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How Covid 19 appears to be playing out

Written By: - Date published: 10:51 am, June 4th, 2020 - 108 comments
Categories: australian politics, Donald Trump, Europe, International, jacinda ardern, labour, national, todd muller, uk politics, uncategorized - Tags: ,

I wrote this post two months ago about how I thought Covid 19 would play out in Aotearoa.

It was written at the time that infections had peaked to just under 90 per day.  I added a postscript celebrating that there were only 63 new infections reported that day.

I also said this:

This is just the start of something that will take a long time to resolve, New Zealand is in as good a place as anywhere in the world to deal with this, but things are not going back to normal in four weeks time.  Further isolation periods are almost inevitable, the economy is going to take a hell of a battering and foreign travel is going to be a distant fond memory for quite a while.

Thankfully my comment about further isolation periods being almost inevitable may have been too pessimistic.  We are all quietly celebrating having had eleven days of no new infections, and to the poor person still suffering I and most of the rest of the country will have a quiet beer to celebrate your return to good health if there are no new infections reported in the meantime.

It appears that, for now, we may have dodged a rather dangerous bullet.

But just as the first infection made its way into the country and spread the chances of this occurring in the future are still ominous.

The boarder will have to be closed for some time.  Various sectors in the economy are being decimated.

This has been a frustrating time for the opposition.  They have had to acknowledge that Jacinda Ardern and the Government have performed a remarkable job.  They are reduced to now saying that we should be at level one as soon as possible.

The Government’s desire to hold the line and follow the professional advice is cautious.  But I do not see any significant public opinion in favour of opposing it.  The overwhelming response that I get when I talk to people is one of gratitude for the job that Ardern and the Government have done.  And the polling clearly shows who the public think should be in Government leading the country.

This should be contrasted with the United Kingdom which shows the results of not handling the pandemic by some pretty basic rules.

And America is falling apart and the President has resorted to tear gassing protesters to clear space in front of a church so he could have this rather apocalyptic photograph with a bible taken.

New Zealand can cautiously head towards level one and then deal with the economic repercussions and the new world order that is emerging from the pandemic.  And enjoy a level of freedom that other nations would be jealous of.

The UK and the US are at risk of a further surge.  Australia has not been able to stamp out the spread of the virus.  And claims that Australia’s economy is doing better than New Zealand’s appear to be misplaced.  New Zealand is doing pretty well and criticism that it has been too staunch is nit picking.

The problem for National and in particular for Todd Muller is that damned MAGA hat is a reminder of people of an obsequious deference to Trump.  And locals prefer Ardern’s compassionate science driven approach to Trump’s gung ho science denying populist approach.

108 comments on “How Covid 19 appears to be playing out ”

  1. I have already been shopping to get stuff for the garden and have been out to dinner and lunch. Quite frankly if we were like America or the UK I would have been too scared of catching covid. Of course our economy is going to be better.

    • Enough is Enough 1.1

      I was never scared of catching covid. In fact part of me wanted to so that I would have some form of immunity in the future.

      My fear was passing it on to someone who would suffer or have serious complications.

      • lprent 1.1.1

        …so that I would have some form of immunity in the future.

        So you're an unthinking idiot. Show me some proof that there is any immunity that lasts more than 6 months – because that is our current level on knowledge about immunity. Show me anything that indicates that people who didn't have a severe response have any immune responses at all.

        These are all things that we'd find out in the future – hopefully by watching someone else with a stupid dithering government (eg Trump or Johnson or Putin) providing the evidence.

        • Enough is Enough

          "some form"…. not total immunity. That comment was deliberate.

          But thanks for your personal abuse. It always a pleasure being bullied online

        • froggleblocks

          Yeah, lets attack someone who was just trying to find the silver lining in a bad situation – if COVID had roiled far and wide through NZ, then hoping to get infected with a low dose for future potential immunity is not a stupid thing to hope for.

          • I Feel Love

            Like in Sweden? Britain? USA? There is no immunity, no use "hoping" for it, let's wait for science for certainty, not faith.

            • Enough is Enough

              A fairly innocuous statement that has caused some concern.

              I think it almost certain that humans have "some form" of immunity. Covid-19 has not been around long enough to know how long that immunity lasts. To date there is not one reported case of anyone being reinfected so that gives us some clue. It is possible that covid-19 will be like the six other human coronaviruses. Four produce the symptoms of the common cold and immunity is short-lived. Generally people can be reinfected with the cold within one year.

              On that basis I am more scared of transmitting the disease to someone vulnerable than I am of getting it myself as I am statistically likely to recover within a week, and likely to have immunity for at least a year.

              I am not sure what Sweden has to do with that?

              • lprent

                There is an inherent presumption in the Swedish model that the immunity will last a while, and that the transmission between people is fast. This meant that they could isolate vulnerable populations like the >60yo (and that didn’t work) while the rest of the population picked up immunities.

                However the time that the immunity lasts is not known (but likely to be short based on most of the human corona viruses).

                The infection rate is slow. They were planning on having something like a 40% infected rate in about 2-3 months. After 3 months it looks like it is more like 10-15% (at the most) in Stockholm and way less everywhere else.

