JoNova

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Australians wiped out the flu and avoided 50,000 other cases of sickness and disease

Lessons from Coronavirus

Lockdowns and border closures mean many diseases have been prevented

It’s peak season for flu here in Australia and there’s almost no sign of it.  As Chris Gillham wrote here back in May, we know lockdowns stop viruses, because flu cases are 85% down.  Now he shows that this extends to other diseases too, and Chris has used data from the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System to calculate that just shy of 200,000 fewer Australians contracted any of the notifiable diseases in the first seven months of 2020 compared to the first seven months of 2019.

Is some of that disease burden just the price of holiday-makers bringing back diseases from overseas each year?

No one wants to stop the planes returning to the skies, but it begs the question — do we have to accept the onslaught of winter germs every year?

The answer may lie with other things we’ve discovered in the Covid pandemic too — that sick people should stay home from work and school, and that we have a lot of anti-viral tools we can use. Perhaps it’s time that travellers considered taking preemptive anti-virals, which might improve their holidays and also reduce the disease burden back at home.

The huge suppression of influenza and other non-COVID diseases also adds a new perspective to the pandemic sick leave funding in Victoria that compensates low-income earners in particular who have run out of annual sick days and are showing up to work despite feeling ill because they fear for their jobs and their earnings. Should such funding always be available nationally to counter the possible long-term suppression of not only COVID-19 but all communicable diseases, some potentially deadly, with resultant public health cost savings?

A reduction in so many diseases is surely a productivity boon to both employers and the population at large.

Influenza

Lockdowns have almost wiped out influenza

Notably the reduction includes other diseases like syphilis and salmonella which are not respiratory diseases (see the graph below).

Influenza

Covid restrictions have restricted a lot of other diseases too.

Here’s the last four months of influenza from a global perspective — almost 97% down and this is across ten countries, not just Australia, with their most recent updates to the WHO FluNet:

 

WHO, Graph, Influenza 2020.

WHO, Graph, Influenza Week 28, 2020.

 

Near the peak of the flu seasons in the southern hemisphere, the WHO chart below shows all subtypes of influenza have all but disappeared. The 2019 Flu season was a bumper year in Australia, far above the norm. But there has never been a flu season like this one.

WHO, Graph, Influenza Week 32, 2020.

WHO, Graph, Influenza Week 28, 2020.

Here’s all the data on all the notifiable diseases.

WHO, Graph, Influenza Week 28, 2020.

WHO, Graph, Influenza Week 31, 2020.

Fewer infections could mean lower immunity, but antivirals and biotech can make up for that

We stand on the cusp of a biotech revolution. Like the point computers were at 40 years ago, and medicine was post- WWII with antibiotics and mass vaccines. We have the code for living things. We can do mass arrays, mass testing. People can sequencing their genes “for fun” for a couple of hundred dollars to find ancestors, and risky nucleotides. We are starting to customize and personalize treatment like never before. (What’s your APOE risk?)

UPDATE: To get a taste of the speed of the biotech revolution ponder that in 1990 the Human Genome Project was projected to cost $3 billion and take 15 years, instead it came in faster than expected and far under budget. Today you can get your whole genome sequenced in full for $1,000 and more than a million people have already done it.

Reducing the scourge of disease potentially puts us at a higher risk from novel viruses, but that can be more than offset through the rapidly growing supply of antivirals, CRISPR, monoclonal antibodies, stem cells, RNAi, and new RNA and Recombinant vector vaccines. (Why have antivirals been so ignored for so many years?)

In any case, the threat of newer and darker bioweapons makes the need to beat viruses more urgent than ever. Catching more strains of the flu isn’t going to save us from a Nipah virus or hemorrhagic fever.

We already have major policy programs that reduce infections but increase the future disease risk

Vaccines, so far, can’t elicit the same long term protection that viruses do.  Natural influenza infections produce life long immunity to that particular strain of influenza and partial immunity to related strains, but at the price of some deaths, and much morbidity. Vaccines try to mimic the viruses, but protection is often short lived.

So influenza vaccines improve short term immunity but they also leave people exposed to worse cases of influenza in future years, as was found with Swine flu and possibly also temporarily at an increased risk of common cold.

The US CDC admits that vaccination only reduces the risk of flu by 40 – 60% and that’s in good years where the flu strains are not new. There’s plenty of scope to use the Covid pandemic to rethink and improve the way we deal with infectious disease.

Perhaps just using masks when sick, staying home, having antivirals ready and Over-the-counter, along with better handwashing and hygiene will become normal business and social ettiquette and we can spend more of our lives being healthy.

Chris Gillham, who did the graphs is a part of the unofficial BOM audit team here normally crunching data on temperatures and rainfall. 

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Rating: 7.1/10 (62 votes cast)
Australians wiped out the flu and avoided 50,000 other cases of sickness and disease , 7.1 out of 10 based on 62 ratings

282 comments to Australians wiped out the flu and avoided 50,000 other cases of sickness and disease

  • #
    John Ellwood

    Hubris

    132

    • #
      Gabriel Pentelie

      Hubris, indeed.

      New Zealand just got mugged by the reality that the virus is gonna virus, despite the best laid plans of mice and men:
      https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2020-08-11/new-zealand-record-new-covid-19-cases-brings-back-restrictions

      222

      • #
        tonyb

        Thanks for the link. Has Auckland really been locked down-in the sense we understand the term-because of FOUR cases?

        150

        • #

          The virus may come back, but unless you have a time machine that doesn’t change the diseases we didn’t get in the last six months.

          Yes, NZ is locking down Auckland after getting 4 new cases with no known source. The sooner and harder they act the shorter it will be. Who wants a long lockdown?

          1429

          • #
            Gabriel Pentelie

            The choice between a long lockdown and a series of short ones after each flare-up involving a handful of cases in a city of 1.7 million is a false one. I wonder how many iterations of stop-start-stop-start-stop-start, lather-rinse-repeat Aucklanders (and New Zealanders in general) will tolerate before ANY type of lockdown will become political suicide for the authorities to impose yet again. Perhaps we’ll find out on 19 September.

            371

          • #
            ImranCan

            Lockdowns and border closures mean many diseases have been prevented
            Jo, it is hard to believe you have even written this. I agree with almost everything you write about Climate Change, but on Covid I think you have completely lost the plot. Of course if you lockdown and close borders you can prevent flu transmission. But it’s a bit like saying you can ban driving and get lower road deaths. Please, you need to wake up. The whole lockdown/elimination strategy can never work : every time you relax restrictions, the problem will come back because the ‘solution’ was never a solution, just a delay. You are in a massive sunk cost fallacy problem which will destroy the wealth of your country. You need to break out of this NOW.

            5912

            • #
              EternalOptimist

              i hate to say it.
              but a brave man dies once. someone terrified dies a thousand times.
              jo, you are terrified and irrational

              [Actually Jo is living in WA and loving it. --Jo]

              4011

              • #

                Kiwis get to live without fear of the virus while the Swedish die a thousand deaths. Who is irrational?

                1132

              • #
                AndyG55

                Kiwis get to live in a lock-down OPPRESSED state forever,

                Sweden is now free and open.

                Who is irrational. !

                473

              • #

                Yes the disease is open and free in Sweden. Free to infect another 139 today but gets locked down in N.Z. where people are generally free of it and 4 infected is a rare event.

                724

              • #
                el gordo

                ‘Who is irrational.’

                Sweden has gone for herd immunity, in a zero sum game they are the losers.

                520

              • #
                TdeF

                Sweden has lost 6000 people dead. New Zealand has lost 22.

                It’s a question of morality. Obviously lives don’t matter. Why then bother with medicine at all? Life has a 100% mortality rate.

                That’s odd in a world where a single life saved is considered heroism. 46,000 people dead in the UK and 6,000 in Sweden is just a cost of doing business?

                919

              • #

                Lockdowns and border closures mean many diseases have been prevented

                Sometimes Imran we have to say the obvious because people don’t seem to get it.

                My arguments are backed up with data. My predictions panned out.

                Implicit in your theory that a delay is pointless are these assumptions:

                1. Medical science won’t find a treatment / vaccine.
                2. The virus won’t mutate to become nicer.
                3. That doctors and nurses won’t mind working in highly stressful, overwhelming conditions, risking their health, and separating from their families for months on end.
                4. That there won’t be a major long term health cost from getting infected with a crafted bioweapon.

                Where’s your data Imran?

                1224

              • #
                Stoichastic

                Jo: Implicit in your theory that a delay is pointless are these assumptions:

                1. Medical science won’t find a treatment / vaccine.

                - Even if we do have a vaccine, it will most likely be ~40% effective at best.
                - HCQ is a successful treatment spurned politically but proven medically, available already. Indications of 80% effectiveness. Right now.
                - A majority of cases appear to be asymptomatic or mild. Evidence is appearing that this may be due to t-cell cross-reaction against coronavirus that cause the common cold.
                - I typically dislike conspiracy theories but this argument for maintaining lockdown until a vaccine feels like something straight out of the big pharma bottom line playbook.

                2. The virus won’t mutate to become nicer.
                - Deadly versions of viruses tend to kill their host before spreading, so any ongoing spread indicates a milder form of the virus. The large numbers of mild and asymptomatic cases and lower than seasonal flu deaths reinforces this is already a mild / nice version.

                3. That doctors and nurses won’t mind working in highly stressful, overwhelming conditions, risking their health, and separating from their families for months on end.
                - HCQ is a proven, inexpensive prohylactic. Given to family members and health care workers it would nip those concerns and most of the danger in the bud.
                - knowing as we do the risks for health care workers (and nursing home residents) why is apparently nothing being done to improve their situations?

                4. That there won’t be a major long term health cost from getting infected with a crafted bioweapon.
                - any bioweapon that kills old people, lowering pension obligations and leaving children virtually untouched, with the majority of infectees suffering mild or no symptoms is definitely my kind of “bioweapon”.
                - If you wanted to crash economies you would debilitate people, particularly middle-aged people (the working age group). The only weapon preventing people from working is the lockdown enforced across the world and idiotic rioting.
                - the corollary here is that lockdowns are a net benefit, and so far this is proving incorrect.

                225

              • #

                1. Strawman. Quote me carefully. Since my first post on this topic I have recommended the antivirals option. As you say (and I say) HCQ is useful. But we don’t use it. I would have thought those who don’t like lockdowns (like me) would be trying to get that in use to reduce the need for a lockdown.

                2. How do you know the virus won’t mutate to become nicer like most viruses do? Crystal ball?

                3a. See 1. If people don’t like lockdowns, what are they doing about it? Can I suggest that writing to ministers with links to joannenova articles about the great results with HCQ might achieve more than railing against lockdowns when there is no use of cheap antivirals in Victoria.

                3b. See 3a. What are you doing to reduce the risks to health-workers? I’m writing blog posts about how useful antivirals are.

                4. Callous. Selfish. Undemocratic. What kind of civilization do we want to live in?

                817

              • #
                Stoichastic

                * lower than seasonal flu deaths of children

                50

              • #
                Salome

                It seem’s I can’t reply directly to Jo. One reason I’d give for the virus not being as likely to some to mutate and become nicer is that it’s already too nice in many cases–it leaves far too many hosts alive and able to facilitate further spreading to make it necessary not to kill the few that it does kill. If it were deadly to everyone, it’d have to change. As it is, it’s doing quite well, although it may have to learn to jump farther and penetrate PPE.

                71

              • #
                TedM

                Sweden 571 deaths/million.
                New Zealand 4 deaths/million.

                56

              • #
                Stoichastic

                Jo:

                1a. Strawman. Quote me carefully.
                - I quoted you directly. Verbatim.

                1b.. those who don’t like lockdowns (like me)
                - you have advocated for them relentlessly. If any of your readers is prepared to back up your claim that you are anti-lockdown I would welcome some evidence of such a claim.

                2. How do you know the virus won’t mutate to become nicer like most viruses do? Crystal ball?
                - I don’t and neither did I suggest anything of the sort, so no, no crystal ball required at all. So much for strawmen.
                - What I said was, “this virus does already looks nice”

                3b. See 3a. What are you doing to reduce the risks to health-workers? I’m writing blog posts about how useful antivirals are.
                - is it having an effect? I look forward to reading about the effect of your blog posts.
                - curious that you think an overlord like Dan would listen to some schmuck like me, coming in off the street

                4. Callous. Selfish. Undemocratic. What kind of civilization do we want to live in?
                - the truth of your conspiratorial “bioweapon” is that it is nothing of the sort. Nice deflection though. Strawmen and ad hominem.

                [I'll unpack this in the morning Stoichastic. You've missed most of my posts on Covid haven't you? - jo ]

                40

              • #

                Stoichastic, with about two weeks of comments I gather you missed the first 80 posts on coronavirus. I have consistently and relentlessly suggested border closures and two week quarantine were the only way to avoid lockdowns without significant deaths.

                JoNova Feb 9th

                If I were ruler of the world I’d be closing borders and sitting tight for a few weeks. We’ll know so much more then. The cost of quarantine is enormous, but the cost of getting this wrong will be counted in “millions” — and that’s not dollars. If we wait to find out how serious this is, it could be too late to stop it.

                On Feb 16 I predicted we’d be locking down a month later if we didn’t stop the flights.

                If they’d followed my plan we wouldn’t have needed any lockdowns. No schools would have closed. The football would have been normal. Weddings, Funerals, Dinners. Other Medical treatment. Almost everything.

                I worked hard to prevent lockdowns. I knew that the risk tolerance of voters made them inevitable. I knew that hospital beds, and medical systems would be overwhelmed without it. It was all so obvious. The government ended up doing everything I said, but weeks too late. Then the lockdowns worked, as I said they would. But Dan Andrews and Victoriastan (apologies to all who didn’t vote for him) made major mistakes. And the open borders (again, a costly mistake I predicted correctly) meant the pandemonium would spread to NSW and QLD. And so it has. Random school and business closures. Fear.

                Right now, If I’d been Empress of Australia, we’d all be flying domestically and every school and business would be open with the exception of the ones that depended on foreign tourists, which we’d need to support.

                Naturally, if a virus could leak in, as it has in NZ, I’d do what they’ve done. They’ll get rid of it fast, and get back to normal long before Victoria can.

                As for the bioweapon, please read these posts before you comment further.

                http://joannenova.com.au/2020/04/the-first-synthetic-pandemic-man-who-discovered-hiv-says-coronavirus-is-man-made-ccp-destroyed-the-evidence/
                http://joannenova.com.au/2020/05/is-coronavirus-man-made-the-bat-virus-it-evolved-from-appears-to-be-faked/

                01

              • #
                Red Edward

                But a paranoid dodges a lot of bullets along the way. . . . .

                20

            • #
              Terry

              We could completely eliminate infant mortality by banning sex. Should only take about 9 months or so.
              I am sure no one will have a problem with state-mandated chastity belts (there is so going to be an “app” for that) – don’t you care about babies dying?
              Even better. Should take only about a century to eliminate all disease. Totally. Forever.

              444

            • #
              el gordo

              You all miss the point, big pharma has taken a real battering because of the lockdown. There is a recognition that we don’t have to endure a flu season and people shouldn’t go to work if they are sick.

              Its hard to believe that only a year ago we encouraged people with the flu to take some tablets and go to work, spreading the virus willy nilly.

              You clowns can stay out of our country, we don’t need your filthy tourist dollar.

              1019

              • #
                MP

                You make no sense, are you actually saying we need to do this every year so you don’t catch the flu?
                How have big pharma suffered.
                When has anyone been encouraged to go to work with the flu, they are encouraged to stay home.

                More words from he who will lose nothing to those who may lose everything, while suckling off the government teat.

                You don’t have a point, you have fear.

                190

              • #

                Excellent point el gordo.

                Big Pharma must be very nervous. I’ve never seen so many discussions of cheap antivirals, masks, or the efficacy and risks of vaccines. All of these threaten their profits, and change the way people view disease.

                Imagine if people realized there were alternatives to a major Big Pharma cash cow?

                139

              • #

                Joanne mentions this: (my bolding here)

                Imagine if people realized there were alternatives to a major Big Pharma cash cow?

                When it comes to pain relief, I’m lucky. I seldom have need of pain relief for anything other than the occasional headache, few and far between, (and often an indicator that I have not had enough water) For any of these very rare occasions when I do need something, all I have ever taken is Paracetamol, and here I use the cheapest one I can find, Panamax.

                A couple of months back now, I mentioned to the Owner of the site where I blog that I was away from the computer for a while with a rotten nagging headache, and I took a couple of Panadol (here using the main name) and had a lie down. (Hmm, reminds me of an old TV ad from the dawn of TV in the late 50s for Bex) He replied, asking me what Panadol was, as he hadn’t heard of that in the U.S. I looked it up on the Internet, and found it was the medication name used in most Countries, Australia included, but not so much in the U.S. where Paracetamol is known as Acetaminophen, and the major brand name there is Tylenol. However, it is exactly the same basic medication. (Tylenol, while available here in Oz, has not had much of an impact, and recently, Tylenol was granted a license to sell on a (way, way) higher basis than it already has here)

                After a few weeks of this Wuhan Virus thing, I ran out of Panamax, and went to our local Pharmacy and asked for a new pack of them. I was told that they had none, and were not expecting any for a few weeks, maybe even more, and they offered me a replacement, and even I knew that there were a few of them available, all of them having the basic 500mg of Paracetamol. I took the one they offered, still surprised that they had no Panamax, as I sort of expected them to be a rarely used option when it came to Paracetamol.

