sydney, Melbourne, and the Gold Coast/Coolangatta border.

      In Melbourne the police may have been better off by vacating the scene, and letting the ‘freedom nutters’ run around until they were done.

      If I had time I’d check out how the countries that experienced ebola were doing. I recall that in the first round last year some did surprisingly well.

    • John, the NSW media briefings are at least 100% better when Gladys B doesn’t show.

      I think Dan Andrews has been too loud and opinionated since he returned. Pretty much shouting at people. The bloke who filled in when he was away was much better.

    • Cracked record alert!!!!
      Australia, and in particular, NSW and Vic, should be looking at what the covid successes like Taiwan are doing instead of what they are doing at the moment. See for example, Why Taiwan Is Beating COVID-19 – Again
      Taiwan is running a number of strategies in parallel and running them properly. Also looking a better ways of doing the things they are doing.

    • Excellent articles Brian and John.
      For me the stand out in Michael Pascoe’s piece is:

      Yes, they could increase the number of intensive care beds by 191 per cent and the number of invasive ventilators by 120 per cent – but that would require up to 4092 more senior doctors and 42,720 more registered ICU nurses. They don’t exist.

      Yesterday I was talking to my daughter who is a doctor in Cairns, hardly a Covid hot spot. She and her colleagues are already approaching exhaustion because they have to cover for medical personnel who have potentially been exposed to infection and are thus in isolation.
      If we open up without following strategies like those in Taiwan our health system could be overwhelmed. Unfortunately our political masters don’t appear to understand exponential numbers.

    • Zoot: “Unfortunately our political masters don’t appear to understand exponential numbers.” They also think that nothing can be learned by overseas success stories and failings.
      They also don’t seem to understand managing crisis of the magnitude of this one or how to use the expertise of those who do. (I do give Scomo credit for bringing in the general to get vaccinations started. Armies have a lot of expertise in moving things around during crisis.)

    • Last night I had an extended discussion with son Mark, who keeps in touch with everything through the Twitterverse.

      I think we have reached an inflection point again. Have to be brief and leave links till tonght.

      There are real signs the economy is down the crapper. Morrison knows this. We’ve done well only in sectors and in aggregate through selling rocks and fossil fuels to China and the world. Many companies, especially in vulnerable areas like tourism and hospitality, are not going to survive.

      Morrison is indulging in alpha male activity, hectoring states, because he knows they are going to have to open up eventually, and he wants to make it look as though he is in charge. If he calls an early election late this year, expect a comfortable victory.

      Victoria has run up the white flag, and has said they can’t beat the virus this time.

      However, John is right, Taiwan has, and is the only one as far as I can see. Here are some daily case and death rates, in 7-dy averages:

        Israel 6,800 (19)

        UK 30,470 (96)

        US 140,000 (770)

        Canada 2,200 (13)

        Taiwan 11 (1)

      All except Taiwan are in uptrend.

      Morrison is pushing us into dangerous territory on the basis of not 70% or 80% vaccination, but 56% and 64%.

      The answer to his question “if not then, when?” is simple, when everyone has had the opportunity of being vaccinated. In Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania we are not living under the doona, and don’t appreciate being lectured by a hectoring bully who cares more about maintaining power than doing what he should be doing – supporting the states who run the health systems in their jurisdictions.

    • There has been only one recent Prime Minister who was able to substantially change the economy, zoot, and that was Tony Abbott, who took the economy down a few notches by making it less diverse.

      Maybe Morrison could change the economy, but with his imagination level the most probably outcome would be to a “hunter gatherer” level.

    • bilb, changing the economy would require ‘thinking outside the box’, a skill notably absent from anybody in political power. After all, these are people who, without exception, bought the BS peddled by the Austrian School and Milton Friedman.
      It’s certainly never going to happen with the shower currently shining their arses on the Government benches in Canberra.

    • FYI Taiwan has a population of 23.5 million which is about the same as Australia. The US has a population of about 332 million Israel 8.8 million and the UK 68.3 million.
      What states and the federal government do should, in part, be driven by relevant strengths and weaknesses rather than rigid ideas of who does what.
      My take is that the feds should be doing the homework and setting up and driving tasks forces. The government who controls foreign affairs should be the one liaising with the WHO and finding out what is and isn’t working in other countries.

    • Residents living on Queensland-NSW border angry at ‘cruel’ COVID-19 closure of local healthcare services

      Residents in the small border town of Mungindi have voiced their anger at Queensland Health’s decision to restrict services at the local hospital during the escalating COVID-19 pandemic.

      Key points:
      Healthcare services have been wound back at the Mungindi Hospital
      The community has labelled the decision “cruel and unnecessary”
      MP David Littleproud has written to state leaders calling for a border bubble arrangement
      Mungindi, about 550 kilometres south-west of Brisbane, straddles the Queensland-New South Wales border and has effectively been cut in half by new border restrictions at the state line.
      The Mungindi Hospital, located on the Queensland side of the border, has been reduced to a skeleton crew, with many of its NSW-based health professionals told to stay at home.
      It is a decision Moree Plains Shire Council Mayor Katrina Humphries has described as “ridiculous”.

    • The guts of it is understanding the networks that are transmitting the virus instead of making wild guesses like we are doing now

      Hear, hear!

    • John the link didn’t open for me. I make it Lock down smarter, not harder .

      Not sure NSW team has it in them to follow his advice.

      Elsewhere Sharon Lewin mentioned Taiwan as good practice, also mentioned Hong Kong, Singapore and Iceland. Certainly the first two have done well. Hong Kong has 7-day average of 3, and zero deaths. Singapore has 51 and 1.

      Worth a listen:

      Prof Emma McBride from JCU reckons we should aim at 100% and open up (whatever that means) after everyone has had a realistic chance of getting vaccinated. She is critical of Doherty for neglect of children.

      John, the situation at Mungindi is crazy. Shouldn’t happen. I get the impression more people live on the NSW side, but shops and services are in Qld.

    • This morning local member at Tweed and local mayor are proposing to that the border should move to encompass the whole LGA, which would take in Pottsville, Murwillumbah, Kingscliff etc, about 90,000 people.

      Palaszczuk has said she is open to the idea.

      This situation could go on for another two and a half months, which is horrendous.

      Berejiklian does not want us to focus on cases, but to date they have been doubling aver 12-13 days. If that keeps happening people won’t be regarding it as not important.

      Theoretically cases should peak and come down as more of the population becomes more people are vaccinated.

      It is quite inappropriate, outrageous and unreasonable for Morrison to be demanding that Qld WA etc commit to a decision 2.5 months away.

      As for a natrional cabinet ‘decision’ being a compact with the people, that is pure bulls**t. National cabinet is a talkshop without legal standing. We only know what happened there via Morrison’s media release after the meeting. There is no documentation or transparency.

      Palaszczuk has no legal standing to make decisions on the fly, typically on information they have not seen before the meeting, while emergency health orders are in place.

