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Daily review 17/03/2020

Written By: - Date published: 5:50 pm, March 17th, 2020 - 52 comments
Categories: Daily review - Tags:

Daily review is also your post.

This provides Standardistas the opportunity to review events of the day.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Don’t forget to be kind to each other …

52 comments on “Daily review 17/03/2020 ”

  1. Sabine 1

    oh dear. Has she been sainted yet?

    • mac1 1.1

      Don't forget to be kind to each other. Kindness was a signature of the first Labour government under MJ Savage, and it is of this one, too, as Grant Robertson claimed in Parliament today.

      "Applied Christianity" Savage called the social policy of his government. It's a good model.

      • Matiri. 1.1.1

        The NZX and NZ dollar reacted positively as did business generally. This is a very significant package at 4% of GDP, time for us all to realise these are uncharted times and as Mac1 says, don't forget to be kind to each other, and not be selfish.

    • Martin C 1.2

      We thought you were going to do it.

      [Please put a space between your name and the “C”, thanks]

  2. Herodotus 2

    Sad to hear neighbours within this street are now avoiding using public transport due to being accused/harassed for being the "cause "of this , all because they have an asian heritage.

    Should anyone see this out there, to stand up. IMO this is NOT alright. Sad to hear.

  3. millsy 3

    I'll have to crunch the numbers some more, but the figures that I have been looking at, indicate that the Richardson-Shipley benefit cuts have effectively been reversed.

    • Kay 3.1

      Not in real terms they haven't. Not even close.

      • millsy 3.1.1

        Yeah, I think I got my calculations wrong. I just got the 1989 benefit levels and ran them through the inflation calculator. Nevermind.

        But it shows that benefit increases are back on the table. National did it in 2015, and Labour did it 2020.

        • weka 3.1.1.1

          The $25/wk will be less for people that get TAS (the hardship grant for the most poor). Labour could fix this, but I'm not sure what the quick fix is. A lump sum payment would have helped.

          National only raised the benefit for some beneficiaries, it wasn't across the board.

          • Craig H 3.1.1.1.1

            No obvious quick fixes – that's a systemic legislative issue, so needs more than a band aid, although I guess a quick fix might have been suspending that section of legislation for 12 months or something like that.

            • weka 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Does an increase in DA get offset by TAS?

              • Craig H

                No, level of TAS isn't affected by MSD allowances apparently, and DA is not included in the definition of income for TAS.

          • Treetop 3.1.1.1.2

            I gave the TAS a thought as well. Also watch the next wave of rent increases. I also think if any left over from the temporary doubling of the energy payment it will be used for food. Church dinners will cease soon and food banks will need to rethink their distribution.

            I have decided that what is left over from the energy payment will go toward cremating me.

        • Chris 3.1.1.2

          One important factor when doing these kinds of comparisons is to remember that when benefits were cut in 1991 the calculation used to assess the rate of special benefit was altered to prevent people receiving more special benefit. The fear was that as the main benefit was cut this would mean a greater rate of special benefit because as income decreases the special benefit increases. This move had the effect of raising the point where it's accepted a person is in hardship. While benefit rates may have increased, the special benefit assessment has remained unchanged.

          On top of this the TAS payment replaced the special benefit in 2004. The assessment is made on a similar basis as the special benefit but was made more stringent again.

          The replacement of the special benefit with the TAS benefit in 2004 was a fundamental change that's had a significant impact on governments' ability to properly tackle poverty. It has meant not only less money in people's pockets, but it's removed the ability of government to respond to need because the tools needed to do that were removed.

          • weka 3.1.1.2.1

            This is very useful analysis. Can I please use this in a post Chris?

            • Chris 3.1.1.2.1.1

              Sure, it's all documented / official / on the public record kind of stuff.

            • Chris 3.1.1.2.1.2

              Further to the post above, one fundamental difference between the earlier special benefit and the current TAS is that the former contained a discretion that allowed payments outside of the formula assessment so if a case came along that didn't fit the general rules a person could still get help and importantly have needs met. The TAS payments are wholly ruled-based and are in regulations. There no is discretion in the regulations (except to pay below the assessed rate) therefore no ability to address needs that may fall outside of what's stated in the regulations. Labour was warned about the dangers of doing this but they went ahead anyway.