                A few weeks later, I was waiting for a Prescription to be filled out for my good lady wife, and I glanced at the shelf to see if they had any Panamax, (still not there) and was surprised to see that alongside the empty space where the Panamax were usually located, on both sides of the whole extent of the shelf was taken up by around 20, maybe more different brand names of Paracetamol derivatives, and when I asked one of the staff there, they mentioned that there were even more than those shown. Above that shelf was another with all the Panadol Osteo, and their generics as well.

                I was (literally) astounded as to how many Paracetamol products there were on those shelves.

                I wondered (very fleetingly mind you) why and then realised that it was basically all down to one thing only, the need to serve the public make lots and lots of money.

                If there was no money to be made from it, they wouldn’t do it eh! In a similar manner to Health funds, Phone Companies, Internet providers, etc.

                It’s never to serve the public, just how much money can be made.

                I always had an idea how big Big Pharma might be, but this one small thing (and here it was just Paracetamol alone) brought it right home to me.

                My good lady wife has epilepsy, (for 50 years now, resulting from an original head injury) and other conditions associated with that epilepsy condition over the long term, and she takes a number of medications for all of these, and I am also astonished that in these Wuhan Virus times, just how many different generics there are for each of her medications, as the original brands she uses have been in low stock numbers, but always with one or more generics available.

                It seems that it is ALWAYS just about the money, in absolutely everything.

                Tony.

                170

              • #
                el gordo

                ‘You don’t have a point, you have fear.’

                No, we want our freedoms back and the best way to achieve this is through strict border controls.

                ‘More words from he who will lose nothing to those who may lose everything, while suckling off the government teat.’

                There are opportunities to be had, those who have over extended might not survive and will be forced to sell short, its called the free market for a reason. Others with ambition and capital will get a bargain and most of us on government benefit are itching to get back to work.

                ‘When has anyone been encouraged to go to work with the flu, they are encouraged to stay home.’

                When your sick pay is used up you take the tablets and soldier on.

                314

              • #
                MP

                Get your freedom by being locked up.
                The people going broke, this is not their fault. Scavengers feed on the carcasses of the unfortunate.
                We did not all get the free money. But those that did tend to rub that fact in peoples faces.

                Never had to have more then a day or two off with the flu, let alone 10 days. But the point is they are not encouraged to go to work, they are encouraged to stay home

                50

            • #

              The post would have had balance if it had included numbers of the increased deaths from other causes (eg suicide, delayed hospital diagnosis and treatment for cancers etc). UK study published last week says 2 non C-19 deaths for every 3 C-19 deaths as a result of the lockdown. If that is the net balance now, I suspect it will get worse over time as businesses and lives continue to be smashed.

              262

              • #
                el gordo

                In this war there will be collateral damage, but it won’t get worse if we eliminate these viruses entering Australia. Customs have a biosecurity system in place.

                What is your opinion on the idea of a south sea disease free bubble?

                314

              • #
                Andrew McRae

                What is your opinion on the idea of a south sea disease free bubble?

                What’s that? A new South Sea Bubble? I’ll call my broker now!
                :-)

                50

              • #

                David, feel free to provide those numbers and we’ll discuss them.

                The excess deaths graphs I’ve seen suggested there were excess deaths above the covid official ones, but these:

                1. Were only in cities with mass covid outbreaks.
                2. In other cities mortality was the same or lower than normal.
                3. When there was a death spike, the timing matched the known peak and spread of covid.
                4. There was inadequate covid testing in all the places that had mass covid outbreaks, and test positivities there show they were underdiagnosing vastly.

                Was the UK study a modelled guesstimate of the future or based on data?

                58

              • #

                Be good if you provided links to some of these

                33

            • #
              Salome

              If you ban driving you also get a lot less of the evil carbon pollution! I was all with shutting down for a while to stop a novel disease, but shutting down for ever to stop the infections we’ve learned to live with is another thing. And I’ve only had the flu twice in my life. In both years I didn’t have the vaccination. Perhaps I had the flu in years when I had the vaccination. I wouldn’t know because I didn’t notice it. Those other two times, however, I noticed it. So I’m not an anti-vaxxer. Please don’t become an anti-vaxxer. A dose of the flu aint worth it.

              11

            • #
              Pandumic

              I have to agree,
              Have we forgotten or not read the Lancets analysis
              https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2020.100464
              Are we to trust or skeptically approach government policy
              Pretending lockdowns can be useful in preventing other contagious diseases
              at the expense of a nations economic and social viability is lunacy.
              God Bless us All

              20

          • #
            John F. Hultquist

            Washington State missed the “soon & hard” part and months later the lockdown continues. The State has done an ineffective series of steps. demonstrating ineptitude. Perhaps not as inept as Coumo’s New York City, but still sad and tragic.

            42

          • #
            GlenM

            no one wants lockdowns on a large scale. How long and at what cost? Jo, we can’t expect to react to every minor re-emergence with lockdowns and border closures.This is being about control and the public rushes to be under the protective wing of mother State. The history of these events indicates what will happen when a substantial core achieves collective immunity. In lieu of a vaccine.

            260

            • #

              Glen — Shortest cheapest lockdowns are the fast and hard ones.

              Compare Vic and NZ. So far Vic delayed the lockdown, then tried to lockdown just postcodes, then regions, then the state and it still wasn’t enough. Now they need a full lockdown Stage 4 for six weeks. Every painful step the Vic Govt has reacted too late and made the inevitable far worse.

              If they had done what NZ is doing now, short and sharp, it might all be over, and Vic businesses would have gone back to work a month ago.

              I’m the anti-lockdown girl. If only Brendan-kill-them-Nelson had followed my plan in Feb there would have been no lockdown in Australia — except for states that were incompetent at quarantine.

              If NSW had closed the border properly to Vic as I recommended, schools/gyms/bars/restaurants there would not be randomly shut down now.

              Indeed, if NSW and SA (ADF) managed the border to Vic as though it were worth billions of dollars, right now all the other states of Australia could be flying to each other.

              815

              • #
                Bright Red

                Jo, if you are the anti lockdown girl then why is your preferred (only?) solution to lockdown the healthy masses rather than investigating and reporting on other solutions of which many have been mentioned on this blog.
                I don’t know where I read this but honours to whoever it was. People are now so scared of dying they are too afraid to live.
                People tend to like certainty and waking up each morning wondering what level of lockdown a dictator will impose that day is far from a predictable future.

                153

              • #
                PeterS

                Short sharp lockdowns? As I have stated before, yes we need one short sharp lockdown at the start to prepare and arm ourselves to handle and fight the virus. Any further lockdowns only makes matters worse for the economy, and creates psychophysical and other issues that lead to other deaths, such as suicides and due to delayed testing for other ailments. Just to make it clear, lockdowns do not eliminate the virus. If it did the virus would have been eliminated by now. One short sharp lockdown is all that is warranted.

                73

              • #

                Not. The virus was obviously eliminated in WA. In Tas. In SA. It was eliminated in NZ. It may leak back in (as they now know in NZ) but obviously lockdowns DO eliminate the virus.

                I remain baffled at why people keep arguing the same losing points. Can we please acknowledge the bare bones obvious? Lockdowns reduce the spread of viruses. Read the post. See how the reduction starts 12 days after lockdowns and happened in April May, still happens now. Repeat Repeat Repeat. This is textbook science, known for a thousand years. It is not remotely controversial.

                There are plenty of honest points to debate. We must write accurately. Just to make it clear: Let’s agree on that *one* point before we tackle the others you raise. Yes?

                811

              • #
                Bright Red

                Jo, I don’t think to many are arguing that a lockdown won’t reduce the spread. Yes if the lockdown is severe enough you can “eliminate” it from a region but given this is far from over you need to qualify that with an “Eliminated for now” as nobody can say when or if or how badly it will return and as we have seen in a lot of instances where it seems under control or even “eliminated” it has erupted or returned.
                It also seems very little is being said about stopping it at the source. How do we know the source is not still active?
                I guess if we eliminate it often enough we might actually eventually eliminate it. Maybe one day (or not)

                121

              • #
                bobl

                Well The Lancet argues it with a study showing Lockdowns and Testing are NOT correlated with good outcomes.

                As I’ve said many times the whole strategy is wrong and governments need to follow a lot of Jo’s work but not state borders – tokenism at best.

                UV exposure and Vit D/E/C (Get people Outdoors)

                Get the environmental temperature above the temp that supports microdroplet transmission

                Air UV sterilisation and HEPA filters to clean recirculated air

                Move the known infected into quarantine villages with either air breaks or properly designed aircon (Say an infectious diseases ward), DO not quarantine “suspected cases” with known cases turning the “suspected cases” into “known cases” IE get rid of the Hotel Quarantine petrie dishes. Don’t lock people into infected shared air systems like the Vic government did with the public housing high rise. It’s a bit like locking people up on the diamond princess – did that work…. I DONT THINK SO.

                Control entry into places with no virus – not just at the borders – dumb, dumb, dumb. Don’t lockdown places with no disease.

                Test and retest travellers every 3-4 days for 14 days, make them keep a diary (especially business travellers)

                Get masks designed for Covid -19 impregnated with antiviral compounds eg Activated Charcoal and silver.

                Stop being stupid about HCQ / Ivermectin and zinc, Governments of free countries should not be getting in the way of free citizens making their own health choices.

                Protect the infirm and elderly, get them OUT of the petrie dishes of unsterilised shared air systems, allow them heating, give them free N95 masks and safe delivery of their groceries and pharmacy.

                Teach people how to recognise and treat Pneumonia so folks don’t arrive at hospital too late.

                Jo, you write about all this stuff, you know the combinations that work but Lockdowns are not one of them – Covid-19 was proven very early to spread by microdroplet – You wrote about it.

                Social distancing WILL NOT WORK when microdroplet transmission can occur, Covid -19 CAN travel hundreds of metres on the wind under these conditions! The government strategy is all about distance and only about distance, THIS DOESN’T WORK IN COLD CLIMATES because of the PROVEN microdroplet transmission.

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                PeterS

                Yes lockdown might eliminate the virus (debatable) but we can’t stay in lockdown mode forever. Once it’s removed the virus can and will come back. My other posts reflect the reasons why lockdowns are not the answer, and even if they were it would come at a cost; the total destruction of our economy and society.

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                Erny72

                Hi Jo, a.k.a. the anti-lockdown girl.
                Given your frequent remarks on Wuhan Flu (which I’m loath to admit, sound similar in tone to the champions of gullible warming at times) and in the context of this article which boasts of the unintended bonus of lock-downs, can I ask for a couple of clarifications of your position please?
                If you were to replace Brendan ‘kill-them’ Nelson (your ad-hominem, not mine) or Scott ‘Slo-mo’ Morrison (your ad-hominem, not mine) tomorrow, what would be your criteria for applying ‘hard and fast’ lock-down on the population and the economy? Specifically:

                1. What criteria would you use to trigger your hard-and-fast lock-down?
                Would it be when a given percentage of the population of Australia or a neighbouring country is infected (by infected would you include asymptomatic cases, sick note cases, hospitalisation cases, ICU cases, all of the above plus modelled and/or projected case numbers)? Would it instead be considered more reliable to trigger nationwide hard-and-fast lock-down when a given number of people in Australia or a neighbouring country die from (or maybe with) the target infection?

                2. What measures would you propose as part of your hard-and-fast lock-down?
                Does everyone have to work from home? If work from home is not possible, are individuals required to remain at home on welfare? Can we visit the shops once a day for essentials? Should we introduce rationing? Should the ADF establish a lock-down edition of Meals On Wheels? Can we see the doctor for anything other than the target infection or an imminent threat to life? Do we wear masks when outside? How about while we’re inside if we share our domicile? Do we all get tracking software installed on our telephones and fined if we don’t carry them in our pockets at all times? Perhaps a home detention anklet would be more reliable? Do we divert the police from crime prevention and investigation in favour of conducting spot checks to enforce lock-down compliance? Are we forced to take preventative drug regimens or hastily developed and tested vaccines under fear of incarceration?

                3. What level of public compensation would you advocate be provided to businesses and individuals impacted by the imposition of your hard-and-fast lock-down?
                Would you be willing to pay furloughed worker’s salaries, in part or in full? Would businesses be eligible for compensation for loss of income? would affected individual or businesses be eligible for public rent relief to pay their property rental in part of in full? would mortgage payments also be paid with public funds? For how long would such payments be made, would there be a maximum period of entitlement or would such compensation extend for the duration of the hard-and-fast lock-down(s)?

                4. How would you pay for the public compensation provided?
                Would there be something like a ‘carbon tax’, perhaps called a ‘coughing tax’, whereby businesses and individuals able to continue working from home or in essential services pay an additional tax of say 10% of their earnings to cover the public cost of compensation? Do we borrow from the IMF to cover compensations? Do we borrow from China? Do we simply print money and kick the recession/depression can down the road for our tin-lids to sort out?

                5. What diseases would be subject to hard-and-fast lock-downs?
                Based on this article boasting about the boon to employers of a lower confirmed flu case load than normal, I assume influenza outbreaks would trigger a hard-and-fast lock-down. Would we also consider hard-and-fast lockdown in response to outbreaks of chickenpox, pneumonia, measles, salmonella or syphilis (picking five from the list under chart 2 above)?

                6. What is the end game?
                What criteria do you use to determine when your hard-and-fast lock-downs are lifted? Is it when there are no new cases recorded in a week? a month? Is the objective to flatten the curve (e.g. slow the growth in caseload to avoid collapsing health care service) or ‘crush the curve’ (e.g. kill the virus completely) or to buy time so big pharma’s boffins can cook up a vaccine and rush it through testing which everyone is then obliged to take in order to achieve herd immunity? even though the ex-spurts have repeated ad-nauseum that achieving herd immunity is impossible because the virus mutates too rapidly? When does lifting the lock-down also apply to opening borders? Do we open a border when there are no new cases in the candidate country? Maybe to save lives we wait until there are no active cases at all in our neighbouring countries, perhaps even worldwide?

                7. Since hard-and-fast lock-downs are presented as ‘the solution’ to transmittable diseases here since about February this year, going out on a limb, do you consider hard-and-fast government intervention might crush the curves of other preventable deaths?
                So far 331 Australians have died from or with Covid-19. To the end of April, statistica.com informs me that 1135 Australians have died in motor vehicle accidents, despite being told to stay home and hide under the bed. So if a hard-and-fast lockdown is justified on the basis of 331 ‘preventable’ deaths, surely 1135 preventable deaths warrant some hard-and-fast government intervention? We could save all those lives by banning motor vehicles with a far smaller impact to the country’s economy than the present Wuhan Flu lock-downs. We could then also applaud the unintended bonus results of the motor vehicle ‘lock-down’, e.g. that NOx pollution is down and less people suffer respiratory ailments as a result, there is no congestion, no need for society to pay for so much A&E or ambulance capacity, indeed, the gullible warming cheer squad could praise the resulting emissions reduction.
                The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare predicted in 2016 that around 13300 Australians would be diagnosed with melanoma and around 1770 would die; why not introduce a hard-and-fast lockdown that starts every spring on the first day that the UV index exceeds 8 and lift it the following autumn once the UV index is below 4 for an entire week in order to flatten the curve of preventable skin cancers?
                While we’re wiping out motor vehicle and melanoma deaths with hard-and-fast lockdowns, maybe hard-and-fast prohibition of alcohol and tobacco might crush the curves of some more preventable deaths?

                Enquiring minds want to know what’s being advocated ‘for our own good’.
                P.S. While I’d be disinclined to vote for you as Health Minister, I’ll vote for you to be Energy Minister in a heart beat. Please don’t drop the ball on gullible warming and unreliable energy, your work on those issues is far too important.

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                BrightRed.

                Do you not read the posts I write?

                Did I not put out a huge HCQ post a few days ago?

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                @ Erny72: It doesn’t apparently matter what I say, or how many times I say. Here it is again.

                1. Stop the flights / use quarantine.
                2. Crush the curve. Eliminate the virus.
                3. Use masks. Use HCQ, Ivermectin. Melatonin. Az, Doxy, Vitamin D, Zn, Zinc.
                4. Only use lockdowns if the nation was too slow or stupid or in the thrall of the WHO with compromised belt and road leaders, and didn;t do 1, 2, and 3 quickly.

                I’ve never said we should do that influenza which has a death rate ten times smaller, isn’t a chinese bioweapon, has a vaccine (sort of) and has very well known and manageable long term effects.

                As to the best solution, See NZ and PRof Baker.

                As to the economy, if you have detailed thoughts on that I suggest you start your own blog. This is as science blog. I’m offering scientific POV. To fully answer your question is a national policy document with 10,000 pages. Perhaps if someone could donate $10m I could employ a team?

                The end game is that no virus = 98% of the economy and freedom back with open borders to all other states with the same 0 virus, but closed borders to the states that have community spread virus. This is only temporary until medical science and biotech solve this (as I have said 1000 times). I believe that will happen in the next year, possibly we could already reduce the effect if we did 3, as I suggest, but I don’t know any country that is. Though some very poor countries are trying something close, yet even they are suffering. I hoped India might beat this with HCQ but seemingly not so.

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                Erny72

                Hi Jo,
                Thanks for taking the time to reply and repeat your points for the 1001st time.

                I didn’t expect a 10,000 page public policy document, but as you’re strongly advocating a public policy proposal, and strongly criticising those who don’t implement or agree in full the ideas presented, I figured you would have considered some outline ideas.

