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Open mike 14/04/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 14th, 2020 - 183 comments
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183 comments on “Open mike 14/04/2020 ”

  1. Ross 1

    According to Dr Simon Thornley, NZ should move to alert level 2 on April 22.

    "Lockdown was appropriate when there was so little data…but the data is now clear, this is not the disaster we feared and prepared for. Elimination of this virus is likely not achievable and is not necessary."

    Thornley said the risk to most working people was low and likened it, for most people, to a seasonal influenza virus.

    He said the plan was developed amid concern the Government's strategy was over-the-top and likely to 'substantially harm the nation's long term health and well being, social fabric, economy and education'".

    That is remarkably similar to what Dr Knut Kittkowski has said.

    "We had two other SARS viruses before. Or, coronaviruses. It’s not the first coronavirus that comes out, and it won’t be the last. And for all respiratory diseases, we have the same type of an epidemic. If you leave it alone, it comes for two weeks, it peaks, and it goes for two weeks and it’s gone…There are no indications that this flu is fundamentally different from every other flu. We know what happened in China, we know what happened in South Korea, we know what happened, or is happening, in Europe. There are no indications that anything is different from a regular flu. Maybe it’s a bit worse than other flus—could be?

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/120984583/coronavirus-lockdown-rules-should-be-relaxed-health-experts-say

    https://ratical.org/PerspectivesOnPandemic-II.html

    • I Feel Love 1.1

      Surveys show NZrs are quite happy to be in lockdown, and ok to extend if necessary. There are also indications the virus is not like the seasonal flu, it's stronger, confusing, and very, very contagious. Of course you'll find scientists who disagree, such is the nature of scientists, lucky we have leaders here in NZ who don't want to risk peoples lives, because what they have seen in China, South Korea and, Europe.

    • KJT 1.2

      There is always one halfwit that wants to make a name for himself, going against the flow.

      Supported by another, Gareth Morgan, who values an individuals life at $10 000, dollars.

      • RedLogix 1.2.1

        Supported by another, Gareth Morgan, who values an individuals life at $10 000, dollars.

        Did you write that specially for me? I'm touched wink

        • Forget now 1.2.1.1

          Gareth Morgan's stooge huh? That makes sense with using lowball negotiation tactics during a medical crisis (speculatively):

          A businessman wants money and doesn't care if others die because they can afford to continue to self-isolate and teleconference. But needs the lockdown to reduce to level 3 for at least a couple of weeks for their current trading positions to pay off. So they hire (donate to associated research/ treatment facilities) a more plausible academic to front for them and say that we should really be at level 2 or less of a lockdown.

          The temptation is for people with no specialist knowledge to try to reconcile the conflicting claims of; some doctors saying level 4, while others call for level 2. Level 3 would seem to be an appropriate compromise then, if you weren't aware of how you were being played!

          And of course, once there are a rash of new outbreaks within a month, and we return to level 4; the businessman would have had opportunity to trade their assets into a more personal favourable pattern. The Dr stooge should really be considering if what he has got from this deal is really worth his reputation as a health expert, or human being!

          • RedLogix 1.2.1.1.1

            Two thoughts.

            One is that Gareth Morgan seems to have been referencing a model from Pharmac Cost Utility Analysis which uses the number $10k at some point. I've scanned it but there is a lot more to it than some reductionist 'value of a human life' number.

            These sorts of technical analysis' that appear to put a cold number on the value of a human life are always unattractive from a purely ethical perspective, but in effect are really just one way to ration otherwise limited resources. For instance if Pharmac hypothetically spent a large amount saving the lives of a few dozen cancer sufferers, while not spending the same sum on reducing pain and suffering for thousands of others … how to reconcile this competing demand in a manner that can be justified to the public?

            If we just left the exercise to 'medical experts' they would do a wonderful job in their own domain, but anything else would suffer. This is the argument that we need to have, doctors and epidemiologists are not economists or business people … nor are they government.

            The religious argument, which is my starting point, says that the value of human life transcends the economic one. My view is that all life is in it's own degree is sacred. Utilitarian arguments that place a dollar value on life is a fatal compromise with this principle.

            Yet we cannot piously sit above the fray and not get our hands dirty; decisions made in the harsh light of scarcity must be made. Just as doctors in the ICU wards have to play God over who dies and who doesn't, we have to decide how much of our economy we must sacrifice to this virus.

            Because at the extreme, if we crash the economy totally we all die from deprivation anyhow. So at some point well before that we will be forced to make a decision on how to end this lockdown, and on what criteria. Economic speakers like Morgan will necessarily fight the economy’s corner … and with sound moral justification. Just as people here fighting the corner for those vulnerable to this demon virus, will also claim the moral high ground.

            Accusing each other of bad faith at the outset isn't going to progress the necessary discussion helpfully. We have a puzzle in front of us, how to extract ourselves from this lockdown. Getting into it was easy, and now we have a massive sunk cost invested in it … getting out will be much harder and demand the very best of all New Zealanders.