      If in November NSW is getting 1000 plus new cases a day, and Qld (touch wood) is maintaining zero community infections, there is no way Qld will open the border, and NSW hospital system would be overwhelmed. Last night we we told on TV that 11 NSW hospitals have had COVID outbreaks.

      Meanwhile, the economic situation looks problematic, and Dennis Atkins has another go:

      Just in, Qld has had another doughnut day, and two truckies from yesterday have been reclassified as clear.

    • Brian: “This morning local member at Tweed and local mayor are proposing to that the border should move to encompass the whole LGA, which would take in Pottsville, Murwillumbah, Kingscliff etc, about 90,000 people.”
      On the coast I would add Byron and Ballina with a little bubble to take in Evans Head. They are all within commute range to the border. (Evans Hd is 1 hr 20 mins from Coolongatta.) Not sure what is desirable further West given that Lismore bases hospital serves a wide area and makes some use of Qld specialists.
      Personal interest: Son and Grandson live on the Gold coast.

    • John, Mark raised the issue last night of too many decisions being made by diktat, and he meant generally in government as an international trend.

      The simple truth is that we’ve had too much done by too many without prior discussion. Jeanette Young gets at least 9.5 out of 10 for keeping us safe, but about -5 out of 10 for closing the borders without proper consultation and discussion.

      Today at 10 am we had Queensland locks out arrivals from Victoria, NSW and ACT amid quarantine capacity concern.

      A few minutes later we had someone ringing local radio saying his son with wife and two kids, one 5, the other 2, was booked on the 3pm flight. He’s lived in Melbourne for 7 years, had sold his house, and was now returning to Brisbane to be closer to family.

      Now this:

        The premier said everyone with flights booked and border exemption passes will need to rebook under a new system, which is still being set up, that will allocate specific hotel quarantine rooms to incoming travellers.

      SBS TV news said, from memory, that 16 flights had been cancelled, and Brisbane airport normally receives about 6000 people per day.

      The Brisbane Times story says:

        Queensland deliberately gave two hours’ notice on Wednesday before blocking arrivals from NSW, Victoria and the ACT to prevent a rush of flight bookings, the state’s health minister said.

        Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the hotel quarantine system had become “stretched to the limit” as she announced the changes, which came into effect from noon.

        “Queensland is being loved to death,” she said.

        “We often don’t know, from day to day, how many people are coming into Queensland from other states – they just turn up… so that means that we are scrambling for hotels.

        “It’s putting our workers at risk and it’s also putting our community at risk as well.”


        At present, there are 5114 people in hotel quarantine in 22 hotels, with more than 3200 of those domestic arrivals.

        Between August 9 and 20, 2750 people received border passes to relocate to Queensland, including almost 2000 in just one week.

      This one leaves me scratching my head. I don’t think Palaszczuk is doing this to gain political popularity.

    • Today’s NSW figure of 919 new cases was a shocker.

      I think it is humbug to be talking about “living with the virus” and Gladys B is effectively saying “look over there” to avert our attention from the horror of it all.

      As Kerry Chant said, the burst of vaccinating now should show up in the numbers in the weeks and months to come. However, she seriously needs to flatten the trend graph before other states, currently virtually virus free will open to NSW.

      Doherty assumes the world champion tracers and testers will regain their form and be able to re-establish their mastery at 70%. Sharon Lewin assures us that 70 to 80% will be safe:

        If the country were to re-open at 70 per cent coverage with partial public health measures, Australia would record 385,983 cases and 1,457 [deaths] over six months, according to the modelling.

        However, if current contact tracing, testing and isolating regimes were kept in place and able to operate at an optimal level, the number of infections can be cut to as low as 2,737 cases and 13 deaths over three months.

      I make that 9-10 cases per day for NSW.

      Those of us in states where we have relative freedom will want to see that mastery demonstrated before we ease into living with the virus. The transition needs to be gentle and have a good chance of working, not a leap of faith.

      Also Doherty assumes that Australia is homogenous, when we know it isn’t.

    • Brian: “Doherty assumes the world champion tracers and testers will regain their form.” Bit of a challenge when there are over 1000 new cases a day. New strategies are needed. AND
      “Those of us in states where we have relative freedom will want to see that mastery demonstrated before we ease into living with the virus. The transition needs to be gentle and have a good chance of working, not a leap of faith.
      Also Doherty assumes that Australia is homogenous, when we know it isn’t.” Ditto for parts of NSW that “where we have relative freedom.” Dubbo is 750 km from where we live. It is ridiculous to be treating Ballina or Tweed as though we are next door to NSW hot spots.
      LGA boundaries make more sense in deciding how to treat people in other parts of the country. Evn then some LGA boundaries are not appropriate.

    • John, I’m not going to defend Qld policy on what I think people in Sydney call Northern Rivers.

      I know that it should be different from what it is, but I don’t know what the answer is.

      Today NSW had 1029 new local cases with Dr Chant saying it could get worse before it gets better.

      Meanwhile at Goondiwindi a woman was discovered under a blanket in the boot of a car being carried on the back of a truck.

      More important, NSW is relying heavily on texting and the internet. Ed Husic said in his western Sydney electorate 25% of people don’t have the internet.

      And I heard that doctors out there have been told they can have no more Pfizer or Moderna this year, but Pharmacists apparently do.

      I note that NSW is planning to combine the QR app with a vaccination certificate app. Good idea, but the Feds should be devising a national app, or it will be like rail gauges.

    • Chaos as medical staff stranded across the Queensland-NSW border

      Non-medical staff can no longer cross the NSW/Qld border to work in hospitals and medical practices
      Reception staff, caterers and speech pathologists are included
      Dr Matt Cadrone from Tweed Heads Superclinic warns patients are at risk because of the changes
      Health care providers on both sides of the border were outraged after the ban, which came into effect yesterday.Non-medical staff can no longer cross the NSW/Qld border to work in hospitals and medical practices
      Reception staff, caterers and speech pathologists are included
      Dr Matt Cadrone from Tweed Heads Superclinic warns patients are at risk because of the changes
      Health care providers on both sides of the border were outraged after the ban, which came into effect yesterday. Dr Cordone said stopping those workers from crossing the border would have detrimental effects on patients in both NSW and Queensland.

      “I think that there will be harm that will come to a patient because the systems that are in place for the patients to move through the hospital safely are being disrupted,” he said.

      “These [roles] are unable to be performed correctly at the moment because the hospitals are down on their regular team members. I think harm will occur and is occurring at the moment, despite doctors and nurses’ best efforts.”Dr Cordone said the COVID vaccine rollout could be compromised because support workers who coordinate the vaccinations were prohibited from working.

      “Our practice manager who operates and directs 30 doctors, 20 allied health and 20 nurses is unable to attend the practice to help with the running of that practice,” he said.

      “We’ve got 2-to-300 people presenting face to face with vaccines, you need someone there to usher them in to seat them, to bring them through effectively to check them in to check them out to monitor them.”

      ‘All staff are essential’
      John Flynn Private Hospital chief executive officer Adam Stevenson said in a statement Ramsay Health Care’s priority remains “the safety of our patients, our staff, doctors and our community”.
      The major Tugun private hospital said they considered all staff essential and were hoping to find a way to get them over the border.

