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How Covid may work out from here

Written By: - Date published: 9:50 am, May 15th, 2021 - 68 comments
Categories: covid-19, health, International, jacinda ardern, Social issues, uk politics, us politics - Tags: ,

The past 15 months have been dread filled yet fascinating.

First there was news of a mysterious virus that was spreading in China and causing all sorts of chaos.

Then it started to spread to other parts of the world.  Italy was hammered.  America started to buckle.  England was on its knees.

In nation after nation the disease ravaged through.

Here in Aotearoa New Zealand we were fortunate.  We had sufficient lead in time to see what was happening overseas, and we had a Government that was brave enough to impose a heavy duty lockdown with a goal to eradication, not minimisation of the spread.

Along with the eradication of community cases the Government put stringent immigration controls in place.  The quarantine system has overall worked very well.  The odd breach of the quarantine system has been successfully managed by a greatly improving track and change system.

Then the vaccines arrived.  Surely a return to normal life was just a matter of time?

I am afraid not.

With so much of the virus rampant throughout the world the chances of mutations occurring are extremely high.  And more dangerous variations of the virus are appearing.

For instance the strain that has been battering India is a more transmissible mutation of the original virus.  From Aljazzera:

The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the COVID-19 mutation that has appeared in India as a “variant of concern”.

WHO’s senior scientist Maria Van Kerkhove said on Monday that there was “some available information to suggest increased transmissibility of B.1.617”, the variant detected in India.

She also pointed to early studies “suggesting that there is some reduced neutralisation”, a reference to the possibility that vaccines might be less effective against it.

“As such, we are classifying this as a variant of concern at the global level,” she said.

More details would be provided in the WHO’s weekly epidemiological update on Tuesday, she added.

Further:

Experts highlight that the more the virus spreads, the bigger the risk it will find ideal conditions to mutate in concerning ways, stressing that everything must be done to rein in transmission.

“We will continue to see variants of concern around the world, and we must do everything that we can to really limit the spread,” Van Kerkhove said.

Hundreds of thousands of people have become infected with the coronavirus daily in India, and just over 22.6 million infections have been tallied in the country since the pandemic began.

According to the WHO, the number of new infections is decreasing in most regions of the world, including Europe and the Americas.

However, there is still a sharp increase in South Asia and Southeast Asia, the agency said.

Separately on Monday, the head of the WHO criticised so-called “vaccine diplomacy” and urged countries to cooperate to end the pandemic.

“Vaccine diplomacy is not cooperation,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters. “We cannot defeat this pandemic through competition,” he said.

This is why the Western World’s hoarding of the vaccines is so counter productive.  To get on top of the virus all countries need to get on top of the virus.  Or we need to continue with extreme border measures.  There is no third option.

And this is why the Government’s announcement that it will be providing sufficient vaccines for the Pacific is morally and rationally the right thing to do.  From Hannah Martin at Stuff:

Covid-19 vaccines from New Zealand will be rolled out in the Cook Islands from next week and as early as June for Niue, the Government has confirmed.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Associate Health and Foreign Affairs Minister Aupito Sio announced the roll-out will begin in the Cook Islands from May 19, followed by Niue and Tokelau.

“This continues our ongoing commitment to support our Pacific neighbours through the increased challenges the Covid-19 pandemic is placing upon our region,” Mahuta said.

“New Zealand is working with the Realm countries to ensure that everything is in place for the countries to receive and administer safe and effective vaccines at the earliest possible time,” Sio added.

The other aspect of the virus is that vaccine hesitancy may mean that the virus continues to be a threat and that herd immunity is not reached.  Red states in America are particular threats. From Bess Levin at Vanity Fair:

As Joe Biden prepared to take office, he announced an ambitious target to vaccinate 100 million Americans within his first 100 days. When it became clear he was going to achieve that goal well ahead of schedule, he upped it to 200 million, a figure his administration is on track to hit this week. As part of that effort, on Wednesday, the president will call on businesses to give workers paid time off to get their COVID-19 shots. On Monday, everyone in the country over 16 became eligible for the vaccination, and as of Wednesday, 40% of the U.S. population had received at least one dose of a vaccine and more than 50% of adults had gotten at least one shot, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tally. Which is obviously fantastic news! A lot less fantastic: the fact that a significant number of Republicans are refusing to get the vaccines available to them, threatening to prevent the U.S. from reaching herd immunity and a return to prepandemic life.

Axios reports that the United States is expected to run out of adults who want to get vaccinated within the next two to four weeks, citing a recent Kaiser Family Foundation analysis. According to the authors of the paper, “It appears we are quite close to the tipping point where demand for rather than supply of vaccines is our primary challenge.… Federal, state, and local officials, and the private sector, will face the challenge of having to figure out how to increase willingness to get vaccinated among those still on the fence, and ideally among the one-fifth of adults who have consistently said they would not get vaccinated or would do so only if required.“ The authors added: “Once this happens, efforts to encourage vaccination will become much harder, presenting a challenge to reaching the levels of herd immunity that are expected to be needed.”

And the anti vaccination propaganda movement appears to be a cross between a business model and an anarchy sect.  From Siouxie Wiles at the Spinoff:

The US and UK-based Centre for Centre for Countering Digital Hate recently analysed a sample of anti-vaccine content that was posted or shared on social media between February 1 and March 16 this year. They found that while many people might be spreading anti-vaccine content on social media, the content they share comes from a limited range of sources.

Of the content they analysed, which had been shared more than 812,000 times, a staggering 65% of it was attributable to just 12 accounts. They’ve called them the Disinformation Dozen. If you are looking for an agenda, many of the Disinformation Dozen are trying to sell you stuff. Books. DVDs. Online courses. Or even dietary supplements and false cures as alternatives to vaccines. Others are trying to erode our trust in each other and in our governments and public institutions. Despite the fact the Disinformation Dozen’s content repeatedly violates Facebook and Twitter’s community standards and terms of service agreements, the Disinformation Dozen remain largely free to spread their dangerous messages.

Here in New Zealand, groups like Voices for Freedom are taking that disinformation created overseas and repackaging it to make it appeal to people in New Zealand and to promote their agenda, which on the surface seems to be to erode our trust in each other, our government, and our successful response to the pandemic.

The reality may be that we will never get back to a pre covid state.  Until herd immunity is achieved throughout large swathes of the world as well as in Aotearoa New Zealand our borders need to continue to be closely monitored.  And the anti vaccination movement as well as the failure to ensure equitable vaccine distribution may mean that our current messy dread filled reality will continue.