                My objection to locking down a democratic society, especially in the haphazard manner in response to Wuhan Flu is that there has clearly been no meaningful cost/benefit analysis, there is a substantial authoritarian over-reach even in allegedly democratic nations and there appears to be no end-game.
                We can emotively ask what cost for a human life or ‘don’t we love our grandparents’ in defence of lock-downs but that avoids a sensible consideration of the very real monetary and health cost associated with placing an entire society under house arrest. So I’m willing to agree with you that in principle, lock-downs ‘work’, in as much as the transmission of a virus can be curtailed, but in the same manner, wind turbines ‘work’ in as much as they can generate electricity from breezes, but I doubt many reading your weblog would be ready to embrace an overnight transition to an all-wind powered grid justified on the basis that wind energy ‘works’.

                For what it’s worth, my policy suggestion to government is to adopt the policy that the UK planned to adopt, namely protect/quarantine the vulnerable (and we knew who those were by the time the virus had spread through Lombardy) and let others get on with it and develop herd immunity. With two caveats. Protecting the vulnerable must be a case of practice, not merely preach. Clearly in Sweden, the UK, New York, Danistan et al, the vulnerable have not been protected regardless of the implementation or absence of lockdowns; that’s reflected in the how sending an elderly patient diagnosed with Covid back into an aged care home, you know, to ‘protect the NHS’ is considered protecting the vulnerable beggars belief. Given the exotic nature of the virus, my other caveat would be to quarantine confirmed cases in mobile hospitals (of the sort rapidly established by the US Army in New York state, just in time to have no patients to treat).

                I’m interested in your remark that Influenza has a 10x lower death rate, given how often Wuhan Flu is compared to Influenza, so I checked the Australian Bureau of Statistics (starting here: https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/3303.0~2017~Main%20Features~Deaths%20due%20to%20influenza~5) and their figures don’t support that claim, to be fair annual Influenza deaths recorded two notable peaks in 2017 (1255 deaths) and 2019 (903 deaths). looking at influenza deaths 2008-2019, the death rate averages 0.136 per 10000 whereas right now, the Covid death rate is 0.129.
                An interesting feature of a graph of annual influenza deaths is that in the year following each bad year listed above, the annual death rate plummets (without recourse to lock-down) to around a tenth of the figure for the bad year that preceded it; as we’re often having to repeat to our gullible warming believer friends, there are usually other more obvious explanations for a natural phenomena than our pet dogma, so in this case is it not worth considering the possibility that since 2019 was a bad year for influenza, that perhaps so many people vulnerable to influenza fell victim to it last year, leaving fewer potential victims this year? That is the hypothesis being presented in opposition to lock-downs, namely that cases and deaths due to covid naturally drop, regardless of the implementation of lock-down, once the virus has claimed its ‘low hanging fruit’.
                Here’s Swedish epidemiologist Dr Johan Giesecke’s view on lock-downs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfN2JWifLCY

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                We were building the plane as we flew it.

                We can’t do a cost benefit on a situation far beyond the error bars of medical and economic models. But by mid february even dumb bloggers could do the sums and predict that within 12 weeks first world hospitals could be overwhelmed to the point that they would be turning away the sickest people or the oldest people to leave them to die at home and there would not be enough beds.

                http://joannenova.com.au/2020/02/outside-china-5-of-cases-are-severe-singapore-may-be-three-months-away-from-running-out-of-hospital-beds/

                It was a possible bioweapon, with unknown sequelae. The answer was so obvious that eventually almost every nation with means ended up doing variations of the same thing. The slowest to act, were, as I predicted, the hardest hit. With exponential growth what ever you do. Do it fast.

                Protect the vulnerable you say: OK. What’s your plan?
                1. Which groups you include in vulnerable. What % is that? 60+. High blood pressure. Obesity. cancer. CVD. +++
                2. What do we do with mixed houses where one occupant is high risk? Add them in?
                3. Which workers / hospitals are only for use for old/high-risk people?
                4. Do we lock in young workers with aged care homes, and for how many months? Or do we let them out sometimes in full hazmat suits to shop?
                5. Is there any nation that has protected their old folks, but had a large part of their population infected?

                Over to you.

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            MP

            The the World Health Organisation Flunet, link at bottom of page.
            Australia had 30,568 flu notifications in May 2019 and 228 in May 2020 – a 99.3% reduction.
            The winter flu season is upon us so flu numbers should be rising. Australia had 57,938 flu notifications in June 2019 and 89 so far in June 2020 – a 99.8% reduction.
            Per 100,000 population, the flu notifications were:
            Jan 2019 : 27.3
            Jan 2020 : 27.9
            Feb 2019 : 28.7
            Feb 2020 : 28.7
            Mar 2019 : 44.9
            Mar 2020 : 23.6
            Apr 2019 : 74.8
            Apr 2020 : 1.2
            May 2019 : 122.3
            May 2020 : 0.9
            June 2019 : 231.9
            June 2020 : 0.4 (so far)
            The May 2020 per capita rate was the lowest since 2007 and the June 2020 per capita rate so far is the lowest since 2004.
            Looking at 66 other notifiable diseases excluding influenza, Australia had 24,437 notifications in May 2019 and 15,762 in May 2020 – a 35.5% reduction.
            Australia had 21,059 notifications of these diseases (including everything imaginable including hepatitis, salmonella, typhoid, meningococcal, chlamydia, syphilis, measles, dengue fever, malaria) in June 2019 and 7,616 so far in June 2020 – a 63.8% reduction.
            The only disease that’s increased quite sharply comparing those two months with last year is Ross River virus, presumably because they didn’t order a lockdown among the mosquitoes.
            Globally with influenza, the World Health Organisation’s FluNet monitoring has 11 countries that have updated to week 24 ending 8 June 2020 (Australia, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Iceland, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, United Kingdom). Last year from week 14 to week 24 they had cumulatively reported 20,649 positive laboratory influenza tests. This year from week 14 to week 24 they had cumulatively reported 1,574 positive flu tests – a 92.4% reduction.
            https://apps.who.int/flumart/Default?ReportNo=12
            https://apps.who.int/flumart/Default?ReportNo=12

            Looks like the flu went the same time as Kungflu started. (March) coincidence?

            Forget who posted this originally, but HT to him.

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              Peter

              Australian influenza reports to end July 2020 was 20,986, down from 2019′s 202,501.

              This is indeed a MASSIVE drop.

              What people are failing to do is look at 2018, which was 20,056.

              So it is 2019 which abnormally high, not 2020 abnormally low. For interest, 2017 was 54,737.

              That’s using data from the link in the original article, http://www9.health.gov.au/cda/source/rpt_1_sel.cfm.

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                14144 of th 20,986 in 2020 were in January-February which is the tail of the 2019 season. Try starting all those comparisons in March or April to look at the new season and see how you go.

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          • #
            ImranCan

            In answer to your reply, see attached a very good summary description of the Swedish situation, posted yesterday in the Spectator .
            https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/how-dangerous-is-covid-a-swedish-doctor-s-perspective

            I can’t make the case for changing the Australian strategy better than this writer can articulate it. You have a very BIG problem in Australia and NZ right now. Fundamentally there is no way out except for a huge U turn which will come one way or another, because society cannot be locked up indefinitely trying to protect itself from a disease which has a survival rate of 99.95%. And the longer you leave it the worse it is going to get.

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          sophocles

          Tonyb @ #1.1.1 asked:

          Has Auckland really been locked down-in the sense we understand the term-because of FOUR cases?

          Yes.

          Auckland only was taken into Alert Level 3 at midday. Schools are closed and all the other Level 3 restrictions came on.

          It was because of 4 cases, yes, but these cases were internal transmission rather than being imported.
          Two of the infected had been making like Typhoid Marys around the North Island.

          We will know more on Monday(?) probably,

          This is one time in my life I would rather have been proved wrong than right. Four months ago, I was warning that we had to get through this year’s Sickness Season. We’re now in the early days of it, and we’re effectively locked down. Again. B****r.

          It would be cheaper for HMNZGovt to issue vit-d supplements than to lock down.

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      tom

      What a sad day. Freedoms gone so we can live forever.
      Show me the graphs for suicides & drug over doses.

      I’ll take the dangers with freedom over this b.s

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    MichiCanuck

    Productivity is not only determined by the amount of disease. It also depends on production, so if disease prevention prevents production, productivity may not increase. This reminds me of Sarah Palin’s comment about fishing boats. The safest place for a fishing boat is in harbor, but that’s not why you have a fishing boat. Eventually life must break out, even in NZ.

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      el gordo

      In a brave new world Oz and our cousin across the gap will become a tourist destination of excellence. The south sea bubble is disease free (no new nasties) and only wealthy people come here because they would have to quarantine for 14 days in a first class hotel at their own expense.

      Gone are the days when the lower middle class could travel the world taking selfies.

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        MichiCanuck

        Now the NZ PM is talking about delaying an election, yes, that’s right, an election because of 4 Covid cases. I think that NZ should change its name to the Dominion of Brigadoon and go to sleep for the next century.

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    John of Cloverdale

    Let’s see how the suicides in young people go this year, the least effected group by CORONA. Then there is depression through business failures and job losses. Just shut the place down, CentreLink will look after us (sarc). Definitely could have been handled by competent Politicians and bureaucrats. Unfortunately, we have found they are in short supply. Lucky we have coal, iron ore, gas and agriculture to help us climb out of the mess. I worry about the Kiwis though. What have they got?

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      Kalm Keith

      John,

      That’s it in a nutshell.

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      John F. Hultquist

      J of C asks ‘What do the Kiwis have?’

      Sauvignon Blanc

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        GlenM

        The mass export of their SavBlanc notwithstanding,the majority of it is comparable to alcoholic fruit juice. Their Southland-Otago Pinot Noir is splendid and a lot of the time plain outstanding.

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          AndyG55

          Ideal country for growing cold-country light-weight wines. :-)

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          Ross

          Most of the Kiwi Sauv Blanc is tasteless muck. Give my a big bodied Aussie Chardonnay any day.

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            Mal

            My preference in a white is a good eden valley or Clare valley Riesling

            [Getting off topic here guys. I think the point about NZ wine exports is made. ;-) - Jo]

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      • #

        The first is modeled projections with no data.
        The second compares all suicides with current covid deaths, and ignores the potential death rates if coronavirus runs freely.
        Is there a change in the trend in suicide?
        The third is essentially the same as the second.

        Which studies support this claim? “Various studies indicate it could be between 5 to 30%. ”

        It is good manners to back up actual claims with links that support them. It wastes time to follow links and read articles that do not.

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          PeterS

          Hi Jo. I’ve read many studies over the past few months but didn’t bother to keep a track of them. The point I’ve made many several times before is there are too many unknowns. This leads to too many making the mistake of using correlations to justify a hypothetical cause. That is not science, as most of us are aware about with the CAGW hoax. Another point I like to make is although all lives matter, one must be realistic about it. As others have already pointed out, we could save lives on the roads by banning cars for a while. However, when we allow cars back on the road, guess what; people will still die. It’s a tough call as to when lockdowns should be put in place and when they should be relaxed. IMHO they are a waste of time this far out from the start of all this. We just have to live with it and hope it mutates itself out or at least becomes less destructive. Of course, we should take all the necessary precautions, like washing of hands, safe distancing, etc.. Lockdowns IMHO (actually the evidence mounting to back this up) causes more harm than good in the longer run.

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            So, yet again. No data. No links. Feelings and nonspecific vague arguments, low quality analogy type reasoning (cars?).
            Plus restated opinions (for the 100th time). When this sort of comment dominates the thread it adds heat but little content.
            It took me ten minutes to read the last irrelevant links. I’m sure you can see why a careless commenter can take more than they contribute.

            So we are now aiming for higher quality content, especially from frequent posters.

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    Curious George

    To travel or not to travel, that is the question. If you stay at home indefinitely, you will avoid everything good or bad coming from the outside world, like Yanomani Indians of Amazonia. Or open yourself to the wide world – and to diseases ravaging it.

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      Kalm Keith

      “Ravaging”

      might be a bit harsh George: nature is there, it “exists”, is ever present and something we have to work with.

      With sensible government we can travel in reasonable safety but in the end life’s sometimes a bit of a lottery and I want to be in it.
      :-)

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    tonyb

    I have often posed the thought that as far as we in the UK are concerned, flu is a much bigger killer overall than Covid 19 with tens of thousands of deaths in the worst flu epidemics which occur every few years. By that criteria we should surely mask up and close down the economy and society at the start of each flu season?

    The flu however doesn’t mean that every other illness gets ignored, unlike Covid, whose effect will kill several hundred thousand people over the next few years as they haven’t been treated for heart disease, cancers, obesity etc. Not to mention the millions of more minor but still important illnesses that have also been ignored.

    Mind you, it is sobering to think that because of lockdown there are people walking around that otherwise would have been killed in car accidents or murdered, but of course they will never know they have been spared.

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      Jojodogfacedboy

      What has brought to my mind is how ineffective these “flu shots” are and blamed on a different mutations when in actual fact, they may only be good for a very short period of time like this anti-bodies in this Caronavirus.
      Also changing to cheaper suppliers brings doubt to qualities for quantities.
      Much of the PPEs imported were not up to quality standards.
      Who checks This?
      Probably the supplier like many areas of trust…

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        Just been confirmed that flu has killed three times more people in the UK over the last seven weeks than covid 19

        https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8615103/Covid-19-deaths-England-Wales-lowest-19-WEEKS.html

        Also just been confirmed that anyone who has ever been tested positive for the virus in dngland will be deemed to have died of it even if killed by a bus. That is thought to be up to 4000 .

        The numbers that have died with covid rather than of it will take some time to investigate.

        As regards your comment re flu vaccination, I understand this is hugely variable and depends in whether they select the correct strain. I think it was only 10 percent effective in 2017 bt around 50 percent effective in 2014 when we had some 30000 deaths.

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          Not even close. Tony, In the UK weekly Influenza report samples that tested postive for Influenza = Zero.

          The PHE National Influenza Report
          Summary of UK surveillance of influenza and other seasonal respiratory illnesses
          25 June 2020 – Week 26 report (up to week 25 data)

          “• Respiratory DataMart system (England)
          In week 25 2020, out of the 461 respiratory specimens reported through the Respiratory DataMart System, no samples tested positive for influenza.”

          “In Europe, there was no or low influenza activity across reporting countries.”

          The Daily Mail journo may have confused “flu” for all respiratory diseases. Very sloppy.

          Around a thousand people were dying from Covid-19 each day at the height of the UK’s crisis in mid-April and the official death toll now stands at 46,595.

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    Kalm Keith

    Unbelievable.

    The inference is that we humans are on the cusp of finally outwitting nature and about to enter the dream world of eternal good health.

    Meanwhile, back at camp reality, with our society teetering on the edge of the abyss there is great fear and apprehension.

    While politicians and the elite focus on this Virus and impose crushing restrictions on society they have a warm, self congratulatory, fuzzy feeling that says:

    “We, the chosen few, have finally beaten nature”.

    Back at camp reality, the terrible, unnecessary and horrible destruction of the social fabric of Australia is more than evident with a massive human toll.

    How can anyone from camp reality ever trust the government elite again when they are blind to the plight of the average Australian.

    Words fail me.

    KK

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      Jojodogfacedboy

      Don’t forget everything is illegal now too.

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        GD

        Don’t forget everything is illegal now too

        Especially in Victoria. Sitting on a park bench, visiting a friend in their home, going grocery shopping with another member of your family..

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          Jo says 50,000 people didn’t get sick. Is that an abyss? (Or perhaps someone is OT, discussing something else?)

          Back here in camp reality, in 1990 the Human Genome Project was projected to cost $3 billion and take 15 years, instead it came in faster than expected and far under budget.
          Today you can get your whole genome sequenced in full for $1,000 and more than a million people have already done it.

          Last year HIV was eliminated from the genome of a living animal. HIV inserts itself into the DNA of thousands of cells but we found them and edited it out.

          Researchers Use Gene Editing With CRISPR to Treat Lethal Lung Diseases Before Birth

          Diabetes reversed in mice with genetically edited stem cells derived from patients

          New CRISPR base-editing technology slows ALS progression in mice
          etc etc etc

          Kieth, anyone can toss rocks. We all wish this stupid virus wasn’t around, but some good things will come of it, and the medical revolution is picking up speed.

          [MY reply here in part was added to the post afterwards. - J]

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            Richard Ilfeld

            The risk/reward computation has to be made here as in other areas of life.
            It seems to be far too hard.
            Politics, I suppose,for one.
            Also, vast uncertainty in medicine. Its difficult to give the same treatment to lots of people and get different results,
            to expose folks similarly and get different infection rates, and not “see” any of it.

            Driving a car is a risk. We can and have made them safer. We perceive, often correctly, the our behaviour can impact results.
            We have a pretty clear understanding of the benefits, and most of us no longer teenagers a good feel for the risks.

            How do we get a similar knowledge, understanding, perspective, and acceptance of viral illness?

            Ought to be possible — yes, medicine is hard as is math, but folks who know nothing at all about the working of a motor or
            the national accident rate can still make sensible driving decisions; slow down in the snow and uber home from a pub.

            There is a difference here that is bothering me.

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            MP

            Jo why are the graphs starting from May, we were all imprisoned mid March, show from February for both 19 and 20.

            Cherry picking to suit your bias, your pro lockdown stance?

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              Sigh.

              I must say the accusations of deceit and the ill manners on this topic are disappointing. Especially given the mountain of data that supports me and which I’ve posted on in great detail.

              MP if you followed the first link in the post above you’ll find we already covered the first weeks of lockdown, and there is nothing to cherry pick.

