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Covid-19 – a political problem

Written By: - Date published: 11:08 pm, March 14th, 2020 - 103 comments
Categories: australian politics, health, International, us politics - Tags: ,

I always enjoy the The Juice Media videos for their unvarnished and deadly accurate satirical analysis of politics.

This one on the essential facts about the spread of Covid-19 concentrates on the United States. Personally I’m picking that country, by the end of the year, as being the biggest medico-political screw up world wide after Iran. Early wishful thinking and a lack of transparency cost lives.

In particular, notice the reasoning about how politicians can make a difference. By their decisive effective actions (something foreign to Trump skill sets) early in the spread they can make the difference on the loads at the medical facilities by reducing the spike of community spread. That requires tests and transparency. Pathetic bullshitting simply doesn’t help.

103 comments on “Covid-19 – a political problem”

  1. Sabine 1

     Personally I’m picking that country, by the end of the year, as being the biggest medico-political screw up world wide after Iran

     

    well, one could argue that Iran has been under sanctions now for many many years, and that the western world has had no issues starving Iran of medical equipment under the guise of 'no nukes for Iran' while the US simply has no reason for its fuckuppery. 

    So i would give Iran a pass, in fact i would like to ask where we would be if we had to live under the same sanctions as they do. 

    Fwiw, i consider the Iranians as more compassionate towards their own citizens then the US elite currently in government. 

  2. A 2

    Iranian people largely ignored their govt's pleas to avoid large gatherings (including prayer time at mosques) and took the days off for holidays instead of self isolation.  Even so I think they will end up better off than the US due to coping mechanisms developed during years of sanctions. 

  3. Paaparakauta 3

    I beg to differ. Tehran, as I remember it, has very high population density in contrast to a dispersed rural population. This variant of influenza will affect it as with any other large urban settlement.

    This is now a global problem, beyond ideology or religion. If there is an upside it is that it forces us to work together to find a solution.

  4. A 4

    I hope it's ok I post this here instead of Open Mike…

    Political problem..was wondering why WHO behaved as the did.  WHO could have prevented much of the spread early on but instead minimized the risks and put out advice that almost guaranteed spread. 

    Could be that due to his connections with Eritrea where he was born and Ethiopia that the political leanings of  Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus meant that under the slightest of pressure from China he was willing to put their interests above the rest of the world?

    https://www.who.int/antimicrobial-resistance/interagency-coordination-group/dg_who_bio/en/

    • RedLogix 4.1

      Yes, Tedros has a controversial past and his blatant refusal to declare a pandemic when it was obvious that a lack of immediate proactive action would ensure one would happen is utterly baffling on the facts.

      Hell ordinary people like you and I knew about the nature of this virus and the real threat it posed back in late January, that our so-called experts and leaders who are supposed to be smart, informed people have so egregiously failed, is indefensible. 

      This is not just Trump's Katrina moment, the failures are widespread and even if we manage our way through the medical and economic crisis, the body blow to our already battered trust in our political institutions could well be the worst impact long-term.

      • Wayne 4.1.1

        Iprent,

        This is the worst crisis in our lifetimes, by far. The Standard is one of the more significant political blogs in NZ. I reckon as authors you need to be quite careful. All countries have got the governments they have got. And by and large the public will need to back them as they try and deal with the crisis. Oppositions have got an obligation to back off from normal partisan politics. They are going to have to hep the government. That is what happened in 2011 in the months following the earthquake.

        I get it that commenters to the various items need to sound off. But as authors you shouldn't fan the flames.

        This crisis is going to test us to the limit. Not just the government, but all of us. There is going to be massive economic dislocation, and we are going to have to help our friends and family get through. Hopefully NZ will not get the pandemic in the way that Italy has, but it could easily get a lot worse than now.

        I imagine the virus will burn out in a few months, but that could easily be 12 months. It is going to be a tough few months ahead.

        • SPC 4.1.1.1

          It's more a case of nations having lockdowns whenever there is sufficient public spread to require this (to protect the health system), and how we adjust our border policy in response to what is going on overseas. 

          Hopefully the north will contain this by their summer, with minor levels of new cases through summer – at that point emulating the active response now being applied in East Asia. If they get as good at it, it might suffice next northern winter (that might be as good as this gets).  

        • Anne 4.1.1.2

          I appreciate your effort to sound a note of caution Wayne. And yes, it is sound advice and one I hope all will agree with.

          But it is very difficult not to get angry with the current American Administration and the need to sound off about them is as strong among authors as it is with ordinary commenters.

          America and the Trump team in particular have put the rest of the world in serious jeopardy due to their intransigence, their ignorance and their inability to act appropriately in the face of a growing crisis. And when you have a president who tried to cover up their internal failures by blaming Europe for the pandemic and single them out for specific 'punishment' then it isn't surprising some will want to express frustration in whatever way available.

        • weka 4.1.1.3

          Wayne I agree with your general cautions, but are you saying that Lynn shouldn't have been rude about the US administration? Or that he shouldn't be critical?

          Someone's probably going to write about what the UK just did, and that's not going to be pretty.

           

          • Poission 4.1.1.3.1

            The response was quick.