            • Forget now 1.2.1.1.1.1

              RL

              Am I getting these two thoughts right?

              1/ Morgan is conflating pharmac's budgetary restrictions with the value of a human life.

              2/ Economic collapse will lead to social problems (putting that very mildly).

              Lots of words to wade through there, so wanted to confirm before critiquing. My immediate reaction was in regards to your equating human worth to spirituality:

              Do atheists who are completely unconvinced by religious doctrine not then have any value? What about people who follow a different religion? Many of those have an "it's not a sin to kill and steal from unbelievers" clause in their tenets. I would argue these assumptions underly the colonial era horrors in Aotearoa (and much of the rest of the world).

              • KJT

                I wonder if they go to Church?

                Research shows that children bought up religious, have less empathy for others, and are more likely to despise those outside their religious/social group.

              • KJT

                Morgan thinks it is the "economy", that pays Souxie.

                No.

                It's the market gardener who grows her food, the drivers, supermarket workers and food factory workers that supply her food.

                It's the builder who built her house, the technicians, who make things she uses, the Bangladeshi that makes her clothes.

                The Teachers who helped educate her, the Doctors that kept her healthy, the council workers that keep up fresh water, sewage disposal and drainage supplies.

                Society.

              • RedLogix

                Using the word 'religion' always gets a reaction from the determined 'non-religious' types that I don't care to wade into. This is not the forum to explore that theme.

                Let me confine my answer to this; the idea that 'all life is sacred' finds it's most deep seated and durable home in the religious context. That does not exclude other moral systems, nor denigrates them without cause.

                Many of those have an "it's not a sin to kill and steal from unbelievers" clause in their tenets.

                Mine doesn't. Emphatically.

                • Forget now

                  Is it not? Why? Because you assert that to be the case? I would have thought that OM was indeed the appropriate forum for such a discussion.

                  If you don't want people disagree with your religion then don't use it as a basis for discussion.

                  https://vimeo.com/11338327

            • RedLogix 1.2.1.1.1.2

              1/ Morgan is conflating pharmac's budgetary restrictions with the value of a human life.

              Referencing Pharmac seems like a pertinent gambit in the context of the debate he's engaged in, but it's probably a mistake to put the man into box based on one short tweet.

              • KJT

                We've been hearing from Gareth for a long time, but, like way too many economists, he has too narrow a view.

                Going by his past history, I doubt if he is callous as that tweet showed, however.

            • McFlock 1.2.1.1.1.3

              Thanks RL, couldn't be bothered researching Morgan's foolishness myself.

              Going out on a limb, it seems to me that he half-assed it to make two fundamental errors:

              1. Pharmac does not, in fact, set a value on human life. It does factor cost into the equation as part of the calculation used to prioritise the costs and benefits of relative funding options. As your link says:

                Does PHARMAC use a cost per QALY threshold?
                No. CUA helps us rank funding options, so that we focus our work on the medicines offering the best health outcomes for New Zealand. We measure value by using nine decision criteria – a key reason why the results of CUA are not any sort of threshold. A threshold is also incompatible with a fixed budget – however big – because we could never guarantee to fund everything that met a threshold.

              2. He seems to have half-remembered a ballpark range of common costs for medications as $10,000 per life, rather than $10,000 per quality-adjusted life-year. So it's not $10k/life, Pharmac happens to get many of its common medications at roughly $10k (give or take several thousand) per year for each healthy, happy person or a composite number of slightly more health but still sick, slightly more happy people.

              Dude still hasn't learned that you can't write public policy on the back of an envelope.

              • RedLogix

                Yeah. That looks like a good summary. That Pharmac CUA document is well laid out, and it makes a nuanced argument illustrating some of the very real challenges faced in running a health system. Sometimes I think we should be just a little more appreciative that our public service does function better than OK most of the time.

                As for Morgan, on his humanitarian track record going back decades we know he's a decent guy, but who among us hasn't made mistakes in the course of a fast moving thread? blush

                • McFlock

                  But does he ever own his mistakes?

                  Going by his NZ track record, his actual persona is most people's online-at-three-in-the-morning-after-a-few-drinks persona: when his unchecked recollections or his graciously gifted reckons are challenged, he spits the dummy.

                  • Forget now

                    At least Ardern becoming PM made that pig eat his lipstick.

                    Was it about halfway to the 5% threshold that TOP got last election? Anyone here think that a Bridges/ Morgan government would have responded better to the Pandemic than our present one?

        • KJT 1.2.1.2

          You're welcome.

    • Andre 1.3

      Thornley and Wittkowski appear to be arguing for letting the disease run rampant through the ranks of the vulnerable, and appear to be meh about the idea of overloading the health system and subsequent damage that would cause. But haven't get the courage to explicitly spell that out.