                • NZJester

                  The other thing that makes relying on herd immunity from this extremely bad is that those who caught it and do make it through having the virus might not be out of the wood health wise. There are a lot of long term heath issues it can cause for people. They could survive the virus but die a few years or decades later from health complications it can leave them with. It is known to damage some vital internal organs turning formally healthy people into those who need long term medical care or organ transplants to stay alive.

              • Incognito

                There are some suggestions of the possibility of cross-reactivity with common cold coronaviruses possibly providing pre-existing immunity against SARS-CoV-2 in the population.


                You’ll have to be an expert to appreciate the limitations of this linked study hence my italics 😉

          • woodart

            hopeing for immunity to a new virus that is still mutating… yes, that is a stupid thing to hope for.

            • froggleblocks

              All viruses mutate.

              • lprent

                IOt is more the rate at which they ‘mutate’.

                But in reality mostly what viruses get is transcription errors. There are surprising differences in the levels that different virus types effectively get suicided by poor transcription. Influenza changes like wildfire.

                What has been interesting about covid-19 and the corona viruses in general is the extent to which they have built in checking. Can’t dig out the reference(s) right now as google appears to be buried under antiviral research for covid-19 for almost every phrase I tried..

                But it makes sense for a virus with 32 thousand base pairs like covid-19 to be a bit more conservative in its ‘mutations’ than one with 1.7 thousand base pairs like influenza. However what you have to worry about is how many more tricks a virus could have stored up with more than 16x as much ‘code’ already in it. It probably already has considerably more pre-programmed strategies.

            • Tricledrown

              Kim Hill on one of her Saturday shows interviewed a virus expert who said this type of virus has a low mutation rate.

      • mpledger 1.1.2

        Sweden has only got about 7.3% of people with antibodies and they really need it to be up around 60-70% to get herd immunity which was what they were aiming for. No other country is known to be above 5%.

        It's still unclear but getting herd immunity doesn't look too likely in the near future for any country and that would be the only point of purposefully catching it – although the risk is low for young people there is still a risk of death. And we don't know the long term effects – some of the healthy people who survive a bad bout seem to come away with organ damage – but we only have collected about 6-8 months of good data so who knows what else will turn up.

        • Tabletennis

          No Sweden was not aiming for herd immunity – their strategy was:

          1) flattening the curve (like NZ but then (MOH?) changed it half way to eliminating the virus), with the aim not to overburden the hospitals, and

          2) protecting the most vulnerable. As it was already know that the elderly were. Herd immunity was going to be a merely a side effect of this strategy.

          Immunity has shown to last, for now, between 1 and 3 months.

          • Incognito

            Immunity has shown to last, for now, between 1 and 3 months.

            Where did you get that from?

    • lprent 1.2

      We've done incredibly well. I moved back to work yesterday from working at home since March 17th

      What gets me is that some of the idiots – like Muller – simply don't appear to understand exactly how lucky we are that they are not in control. Even at this point it isn't a slam-dunk because this virus is so unlike any other one that we're made pandemic precautions about.

      As far as I can see (and I've been keeping myself well-informed), it is going to be an endemic disease. Most likely there will be no herd immunity – even after they get vaccines in place.

      This is one of those diseases and disease families that will keep arising in populations and will permanently change our human behaviour – just like the dangers of cholera caused the development of clean water and sewerage systems. It will change business patterns as well.

      Meanwhile idiots wanting to run back to the past (like the whole of the National party as far as I can tell) are endangering the rest of us. Too stupid to understand the danger of experimenting with our whole population at stake.

      Personally, I'd prefer to be sure that we have longer rather than shorter to test different gathering sizes. For instance if we start showing community spread after the bars reopened and now the protests earlier in the week.

      Besides after we get to level one, we just all know that the unthinking whiners will continue to unreasonably try to endanger us all by wanting to open up the borders too early. I think that we should just teach these children to learn to be patient.

  2. Enough is Enough 2

    Provided National does not win and reopen the "borders" prematurely, I think there is next to no chance we will, or can, return to the restrictions that the government called "level 4".

    We are now ready and prepared for for new infections in a way we weren't in early March. If one new case is identified, the MoH will contact trace the shit out of it and isolate anyone who has been within sneezing distance of that person. We can test at a scale that can identify the spread and quarantine people at a local level rather than the whole country.

    I think the biggest issue now is that big what if? We need to be planning for the possibility that no vaccine is developed in the medium term . What is our future if this coronavirus is like AIDs or any other coronavirus'?

    • James Thrace 2.1

      I agree

      I keep shaking my head at the "when a vaccine is developed" crowd.


      New Zealand needs to make preparation on the basis there will not be a vaccine and learn how to manage that efficiently. If there is a vaccine, that will be a bonus. It should certainly not be the sole point around which all planning is done.

      We also know that Covid19 disproportionately affects the 60+ and underlying chronic health conditions. If NZ wants to keep paying billions in National Superannuation then we need a conversation about how we manage the risk to 60+ people if there is no vaccine.

      Of course it does seem one cannot raise the salient point about the impacts on the 60+ group and how we mitigate that if we open our borders and run the risk of Covid coming back into NZ without being accused of advocating genocide. It's the new "cheap working holiday visa migrants artificially suppress the median wage" argument. Everyone knows it's true, but nobody wants a conversation about it.