             

          • Wayne 4.1.1.3.2

            Weka, 

            The constant mocking of the US in the current circumstances is probably not helpful. There are lots of times when it is justified in relation to Trump, but is this one of them? Are they really being that hopeless?

            I am sure the NZ govt will be co-ordinating their response with the US, and with other states.

            As I have said, this is going to get pretty bad. People will need confidence in their government if we are to get through in the best shape possible.

            Obviously the government is not immune to criticism. From time to time they will deserve it. But the item posted by Iprent was at the level of saying that nothing they do is any good. Thats fine for the most partisan blogs, but I have always thought that The Standard is more responsible than that.

            • KJT 4.1.1.3.2.1

              I think you need to say this to the current National MP's.

              Hardly been helpful in the last few weeks

            • weka 4.1.1.3.2.2

              "People will need confidence in their government if we are to get through in the best shape possible."

              I agree, but this is why I think the US is the exception to the rule. Many, many Americans don't have confidence in the current administration and that's not about political partisanship, it's people being really scared of what that administration is doing, long before covid.

              I do think they are really that hopeless. Honestly and seriously. I'm also highly critical of what Boris Johnson did this week, but as bad as his politics are from my left wing point of view, I don't think they are in the same category (yet) as the US.

              For me it's not about the stupid tweets and stuff, it's about not having testing in place, and doing things like banning press from recording statements about cv. That's just dangerous. Even the running down of the health system and the pandemic team could be put aside if they changed their tack now, but they haven't.

              I think your points make sense for NZers talking about NZ govt, although if National were in power and doing what the US are doing I wouldn't hold back. Locally I'm more concerned about the number of lefties saying that the MoH response is shit and undermining that way. But few people in the US are going to be reading Lynn's post.

               

            • Sacha 4.1.1.3.2.3

              Are they really being that hopeless?

              Yes.

        • KJT 4.1.1.4

          Actually. Well said, Wayne.

    • Paaparakauta 5.1

      This is what happens when a real estate consultant tries to manage an epidemic.

      • Sacha 5.1.1

        Or a lazy con artist tries to manage an enema.

      • Andre 5.1.2

        He's managing it very well, thank you. It's going to be much biglier and more poweful than it could possibly have been with anyone else in charge. The bestest epidemic ever!

        • RedLogix 5.1.2.1

          Sighs … he really is a total goat of a man. Personally I think this is Trump's Katrina moment, but orders of magnitude worse. There is a small but non-zero chance he wont even make it to the election.

          He's pulled off an impossible series of political victories (at a terrible cost), but this fubar is of a different nature. The American people can be baffling and weird, but when they finally react it will be decisive and brutal.

          • Andre 5.1.2.1.1

            With Katrina, it's at least arguable that Shrub's pre-disaster actions were reasonable and the biggest failings were at the state level. So arguably, Shrub's personal failures were were more to do with the aftermath of a force majeure event out of his control.

            Whereas COVID-19 is a slow-motion disaster whose magnitude is entirely dependent on actions taken or not taken by the demented orange doofus.

  5. Karl Sinclair 6

    Would suggest NZ Inc needs to lock down now

    Stop the none essential travel abroad or into NZ

    Its not political….. it’s nature, and she don’t care

    Suggest powers that be read this article

    https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca

     

    With everything that’s happening about the Coronavirus, it might be very hard to make a decision of what to do today. Should you wait for more information? Do something today? What?

    Here’s what I’m going to cover in this article, with lots of charts, data and models with plenty of sources:

    • How many cases of coronavirus will there be in your area?
    • What will happen when these cases materialize?
    • What should you do?
    • When?

    When you’re done reading the article, this is what you’ll take away:

    The coronavirus is coming to you. 
    It’s coming at an exponential speed: gradually, and then suddenly.
    It’s a matter of days. Maybe a week or two.
    When it does, your healthcare system will be overwhelmed.
    Your fellow citizens will be treated in the hallways. 
    Exhausted healthcare workers will break down. Some will die.
    They will have to decide which patient gets the oxygen and which one dies. 
    The only way to prevent this is social distancing today. Not tomorrow. Today.
    That means keeping as many people home as possible, starting now.

     

     

    • Paaparakauta 6.1

      "The UK is not going into lockdown or for dramatic social distancing measures that many other nations are putting their faith in.

      Why? Because the government thinks that this virus cannot be stopped.

      As one of those at the heart of the government’s efforts explains: “A lot of the international response is, how do we stop coronavirus?

      “But that cannot happen: It is a global pandemic.

      “What we are saying is, we can’t stop it; but we can mitigate it and save as many people as possible.”

      The Government’s approach is going to be controversial.

      The consensus on how to handle this pandemic is already beginning to break down with Labour and the former Tory leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt calling on Boris Johnson to do more."

      https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/11171355/boris-johnson-coronavirus-nhs-overwhelmed/

      • Paaparakauta 6.1.1

        According to this source total UK CoV19 infections were 798 and death toll 11 at time of publication.

  6. Wayne 7

    Iprent,

    A completely unhelpful and useless satire. Says absolutely nothing about what is actually being done, and just uses Covid 19 as yet another opportunity to bash Trump.