      They appear to be dishonestly downplaying the seriousness of COVID-19 by comparing it to regular seasonal flu. IT’S NOT THE FUCKING FLU, IT'S WAY MORE SERIOUS;. I’ve got family that have personally experienced COVID-19 and are working on the frontlines of dealing with it that are corroborating the media reports of how damaging it is. IT’S NOT A FUCKING MEDIA BEATUP.

      The choice of when to drop down in alert levels and open up restrictions comes down to balancing the extra marginal problems caused by staying at higher levels for a bit longer versus the risk of having to go back into higher levels because of a subsequent breakout. Seems to me the marginal extra problems caused by extending the lockdown by another week or two are really quite small, especially relative to the problems caused by having to go back into lockdown in the future.

      Given what we know about asymptomatic carriers being infectious for maybe a couple of weeks, it would only take a chain of two or three asymptomatic infections to carry the disease undetected through the four week lockdwon. Considering how many infections we know about, the chances of undetected asymptomatic chains seem awfully high. Each one of which could cause a fresh breakout.

      So. Ross, if the experts were to assess the chances of a new breakout requiring a new lockdown to be say 50% if the current lockdown was lifted on April 22, but were say 10% if the current lockdown were extended to five weeks, and 1% of the lockdown was extended to six weeks, what would you want to do?

      • I Feel Love 1.3.1

        The irony for Ross if we do lift early, then an outbreak occurs, we will go in lockdown again, for maybe longer, repeat and rinse.

        • Andre 1.3.1.1

          I also think the likes of Ross, Thornley and Wittkowski are starry-eyed about what benefits there might be from coming out of lockdown early. There is now no "normal" we can return to. That timeline is gone, it's an alternate universe pinched off from the one we now inhabit.

          The question now what difference does another week or two or three of extra lockdown make when it comes to building our new future. I'd guess that difference is really very small, and any benefit from coming out early would be very fragile and easily shattered by having to go back up the lockdown scale.

          We certainly appear to be in a position where elimination within New Zealand is possible and within our grasp, and would be a very good thing compared with having to deal with recurring waves of this disease. It seems foolish to put this at risk for what would likely be a small financial gain for a few people.

        • lprent 1.3.1.2

          That is going to be the danger. We can’t go out of lockdown until we’re sure that any outbreak can be identified and swamped immediately.

          This means, apart from anything else, that the district level chief health officers can impose local constraints up to an including lockdowns without any idiotic interference from national or local political and business interference. Forget large gatherings for quite some time.

          On thing that is quite apparent with this disease is that cluster management is essential. Contact tracing using cellphones it probably going to be the best tool available.

        • Gabby 1.3.1.3

          I think maybe he's a funeral director.

          • In Vino 1.3.1.3.1

            He could well be, Gabby. A bit greedy if so – with all us boomers about to 'move on' from this earthly coil, undertaking was already set to be a growth industry even without Covid19..

          • Macro 1.3.1.3.2

            Except that funeral directing isn't exactly big business these days.

            To stop the spread of COVID-19, gathering together for funerals and tangi is not permitted while New Zealand is at Alert Level 4.

            Only people from the same self-isolation bubble as the deceased person can go to the funeral home and cemetery with the deceased, and only if these are in the same region. Talk with your funeral director about specific arrangements, including how to keep your physical distance.

            This applies to all deceased persons, regardless of when and where they died, or the cause of death.

            It includes gatherings at burials, cremations, memorial services, open or closed caskets or viewings, funeral wakes, processions or receptions and social gatherings, both indoors and outdoors.

            https://covid19.govt.nz/individuals-and-households/health-and-wellbeing/funerals-and-tangi/

      • Rosemary McDonald 1.3.2

        Might pay to have another read because they both appear to be advocating isolating the vulnerable and let everyone else go BAU.

        I am very concerned also about evidence indicating that asymptomatic people being carriers.

        Which begs the question why there appears to be a huge reluctance on behalf of our leaders to encourage, no, make it mandatory that those providing routine daily care to the 'vulnerable' wear masks and gowns. Especially those providing routine supports to a number of clients.

        The total rejection of this basic precautionary approach is baffling to say the least.

        Confusing times indeed.

        • weka 1.3.2.1

          I'm going with two theories atm. A level of incompetence based on the system being generally bad at understanding and responding to the needs of disabled people. Or, it's the pragmatics of managing public health at the population level where individual needs are not easily counted, in this case they're taking into account the need to have PPE reserves in stock in case we end up with an epidemic in NZ.

          Neither really explain it though, so there's a third factor for me, poor communication (within the system and with the public). It reminds me of WINZ in a way, the system is so dysfunctional that there are areas where it's really hard for things to work.

          Did you see this? Looks like some MSM traction at last.

          https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/were-not-getting-masks-gloves-because-ppe-confusion-say-disability-support-workers-v1

          • Rosemary McDonald 1.3.2.1.1

            Bit of 'a', bit of 'b', a largish dollop of 'c'.

            Uncle Ashley (and I mean that in the nicest possible way🙄) has told us repeatedly that there is no shortage of PPE. Over and over again.

            I think he doth protest too much. Or.