      • JanM 2.1.1

        'If NZ wants to keep paying billions in National Superannuation then we need a conversation about how we manage the risk to 60+ people if there is no vaccine.'

        What exactly are you trying to say here? It may be the way you've expressed yourself, but surely you're not advocating covid 19 as a useful way of reducing the cost of National Superannuation, are you?

        • James Thrace

          Case in point.

          • JanM

            Do I take that as a 'yes' then? Goodness!

            • James Thrace

              Perhaps you should read the last paragraph in my first reply.

              Thanks for proving my point. Please come again.

              • JanM

                Mmm – persistent obtuseness and continuing ad hominem responses lead me to think it hardly matters anyway

                • James Thrace

                  You do know that ad hominem responses are about attacking a person? I'm simply stating that you are proving my point that one cannot discuss the risk of covid19 coming into the country and how to mitigate that for the most affected 60+ crowd without being accused of advocating for genocide.

                  That's the first thing you accused me of when I made no such statement.

                  So again, you proved my point.

                  • JanM

                    'You do know that ad hominem responses are about attacking a person?' I do, of course, and that is how I read it – an implication that I am too thick to understand you.

                    I made no accusation, I asked a question because I didn't think that 'advocating for genocide' was what you had in mind, but I sought clarification because of the way you had expressed yourself.

                    The answer, however, didn't answer my question, did it!

                    And I do think the conversation is worth having, by the way – you just need to choose your words carefully and state your ideas clearly. Introducing irrelevancies like the cost of National Superannuation deflects from the argument and confuses the reader.

              • Gabby

                Dashed unfair that a chap can't advocate genocide without being accused of advocating genocide what what?

                • greywarshark

                  It's interesting that many commenters here can't discuss some matters dispassionately without imprinting their own ideas on someone else's comment and then claiming that was the intended thought. James didn't say anything about genocide.

                  James was pondering on National Superannuation and 60+ people which was immediately pounced on by the worthy opinionated.

                  James made a mistake by pre-empting the type of replies and then making a triumphant comment when they played out as expected. You have to wait James for it to happen, and then say sadly that it is unfortunate that such matters are shut down from discussion as they are of importance for informed people to consider, as without thought and discussion there may be no reasonable and acceptable path for older citizens followed in policy.

                  • Sacha

                    What relevance did you make of "If NZ wants to keep paying billions in National Superannuation.."?

                  • Gabby

                    So rude of people to take sly insinuations at face value, isn't it.

      • mac1 2.1.2

        "I keep shaking my head at the "when a vaccine is developed" crowd."

        And if one was developed another crowd would refuse to be vaccinated.

        Another good Ice Age will sort us out……. let the glaciers loose, roll out the ice sheets, freeze the oceans.

        • Sacha

          Still got some plagues and locusts to go through before we get to that.

          • mac1

            I'll go daub my door post. Well known remedy- never fails. Thank God for living in Hizzone. Plenty of lambs.

    • infused 2.2

      Even if National won, I don't think anyone is going to lift the border restrictions for the next 2 years.

      It's going to be a very slow process, likely city by city.

    • francesca 2.3

      Treatment will be the thing

      And quite possibly our bodies will recognise this new virus as we become exposed and not go into immune system overdrive

      We've got a lot to learn

      This is incredible…how respected medical journals and researchers were taken in by a scamming little US firm


    • Tricledrown 2.4

      If so it may not be a vaccine but a drug which can lower the damage the virus inflicts.
      Aids doesn’t have a vaccine yet now it is treated

  3. James Thrace 3

    I am horrified at the constant drum beating of travel being opened with Australia first. Australia has never had NZ's best interests at heart. The talk of testing travellers in Australia before they fly to NZ is ridiculous given that people could be carrying Covid, and not have symptoms, and become symptomatic in NZ – where there won't be testing!

    It's ridiculous.

    Given how incredibly efficient at being inefficient a lot of NZ government agencies are (and I put Customs right up there – i.e. when 4 midnight flights arrive at the same time in Wellington and there're only 2 customs staff on – incredibly inefficient) it's dangerous in the extreme to put NZ's near total elimination of Covid at risk.

    Instead, NZ would ideally shore up it's inefficient travel processes by implementing a proper safeguarding measure and trialling it out with countries where there is a smaller risk of Covid making it back through our borders.

    I keep advocating on Twitter for NZ to have a travel bubble with Rarotonga first, and sort out our own internal inefficiencies before we open up with Australia. At least with Rarotonga, we know there's a much smaller risk of importing Covid, and we can streamline the process a lot better. Once we have security in our processes and we can adequately manage travellers coming back from Rarotonga with sound procedures, then we can look further afield to Australia. Obviously we wouldn't have a bubble with Rarotonga until NZ has 28 days of 0 new infections. We certainly do not want to risk their health. Once we have the process sorted with Rarotonga, then we can expand it to Samoa and Tonga and Tahiti etc. Perhaps even Taiwan.

    Opening up a bubble with Australia first is just asking for trouble especially now that Australia is seeing a increase in new infections again. That's far too risky for NZ to manage efficiently or adequately. I highly doubt that the NZ public will appreciate being put at risk.

    The alternative is that we just wait for Australia to have 28 days of 0 new infections and do a bubble then.

