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Is Dan Andrews doing the right thing?

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44 minutes ago, Alan Collett said:

A virologist I know ...

 

It's interesting that none of the lead signatories on the Covid Medical Network article you cite are virologists. There seem to be a lot of anaesthetists, some GPs, a urologist... And the network of more than 500 Victorian doctors is actually a group of doctors, nurses and other health professionals who may or may not come from Victoria. 

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You are such a cynic.

There's none so blind as those that don't want to see ...

Best regards.


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58 minutes ago, Alan Collett said:

A virologist I know says most are ineffective - I understand that the size of the virus is comfortably less than the size of the holes in most of the masks that are being worn.

I perceive though that masks invite an awareness (maybe almost subconscious) of keeping one's distance from others.

Correct.

None of these tactics are about 100% protection from the virus, that simply isn't possible, unless perhaps if you take the North Korean approach[1].  The objective is simply to reduce the R0 value.  Once you bring that under 1 and keep it there, then the virus will burn itself out.  Mask wearing does that in a number of ways:

  1. It protects the wearer.  As you say the protection is not 100% but it does have a proven effect.
  2. It protects everyone else from the wearer.
  3. It naturally creates a barrier between people interacting socially.

The lower the R0 value the quicker it will burn out, i.e., less time before you can reopen completely sans international travel.

[1] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-54275649

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20 hours ago, Alan Collett said:

The policy is one of suppression, not eradication.

Isn't it?

It is eradication of community transmission.    It has to be, because New Zealand and all the rest of Australia, except NSW, has eradicated community transmission.  And until Victoria can do the same, not one of those states is going to open its borders to Victoria, is it? 

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1 hour ago, Alan Collett said:

You are such a cynic.

If I were a cynic, I'd be suggesting that some people who don't have Daniel Andrews's best interests at heart are trying to sabotage his strategy in order to have political ammunition to lob at him - paying for that ammo with lives. 

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2 minutes ago, Quinkla said:

If I were a cynic, I'd be suggesting that some people who don't have Daniel Andrews's best interests at heart are trying to sabotage his strategy in order to have political ammunition to lob at him - paying for that ammo with lives. 

 

Are you saying that our State Premier should be immune from scrutiny?

And can you explain who these " ... some people ..." are?

Best regards.

 


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3 minutes ago, Alan Collett said:

Are you saying that our State Premier should be immune from scrutiny?

Of course not. Just noting that the same people who said we should open up for Mothers' Day are the same people who said our lockdown was not strict enough and we should have brought in the police/army, who are the same people who voted against a state of emergency, who are the same people as now say we should live with Covid and accept the mortality. 

I am not seeing scrutiny or strategy, just contrariness. 

As for who they are - they are the same people who signed a contract for the East West link a couple of weeks before an election they knew they would lose, committing Victorians to paying hundreds of millions for cancelling the contract just so they could criticise the new Government.

Blowing millions of dollars of hard earned money and spreading a deadly virus to score political points - and still people vote for them. Go figure. 

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I think most of us accept that mask wearing will continue plus social distancing. It seems necessary, we don’t want to end up like the uk and Europe. However, the 5 km zone is something most don’t now agree with given there are more sensible strategies like not allowing anyone to travel to the ‘hotspots’ and not allowing people from ‘hotspots’ to leave their immediate areas. The rest of us could then live again and when the ‘hotspots’ improve they can have their freedom,too. Why should businesses in areas where there are no cases have to suffer and go under? No sense at all.

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4 hours ago, starlight7 said:

I think most of us accept that mask wearing will continue plus social distancing. It seems necessary, we don’t want to end up like the uk and Europe. However, the 5 km zone is something most don’t now agree with given there are more sensible strategies like not allowing anyone to travel to the ‘hotspots’ and not allowing people from ‘hotspots’ to leave their immediate areas. The rest of us could then live again and when the ‘hotspots’ improve they can have their freedom,too. Why should businesses in areas where there are no cases have to suffer and go under? No sense at all.

I think that Australian Federalism needs to be put under the microscope, or at least reviewed due to the inconsistency between states relating to the response to Covid 19.  