            He's trying to convince himself as well as us. (And if a thing is said often enough it will become fact.)

            Or Someone has his ear who hasn't a fucking clue what a homecarer does in an average day and how many clients they will visit and how it has become routine to work when you're sick because if you don't turn up that person could lie stinking and starving all day because it's not like there's shit tons lining up to do the work. This Someone hasn't yet grasped the fact that asymptomatic people will be spreading the virus and it is also not always possible to smother an innocent sneeze or cough when you have your gloved hands full of soiled materials.

            The Someone advising Uncle Ashley needs to get out and do the fucking work for a week…hands on….then return to their ivory tower from whence they make recommendations that will ultimately cause the deaths of frail elderly and disabled.

            • pat 1.3.2.1.1.1

              "….they make recommendations that will ultimately cause the deaths of frail elderly and disabled."

              not to mention the carers themselves

              • Rosemary McDonald

                Ah. The carers.

                Considered largely worthless, despite a number of claims being taken before the courts.

                And besides its womens' work.

                These sacrifices are expected of us.

            • weka 1.3.2.1.1.2

              "Uncle Ashley (and I mean that in the nicest possible way🙄) has told us repeatedly that there is no shortage of PPE."

              Right. But it took me a while to understand the management speak, which is that if you control the supply in the way they are currently, then there really is a big stockpile to rely on. If otoh, we allowed people to have access to the masks they need (institutional staff/clients, and home staff/clients), then the assessment of stock might look quite different.

              And yep to the people who have AB's ear. That it's taken this week for the home care sector to even enter the public debate tells me a lot about where general knowledge is at.

              What I expect to happen next is the supply will be loosened up to meet the needs of some in the disability sector, but not others, because the MoH doesn’t have a a great grasp of what the disability sector covers.

              • Carolyn_Nth

                Clumsy, top-down system, where managers rely on what the people answerable to them, tell them… with increasing disconnect between the people on the frontline and managers at the top of the pyramid.

                Are home are workers managed by private companies that DHB’s contract the work to?

                • Rosemary McDonald

                  All homebased care in NZ be it funded through MOH:DSS, ACC, DHBs and MSD has been contracted out to profit and non profits for decades. There is GOLD in them there 'ills and at one point there were almost as many contracted providers as there were clients needing the care.

                  ACC has not done too badly…not because they love the cripples more than the rest, but because they are legally obliged to provide the care and keep claimants from further harm. ACC claimants have entitlements. The rest do not.

                  Accordingly the system for non ACC disabled, frail elderly and those with chronic health conditions are caught up in the endless pissing contest between the various government funders and the Contracted Providers.

                  Life, for those who need a high level of care, is often a shit sandwich. And it's never far from lunchtime.

                  If Sacha were still around here on TS he'd be able to provide valuble knowledge and insight on the genesis of the current system.

                  Although 'system' is not quite an accurate term to use under the circumstances.

                  • weka

                    "ACC claimants have entitlements. The rest do not."

                    Lots of NZers fail to recognise this.

                    To top things off, apparently lots of home care workers didn't get paid this week.

                    https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO2004/S00097/home-support-workers-are-on-the-front-line-so-why-havent-they-been-paid.htm

                    I don't have time to do a post this morning, but if anyone finds out more on this please let me know, I will try and get something up later in the day. Particularly concerning is this being the final straw and workers quitting the sector.

                    • Carolyn_Nth

                      Bloomfield is now starting to appear before the epidemic committee – I'm watching on Parliament channel on freeview. It's livestreaming online somewhere.

                      Be interesting to see what questions he's asked.

                      He's starting with some comments/statement.

                    • Rosemary McDonald

                      From what I can make out…

                      Because of the Guarenteed Hours claim, employers have been obliged to pay homecare workers for an (agreed?) number of hours per week whether they work those hours or not. Accordingly employers have signed up some(many?) workers to the bateset minimum per week. Of course a number of workers actually do more hours per week than the GH and now for some reason those extra hours are not there. I imagine there is a deal of confusion of how many of the hours are Guaranteed. Chickens coming home to roost time.

                      Why the number if hours worked has gone down Ican only speculate.

                      But, I am guessing that for various reasons, most likely keeping Grandma safe from un PPE'd carers, family are stepping in to provide the care themselves…paid or unpaid.

                    • weka

                      Good grief, what a mess.

                      Might also be the DHB telling elderly people they can't have their housework done during lock down. Don't know if that got reversed, there was something in the MSM about it a week or so ago.

                    • weka

                      thanks Carolyn, would love to know if the home care worker issues come up.

                    • Carolyn_Nth

                      No. Home care workers did not come up. Basically, Nat & ACT MPs are more focused on business issues and businesses being able to re-start operating ASAP.

                      Some Labour & GP Maori MPs on the committee raised some important issues about the amount of testing of Maori &Pacific people and whether there is adequate identification of C-19 among these communities – they are concerned there isn't.

                      This made it clear to me that there is no MP really representing the disabled and home care workers.