    I would have thought The Standard (and you in particular) might want to make serious political commentary about the various national responses, not just have yet another partisan bashfest. 

    For instance is our current "self isolation" requirement for all people better than an actual ban. Will it in fact the outcome be the same? Who will book tickets to NZ if they know they have a self isolation requirement, or will it have little effect with large numbers of arrivals just ignoring it? Will there be way more testing at the airport?

    Serious questions, requiring serious debate.

    We  and the world, are in uncharted territory. Both medically and economically.

    Nothing like this (the level of restrictions both here and elsewhere) has happened in my lifetime. The last time international travel basically stopped (except for soldiers) was WW2. The world was way less interconnected then. Most people did not travel anyway.

    So I certainly hope the iris either burns out soon, or an effective treatment developed. Because I reckon our economy is going to retract by around 20% with hundreds of thousands out of work (say 10 to 15% unemployment). After all who is buying anything except the essentials?

    I reckon the govt will need around $40 billion in economic stimulus over the next twelve months. Current annual govt receipts are around $100 billion. These will drop to $60 to 80 billion as the economy retracts, but the govt will need to spend at least $120 billion, instead of the planned $100 billion.

    It will push up govt debt to around 50 to 60% of GDP.

    But there is no choice.

     

    • RedLogix 7.1

      not just have yet another partisan bashfest. 

      Wholeheartedly agree. A good comment and I appreciate the attempt to put some hard numbers on this event. They are of course up for debate, but any pragmatic discussion needs some starting point.

      Aside the medical and economic crisis, this is going to be a tough event politically. After all most govts around the world have badly failed to proactively manage this threat, when they had every opportunity to do so. The whole of the Chinese people have isolated for over a month now and in doing so potentially bought the rest of the world some time, but we mostly threw the opportunity away. There will be political repercussions in the long term, but avoiding the destructive ‘bashfest’ is going to be a difficult balance to achieve.

      • AB 7.1.1

        The thing to watch is where the "economic stimulus" goes – be it $40Bn as Wayne suggests or any other number. It's good that it's not  a National Party government making those determinations –  as they would likely get a diminished bang for their buck by being ideologically conditioned to distribute it largely at the top of the wealth-power pyramid. They'd do that because they are either deluded into really  believing, or are merely disingenuously claiming,  that it would  trickle down. 

        • Wayne 7.1.1.1

          I think you need to remember the first few months after the Christchurch earthquake. The whole Parliament was onboard with what was being done. I suspect that current government will be using that as a guide

          • observer 7.1.1.1.1

            That is true. Both Bob Parker and John Key were supported by political opponents in their respective responses.

            But then, Phil Goff was not calling John Key a "part time PM". Sure, there was the usual nastiness on the fringes, but it didn't come from the opposition leadership.

            Simon Bridges might regret listening to his Trumpy advisers telling him to go nasty, but it's a bit late now.

            • Wayne 7.1.1.1.1.1

              I think you are already seeing a change of tone.

              • Sacha

                The polling results have come in, yes.

              • Incognito

                Less electioneering and more collaboration would be a refreshing and necessary change in times of crisis. One would not need results for (internal) polling and focus groups to figure that one out. In fact, ignore all of those and start thinking about and acting on behalf of the country and the people instead of the party. Thanks.

    • barry 7.2

      Self-isolation will almost completely stop inbound tourism, but still allow migrants and long term visitors to come.  It is significantly less severe than an outright ban.

      It should also allow for a loosening on the restrictions form China.  It might be a bit late for most students this semester, but at least gives universities some home for the next.

      It is clearly better than reacting to the latest outbreak by banning countries individually and is politically more acceptable than banning people from US and Australia.

      Yes, it is going to hurt our economy and some measures to protect the worst affected will be necessary.  However, an Italian style lock down will be far worse, so strong measures are needed.

    • Poission 7.3

      After all who is buying anything except the essentials?

      I expect the current account deficit to decrease in absolute terms,due to both demand and price decrease in fuel for example.

      The NZ economy safety valve is the depreciating $,which is around 15% better off since the end of January.

      Protein demand for NZ exports,is starting to occur (especially out of China and Australia) and a decrease in both seasonal and migrant workers will enable opportunity for NZ based workers to increase their participation rate (as was evidenced following the Chc eq.)

    • SPC 7.4

      At the moment it is the two week isolation for us and foreigners coming in. 

      We can ramp it up to a ban when nations have rates like China, Italy and Iran. And we can even end it for those coming/returning from nations with low incidence (such as Oz, South Africa, India – where their inclusion is very proactive).

      On the economic side, action will have to be reactive – given we cannot yet know the effectiveness of measures taken overseas which will impact how long we maintain our border policy.

      • SPC 7.4.1

        where their inclusion/exclusion is very proactive and successful in preventing community spread.  

    • Sacha 7.5

      A completely unhelpful and useless satire.

      I'll defer to one of our best science communicators on that.

      • SPC 7.5.1

        Medical criticism of the American response and capability.