The Feds need to step up as leaders in order to take out the political element of Covid-19. Maintaining long-established state borders is a monumental advantage in the sense that the borders are geographical lines on a map but they are also social boundaries.

Australia is a Covid island with a degree of compliance in its population second only to Japan, and that is its advantage, and must be recognised as such on a common, consistent national basis rather than being managed currently as a series of jockeying Covid fiefdoms.

This is, after all, a national emergency and so it needs a national approach.    We need a plan for severing all immigration to Australia, We need a national strategy identifying key freight/supply corridors ( national highways, rail, air and maritime)  As much as we need to prioritise high population centres ( NSW and Victoria)  we will also need to maintain critical elements such as the WA wheat belt, the Riverina, Queensland's primary industries etc.

We need a national health and welfare strategy particularly in relation to aged care across the country. Currently the commonwealth is basically a funding source for aged care while the states do as they like. 

Rant over.

 

Edited by Dusty Plains

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57 minutes ago, Dusty Plains said:

I think that Australian Federalism needs to be put under the microscope, or at least reviewed due to the inconsistency between states relating to the response to Covid 19.  ... This is, after all, a national emergency and so it needs a national approach.   

How and ever, the Constitution sets states up as sovereign and the Commonwealth only gets a look in on issues that the states and territories have agreed to cede to the Commonwealth. Actually, a national approach would be very unhelpful right now. Even within states, we are seeing local differences in regulation according to need. A one size fits all approach either leads to restrictions being placed on areas that don't need it, or on an inability to tackle hotspots until the problem has got big enough to justify a national intervention. 


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1 hour ago, Quinkla said:

How and ever, the Constitution sets states up as sovereign and the Commonwealth only gets a look in on issues that the states and territories have agreed to cede to the Commonwealth. Actually, a national approach would be very unhelpful right now. Even within states, we are seeing local differences in regulation according to need. A one size fits all approach either leads to restrictions being placed on areas that don't need it, or on an inability to tackle hotspots until the problem has got big enough to justify a national intervention. 

No, that is not the case  at all times.  If ( how can I describe it ) "the sh*t is about to hit the fan", then the Commonwealth can override the states.  The constitution (s109) provides that if there is an inconsistency between the law of a state, and the law of the Commonwealth, then the latter shall prevail to the extent of the inconsistency, and the state law is therefore invalid.

This was used in the second world war when the Commonwealth was about to evacuate Queensland ahead of the expected Japanese invasion of Australia. Apparently QLD is still smarting over that one. It was called The Brisbane Line and the Commomwealth came very close to sacrificing Qld to the enemy. Curtin called the Rats of Tobruk home and sent them into Papua New Guinea along with an army of 19 year olds from the streets of Sydney and Melbourne, who defeated the Japanese army (actually it was a slaughter). It was the first defeat of the Japanese Imperial land forces in the Second World War.  Sorry, I digress. 

We need a national strategy for the "island" concept and for the national interest. The Commonwealth has what is referred to as the helicopter view of the nation and subsequent intervention where necessary. 

Suggesting we only need the management of hotspots is a very European thing, that, put simply, is a micro response to a macro problem.

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On 16/10/2020 at 15:33, Alan Collett said:

A virologist I know says most are ineffective - I understand that the size of the virus is comfortably less than the size of the holes in most of the masks that are being worn.

I perceive though that masks invite an awareness (maybe almost subconscious) of keeping one's distance from others.

Best regards.

 

 

You shouldn't write them off on the advice of one person, that would be madness.

This may help:

Marc Lipsitch on Twitter: "I have always thought that analogies were  helpful in #scicomm and wondered if I went overboard with them when talking  to reporters. But I feel the presence of

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On 16/10/2020 at 02:54, Quinkla said:

I'm not sure how that is flipping an argument around or how that is relevant. We know that the mortality from Covid is 2-4% and we know that if it is left unchecked, almost all of us will get it. So with Australia having a population of 20 million, that would be 400,000-800,000 deaths. I don't think many people would think that was OK if it could be avoided. 

I'm not sure where you get the 2-4% from, that is almost certainly overstated.  Most studies say 0.5-1.0%.