                      Bloomfield did make a general comment in his intro about the patchiness of front line workers getting access to PPEs. He said mostly it is working well, but there have been some gaps.

                      No further clarification of this, and no MP on the committee picked up on this – except maybe Seymour, but not specifically with reference to home care workers, and not with the vigilance he interrogated business issues.

                      There was an appearance from the Health top manager in Aussie – I think equivalent to Bloomfield. Questions were asked why Aussie went to equivalent of our level of Alert 3.5 with similar results to NZ's level 4.

                      Differences between the countries were highlighted eg in Skegg's appearance – basically, Aussie has a higher proportion of people in hospital in NZ. Also, the spread of cases is different, with more spread around the country in NZ.

                      Plus Aussie has been able to implement more and faster contact tracing than NZ. Also, while more businesses have been able to operate in Aussie, the general public are avoiding using them so there has been a big drop in business.

                      It was said that lot of testing, fast results, and quick contact tracing will be as good as having a vaccine as when we go down the alert levels.

        • KJT 1.3.2.2

          And when the many vulnerable people, who tend to be the most disadvantaged and in the most precarious employment, run out of money and have to break isolation, and go to work?

        • Treetop 1.3.2.3

          Baffling indeed. There is no point in having PPE and not making it available to use.

          If there is not enough PPE available for those who need it someone has not done their job. The population is only 5 million not 50 million.

          Were I in a position to need a carer to use PPE and not use it, I would feel resentful because of having to fight for a carer to wear it.

          I would rather take the approach of overdoing the PPE and not undergoing it.

          I know that you have been doing a great job for many decades (being a carer and an advocate) and that you have not been recognised for your exceptional work.

          I think you wrote that the accident was pre ACC cover.

      • Ross 1.3.3

        Thornley and Wittkowski appear to be arguing for letting the disease run rampant through the ranks of the vulnerable

        Actually, they're arguing the opposite.

      • miravox 1.3.4

        "… appear to be arguing for letting the disease run rampant through the ranks of the vulnerable"

        People arguing for thinning the herd very rarely (I've yet to see someone do this, but maybe??) define who they think the vulnerable are.

        It seems to be some notion that is really old people who are already in death's waiting room. These people are going to die anyway, they suggest, or if they acknowledge that the vulnerable is a bigger proportion of the population, they suggest we can somehow separate them from the rest of society and 'protect' them, but don't provide a how, or where, that can be done.

        A few numbers:

        in 2018

        • 4.3 percent of adults had been diagnosed with ischaemic heart disease (168,000 adults)
        • 11.5 percent of adults took medication for asthma (452,000 adults)
        • 5.8 percent of adults had been diagnosed with diabetes (227,000 adults)

        in 2013

        • 23 percent of the population (1.1 million people) were identified as disabled, and were limited in their daily activities by a range of impairments. This rate had increased from 20 percent since 2001 (only 59 percent of them are aged 65+ years)

        https://www.ehinz.ac.nz/indicators/population-vulnerability/people-with-chronic-health-conditions/

        That's not even counting people on treatment for serious, but recoverable diseases (e.g. most cancers) or people immune-suppressed for other reasons.

        Many of these are the vulnerable.

        Being ok with people with underlying conditions becoming ill with Covid-19 means we're ok with an overwhelmed health system, because even if they don't die from the disease, they'll take a whole lot longer to treat.

        Moreover, there seems to be some long-term lung damage in survivors of serious Covid-19 – what's the cost of that in human and economic terms? do they know that this will be manageable? That were not creating another whole group of chronically ill people? They need to add a little detail to their opinions.

        I'd like to think the overwhelming public support for the Level 4 lockdown is the general population know exactly who the vulnerable are and RedLogix suggests below (1.4), they value them in human terms.

    • RedLogix 1.4

      The question I'm putting to you Ross is this. Are you over 50? Do you have close family over that age? Or someone otherwise younger but immune compromised for one of many reasons?

      Are you prepared to have them, or yourself, die horribly in order to prove your idea right?

      A quick yes or no will do.

      • Ross 1.4.1

        A quick yes or no will do.

        There's four questions there. And you seem to want to shoot the messenger. You should direct your questions to the experts, such as Dr Simon Thornley. I suspect he's not revelling in the fact that people have died from the virus.

        But you must have missed the comment from the expert I referred to yesterday – he said that millions of people die each year from TB, malaria and prescribed drugs they didn’t need. He asked where the perspective was. That's a good question. Maybe you could have a go at answering it. 🙂

        [I gave you a warning yesterday in a comment, but you didn’t take heed.

        You dump controversial quotes with links here and then refuse to engage in good faith.

        You’re refusing to answer questions, you appeal to authority, and you hide behind the people you quote, the so-called experts:

        You should direct your questions to the experts, such as Dr Simon Thornley.

        This is not good enough.