        Back on March 1 

        Worryingly though, there are now a few countries around the world in which there are people with COVID-19 that aren't linked to known hotspots and where it looks like the virus has started to spread out in the community. How this outbreak plays out on the global scale in the months to come is going to depend on whether they are able to get this transmission under control.

        While most of the world is looking at how the situation is developing in the Middle East, Italy, and South Korea, one of the countries I'm most concerned about at the moment is the US. They've just announced several cases in California, Oregon, and Washington State with no history of travel or known contact with another case.

        We are soon going to see what happens when this coronavirus meets a woefully underprepared national response in a country that for all intents and purposes despises socialised healthcare. It's not going to be pretty. And it could put us all in danger.

        Back in 2018, President Trump's administration basically axed the executive branch team responsible for coordinating a pandemic response and did not replace it.

        Now he's put the vice-president, Mike Pence, in charge of the Coronavirus Taskforce. The first thing Pence seems to have done is in effect gag all the experts who have been speaking out about COVID-19. He then jetted off to Florida to do some fundraising. And not for his task force. The vice-president doesn't have a great track record in the area of public health. When governor of Indiana, he oversaw the fastest HIV outbreak in the country's history, with his combination of budget cuts to healthcare and social services, and belief that the state shouldn't hand out "drug paraphernalia". At the time, public health officials were pleading with him to make clean needle exchanges available to try to reduce transmission of the HIV virus.

        This, combined with the fact that so many Americans don't have access to affordable healthcare and paid sick leave, leaves me wondering how on earth they can stop COVID-19 going viral, so to speak.

        Case in point, US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar (a former drug company executive and pharmaceutical lobbyist) has said there is no guarantee any vaccine developed would be affordable to everyone who needs it. Hell, they haven't even managed to properly sort out country-wide testing for the SARS-CoV-2 virus yet, despite the World Health Organization making all the protocols freely available.

        https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/world/20 … es-me.html

      • Poission 7.5.2

        And if the curve is a lie?

        The Curve Is a Lie

        These suggestions are dangerously wrong, and if implemented, will lead to incredible suffering and hardship. Let’s try to understand this by putting some numbers on the axes.

        • McFlock 7.5.2.1

          The curve isn't a lie. Saying the flatter curve is claimed to bring the pandemic to manageable levels is the lie.

          Hospitals are already frequently overwhelmed in NZ winters. Basic flu can still push us past 100% occupancy.

          The point to flu vaccines and "flattening the curve" is that it's the difference between an overwhelmed system where dozens/hundreds (maybe even thousands) more people die than usual in a given year, and a fucking society-decimating catastrophe with mass graves dug in public parks and outbreaks of mob violence over the course of a few months.

           

          • Poission 7.5.2.1.1

            What they are saying is,if social actions do not work the curve will not flatten.Cordon sanitaire was the only option weeks ago,as was social distancing.

            Good personal hygiene such as good handwashing,restricted contact etc will have the effect of constraining CV and the flu as well as most transmittable diseases as in Hong Kong.

            https://www.ft.com/content/ad7ae6b4-5eab-11ea-b0ab-339c2307bcd4

             

            • McFlock 7.5.2.1.1.1

              And if lifting your foot off the accelerator doesn't work, the car will not slow.

              But what's the mechanism for this measure not working? And how do you define whether something "works"? As I say, it's not about stopping an endemic outbreak and then eradicating it. It's about slowing the incidence of disease.

              Sure, it'll knock a fair amount of influenza, gastro, and common colds on their head as well, but we will still see an often-overwhelmed system become even more seriously overwhelmed..

              • RedLogix

                You are assuming the medical system will not react and adapt. Over the next few months it will ramp up it's capacity to deal with this. If at the same time we 'flatten the curve' sufficiently, the two may just close in on each other.

                • McFlock

                  It's a ray of light to hope for, but everyone is trying to ramp up at the same time as the ramp engineers are getting sick.

    • Macro 7.6

      A completely unhelpful and useless satire. Says absolutely nothing about what is actually being done, and just uses Covid 19 as yet another opportunity to bash Trump.

      Because up until a day ago in the US absolutely nothing was being done by the Federal Govt. Trump was boasting that anyone could get a test. How many tests were carried out by the CDC? – None. Almost all of the testing that has been done in the US (at around 23 tests per million and one of the lowest testing rates world wide) has been done by private labs at a cost of over $1000US per test. So yeah absolutely available to anyone.

      Trump BTW in 2018 disbanded the one Federal agency specifically designed to deal with such an emergency – because? Well Tax Breaks for the rich himself included.

      Pence tells workers to stay home if they feel sick. Pelosi in communication with the WH is able to cobble together a Bill that will cover around 20% of workers. Major employers such as Amazon are let off scot free. And McConnell chooses to have a 3 day weekend rather that introducing it to the Senate.

      So Yes! This post points the finger precisely where it should – at an incompetent, and lying Administration whose ability to deal with this crisis is simply to worry about how they can continue to feather their own nests.

       

    • weka 7.7

      I think you are conflating two things there. What is happening in NZ and the need for coverage of important questions (try Newsroom or the Spinoff), with the political issues underpinning the problems in the US which are going to kill people. Which isn't the travel ban, it's fuck up around the testing issues and the problems with the health system.