              Read this post again (or perhaps for the first time?)
              http://joannenova.com.au/2020/05/lockdowns-work-influenza-cases-are-90-down-across-17-countries/

              As I have posted and linked repeatedly, in March when lockdowns began in many countries, after a 12 day delay we see the results.
              http://joannenova.com.au/2020/04/ancient-technology-wins-quarantine-and-isolation-still-work/

              After a decade of working for little reward I’m surprised people are so fast to toss goodwill and gratitude to the wind?

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                MP

                My point is even if you covered it back then, this post should of showed the months in the graph. The flu crashes in March world wide because of lock up, but the Virus climbs. I do not see the logic in this argument, instantly gets rid of one but increases another. Tie it all togeather not split it.
                Trend the two viruses together month by month, with the covid positive test.

                “After a decade of working for little reward I’m surprised people are so fast to toss goodwill and gratitude to the wind?”

                You put yourself in the public domain.

                The intellectuals know whats best.

                What is now happening in NZ (as in Vic) is tyranny.

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              • #

                Insert climate change and climate related things instead of covid and you will get a close approximation to the sloppy responses I get non-stop. They have just shifted to covid but have not shifted their methods.

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    • #
      Terry

      ‘How can anyone from camp reality ever trust the government elite again’

      The question is, why did anyone from “camp reality” ever trust the government “elite” (they’re not elite) in the first place.

      This is not how government of the people, by the people, and for the people is meant to work.

      As a citizen, you cannot outsource oversight of representatives to “experts”. In matters of governance, there is no such thing.

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    • #
      Stoichastic

      KK: Unbelievable.

      Indeed. What stuns me is the abject lack of any encouragement to / mention of:
      * dose up on Vitamin D
      * improve our immune systems / health
      * improve nursing home procedures (ffs DUH)
      * embrace the HCQ treatment plan
      * improve health care worker protocols

      Nothing proactive or constructive, just beat people up and drag them out of their cars for not identifying themselves,
      quarantine all the healthy people, fine people out walking alone for not wearing a mask, ground everyone between 8pm and 5am.

      Oh wait. We need to spend $3M on an inquiry into why Dan hired dodgy security companies to guard quarantine hotel inmates,
      leading most likely to the second wave as said security guards slept with the inmates.

      Meanwhile 800+ people are not at home when the ADF visit self-isolating, proven infected carriers.

      It’s unbelievable.

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      • #
        Terry

        Your proactive approach is a plan to combat a virus (how effective remains to be seen, but early signs are positive – at least not harmful).

        The reactive approach is a plan to combat people, their wealth, and their freedom.

        Hysterical fear of “The Virus” has allowed authoritarians to choose the latter approach on our behalf with nary a whimper from citizens that mistakenly believed they were free.

        Of course “The Virus” can be dangerous (in many cases it just isn’t), just like so many things in life, and needs(ed) to be assessed in the same way we all assess risk/reward every day.

        Closing international borders in the early stages was probably a decent precaution, along with quarantining returning citizens. Flattening the curve to allow our medical resources to cope with anticipated increased demand was also prudent.
        Protecting vulnerable demographics (the old, sick, etc) also a very good idea.

        Once it became clear that the “The Virus” was far less serious than it was originally projected, and the overwhelmed medical resources weren’t, the lockdown approach should have disappeared from the list viable policy options.

        Somewhere along the line, without being asked, the “experts” decided that “flattening the curve” was to become an eradication strategy without adequately considering the huge costs of pursuing that strategy. They were making decisions they had no right to make (and let’s be clear, not qualified to make).

        Squashing businesses, jobs, livelihoods, wealth, and freedom under the jackboots of love (for our own good) is not an acceptable policy from unelected “experts” nor the representatives (not leaders) that failed to discharge their commissions with due deference to the citizens that put them there.

        We have lost a lot more than lives in this “pandemic”.

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          Kalm Keith

          Terry, that’s saying it like it is.
          A great summation.

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          • #
            bobl

            C.S. Lewis: “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences.”

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  • #
    Kalm Keith

    As I think Gabriel is inferring above;

    Sooner or later, we will all meet the Virus.

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    • #
      GD

      Is it possible to meet the Virus more than once in a few months?

      11

    • #
      Gabriel Pentelie

      In the sense that every country that is not completely isolated from the rest of the world will be visited by it, yes. Depending on the particular demographic/geographic circumstances of each country, however, the proportion of people who get it will vary quite widely. I’m guessing between a quarter and a third in most cases. Beyond that point, the odds of anyone in the rest of the population coming into contact with a still active “shedder” plunge rapidly and quickly approach zero. So there will never arrive a point where everyone will catch it before they die of other natural or unnatural causes.

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      • #
        Lucky

        North Korea has cases. Not sure if officially reported or from rumor.
        Victoria and NZ are following, but they will not eliminate the virus, if it exists –
        the tests are worthless.

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  • #
    Jojodogfacedboy

    Our PM in Canada has blown threw almost $350 billion in the name of this Pandemic. Almost every Federal politicians have benefited from this as many non-profit organizations involved have family members or have special interests tied directly to our politicians or chief of staff with these organizations that don’t do what our government has paid them to do. Some non-profit had to outsource to try and do the job our government paid them to do.
    And still no one is fired or accountable. Even though this is the 3rd time Trudeau has broken the conflict of interest laws.

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    Just Thinkin'

    Ah, yes.

    But what is this going to do to our immune systems?

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  • #

    You have to kill all the animals as well, as many of the worst new viruses actually do jump from animals to people both in nature and apparently in biolabs that lack sufficient protocols.

    You would also be preventing benign and less harmful viruses from spreading, and it’s these that are thought to train immune systems to handle more aggressive strains of similar viruses. This is one hypothesis for why there are so many asymptomatic cases, as the exposure to a more benign virus trained their immune system to fight off the virus before it got out of control initiating a more aggressive immune response.

    A point that’s often missed is that even if you are immune, you will have a detectable viral load in your blood until your immune system fights it off, and this is true for any viral infection. The virus must be circulating in your blood stream before the immune system notices it needs to fight it. You can still be contagious even if you are immune, but without all the coughing and sneezing, you’re not sheding near as much virus as someone who has symptoms.

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  • #
    mikewaite

    The benefit: No more flu
    The cost: No more jobs
    Benefit/cost = what?

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    • #
      • #

        And lets compare the jobs situation in say South Korea versus Brazil?

        Or Taiwan versus the USA?

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        • #
          Gabriel Pentelie

          Neither South Korea nor Taiwan shut down their economies. People continued to go to work, eat out, walk in parks, go to the beach, etc..

          Here, for instance, is an excerpt from an article in which SK’s health and welfare minister talks about their balanced approach:

          “How did you resist the urge to impose more draconian containment measures like in China or other countries?

          We never considered a full lockdown as part of our policy response to COVID-19. Although there was an explosive new outbreak in a certain region, we had confidence that we could locate contacts and isolate them successfully.

          South Korea is a democracy which respects and ensures the individual freedom of the people as much as possible, so we relied on people’s voluntary cooperation based on their trust in public anti-epidemic authorities.

          As such, instead of physical lockdown, we fought the virus through an epidemiological approach such as wide diagnostic testing and isolation of contacts, while encouraging people’s voluntary cooperation for social distancing. We believed this was more effective than forcible measures and indeed it paid off.

          How do you weigh public health concerns versus restarting the economy?

          Finding a mid-point between economic activities and containing an epidemic outbreak is a delicate balancing act. Given the nature of COVID-19, it will be next to impossible to wipe it out without the development of a vaccine. …”

          Link: https://time.com/5830594/south-korea-covid19-coronavirus/

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          • #
            robert rosicka

            Both countries are more trusting and compliant with their governments and wearing face masks in public is nothing new to them .

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            • #
              Gabriel Pentelie

              In addition to such starkly cultural and political differentiating factors, there are geographic ones that must be accounted for, factors that provided SK and Taiwan with substantial logistical advantages/efficiencies unavailable to Brazil and the US. Such as the fact that Taiwan’s population is conveniently contained within an area the size of Maryland, for instance. Such as the fact that half of South Korea’s population is conveniently contained in an area that is 2/3rds smaller than that (about the size of Connecticut).

              And here’s an additional interesting wrinkle that makes simplistic “Look at South Korea/Taiwan vs. Brazil/US!” type comparisons questionable:

              “It’s now mostly accepted that there are two “strains” of COVID, that the second arose in late January and contains a spike protein variant that wasn’t present in the original ancestral strain, and that this new strain (“D614G”) now represents ~97% of new isolates. The Sabeti lab (Harvard) paper from a couple of days ago is a good summary of the evidence. https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.07.04.187757v1 — note that in cell cultures it is 3-9x more infective than the ancestral strain. Unlikely to be that big of a difference in humans for various reasons, but still striking/interesting.

              A cursory look here suggests that East Asia mostly has the less infective strain (in blue) whereas rest of the world is dominated by the more infective strain: …”

              https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2020/07/a-highly-qualified-reader-emails-me-on-heterogeneity.html

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    • #
      OriginalSteve

      On the “upside”, we have reduced 85% of economic activity too….the Victorian Politburo are very pleased.

      Apparently they will buy wheel barrows for people to pay for a loaf of bread soon…atm cards will gave to be made bigger to handle thr 1000% inflation so we can use Reichmarks as currency….

      /sarc++

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    • #
      el gordo

      ‘Benefit/cost = what?’

      This rather large financial hiccup will mean a realignment, there will be winners and losers, but ultimately the free enterprise spirit will generate new opportunities.

      The whole world is in deflationary mode and at some point the system will rebound, been down so long it looks like up to me.

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    • #
      Lance

      mikewaite, just a clarification of ratios.

      If the benefit is the numerator and the cost is the denominator (Benefit/Cost), and the rates are 0 flu and 0 jobs, then 0/0 is an indeterminate function and means nothing. If it is “some flu, and zero jobs” then it is +/0 = Infinity, or some flu deaths are infinitely beneficial so long as there are zero jobs. Conversely, if it is a few deaths and a lot of jobs, then it is (small # / Big #) then it tends to zero magnitude.

      If the calculation is (Cost/Benefit), it is still 0/0 and indeterminate. But, if it becomes zero jobs/ some deaths, then the answer is zero value.

      If the calculation is Lots of Jobs / some deaths, then the functions has a positive value, tending towards infinity.

      I’m not trivializing anything, just trying to show that Prosperity (lots of jobs) at a cost of “some deaths” gives a positive outcome. Similarly, “lots of deaths” at the cost of zero jobs, translates into a large positive number that isn’t desirable.

      Bottom line, we can all starve in the dark for no gain whilst destroying the future, or we can accept that there is a risk, minimize it rationally, and move forward, thereby supporting a future at some accepted risk.

      The issue is “what risk is acceptable”?
      Ban all motorcars and there are zero motorcar deaths, but at great cost to the future.
      Lock down a society, terminate tourism and trade, and yes that improves individual safety on the short term, but condemns the nation to poverty in the longer term.

      The coronavirus genie is out of the bottle. A 98%+ effective vaccine is unknown. The best option is treatment that is known and quantifiable. Or, hope that everyone can survive long enough without jobs, trade, tourism, etc, hoping for magic to happen. Most virologists are saying they hope for 50% to 75% effectiveness over a 6 to 12 month period following immunization. That’s pretty much worthless on the long term. Everlasting immunization + hope.

      Logically, it is wiser to focus on treatment, work towards an effective immunization, and open the economy, so that the majority might survive. Everything else is wishful thinking. Life itself is a risk. I’m going to do the best I can, and not believe in magic.

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  • #
    mikewaite

    [Duplicate]

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  • #
    Jojodogfacedboy

    Our planets history of adaptation is unbelievable.
    Past scientists believed our planet has not lost any water in 4 1/2 billion years and that is what the theories are based on.
    When you add vastly more ocean water, he results answer many questions of even how our fossil fuels were created.
    As you take water away, the chemical compositions get more and more complex.
    Adapt or face extinction forced us onto land.
    Our planet has always have had the problem of overpopulation.
    Our oceans were full of fish before we commerced it to have value.
    Without our scientific adaptation, our species would be a great deal less population.

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  • #
    David Maddison

    Disease and infection is a natural part of the human condition.

    By all means protect vulnerable such as the elderly.

    By all means discourage people from going to work if they have a cold, flu, corona or other infectious disease.

    But routine lockdowns and the massive impact on the human condition, the economy mental health etc. are absolutely unacceptable. Not only that, people will not be developing natural immunity for a wide variety of diseases. You can’t rely on biotech to make up for that. It’s bad enough that (according to the hygiene hypothesis) excessive hygiene leads to children having allergies.

    As Thomas Jefferson said:

    Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

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    • #
      David Maddison

      Correction: It was Benjamin Franklin that said that, not Thomas Jefferson.

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    • #
      GD

      That’s the only way out of this pandemic debacle that I can see. This stage four lockdown by Daniel Andrews can at best achieve what his stage three accomplished. The virus is temporarily contained. As soon as the lockdown relaxes, the virus will again run rampant through the community.

      Protect the elderly, especially the aged homes, and let the rest of us get on with our lives.

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  • #
    David Maddison

    Promoting routine lockdowns, apart from all the other reasons mentioned above, are also extremely dangerous because they will encourage those in power with totalitarian leanings (which would be most Lib/Lab/Green politicians today) to impose even more restrictions on individual rights than they already have.

    It will not end well.

    Life is not risk free.

    Compulsory routine lockdowns are an extremely dangerous idea.

    As Benjamin Franklin said:

    Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

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    • #

      Exactly, and there is no reason to lockdown if there is no virus. Let’s not give the totalitarians any excuse to restrict people.

      So get rid of the virus and let the economy run and freedom reign.

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      • #
        tom

        And how long Am I allowed to run my business? To the next outbreak of 1 or 2 cases? Or is it 10 or 20?
        Hell of a business model. Oh thats right. The govt. will pay my bills & employees. Were does the govt. get there $$$.

        I know…Lives before $$$ & freedom.

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    • #
      Ian1946

      David the virus cannot be completely eliminated by any kind of lockdown, New Zealand is a good example. Comrade Andrews is starting to look like King Canute trying to stop the tide coming in.

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  • #
    David Maddison

    What Melbournistan looks like during lockdown as prophesied in 1959 movie.

    https://youtu.be/JSkbNq3XCFg

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    • #
      GD

      Spot on, David. That is exactly what is happening in Victoria right now under the guise of public health.

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      • #
        Serp

        So we can look forward to the issue of suicide pills, the ultimate personal protection equipment.

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        • #
          Geoff Sherrington

          Serp,
          Funny/tragic.
          In the movie, there was a bureaucrat with a clipboard handing out the suicide pills, to make sure nobody abused the system by taking two of them. To act illegally and cause social injustice by taking two is a really bad violation of bureaucratic rules, you see. It denigrates the wholesome work values of the person with the clipboard. One must ensure that government handouts are not abused by evil profiteers.
          I have long felt that one could write a paper about how and why the script writers included this clipboard scene. I think a slip was showing. Geoff S

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          • #
            GD

            That reminds me of a short poem by Australia’s unofficial poet laureate Les Murray:

            ‘Just two hours after
            Eternity Pills came out
            Someone took thirty’

            20

  • #
    EternalOptimist

    latest news from the NW of England.
    Zero cases in ICU. No deaths for week 6
    cases so low they are hardly worth measuring.
    flu deaths up slightly
    less than 190 deaths last week across england from covid
    (remember – a covid death as recorded by public health england includes people who
    tested positive in february and who died in a plane crash in august)

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  • #
    John F. Hultquist

    Thanks Jo,
    This entire sickness thing is getting very interesting. Maybe this is the silver lining to Panic2020.
    _ _ _ _ _
    The US CDC admits that vaccination only reduces the risk of flu by 40 – 60% and . . .
    Nice summary of the history of flu vaccine here:
    https://weather.com/health/cold-flu/news/2019-12-23-a-brief-history-of-the-flu-vaccine

    I wonder if 40 – 60% info has been charted with age and prior health?
    I got a case of flu about 25 years ago. Whether or not I had a shot that year, I don’t recall. I do recall our local clinic started having a “flu day” – going in a door giving name etc. to a person, then another table taking temp. etc., and us signing a form. Then farther along, someone poked you with a needle, and out a different door you went. Now we get it at the grocery store pharmacy. I think they bid higher than the clinic, so the clinic gets a small supply.

    Bottom line: I haven’t had a flu since getting the regular fall vaccination. Probability 40-60; 25 years; hmm?

    10

  • #
    MrGrimNasty

    This article is reminiscent of the social cost of carbon accounting nuttiness! There’s another article on WUWT suggesting (as was obvious instinctively at the time) that the exponential spread stopped in many places before lock down could have been responsible. Again, reminiscent of the explosive yet self-abating ’51 outbreak in the UK (centered on Liverpool). There may in the future be a truly dangerous pandemic, this was not it.

    https://api.parliament.uk/historic-hansard/commons/1951/jan/25/deaths-liverpool

    https://lh3.ggpht.com/_CLJS75_Cnao/TMbCmdTjA-I/AAAAAAAAEJ0/7cax2EZTjIk/image%5B4%5D.png?imgmax=800

    No one envies the position NZ and Oz have gotten themselves into, whatever the politicians say. Sweden and UK for me any day, we’re less hostage to the virus than you.

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    • #

      Mr Grim, the exponential spread decayed 12 days after lockdowns started, unless most infections were from overseas, then the exponential curve decayed after borders were shut.

      In many places the people were smarter than the government and locked themselves down before it was mandatory.