    Another alternative is that we simply block off Queenstown and make that "Qurantown" (yes, I'm aware there's logistical issues to work through) if the sole single purpose of getting Australians into NZ is to "save the ski season!"

    • weka 3.1

      If Queenstown had any sense it would start transitioning to a post-carbon economy, which by necessity means not more mass tourism. Imagine if we took the risk with covid, and put lots of resources into kickstarting the old tourism and then in the winter of 2022, when Queenstown is just starting to recover, they have a bad snow year. And then another one in 2023. We know this is going to happen eventually, may we well bite the bullet now.

      Queenstown is still run by the old boys though, can't see much changing in their thinking until they've been slapped down a number of times.

      • James Thrace 3.1.1


        NZ has been given a massive opportunity to re-tool because of Covid and put renewed focus into the things that matter. E.g. I think one way to improve our exporting situation is to invest in places like Coastwood Furniture who make damned good wooden furniture, and export that overseas. Well made wooden furniture that can support the weight of a 100kg male, unlike the cheap and nasty overseas made wooden furniture, will stand the test of time.

        Coming from a Covid free country also means that NZ manufacturers can add a substantial premium onto it.

        But like you say, Weka, the old boys network is firmly embedded to the "old way" and can't see the wood for the trees. There's massive opportunity for Queenstown to centre itself in another format that isn't tourism. Whether that be as a premium location for film crews (i.e. Top of the Lake made full use of Queenstown's location) could be ideal rather than as a mass tourism destination whose sole focus is to extract money, rather than add value.

        • greywarshark

          Good comments James T with bite in them, one might lose a bit of flesh but worth having.

        • Sacha

          Coming from a Covid free country also means that NZ manufacturers can add a substantial premium onto it.

          I can picture this applying to services involving contact with people or for food products maybe. Furniture, not so much.

          • greywarshark

            Furniture maybe. We have built ourselves as a destination on high sounding quality, maybe we can use that quality feeling to sell other stuff, it gives us a profile anyway. And we have been told that the virus stays alive on surfaces so the handlers could be more confident of our product being safe.

            Feelings and fears come into the matter when people are uncertain.

        • lprent

          Coming from a Covid free country also means that NZ manufacturers can add a substantial premium onto it.

          That seems unlikely.

          Covid-19 doesn't last on surfaces for any length of time, usually in hours, and under some quite specific circumstances (plastic or metal surfaces) possibly for days. It doesn't survive for very long

          It survives in bodies and in water based fluids of the right pH. Virus sheaths are usually quite fragile if they are respiratory or blood diseases.

          I can't see any particular advantages for exports carried in boats or even planes.

          I can see it being an issue if we export people – but only a downside.

          • greywarshark

            Thanks for updating my outdated memory of virus info. All the same I think that our good coronavirus status would be good publicity. As I said about feelings and fears – people are uncertain and our record is something that would gain positive attention.

            Did you read the Guardian link that Francesca put up at 2.3? There are a lot of uncertainties floating about.

            Interesting that the Lancet and another publication have been publishing articles that used so called statistics from on-line without checking the provenance of the firm and its staff. The scientific journals have put up a note of caution about the items after The Guardian showed them results from research revealing not hard to get history of fraud and fantasy!

      • Graeme 3.1.2

        Funny thing about Queenstown is that today it feels exactly the same as it did in February. Traffic is just as manic with traffic jams in Frankton morning and evening.

        But there’s no tourists.

        • weka

          why is that? Short week? People letting out their stir crazy?

          • Graeme

            The economy is back to full steam, traffic volumes are normal and most people are going about their business.

            It shows what the real drivers of the Queenstown economy are, and international / mass tourism is down the list a bit. Our figures in the gallery for Queen’s Birthday were indistinguishable from other years, and I’d say there were more people around this year.

            • weka

              that's good news. Were they Otago/Southland folk, or from further afield?

              Is there going to be a normalish ski season (assuming there is snow)?

              • Graeme

                From all over the country, and with a good attitude. Only struck one walking meltdown, thought there would be more of that. Weather helped, it was stunning.

                Ski season is all go, Coronet and Cardrona intend a full season, Remarks may be weekend only, and Treble maybe as well, but if there’s enough punters they’ll both be open. Snow is coming along ok, early days yet.

            • aj

              It shows what the real drivers of the Queenstown economy are…

              What are they?

              • Sacha

                Flipping houses. 🙂

                • aj

                  lol! until Covid arrived, true. After that, not so much. Third place not much, I think.

                • Graeme

                  Yep, and building houses to house people to build more houses.

                  All good until the music stops, which it may, or may not have. We’ll see there, but the vultures have been sorely disappointed so far.

    • Tricledrown 3.2

      Australia has a much higher community transmission of Covid.

  4. weka 4

    I think NZ has a reprieve. Which is a window of opportunity to start working seriously on resiliency. People who think this can be put aside until the economy is rebuilt are playing a very dangerous game.

    The thing that interests me right now is what will happen to NZ if the US and UK economies collapse? Or if the US goes full fascist? We might think we are safe in our little corner of the world, and I can't think of many better places to be living right now, but we are still tied into the global economic system and the global ecological systems, and that is where our vulnerability is.

    Beyond that, NZ should be leading on resiliency transition and offering working models to the world. We got this reprieve, but it's not just about us.