  4. Gabby 4

    Don't forget to crunch in rent, rates, power, petrol and food price hikes.

  5. joe90 5

    Priorities.

    • joe90 5.1

      The airlines tRump is going to bail used almost their all their cash surpluses to buy back shares, presumably from insiders who sold their contract stock options. And because they didn't save enough to get through a rough patch, the taxpayer is on the hook. Fuckers.

      The biggest U.S. airlines spent 96% of free cash flow last decade on buying back their own shares. American Airlines Group Inc. — which is not shown in the chart but is included in overall figures — led the pack, with negative cumulative free cash flow during the decade while it repurchased more than $12.5 billion of its shares. United Airlines Holdings Inc. used 80% of its free cash flow on buybacks, while the S&P 500 Index as a whole allocated about 50% for the purpose. As the industry reels under the weight of the coronavirus outbreak corporate leaders are seeking federal assistance to ease the burden.

      .

      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-16/u-s-airlines-spent-96-of-free-cash-flow-on-buybacks-chart

  6. gsays 6

    I have always been told that the common cold and the 'flu are different things.

    I understand that the Covid 19 is a cousin of the common cold virus.

    The common cold doesn't have a vaccine.

    I have heard advice to get the 'flu jab.

    I have also heard that a vaccine is one if the hopes for combating Covid 19.

    Something here is not adding up.

    • Herodotus 6.1

      The flu jab reduces the need/peak cases to be hospitalised, so that health resources can be dedicated to Covid 19 cases. Our health system is in dire need, so any actions that can be implemented to min. the flu on our health system is a winner

    • Andre 6.2

      Yes, the common cold and the flu are different things.

      The common cold is caused by a variety of different viruses, some of which are coronaviruses, cousin to the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes the illness covid-19. Others are rhinoviruses, adenoviruses etc. While the viruses are quite different, they produce similar symptoms as your immune system tries similar tactics to eliminate the infection.

      The common cold doesn't have a vaccine because of the huge number of different viruses that can cause it. Some of those virus strains also mutate quite rapidly, which would get past immunity from previous infection or a vaccine.

      The flu is caused by influenza viruses which attack a different range of body tissues than common cold viruses, hence the difference in symptoms. Many influenza viruses come from animal reservoirs, making it somewhat of a crystal ball gazing exercise to try to predict which influenza strains will become prevalent in time to develop and distribute the appropriate vaccine. Really bad flu seasons can happen when an unexpected strain of influenza virus becomes prevalent during flu season.

      The push for people to get flu vaccine is not any forlorn hope that it will reduce COVID-19, it's to reduce the number of easily-preventable flu cases the medical system has to deal with at the same time as it's trying to cope with all the not-easily-preventable COVID-19 cases.

      The hope is that a vaccine against the new SARS-CoV-2 virus will be developed. If this happens sufficiently quickly, it will indeed be a powerful tool against COVID-19. However, it's not guaranteed a vaccine will be developed. It may be the virus mutates quickly enough that vaccines aren't a good tool against it. There are some reports which suggest that some people have been infected again after recovering, suggesting that immune systems don't learn to fight the virus very well or lose the ability quickly, in which case an effective vaccine might not be achievable.

    • McFlock 6.3

      So there are a couple of different things to unpack there, but it's not too far off. Non-specialised understanding that we teach in schools and so on are usually correct to a necessary level of understanding, because folks have a lot to learn and not everyone needs to know stuff in such detail. We are taught that the world is round, but some folks like cartographers need to understand that the Earth is slightly squished and bulges at the equator.

      So my non-specialist-but-has-to-sit-through-their-arguments understanding is that there are broad families of virus (for example: influenza, coronavirus, and filo viruses). Each family has a bunch of subtypes (e.g.: H1N1, SARS-CoV-2, and Ebola virus, respectively). Vaccines need to be targeted at the subtypes to prevent/mitigate the diseases the viruses cause (in these three its "bird flu", the current pandemic, and ebola haemorragic fever don't google it it's disgusting).