      Some analysis pretends that deaths can be used to judge lockdowns and ignores the variable lag which may be up to three weeks or only a few days depending on whether the country also used masks or HCQ.

      Many are fooled by confounding factors. But it doesn’t matter what data I cite eh MrGN.

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    • #
      RickWill

      Sweden and UK for me any day, we’re less hostage to the virus than you.

      This is just an ordinary AFL club match held in Perth WA:
      https://www.afl.com.au/video/479604/highlights-west-coast-v-geelong?videoId=479604&modal=true&type=video&publishFrom=1596287118001

      Notice the crowd.

      This is the 2020 FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZ6lTniej7E

      Notice the crowd. Strange way of showing that the UK is not hostage to the virus!!!

      Then of course there is Taiwan – the envy of the entire world with their pandemic response:
      https://focustaiwan.tw/sports/202007110017

      There is an old saying – Avoid it like the Plague. Well CV19 is the new Plague and this generation living in developed countries can avoid it simply by not becoming a host.

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  • #
    David Maddison

    Here’s an interesting article on the history of the idea of a germ free world.

    “Life in a Germ-Free World”:

    Isolating Life from the Laboratory Animal to the Bubble Boy

    Robert G. W. Kirk

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3477854/#__ffn_sectitle

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  • #
    Rick Kinsman

    In a perfect world all it would take is for everyone on earth to observe a lockdown and the disease would vanish like magic. But we don’t live in a perfect world. WuFlu is here to stay and at some point we have to open our borders unless we want to become isolated from the rest of the world.
    When the current tactics aren’t working towards a long term solution, new tactics need to be developed and used.
    The best I’ve seen is to isolate only the vulnerable groups – mostly non-workforce types – and get the non-vulnerable groups back to work. For the vast majority of people WuFlu is not a lethal danger, so get them back to work, maintain strict border controls (not closed, just controlled) and let’s get everyone off the public teat.
    We MUST have an end-game strategy and so far I haven’t seen one from anyone in authority – just lots of hand-wringing and calls for masks and lockdowns. Where’s the PLAN?

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    • #
      Kalm Keith

      That view is coming through loud and clear in a number of comments.

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    • #

      Rick
      “The best I’ve seen is to isolate only the vulnerable groups – mostly non-workforce types – and get the non-vulnerable groups back to work.”
      Where have you seen this? Who found a successful way to “isolate only the vulnerable groups” and how exactly is that done? Especially for the undiagnosed vulnerable.

      24

    • #
      sophocles

      In a perfect world all it would take is for everyone on earth to observe a lockdown and the disease would vanish like magic.

      Silly man.

      If you build up your vitamin D level, you won’t catch Covid to have to worry about or have to observe a lockdown and you have added benefits of being healthier …

      That’s much cheaper and you feel good. Immunity to Covid is available without any requirement for any vaccine or prophelactics. Vitamin D is the Health Hormone.

      30

  • #
    David Maddison

    Pay now or pay later.

    One way or another the virus WILL spread throughout the population unless:

    1) A vaccine is developed. That is not necessarily possible. It is simply not possible to produce vaccines for every pathogen. It is foolish to assume a vaccine will become available any time soon or at all.

    2) Existing prophylaxis or early stage treatments such as HCQ ivermectin, budesonide and associated cocktails are allowed to be used. There is little to no chance of these things, especially HCQ (Zelenko Protocol) to be used in Australia because the Australian Government is extremely hostile to cheap, simple treatments. Especially HCQ. Allowing it to be used and shown to be effective would mean a disclosure that the government has caused huge numbers of unnecessary deaths. When the truth gets out, it will not end well, but meanwhile government digs themself a deeper and deeper hole over this. Just let willing patients and doctors to use HCQ or other possible treatments!

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    • #
      OriginalSteve

      Just let it run….put protection around the elderly and let it go.

      the alternative is no economy and lunatic lefties in power forever with suspended parliaments ( by design….)

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      • #
        Fred Streeter

        put protection around the elderly

        … but only those who request it.

        Please, I implore you!!!!

        40

      • #
        Retired Now

        Just how do you put protection around the elderly? There are many elderly who are desperate for human interaction at the best of times. Many people are living with the long term consequences of poor personal relationships, poor personalities, bad health, anxiety, depression and sheer bloody bad luck. In ordinary times they go out to groups that support the elderly, go down to the local library, to the shopping centre, frequent the local coffee shop, keep the local magazine shop and /or TAB in business. Huge numbers have no family. They just get by, by going out into society. Remove that and you make them prisoners. You would be making literally tens of thousands of them prisoners. In my little world I know at least 100 aged between 60-90 in that category & I’m no social worker. You would be talking of tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of prisoners – all in the name of “for their own good.”

        I reckon about half the ones I know would rather take the risk of dying than being a prisoner. They fear the definite misery of isolation more than the possiblity of dying.

        And that is not to mention those with good families who don’t want to be an additional burden to stressed sons and daughters, those who are just lonely cos the local support network closed down because its middle aged, middle class decision makers decided it was better to be safe than kill someone with covid, and even those with normally excellent mental health start to suffer. These elderly were the ones that managed the first months of shut down quite well, but are now reviewing their situation because they know their mental health is deteriorating without socialisation.

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    • #
      Peter C

      There is little to no chance of these things, especially HCQ (Zelenko Protocol) to be used in Australia because the Australian Government is extremely hostile to cheap, simple treatments. Especially HCQ

      Is it the Australian Government which is hostile? I think myself it may be the University medical academic establishment eg Doherty Institute which is hostile. Which is a very strange thing because it plays into the hands of Big Pharma which they profess to hate. The Health ministers are anxious and confused and desperate for guidance. The Federal minister has a track record of lack of courage in confronting the academic and public service establishment ( a sort of deep swamp).

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      • #
        David Maddison

        Peter C, it may well be certain “academics” that initiated the hostility but as they say:

        In the age of information, ignorance is a choice.

        It is utterly inexcusable for anyone, the Minister included, to be ignorant. I have written to the Minister, so have many others I’m sure. And he must know that President Trump’s medical staff wouldn’t have allowed him to take something harmful. Plus his scientific experts suggested it. And does he not watch YouTube or read this blog?

        Just as we need a climate “Nuremberg Trials”, so too, do we need one for Corona.

        Because ignorance is not an excuse.

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        • #
          Peter C

          I am certainly not trying to find excuses for our ministers. Willful ignorance may well explain their actions. But why do they wish to remain ignorant?

          50

          • #
            David Maddison

            But why do they wish to remain ignorant?

            The only way to find out for sure and force them to admit the true reason is if we have a Covid Nuremberg-style trial. It can be back to back with a climate trial.

            Ignorance will not be accepted as an excuse. Nor will “just following orders”, just like last time.

            The real reason though is that the Left have weaponised the climate and now C-19 as a means to destroy Western Civilisation. C-19 is doing it far more efficiently however.

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            • #
              Peter C

              Actually, in my estimation, it is convenient to remain ignorant because that way they avoid responsibility. That is the way for most politicians.

              I don’t think a Covid Nuremberg Trial will happen. My approach is to try to light a fire under our politicians by debating their performance at the party member level, with a view to undermining their next preselection. Donald trump has shown how that can work effectively, eg ex senators Robert Flake and Jeff Sessions.

              30

      • #
        Lucky

        Yes, the Doherty Institute has a reputation for ‘hostility’ = pompous pseudo-responsibility.
        That is where the trial of Ivomectin is being done!

        10

    • #
      Mal

      Vladimir Putin announced todauy that russia has a vaccine for covid 19
      Full production in Sept and broad vaccination in October
      We,ll see whether this is real very shortly

      22

  • #
    Peter Fitzroy

    The comments here demonstrate the chasm between perceived risk and actual risk.

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    • #
      OriginalSteve

      Nah…we get reality. Reality is a forever lockdown and becoming another Zimbabwe with another leftist dangerous nutter at the helm.

      Percieved risk is a hysterical perpetual lunacy of lockdown and no use of actual drugs like HCQ and Ivermectin to fix the damn problem.

      Sweden and South Dakota are the models to use. All else is too destructive.

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      • #
        el gordo

        Get a grip, we are a quarry, food bowl and tourist destination, nothing like Zimbabwe.

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        • #
          MP

          Zimbabwe was the food bowl of Africa and a tourist destination along with Mining.

          Get a grip

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          • #
            el gordo

            Australia has a centre right government.

            19

            • #
              PeterS

              Wrong again. Slightly left of centre.

              00

            • #
              OriginalSteve

              Yes but a victoristan leftist govt seems to be calling the shots.

              We had a heated debate amongst my relatives.

              Many are telling me to “shut up” because of the mental stress they are under just coping with covid. This of vourse us exactly the plan by how victoria and other states have dragged this out. Wearing peopke down appears to be part of the plan.

              Whereas Im keen to keep hassling people to look at alternatives like HCQ and Ivermectin to beat this bug like India has with these drugs.

              Part of the problem with creating a snowflake society, is that people have no old school grit any more. So me pushing for options when the chips are diwn is seen as “disruptive” and “selfish”. I guess you could just let it destroy the whole country as the communists in Victoristan want it to….the point I made was this:

              Ok – so lockdown No. 2 is destroying many small businesses. Now imagine lockdown 3 and 4 – any small businesses now gone, all you have us huge govt debt and the only employer being huge corporations and govt – i.e. fascism.

              So now you have a demoralized, unemployed, beaten population all on govt handouts…no tax base to speak of, no benefits….i.e. Zimbabwe of the Pacific.

              Oh and dont forget the inevitable hardly researched and likely unsafe vaccine that will be forced on everyone. Who knows what damage that woukd do…thank goodness for communist state medical care…..oh hang on….with no money to fund it….er….all hail Glorious Leader of Venezuela…er….

              So who is the “crazy” one now?

              People need to be informed and challenge their govt stupidity in Victoria while they still have electricity and a home…..

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              AndyG55

              “Australia has a centre right government.”

              With many leftist tendencies. !

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            • #
              MP

              They are all the same, same policies same lies and same corruption.
              1.5 million in grants without tender to their mates, 444 million to a reef and what do we have to show, slomo’s swimming pools, that is your centre right.
              They don’t even try and hide it.

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              • #
                el gordo

                The Westminster system produces a left and right, its organic and in the 21st century it has mellowed into a unity card. Its stable government, but unfortunately Turnbull showed up with his green credentials pandering to the brain washed masses.

                The Greens polluted the political environment, so it will take awhile to claw our way out of this swamp.

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              • #
                MP

                Yeah there is a left and right and a left, right, left, right, marching to the same drum.

                Slomo could of reversed the trend at any time but he just chooses to steal his way through the term, with other peoples money.

                They are all corrupt as each other.

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            • #
              Retired Now

              “Australia has a centre right government.” Are you being sarcastic?

              Most of my core beliefs haven’t changed much in my lifetime but what was considered centre left in the 1960s is now considered to be extremist right. So if I was of the left back then and the right is now to the left of where I was in my teens what does that say about left and right?

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    • #
      Gabriel Pentelie

      “Chasm” is a most apt term. See page 24 in this report for an illustration of just how stunningly large it is:

      https://www.kekstcnc.com/media/2793/kekstcnc_research_covid-19_opinion_tracker_wave-4.pdf#page24

      20

      • #
        Peter Fitzroy

        Yep – Perceived risk plays out as your individual chance of getting The flu.
        Since most survive the flu, the perceived risk of dying of Covid-19 is low.

        other examples are the perceived risk of dying in a car crash and the perceived risk of dying in a plane crash

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        • #
          Gabriel Pentelie

          The linked chart illustrates the opposite, meaning that people have an astoundingly EXAGERRATED perception of the risks of covid-19, both in terms of cases as well as in terms of deaths.

          50

        • #
          sophocles

          Well, what are you hanging around for, Peter?

          Go get your dose of Covid and become immune to it. For a year or so … if you’re lucky.

          20

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      MP

      Perceived risk is what we are being told to fear. Actual risk is flu level.

      I know of nobody who has caught this, but I know hundreds who are having their lives destroyed, based on models!

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      • #
        RickWill

        I know 1 person who has the virus and so far he has not needed hospitalisation. He is a physiotherapist who will lose income until he recovers. His clinic may have already claimed Jobkeeper, which provides better than a survival income.

        My middle son has now treated hundreds with the virus or suspected having it and he said that everyone should be fearful of it. If you are male and over 40yo and end up in hospital you are in for a long, tough fight. He is doing it tough now due to the workload created by those staff needing to self-isolate. He has been re-assigned to a hospital in a COVID hotspot in Melbourne’s north and he said the hospital is a mess compared with the other hospitals he has worked at. In his first 7 nightshifts he was spending up to 4 hours at the start of a shift notifying staff from the hospital or satellite clinics to self-isolate because they had tested positive. He suffered abrasions to the bridge of nose from wearing masks full time for 4 X 14 hour shifts during his first week in the COVID ward. He is getting ample time off despite the long shifts but it stressful work; albeit not particularly challenging in a medical sense. Thay are just trying to keep people alive until they beat the virus while avoiding the virus themselves.

        I do not know anyone doing it tough outside the medical professions. My eldest son and his wife, living in the UK, had to each sacrifice two weeks of annual leave so they could look after their toddler week about while working from home. They did try to both work and share the child minding duty but a toddler conditioned to playing with young friends for 10 hours per day demands a lot of attention from parents.

        I would prefer to be out on a boat but accept that there are things I can do at home. I already have enough wood cut and split for at least another year of heating.
        [Email coming. - Jo]

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          MP

          So he had to spend a couple of days in bed, like the flu.

          Had to tell them they had the kungflu and to isolate, because they did not know. A disease so deadly they had to be tested to know they had it.

          Just spent two weeks at a hospital with a dozen nurses, not every nurse is buying what is being sold.

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          • #
            RickWill

            So he had to spend a couple of days in bed, like the flu.

            What are you on about here? I have no idea what you are talking about. Where did I mention anything about anyone having to spend a couple of days in bed?

            00

          • #
            MP

            I know 1 person who has the virus and so far he has not needed hospitalisation.

            20

  • #
    TomRude

    The big lie is to claim the virus now is the same killer that it was then.
    This false equivalence is being promoted in Canada. How many deaths? Very few and if there are some it is also because Canada has denied HCQ coupled with AZT as a treatment option (apart from very fragile at risk people who would in any case be close to the end anyway).
    The only reason Canada sees more cases is because health authorities in all provinces have increased the number of tests over what they were doing in June. Through testing more, they are revealing more mild cases and simply manufacturing a rising trend out of post-epidemic background virus circulation, the level of which they have no clue about.
    The population is gullible enough to be had. Besides, any MD or researcher daring to open their mouth will be shut down by the mainstream national media colluding with other professionals to ruin their careers. Journalists are misinforming and do not hesitate to lend a hand in shutting down heretic MDs.
    This fear mongering narrative allows the setting of a totalitarian state, demanded by people who are anxious.

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    John

    Sick Leave in Australia needs to be revamped. The employer should continue to pay the first two weeks but after that it should shift to Social Security, probably on less money (e.g. 75% of salary with some minimum amount) and with the person’s job held open for them for up to three months.

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    • #
      RickWill

      The virus is a demanding teacher. It is not a political beast and no amount of talking can convince it to not infect another sole. It is single minded and just goes about replicating to find new hosts. It bares the weaknesses in systems and leadership.

      Victoria has suffered from woke leadership putting social diversity ahead of performance in selection of security guards. It highlights the grim reality of the labour practices in aged care for everyone to see.

      Will be interesting to see how aged care develops. Some homes may be forced to close.

      Providing sick leave support would certainly avoid some of the aged care and meat works issues.

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    Steve of Cornubia

    A little OT, but Covid related …

    In May last year, Mrs Wife and I visited Naples, where we stayed in an apartment. Our hostess was Chinese and had just returned from “visiting family”. She didn’t say where. She had a cold, with lots of sniffling, red eyes, etc, but this was only mentioned AFTER we had shaken hands. Around a week later, now in Sorrento, I took ill with what seemed to be a respiratory infection – I couldn’t get out of bed for two days, followed by around a week of heavy coughing, much congestion and general malaise. Mrs Wife took ill a day later than I did, but her symptoms were less severe and she recovered faster.

    We have wondered, since the Covid outbreak, whether we were very early victims of a possibly milder strain of Covid, especially since an article a few weeks ago claimed that traces of the virus were present in the Napoli sewage system back in Oct/Sept 2019.

    We were just speculating, but this morning my wife rec’d the results of a Covid antibody test and it showed that she had indeed been infected at some point. I will be tested later today.

    So could it be that Covid was around in Italy as early as May 2019?

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    • #
      Ross

      SoC -there was a comment on this blog, maybe a month ago? From a contributor in the US. (not sure which state-NY?) He mentioned the fact that he and other people had a “flu” like disease back in November or December 2019. They had taken their flu shots, so it wasn’t seasonal flu. Worse than a cold. There has to be a reason why Lombardy region of Italy and Wuhan became the early epicentres. Putting aside the huge mistakes by the NY governor and other public health officials, there must be other reasons why NY/NJ also became the US hot spot.

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    • #
      Steve of Cornubia

      I should add that my wife’s GP, when she saw him this morning, opened by asking if she had heard from the people doing track & trace. He said they should have called a couple of weeks ago.

      Nope. It remains true that nothing really important should be left to modern governments. Everything they touch turns to cr*p. So long as the ‘Set up track and trace system, let media know’ box has been ticked, it’s ‘mission accomplished’, just like ‘Set up hotel quarantine system’.

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    • #

      Steve the study looked at sewerage starting from October 2019 but the first traces of virus were from December 18 2019 with none earlier.