  5. peterh 5

    In Victoria May, meatworks 111 cases, mcdonalds, closed 2 shops 400 staff are isolated had several cases. recent 2 schools closed I kindergarten 1 aged care Victoria health say we are finding more because we are testing more (community transmission] there is no way are they ready for a bubble, Cris Hipkins in parliament, brought up Aussie still having outbreaks WHY is this not being reported

    • AB 5.1

      Australia's 'long tail' of new daily cases is a noticeable contrast to ours. Australia's numbers seemed strange months ago – total cases and total deaths about the same as ours per capita, but hospitalisation rates were 5 times as high. That pointed at some under-counting of total cases and greater risk of a second wave once restrictions ease.

      It's one thing for NZ to have a leaky border when we are at Level 4. At L4, imported cases can be contract-traced and then transmission lines cut off. It's a totally different thing when we are at Level 1 and behaving more or less normally – just one imported case could snowball fast. Before going to Level 1 we need to have more confidence that the borders won't leak – and a bubble with Australia is still a significant risk.

    • lprent 5.2

      Aussie still having outbreaks WHY is this not being reported

      It is being reported. At least I’m reading it. But I read ABC daily. I think that I’ve seen everything you mention over the last 4 weeks. Dig back into https://www.abc.net.au/news/story-streams/coronavirus/

      The most recent were some returning aussies in quarantine. And another case from the meatworks.

      I’m pretty sure that I have seen that in NZ news as well.

  6. National are desperate to make an impression of some kind, as taking out Simon took months of strategic planning. Many who wanted the change are going "Now what?"

    There have been nasty messages on twitter which show the Dirty Tricks Brigade is at work again. I will not repeat their lies.

    Be aware this election will be full of innuendo but Todd Muller will appear to not be involved, however Hooten and co are in the background doing their thing.

    I don't think NZ is as gullible as they were at the beginning of John Key's time.

    The same voices have started up ahead of the election. Bryce Edwards with his "Jacinda the Saint is mean" message, Goldsmith with his Jacinda Ardern is keeping us locked down when we should be at Level 1 message, and there are only 3 competent ministers in this Government pushed by bloggers.

    We are so fortunate here, but there is a huge effort by National to blame business losses on Labour for doing the Lock Down.

    Altogether we need to give money to our chosen parties and help with hoardings and phoning and leaflet drops. We need to counter the lies and speak up.

    Todd is just repeating the same questions and statements over and over embedding them. We need to persistently answer briefly to the point in the same way.
    We need to stop them pushing the envelope to get a second wave, because then they can say Jacinda got her “Captain’s Call” wrong.

    They show care for money over people in this, and Winstone is attention seeking for votes as well. Dangerous behaviour.

    • Andre 7.1

      UK has just overtaken Spain in the deaths per million race at 585 behind Belgium at 822. But it's hardly fair, Belgium classifies every death that might be vaguely COVID related as a COVID death compared to the known undercount in most other places.

      • Bearded Git 7.1.1

        Yes, and when Spain had 27,000 Covid19 deaths El Pais estimated the true level was 43,000 when comparing with normal average death rates.

        But then I remember The Times recently reported a similar study that showed UK death rates were being similarly understated.

        • Incognito

          Better to compare excess mortality rate by country. Belgium was bad but not the worst in Europe; Spain and the UK (England) looked worse AFAIK.

    • lprent 7.2

      …Sweden’s chief epidemiologist has admitted that they screwed up.

      Only partially admitted. Basically he was treating a novel disease like it was a known quantity like the influenza with a more pronounced impact on hospital resources. The problem was that it wasn’t.

      Very few people get a dose of the flu, and then wander around not knowing that they have it and are spreading it for days before symptoms appear. A high proportion doesn’t even get significiant symptoms. Also many of the effects of the disease weren’t and probably still aren’t known.

    • observer 7.3

      I'm not aware of any apologies from those in NZ who weeks ago insisted Sweden had got it right and we had got it wrong. Anyone else?

      For example,

      Mike Hosking and Simon Thornley.

      • In Vino 7.3.1

        Well, in today's Herald Hosking is screaming that Australia got it right, not us. Cue a probable increase in Australian infection rates… The guy may well be a jinx.

        • greywarshark

          Surely even Hosking's huge mouth and powerful delivery couldn't send a projectile of Covid-19 viruses across the Tasman? Turn him to a westerly direction now please (or north-west possibly – GPS might help).

      • Treetop 7.3.2

        AJ TV put it this way today about Sweden, 4,500 deaths from Covid-19. 4,000 of them in over age 70 and 50% of the deaths in elderly care homes.

        There is everything wrong about how Sweden managed the pandemic. NZ has got it right so far and the government will be blamed if a second wave.

        Caution is required in opening up the border and quarantine for 14 days. One case is coming through per week with the current people returning to NZ.

        • Treetop

          AJ TV put it this way today about Sweden, 4,500 deaths from Covid-19. 4,000 of them in over age 70 and 50% of the deaths in elderly care homes.

          There is everything wrong about how Sweden managed the pandemic. NZ has got it right so far and the government will be blamed if a second wave.

          Caution is required in opening up the border and quarantine for 14 days. One case is coming through per week with the current people returning to NZ.

        • Treetop

          The first paragraph is in relation to Sweden.