68 comments on “How Covid may work out from here ”

  1. Long term variants in mind, it seems as if mutations are the biggest worry…in that regard , and given our world leading reputation for 'kindness', not to mention our own long term self interests….why are we not leading the way and handing over our excess vaccines to countries that actually need them…rather than purely serving our own very short term self interests in vaccinating our pacific neighbours…in other words our stand by cheap labour pool and cheap holiday destinations…

    Former Prime Minister Helen Clark​ has called on New Zealand to send its millions of extra Covid-19 doses on order to poor countries that are being ravaged by the virus.

    New Zealand has enough doses to vaccinate the population nearly four times over. As well as the 10 million Pfizer doses, enough for the entire population of five million, there are enough Novavax, Janssen and Astrazeneca doses on order to inoculate 14.16m people.

    my bolds…my italics

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/125104793/covid19-nzs-surplus-vaccines-should-go-to-poor-countries-helen-clark-says

    • Sabine 2.1

      Or else remove the patent on the vaccines and make it public for all to use.

      If we had an outbreak today or tomorrow that got out of hand we would look pretty much as England did within a month at best. It is not as if anything was invested into our healthcare sector, health care workers and so on.

      But then i would venture that Helen Clark might already had her vaccinations?

      • Siobhan 2.1.1

        Maybe Sabine…but then I'm over 50 with vulnerable lungs and am exposed to large numbers of people 6 days a week…and I would still support the idea that we need to vaccinate the 'hot beds' of disease mutations before ourselves.

        And thats entirely in my own self interests.

        Because chances are we could still get an outbreak with the entire population vaccinated ..and because, as we have done already, we are in a very privileged position, both geographically and financially and even culturaly…to protect ourselves, and limit the damage with lockdowns.

        And credit where credits due…that is entirely down to Jacinda and co…I really hope the world is on top of covid one way or another before we ever see a National government in charge…because then, vaccinated or not ..for sure ..we will be very much in the same basket as the UK…

        • Sabine 2.1.1.1

          We had a chance to do that before this current outbreak, i would also like to point out that India was so good in vaccinations that they donated some of theirs to other countries.

          But removing the patent on these vaccines and making sure that the rawmaterials are available to hte countries that could produce their own vaccinations (INIDA!) would be of greater help to the indians, then us giving away doses that we have yet to receive.

          But frankly Helen Clark will not guilt me into giving something up, that chances are she already received. Herd immunity is achieve by all getting vaccines, and frankly i don't want to live in locked up country forever.

          • Incognito 2.1.1.1.1

            But frankly Helen Clark will not guilt me into giving something up, that chances are she already received.

            Fascinating comment.

          • Siobhan 2.1.1.1.2

            I'm not sure about "so good at vaccines" ..as of today ..India has fully vaccinated only 1.8%-3% of its population ..and it has multiple borders to multiple vulnerable countries…its version of lockdowns were appalling and inequitable …they almost seemed designed to accelerate the spread to the heavily populated rural areas..so really I wouldn't take that as a cautionary tale for NZ.

            https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-57084572

            and I agree totally with you're second point ..but I cover that in my answer to francesca..

            Remember, old Aunty Helen ..whos pronouncements I often take with a very very small grain of dirt encrusted salt…is simply the mouth peace for the WHO report..

            • Incognito 2.1.1.1.2.1

              Remember, old [Helen Clark] ..whos pronouncements I often take with a very very small grain of dirt encrusted salt…is simply the mouth peace for the WHO report.. [sic]

              Did you read the article in The Lancet that Noel linked to yesterday (https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-14-05-2021/#comment-1792815)? HC is the corresponding author.

              Within that article there’s a link to the independent panel (https://theindependentpanel.org/panel-members/):

              The Panel’s Co-Chairs are the Rt Hon. Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, and Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia.

              You demonstrate that you’re suffering from HCS, which excuses you to ignore and/or deny facts and info that don’t suit your narrative. At least, you’re honest about your intellectual dishonesty. As such, your contribution to robust debate here on TS is virtually nil; the good (!) comments are cancelled out and undone by the bad ones. I’m sure you can find somebody else to blame for this 😉

              • Siobhan

                eh? you are very quick to take offence…which is fair enough when you are clearly going to end up on the wrong side of history…however…I was simply trying to 'sell' the report by possibly down playing Helens role. She is, in fact, while a co-chair, presenting information put together, backed up and researched by actual scientists and what-not…as such, you can call her a mouth piece…albeit a well informed one…

                Your second paragraph, while, as usual, an amusing read, is entirely off topic..as per usual when I think about it…and remarkably lacking in any slightly off point literary and cultural references ..which is disappointing as I generally expect a far more erudite screeching from your corner…but it is a Saturday so I'll let that slide.

                • Incognito

                  Nope, didn’t take offence but I knew you would point the finger away from you; you’re so predictable.

                  Yeah, sure, a Co-Chair of an independent international panel is no more than “a mouth piece”. You smoke your own dope and getting quite high on it too. I take it that you’ve not read a single word from the panel and the ‘WHO mouth piece’ on the contents and recommendations of their three reports, so there’s little point in discussing anything with you about the international response to the pandemic. Please make sure you stay as ignorant as you are now or watch a YT clip on it instead 😉

                  Your HCS symptoms are strikingly clear and self-confessed. It is relevant because you brought it up and because HC is the ‘WHO mouth piece’, according to you.

                  When are you going to make a real contribution to robust debate here? It is Saturday afternoon, so why not start now? Even a minor contribution would be appreciated, if you can.

      • Siobhan 2.2.1

        ..indeed…and the Cuba/Iran vaccine of course …all achieved under a pretty blatant ramping up of US sanctions and embargoes…which is interesting when looked at alongside Bill Gates's statements ..and really just further proof ..if any were needed that our current market driven political and economic system is inherently ill-equiped to deal with curve balls…like pandemics…and like Global Climate Change…

        https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01126-4

        https://observer.com/2021/04/bill-gates-oppose-lifting-covid-vaccine-patent-interview/

      • joe90 2.2.2

        At a time when thousands of Brazilians were dying of covid and it seems the vaccine is cheap,effective ,and safe

        Ya reckon.

        /

        Summary

        An international fight broke out last week when Brazilian regulators vetoed the import of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, alleging its second dose contains adenoviruses capable of replication—a potential danger to vaccine recipients.

        https://science.sciencemag.org/content/372/6542/554.1

        The majority of Russians (62%) are still not ready to be vaccinated with their country’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, according to a poll by the independent Levada Center published Wednesday.

        The results are the latest sign that Russians are largely still skeptical of the domestically-produced vaccine amid Russia’s attempts to boost its slower-than-hoped vaccination campaign.

        https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2021/05/12/majority-of-russians-still-not-ready-to-get-sputnik-vaccine-poll-a73861

        • francesca 2.2.2.1

          Well, there ya go Joe, a perfect illustration!