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    • #
      Steve of Cornubia

      We live in Queensland, have no known associate(s) who have had Covid and have not been out of state since Christmas 2019, when we visited Canberra.

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      • #

        it is certainly a mystery. I was not refuting the possibility, just pointing out that there is no evidence of the virus pre December. An absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

        I think you should consult about the cross reactivity of the Ab test as your experience may well have been contact with a covid family of viruses.

        I was actually in Naples in early June and was unscathed. Had a great time.

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        • #
          Steve of Cornubia

          Yep. Will be interesting to see if I have antibodies, too.

          I’m not completely convinced it was WuFlu of course, just intrigued by the potential for it to have been circulating in the Chinese community for much longer than currently believed. For sure, it wasn’t common-r-garden coronavirus, but we had been on and off ‘planes the preceding two weeks, visiting South Korea and Barcelona before arriving in Naples, so plane flu is also likely.

          Even if it WAS C-19, it is not likely to have been the strain that caused high mortality though, because I have pretty extensive heart disease and comorbidities that would probably mean it would have knocked me off my perch.

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    • #
      Kalm Keith

      Interesting.

      It was known that Italy had open borders from what was going on in Europe for the last few decades, but what came as a surprise to many was the extent of movement back and forth between Italy and China.

      There were also reports that there was a significant number of unofficial Chinese residents on top of the known visiting guest workers.

      The health implications of the porous borders are substantial and no doubt helped differentiate Italy from Australia in health matters such as CV19.

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  • #

    What??? You mean I had a flu jab for nothing?

    On the bright side there is a good chance that covid restrictions will continue for some time and I can then safely avoid a flu shot next year.

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  • #
    Single Malt

    The real problem is that the stupid politicians are now so heavily invested in the ‘danger’ of Covid that they are at a point of no return. Four people get sick and an entire city is spinning out because a clueless Ardern has decided to lock them up like farm animals. When will these clowns realise that ‘sh*t happens’ and people sometimes get sick and die. I wonder if Chairman Dan will enforce a lockdown through the summer months to prevent melanoma, a far greater killer than Covid every will be.

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    • #
      Lucky

      Agreed, but to my knowledge there are four positive cases, not four people who are sick.
      The test that detects the cases is worthless.

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    Stuart

    Norway is having to bail out funeral homes because they are going broke. People are safe at home so no accidents they have gone from13 funerals a week ( average per funeral home) to 3!!COVID saves lives.

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  • #
    Stuart

    [Duplicate]

    11

  • #
    Stuart

    [Duplicate]

    11

    • #
      Steve of Cornubia

      OK, we heard you the first time!

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    • #
      Gabriel Pentelie

      The reason funeral homes in Norway have taken a financial hit is because the strict social distancing rules limit the number of attendees allowed. As a result, people are not booking the usual type of ceremonies, which account for the overwhelming majority of a funeral home’s revenues. A similar impact has been in play in other countries. Nothing to do with “COVID saves lives”.

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  • #
    STJOHNOFGRAFTON

    According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control:

    “There are no historical observations or scientific studies that support the confinement by quarantine of groups of possibly infected people for extended periods in order to slow the spread”.

    Given that this virus is survivable at rate of around 997 / 1000 and that the majority of deaths occur to the elderly in the final years of life, usually with co-morbidities, the valid question we should be asking is: to what extent are these lockdowns about
    totalitarian style political control?

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    • #
      David Maddison

      The restrictions are a test.

      The Government has seen how easily the Sheeple rolled over, almost without complaint.

      Now they know how easy things are.

      The lockdowns and economic destruction have gone way beyond and above what is scientifically supportable or justifiable in a supposed representative democracy.

      If you ever wondered how dictatorships get established, and how easy it is, now you know.

      The only country in which it will be relatively difficult to establish a dictatorship is the United States. They have the magnificent Second Amendment as a “reset button” for the Constitution should the forces of evil ever take over.

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    MP

    My father just died from covid-19.

    My father had prostate cancer and at the beginning of March a PET scan found it had progressed to his bones (Hip) he was to start chemo mid March but your lock down stopped all treatment. The doctors told us he had 3 years with chemo or three months without. (I thought it was 18 months with, but my mother corrected me) By the beginning of June he was bed bound, but could still get to the bath room and he was started on morphine tablets which eased his pain, by the end of June we had to get in nurses to assist us as he could not get out of bed anymore, could not eat, he was then put on morphine liquid orally. This lasted a week and they could not cope with the issues in the home.
    He went into palliative care the second week of July, (Another PET scan was done on admission which showed the cancer was in every bone bar two ribs) morphine intravenously when the pain got too much, then what they call a push, which is a dosing gadget that administers the drugs all the time, with what they call a break away (top up) when the pain came back.
    I got down there (NSW) when boarder restrictions between QLD and NSW were lifted. (I am in FNQ) The pain my father was in was terrible and the doses of pain killer were increased continuously, he would eat nothing, my father lost all control of his functions and was in nappies. He was a proud man and this was so demeaning.
    I spent two weeks in the hospital watching my father suffer, begging the nurses to give me the means of allowing the end, watching my mother being tortured, she would not eat and was wasting away with my father.
    His last week he could not talk and I can’t remember him opening his eyes, but on the day before he passed we left the room to allow the nurses to do their thing, but I had to go back in for some reason and my father had been rolled on his side, he opened his eyes so wide and starred at me, I felt like he was blaming for his continued suffering, I will never forget that look and I have told no one in my family of that. He passed midnight the following night, alone.
    I am probably writing this as therapy for myself, knowing we should not have been in that situation for so many reasons, knowing I should of and could of have done something.

    My father died from covid-19 restrictions.

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    • #
      Kalm Keith

      The important thing is that you were there with him near the end and he almost certainly knew it.

      Others have not been so fortunate when relatives were denied access to nursing home residents in the process of passing.
      At best some were able to wave at each other through a glass safety barrier.

      What has the world come to when this sort of thing can happen?

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    • #
      Gabriel Pentelie

      Ugh. I’m very sorry that your dad ended up a casualty of the myopic focus on “crushing” covid-19. I hope that your sharing your story eases the frustration/anger you are feeling, even if only a little bit.

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      • #
        MP

        I had not shed a tear since my father passed, until I was writing that. I have not stopped thinking of him or the terrible situation he was forced to endure since I wrote that.
        So maybe a good thing, time will tell.

        Thank you for your thoughts and to all those below.

        My thoughts: This BS must be stopped

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        • #
          Jojodogfacedboy

          My daughter is mentally in rough shape directly to do with how the hospitals healthcare experiment was the total opposite to what she really needed. It also was very rough to go through too as it put me through a rage that I never experienced before.

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        • #
          sophocles

          My sincere condolences, MP.

          It’s never easy.

          20

    • #
      David Maddison

      MP, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss.

      50

    • #
      Annie

      That is so sad MP.

      40

    • #
      Dennis

      I understand, after spending eighteen months caring for a friend who passed early in January from cancer, in palliative care for the final couple of months.

      Very sad for you and your family.

      30

    • #
      Jojodogfacedboy

      MP, Sorry for your loss and do not blame yourself.
      The anger is not your fault.
      I have had relatives including my mother who were very,very angry that they were passing.
      My father-in-law in his last breath threw his wife hand away and yelled “Get the f**k away from me”.
      The anger is not uncommon.
      Take care.

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    • #

      Holy shit. I don’t know what to say, man. At least he is no longer suffering.

      30

    • #
      PeterS

      Sorry to hear of your loss. At least it’s now over. Take care.

      30

    • #

      MP: Sincerest sympathies.

      A dreadful thing to go through.

      Jojo’s comment seems very believable. Pain does terrible things.

      I’m sure it’s no comfort at all, but the real failure of the health ministry goes back years. They failed to plan for an inevitable pandemic. Where was our manufacturing? Our supplies? The PPE and the drugs?

      The travesty is Brendan Nelson not calling for the Borders to close. They could have kept the virus out and our hospitals and businesses open.

      15

      • #
        MP

        Thanks Jo, how did we run out of PPE at the very start, only 300 people in hospitals Aus wide at its peak and only 7500 people tested positive. we have an army, navy and air force who’s medical capabilities are for mass causality events.
        The world ran out of PPE at the very start, we closed down all medical facilities based on a model that was so far from actual any normal scientist would be embarrassed.
        My father was murdered by our government lies and those that pushed for it, look at the number of people diagnosed with cancer daily in Aus and multiply that by the lock down days, that is whats coming. Cancer spreads so fast at least in my fathers instance there is no time to delay treatment.

        We are doing nothing about manufacturing, billions of dollars are being pushed into short term useless projects with a years work. In FNQ we have been shutting schools due to low numbers and one of the projects is build more schools,
        We still get everything from China, there is only the odd whisper that goes nowhere, there is no intention of changing that and no one is being held accountable.
        Look at the corruption in our government and our opposition is not saying a word.
        Million dollar enquiry after million dollar enquiry and the same things keep happening over and over.

        We keep being fed lies and propaganda from the media and governments, there used to be laws to prevent what is now occurring and nothing is said.
        Facebook, twitter and google have stated they will delete everything that does not conform to their views and they are actively doing this and the governments do nothing. Those companies actually have their own fact checkers and fact check themselves or their comrades opinion.
        News has basically become opinion, no facts or data is presented.

        We are being governed by lies and we get to vote for who they give us to vote for. They steal our money from under our noses, tell us their doing it and nothing happens.

        Globalists.

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        • #

          MP we ran out of PPE in Jan and Feb because 80 tons of our supplies were being harvested and sent to China.

          China was telling us “it’s the flu” and the “it’s treatable” while they were asking Chinese nationals to send it back. I have no gripe with Chinese Australians sending masks to relatives in Wuhan where it was desperately needed. But this was industrial level sabotage done from Warehouses.

          I do have a problem with Australians sending masks to family in China who did not also speak up and tell Australians what was happening in China.

          Our government finally banned the export of PPE, but far too late.

          I visited seven hardware and safety stores on around Jan 28th in Perth and bought the last box of N95 in one store, and found one last boutique type hardware store had the only stock left. As far as I knew, Perth people were not buying up masks (apart from crazy me) at that point.

          China then used it’s spare masks to offer to countries apparently in deals to sweeten chances of China’s geostrategic aims. Eg offering them to countries where it wanted nicer 5G deals or other favours.

          China did the same in Italy and even make Italy donated masks to China and then had to pay to get it’s own masks back.‘ Appalling.

          Australia was caught with it’s pants down. We have only one mask production factory in Australia and Greg Hunt did not even send in the army to boost production there until March 17th!

          I could see this was coming by Jan 28th, but our Chief Medical Officer could not? He advised keeping borders open because “The WHO said too”. Our pandemic plan had not been updated for years. Greg Hunt was waving an influenza pandemic plan in Feb which was hopelessly inadequate.

          What happened to your father was a travesty, and gross incompetence. The Chief of the WHO still has his job. Brendan Nelson utterly failed the country but was promoted instead.

          There are indeed many lies. Choose carefully which ones to follow.

          Find videos from doctors in Italy and Spain talking about what it was like. I watched many who reported at the peak how desperate and heart-wrenching their work was in choosing who would live and die and who would get access to intensive care when there weren’t enough beds. Their medical systems were swamped to the extreme. There was a pain and suffering like none of them had seen in their careers. I also spoke to many in the Australian medical system. They could quote the death rates in foreign health workers (0.5% of cases in the USA) and some workers were breaking down in tears at decisions they had to make. They were planning to separate from families to avoid infecting and possibly killing high risk family members, they were considering resigning. They were guarding “the last three boxes of masks”. They were driving to bunnings themselves to get safety gear. We got lucky. But we have seen the dreadful scenario pan out in many countries Italy, Iran, Spain, Brazil, China, New York, South AFrica, Ecuador, Peru, India (despite it making 70% of the worlds HCQ). The only reason it has not become so awful in all the world is because of action people took to reduce the spread.

          Yes there are many lies, but there are lies about lies, there are false flags. And the biggest lie was in January from China saying “this is just the flu”.

          01

  • #
    Another Ian

    Around the corona area

    “Renowned European scientist: COVID-19 was engineered in China lab, effective vaccine ‘unlikely’ ”

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/renowned-european-scientist-covid-19-was-engineered-in-china-lab-effective-vaccine-unlikely

    Via Tip of the Spear

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  • #
    JohnJ

    If lockdowns are so good, how do we explain ABS Mortality stats ?

    Note the stats for influenza / pneumonia, dementia, and diabetes. Why did their increase coincide with the spike in Covid cases ? Was it due to government policy and media hype, scaring people into staying away from hospitals ?

    Why don’t we see press conferences and media reports about the doubling of influenza / pneumonia deaths during March/April, compared to the 5-year average ? Don’t those people matter ?

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    • #

      John, Covid is a form of pneumonia and deaths peaked at the same time as the covid infections.

      The post above and the one Chris and I did in May list all notified influenza cases week by week.

      If you have some evidence that those were influenza deaths, please post it. We are using Australian health department pathology results.

      46

      • #
        JohnJ

        Jo,

        Under the ABS page section “Respiratory diseases”, they state that “COVID-19 deaths are captured using WHO issued emergency codes U07.1 and U07.2 and are not currently grouped with any other diseases“. The section on “Influenza and pneumonia” states that “Influenza and pneumonia are a subset of respiratory diseases (J00-J99)”.

        This suggests that Covid deaths are NOT being included in the ABS influenza and pneumonia data. They appear to be categorised separately.

        Which brings me back to my original question. Why did increased deaths from influenza / pneumonia, dementia, and diabetes coincide with the spike in Covid cases ?

        Your original post seems to be referring to cases, not deaths. If fewer people are going to their doctor or hospital during this period (eg. for fear of infection), that may explain fewer reported cases of these other illnesses. It may not indicate that these other illnesses are less frequent, particularly if the mortality rate has increased.

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    Tony

    Hi Jo,

    For influenza, there are several universal (protect against every strain) vaccines in development. I don’t think clinical trials are underway in Australia, but potentially there are ways (challenge trials? Use in agriculture first?) that could get development finished for people in a few years. Once everyone is vaccinated – then no more influenza pandemics.

    For anti-virals, I think there are some straight-forward explanations. There are plenty of antivirals (think multiple generations of increasingly effective anti-HIV and HepC drugs), but these viruses cause major problems for individuals and society. I suspect part the issue is for a sore throat caused by a virus, it wasn’t viewed as cost effective to get a swab then a treatment. By the time the results are back it may be too late to use anti-virals. What would be ideal, is that a sore throat is treated with a broad spectrum anti-viral… now there are few of these, but there are possible targets. One drug class that I think is underfunded are the DRACOs. Most viruses make longer dsDNA than humans, so we can target many viruses without needing to take (and pay) for a throat swab.

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  • #

    Eventually this lockdown nonsense will have to stop. Nobody is going to lease commercial property if there is a realistic chance of a yearly lockdown. Many kinds of businesses cannot function in this environment.

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  • #

    Where is Bill from Oz?

    22

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    • #
      Serp

      They’ve run dead in the last two elections which surely accounts for much of Andrews’s hubris which has, unfortunately for the people of Victoria, brought him to this pass where he’s been obliged to temporize and trust his backroom elves to concoct a plausible defence in time for the Coate inquiry.

      20

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    RickWill

    Maybe anyone who contracts any contagious disease in the workplace could take Johnson & Johnson along with their advertising agency for the Codral “Soldier On” advertisements:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnsxh95BP_o

    This is clearly a very poor message to promote.

    I have not seen the ads this year.

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    STJOHNOFGRAFTON

    Great results in significantly reducing the usual, almost perfunctory, cold & flu season disease numbers. Ironically it needed a series of mandatory lockdowns to achieve this phenomenon.

    Here’s a big what if: what if we could get an education on good, common sense personal hygiene and public health practices. The media would be a great resource. Ads about ‘soldiering on’ after taking cold & flu meds so that you can still go to work, school or socialise and light up your colleagues should be banned. Instead, the media should be used to help educate the public on the basic science of effective hygiene. There could even be some humour aimed at the usual boofheads to shame them into becomming socially responsible with their own health and hygiene.

    The general public imbued with a thorough and practical education on good health practices would be a far better alternative to forced lockdowns. We might even avoid totalitarian government.

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    • #
      el gordo

      Its bigger than personal hygiene, we have to stop new flu strains entering Australia. Do away with the flu vaccine and every flu season we’ll blanket the media with warnings to ‘keep your distance’ and anybody who comes to work sick will be reprimanded.

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      • #
        MP

        Ridicules, but nothing stopping you from doing that, but that is not how you people work, you want everyone else to save you from your perceived demons.

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    • #
      MP

      How do we avoid what has already occurred?

      10

      • #
        el gordo

        We learn from our mistakes so that it doesn’t happen again, like avoiding WW3 because of mutually assured destruction.

        Patience and perseverance is required at this time, to stifle new viruses like we did with the Spanish flu. To my knowledge they didn’t find a vaccine.

        I guarantee we can make influenza an old world problem and we we won’t be wearing masks to achieve the desired result.

        00

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    Mark McD

    I didn’t read everything but it seems to me there’s one thing not being talked about…

    How many of these non-appearing disease numbers are because they are being counted as covid instead of what really killed the victims? there are many stories and even some evidence that if it is at all possible to say ‘covid’ on the DC then that is to be the #1 reason. And that’s even if they have NOT registered positive.