      Then there are all the Q’landers caught south of the border
      You have to go a long way south of the border to find any Covid cases.

    • John, there are two issues there. I really don’t have anything to say definitively until the press start fully reporting what is said by Queensland representatives. Mostly they report whatever snippet makes Qld look bad.

      Tonight in a welcome change on TV we had Steven Miles saying:

        “I am really pleased to report that we have had an approach from the Deputy Premier of NSW to work with them to collaborate on border arrangements so we can reduce the impacts of them on their community,” Mr Miles said.

        “We certainly welcome this change of heart and approach from the Deputy Premier of NSW to work with us.

      I googled some phrases I could remember, and came up with that quote from this link which goes on to say this:

        “Of course, we will work with them to put in place whatever measures we can to both keep the border safe but also minimise its impact to the extent that it’s possible.”

      I did not get the impression that Miles was talking about shifting the border, but exactly that was in the mind of Shanee Dobeson, who wrote the article.

      That article was followed by a swift denial by NSW deputy premier Barilaro, as reported in NSW says no change of heart on border stance following Qld claims. The article also points out that Barilaro had written to health minister Yvette D’Ath “hoping to discuss operational improvements at the border”.

      Please note Miles did not say he had received the letter, and I have no idea about the context of his remarks.

      The Daily Telegraph also had a story John Barilaro, Steven Miles not on the same page on border debacle discussions, which may be true, but does it matter?

      Barilaro says it wasn’t him that wrote:

        “I’ve said consistently that I haven’t personally reached out, but my agency, the Department of Regional NSW and the cross border commissioner, who reports to me, regularly works (with Queensland) to find ways to minimise the impact on the border,” Mr Barilaro said.

      Then a lot of rude things about Queensland.

      The article does make clear that Steven Miles understands that effectively moving the border south is off the agenda at present. He also says this:

        “We do acknowledge that the border restrictions have an impact, a disproportionate impact, on those that live on the border particularly the NSW and Queensland border,” Mr Miles said in a press conference on Friday.

        “And I’m really pleased to report that we’ve had an approach from the Deputy Premier of New South Wales to work with them to collaborate on border arrangements so that we can reduce the impacts of them on their community.

      That all sounds fine and good and hopeful, but the press is not interested in good news. They need to get the biffo in, and if they can’t get it they like to stir it up.

      I did hear on NewsRadio Jeanette Young say that unless things change the current border arrangement would be in place until the end of October.

      She also said she didn’t like what she was seeing quite close to the border, but again this had no context of explanation. Could she be getting reports about the sewerage? Or was she at that point talking about further west?

      I don’t know, but I believe her to be quite rational.

      She has also been quite effective in combatting the virus. Five deaths in total, none since April last year, and a lower per capita case incidence than any other state or territory.

      So far.

    • John, scary article this morning:

      NSW contact tracing is no longer reliable. I’ve heard of people saying that it has taken over two weeks for them to be notified they are a close contact. Some are also becoming sick and not telling anyone and a few such cases have died.

      Under these circumstances Qld authorities may well be waiting for confidence to be restored, and so define the whole state as a ‘hotspot’. Hotspot definitions differ from state to state. When Qld nominated 11 LGAs here a hot, WA nominated the whole state.

      This again derives from lack of leadership from the Commonwealth. Around this time last year Qld proposed a hotspot definition, which interstate and federal health colleagues agreed to. Morrison simply did not raise the issue at ‘national cabinet” (which isn’t a cabinet), but then announced his own version, which he has led us to believe has been agreed to by all, but hasn’t been.

      I think that as NSW demonstrates control, which will emerge through greater vaccination, Qld’s attitude to the border will change. Meanwhile with increasing and justified local desperation, things could get ugly.

    • Brian: Part of the problem is that governments are treating states as the unit for declaring “hotspots” even though what is happening within a state varies enormously over a state. So borders are being slammed to the “NSW hotspot” even though most of NSW is nowhere near hotspot status and never has been.
      What we need are smaller units when it comes to declaring hotspots.
      A lot would be gained by simply using LGA boundaries as the boundary for determining hotspots. The advantages of using LGA’s is that the boundaries have already been determined and local government provides government for each LGA. There may be a case for moving hotspot borders to take account of special cases and to recognize that some LGA’s are so large that divisions may become necessary or that a particular town would be more logically placed in another LGA.

    • John, I’m not sure anyone other than you and I are reading this, but I have to tell you that “A confirmed case of COVID-19 visited the BP Travel Centre at West Ballina on Friday, 20 August, 2021.” The link for that just took me to a Facebook page which confused me.

      Then there was this from, which said that Regional NSW was in lockdown until 10 September.

      And then from NSW Health Stay-at-home Order for four NSW North Coast LGAs from 6pm on 9 August to 21 August.

      Qld’s definition of a hotspot is:

        Hotspots are places in Australian states or territories other than Queensland, or in safe travel zone countries where health officials have found a lot of people with COVID-19, or places that are at risk of a lot of COVID-19 infections. Hotspots are legally listed so that we can identify people travelling into Queensland from those high-risk areas. Emphasis added

      Qld health instructions typically deal in terms of LGAs here, and has in the past also for interstate. This time:

        The Australian Capital Territory, the Jervis Bay Territory, New South Wales, and Victoria are declared hotspots.

      Dr Young has kept us safe in large part by anticipating the virus and trying to be one step ahead.

      I’m not sure how easy it is to move around NSW, but 700 km is not a big deal. My younger bro and his wife often do the trip to and from from Emerald in one day. Its 845 km.

      Just saying.

    • Brian: “I’m not sure how easy it is to move around NSW, but 700 km is not a big deal. My younger bro and his wife often do the trip to and from from Emerald in one day. Its 845 km.”
      I suspect Brisbanites would be surprised and annoyed if Brisbane was locked down because there was a case in Emerald.
      The border lockdown is hurting on both sides of the border without making much difference in safety. (There may actually be a negative given the damage that the border shut down is affecting health services.

    • John, I need to deal with the issue you raised at the end of this comment.

      You link to this story – People left stranded and unable to come home amid new Qld border restrictions – about a couple who were returning to Qld after working in Dubbo, had permission to enter Qld, and suddenly it is cancelled and they have to apply again.

      Queensland being arbitrary, brainless and acting like the Gestapo for no good reason.

      To be fair to Antonia O’Flaherty from Brisbane Radio, who wrote the story, she did link to a story Queensland records zero new cases of COVID-19 as state pauses interstate hotspot arrivals for two weeks by Jessica Randall, which gives more explanation, including a video, where Palaszczuk seems to be reading from a prepared text.

      So I had a look at the Qld Govt media releases site and found Pause on interstate hotspot arrivals.

      My best guess is this:

      In recent times there has been a flow of interstate migration to Qld amounting to 30,000 per year. In recent weeks for whatever reason this flow has increased. At 1,993 in a single week that multiplies out to an annual rate of 103,600, or more than three times the normal flow.