      I'm curious what the rw blogs are saying about Labour's handling.

      • Sacha 7.7.1

        Farrar is running the same line as his client party's current leader, and his ragtag reactionaries agree it's time for that woman to go so real men can take charge. Polishing their guns..

        • weka 7.7.1.1

          Christ. What has Wayne said over there re non-partisanship?

          • Sacha 7.7.1.1.1

            Doubt anything would register with the inmates. Twisted ol David Garrett is right up in there. Like a bad flashback.

          • Sabine 7.7.1.1.2

            politeness and civility are only a thing for the left and independents, the rightwingers have no such hang ups.  Bi-partisan is only ever for others. Why does anyone care what Wayne has to say anyways. Fwiw, he is retired, useless and not helpful. Might as well ignore him. 

            • weka 7.7.1.1.2.1

              He has a long history of bringing important debate to the site (preventing echo chamber), he's got governmental and political experience that many here don't (myself included), and if we don't talk to conservatives we will lose (nearly half of voters still support them)

              • Incognito

                Under normal circumstances, I would have pulled him up for his specific and incorrect comments about TS and what Authors should or shouldn’t write (about). But these are not normal circumstances and we need to have healthy [no pun] non-partisan conversations more than ever.

                • weka

                  For some reason that didn't bother me this time. Maybe because of the increased need for tolerance, but probably also because Wayne obviously put some thought into it rather than just dropping a few sentences of criticism.

                  • weka

                    which isn't an encouragement for people to write long criticisms of authors, lol, but I did find it easy enough to engage with the ideas Wayne presented.

                  • Incognito

                    Some criticisms comments lack context and nuance and are just negative rants. Wayne’s comments generally don’t fall in that category 😉

    • Dean Reynolds 7.8

      Wayne, in one post you have just destroyed the whole basis of your 'neo lib, free market, small government, privatisation, low taxes' ideology. You have confirmed what we Social Democrats have always known – every civilised society needs a strong, active, well resourced government, with a strong tax base, at all times, especially in times of crisis such as this. You have a short memory – just 2 weeks ago, in support of Simon Bridges, you strongly argued in a number of posts, for more tax cuts. Now you're telling us the government will need to spend an additional $20 B in the next 12 months to get us through this crisis.

      One outcome of this crisis will be to prove for all time, the stupidity of your whole right wing 'small government' belief system & proving this stupidity, will torpedo National's re-election chances in September. It's an ill wind…

    • lprent 7.9

      FFS Wayne – did you actually watch the video long enough to understand its points? When I say it was accurate I mean that it was fucking ACCURATE!

      The problem with this particular bug is the long incubation period which causes issues with reaction times. That makes it relatively easy for the bug to get inside a community and spread exponentially, then pop up a few weeks later as being a series of local epidemics.

      The key to dealing with it is to test and isolate by groups of contacts – in other words be isolation. Obviously this is different to the pandemic in 1919 with a 1-2 day gestation period. It relies on a lot of testing in the way that the South Koreans are do

      As far as I can see, the absolute worst responses are various forms of denialism. So far wherever this has happened, we get an infection growth curve that was best measured in Italy.

      That is exactly the infection path that the US is following because of incredibly late and inept reponses. As the video pointed out, that is directly related to their elected monarchy.

      That was the point of the video and was my point as well.

      Instead of looking at the medical interface with the political direction, you start prattling on political crap that has no functional purpose – when it comes to pandemics. Instead you, like Trump, appear to be looking at economic damage of the trying to prevent a pandemic ravaging a connected world population. Frankly that is something we can look at after we make sure that the disease doesn’t go exponential.

      Incidentally, our ages aren’t that different, so I never saw a decent pandemic either – no-one has seen a really wide-scale one like this since 1919. My interest in them came when I started training as a medic for obvious reasons. There are plenty of examples of pandemics in history – time constrained by transport at the times. I did quite a lot of reading on the history of them back in the 1990s – for a paper on epidemics. Hopefully we are better prepared to handle them than they were before the 20th. Especially dealing with the data required to trace contacts.

      Our current government is doing pretty much what is required to ameliorate the local epidemic to the point that our medical facilities should be able to handle it. There will be a lot of economic fallout. However that should not be the immediate concern.

  7. halfcrown 8

    I think America is going to end up a major cot case over this virus thing with massive deaths not only caused by the virus but also deaths as the homeless, unemployed and others possibly going bankrupt unable to afford the medical treatment

    This article in the New York Times is rather scary, I can see the pharmaceutical companies drooling with the thought of a new way they can make a "killing" over this virus.

     

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/18/opinion/pricing-hiv-drugs-america.html

  8. Sanctuary 9

    I think one of the reasons we have now got a blanket 14 day stand down is we didn't want to upset the Americans by singling them out.

    • Muttonbird 9.1

      Gave Australia the hand-off, too.

      That was somehow satisfying, but…this hysteria is going to damage a lot of lives. Far more lives that the virus itself.

      Disappointing to see our government fall for, and react to Opposition baiting.