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    UK-Weather Lass

    As I have said before the problem with advocating one set of actions against another is that nobody gets a chance to play the same scenario twice which is the one condition required to judge one from the other. What was so wrong with not locking down during previous ‘flu seasons in spite of knowing people would die? If it actually helped in reducing the potential number of deaths via relative population immunity then perhaps it was a wise choice after all, which. perhaps, should have been our reaction to Covid-19 all along. We will simply never know the answer to that conundrum although it will not stop people trying.

    I was ‘taught’ in a very kindly sort of way when I had my first real three day fever (never accurately GP diagnosed) that catching anything and everything at a young age would increase my immunity with age. I’ve never forgotten that. It saddens me to see what we have done to ourselves in 2020. We have opened far too many doors to worse epidemics (and actions to restrict them) to come, IMO. I’d like one epidemiologist to explain why no exposure is better than exposure and recovery in most influenza like disease except for the vulnerable and elderly for whom it can produce very unwanted complications.

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      Kalm Keith

      Great perspective there.

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      The problem UK-Weather Lass are the numbers.

      In a typical year in the USA there are 3,000 to 15,000 certified deaths from Influenza.

      This year, after major efforts to social distance and stop infection, the US death toll is already over 150,000 and the year is only half over.

      See my blog post. The famous Flu tallies are modeled estimates of a burden and are grossly inflated.

      In other words, this is not a typical flu season. The hospitalization rate and sickness among healthworkers is a burden not even the wealthiest countries in the world can bear easily.

      While there is a lot we don’t know, we do know that we can’t just respond to this as if were a “usual flu”. If this is like “the flu” it’s more like The Spanish Flu.

      The CDC explains the “estimates” process.

      The CDC itself acknowledges the slim relationship, saying “only a small proportion of deaths… only 8.5 per cent of all pneumonia and influenza deaths [are] influenza-related.”

      Big-Pharma have an interest in exaggerating the flu burden, and sadly many good minds don’t realize that there are many different viruses (and even bacteria too) making up the “influenza and pnumonia deaths” tally.

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    Another Ian

    Heard on Ben Fordham today

    “Imposing the wearing of masks after 4 weeks is like wearing a condom to a christening”

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      Which is cute but wrong.

      As soon as masks are worn they reduce the spread to new victims. They shorten the need for lockdowns, protect wearers, increase freedom, reduce hospitalization.

      Ask yourself, if everyone “at a Christening” stopped using birth control from then on, would there be more births starting nine months later?

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        Gabriel Pentelie

        Real world data does not support such a categorical assertion, be it in regards to cases or deaths:

        https://healthy-skeptic.com/2020/07/26/mask-wearing-deaths/

        The Dutch and Swedish health authorities, having studied the evidence, concluded a couple of weeks ago or so that there is insufficient evidence as to the effectiveness of face masks. Last I heard, Denmark has been conducting their own study of the matter as well, and will announce their findings shortly.

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            Gabriel Pentelie

            What you’re linking to is not Real World Data. It’s Laboratory Data (e.g. Mask Type A, of density B, prevented C percent of particles of size D from escaping past the Mask Type A barrier entirely, and the remaining particles traveled no further than F centimeters, etc.) based extrapolations, the validity/applicability of which, when it comes to conclusions such as “Masks reduce spread by 70%, Distance by 80%”, depends on a whole slew of ASSUMPTIONS regarding the degree to which Real Flesh-and-Blood people in the general public are able to avoid behaviors (e.g. frequent touching, adjusting/readjusting, removing/replacing, leaving the nose exposed, forgetting/foregoing sanitization protocols, etc.) that reduce (exponentially, it seems) the effectiveness of masks.

            Otherwise put, …

            What you’re linking to is, basically, … models. Models that, basically, say “IF X percent of people were perfect mask-wearers, and they wore masks Y percent of the time, the number of COVID-19 cases would be reduced by Z.”

            What I linked to, on the other hand, is, basically, empirical data. Data that points to the LACK of clear CORRELATION (let alone CAUSATION) between mask-wearing by the general public and infection/death rates.

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        Kyle

        I believe Sutton actually wrote a paper stating that masks do not work and that is what the WHO stated only a few months ago but now they do work. Why the change, science or politics ????

        This is worth a readhttps://www.thetruthbarrier.com/2020/08/12/arthur-firstenbergs-findings-about-masks-probing-the-microbial-cosmos-invoking-the-work-of-lynn-margulis/

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          Kyle,

          Masks are so important that the WHO and the CDC all told the world they didn’t matter in Feb. That’s when they realized they were hopelessly underprepared, and to cover their @$$ they tried to stop a run on hardware store masks.

          They didn’t have enough masks in hospitals. It was and is a scandal.

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    Another Ian

    “Coroner’s advice on death certificates ‘assuming’ COVID-19 as cause of death”

    https://www.michaelsmithnews.com/2020/08/coroners-advice-on-death-certificates-assuming-covid-19-as-cause-of-death.html

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    Bill Hall

    Interesting the numbers went up for Barmah Forrest and Ross River virus went up. Is this because more people went out fishing during the ‘lock-down’ ?

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    Stoichastic

    Curious that other diseases are down here in Australia, and also appears to be true in the UK.

    FLU has killed more people in the UK than coronavirus for seven weeks in a row, new stats reveal today.

    Flu deaths are also lower than the five-year average – highlighting the drop in coronavirus fatalities.

    However…

    Almost five times as many people are now dying of influenza or pneumonia than Covid-19, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics.

    The other day I read 10% of the COVID-19 deaths in the UK had to be removed due to incorrect attribution or similar.

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    Zigmaster

    The way I interpret the information is that the measures we’ve taken by deliberately stalling the economy tried to save people who were going to die from something anyway. Flu kills 350,000 to 600,000 each year with a vaccine , those most likely to have died from flu most likely being the same people to die from COVID.
    I then look at the massive disruption to the economy, the severe increase in mental issues and consequent suicides and the loss of basic freedoms such as not being able to travel more than 5 km from home. Yes, in the short term lockdowns may saved lives but when cost/ benefit is looked at in the medium to long term the response to COVID has made the world a more dangerous place. Politically if the Wests response means that Trump could be voted out and the Chinese will be unstoppable with a Democrat in control .
    There is no silver lining to the responses to COVID. Your suggestion that we now have less commicable disease is not much different from the Warmists who think it’s great that we have less emmission.

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      Except Zigmaster, for the difference that I care about people dying and the warmists care about a reduction in aerial fertilizer.

      Not the same…

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    dadgervais

    This makes a great case for perpetual lockdowns, border-closures and quarantines. Wonder how long Australian society will survive this new normal?

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    Peter

    From the latest edition of the Lancet…

    “ Government actions such as border closures, full lockdowns, and a high rate of COVID-19 testing were not associated with statistically significant reductions in the number of critical cases or overall mortality.”

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    Broadie

    Is this a measure of Over-servicing in the health care. ‘You know the thing’ (to quote Biden) that eventually destroys Socialism and bankrupts the country?

    The huge suppression of influenza and other non-COVID diseases also adds a new perspective to the pandemic sick leave funding in Victoria that compensates low-income earners in particular who have run out of annual sick days and are showing up to work despite feeling ill because they fear for their jobs and their earnings. Should such funding always be available nationally to counter the possible long-term suppression of not only COVID-19 but all communicable diseases, some potentially deadly, with resultant public health cost savings?

    A reduction in so many diseases is surely a productivity boon to both employers and the population at large.

    Or?

    In a country where visits to Doctors or Outpatients are free for a large proportion of the population. The diagnosis of Influenza could be affected by people staying home and enduring the illness, rather than risking the chance of catching the much feared Covid19 at clinics. Effectively the reduction may be an indication of the over servicing that occurs when you tell people something is free.

    The other artifact affecting the results may be that there isn’t pressure to obtain a sickie when you are already working from home or on one of the Corona hand outs.

    So that old chestnut, the data!
    How many tests were done for influenza year on year?
    How do Tele-medicine Doctors take samples?
    Were the COVID19 virus test samples also subjected to tests for the other influenzas?

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    Travis T. Jones

    Massive International HCQ Study Shows Substantially More Deaths in Countries Not Using HCQ Early

    https://sarahwestall.com/massive-international-hcq-study-shows-substantially-more-deaths-in-countries-not-using-hcq-early/

    Massive international study looks at 70 Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) studies of which 42 were peer reviewed.

    The results showed that countries with early use of HCQ (Costa Rica, Israel, India, Russia, Turkey, Algeria, Morocco, Indonesia, Ukraine, Greece, Cuba) had significantly less deaths than those countries that restricted widespread HCQ use (Mexico, USA, U.K., Sweden, Ireland, France, Netherlands, France).

    Study involves the populations of 2 billion people.

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    Gabriel Pentelie

    Jo:

    You keep referring (in your OPs including this one, as well as occasionally in your comments/replies) to your April 3 blog post titled “No doubt about it: 12 days after lockdowns, quarantines and isolation, Coronavirus slows”.

    Well, here’s another way to think about the question of whether/how well “lockdowns, quarantines and isolation” work:

    The following table lists a whole bunch of countries, the name of each of which is followed by the date when it reached/surpassed 10 COVID-19 cases (not 10/million, mind you, just 10), the date when it reached its daily COVID-19 deaths peak (I’m using the 7-day moving average function on Worldometers for that, in order to avoid the problem of “spikes” on any particular date), the number of days between said dates, and finally the number of weeks involved (rounded off). Note 1: I’m using Worldometers data. Note 2: I’ve capitalized the names of the countries that your aforementioned Apr 3 blog post characterized as having met the “lockdowns, quarantines, and isolation” criteria that you’ve been advocating. Note 3: I’ve arranged the list in descending “number of weeks involved (rounded off)” order.

    Canada: Feb 23, May 6, 73, 10
    JAPAN: Feb 15, Apr 24, 69, 10
    GERMANY: Feb 15, Apr 18, 63, 9
    United States: Feb 15, Apr 17, 62, 9
    France: Feb 15, Apr 7, 54, 8
    AUSTRALIA: Feb 15, Apr 6, 51, 7
    United Kingdom: Feb 24, Apr 14, 50, 7
    Sweden: Feb 28, Apr 16, 48, 7
    Belgium: Mar 3, Apr 16, 44, 6
    South Korea: Feb 15, Mar 30, 44, 6
    ITALY: Feb 21, Apr 2, 41, 6
    Austria: Feb 29, Apr 10, 41, 6
    NORWAY: Feb 29, Apr 8, 39, 6
    Netherlands: Mar 1, Apr 8, 38, 5
    Portugal: Mar 6, Apr 13, 38, 5
    SPAIN: Feb 26, Apr 3, 37, 5
    SWITZERLAND: Feb 28, Apr 5, 37, 5
    Denmark: Mar 3, Apr 7, 35, 5

    I, for one, don’t see in the above list a correlation that would cause me to reach a definitive “Lockdowns, quarantines, and isolation work!” type conclusion.

    Do YOU?

    PS:
    Now, one may fairly ask:”Why did you choose 10 cases as a starting point?”. Quite simply, it’s about media coverage dynamics. Meaning, the first case is a “Meh” type event. A single case, especially in countries with a population of, say, over 1 million, tends not to make it into the “above the fold, bold type headline” category. TEN thereof, however, …

    One may also fairly ask “Why did you switch to peak daily DEATHS, as opposed to peak daily CASES?”. Quite simply, it avoids the problem of the degree to which the number of daily cases is a function of daily … tests. The more tests performed, the more cases diagnosed, after all.

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      sophocles

      An inexpensive win has been spelt out here by Jo:

      http://joannenova.com.au/2020/04/perhaps-solve-the-other-pandemic-vitamin-d-deficiency-to-help-beat-coronavirus/

      I invite you to read it.

      Once you’ve read it, you could answer this question: What colour is your skin? (no, this is neither racist nor irrelevant! :-) )

      My skin is white and I don’t tan to anything darker than a light one. My father’s family comes from Northern Ireland and my mother’s from somewhere around Kent, so my skin is quite sensitive to the sun. White skin generally originates in cloudy climates — it makes lots of vitamin d with relatively light UVB conditions. You could say that the only reason for a white skin is to better make vitamin D faster. Melanin is a natural secretion in skin to block excessive UVB light. The more melanin in your skin, the less vitamin d your skin can/will make per unit time. Mine works at somewhere around 15,000 IU per half hour. Younger people may make up to 20,000 IU per half hour.

      If you choose to get your vitamin d this way, don’t use a sunscreen. It blocks UVB.

      Vitamin D 3 is not a vitamin, it’s a hormone. You could call it The Good Health Hormone, and not be wrong.
      (see https://vitamindwiki.com for more information …)

      At suitable levels, it boosts your immune system to where you will be mostly immune to covid, influenza and common colds. If everybody took care of their vit-d levels, lockdowns wouldn’t be necessary.

      Most people who die from either Covid or Influenza most likely have less than ideal levels of Vit-d, usually much less.

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    WXcycles

    Considerably better economics if you let them die though, Jo.

    (sorry, getting jaded by ‘skeptics’)

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    Gabriel Pentelie

    OK, I’ve had some extra time to do some more extensive research, crunch some data, etc.. As a result, I have to raise some serious objections to the OP.

    1.
    In regards to the table comparing influenza reports in May, June, and July of 2014 through 2019 to influenza reports in May, June, and July of 2020, …

    The May 2014-2019 average is massively influenced by May 2019, which saw about 3 times as many reports thereof as the previous 5 Mays COMBINED. The June 2014-2019 average, likewise, is massively influenced by June 2019, which also saw about 3 times as many reports thereof as the previous Junes COMBINED. The July 2014-2019 average is not as massively skewed by the July 2019 numbers, for it is “only” equal to the number of reports thereof in the previous Julys COMBINED, but that’s only because July 2017 was another extraordinary July (33,372 reports).

    2.
    In regards to the table comparing all notifiable diseases in May, June, and July of 2019 to May, June, and July of 2020, and then calculates reductions in the number of reported diseases of 68.1%, 78.5%, and 83.3%, respectively, …

    The numbers are massively influenced by influenza reports, without which the reductions would be, respectively, 29.1%, 20.5%, and 35.1%.

    Furthermore, if one were to take out venereal disease related reports (surprise, surprise, lockdowns mean there’s a lot less casual hanky-panky goin’ on), those reductions would then come pretty darn close to just plain old regular Y-to-Y seasonal variability territory.

    3.
    Additional thoughts:

    The May-July 2010 period featured 97% fewer influenza reports than May-July 2009. There were no lockdowns in 2010. So what was it that, to borrow from the caption of the table mentioned in Point 1, “almost wiped out influenza” in 2010?

    The May-July 2013 period featured 76% fewer influenza reports than May-July 2012. There were no lockdowns in 2013. So what was it that … “almost wiped out influenza” in 2013?

    The May-July 2018 period featured 87% fewer influenza reports than May-July 2017. There were no lockdowns in 2018. So what was it that … “almost wiped out influenza” in 2018?

    4.
    Statement in the OP:”The 2019 Flu season was a bumper year in Australia, far above the norm. But there has never been a flu season like this one.”

    Not true. In the following table (which goes back to 2001, not just 2014), it’s not that difficult to find a handful of May-July periods that are comparable to May-July 2020:

    http://www9.health.gov.au/cda/source/rpt_3.cfm

    CONCLUSION:

    Categorical assertions/claims of the sort made in the OP (e.g. the very title of this thread, for one istance; “Lockdowns have almost wiped out influenza”, for another; etc.) are quite unwarranted, especially when accompanied by numbers (e.g. “50,000”).

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    Gabriel … your point 1 is answered by your Jo quote in point 4: “The 2019 Flu season was a bumper year in Australia”.

    You might note that in the non-flu season of January to March, this year there were 20,039 compared to 25,229 in 2019. However, the 2010-2018 average for January-March was 4,401, with a consistent upward trend since 2010 when it was just 464.

    You then have the developing flu season of May to July : 2014 – 13,438; 2015 – 20,832; 2016 – 13,940; 2017 – 44,464; 2018 – 7,675; 2019 – 158,580; 2020 – 639.

    On your point 2, remove the flu and all sexually transmitted diseases (yes, it is indicative of disease suppression when people are kept apart) and for May, June, July combined you get : 2019 – 31,149; 2020 – 24,201. That’s a 22.3% reduction. For anybody interested, just flu and STDs in May, June, July totalled : 2019 – 196,874; 2020 – 26,034. Down 86.8%.

    On your point 3, there were 44,711 flu notifications in May, June, July of 2009 and 1,274 in 2010, compared to 158,580 in 2019 and 639 in 2020. That’s a 97% vs 99% reduction, which doesn’t suggest much difference, but the raw numbers tell a different story. There were 9,172 in all of 2008, 59,036 in 2009 and 13,459 in 2010.

    The 50,000 reduction you quote can be compared with Jan-Jul 2019 when there were 367,781 total notified non-COVID diseases (67 all up, including flu and STDs) vs 155,654 in 2020. From May to July, there were 228,023 in 2019 and 50,235 in 2020. Different disease rates flare and subside over the years but the figures consistently suggest this year isn’t normal.

    It’s also worth noting that Australia’s total population increased from 22,031,750 in 2010 to 25,365,571 in 2019 (up 15.1%) and 25,499,884 in 2020 (up 15.7%). The 65yo+ demographic increased 35.2% from 2,986,675 in 2010 to 4,038,179 in 2019.

    It’s logical to assume that reducing contact and proximity between people will reduce the incidence of communicable diseases, and there should be little surprise that the reduction in disease notifications backs that up.