        • Treetop

          The first paragraph relates to Sweden.

          • Treetop

            Sorry about duplication. My URL on cell is not working and a lag. First comment would not correct and correction would not correct.

  7. Chris Martenson of Peak Prosperity is reporting evidence coming out of Lombardy of Covid-19 not being as easily transmissible as time goes on, pointing to the unstable nature of the virus (and incidentally pointing a finger at it being a man-made virus) because of some implants in the original genome.


    We may, if what they are saying, is correct, not need a vaccine!

    • greywarshark 8.1

      Dear me, more on the theoretical Chinese connection to the genesis of our favourite virus of the year/decade?

      Exclusive: Coronavirus began 'as an accident' in Chinese lab, says former MI6 boss | Sir Richard Dearlove tells Telegraph's Planet Normal podcast that new scientific report suggests key elements of the virus were 'inserted'


      • greywarshark 8.1.1

        I wonder if Dearlove's mouth is one of UKs weapons. He was head of MI6 1999-2004. The UK was in on the infamous Iraq attack in 2003.*

        But Sir Richard, 75, pointed to a scientific paper published this week by a Norwegian-British research team who claim to have discovered clues within Covid-19's genetic sequence suggesting key elements were "inserted" and may not have evolved naturally…

        Sir Richard, who was the head of MI6 between 1999 and 2004, cited startling new peer-reviewed research produced by Professor Angus Dalgleish, of St George's Hospital at the University of London, and the Norwegian virologist Birger Sorensen. Further links inside the item. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/06/03/exclusive-coronavirus-began-accident-disease-escaped-chinese/

        * Part of: Iraq War Start date: 20 March 2003 Combatants: United States https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_invasion_of_Iraq

        The invasion phase began on 19 March 2003 (air) and 20 March 2003 (ground) and lasted just over one month, including 26 days of major combat operations, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq.

        And we did something intelligent here –
        The New Zealand government opposed and officially condemned the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.

        Military history of New Zealand – Wikipedia

      • Incognito 8.1.2

        AFAIK, no such paper has been published yet. Premature elucidation.

        • greywarshark


          What will you say next? I shall watch with pregnant anticipation.

          • Incognito

            Until we have evidence that can be verified, we’ll have a case of immaculate inconception AKA ejaculo in nihilo.

            Lancet and NEJM have recently retracted highly influential papers on Trump’s miracle drug.

      • Gareth 8.1.3

        He needs to show the evidence.. like this:

        In the conclusion of that Nature paper: "the evidence shows that SARS-CoV-2 is not a purposefully manipulated virus "

  8. greywarshark 9

    Yanis Varoufakis has been looking into a Crystal Ball. What will happen after Covid-19. He speaks to the Cambridge Union on what is, will happen in in this decade 2020-30.


    • Tiger Mountain 9.1

      Yanis job, like other public intellectuals, is sharing his thoughts and predictions with people. Personally I have to try hard to listen to him after he dropped his bundle facing down the EU after achieving political office in Greece.

      That is the thing with some academics, professionals and intellectuals–when the heat goes on they vacillate. Brilliant ideas are certainly needed, but so is some action, particularly in NZ as we wind down the Alert Levels.

      Agree with Micky that we are stuck with C19 and maybe its bastard offspring for some time, and Weka’s call for resilience in light of our country’s reprieve. Now is the time to build health system capacity and staffing, starting with disbanding DHBs and centralising. The scrap between DHBs on different Covid tracking systems is as good an example as any on why this should happen.

      Labour and Green need to get reelected by whatever means necessary, and then set to it–cleaning out the public sector of recalcitrant neo liberal executives, and removing structural elements such as the State Sector Act. Re-nationalise the refinery consortium at Marsden Pt and return power generation and supply to full public ownership…that should get things rolling.

  9. Ed1 10

    I like the graph, and have probably seen where it came from before, but could the url (and any options selected to give that image) be put here again?

    • mpledger 11.1

      I like this graph because it's per capita.

      • greywarshark 11.1.1

        Very easy to understand – very clear and evidence based! Thanks to both of you. It's helpful with all this talk about bubbling with Australia. Is Australia as good as its painted? When paint bubbles then it has been wrongly applied!

        • Alice Tectonite

          Plenty of variation within Australia:

          COVID-19: AUS states/territories + NZ

          Cases per million

          • VIC … 253.1
          • NT … 118.1
          • ACT … 249.9
          • QLD … 207.2
          • TAS … 425.8
          • WA … 225.0
          • NSW … 382.6
          • SA … 250.5
          • NZ … 233.9
          • AUS … 284.3

          Deaths per million

          • VIC … 2.9
          • NT … 0.0
          • ACT … 7.0
          • QLD … 1.2
          • TAS … 24.3
          • WA … 3.4
          • NSW … 5.9
          • SA … 2.3
          • NZ … 4.5
          • AUS … 4.0

          Population estimate Sep 2019

          • VIC … 6,629,900
          • NT … 245,600
          • ACT … 428,100
          • QLD … 5,115,500
          • TAS … 535,500
          • WA … 2,630,600
          • NSW … 8,118,000
          • SA … 1,756,500
          • NZ … 4,934,800
          • AUS … 25,464,100

          Data sources
          COVID-19 totals to 4/6/20 – AUS DoH, NZ MoH; Population – AUS Bureau of Statistics, Stats NZ.