      Palaszczuk says “We never know how many domestic arrivals we have from day to day.”

      It seems to me likely that approvals are given by a section in the Health Department, where they no doubt noticed an increased flow. However, when they approve they clearly have no idea when the people are arriving and quarantine is run by the police.

      I recall that last time Qld announced it was limiting the flow of overseas arrivals the quarantine capacity was around 3,000.

      The media release says it now grew to 5114, and the ABC article quotes Palaszczuk as saying “over 5,700 people in quarantine”.

      That presumably came up in response to a question. I did hear a clip on NewsRadio saying that they had to release some people early from quarantine because they could not cope.

      So, why do all these people have to quarantine?

      I don’t know, but it seems to be the practice, at least in the states and territories that are COVID-clean as far as community transfer is concerned.

      What happened should not have happened, but it was a ‘wicked’ problem, ie, there was no good answer. If the people had been waved through and one brought the virus, Qld would have been deemed reckless.

      The are other solutions, like letting double-vaxxed people through, or home quarantine for double-vaxxed people, but we appear to be waiting for a trial by SA that involves satellites and face recognition software. I heard about it, but don’t have time to run up that rabbit hole.

      Back on the Gold Coast/Tweed, I suspect the real problem is that if anyone wants to talk about solutions, it won’t be at premier level. They are both too busy, and it is probably inappropriate that they get into the detail needed. On the NSW side, it seems to be John Barilaro, who clearly won’t deal with Steven Miles, and, it seems, does not want to involve himself.

      The problem with passing it further down the line to the “cross border commissioner” is that the interlocutors won’t have a brief to look at solutions like moving the checkpoints south to even one LGA. Barilaro seems to have a closed mind on that one.

      NSW local government and the local state member are clearly pushing the LGA border option, and Qld seems open to the possibility. Honestly, I suspect Barilaro is your problem. He seems more interested in scoring political points.

      Of course, I could be wrong.

    • John, honestly, we need a border check somewhere. If Victorians are able to get into NSW we have 14 million plus people sitting south of the border. We don’t have 14 million sitting in Central Queensland.

      I was surprised to find a NSW lockdown order that doesn’t appear to allow you to travel around the Northern Rivers District. Is that really the case, or have I got it wrong, or is it an order that no-one takes any notice of.

      I suspect the main problem now is that the issue is not one that Barilaro wants to solve. He seems to have the running on country NSW.

      I heard Brad Hazzard respond specifically on the Gold Coast issue. He at least sounded open and respectful, but seemed to follow the Barilaro line.

    • Brian: Latest COVID health data shows local government areas with highest and lowest vaccination rates
      Interesting table:
      Gold coast was 46% total jabbed, 29.7 fully jabbed.
      Brisbane 54.5/34.8
      Ipswich 43/26.7
      Logan 39.4/23.1
      By contrast:
      Tweed heads 58.0/31.1
      Ballina 62.4/38.2
      Lismore 51.6/27.4
      Richmond Valley 54.1/30.3
      Clarence 57.3/28
      Even Byron got 47.2/25.5 despite being home to the Anti vax capital of Australia
      Maybe Qld is doing good because it is so far away from Sydney.

    • John, the failed comment was not criticising Qld.

      According to the Courier Mail, so it must be true, every vaccine being received by Qld is going into an arm. So whatever the reason, it is supply that is the limiting factor rather than Qld reluctance.

    • John, I just tried to post your virus comment and it failed both here and on the Test post.

      I’m about to try again here paragraph by paragraph:

      Brian: “I was surprised to find a NSW lockdown order that doesn’t appear to allow you to travel around the Northern Rivers District. Is that really the case, or have I got it wrong, or is it an order that no-one takes any notice of.”

      I think you are right but I have not looked into what limits are placed on workers. There is this constant flow of stuff on the TV which makes keeping up difficult.

      My understanding is that people like me can move around the Ballina shire area and also go up to 5 km from our home if the boundary is closer to home than 5 km.

      We are both being careful.

      Both double vaccinated

      I have changed exercise routes to reduce numbers I pass.

      Have mask looped under my chin if going anywhere near people. Put in place when getting close to people.

      Hold my breath when passing people.

      Is aware of wind direction.

      I guess we are both trying to minimize risks while getting exercise and staying sane.

    • I’ll give it a go (in Firefox):
      Brian: “I was surprised to find a NSW lockdown order that doesn’t appear to allow you to travel around the Northern Rivers District. Is that really the case, or have I got it wrong, or is it an order that no-one takes any notice of.”

      I think you are right but I have not looked into what limits are placed on workers. There is this constant flow of stuff on the TV which makes keeping up difficult.

      My understanding is that people like me can move around the Ballina shire area and also go up to 5 km from our home if the boundary is closer to home than 5 km.

      We are both being careful.

      Both double vaccinated

      I have changed exercise routes to reduce numbers I pass.

      Have mask looped under my chin if going anywhere near people. Put in place when getting close to people.

      Hold my breath when passing people.

      Is aware of wind direction.

      I guess we are both trying to minimize risks while getting exercise and staying sane.

    • Brian: Tweed GP clinic on verge of closure as ‘essential’ staff cut off by COVID border restrictions. Unwell elderly people near the border are being put at risk.

      Tweed Heads doctors say elderly patients in particular are being put at risk by border controls
      The AMA Queensland is calling for support workers to be reclassified as “essential”
      The AMA says if the restrictions aren’t reassessed patients will have “poorer outcomes”

      Given your medical condition you are lucky you aren’t on the wrong side of the border mandated by Qld medical experts.

    • John, I don’t know why you feel the need to continually personalise this.

      I’m not “lucky” to live where I do, we chose to live here. We have in mind to move to a townhouse style dwelling at some time when I give up working in people’s yards, but it won’t be two hours away from the medical facilities I have now, which are mainly 20 mins away.

      I’ve already said I don’t believe people should be cut off from their normal medical services. Whatever the solution, that should not be part of it.

      The way things are in NSW, where we are told not to focus on daily case numbers, where the best we can say is that the increase seems to be slowing, and essential hospital facilities appear dangerously stretched, I don’t think we can simply open up to NSW. However, the current situation with the NSW border can’t in my view drift until NSW has COVID under decent control. I do think we should all have the opportunity of being vaccinated before there is any general opening.

      Otherwise some who should be most protected because of their vulnerability will be dead.

      However, if we wait for all that we’d be lucky to be open before Christmas.

      From memory, I think Jeanette Young said the current border arrangement would remain until the end of October. If so I would suggest the effects will be catastrophic in terms of health, mental health, and many small businesses.

      Catastrophic is the word I used. Something has to change.

    • From memory, I think Jeanette Young is due to retire late this year, to become Governor.

      She has advised four premiers through six epidemics, including MERS, swine flu and the 2009 dengue outbreak, and last year when COVID hit, I believe was the only CHO who had been through an epidemic.

      I’m wondering whether Dr Paul Griffin might get the gig. He’s head of infectious diseases at the Mater, and always sounds sensible and calm on radio. With Kathleen Taylor he has just delivered an Inquiry into the case where a young woman working at the COVID ward in the Prince Charles was infected.