          Thank you

          Yep, it seems the all powerful Putin cant persuade otherwise brainwashed Russians to take the vaccine, any vaccine actually, somewhat similar to the Americans

          And as for Bolsanaro, he had to come up with something, even if it didnt follow the science

          Clearly you dont read links that challenge your mindset

          https://theconversation.com/russian-covid-vaccine-why-more-and-more-countries-are-turning-to-sputnik-v-159158

          • Forget now 2.2.2.1.1

            Schiffling & Breen seem to be overstating just how settled the science is about Sputnik 5. Everyone is being very careful to not directly say that the Russians are lying, but the message is pretty clear:

            The analysis of the results was carried out with a deviation from the protocol, in the part in which we are familiar with the latter from the report on clinicaltrials.gov. The protocol prescribed an analysis of outcomes within 6 months after the administration of the first dose. When analyzed for the timeframe from the administration of the first dose, the effectiveness of the vaccine is 73.1% (as calculated by the authors of the article). The effectiveness of 91.6% is declared and presented in the article’s conclusion as the main result is obtained if the days before the second dose are excluded from the analysis. There are reasons for this variant of the analysis, but these reasons were known as well during the protocol development. The principal analysis should be performed according to the protocol…

            In this study, the follow-up period for participants varies greatly. Therefore, only the survival analysis can be considered correct, but its results are not presented in the article. Only Figure 2 is shown. Our data reconstruction shows a statistically significant difference between the groups in the log-rank test (P < 0.001). The measure of the magnitude of the effect, in this case, should be the hazard ratio. The calculation of efficacy given in the article appears to be incorrect…

            34% of cases were excluded from the safety analysis. The authors explain this by delaying obtaining information, which does not seem entirely convincing, given the information technologies used and the importance of the issue…

            When assessing the risk of bias of the results using the Cochrane Risk-of-Bias tool, we find that due to missing outcome data and the authors having a marked conflict of interest, the overall risk of bias of the study results is high.

            The article’s text also contains numerous other errors, ambiguities of the text, possible misprints, which we are not discussing here. For example, in Fig. 2, the number of people observed in the vaccination group on the 20th day is greater than that on the 10th day (15,717 and 15,338). It is impossible, just as it is impossible to become a twenty-year-old without previously having been a ten-year-old.

            The authors have fulfilled the journal’s condition and declared their readiness to provide access to the original data. However, this time they have locked out the access to the raw data, setting so many conditions, including the approval by the ‘security department,’ that no one will likely turn to them for the raw data. This is rather unfortunate since the lack of readiness for constructive interaction with scientific communities provides grounds for the most serious suspicions. Up to suspicions of data falsification because of unexplained discrepancies or failure to report essential methods or results.

            http://osdm.org/english/2021/02/06/a-commentary-on-the-publication-of-preliminary-results-of-the-sputnik-v-vaccine-phase-3-trial/

            {Others} found problematic data in the published phase 1/2 results. We have made multiple independent requests for access to the raw dataset, but these were never answered. Despite publicly denying some problems, formal corrections were made to the Article…

            the number of participants reported for the different vaccinated age cohorts do not add up to the reported total (n=338 vs n=342). With such inconsistencies, we question the accuracy of the reported data.

            A very peculiar result of the major subgroup analysis of the primary outcome caught our attention. The vaccine efficacy was said to be high for all age groups. The reported percentages were 91·9% in the 18–30-year age group, 90·0% in the31–40-year age group, 91·3% in the 41–50-year age group, 92·7% in the 51–60-year age group, and 91·8% in participants older than 60 years. We checked the homogeneity of vaccine efficacy across age groups (interaction tests): the p value of the Tarone-adjusted Breslow-Day test was 0·9963, and the p value of a non-asymptotic test was 0·9956, indicating a very low probability of observing a homogeneity this good if the actual homogeneity is perfect.

            We also found some highly coincidental results reported in table S3 of the appendix. In particular, two upper confidence limit values for two different distributions (placebo group at baseline for unstimulated and antigen-stimulated measures) both equal 0·708. Of course, this is possible, but we call once more for access to the data from which the statistics originate for close scrutiny…

            we invite the investigators once more to make publicly available the data on which their analyses rely. Access to the protocol, its amendments, and the individual patient records is paramount, as much for clarification as for open discussion of all the issues.

            https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)00899-0/fulltext#%20

    • georgecom 2.3

      Sure……to an extent. Novavax is not even released yet. It is somewhere around finalising a stage 3 trial and in the paperwork stage for applying for emergency use, probably will be the US or WHO first I imagine.

      We have had no detail whatsoever about Johnson and Johnson shipments being ready for NZ delivery.

      There was some comment about 2 months ago about NZ receiving some Astrazeneca through Covax, tentatively May/June but thats likely not to arrive. I assume the shipment was from the Serum Institute in India which has suspended supplying Covax for a while. When those arrive it looks like they are destined for Fiji.

      We initially ordered 1.5 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and later ramped that up to the millions. The Pfizer we have been rolling out is the 1.5m initial order, the total of jabs in arms and the dozes on stock sit 700,000 to 800,000. The subsequent large batches haven't yet arrived I think.

      So, when we start getting shipments of Astra Zeneca and Johnson and Johnson I am totally for getting them to the islands quick smart. The storage temperatures are much easier than Pfizer and the J&J is a one hot dose rather than 2. But, we cannot ship what we don't yet have in our possession. I hope we will soon so we can do as we all want to do, help our pacific neighbours.

  2. Anne 3

    There's only one thing for it. These anti-vaccine movements must be outlawed.

    No! I'm not talking about those who fall for the misinformation and those who have physical conditions which means vaccines can present a risk to them. I am talking about those who deliberately spread false information for financial gain or some other gain. These are con-men and con-women and should suffer the full consequences of their criminality.

    I've had a gutsful of them. They are literally being allowed to get away with a form of murder.

    As for the Freedom nutbars? When a significant portion of the world is being ravaged by a pandemic and the rest are at risk of falling prey… then some freedoms (including the freedom to be a nut-case 😉 ) have to be sacrificed for the greater good and until such a time when it is safe to return to something akin to normal.

    • Morrissey 3.1

      These anti-vaccine movements must be outlawed.

      No, they must be countered by arguments, firmly and consistently. Outlawing them will only make them outlaws, and more extreme, more ornery, more insidious and more dangerous.

      • Stuart Munro 3.1.1

        There may be a remedy within existing medical regulations – I seem to recall that Milan Brick's Laetrile treatments for cancer were able to be shut down readily enough.