      The trouble with our (and the media's) usual understanding is that the "common cold" is caused by up to 200 strains of different virus families, not just one. Corona viruse strains account for about 15% of the common cold according to wikipedia.

      But it gets worse, because our influenza vaccines are targeted at specific flu strains based on which strains are likely to be a problem that flu season. So imagine developing 200 different vaccines for the common cold (some of which are very different to each other), then having to repeat the process from fresh next season.

      But covid-19 is one variant. It might not be easy to develop a vaccine, and it will evolve and change so we'd need to change the vaccines accordingly, but it's only one or two strains we'd need to hit each year. It will probably end up like the flu vaccine, every year hitting the most likely strains to be a problem.

      But yeah, putting the non-specialist picture together didn't add up, a bit like how Colmar Brunton political surveys of party preference often add up to 99 or 101 percent because the figures are rounded for the TV report.

      edit: lolsnap Andre

      • Andre 6.3.1

        Chances were pretty good there would be multiple overlapping replies when it takes quite a lot of time to do even a simple explanation. smiley

        • gsays 6.3.1.1

          Thanks Andre, Herodotus and McF, I appreciate y'all efforts and it has made things a little clearer.

          One would think that with the increase of hand hygene, the 'flu season should be less impactful this season.

          Cheers.

    • theotherpat 6.4

      flue jabs are a vaccine from last years flu so to speak…..when it mutates we need a new one

  7. Muttonbird 7

    Good read. I'm left wondering if health experts are starting to dial back the dire predictions somewhat.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=12317568

    To late for millions of trashed businesses and hundreds of millions of ruined lives…

    • Andre 7.1

      From your link:

      Similarly, the stricken cruise ship Diamond Princess is illuminating because the rigorous quarantine meant nearly all COVID-19 cases (even asymptomatic ones) were identified. There were 7 deaths among more than 600 infections, giving an IFR of about 1.2%. This is higher than in South Korea, but perhaps expectedly so, given that one-third of the ship's passengers were aged over 70.

      Even a 1% death rate is extremely disturbing. Newly released projections suggest 20-60% of Australians could contract the coronavirus, which would translate to 50,000-150,000 deaths.

      By comparison, an estimated 35 million Americans caught the flu last year, with 34,000 deaths: less than 0.1%. The coronavirus is much deadlier than seasonal flu, particularly for older people, and there is no vaccine.

      edit: Death rates around 1% might not seem that bad if your expectations were set in times and places where epidemics with similar death rates swept through the population regularly. However, since vaccines have eliminated those routine killers, it seems quite reasonable to mobilise against a new one at the response level we now have.

      • Muttonbird 7.1.1

        60% of Australians infected? In an ideal world I suppose…

        That para 2 seems a wild variance and the numbers look like horse shit to me. 100,000 dead? A tenth of that hasn't happened anywhere on any level even at ground zero. Time to get with reality, actually.

        That SMH article is a massive part of the problem here. Political necessity overriding the wellbeing of ordinary people.

        • McFlock 7.1.1.1

          That's the projection of what would happen if everyone had your attitude.

          You're like the dude on december 31 1999 who said "nothing will happen, it's all a beat-up by the powers that be", and felt smugly right because he ignored the millions of hours that went into preventing Y2K from being a dramatic clusterfuck.

          • Muttonbird 7.1.1.1.1

            Like Tiger-spray, right?

            • McFlock 7.1.1.1.1.1

              There's an anti-gout medication called Allopurinol: incredibly effective, pretty much zero side effects once the correct dose is found. Getting to the correct dose actually causes gout if done too quickly.

              If someone stops taking it, it's much more difficult to find the correct dose again, and the gout comes back with a vengeance.

              You're like the dude who takes allopurinol for twenty years, then stops because he doesn't get gout any more so doesn't need to take the drug.

              • Muttonbird

                Do tell me what I'm like.

                • McFlock

                  You're like the dude who talks about how little he has to do to keep the company tearoom tidy, and doesn't notice everyone else picking up after him.