      Media release here, download the report from here.

      No-one to blame, but a lot of improvements recommended.

    • Brian: “John, I don’t know why you feel the need to continually personalise this.” I personalize quite a lot of what I say to clarify arguments. Generally it is me talking about my experiences but sometimes I do talk about your situation because we lived for years near where you live.
      I do think there is a real problem with declaring states “hotspots” and using state boundaries as key control points.
      We need to think in terms of smaller areas, possibly based on local government. This is how NSW works it. (BTW you have to get a permit to leave greater Sydney.

    • John, thankyou for the explanation. We are ‘lucky’ in a sense, but our thinking is also born of personal experience. My younger sister’s husband died on 31 December 2017 after being diagnosed with serious liver cancer about five years earlier.

      His local hospital was Miles, but he had to travel about three hours to Toowoomba for any kind of testing/treatment, about three hours away, and always involving an overnight stay. The public health system facilitated this, by paying kilometre allowance for the drive etc.

      But for surgery and top care he had to go to Brisbane, in his case to the Princess Alexander. There the care was excellent, basically world class.

      A rough summation is that the local hospital system tries, but you are just as likely to get sick as well from using it.

      The major provincial hospitals, can do a lot, like knee and hip replacements, but there are deficiencies.

      If you have a serious health issue, you need to get to the capital city. There, if you case is urgent, or requires multiple disciplines, you are likely to get better treatment in the public system than the private one. Many of the top medicos work across both systems, and the nursing care is mostly good in both, although I had a very strange experience once in a private hospital owned by a group of doctors.

      • I do think there is a real problem with declaring states “hotspots” and using state boundaries as key control points.

        We need to think in terms of smaller areas, possibly based on local government. This is how NSW works it. (BTW you have to get a permit to leave greater Sydney.

      It’s how it works here too. The health orders are different for the SEQ 11 LGA’s (remembering that Brisbane is one giant LGA), and were so at times for Cairns and Magnetic Island, for example. During the last lockdown I think it was a 10km limit, but I don’t think we went as far as requiring permits.

      Gold Coast is a special case, as twin as Albury Wodonga, but more populous than Tasmania, and a major people magnet for sun-seeking southerners. Adelaide, Perth are lucky because no-one much wants to go there unless the put on a festival or major sporting event.

    • Brian: Groote Eylandt wasn’t all that flash when it came to medical facilities. There was an Aborigines only hospital at Angurugu and a medical center manned by bush nurses at Alyangula where we lived. Sometimes there was a resident Dr.
      Pregnant non Aboriginal women had to leave Groote a few months before they were due although one woman we knew cheated the system and had the kid at the airport.
      The nurses sent H to Darwin for a check when she was pregnant. She flew back during a cyclone warning. It is a bit nerve wracking to watch the F28 carrying H coming into the Angurugu airport at an angle to compensate for wind speed across the airport. Groote taught me to respect bush nurses and support the idea of nurses doing GP work.
      One thing I learned when I was responsible for the Ambulance service was that, if no oxygen bottles were put on the flying Dr plane, the patient was not expected to live.
      Newman had a hospital. One of the local GP’s removed my appendix there. The stay in the hospital was interesting. One minor crisis during my stay involved one old man who started lighting a fire in his room to make him comfortable. The other thing of note was the number of patients who came in because they had been in a fight or accident round about pub closing time. Not the same as going to Wesley.

    • No, not the same as going to the Wesley, which is 10 minutes away from us if you know the back streets. I have some stories from my youth in the bush, but nothing to match yours.

      To continue my theme as to why I’m here, when I grew up I was born in Toowoomba, because my mum went there a month before she was due, to avoid giving birth in Miles.

      Now my sister if she has issues with her eyes has the choice of one optometrist who spends a day in town, I think every second week. I have the choice of a city full of optometrists. I use medical and paramedical services probably once a week on average, so access and choice are important.

    • On the substantive story, this interview with Prof Margaret Hellard, Burnet institute’s Deputy Director is highly recommended if/when the audio becomes available.

      Meanwhile it’s available first up on the main episode podcast.

      Hellard says that If Victoria had not locked down hard the daily cases would now be over 1,000, instead of just over 100.

      She says you can do small thinks at given points, but you need both jabs to 80% of the whole population before you can significantly open the economy. But then you need significant restrictions maintained, falling cases, and not too many so that your contact tracing, testing, isolating and quarantine (CTTIQ) can cope.

      So it will be interesting to see what ‘living with the virus’ turns out to be in Victoria and NSW.

      Hellard sounds rational and sensible, worth listening to. She also says we need to look at things like how aircon works, and how it can be modified.

      Berejiklian is clearly going to discriminate between the vaccinated and unvaccinated, and offer candy to the vaccinated.

      I’m happy with vaccination passports in the long run, but I think we all have a duty of care to the marginalised and vulnerable, who will be the last to get the jab, and the easiest prey for the virus. In places where we do not have rampant virus in the community I think we need exercise our duty of care to get them sorted before we give free entry to the virus.

    • Brian: “I just tried to post a longish comment here about attending the the ‘European Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York’ exhibition at the GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) here today.” Hazel and I both suffer because treasures like this are locked behind a border in the wrong place.
      On medical the Aboriginal hospital had some unusual features. Two people we knew worked there who were forbidden to even talk to each other. The Nurse who ran the hospital said the decision to have them both there at the same time was a disaster. The bloke could be doing something important like putting on bandages but would drop it all and leave the room if the woman came anywhere near.
      There was a problem getting some Aborigines to go to the hospital. People died in hospitals and as far as I know the hospital did not organize smoking out of the dead person’s spirit.

    • I tried to trick the software by posting a comment that had nonsense words, then editing it and replacing the words with the comment that would not post.

      The trick did not work, so I’ve written this instead.

    • Brian: “A tale of three cities: How COVID-19 lockdowns restricted movement in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne.
      Interesting set of graphs that show the Labor/Greens Canberra gov shut down faster and harder than the Labor gov of Vic and the LNP gov of NSW.
      Have to wait and see how well Canberra does and the effect of its very different job mix.
      My take is an area is in trouble once the tracking system cannot keep up. Delta makes this harder.
      When tracking is overloaded rapid, widespread testing is needed. That means using tests that give results in 15 min and don’t require testees to lock themselves up and stop working for days after the test.

    • Annastacia Panaszczuk is being pasted by all and sundry for mentioning that we need to protect kids before opening up.

      Please note:

      1. She did not say that kids would need to be vaccinated before opening.

      2. It was not a considered deliberative comment. She was responding to a political attack in parliament, that attack itself based on misleading information.

      3. Frydenberg and others are saying that kids don’t get sick so it’s OK. In the news this morning a researcher from Griffith pointed out that research is being done especially in the US and I think UK on the effects on children, including long COVID, where the initial infection is sometimes mild in adults, but quite disabling later.

      4. It’s not a case of a dramatic difference between ‘open’ and ‘shut’. Opening at 70% in NSW and Victoria, will be limited and carefully constraied.