Even then, the point it that the mortality rate is massively higher in some at risk groups, so a sensible approach is to lockdown those groups and support them, and let everyone else get on with life and the very small risk that applies to them.

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14 minutes ago, Jon the Hat said:

I'm not sure where you get the 2-4% from, that is almost certainly overstated.  Most studies say 0.5-1.0%.

No they don't. https://www1.racgp.org.au/newsgp/clinical/are-covid-death-rates-really-falling-globally

Please stop making stuff up. It doesn't help. 


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The issue is everyone gets it at once and so you can quickly have 500,000 people die in a very short period of time unless measures are taken.  

Now that treatments are becoming more effective, hospitals have more ventilators and partially effective vaccines might be on the way, governments have begun changing policy focusing on not letting hospitals get overrun (as per Europe).  This allows a far greater degree of business as usual.

The NZ approach was excellent at dodging the first deadly wave, buying the country some time while we learn more but I can’t see a future for that policy.  Even NZ will have to transition at some point when they deem the risk of uncontrollable numbers of deaths has reduced enough, maybe a partially effective vaccine will tip the scales for them.

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To the contrary, I think the NZ approach of zero community transmission is the only viable one until an effective vaccine is available and has been fully applied.

With the NZ approach the general public is not subject to social distancing fatigue, because there is practically no social distancing except for a few token gestures.  On the other hand, with the approach taken in Japan and South Korea (perhaps even Sweden could be included with this cohort), the general public must strictly abide by the social distancing policies in order to keep the R0 value around 1.

As soon as fatigue sets in, the R0 value will revert to its natural value which is well above 2 and the epidemic will run out of control very quickly.  This has already occurred on a number of occasions in South Korea and Japan, and appears to be occurring now in Sweden.  The two Asian countries both had to redouble on social distancing which means enforcing various measures that are not so dissimilar to the Victorian lock-down.  For example, South Korea had to close in-person schooling and revert to online education with the most recent wave in August.

Businesses hate uncertainty and the high-wire act currently undertaken in Japan/South Korea is inherently unstable.  Therefore it's not clear that their approach brings any economic benefits over the NZ approach.

Some might argue that the NZ approach would require the indefinite closure of international borders.  But neither Japan nor South Korea have reopened their international borders even though they're attempting to live with the virus.  In fact it's hard to find a single country that has opened their international borders while still keeping the virus under control.

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4 hours ago, mt9754 said:

The NZ approach was excellent at dodging the first deadly wave, buying the country some time while we learn more but I can’t see a future for that policy.  Even NZ will have to transition at some point when they deem the risk of uncontrollable numbers of deaths has reduced enough, maybe a partially effective vaccine will tip the scales for them.

It's so hard to judge at the moment, but some commentators are saying the NZ economy is already doing better than many of the economies that have gone for suppression.   If they can develop a travel bubble with most (or ultimately, all) of Australia and the Pacific Islands, that will make it even better.   I would be surprised if, after such success, they would contemplate opening their borders to anyone else before there's a vaccine - at least, not without strict quarantine measures in place. 

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1 minute ago, Marisawright said:

It's so hard to judge at the moment, but some commentators are saying the NZ economy is already doing better than many of the economies that have gone for suppression.   If they can develop a travel bubble with most (or ultimately, all) of Australia and the Pacific Islands, that will make it even better.   I would be surprised if, after such success, they would contemplate opening their borders to anyone else before there's a vaccine - at least, not without strict quarantine measures in place. 

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-54186359

Or maybe not ...

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And ... https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/money/2020/09/coronavirus-how-new-zealand-s-recession-compares-to-the-rest-of-the-world.html

How did New Zealand do?

Professor Ilan Noy, chair in the Economics of Disasters and Climate Change at the Victoria University of Wellington said New Zealand's GDP fall of 12.2 percent was expected.

"This is not really news to anyone; practically every country around the world (maybe with the exception of China) has experienced a deep recession in Q2 2020. The news is the amount of decline (for us 12 percent)."

Head of the school of economics and finance at Massey University professor Martin Berka agreed.