        You are the commenter here, you lay out your arguments, and when these arguments are challenged, a (robust) debate ensues (or not, in your case). If you cannot or don’t want to engage in debate, you should stop commenting here, because it is starting to like denialist troll comments again, similar to your ill-considered and ill-perceived/received comments on CC.

        I told you this yesterday:

        Lift your game or leave.

        I’m putting up a Post tomorrow and out of precaution, I will put you in Pre-Moderation. Depending on your next few comments, you will keep your commenting privileges here or you will end up in the Blacklist for the rest of the year – Incognito]

        • RedLogix 1.4.1.1

          Are you, or your family, prepared to die for your belief that this bug is pretty harmless?

          That is one simple question.

          • Cinny 1.4.1.1.1

            I think Ross would rather gaslight than answer questions.

          • Ross 1.4.1.1.2

            Red,

            That seems like a rhetorical question.

            I assume you drive a car. Why do you do so when there’s a chance you might be killed? (That question isn’t rhetorical.) More than 300 people died on the roads last year so the risk is clearly greater than zero.

            I drive a car because I consider the risk to be acceptable and because I consider the benefits outweigh the costs. I imagine the Icelandic Government took a similar approach when it decided against lockdown.

            • RedLogix 1.4.1.1.2.1

              So the short answer is yes you are willing to take the 1 in 5 odds you will get seriously ill (it's a fucking nasty bug you really don't want to get) and about a 1 in 40 chance you will die.

              And if I hypothetically assumed there are say 10 other people you are close to, family, old friends, close associates … then multiply those odds by 10. In other words several people you care for will get seriously ill and you'll be worried sick they will die. And about there is a good chance one of them will.

              And that plays out for everyone in the country. This year. Mass grief and bad consciences do not a happy country make.

              Most of us have looked at that bet and turned it down.

              (And that’s without invoking any moral argument.)

              • Ross

                Red

                You've plucked figures out of the air to make some obscure point. (1 in 5 odds of getting seriously ill? That suggests that about a million NZers have gotten – or could soon get – seriously ill. In Iceland – which isn’t in lockdown – the reality is nothing like your figures.)

                Let's get back to facts. There were 353 road deaths last year in NZ, and thousands of serious injuries. Now I presume you and your family are quite happy to travel by car even though the chances of death (or serious injury) are non-zero. Why do you make that choice? Presumably because you think the risk is acceptable.

                • KJT

                  People "accept" the "risk of travelling by car" because, in their own experience, they have been safe.

                  Part of the psychology about how people rank risk.

                  You can see it working with those who now say the “lockdown should be shortened or is unnecessary”, because they see their income drop, but not the deaths that would have happened without it.

                • RedLogix

                  I've no idea why we should use Iceland as the baseline comparison, the generally accepted figure some weeks back was that about 20% of people who become infected have a serious, debilitating illness considerably worse than seasonal flu.

                  More recent data from the US is much higher, around 40%

                  As for the CFR it's up around 5.9% globally.

                  Any data has to be understood in the context in which it was gathered and the timeframe involved.

                  • McFlock

                    Ross loves Iceland because it imposed controls <i>just shy of lockdown</i>, so he gets to pretend lockdown isn't necessary.

                    They just did stuff like:

                    From 00:00 on 24 March, a nation-wide ban on public assemblies over 20 took effect. All swimming pools, museums, libraries and bars closed, as did any businesses requiring a proximity of less than 2 m (hairdressers, tattoo artists, etc.)

                    But no "lockdown". Just nowhere interesting to go.

            • Poission 1.4.1.1.2.2

              I imagine the Icelandic Government took a similar approach when it decided against lockdown.

              Unemployment is increasing in iceland,nurses have had a paycut.

              Iceland is flying in medical supplies from China,and is about to undertake another emergency experiment on Chloroquine .

              https://icelandmonitor.mbl.is/news/news/2020/04/07/shipment_of_antimalarial_drug_has_arrived/

              Oh and Rio Tinto wants renegotiate its power costs,with the overhanging threat of closure of its Alu smelter.

            • I Feel Love 1.4.1.1.2.3

              hHow about an employee or customer? Or one of their family members (so they'd have to take time off work or be late paying because they're ill or having to look after an ill family member)? Maybe that'll hit home for Ross…

        • solkta 1.4.1.2

          the expert I referred to yesterday – he said that millions of people die each year from TB, malaria and prescribed drugs

          Like most western countries we don't have Malaria in NZ because we don't have the mosquito that spreads it. Cases of TB here are about 300 per year yet we have had over 1300 of Covid in a couple of months even with the lockdown and other measures. TB can be treated with antibiotics and you need to "live or work closely with an infected person to catch the disease". That prescribed drugs thing is a nonsense because drugs also save lives.

          Stop talking out your arse. It disgusts me that you see this, like Climate Change, as an opportunity to troll.

          https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/tuberculosis-disease

          edit: there is also a vaccine for TB but it is only given to high risk groups. .

        • Incognito 1.4.1.3

          See my Moderation note @ 9:07 AM.