        • Morrissey 3.1.1.1

          Milan Brych. Yes, that was the right thing to do, even if belated. However, there was no attempt to stop people advocating for his apricot seed remedies; their fanaticism and irrationality soon dwindled to nothing.

      • Incognito 3.1.2

        Well said!

  3. Patricia Bremner 4

    Agree Anne. 100% Once their perfidy is exposed they should be fined for promoting false information.

    • Morrissey 4.1

      Then we should be fining ACT Party cultists and some farmers for their very anti-social and harmful advocacy of the "right" to use assault rifles in this country, and for their bloody-minded denial of climate science. We should be fining the likes of Jordan Williams and David Farrar for promoting anti-science loons like Lord Monckton….

      Open mike 17/04/2013

      And what about the likes of Rob Fyfe, who following the tsunami and nuclear meltdown in March 2011, went on television to assure New Zealanders that it was perfectly safe to go to Tokyo? Surely he should be banned, if anyone should. Oh, I see that the very opposite has happened to him…. angry

      https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/covid-19/413048/the-people-leading-new-zealand-s-fight-against-covid-19

      • Incognito 4.1.1

        Are you trying to construct a nuanced argument using B & W reasoning or the other way round? You know that a reductio ad absurdum is a rhetorical tool but not a decisive argument per se, don’t you?

      • Patricia Bremner 4.1.2

        I was having a knee jerk about JLRoss!!

        • Morrissey 4.1.2.1

          Fair enough, too, Patricia. You're not the only one to feel like that about the Honorable Ex-Member.

  4. tc 5

    Is herd immunity even possible given it's ability to mutate and the country sized petrie dishes

    • Incognito 5.1

      That’s a good question. The answer depends on what exactly you understand or mean by “herd immunity”.

      Here’s a reasonable article on this topic: https://theconversation.com/herd-immunity-appears-unlikely-for-covid-19-but-cdc-says-vaccinated-people-can-ditch-masks-in-most-settings-160228

      Some vaccines may offer less protection to some new variants but still some level of protection. It depends on the vaccine and it depends on the variant.

      Herd immunity also depends on crowd behaviour, for want of a better word, and central health measure in place to stop/slow down spread of disease. In other words, local her immunity may be harder to realise in an urban environment (city) than in a low-density rural population.

      Regardless of the answer, the more people are vaccinated at one time, the better it will prevent spread at that time. So, even if the variable threshold (Holy Grail) of herd immunity is not reached, it is still an effective thing to do from a general/population health perspective. There appears to be some cross-resistance of the immune system against new variants in people who had been infected with the original or earlier variant of the virus. The best thing to do is to build up at some level of immunity in as many people as possible as soon as possible. This will help slow down the creation of new variants too. NZ is in a unique position because the virus is not out in the community and hardly anybody in the population has been infected so far. Vaccination is the safest controlled way to build up a robust level of immunity in the population, even if it is not sufficient for so-called herd immunity.

      Nota bene, I don’t think we can claim to have ever achieved herd immunity against the flu and this was never attempted. IIRC, about 500 Kiwis died every year due to flu. The current death toll due to Covis-19 stands at 26 is this is taken over more than a year.

      It doesn’t appear that vaccination alone will be enough.

      • georgecom 5.1.1

        it's a complex old beast as far as I can tell. this is a laymens understanding. Herd immunity = those vaccinated plus those with some immunity based on having caught the virus. Neither guarantees someone will not catch covid, it improves the chances of not getting it. thus is a new wave of the original virus breaks out those vaccinated or those who previously had the strain will be reasonable well protected, but not 100% guaranteed. To date none of the modified covid variants, as far as I can tell, are significantly deadlier than the original, however they are more transmissible. Vaccines and an immunity from a previous cases will provide some protection, depends how the virus has mutated to possibly breach the existing immunity each person has. That's the spread of the virus.

        A second aspect is on the effect the virus will have on people. In general terms it seems that vaccines and past exposure to covid reduces the severity of the illness. That is, the chance of dying is reduced, the chance of being seriously ill reduces, the chance of being moderately ill reduces. Thus people may catch covid, however the health system won't be over run with cases, more people can quickly recover at home and be fit more quickly. Studies of the likes of Astra Zeneca and CoronaVac shows they reduce serious illness and death by the 80's to 90's percent.

        Finally there is the sharing of the virus if ill. Initial studies seem to point to 'lower viral loads' for people who have been vaccinated and who get the virus. That is, there is lesser chance of them spreading it. I assume the same might be the case for someone who has developed some immunity based on contracting the virus previously.

        So if you put all 3 factors together, it does not mean people will stop getting covid, but it might amount to a manageable scenario. We may get some covid circulating, some people may get sick, most will quickly recover, our hospitals won't be swamped with cases and most people who get it won't spread it far and wide. If we get to such a situation I am reasonably comfortable opening the borders. Or, put it another way, if we get to that situation I don't support keeping things closed for the sake of the antivaxers. They can take their chances, good luck to them but I am hot that bothered about their own personal safety, they have a choice.

        The one exception is those who cannot get vaccinated, eg immune compromised if undergoing cancer treatment. They are important to consider.

        • Andre 5.1.1.1

          For the Pfizer mRNA vaccine, the only contraindication is for those with a history of allergic reactions. I haven't yet seen any info on whether people in that situation will be offered an alternative vaccination (as I hope and expect they would be), or whether most of them make the decision that if they do have an allergic reaction, it will be while they are still waiting in the doctor's office where it can be safely dealt with so they go ahead and get it anyway.

          Immunocompromised, cancer patients etc can apparently quite safely get vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine. It's just got a lowish probability of doing them any good, if their immune systems aren't functioning well. So for their safety they will still be mostly dependent on the rest of the community getting vaccinated.

          https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/forefront/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/immunocompromised-patients-covid-19-vaccines

          https://www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/Datasheet/c/comirnatyinj.pdf

          • georgecom 5.1.1.1.1

            well that sounds hopeful that a % of immunity compromised people could safely have the pfizer vaccine. it is being used on kids over 12 in the US now as well I note. That bodes well for a herd immunity of somewhere between 70% and 80%. If so then the antivaxers can take their chances when we reopen borders. After all, it doesn't exist in some peoples minds so they won't worry about a non-existent disease and for others it's just a 'little flu' so it won't do them any harm whatsoever. We needent worry about them nor base our societal decisions on their safety.

  5. Poission 6

    Along with the eradication of community cases the Government put stringent immigration controls in place. The quarantine system has overall worked very well. The odd breach of the quarantine system has been successfully managed by a greatly improving track and change system.

    Then the vaccines arrived. Surely a return to normal life was just a matter of time?