"The fall in GDP is within the range of economic forecasts and reflects, amongst other things, the strength of New Zealand’s economic restrictions during level 4 and 3 lockdowns that lasted much of the second quarter. 

"Although the relationship between economic cost and COVID-19 outcomes is nonlinear (having no restrictions and having maximum restrictions both achieve negative economic outcomes), New Zealand clearly opted to go for the more hardline approach regarding COVID-19 health outcomes, and on the margin, this resulted in worse economic outcomes relative to similarly-well-organized countries that chose a lesser degree of economic restrictions (such as Germany, South Korea, the Netherlands, Taiwan, etc.)."

He said ultimately the decision for New Zealand to go into lockdown was a societal choice made by the Government.

Prof Noy said New Zealand now needs to look towards the future and recovery.

"The important question is the recovery in Q3, and I think that we are well placed to see a stronger recovery in Q3 than elsewhere. So, this should not be a gloom and doom story, but rather one that points out that what happens next is what matters. 

"Since this is a self-imposed recession, and we have done many of the right things to keep the economy on a lifeline during lockdown, the questions that should be asked are around whether we are doing the right things to recover in Q3 (and Q4, since Q3 is almost over already).”

Other notable changes for countries GDP for the second quarter of 2020 according to OECD Stats include:

  • Austria -10.7 percent
  • Belgium -12.1 percent (provisional)
  • Canada -11.5 percent 
  • Chile -13.2 percent
  • Columbia - 14.9 percent
  • The Czech Republic -8.7 percent
  • Denmark -6.9 percent
  • Estonia -5.6 percent
  • Finland -4.5 percent
  • France -13.8 percent
  • Germany -9.7 percent (provisional)
  • Greece -14 percent (provisional)
  • Hungary -14.5
  • Iceland -9.1 percent
  • Japan -7.9 percent
  • Mexico -17.1 percent
  • Romania - 12.3 percent
  • Russia -3.2 percent
  • Spain - 18.5 percent
  • South Africa -16.4 percent
  • China +11.5 percent

=>   It is perhaps too early to say who's got it right and who hasn't.

Best regards.


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7 minutes ago, Alan Collett said:

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-54186359

Or maybe not ...

Best regards.

I did say it's hard to judge, because I'm seeing different economists expressing different opinions.  

Also, while NZ may be going into a recession, it's far from the only one. Many other countries have exactly the same problem, many of them worse than New Zealand.  And NZ is well placed now to recover, while countries that are struggling with second and third waves are not.  The UK has the unenviable record of having the worst death rate and the worst economic hit combined, as I understand it.

Edited by Marisawright
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It's a bit too early to count the beans.

What is certain though is that even when you fully reopen the economy, if the general public is fearful of the virus then your economy is still going to take a big hit.  For example, just because a restaurant is open doesn't mean that all the patrons will suddenly reappear.  Revenues will continue to take a beating until such a time when public confidence in health is fully restored.

Take the US for example, even though dining restrictions have been rolled back in most places for months, many people still have not dined out even once since the start of the pandemic back in March.

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On 21/10/2020 at 23:49, rtritudr said:

The higher figure is the CFR while the lower figure is the IFR.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Case_fatality_rate

Indeed, and the lower is the relevant one if you are trying to extrapolate across a population.  

You can't ignore the fact, particularly in the UK & US were lots of people are not able or willing to get tested with no or mild symptoms, that the denominator for these %ages is probably very understated.

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On 22/10/2020 at 05:44, Marisawright said:

I did say it's hard to judge, because I'm seeing different economists expressing different opinions.  

Also, while NZ may be going into a recession, it's far from the only one. Many other countries have exactly the same problem, many of them worse than New Zealand.  And NZ is well placed now to recover, while countries that are struggling with second and third waves are not.  The UK has the unenviable record of having the worst death rate and the worst economic hit combined, as I understand it.

A lot of others countries have bounced back quickly and are not even technically in recession (which requires 2 consecutive qtrs of GDP decline), but then will not suffer again with the resurgence and further lockdowns.

To be fair I don't think Australia and in particular NZ can be compared to Europe or the US, as they are so relatively isolated economically.


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