      • Sacha 9.1.1

        Full respect for the decision-makers weighing up harms to livelihoods vs deaths, both on huge scales. Those working flat-out to plan NZ's response will not have had the energy to heed the reckons of opposition politicians.

        • Muttonbird 9.1.1.1

          Bad flu strain. If we stop the globe every time this happens we'll be driving horse & carts inside 20 years.

          #backtoworkeveryone

          • SPC 9.1.1.1.1

            One that those vulnerable and health workers cannot be vaccinated for. Thus is a threat to the health system.

            There are three approaches

            1. Passive. Allow spread (economy first) and apply lockdown only when the health system is overwhelmed.

            2. Delaying a choice. Active containment by isolation of the infected and contacts. Failure – community transfer – results in lockdown while the health system is still functioning.    

            3. The Wall. Block border intrusion to keep it out (accept the economic risk from harm to the tourism economy). 

            We have gone from 2 to 3, because now its spreading in Europe and North America we cannot take in tourists. 

            • Muttonbird 9.1.1.1.1.1

              It's more than just the tourism industry. Any industry which involves the movement of people for business purposes is now in total shut down as of yesterday.

              Like I said, if we stop the globe every time this happens…and it's going to happen a lot more frequently…dark ages before we know it.

              Got to come up with a better plan than this.

              • Sacha

                One world government.

              • mauī

                Spoken like a true globalist… you would probably be happier in an odious right wing country.

                • Muttonbird

                  Yeah, I know how it sounds, but I get the feeling those who are ok with this shut down are those who aren't impacted by it much, those with nothing to lose.

                  Tens or hundreds of thousands of lower-income people are going to have severe financial stress, housing stress, family stress for months or years because of this avalanche of restrictions we don't even know are necessary.

                  • Sacha

                    Who should decide whether it's worth it?

                    How many jobs saved per death?

                    • Muttonbird

                      Deaths from other strains of flu are not tallied and compared in this way so why should the latest strain be?

                      I did read today 500 New Zealanders die from flu each year. I am hoping the number will not be increased this winter but it does put this hysteria in perspective.

                    • Sacha

                      If you have not been paying attention to what is distinctive about this outbreak, why are you still here talking nonsense?

                      Do you seriously think governments all over the world would be taking such drastic steps if they did not need to?

                      Please educate yourself. Not helping.

                    • Muttonbird

                      I won't say what I'm thinking right now.

                    • weka

                      @Muttonbird

                      "Deaths from other strains of flu are not tallied and compared in this way so why should the latest strain be?"

                      There are a number of reasons, but this is probably up there as the most important. If we don't Flatten the Curve, then the rate at which this *new virus infects people and makes a significant number of them very ill, will peak above what our health system can handle. Think people lying in hospital corridors dying of cytokine storms and not able to breath, and medical staff having to triage the people into groups that will be left to die and groups they will try and save, because there aren't enough ICU beds.

                      What Sacha said. Things changed fast in the last week, but please get up to speed with this, because the whole hand washing and social distancing thing will save lives and a shit load of stress for people working in health. Pop into FB and talk to ICU nurses if you want to see what they say about the pandemic played down. You can also look at what medical staff in Italian hospitals are saying.

                      Additional reasons: the death rate is higher than the flu. We don't yet know what it is going to do once widespread in the population. Respiratory infections cause disability in some people if they don't kill them outright.

                      Flatten the Curve animation: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Covid-19-curves-graphic-social-v3.gif

                  • Anne

                    Tens or hundreds of thousands of lower-income people are going to have severe financial stress, housing stress, family stress for months or years…

                    Many of us went through it in the 1990s after the mass restructuring of the economy and I'm still trying to work out what benefits actually accrued as a result.

                    The Public Service department I worked for nearly went to the wall because of the changes. Suddenly we went from providing an essential service to becoming a profit driven organisation. The new management closed down regional and urban stations then wondered why we couldn't do out jobs properly. It was a shambles. Fortunately  sane minds eventually prevailed (under the Bolger Govt. I might add) and brought things back under control. 

                    Edit: Btw, having said the above I’m not suggesting there is much correlation between the two and that we don’t need to take drastic steps. We do.

                    • Sacha

                      The benefits accrued to a certain group of people. We need to watch out that does not happen again this time.

              • pat

                the only plan is to cope until such time as a vaccine is developed….everything else is wishful thinking

                • Muttonbird

                  I get that but does 'coping' every time there's a virulence out of China mean paralysing the world?

                  Hoping people come up with better solutions for next time.

                  • pat

                    out of china or anywhere else the response will be the same…coping

                    • Incognito

                      We need to become much more resilient in future, like it or not; CC has not been replaced by CV but the threat is more immediate and up close and personal. I know it is too early, but we have to get better at disaster planning and coping with global disasters.

          • McFlock 9.1.1.1.2

            I suspect the government's efforts have less to do with the opposition's bleating than the evolving situation.

            This has the potential to be "a very bad flu". Like, 1919/1920-level flu. Millions dead, with some regions getting off lightly and others getting hit bad – Western Samoa had 20% of its population die in less than a year.