    The new normal is that outbreaks will reoccur and lockdown's persist.

    If one week is a longtime in politics,two weeks is a full cycle for covid transmission.

    In two weeks Singapore goes from top of the pandemic response list,to a month lockdown,

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-56939261

    Vaccines are only part of the PH response,physical intervention such as PPE and isolation are still necessary,and bubbles are trouble.

  6. Ad 7

    India is the important signal for this year. India takes out 1% of total GDP growth.

    Africa is next year's event. What started in 2020 will keep smashing the world through 2022.

    The good news is the economic effect of COVID19 is emissions are down globally 5%.

    The other good news is China and Australia's economic growth is forecast to go through the roof and take us with it.

    The bad news is the infection fatality rate is up to 1.4% and climbing. It's still smashing health systems all over the world.

    162 million cases worldwide and 3.35 million deaths reported.

    All our Treasury forecasts have flagged the downside.

    This world is in balance.

  7. Ad 8

    So what I want to know is, and I'll have to do a post on it, is this:

    Is Covid big enough to overthrow tyrants, overthrow neoliberalism, and reinvent the need for strong government across the world?

    Is Covid big enough to do what world wars used to do for global unity and civic idealism?

    Is Covid big enough to save us?

    Or is it just the last and final great moral justification for the modern state?

    • Pat 8.1

      or none of the above

      • Ad 8.1.1

        You can make your own feels, once I've finished the actual thinking.

        • Pat 8.1.1.1

          'Actual thinking' no less

        • Forget now 8.1.1.2

          I have to agree with Pat there; Ad. There are options beyond those four notions of yours.

          I tend to think that SARS-CoV-2 is a virus that has no particular interest in our species except as a convenient host. The COVID-19 Pandemic may lead to long lasting changes in human behavior, or it may be forgotten like the Influenza Pandemic of a century past. What do you mean by; "save", and what do you mean by ; "us"?

          In any case, I don't think that there will be a single unified world government as a result of this pandemic, if that answers your questions. But neither do I think that whatever new present will occurs be immutable and eternal. "This too shall pass"; as the Persian sage said long ago, in a "this" that has passed.

          • Ad 8.1.1.2.1

            It's the institutional, political, and social impact of Covid19 that is of interest in the medium run. Multiple leaders large and small are rising and falling on its effects.

            No, your sad straw man about global government answers none of the questions.

            I will set out my argument in a post. Again it will mostly set out questions and some illustrations.

            • Forget now 8.1.1.2.1.1

              How then was I supposed to read this, except as a call for a single global government?

              Is Covid big enough to overthrow tyrants, overthrow neoliberalism, and reinvent the need for strong government across the world?

    • Treetop 8.2

      Anything other than an effective vaccine which can be modified when the vaccine is no longer effective against current strains and a vaccine which has minimal side effects is the best hope for eradicating Covid and saving lives.

      I actually think people are going to become more hardened and selfish due to the Covid pandemic and know that a government has its limits.

      The medical issues which Covid causes are going to have an impact and I doubt governments will be prepared for this.

  8. “….. groups like Voices for Freedom are taking that disinformation created overseas and repackaging it to make it appeal to people in New Zealand and to promote their agenda, which on the surface seems to be to erode our trust in each other, our government, and our successful response to the pandemic.”
    Siouxie Wiles

    George Orwell described a society which thrived in a state of permanent crisis.

    This is the aim, unconscious, or conscious, of the anti-vaxers.

    As seems likely, the work of the anti-vaxers, especially in the US, will prevent that country reaching herd immunity, and so prolong the pandemic.

    The cross over between the anti-vaxers and fascists is pretty clear.

    Just like the fascists the anti-vaxers spread distrust in our public institutions, and civil society at large.

    Destroying faith in public institutions is a shared project of the anti-vaxers and fascists.

    "Burn it all down"

    “I’m a Leninist,” Bannon proudly proclaimed.

    Shocked, I asked him what he meant. “Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” Bannon was employing Lenin’s strategy for Tea Party populist goals. He included in that group the Republican and Democratic Parties, as well as the traditional conservative press.

    Steven Bannon and the intersection of the anti-vaxer and fascist movements:

    In November 2020, Bannon's Twitter account was permanently suspended after he suggested that top government infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray should be beheaded.[39]

    Destroying faith in all public institutions, makes political space for the rise of a demigogic far right populist leader surrounded in new-age mysticism, with a personality cult and the fanatical power base, willing and able to complete the deeply unpopular neo-liberal project begun in the '80s and '90s, with force if necessary.

    The Trump administration was only a taster.

    • solkta 9.1

      Lenin did not want to destroy the state at all. In fact the inverse. His whole point was to seize state power by force and use it to transform society.

      Fascism and Neo-liberalism are different things. To think otherwise is to be confused.

    • Rosemary McDonald 9.2

      Just like the fascists the anti-vaxers spread distrust in our public institutions, and civil society at large.

      Hmmm…. I think there already exists widespread and abiding 'distrust in our public institutions'. Gone are the days when all sectors of the community could trust that 'the government' had their best interests at heart.

      And over the past thirty years, with governments worldwide fostering neo liberal ideologies and generally putting the interests of big business ahead of the most vulnerable, many voices that question government narratives are finding some very fertile ground.

      I struggle to think of anyone in my wider group of acquaintances who has not has some serious and significant issue/dispute with a government department or an agency. I know of very few people who blindly accept that the government and its agents always have all of our best interests at heart.

      Singling out "anti-vaxxers" for special attention in the name-calling game is more than a little narrow.

      The "greater good" argument is used by the agrichemical industry who have long claimed that pesticides are vital to 'feed the world'. There are supposedly rules and regulations to prevent or mitigate adverse effects from these chemicals…but these seldom work in favour of those who wish to avoid contamination from these poisons.

      Are these organic folk nutbars and fascists?

      Serious question…

      • Drowsy M. Kram 9.2.1

        Singling out "anti-vaxxers" for special attention in the name-calling game is more than a little narrow.

        Right now, "anti-vaxxers" are seen by many as having the potential to undermine public health efforts to minimise the effects (death, long-term disability and illness) of Covid-19 infection. Pandemics make for some strange bedfellows.

        Billy Te Kahika spreads Covid-19 misinformation at Parliament rally
        Members of the group wielded banners and placards describing the coronavirus as a scam and decrying vaccines and lockdown measures, echoing online conspiracy theories.

        Others waved pro-Trump flags or signs protesting anything from 1080 pest control to fluoride to the Chinese Communist Party.

        NZ may be fertile ground for anti-Covid-19-vaccination memes because of our very low Covid-19 death rate (5 deaths per million). I can only hope that it doesn't take a UK/USA death rate (1,872/1,803 deaths per million) for those who harbour "anti-vax" thoughts to see some (common)sense.