      • Alice Tectonite 11.1.2

        Thanks for posting that, always like a nice set of faceted plots. Good for an eyeball comparison.

        • greywarshark

          Tasmania high. I think I read that they were going to 'man it out' down there. Looks as if they did try that, didn't work for Sweden.

          If we had agreement with one or a few states for a bubble, what is to stop people from other states going to the 'bubble' state airport for their flights? Anybody who thought they were well and were sick of being constrained under lockdown could be tempted to do so.

          As for having checks at airports to protect us forget it.
          Aussie workers bailed up our PM when Ansett collapsed and showed no respect for us.

          • greywarshark

            Here is a bit of background on NZ-OZ history that not everyone would remember or have known.

            Many Australians seemed to have absorbed a lot of anti-kiwi propaganda over the years. They still probably remember the Ansett debacle which wiped out the cosy pension schemes they had established with that airline, for which loss we were blamed fiercely too, for those who don't remember.

            When sheep were king, NZ shearers used to go over there for the season and compete with Aussies for the jobs. We developed wide tooth shearing tools while the Oz shearers stayed with the traditional narrow ones. Ours meant that each sweep of the shears took off more wool, and so were faster. That produced animosity against NZ in the outback.

            Further back Aussies did have a valid complaint with the Mr Asia drug criminals involving NZrs 1978-79. http://www.sydneycrimemuseum.com/crime-stories/mr-asia/

            Here is a link about it written by Pat Booth, RIP, one of our top journalists who had a contract put on him because of his sleuthing. http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/manukau-courier/opinion/2163928/Mr-Asia-the-real-inside-story

            So we aren't squeaky clean. And Australian politicians have memorised bad behaviour, and forgotten the hundreds of thousands of good Kiwis. And so they run a tough line on us. I'm for visas between us and them. It would make sense because one of the reasons they gave for withdrawing government benefits for NZs with opportunities to become Australian citizens in about 2001 was that too many foreigners who got into NZ could just pass through to Oz on our no-visa scheme.

            So bring in visas again and then press them for a return to our previous status. Perhaps the NZ Government has been more at fault than Oz. We could cure some of that negativity with visas, remembering that stats have shown most Aussie tourists are short-term visitors, and the tourists are often just visiting and staying with family.

          • Alice Tectonite

            … going to 'man it out' down there

            Don't think so, they had one really bad cluster in the northwest centred around a hospital. 200+ cases of the 228 total, 12 of the 13 deaths. Various allegations about poor PPE supply etc. At least one of the deaths in that cluster was a passenger on the Ruby COVID Princess. Tassie also has the oldest population of any of the states/territories, which may be a factor. No new cases since 15 June.

  10. TJ 12

    As per the graph above… it's remarkable, yes? A little too remarkable. Any other subject and that great big dive would have people looking for the corrupted data. To say that "Ardern's responsive etc etc saved us, hooray hooray compassionate etc etc" is just plain dangerous.

    We got off lightly owing to some weakness of the virus, and the way we socialise. It wasn't just the way we responded – despite the way we responded in some cases. No one is forced to ride the subway with a million other people everyday, or buses, or is shoulder to shoulder every morning in the street. The elderly and sick are corralled away in a corner for family visits. The well-off don't mix with the poor, and vice versa, not freely. Race divides our activities. Rural vs Urban divides us – so we had unofficial road blocks leading into small towns.

    The "luxury" of having these divisions made it "easy" to respond the way we did. The instances of stupidity, in any other part of the World, would have levelled the local population. Ardern's unscientific and politically expedient approach in Level 3/4 transitions, bowing to anyone's opinion, qualified or not if they were loud enough, but now doggedly digging in her heels in level 2, for those last few days and hours because it's suddenly so important, when the threat is very low, that has to be acknowledged. One extra week of level four would've changed nothing to the future of commerce, and at the time, might have saved many lives. But let's forget that. That didn't happen because, I dunno, make up your own delusion.

    Our politics demands we claim it was all our doing, because we're in control of our lives, and since we believe that, right wing politics has us by the psychological balls again. If we aren't in control of everything, and it turns out our strain wasn't suited to our geographical location or climate, or some local biological or dietary variation, much like other organisms grow and behave differently in distant parts of the world, then we need to accept it before we make a stupid mistake, including thinking we can carry on as mini-America.

    As it stands, a further outbreak seems unlikely, if the borders stay closed, if the schedule for Levels of restriction are not overruled on a whim, and if the rules are not relaxed or overlooked for that special film crew, management consultant, or team of vineyard labourers. A worse case scenario could happen under Labour, but seems unlikely. It has a much higher chance of happening under National. I may not vote at all, the choices are so poor, but my guess is that the borders would be most secure under The Greens. Before you vote National, be sure that if they open the borders and this virus gets a hold again, the government strategy will be different, either just like the USA, or draconian restrictions, and then there is going to be total economic collapse in NZ.

    The problem now is nothing we can control: International trade and supply lines slowing down, so common goods reduced or stopped for a while. This provides us with massive opportunities for change, but also a period of serious conflict between the outlook, attitudes and preferences of the Old World, and what we have to do to remain a coherent nation.