      5. In the AFR today Andrews is quoted as saying the Victorian border with NSW will probably be closed until 2022.

    • In breaking news, a truck driver in the Gold Coast has tested positive after being active in the community.

      Secondly, a primary school on the Gold Coast has been closed after boasting they had travelled to Melbourne.

      We’ve been expecting COVID to arrive sooner or later. Today may be the day.

    • The new, unnamed African variant that worries scientists

      It is still being studied and hasn’t even been named, but South African scientists confirm that they have detected a new variant of COVID-19 with very disturbing characteristics. The problem with this variation is that, according to the experts, it’s an explosive cocktail of mutations.

      It is not the only variant being talked about. Highish infection rates help natural selection.

    • Thanks, John, I heard of another cooked up in the UK, where on the latest there were 33,500 cases per day and 107 deaths.

      That’s ‘living with the virus’ UK style, which Frydenberg was suggesting for us.

      On local news, I got mightily tired all day hearing others tell us what premier Palaszcsuk was telling us, but no-one played anything she actually said.

      It ended up with CHO Prof Kelly lecturing her that D variant was OK with kids, which, sorry, appears anecdotally to be true, but is not yet supported by research, and, secondly, if you don’t want to get kids to get COVID then vaccinate the adults.

      That last bit was exactly what Palaszczuk was trying to say.

      She could have said she was worried about First Australians, which is what Dr Michael Clements, Townsville-based GP and the Rural Chair of the Royal Australian College of GPs. – Vaccinating rural Australia is worried about.

    • I thought I’d better stop there in case the blog got indigestion.

      NSW had I think about 1200 cases, 900 now in hospital, around 150 in ICU, and 60 something being ventilated. If the curve keeps going and flattens around 2000 I strongly suspect that in October the hospital system will be broken.

      However, Berejiklian is promising a better life for double vaccinated people, which is the way to go, I think.

      A pity about the people in Wilcannia where the early Pfizer doses were diverted to the big city.

    • Re the two events in Qld, Coast concerns: Truckie infectious for five days; family boasts of illegal Melbourne visit, the latest is that the family of five is now co-operating, so we’ll see whether they have brought back COVID.

      The truckie apparently did nothing wrong, and is now in NSW somewhere on a job.

      We could be lucky, or the virus could be off and running. It’s the kind of thing that could have brought the virus to Northern Rivers and thence to the Gold Coast.

      The CM carried a front page story about a 3-year old visiting his grand parents and now stuck in NSW due to the terrible Q Health authorities.

      Apparently the reason they never gave him a permit was because they had never been asked.

    • This does not look good:

        A young child has tested positive for COVID-19 in southeast Queensland.

        7NEWS understands the four-year-old girl is a close contact of a truck driver who was infectious in the Logan community in recent days after travelling from New South Wales.

        The child tested positive for the virus on Friday, just hours after authorities had reported zero COVID-19 cases in Queensland.

        Health authorities say she attended the Boulevard Early Learning Centre in Mt Warren Park on Tuesday, August 31 and Wednesday, September 1.

        “Children, staff and visitors to this centre should immediately come forward and get tested, then quarantine at home with their household members for 14 days regardless of a negative result,” it said.

        This centre is also used for after school care by children who attend Windaroo State School.

        As a result, all students, staff and visitors who attended Windaroo State School from Tuesday, August 31 to Friday, September 3 and their household members should quarantine for 14 days.

    • Brian: ““Children, staff and visitors to this centre should immediately come forward and get tested, then quarantine at home with their household members for 14 days regardless of a negative result,” it said.”
      I really think insisting that people who have passed the test must go without earnings for 2 weeks shows a lack of empathy with with low income earners in Mt Warren Park and encourages people to avoid testing.

    • For the Mt Warren Park case it would make much more sense to use a double ring case track and let those with a clear result end isolation immediately. (Double ring test tests contacts of direct contacts – My guess is that this is more likely to stop the spread than having people who were cleared by a test remain in isolation.

    • John, I believe in NSW and Victoria people are being paid to isolate and get tested in a shared arrangement with the Commonwealth.

      It was always a problem everywhere, so please don’t pick out Qld as peculiarly lacking empathy.

      I think the arrangement in NSW and Vic is part of the Feds new caring/sharing lockdown support.

      There would be zero chance the Feds would do it for Qld without a lockdown. Even then there is a fair bet they’d find an excuse not to do it.

      BTW for the life of me, I can’t see how your proposal would work. If the virus is to be stopped you need to separate people. If people have been close to each other, you need to assume it has made the jump and may appear quickly or slowly or remain asymptomatic but still hitch a ride.

    • Brian: “BTW for the life of me, I can’t see how your proposal would work. If the virus is to be stopped you need to separate people. If people have been close to each other, you need to assume it has made the jump and may appear quickly or slowly or remain asymptomatic but still hitch a ride.”
      I am saying a number of things:
      1. It would be better in terms of covid control if many more people were tested.
      2. The guidelines for testing are vague and overlap the normal winter ailments.
      3. High temperature is one of the stronger tests for delta. Unlike places like Taiwan we don’t have people wandering around taking people’s temperatures.
      4. One of the reasons for delaying going for a test is that people have to isolate after testing with 14 days being one of the figures. For many isolation means added financial/phycological stress.
      5. Tests with quicker results have the potential to encourage more people to take tests as long as they come out of isolation as soon as they are cleared.
      6. The Mt Warren case appears to be insisting that people isolate for 14 days even if they get a clear result much sooner than this.
      7. There are tests that are much faster (15 mins) but a bit less accurate. Better to use these to encourage more testing in return for cleared people avoiding isolation.
      8. Also a case for random temperature tests/other assessments.

    • Brian: I guess what I am saying is that longer isolation may be better if it had no influence on the number of people being tested.
      However, I suspect people’s willingness be tested is influenced by isolation length particularly if you are in a weak financial situation where isolation=being even more financially stressed.
      Tests with a 15 min wait for a result seem the way to go.

    • Possibly, John, and I’d agree that there are disincentives to being tested, but an outbreak is an outbreak. I’m in no position to tell the experts how to do their job better.

      The latest I’ve heard is that Dr Young is not so worried about the girl, who she says had a very light virus load. However, she is very worried about the truckie, who had a heavy load and got about a fair bit while infected.

      So we’ll have to await our fate.

    • On Friday I heard an interview with Peter Doherty, who said he hadn’t been following the Doherty modelling and the surrounding kerfuffle, but he said models are only a thought experiment, a guideline rather than a tram line.

      Tell that to Mr Morrison.

      He was also very supportive of state governments, which had to manage the real life issues with the resources at their disposal.

      Turns out he is/was a Queenslander, and was in the opening intake of Indooroopilly High School.

      I would have been one class ahead of him across the road at St Peters College, which at the time was the cheapest boarding school in Brisbane.

      Dates me a bit.

      George Negus was in the following class at I’pilly SHS

    • My brain still cluttered with virus news.