        Siouxsie Wiles: There’s a lot of vaccine BS around. Here’s why I won’t be debunking it
        I’ve had lots of calls from journalists asking me to debunk the “alternative facts” so that they can get the right information out there, but my answer is always no. It’s not that I don’t want people to have the correct information, it’s that the evidence is really clear: repeated exposure to fake news and alternative facts is actually one way that bad information gets bedded down into people’s memories.

        Digital Mis/Disinformation and Public Engagment with Health and Science Controversies: Fresh Perspectives from Covid-19 [PDF]
        Similarly, claims that the new coronavirus is a product of the big pharma’s greed or the global elite’s effort to control population growth are familiar stories told by anti-vaccination movements in the past decades. Despite being repeatedly discredited and dismissed by national and international health authorities, such claims have featured in every recent international outbreak – such as SARS (2002-2004), H1N1(2009-2010), MERS (2012-2013), Ebola (2014-2015) and Zika (2015) – and have shown no sign of stopping their contagion soon. What we are witnessing in the current coronavirus infodemic, it seems, is the tipping point of a long-simmering process that facilitates the stubborn refusal to retreat of such false theories – and many other anti-science ones such as climate change denial, Flat Earth and creationism.

        • Rosemary McDonald 9.2.1.1

          Hmmm… NZ may be fertile ground for anti-Covid-19-vaccination memes because of our very low Covid-19 death rate (5 deaths per million). I can only hope that it doesn't take a UK/USA death rate (1,872/1,803 deaths per million) for those who harbour "anti-vax" thoughts to see some (common)sense.

          …yet despite the very high death rate from Covid in the US, forty percent of US Marines are refusing the vaccine. You'd think they'd be climbing over each other (like what's happening here) wouldn't you? There's history in the US with vaccines and the armed forces, but it would appear that the initial enthusiasm in the general population has lost momentum. And likewise in the UK, with thousands marching against vaccine passports, compulsory masking and lockdowns.

          So no, DMK, I do not agree that 'our very low Covid 19 death rate has much to do with 'anti-vaccination memes'.

          There's other influences around this issue and at the root is a readiness, worldwide, to distrust governments. And in their arrogance, these governments respond to expressions of distrust with legislation to suppress the expression of opposing views….seemingly oblivious to the fact that such measures serve only to increase the rift. One wonders if this is malice or stupidity…apply Hanlon.

          https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/your-marine-corps/2021/04/14/nearly-40-percent-of-marines-have-turned-down-covid-19-vaccine-from-the-corps/

          • Drowsy M. Kram 9.2.1.1.1

            So no, DMK, I do not agree that 'our very low Covid 19 death rate has much to do with 'anti-vaccination memes'.

            Fair enough Rosemary; it was only supposition.

            Regarding increasing rifts, and malice vs stupidity, the positions on both 'sides' of the vaccination 'rift' are so entenched that the gap seems impossible to bridge. And yet the open-minded (or credulous, depending on your PoV) can cross over.

            Millions Are Saying No to the Vaccines. What Are They Thinking?
            Feelings about the vaccine are intertwined with feelings about the pandemic.
            What are they thinking, these vaccine-hesitant, vaccine-resistant, and COVID-apathetic? I wanted to know. So I posted an invitation on Twitter for anybody who wasn’t planning to get vaccinated to email me and explain why. In the past few days, I spoke or corresponded with more than a dozen such people. I told them that I was staunchly pro-vaccine, but this wouldn’t be a takedown piece. I wanted to produce an ethnography of a position I didn’t really understand.
            ….
            The United States suffers from a deficit of imagining the lives of other people. This is true of my side: Vaccinated liberals don’t take much time to calmly hear out the logic of those refusing the shots. But it’s also true of the no-vaxxers, who might reconsider their view if they grasped the far-ranging consequences of their private vaccination decisions. Instead of shaming and hectoring, our focus should be on broadening their circle of care: Your cells might be good enough to protect you, but the shots are better to protect Grandpa.

      • Incognito 9.2.2

        How does one go from “serious and significant issue/dispute with a government department or an agency” to become an anti-vaxxer in almost complete denial and rejection of mainstream (Western) medicine? It seems to involve all compassing broad-brush strokes and thinking to then reject unquestionably (!) almost everything coming from one very large and general source such as the State, for example. Besides the intrinsic incongruence, it has an in-built self-contradiction and internal inconsistency. Perhaps that explains why rational debate is usually near impossible and like debating religious zealots.

        • Rosemary McDonald 9.2.2.1

          ….to become an anti-vaxxer in almost complete denial and rejection of mainstream (Western) medicine?

          Huh?

          • Incognito 9.2.2.1.1

            <sigh>

            … to become an anti-vaxxer in denial and rejection of mainstream (Western) medicine?

            That better?

            Or this?

            … to become an anti-vaxxer in denial and rejection of some mainstream (Western) medicine?

            • Rosemary McDonald 9.2.2.1.1.1

              Been busy working outside in the hot FFN sun so just let me check…

              Those people who are reluctant to be injected with a novel, never-before-used mRNA vaccine because (amounst other issues) it lacks anything remotely resembling long term safety studies and these people have well -grounded government trust issues, are "anti -vaxxers in almost complete denial and rejection of mainstream (Western) medicine" ?

              You seem very familiar with those "broad brush strokes".

              And these people refusing the vaccine …thereby freeing up doses for those embracing the same…what on earth gives you or anyone else the right to label them with the slur "anti-vaxxer"?

              To my mind, an "anti-vaxxer" rejects all vaccines. I bet my bottom dollar most these of these hesitant folk have had most of the vaccines on the schedule. Providing of course their insurance allows that.

              • Andre

                A healthy reaction to anything new is to try to find as much information about it as possible. In the case of mRNA vaccines, there's lots of information out there about what they are, timelines and obstacles encountered and overcome in their development, how they work and how that's different to older vaccines, the role of mRNA in normal biochemistry and why it is extremely unlikely that mRNA vaccines will cause some unpleasant side-effects some undetermined time down the road.

                Here's just a few samples:

                https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/89998

                https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/featured-topic/covid-19-vaccine-myths-debunked

                https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00290-x

                https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/early-concerns-raised-over-levels-of-intact-mrna-in-pfizer-vaccine#Instructions-for-making-protein

                Furthermore, we're coming up on a year from the start of the large clinical trials involving thousands of volunteers. These volunteers are mostly continuing to be monitored. In the context of vaccinations where side effects show up within hours and days of the vaccination, or at worst, weeks, we can be confident that side effects from a longer time-frame are extremely unlikely. So yes, we are starting to get long-term information, and that information does not raise concerns.

