- Date published:
11:01 am, March 29th, 2020 - 212 comments
Categories: australian politics, Donald Trump, health, International, jacinda ardern, politicans, scoundrels, uk politics, uncategorized, us politics - Tags: Boris Johnson, covid-19, scomo, scott morrison
Social media has become interesting lately. Twitter has become civilised. Apart from Democracy Mum and Hamish Price most right wing commentators have become much more respectful. The left have toned it down as well.
And an unusual consensus has been reached.
The Government’s publicity on the issue has been clear. The four levels let us know who things were going to go if things changed, then they were implemented as quickly as possible when things did change. Going to stage four was a no brainer. And the very generous support packages that have been announced will mean that the worst of the economic carnage will be avoided.
The restrictions are tough. I thought my law firm would be an essential industry because of our role in the justice system as well as the financial system. But it was very gently explained to me that to make this work we need as few contacts as possible. This means everything shuts except those that are clearly the most essential. This tweet explains why.
The rules are there and they are crystal clear. Stay home in your bubble. Do not associate with people outside your bubble. Go for a walk locally if you like but stay well clear of everyone else. And don’t touch anything others may have touched.
So far it feels like New Zealand is pretty well placed to weather this storm.
But all focus will be on the infection figures. As Incognito said in his excellent post it has become a daily ritual to watch the figures being released. In fact I used to wait for opinion poll results with the same level of apprehension.
No doubt the figures were affected by the influx of Kiwis returning from overseas. Scenes like this can explain why returning kiwis figure so prominently in the infection rates.
There is still the concern that not all infections are being picked up. But as explained by the legendary Siouxsie Wiles the test will be what the figures are in a fortnight.
There have been expressions of optimism that the Government’s actions may have dramatic beneficial effects. From Charles Anderson in the Guardian:
Jacinda Ardern has implored New Zealanders to “stay local” during a four-week countrywide lockdown as modelling showed that strict measures adopted by the country could limit deaths to 0.0004% of the population – or about 20 people.
Research released by Te Pūnaha Matatini suggested that, left unchecked, the virus could eventually infect 89% of New Zealand’s population and kill up to 80,000 people in a worst-case scenario.
According to the research, intensive care beds would reach capacity within two months and the number of patients needing intensive care would exceed 10 times capacity by the time the virus peaked.
However, with the strictest suppression measures, which the country has adopted, the fatalities would drop to just 0.0004%. Hospital capacity would not be exceeded for over a year. These measures included physical distancing, case isolation, household quarantine, and closing schools and universities and would require the restrictions to remain in place until a vaccine or other treatment was developed.
However, researchers noted such strategies can “delay but not prevent the epidemic”.
“When controls are lifted after 400 days, an outbreak occurs with a similar peak size as for an uncontrolled epidemic,” the researchers wrote.
The takeaway messages? 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.
The clarity of the Government’s messaging can be contrasted with that of other countries. Like Australia where Treasurer Mathias Cormann says that the Government is “never going to close down businesses based on political decisions” but then decides to leave hair salons open despite their request to be closed. No wonder Sydneysiders and Melbourites are flocking to the beach.
And locals in Australia have clearly had enough and are looking elsewhere for political leadership, perfectly summed up by this tweet:
Or the United Kingdom where the Government has changed tack from promoting herd immunity, which would have resulted in 510,000 deaths by this August to, well I am not sure, and the Prime Minister insists on shaking hands and then contracts the virus himself.
Or America which is now number one in a way they did not want, the United States now has the most reported cases of the virus.
And Trump’s public utterances on the subject have been all over the place.
We also have a new hero in US politics, Dr Anthony Fauci who has done his best to publicly disagree with Trump about his most idiotic suggestions, including the proposal that the US should lift its quarantine so that people can rub shoulders in mass on Easter Sunday, to the promotion of drugs that have no efficacy in treating the virus. Fauci is now the leader of the what is left of the US intelligentsia in positions of authority. I wonder how long he will last.
And Trump is now blaming various Democrat governors for his botching of the pandemic.
Stand by as he shifts as much blame as he can on the states, particularly those with Democrat Governors. If it has not been abundantly clear for the past three years, Trump is totally unsuited to leading the United States. It really is facing failed state status.
Enough for now. Please stick to the curfew. Exercise is permitted but don’t drive and stay away from others and don’t touch anything. And check on each other and your loved ones. Social media is great for this.
The good news is that there were fewer infections reported overnight, 63.
The bad news is that the country has suffered its first Covid-19 related death.