      It’s a matter of record now, according to just about everyone, that Annastacia Palaszczuk said Queensland would not open up until children under 12 had been vaccinated. I just heard a NSW journalist ask Gladys about it.

      Fact is, she didn’t. David Crisafulli, the leader of the LNP in Qld accused her of doing so, but all she said is that they would become vulnerable. Crisafulli regularly bends the truth.

      In this case Rebecca Levingston on local radio picked it up as the truth and started a talkback scare. The ABC newsroom picked it up from her presumably as the truth, and by midday it was the truth on national news.

      Someone asked Jim Chalmers what he thought. He should have said nothing, but said he would distance himself from the Qld premier on this occasion.

      That clip has repeatedly been played for about a week, and attached to everything Palaszczuk has said since.

      The ABC is guilty of spreading false news, and Chalmers, a senior ALP spokesperson, should apologise and set the record straight.

      In other COVID news, the young girl at Mt Warren Park has infected her mother, who was already in isolation.

      In NSW the numbers continue to climb. The COVID sufferers in ICU include three children, one a baby, just after the nation’s CHO assured everyone they shouldn’t worry about their kids.

      There is virus in the sewerage in Byron Bay.

      There is plenty more, but I want to think about something else for a bit.

    • Brian: “There is virus in the sewerage in Byron Bay.” I am beginning to wonder whether DNA fragments from vaccinated people could be contributing to the apparent virus presence. (Some cynics might want to argue that other chemicals in the Byron shire sewerage might also be giving strange results.)

    • Another day in Qld where we had no community transmission.

      The problem now at Mt Warren is that two of the 36 children of the childcare centre can’t be tested because their parents won’t allow it. 34 of 36 have tested negative. Dr Young has said that until she gets a negative test from them she considers it necessary to keep 1,000 families in isolation.

      It seems the children had just been on a visit to both Mt Warren and Windaroo schools.

      I heard that people in isolation in NSW were getting twice as much as those in Victoria.

      There should have been a form of COVID leave from the outset, paid by the Commonwealth.

    • In the bigger picture, I was quite impressed with the NSW briefing on hospital capacity by Dr Nhi Nguyen who you can see towards the end of the SMH article Hospitals prepare emergency plans for ICU operations to reach ‘overwhelming’ status. I would have written it up a bit differently.

      Seems Dr Nguyen was secconded last year to prepare for the kind of emergency that now confronts the system. They’ve been planning how to shift patients around, and training staff who are on other duties, or who are now out of the system and would be willing to return for a stint to help.

      So when they are in ‘crisis’ mode, it’s a mode they have planned. They say the modelling of the future of their battle with D variant, undertaken for them by the Burnet Institute, who are also modelling Victoria’s campaign, shows they will plateau at about 2,000 cases per day in 2 week’s time.

      Hope they are right.

      Elsewhere Laura Tingle has done some analysis as to where the Feds are sending the vaccines.

      Heavily favouring NSW, it seems, with Victoria especially dudded if it was really being done by need.

      OK by me that need rather per capita be the basis, but why not be transparent about it? It’s worth listening to what she really thought on Late Night Live.

      A national plan for NSW, and Jonathon Green said it, Mr Hunt has been telling porkies. Who would have thought it?

    • The two remaining children in the Mt Warren childcare facility have been tested and returned negative. As a result the families in isolation have now been released.

    • Just in, no new infections in Qld yesterday.

      In the AFR this morning I read that Victoria is experiencing reproduction rate of 1.9, which gives doubling every 5.5 days.

      This is scary. They need all the help they can get.

    • Here’s Tingle’s story, where in simple terms, NSW got 45% of Pfizer vaccines in February, whereas I make their proportion of population 31.8%.

      Dan Andrews was not amused, and really ripped in today. The ABC story is a muted version of hearing it live.

      I find interesting in that story that contact tracers have so far only linked 90 of the 246 cases.

      In short, they are being overwhelmed.

      This has long been the case in NSW. The importance of this is that Doherty modelling for opening up ‘safely’ at 70% vaccinated (546% of the whole population) is that it assumes that contact tracing etc. is at least 88% as effective as it was in NSW last year when NSW was running down the Crossroads Hotel outbreak.

      Peter Doherty said modelling was a “thought experiment”. I’d say it is irrelevant to any notion of a significant opening up.

      That said, I think what NSW are doing is interesting and valuable in developing an app which combines the existing QR code with a vaccination certificate. That should open opportunities for allowing a lot of activities to restart while there is still a lot of vaccination to be done.

    • Brian: “I find interesting in that story that contact tracers have so far only linked 90 of the 246 cases.”
      Contract tracing becomes more and more difficult as the number of cases grow. The NSW system worked well some time ago but has become completely overwhelmed now.
      SA had success with double ring tracing. (You track contacts of contacts before waiting to see who gets the virus. It is a much tighter net but, clearly requires much more effort.)

    • Brian: In theory rapid tests provide a good way of getting more people tested. Unfortunately medical correctness has stepped in and insisted the tests be supervised by a medical person. What this means is that lots of people who would be willing to self test at home will do nothing because of the hassle. The test gives a result in 15 mins and is done unsupervised in other more clear thinking countries.
      Rapid COVID-19 antigen testing has arrived. When and where will it be used?
      In some parts of the world, a daily self-swab of the tonsils is just a (somewhat unpleasant) part of life.
      But regular rapid antigen testing for COVID-19 is not yet widespread in Australia.
      There are 28 rapid tests approved for use in Australia, but they are subject to some pretty strict conditions.
      Australia’s medical regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), has set out a whole bunch of conditions businesses and others wanting to use the tests must adhere to.
      The most significant is that the tests cannot be unsupervised.
      There has to be a health practitioner (like a doctor, nurse or paramedic) overseeing the test. That person takes responsibility for the quality and conduct of the test.
      Supervised may be the best from a medical point of view. But this reduces the probability that people will want to face all the hassle required to do the test.”

    • John, some of the decisions being made are mystifying.

      Meanwhile, Greg Hunt would not front over government failure to do an early deal with Pfizer, and Federal ministers continued their sport of paying out in Qld politicians, based on stories propagated by Newscorp that Qld would not co-operate in quarantining Aussie diggers.

      Patricia Karvelas took the unusual step of interviewing a Qld government politician. Steven Miles sounded tired and tired of all the carry-on, but was basically “gobsmacked” by delays in Pfizer deal.

      And, yes, we do know that COVID is coming our way.

      Jeanette Young is even rewriting the contact tracing manual, for the eventuality that contact tracers may be overwhelmed.

      She thinks the Windaroo/Mt Warren outbreak has been stopped with just 3 cases, so restrictions are being eased.

      That is three times D variant has shown up and been defeated, whether by luck, good management, or both.

    • I have a relative in the TGA who has been evaluating rapid antigen tests. Fun fact – they are referred to as rats.

    • Good one, zoot.

      One case in Qld, brother of infected girl. No worries.

      NSW roadmap more or less revealed. Favours heavily the vaccinated, but app confusion around Oz like railway gauges.

      More tonight.