                In contrast, your apparent reaction to the idea of the new vaccine technology appears to be to gather up all the negative info you can find about vaccines in general, regardless of whether or not it is in any way relevant, and spread it around. Apparently to try to generate fear, uncertainty, doubt.

              • Incognito

                Thanks and apologies for my poor wording, which could easily be misconstrued.

                I don’t know what I should call someone who refuses one or more vaccines, but not all; the context is the only vaccine currently available in NZ. In any case, anti-vaxxer is what it is: a pejorative for some, a mere description for others, even when in it is inaccurate and imprecise.

                I’m seriously interested in the alleged link between past ‘negative encounters and experiences’ with PS employed at departments or agencies and ‘vaccine hesitancy’ with regard to the new generation mRNA vaccines, if there’s such a link. I’m asking you because you brought it into the conversation @ 9.2.

                PS AFAIK, some (!) anti-vaxxers are ‘anti-everything’ and indeed “in almost complete denial and rejection of mainstream (Western) medicine". However, those seem to be a tiny minority and for that reason, I’m not that interested in those people and their reasons. In addition, there’s likely going to be an oversupply of vaccine doses so a few anti-vaxxers is neither here nor there in that regard.

      • "Singling out "anti-vaxxers" for special attention in the name-calling game is more than a little narrow."
        Rosemary McDonald

        Maybe, but remember Rosemary, that for all the millions of useful idiots out there believing and spreading this stuff there are only 12 main sources.

        Sure, one of the motives of the 'Disinformation Dozen', (as Siouxie Wiles identifies them), is to sell you snake oil alternative cures. But that is not the only motive. Alongside his attempt to build a political movement/cult around himself, self agrandisment and money making is a big motive of the Billy Te Kahika's of this world,

        https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/300199457/billy-te-kahika-jrs-new-zealand-public-party-labelled-a-cult-by-exparty-director

        But there are others like Steve Bannon and some of the Russian based 'Disinformation Dozen' whose purpose is to deliberately sow chaos.
        To spread distrust in civil society is a tactic of the far right.

        over the past thirty years, with governments worldwide fostering neo liberal ideologies and generally putting the interests of big business ahead of the most vulnerable, many voices that question government narratives are finding some very fertile ground.

        Rosemary Mc Donald.

        In our class divided society, that all politicians are corrupt and that all media/journalists lie is a mainstay theme of right wing radio hosts to explain away the terrible outcomes of the neo-liberal project. I believe that most journalists are honest that most politicians are sincere, it is their political class interests that make them follow down paths that are detrimental the to the vast majority.

        • Rosemary McDonald 9.2.3.1

          In our class divided society, that all politicians are corrupt and that all media/journalists lie is a mainstay theme of right wing radio hosts to explain away the terrible outcomes of the neo-liberal project. I believe that most journalists are honest that most politicians are sincere, it is their political class interests that make them follow down paths that are detrimental the to the vast majority.

          Whew! Who knew? Considering this place is supposed to be left leaning, there's an awful lot of criticism leveled at the quality of journalism offered up by our MSM.

          And of course…holding sitting governments to account is only allowed on the left if the government is perceived as right. Any one criticizing or not wholeheartedly trusting sitting politicians are, by default, right wing.

          I think you may just have explained just why there has been no real roll back of those neo lib policies of the eighties.

          • Hi Rosemary, what I was trying to point out, is that to buy into the right wing smear that all politicians are corrupt and that all media lie, can lead to some very terrible places.

            https://gen.medium.com/nazi-hippies-when-the-new-age-and-far-right-overlap-d1a6ddcd7be4

            What I missed is one little word.

            What I should have writen is this:

            "that all politicians are corrupt and that all media/journalists lie is a 'simplistic' mainstay theme of right wing radio hosts to explain away the terrible outcomes of the neo-liberal project of the low decile listeners of talk hate radio, whose views these right wing talk show hosts are trying to shape The listeners will not be allowed to hear any deeper analysis of policies harmful to everyone except the well off. And so are these policies are explained away as corruption of all MPs, which is a right wing smear."

            I suppose it's a matter of who you trust, unemployed musician, New Age influencer Billy Te Kahika and his like, and talk hate radio hosts, or professional microbiologist and infections diseas expert, Siouxsie Wiles and a Prime Minister I regard as the best of my lifetime.

            On a personal note; My work takes me into the hospitals and prisons. I felt privileged, (and slightly undeserving), to stand in a quues with nurses and other health workers to receive my first shot of the Pfizer vaccine. The nurses were queing for their second shot, One of the nurses standing next to me said that she felt very tired, but it is not because of the vaccine side affect but from overwork, a joke which was received with a dry chuckle from her colleagues. I fel honoured to be in their company.

            I can report to you that I had zero side affects or reaction to my first shot and are looking forward to my second..

            Don't believe the right wing, who like Margaret Thatcher once said there is no such thing as society.

            For all its faults and division there is such a thing as society. Yes it is a work in progress, and clunky as it may sound – appeals to the team of 5 million to be kind, has a validity and resonance within society.

            If you have ever donated to a worthy cause. If you have ever stood shoulder to shoulder with your brouthers and sisters on a picket line against an unfair employer. If you have ever given blood, or helped an old person across a busy street. if you have ever done anything at all that was completely selfless.

            Then do this.

            Get vaccinated!

            You may not just be protecting yourself and your family from getting sick,, but someone who may be vulnerable that you don't even know from an early death.

            Believe me when I say, the benefits far outweight any perceived or imagined risks. As I said I have had no ill effects at all

            So scriew up your nerve Rosemary and go and get the jab.

            You will feel better from having done your civic duty.

  9. Sanctuary 10

    I have a suspicion that the great age of globalisation (at least in labour movement) is over, and we'll be seeing much tension over this as the pandemic recedes.

    I was watching some people protesting for migrant rights on the steps of parliament (they were demanding repatriation flights for people from India) and it occurred to me that most likely they have zero sympathy from the huge majority of voters who just ask questions like what were they doing travelling in a pandemic – they rolled the travel dice and lost – and are they really New Zealanders anyway?

    Which raises the wider question about who we are, what is our modern indigenous culture and how we view ourselves. Lets face it – the argument that the readiness to just shut out everyone in India is racist and politically almost risk free because they mostly look and sound like Indians has some truth to it. The same ambivalent attitude to migrants applies to Chinese migrants, not particularly welcome and not regarded as particularly "Kiwi."