    • ScottGN 1.5

      Remember two weeks ago when Thornley said we should follow Sweden’s excellent example? When he told Mike Hosking that the mortality rate wasn’t that big a deal and they were only old people anyway? When he quoted the Stanford University guy who claimed that the Diamond Princess mortality rate suggested that, if extrapolated to the US population 3.3 million people would get infected and only 10,000 would die?

      https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2020/04/02/1111326/navigating-a-public-spat-between-scientists

    • peterh 1.6

      Post that to New York

    • pat 1.7

      and we can save 11 billion per annum (and increasing) by euthanising everyone over the age of 64

    • RedBaronCV 1.8

      Just Stuff click baiting ? These seem to align pretty well with USA repug talking points. But hey all we need are a few unresolved cases (like the korean #35?) who transferred to 1031 others for it to all take off again,

    • Poission 1.9

      "Lockdown was appropriate when there was so little data…but the data is now clear, this is not the disaster we feared and prepared for. Elimination of this virus is likely not achievable and is not necessary."

      The data is clear that lockdown is working,and obviously the subsequent data excites idiots.

    • Thornley et al make some reasonable points that should be considered along with others. It's important to debate various approaches, as everyone is learning as we go about the virus, it's effects and the effects of various degrees of restrictions and economic impact.

      But some things Thornley says make me wonder if he is too distant from the real world. Like:

      “If you catch Covid-19 your likelihood of dying is the same as your average likelihood of dying that year anyway. It has been described as squeezing your years mortality risk into two weeks.”

      I think that many people and their families will have some concerns about reducing a life expectancy of 12 months down to 2 weeks for 'the greater good'.

      Also:

      The group’s plan would see the majority of schools and universities reopen, most businesses continue to operate, and allow domestic travel to resume.

      Other parts of the plan would include people over 60 or with medical conditions continuing to self-isolate and receive state funded support and priority care.

      If all under 60s have most restrictions lifted it's certain that the virus will pick up and spread more, and data shows it can spread quite quickly even when precautions are taken (health care workers are getting it).

      So this not only increases the relatively low risk to under 60s by a bit, possibly quite a bit, but also either dramatically increases the risks of over 60s who want to go grocery shopping or go to get health care (doctors' surgeries and hospitals will get a lot more risky), or they will have to switch to even greater isolation than they now have to comply with.

      I presume Thornley is under 60, and I suspect he hasn't talked this through with his grandparents or anyone over 60.

      • weka 1.10.1

        I suspect so too. Or he could think he is bullet proof.

        Other parts of the plan would include people over 60 or with medical conditions continuing to self-isolate and receive state funded support and priority care.

        Two problems here. We don't have a full list of who is more vulnerable than the general population. I've seen first hand accounts from people in their 30s who are otherwise healthy who have had heinous, non-hospitalised covid. We don't yet know if those people end up long or medium term disabled, nor if they are more vulnerable to a relapse or catching covid again. There are lots of people in NZ who are probably at risk but who are otherwise healthy eg people with asthma. Good luck telling them they have to self isolate indefinitely, let alone the rest of us.

        The other problem is how does the state provide care to those people self isolating if there is no elimination of covid?

        The details on these things are seriously lacking.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 1.11

      Meanwhile in Sweden

      Despite the mounting concerns of experts both at home and abroad, Sweden continues what Anders Tegnell, the country’s chief epidemiologist, has called a “low-scale” approach. He insists this “is much more sustainable” in the long run.

      But Sweden’s cases are rising. The country of some 10 million now has more than 10,000 cases and 887 deaths. Its total death toll is higher than that of all the other Nordic countries put together.

      (Population of 10m – only about double NZ and yet 10x the cases and 177x the deaths!)

      The government has said repeatedly that the main cornerstone of their strategy is to protect the elderly. Since the beginning of the crisis, they have been asked to stay home but despite these measures, the virus has spread to one-third of nursing homes in Stockholm, which has resulted in a spike in fatalities.

      Prime minister Stefan Lofven recently admitted in an interview with daily Svenska Dagbladet that “Sweden has not succeeded in protecting it’s elderly”. Mr Lofven also warned citizens to prepare for possibly up to “thousands” of deaths.

    • mpledger 1.12

      It looks like there are some long term effects for those having survived a bad case of covid-19. And last time I looked, there seemed like there was some uncertainty about whether people could catch it again or not.

      The were able to look at different American responses to the 1918 influenza epidemic. The states that went early and hard, recovered their health and economy sooner.

      • weka 1.12.1

        yes, few people are talking about disability rates post-covid infection.

        • joe90 1.12.1.1

          This is worrying.

          The scientists warn that the disease may infect the "nervous system and skeletal muscle as well as [the] respiratory tract" which could provide healthcare workers with an additional way to diagnose patients.

          COVID-19 has "now reached pandemic status and is common all over the world" said the neurologists in their editorial.

          "With so many affected patients, we can expect as neurologists to be confronted with these patients commonly in coming months and years."

          https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-patients-have-suffered-strokes-and-other-neurological-symptoms-says-study-11972707?