    • Phillip Coorey in the AFR says there are two types of apps in use around the country. The first is the one:

        used by NSW, Victoria and South Australia – an existing state government services app already linked to bill paying, registrations and other government services, which contains personal data such as health records, and has been modified to also scan QR codes.

      Seems they are now planning to add vaccine certification to the app.

      The second app was designed by the ACT, and used also in Qld Tasmania and the NT. It only contains the name of the phone owner and the number.

      Andrew Barr says the ACT won’t need a vax passport. He says that by the time they get 70% double-dosed, 90% will have received the first jab. Wait 2 weeks and the job is pretty well done.

      Qld is thinking about what to do. Barr says the ACT owns the IP and may not let anyone change it.

      Barr, who opposes attaching vaccine status to the check-in app for a number of reasons, including privacy, the potential for fraud, legal liability and even exposure to a human rights challenge.

      Not sure what WA uses.

      The NSW, Vic and SA apps would be different. I’m not sure how they would go interstate.

      There is a bloke in Canberra called Scott Morrison who maybe could have sorted this out, if he had any leadership and if people respected him.

      Meanwhile NSW have detailed 11 freedoms likely available if/when vaccination gets to 70% (ie 56%). Kerry Chant said, only if the case numbers are coming down.

      I’d suggest they might take a good look at the UK, Israel and Canada, and explain why NSW will do better.

    • Yesterday we heard that John Barilaro and Steven Miles had spoken. The news this morning is that there may be an announcement as early as this morning about restoring the border bubble for the Gold Coast/ Coolangatta twin towns.

    • How will Queensland’s COVID-19 border bubble with NSW work? Gives a lot of information about what is going to happen. The focus is

      A border bubble means the essential workers and students who live in a select bubble of local government areas (LGAs) will be granted access into Queensland.
      From 1:00am this Monday September 13, anyone who needs to cross the border for essential work or essential purposes will be allowed in if they live in one of the NSW LGAs that will soon be out of lockdown. Queensland Health’s website lists “essential work” as any work or volunteering that cannot reasonably be done from home.
      This also includes healthcare workers providing care for a vulnerable person and patients in need of medical care in Queensland.
      School students are also considered essential.
      The changes do not allow for travel across the border for recreational or social visits.
      The following are the regional NSW LGAs which are part of the border bubble:
      Moree Plains
      Clarence Valley
      Glen Innes
      Severn Shire
      Richmond Valley

      The above covers the basics of what I have been complaining about. Would be nice to be able to visit son/grandson who live in the gold coast but this is far less important than the changes that have been made.

    • John, sounds OK. I believe it was based on what happened last year.

      Joy may be shortlived. Today just before the press conference, a 13 yr-old student at St Thomas More College in Sunnybank has tested positive, believed to be a close contact of a NSW truck driver who visited the Garden City shopping centre at Upper Mount Gravatt, a service station in Archerfield and other locations last Sunday and Monday.

      1,000 students – families asked to isolate, now a staff member at Griffith University has tested positive for COVID-19.

      My elder brother is down from Rockhampton, getting running repairs in hospital. He may be recuperating here for a while. I would not be surprised if we are locked down tomorrow. There were some restrictions placed today for Logan City and Brisbane southside.

    • Meanwhile Berejiklian has cancelled the daily press conferences, which were becoming rather repetitive.

      Not everyone is happy with her opening plans, and it seems Kerry Chant has some difficulty, if you read through this article from The Guardian.

      The Oz ran a story, and let us read this:

        Premier shuns medico advice to ease lockdown

        Health officials wanted to reopen NSW when vaccination levels were closer to 85 per cent but were overruled by Gladys ­Berejiklian and ministers, who said 70 per cent was ­sufficient.

      This 5-minute ABC RN clip makes it clear that on this one the pollies are in charge, not the health experts. The clip ends with Raina McIntyre warning that NSW is setting up for a likely surge over Christmas and New Year.

      Back to the Guardian:

        But have no doubt: NSW cases will go up. The NSW government is just hoping that the epidemic among the unvaccinated, who will not be protected from potential severe disease, will be slow coming.

        Meanwhile, life will be pretty miserable for those who aren’t vaccinated.

        Aside from being the most vulnerable to Covid, they will be largely stuck under the current restrictions, confined to visiting only essential retail, such as supermarkets, and taking walks.

      There are equity issues being skated over.

      Then Richard Dennis in Morrison and Berejiklian are attempting to shift the blame for Covid on to us makes the fair point, I think, that the Doherty modelling assumed even levels of virus all over the country, not how it is now, with a lot in some states and virtually nothing in others.

    • Nor do I John.

      The article you link to says:

      Last month, a directive was issued stating that all Queensland Police Service (QPS) officers supervising entry checkpoints on the border must be vaccinated after a handful of officers living in New South Wales refused to get the jab.

      Then the officers were made to take leave. Now it seems to be a group of about 30, some of whom live in Qld.

      I’m not an industrial lawyer. From what I’ve heard most think a legal challenge would be unsuccessful.

      Tony Burke on behalf of the ALP said that mandatory vaccination should be under health orders rather than industrial relations.

      So I’ll be interested to see how it all works out.

      I don’t want to share air with unvaccinated people if I can avoid it, and I’d like to return to a future where we don’t have to wear masks, except in places like public transport, theatres and concert halls etc.

    • Paramedics shocked by packed beaches as Illawarra COVID cases rise

      Of the 1,262 new cases across New South Wales, 53 were confirmed in the Illawarra Shoalhaven local health district on Sunday, up from 37 on Saturday.
      There were 35 in the Wollongong local government area (LGA), 15 in the Shellharbour LGA, one in the Kiama area and two new cases in the Shoalhaven.
      Investigations are underway into the source of 35 of the new cases, with 18 linked to previously reported infections.
      Ten residents are being treated for the virus in the Wollongong Hospital.
      According to the local health district, of the new cases announced on Sunday, more than 60 per cent were aged under 40.
      Fragments of the virus were also detected in the local sewage network at Gerroa, on the south coast, where there are no known cases.

      Beach crowd
      When you look at the picture there are a few small clumps that clearly have people too close together. The rest of the beach had people separated by much more than the magic 1.5m. At least some wind would have been blowing over the beach. It is no way as badly crowded as some pictures of Bondi beach.
      Conclusion: Not as high a risk as a pub or club or even a supermarket?

    • I’d agree with your conclusion, John.

      We had another double doughnut day, breathing easier, but not yet out of the woods.

      There were rugby league matches in Rockhampton where pop-up vaccination centres were set. People in Canberra do not appreciate how large and decentralised provincial Qld is, and how difficult to reach everyone.

      The most interesting thing I heard was Kerry Chant on her vaccination strategy. She said she was striving for world’s best in terms of equity of access to vaccines. Everyone should have the same opportunity of vaccination if they were going to be granted privileges.

      I strongly suspect that is what is behind her reported discomfort with NSW ‘opening’ at 70% of adults. She won’t be able to achieve equity of access at that stage, but could at 80 or 85.

      Not sure, but that’s what I suspect.

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