    If four or five planeloads of travelling kapa haka groups had been stuck in Mumbai you know the government would have got them home by now. By and large the unsaid truth of New Zealand is anti-immigration feeling is pretty popular, and mass immigration has largely been a construct of our liberal elite consensus which shouts down any debate on the topic with immediate accusations of racism. After all, it is business that gets to exploit these people and middle aged white collar liberals just love the diversity – they never have to compete with migrants for static/falling wages in low skilled & grey collar jobs. I mean, why did it take COVID for this – https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/rotorua-business-looks-fill-new-zealands-shortage-crane-operators – to happen? Because it was easier and cheaper to bring in a crane operator from the third world on a no questions asked basis and he'll never be a pain about working on weekends and public holidays? Anecdotal reports means in my mind there is no doubt unskilled wages are rising in response to labour shortages. You can't put that genie easily back in the bottle now people have seen the link in action.

    NZ it seems to me has strongly asserted over COVID a proposition of a nascent new nationalism, with our identity built around a form of isolationist exceptionalism that applies to a nascent blended "bi-culturalism +" of Polynesian and Pakeha, and others can apply to join but cannot be separate if they want to be a "New Zealander."

    Certainly, the government with it's strong Maori caucus and an eye on the floating NZ First vote is on no hurry to allow a flood of migrants back into NZ.

    So my view is at least one facet of the way out of COVID is going to be characterised by a stoush between the globalist liberal/neoliberal elite consensus who wish to quickly return to the ante pestum order on immigration and a newly assertive nativism that may – and I only say may, because it seems Grant Robertson is at heart a status quo centrist – have refound a home in a mainstream political party.

    • RedLogix 10.1

      I have a suspicion that the great age of globalisation (at least in labour movement) is over, and we'll be seeing much tension over this as the pandemic recedes.

      I've been more or less saying something like this for several years now. The key thing everyone misses in their hating on the US, is that the global trade order they created – largely to bribe up an alliance to fight the Cold War (and imperfect and flawed as it was) – also brought an unprecedented human development and progress to the world.

      But oddly enough the Americans were in many ways the ones who least benefited. Their economy was only ever modestly involved in trading with the rest of the world (at least not compared to nations like Germany and China), and the labour competition from cheaper, developing nations has hurt the US working, and now middle class, badly.

      Combine this with the culture wars pre-occupying the Americans, five Presidents in a row with no coherent global vision, and virtually no internationalist aligned people left in Washington – and essentially you have a global system running on inertia.

      Everyone is beginning to notice that the US is less interested in imposing it's reality than it used to, and regional powers are testing once again what they can get away with. Fairly soon, maybe before the end of this year, we might see the defacto global order in which the US took conflict off the table between almost all the smaller nations, break down. As a result we're seeing the age-old zones of conflict – Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia reverting to the their bad old normal.

      It will only take one of these on-going low level conflicts, Ukraine, Palestine, Yemen, Taiwan or the South China Sea to trip over into a 'kinetic' conflict – and we can formally declare this second great era of globalisation (the first was from 1845 – 1914) over. And with it much of the prosperity it enabled. That some on the left would deem this a good thing strikes me as very peculiar indeed – for conflict and poverty is what hurts the poor first, foremost and most brutally.

      • Incognito 10.1.1

        Two things in your comment stand out for me: US’s reality and ‘kinetic’ conflict. I’d argue that the pandemic is similar to kinetic conflict in its impact on the global economy, political (in)stability, tendencies for increased nationalism, and lives lost, to name a few. I’d also argue that try as they might, US’s reality is imposed on them as much as on any when it comes to a global pandemic. The reported death tally in the US is almost 600,000, which amounts to 1.8 deaths per thousand people and with still on average 600 patients dying every day. That is the reality that they cannot escape, ever.

      • Sacha 10.1.2

        The US exported jobs like the rest of us.

      • Stuart Munro 10.1.3

        The US suffered from an inconsistency of objectives. Post war, some fairly smart economists (there used to actually be such things!) recommended assisting nations to rebuild economies ravaged by war so that the US would have people to trade with. This was part of the rationale of the Marshall Plan, and it was on this basis that countries like Korea normalised relations with Japan in spite of some fairly solid reasons for antipathy arising from the Japanese occupation. Organisations like the World Bank were created to assist countries facing recessions so that they could recover quickly and continue to trade.

        Unhappily, the new Chicago school economists with their extreme and ineffectual policy stances brought an end to constructive engagement and developmentalism, instead destabilising economies to encourage them to part with key assets to predatory foreign corporations. The World Bank, rather than supporting fragile economies through turbulent periods set out to restructure them to destroy public health and social support, and to facilitate corporate looting. (NZ suffered its share of this, the looting of our public sector was achieved with one of the lowest public returns of all the ill-starred privatisation projects in the world – it became a literal textbook case of how not to privatise).

        Legacies of abuse and naked self-interest poison the support for democratic transitions that, outside of the Americas, were often somewhat genuine.

  10. Adrian 11

    Five plane loads of Kapa Haka performers would have been home before the lockdown and would not have traveled there since, because what a lot of people don’t get is that we are on a war footing, and in such circumstances as that I’m pretty sure 80 years ago not a lot of Kiwis would have had a shitshow of getting to Japan, Germany, Italy or any bloody where because we were at war. If you went there you were on your own, the same as now.

    • Tricledrown 11.1

      Adrian so true the previous generations worked together to overcome the enemy they didn't complain about hiccups in the system.

      Now days everyone is complaining about not getting their way in times of desperation for most people on the planet.

      We have been extremely lucky so far because of drastic measures to prevent our rickety already overwhelmed health system collapsing causing even more deaths because people needing urgent treatment for Cancer,Strokes,heart attacks,potentially fatal traffic accidents etc.if we suffered a serious outbreak non covid deaths would escalate rapidly.

      Individuals have to make sacrifices not everyone is going to get their way on travel back to NZ.This is as you say Adrian the first time our post WW11 generation has had to face this type of adversity.

      Our generations have been spoiled and expect everything to be handed to them on a plate.

  11. Tricledrown 12

    Taiwan the poster boy of Controlling Covid now has an outbreak a 180 odd local infections 130 untraceable believed to be circulating undocumented migrants and sex workers.

    Low up take in vaccination also blamed.

    For NZ to open borders we need to vaccinate .

    Until other countries have vaccinated and hoping variants don't become immune to vaccines .

    We still need to be vigilant and patient and not expect the world to be the same.which maybe a good thing for the planet.

  12. Mark 13

    We have shown that we have failed in working together on a global scale to beat this.

    Now it’s too late and our selfish western approach will cost us most likely the world as we knew it.

    But our leaders are full of false hope and lull the population into believing that they have it under control.

    Remember Modi’s big speeches last year?
    I think he is the first of many that will go.

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