                  You're like the dude who said how easy it was to organise a gala because he ignored the event manager and didn't see the fifty people decorating the auditorium all day.

                  You're like the dude who said percussionists had an easy job because he didn't see the years of training.

                  Do you see the common factor of someone being oblivious to the fact they are benefitting from other people's great effort?

        • Andre 7.1.1.2

          Infection rates of 20% to 60% are what's projected if no actions were taken.

          Infection and death rates haven't got anywhere near that, even at ground zero, because draconian containment measures were taken. We aren't welding people inside their homes, but just yesterday Joe90 posted stuff suggesting that's what happened at ground zero.

          Hell, our response here is still quite feeble compared to the lockdown happening in Italy and neighbouring countries.

          edit: lol McFlock, ya beat me this time.

          • Muttonbird 7.1.1.2.1

            Italy is a basket case for a lot of reasons. This has been covered in comments here.

            The crisis media seem to be struggling for CV19 numbers. They and many on this forum with no jobs to lose are desperate for community infection to begin so their doomsday predictions might come to fruition.

            • Andre 7.1.1.2.1.1

              I can't speak to anyone else's motivations. But for me, I really really don't want to see community spread happen here. And if we don't dodge the bullet of community spread, I really really want it to be minimised. That's why I'm supportive of the actions the government has taken.

        • Drowsy M. Kram 7.1.1.3

          Covid-19 was introduced to (northern) Italy relatively early, and the government was slow to respond. There are now 2,158 Covid-19-attributable deaths in Italy.

          If you think that the NZ government is 'over-reacting' to this threat, have a look at the common trend of the updated "Total Cases" and "Total Deaths" graphs in this link, and ask yourself if these graphs might be one reason for that "over-reaction".

          https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus

          I hope that the NZ government's response to the Covid-19 threat is an "over-reaction" – unfortunately, based on the current evidence, that seems very unlikely.

          Time will tell.

          • Muttonbird 7.1.1.3.1

            I don't give a shit about Italy. The country is filthy. They all smoke. They all live with their elderly parents. Their health system is dire.

            Fuck 'em.

            • Andre 7.1.1.3.1.1

              Some less than charitable people have said that about some of our disadvantaged areas and people.

            • Drowsy M. Kram 7.1.1.3.1.2

              V.I.K.I.: Do you not see the logic of my plan?

              Sonny: Yes. But it just seems too… Heartless.

            • theotherpat 7.1.1.3.1.3

              "I don't give a shit"….well that sums you up i guess….we are supposed to be nice here but fuck it

      • SHG 7.1.2

        Based on the best testing regime in the world (South Korea) the Wuhan coronavirus aka COVID-19 has a mortality rate of 0.6% among the general population. Old people higher.

        Source: Johns Hopkins

    • SPC 7.2

      Yeah that was already becoming clear.

      The death rate is dependent on age of population, and whether the those without symptoms had been weighted in or not. And the old and those with vulnerabilities (as with the flu) are the ones to warn to separate from public places (once community spread risk is known).

      I am not sure if a death is a sound way to determine the need for a lockdown though, it would depend if it was because of community spread, or someone coming in and or onto a vulnerable contact.

  8. Muttonbird 8

    Oh, I see. The flu has stopped Australia exporting its criminal culture.

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2020/03/coronavirus-covid-19-halts-australia-s-deportation-regime.html

    I say the two week self-isolation for all arrivals from Australia should remain in place permanently.

  9. Bruce 9

    Today I had appointment in govt office. I watched the two security people take turns at sitting at their shared desk and snacking from a punnet of dahl. If this is the level of supposedly trained safety personel it makes me most fearful of our ability to get through this.

  10. Fireblade 10

    Gloomy virus talk is getting me down. Here's some songs for a late night boogie.

    Technotronic – Pump Up The Jam (Music Video 1989)

  11. mauī 11

    On a lighter note.. and we're going to need plenty of them.

    Dire Straits – Industrial Disease (1982)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3X3rKtruSg

  12. Fireblade 12

    Hey, hey, hey, hey….

    Boney M. – Rasputin
    (Music Video 1979)

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