            Basically, all our closest trading partners now have community spread of it. It might have a hold here, with the two latest cases being unconnected with each other or previous cases. Imported, yes, but in the last week how many more have come?

            That having been said, if we get in early with the social distancing we can make the pandemic a lot less lethal and less economically painful. The actual level required is a balancing act between enabling infections and the problems you have outlined.

            So no, if you have an illness, not "back to work". Stay home. I say this as someone involved with two organisations that have large-ish gatherings as contractual obligations and even reasons for existence. The next year is going to be especially tough for the wee theatre, but it's only a little one so we might be below any crowd restriction. But box office will still be low.

            And remember, don't shake hands: "live long and prosper" vulcan hand sign instead.

            https://www.todayifoundout.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Spock_vulcan-salute.png

             

             

             

  9. joe90 10

    During the Black Death in Europe the rich fled the cities, spreading the disease to other places. And today, the hot-spots seem to originate from those who assumed they could trot the globe with impunity and it wasn't their behavior that needed to change to avert a pandemic.

     

  10. SPC 11

    Political criticism of Trump and the GOP way.

    Daily Telegraph UK By: Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

    The world’s geopolitical order will be unrecognisable once Covid-19 has done its worst. Long-standing regimes will be badly compromised.

    Political systems that have never fully recovered from the Lehman crisis will suffer a second body blow. Those Western democratic governments that have been most complacent or incompetent will be torn to shreds by unforgiving electorates.

    ….

    America is about to face a grim reckoning. The US has the best healthcare in the rich world, and the worst.

    Pandemics exploit the worst. Trump can still avert disaster if he invokes executive powers to extend testing and care to the uninsured, and if he switches to lockdowns and wartime policies. But that is not happening.

    So the crowded rallies go on and the contagion will go exponential. I fear that the coming news cycle will be gold dust for Chinese propagandists.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/03/08/complacent-governments-will-torn-shreds-coronavirus-quake-reshapes/

  11. Karl Sinclair 12

    The government’s response is called a travel ban….

    you would expect that to mean …. ban people from travelling to or from NZ… but it does not. Instead “self isolate”. It’s a weak response. Watch out Jacinda, WHOever is advising you maybe giving you a hospital pass.

    Come on NZInc…. STOP, don’t pretend to do something,  cut out international travel to and from NZ

    Quote:

    https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca

     

    You might have fears today: What if I overreact? Will people laugh at me? Will they be angry at me? Will I look stupid? Won’t it be better to wait for others to take steps first? Will I hurt the economy too much?

    But in 2–4 weeks, when the entire world is in lockdown, when the few precious days of social distancing you will have enabled will have saved lives, people won’t criticize you anymore: They will thank you for making the right decision.

  12. dv 13

    A query about the case(s) on the cruise ship.

    How do they actually test for the virus?

    Where do they get the test kit?

  13. Andre 14

    Italy's health system nearing breaking point and switching to limp mode. Plans have been drawn up to abandon over 80s to fend for themselves.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/120292050/italy-may-abandon-over80s–and-sick-to-their-fate-as-crisis-grows

    For comparison, the over-80 proportion of the population is:

    Italy 7.3%

    UK 5.1%

    US 3.9%

    NZ 3.9%

    China 1.8%

    https://www.populationpyramid.net/new-zealand/2019/

    • SPC 14.1

      Another factor is the number of smokers with damaged lungs – 50% of Chinese men smoke. 

      • Andre 14.1.1

        Smoking rates are highish in Italy too, though not quite at that level.

        • Muttonbird 14.1.1.1

          Italy also has a very high number of adult children living with their elderly parents. Not sure about China but probably they are similar.

          Just think the two massive spikes in deaths in China and Italy are attributable to these factors which don't apply to New Zealand other than the Pacific community perhaps?

          I would hope the infectious diseases experts around the world would be doing a lot of research on this stuff…

  14. Dawn Trenberth 15

    This is an interesting site on covid 19 which shows the number of cases and deaths per country and also the number of cases and deaths per one million Italy has the worst rate per million people and the US is nowhere near this.  Of course as time moves on things may get a lot worse.  https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/?fbclid=IwAR3lK1J5dfViBZmUs6XCUNPk0DjubTLZKM_JEC2DXCMRBn2cizdGTIlnxUc  

  15. SPC 16

    What happens when you introduce testing at airports?

    This story is for NZME – and all those stories from those concerned there was no testing at our airports.   

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51895246

  16. aj 17

    About 20 aircraft crossing the Tasman towards NZ as we speak, that’s potentially 20×250 people = 5,000. Flight Tracker.

    • RedLogix 17.1

      Fortunately many of those flights will be running at well below capacity … but yes. If 14 day self-isolation proves insufficiently robust, then a total travel ban is on the cards.

      Incidentally Australia implemented the same 14 day isolation rule this evening.

    • SPC 17.2

      Imagine the chaos if they were all tested when they arrived? That is what happened in Chicago. 