    Also note the ABS monthly household survey from late June (https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/ProductsbyReleaseDate/1B89EEDF5DCE7388CA2585B1007BC982?OpenDocument) which suggests 91% of Australians were very or somewhat likely to seek health care or advice if they experienced mild respiratory symptoms, which doesn’t support claims that people are avoiding doctors.

    Albeit getting little media attention, various political leaders, academics and journals such as The Lancet have noted unprecedented reductions in flu numbers over recent months. It’s a wet, chilly August now and the flu cases in the beginning of 2020 suggest we should normally be worried about a repeat of the 61,064 influenza positive cases in August 2019. So far this August (15th today) we’ve had 38.

    Maybe the anti-lockdown camp should stop protesting the obvious and instead focus on the herd immunity argument that still might have some legs as time goes by.

    I happen to agree that lockdowns prevent health systems initially being overwhelmed but I’m neutral on whether it’ll prove the correct long-term strategy. For example, it’s worth keeping an eye on emerging studies that suggest recent infection with the common cold, and maybe also influenza, provides T-cells and antibodies already primed by the immune system for a more immediate and efficient defence against SARS-CoV-2 when it first enters the body.

    It’s interesting to note that the claimed Russian vaccine appears to be an adenovirus vector vaccine containing a weakened version of the common cold virus that has been genetically changed to trigger the production of immune cells – antibodies and T-cells. Maybe, maybe the Russian vaccine proves effective and safe (they’ve actually got a fairly good track record on such things).

    But mindful that there are usually far more people who catch the flu or cold and don’t bother seeing a GP than are officially notified, it’s possible that the scarce recent cases of the flu (and very likely the common cold for the same lockdown reasons) will increase the vulnerability of Australians when the COVID-19 virus sneaks in.

    I’m not saying that’s the case because I don’t know, but the data suggests it’s a possibility that at least deserves some consideration.

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      Gabriel Pentelie

      Thank you for your response, Chris. I appreciate your taking the time to do so. I will try this weekend to reply.

      Meanwhile, one more observation:

      Australia went into full lockdown at midnight of March 30. In March, there were 5,895 influenza reports. In April, … 308. Down 95%.

      There is absolutely no way that the lockdown could possibly have, as the title of this thread puts it, “wiped out the flu” that quickly. No way, no how.

      The only type of lockdown that could achieve anything close to that would involve every Australian man, woman, and child climbing into a personal isolation pod, away from everybody including family, and staying there until further notice. And even then, there would still be a lot more than 308 influenza infections about in April, just due to the thousands of people who had already caught it in the waning days of March, but whose cases wouldn’t (even under normal reporting lag circumstances) have made it into the reporting system pipeline until sometime in April.

      So, I think we can safely dispense with the theory that the lockdown “wiped out the flu”, and look for plausible explanations instead. Such as reporting reluctance on the part of people who, under normal circumstances, would have wasted little time in interacting with the health system upon the onset of flu-like symptoms, for instance. Such as the swift and drastic shift in priorities on the part of the health system, whereby everything not devoted to “crushing the COVID curve” was put on the back burner, for another instance. Such as misclassification problems that might or might not be sorted out later at some point, when there’s time to do that.. Probably some combination of all three, I should think.

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        Gabriel
        go to WA Virus Watch.

        See the latest report. page 4

        “None of the 720 specimens submitted for influenza testing were positive for influenza in the past week. ”

        This time last year 20 – 40% of all pathology tests were for Influenza. This time it is 0%.

        Look at Page 5. The non-influenza viruses. There should be 150 cases of those each week at this time of year. They are also under 20. Notice the huge bizarre spike in March? That was people with colds running to the doct to get tested. we’ve never had a spike like that in March. It probably shows the normal level of colds — meaning that most years only one tenth of people with a cold get tested. But it also shows West Australians were keen to get tested right through March. but then all this diseases faded away with the restrictions of movement. They didn’t come back because we haven’t opened the border yet.

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      Gabriel Pentelie

      “Gabriel … your point 1 is answered by your Jo quote in point 4: “The 2019 Flu season was a bumper year in Australia”.
      You might note that in the non-flu season of January to March, this year there were 20,039 compared to 25,229 in 2019. However, the 2010-2018 average for January-March was 4,401, with a consistent upward trend since 2010 when it was just 464.
      You then have the developing flu season of May to July : 2014 – 13,438; 2015 – 20,832; 2016 – 13,940; 2017 – 44,464; 2018 – 7,675; 2019 – 158,580; 2020 – 639.”

      Oh, sorry. I should have elaborated in order to make clear what my Point 1 is about.

      I’m not questioning the indisputable fact that 2019 had a monster of a flu season.

      What I am questioning is the choice of comparing the AVERAGES, as opposed to the MEDIANS of the May 2014-2019, June 2014-2019, and July 2014-2019 data sets to, respectively, May, June, and July of 2020. The reason is precisely because 2019’s outsize “weight”. Especially when it comes to very small data sets (in this case, just 6 items), the presence of such an outlier data point calls for using the median. Doing so avoids, to use a wildly hyperbolic analogy just to make the point, the “Jeff Bezos walks into a bar, and therefore, on average, all patrons are now billionaires” problem.

      Again, it’s my fault for not elaborating on this when I made my Point 1.

      “On your point 2, remove the flu and all sexually transmitted diseases (yes, it is indicative of disease suppression when people are kept apart) and for May, June, July combined you get : 2019 – 31,149; 2020 – 24,201. That’s a 22.3% reduction.”

      It would indeed be interesting to look back over the past 20 years or so (prior to 2020, that is) and see what the “All diseases minus influenza” fluctuation range has been, whether on a Year X versus Year Y, Month of Year X versus Month of Year Y, Quarter Z of Year X versus Quarter Z of Year Y, etc. basis. I suspect that it wouldn’t be too difficult to find fluctuations thereof that are upwards of, say, 10%. But I don’t really know, since I haven’t had the time to look into it.

      “For anybody interested, just flu and STDs in May, June, July totalled : 2019 – 196,874; 2020 – 26,034. Down 86.8%.”

      Already addressed.

      “On your point 3, there were 44,711 flu notifications in May, June, July of 2009 and 1,274 in 2010, compared to 158,580 in 2019 and 639 in 2020. That’s a 97% vs 99% reduction, which doesn’t suggest much difference, but the raw numbers tell a different story. There were 9,172 in all of 2008, 59,036 in 2009 and 13,459 in 2010.”

      None of the above, I’m afraid, addresses the 3 questions I asked in my Point 3.

      “The 50,000 reduction you quote can be compared with Jan-Jul 2019 when there were 367,781 total notified non-COVID diseases (67 all up, including flu and STDs) vs 155,654 in 2020. From May to July, there were 228,023 in 2019 and 50,235 in 2020. Different disease rates flare and subside over the years but the figures consistently suggest this year isn’t normal.”

      I’m afraid I don’t understand what the above means. You’re all of a sudden bringing Jan-Jul stats into a May-Jul stats discussion, then switching back to May-Jul stats, and then finishing off with a sentence that nobody can disagree with. Yes, it is certainly true that “this year isn’t normal”. And yes, it is certainly true that “different disease rates flare and subside over the years”. But what does that have to do with the fact that the difference between 367,781 and 155,654 is nowhere near 50,000, or some such?

      “It’s also worth noting that Australia’s total population increased from 22,031,750 in 2010 to 25,365,571 in 2019 (up 15.1%) and 25,499,884 in 2020 (up 15.7%). The 65yo+ demographic increased 35.2% from 2,986,675 in 2010 to 4,038,179 in 2019.”

      Excellent point. Yes, when analyzing such things over long periods of time, it’s always best to look at things on a “per capita” basis.

      Unfortunately, in this case, lots of diseases just “zero out”, making comparisons over time quite problematic. Oh, well.

      “It’s logical to assume that reducing contact and proximity between people will reduce the incidence of communicable diseases, and there should be little surprise that the reduction in disease notifications backs that up.”

      It is NOT logical, however, to assume that the reason there were 95% fewer influenza reports in April 2020 than there were in March 2020 is because of the lockdown that went into effect at midnight of March 30.

      I’ll have to leave it here for now. Perhaps more later.

      PS:
      I’m really enjoying our interaction, Chris. Data-based discussions/debates warm the cockles o’ my heart.

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        Gabriel … from what I can make out you’re disputing that there’s been any reduction at all in influenza or other non-COVID diseases, or that the flu reduction wasn’t 50,000 or 95% or whatever, based on arguments that the medians rather than averages of each year should be calculated and/or the reluctance of people to see their GP because of COVID fears.

        Bearing in mind the ABS survey suggesting 91% of people likely to seek medical care for even mild respiratory symptoms in June, which isn’t surprising since the government and media are also telling them to do so, your argument really is facing a mountain of conflicting evidence.

        I think I’ve provided enough data to make my point but I’ll still link you to a few articles whose headlines alone might have you wondering if the content of this post is inaccurate or exaggerated …

        The Advisory Board website for health professionals : “Flu in the Southern Hemisphere has ‘practically disappeared.’ What does that mean for America’s flu season?” (https://www.advisory.com/daily-briefing/2020/07/24/coronavirus-restrictions)

        Medical Republic website : “Flu is dead, long live flu” (http://medicalrepublic.com.au/flu-is-dead-long-live-flu/30405)

        Medical Journal of Australia : “COVID-19 lockdown suppresses measles, but beware the return” (https://insightplus.mja.com.au/2020/23/covid-19-lockdown-suppresses-measles-but-beware-the-return/)

        ABC News : “Flu deaths drop in Australia as coronavirus restrictions save hundreds of lives” (https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-23/coronavirus-restrictions-cause-flu-cases-to-drop-australia/12480190)

        You’re rapidly being outnumbered by medical experts and academics in countries around the world, and almost all of them agree the flu and/or non-COVID disease suppression is because of lockdowns and social isolation.

        Yes, I also enjoy data debates rather than the usual scorn sessions and I appreciate the civil dialogue even though it would seem we agree to disagree.

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          Gabriel Pentelie

          “You’re rapidly being outnumbered by medical experts and academics in countries around the world, and almost all of them agree the flu and/or non-COVID disease suppression is because of lockdowns and social isolation.”

          The track record of the experts (especially the modellers) during this pandemic has been akin to that of climatologists. Being outnumbered by them does not cause me any angst. Appealing to their authority reminds me of the “97% of climate scientists agree” argument, something that Jo has been valiantly waging battle against for years.

          I would like one of these experts to explain the biological mechanism that caused influenza cases to drop from 5,900 to 300 between midnight on March 30 and the end of April.

          “Yes, I also enjoy data debates rather than the usual scorn sessions and I appreciate the civil dialogue even though it would seem we agree to disagree.”

          Wholeheartedly agree. Incivility brings heat, but no light.

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            Gabriel, is this a sincere question?

            I would like one of these experts to explain the biological mechanism that caused influenza cases to drop from 5,900 to 300 between midnight on March 30 and the end of April.

            Influenza is also spread by similar mechanisms to covid. Droplet, Fomite. Aerosol (in the right situation). Therefore behaviour that slows Covid will slow Influenza. Cleaning. Distancing. Hygiene. Sun. Disinfection. Rapid air flow, open windows. UV light.

            This is not a surprise, and we could have done it for years, but it wasn’t worth the cost except in 1918, when we also did Social Distancing.

            All viruses are long code chains which need fresh bodies to beat decay. They don’t have arms and legs or a metabolism to lie dormant for long repairing the inevitable damage. Therefore if we leave SARS viruses sitting on a bench they collect errors til they are just a bunch of harmless amino-acids. It takes about 2 weeks at room temperature. It takes hours at 40C. But it can take months at 4C.

            It’s just chemistry — pure molecular stability. It isn’t biology unless it’s in a cell. There is no energy source without your mitochondria.

            Bacteria are much larger. They can harvest energy from food sources around them and lie dormant in soil or dust, or convert to spores, and live on to infect months later.

            Viruses cannot defeat background radiation, temperature or entropy without our help.

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              Gabriel Pentelie

              “…behaviour that slows Covid will slow Influenza.”

              Of course. But that’s not what happened to influenza reports. They did’t slow. They PLUNGED. Not gradually, but pretty much IMMEDIATELY. The difference between the COVID-19 case trajectory after the lockdown went into effect on March 30 and that of influenza cases is stunning:

              COVID-19:
              Number of cases in March: about 4,700. Lockdown goes into effect. Number of cases in April: about 2,000, down about 58%.

              Meanwhile, …

              Influenza:
              Number of cases in March: about 5,900. Lockdown goes into effect. Number of cases in April: about … 300, down about … 95%!

              Viruses that, as you yourself point out, are largely similar do not react to lockdowns in such starkly dissimilar ways.

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                Gabriel,

                Viral survival time outside of human bodies is measured in hours and at most, a few days. https://www.oie.int/doc/ged/d8191.pdf

                The attack rate of Covid is far higher than influenza because it is so novel. It also has a 2 week incubation.

                Influenza spreads twice as fast (incubation wise), but can only infect half as many people.

                Covid went on to infect family at home. Influenxa may or may not have had other victims with no immunity at hand.

                This was textbook epidemiology.

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    Gabriel Pentelie

    I thought I’d add …

    1.
    From Australia’s DoH:

    “DATA CAVEATS AND INTERPRETATION 
    It should be noted there are several caveats to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) data for Influenza (laboratory confirmed) notifications in this public dataset release: 
    General 
    • These Influenza notification data are based on data extracted from the NNDSS on the date specified in the downloaded MS Excel Influenza public dataset. Due to the dynamic nature of the NNDSS, data on this extract is subject to retrospective revision and may vary from data reported in published NNDSS reports and reports of notification data by states and territories. 
    • These notification data represent only a proportion of the total cases occurring in the community, that is, only those cases for which health care was sought, a test conducted and a diagnosis made, followed by a notification to health authorities. The degree of under-representation of all cases is unknown and is most likely variable by disease and jurisdiction.”

    Link: http://www9.health.gov.au/cda/source/pub_influ.cfm

    2.
    And from the US CDC:
    “How many people get sick with flu every year?
    CDC conducts surveillance for people who see their health care provider for flu-like illness through the Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network (ILINet); a network of thousands of health care providers who report the proportion of patients seeking care for flu-like illness weekly to CDC. This system allows CDC to track levels of medically attended flu-like illness over the course of the flu season. CDC does not know exactly how many people get sick with seasonal flu each year. There are several reasons for this including that ILINet does not include every health care provider and monitors flu-like illness, not laboratory-confirmed influenza cases. Also, flu illness is not a reportable disease and not everyone who gets sick with flu seeks medical care or gets tested.”
    Link: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/faq.htm

    Given the conditions that medical systems throughout the world have been operating under during the past few months, the above caveats should be kept in mind even more than usually.

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    Gabriel Pentelie

    Jo Nova wrote (there is no Reply “button” available to click in the post, so I’m just copy-pasting it here):
    “Gabriel,
    Viral survival time outside of human bodies is measured in hours and at most, a few days.  https://www.oie.int/doc/ged/d8191.pdf
    The attack rate of Covid is far higher than influenza because it is so novel. It also has a 2 week incubation. 
    Influenza spreads twice as fast (incubation wise), but can only infect half as many people. 
    Covid went on to infect family at home. Influenxa may or may not have had other victims with no immunity at hand.
    This was textbook epidemiology.”

    It is not accurate to state that the incubation period of COVID is 2 weeks. It CAN be, in some (many?) cases. But, as per the CDC (link below), it generally resides in the neighborhood of 5 days. There’s a paper that seems to be making the rounds in the last couple of days (link below) that may (or may not) end up causing a revision thereof up to … gotta love the precision, btw, … 7.7 days. We’ll see.

    Meanwhile, as far as transmissibility/contagiousness periods go (again, as per the CDC):

    “If a person has COVID-19, they may be contagious for a longer period of time than if they had flu.
    Flu
    Most people with flu are contagious for about 1 day before they show symptoms.
    Older children and adults with flu appear to be most contagious during the initial 3-4 days of their illness but many remain contagious for about 7 days.
    Infants and people with weakened immune systems can be contagious for even longer.

    COVID-19
    How long someone can spread the virus that causes COVID-19 is still under investigation.
    It’s possible for people to spread the virus for about 2 days before experiencing signs or symptoms and remain contagious for at least 10 days after signs or symptoms first appeared. If someone is asymptomatic or their symptoms go away, it’s possible to remain contagious for at least 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19.”
    IOW, there’s considerably more overlap between the epidemiological behavior of influenza and COVID-19 than your post above allows for.
    Hence my continuing skepticism (to put it mildly) in regards to the astounding difference between the behavior of the COVID-19 case reports trajectory in the immediate aftermath of the March 30 lockdown and that of influenza case reports. The former experienced a perfectly understandable gradual (and then accelerating) decrease, whereas the latter immediately (pretty much) plunged off a cliff.

    Here are the aforementioned links:
    https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/flu-vs-covid19.htm
    https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/scientists-revise-covid-19-incubation-period-to-7-7-days

    PS:
    Speaking of links, thank you for yours. Haven’t read the paper yet (just very lightly skimmed it for now), but I will when I get some time. Question: Have its conclusions remained unassailed over the close to 30 years since its publication?

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    Gabriel Pentelie

    Jo:

    Following up on my earlier statement “It is not accurate to state that the incubation period of COVID is 2 weeks.”, in response to your “Covid … has a 2 week incubation” claim, …

    I had no idea at the time of just how inaccurate your claim was/is.

    Turns out, 2 weeks is not just outside the TWO standard deviation range thereof, but is quite likely outside the THREE standard deviation thereof.

    Link: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-incubation-period/

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