    • lprent 12.1

      We got off lightly owing to some weakness of the virus, and the way we socialise.

      Ardern’s unscientific and politically expedient approach in Level 3/4 transitions,

      What that really shows is that you simply don’t understand much basic science. That you’re an ignorant idiot rattling off a pile of idiotic bullshit completely lacking any specific details.

      In short – you are are waffle merchant with about as much technical expertise as a chicken. The moral equivalent of a hand-waver trying to dance angels on the head of pin. Making vague assertions as if having a moron speak was a way of creating fact like zero point energy, when really you’re just a wanker spraying your seed and thinking that it is something unique.

      Would you care to comment on why that is not the case. Personally I love to rip holes into fatuous trolls whose ego exceeds their intelligence and knowledge.

      By the way, please read the site policy and try not to whine….

  11. TJ 13

    I just checked the rules and yes, I broke the rules. Please remove my post. My opinion is not scientific, though genuinely held. I will not post here again.

    • Incognito 13.1

      I think you missed the point. There’s a difference between opinion and assertion. A widely held opinion, which is an assertion per se, is still not a fact. There’s nothing wrong with having an opinion, as long as you don’t masquerade it has an assertion. If you make assertions, you need to (be able to) back them up with evidence. Instead of putting up a decent argument, preferably with some supportive specific details, you decide to run away in a pseudo-offended manner. If you have read the Policy and rules, you will know that this site encourages robust debate AKA put up or shut up.

      • francesca 13.1.1

        Surely robust debate can have rigour without the absolute torrents of unhinged offensive abuse.

        It is surely possible to have a debate without slinging foul insults .Too much ego and bullying

        • Incognito

          If you’re referring to the comment by Lprent, that wasn’t really part of a debate or discussion, which was the point he was making, but it was intended as a learning moment for those who don’t engage in robust debate. It has taken me a while to look behind the barrage of bad language and see its purpose and effect. It is not my style but I have to admit that it is quite effective in finding and hitting its aim. I may add that I think the world is too PC and that people have become lazy and don’t engage their brains enough. But that’s just a personal note 😉

          • francesca

            I thought the point of the venue is debate and discussion , the personal invective is of a level to shut discussion down and totally disproportionate to the original post

            PC has got zero to do with it in my humble opinion. PC is about a hypersensitivity/avoidance towards offending those perceived as having a disability or disadvantage

            I get you fellows see yourselves as "not suffering fools gladly" and after all this is your platform so you get to pass judgement on others' intellect and tear them down

            I guess it's where we've got to in these times of not so civil discourse

            • Incognito

              Ok, let me try again.

              There was no debate or discussion to begin with. The commenter appeared to be new here and made the rookie mistake (!) of contributing nothing but ‘white noise’, to put it diplomatically. They were invited, or challenged or provoked, if you like, to put up a decent argument. It was explained to them how robust debate works, here and everywhere else, for that matter. It was a test.

              They failed the test.

              No harm was done except perhaps a slightly dented ego for a short time. No discussion was shut down. We will have avoided wasting time on noise. Most likely, we will have saved on Moderator time too. In Election Year, these considerations are more important.

              Your judgement of the Moderators is off and you got the wrong end of the stick, IMO. This is not my platform in any way, shape, or form. I volunteer considerable amounts of my time and energy here on this free platform (without ads!) just like the others do. The Standard Trust (https://thestandard.org.nz/about/#who_are_you) owns the site.

              Most of what we do here is educating commenters on their behaviour, not tearing down their content or the commenters themselves. In fact, we moderate against commenters attacking and shooting the messenger. IMHO, this is anything but shutting down discussion; it is enabling and encouraging robust debate.

              Robust debate and civil discourse are two different approaches that generally have the same purpose or intent, at least. Style and tone differ, of course. Indeed, robust debate doesn’t suit everyone.

              Lastly, I added the sentence about PC and intellectual laziness as a personal note; I said so. It was not the main gist and still isn’t.

              • francesca

                " you are aresic waffle merchant"

                "you’re an ignorant idiot "

                "you’re just a wanker spraying your seed"

                Call that robust debate?

                Thats just some form of emotional incontinence, and anyone else would have been censured

                • Incognito

                  No, of course I don’t call that robust debate.

                  It is not intended to be robust debate.

                  It is aimed at challenging commenters to change their behaviour.

                  It is aimed at weeding out commenters who don’t, won’t, and never will contribute to robust debate.

                  Its purpose is to be instructional and commenters with weak egos and emotional incontinence usually cannot handle being held a mirror up to them.

                  You don’t have to like it, but it is effective, sometimes perhaps too effective …

    • lprent 13.2

      You didn't 'break the rules'. You just got a response of opinion tailored at the same fact-free and background-free style of opinion as you used – but a little enhanced. However rather than being directed at anonymous target, mine was directed at you personally.

      If you want to express an opinion, it pays to say why you hold that opinion rather than just making a set of simpleminded assertions that offer nothing to any debate. That offers others a chance to understand where you are coming from and to explain why they think you are incorrect – usually with informative links.

      Instead your comment sounded like a troll trying to start a flame war with malice aforethought for the sheer hell of getting responses. So I gave you a response that was a reflection on how your comment appeared to me… Welcome to robust debate.

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