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
    Tena koutou katoa  Nga tangata whenua o tenei rohe o Pōneke, tena koutou Nau mai, haere mai ki te hui a tau mo te roopu reipa Ko tatou!  Ko to tatou mana!  Ko to tatou kaupapa kei te kokiri whakamua  Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa   Welcome. I ...
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    3 days ago
  • PGF top-up for QE Health in Rotorua
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $1.5 million to ensure QE Health in Rotorua can proceed with its world class health service and save 75 existing jobs, Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. The PGF funding announced today is in addition to the $8 million ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Building a more sustainable construction sector
    A new programme, which sets a firm course for the Building and Construction sector to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, has been announced by the Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa. “A significant amount of New Zealand’s carbon emissions come from the building and construction sector.  If we’re serious ...
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    6 days ago
  • PGF funds tourism boost in Northland
    The Provincial Growth Fund is investing more than $7.5 million in Northland ventures to combat the economic impact of the COVID-19 virus, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced. The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) investment is going to the Northern Adventure Experience and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Four new projects announced as part of the biggest ever national school rebuild programme
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins today announced significant funding for Auckland’s Northcote College as part of the first wave of a new nationwide school redevelopment programme to upgrade schools over the next 10 years. The $48.5 million project brings the total investment in Northcote College to ...
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    6 days ago
  • COVID-19: Support to improve student attendance and wellbeing
    The Government has opened an urgent response fund to support schools and early learning services to get children and young people back on track after the Covid-19 lockdown. “While we are seeing improvements in attendance under Alert Level 1 Ministry of Education data shows that attendance rates in our schools ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Fast-track consenting law boosts jobs and economic recovery
    The law to boost the economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19 by speeding up resource consenting on selected projects has passed its second and third readings in the House today. “Accelerating nationwide projects and activities by government, iwi and the private sector will help deliver faster economic recovery and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Whanganui Port gets PGF boost
    Five port-related projects in Whanganui will receive a $26.75 million Provincial Growth Fund investment to support local economic recovery and create new opportunities for growth, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This is a significant investment that will support the redevelopment of the Whanganui Port, a project governed ...
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    6 days ago
  • More support for Sarjeant Gallery
    Whanganui’s Sarjeant Gallery will receive an investment of up to $12 million administered by the Provincial Growth Fund to support its redevelopment, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. The project is included in a $3 billion infrastructure pipeline announced by Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Shane Jones yesterday. ...
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    6 days ago
  • Funding for training and upskilling
    The Provincial Growth Fund is investing nearly $2.5 million into three Te Ara Mahi programmes to support Manawatū-Whanganui jobseekers and employees to quickly train and upskill, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “Up to 154 local people will be supported into employment within the first year by these ...
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    7 days ago
  • Statement from the Minister of Health Dr David Clark
      This morning I have formally tendered my resignation as Minister of Health, which was accepted by the Prime Minister. Serving as Minister of Health has been an absolute privilege – particularly through these extraordinary last few months. It’s no secret that Health is a challenging portfolio. I have given ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Scholarship placements for agricultural emissions scientists doubles
    Scholarships for 57 early-career agricultural emissions scientists from 20 developing countries is another example of New Zealand’s international leadership in primary sector sustainability, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. Mr O’Connor, announcing the scholarships today, says hundreds of applications were received for this fourth round of the CLIFF-GRADS programme (Climate, Food ...
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    7 days ago
  • Funding for Foxton regeneration
    A project to help rejuvenate the Horowhenua town of Foxton will receive a Provincial Growth Fund investment of $3.86 million, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This funding for the Foxton Regeneration project will be used to make the well-known holiday town even more attractive for visitors and ...
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    7 days ago
  • Plan to improve protection of moa bones
    Moa bones and other sub-fossil remains of extinct species are set to have improved protection with proposals to prevent the trade in extinct species announced the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today. “We have lost too many of our native species, but these lost species, such as moa, remain an ...
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    7 days ago
  • Free lunches served up to thousands of school children in the South Island
    The Government’s free and healthy school lunches programme moves south for the first time creating jobs for around 30 people in Otago and Southland. “Eighteen schools with 3000 students are joining the programme – 11 have already begun serving lunches, and seven are preparing to start during Term 3. This is ...
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    7 days ago
  • Screen Sector recovery package protects jobs, boosts investment
    Thousands of Kiwi jobs and investment in New Zealand productions will be protected through a screen sector support package announced today by Associate Minister for Arts Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Economic Development Phil Twyford and Minister for Broadcasting Kris Faafoi. The package also includes investment in broadcasting ...
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    1 week ago
  • New fund to help save local events and jobs
    The Government has established a new $10 million fund for the domestic events sector to help save jobs and protect incomes as it recovers from the impacts of COVID-19, Minister of Economic Development Phil Twyford announced today. This funding from Budget 2020 follows talks with the event sector designed to ...
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    1 week ago
  • Bill to improve fuel market competition
    The Government has taken another step in its commitment to making sure New Zealanders get a fairer deal at the petrol pump with the introduction of legislation to improve competition in the retail fuel market, says Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods. “The fuel market study that this Government ordered ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand joins global facility for pre-purchase of COVID-19 Vaccine
    New Zealand has joined a global initiative that aims to enable all countries to access a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. The COVAX Facility was recently launched by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The Alliance includes the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank ...
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    1 week ago