        • joe90 1.12.1.2

          Would any of the it's just a flu folk care to comment.

          http://archive.li/eo6MA

          • weka 1.12.1.2.1

            I read a report about immune system issues today too. I think I'm going to stop reading until we get solid reporting rather than speculative, but really to lower my stress levels. I feel like society is really lagging behind in this aspect, in part because it is so new, but also because we are just so shit at disability.

            And yep, the shut vulnerable people away, it's just a flu, what about the economy crowd need to take a long hard look in the mirror.

            • Treetop 1.12.1.2.1.1

              My stress level goes up when I think about what Covid-19 can do to an autoimmune condition.

              If Covid-19 has a nervous system and a muscular skeletal component to it and without doubt a respiratory component. It is going to be much harder to establish weather or not it is the autoimmune condition or a Covid-19 condition which is presenting.

              I try to deal with each health condition separately to avoid being or becoming overwhelmed. Some conditions are temporary and can be treated and others are chronic which are managed the best way they can be.

              The medical science to do with Covid-19 is huge as it will probably prove to be systemic. Anything systemic requires multiple specialists, example: limited scleroderma.

              As a consequence of Covid-19, I would not exclude people requiring home health care support or residential care like in an aged care facility.

              • Treetop

                For the pedantic whether Para 2.

              • weka

                Similar Treetop. I'm just treating any change or new set or resurgence of symptoms as something that need to be attended to immediately in case it is cv.

                And likewise on the exclusion thing. I think some of the people arguing that are clueless about just how many people may be affected, both pre-existing conditions, and previously healthy people ending up with chronic illness pos-covid. Others just don't give a shit.

    • Andre 1.13

      Now we've even got a wunch of bankers saying that economically the smarter thing to do is extend the lockdown to ensure the COVID problem is dealt to, rather than open up early and take the risk of having to lock down again.

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/120997347/tooshort-failed-lockdown-would-be-worse-outcome-for-economy-in-long-run-bank-warns

    • calltoaccount 1.14

      Excellent step by step look at Thornley‘s arguments at Newsroom. Totally rebutted imho. Great balanced journalism that shreds Thornley.

      A very important heads up though on what the attack lines will be on the PM. Easy to find lots of ammunition for those with the motivation (Nats, business etc) to look unfortunately. Thankfully they will be up against Ardern.

  2. I Feel Love 2

    The 2 nursed who Johnson praised are both migrant nurses, the NHS saved his life, I would hope the tories stop with the bashing of this service, though they're certainly making a mess of supplying the PPE (like everywhere?). The fact so many Drs, nurses, porters and even London bus drivers are dying from this "flu" you would think would shut the deniers up. We're going into winter now, flu season.

  3. dv 3

    In the USA yesterday

    new cases yesterday +27,421

    total deaths 22,105

    new death Yesterday+1,528

    Doesn't appear to be flattening.

    • ScottGN 3.1

      Those infection and mortality numbers are slightly lower than we have been seeing so maybe it is? Going to take longer to really tell.

      • Andre 3.1.1

        Easter is likely to be having an effect on detection and reporting in western countries.

        • ScottGN 3.1.1.1

          Possibly as far as infection reporting goes but holiday or not people are still dying and will be counted.
          Anyway the US is in for a long slog. Even if containment measures are starting to work in places like California and New York the situation in other parts of the country is still developing. We haven’t seen the peak in great swathes of the country yet.

      • dv 3.1.2

        Yes they have been bouncing around fro the las week or so.

      • mpledger 3.1.3

        From graphs I have (but cannot post) – the USA looks to be flat-lining at their peak of daily new cases (around 100 new cases per million population) and still trending up for per capita deaths. Trends in deaths tend to lag trends in new cases by 7 days in big populations.

    • lprent 3.2

      It is unlikely to. It is a big country. Like NZ regions, where the disease takes a foothold is uneven.

      New York city has been the hardest hit, and the rate of confirmed cases and known deaths has a steadily reducing rate of increase – see % increases here.

      Same in its earliest outbreak area in Washington State.

      However there are other outbreak areas that are still increasing. For instance Louisiana, went from low to rapidly up but is now slowing once they started to take effective measures.

      Not to mention Florida where the governor Ron DeSantis drank the draught of the Trumpian kool-aid more deeply than most and encoraged spring break – exporting covid-19 throughout the USA with moronic teenagers. A candidate for a mass murder charges and a death row sentence if I ever saw one.

      I’d expect that over all, the US is going to stay high for some time just simply because most of its broken political system and especially the science shy moronic Republicans who prefer to believe bulklshit rather than reality. The southern states still haven’t hit peaks yet, and look to have some serious issues with killing their younger populations because of a long term underlying health crisis.

    • Cinny 3.3

      trump is like… we've done the most tests of any country.

      Fact check… USA testing per capita is behind Spain, Italy, South Korea etc.

      Sadly I feel the USA still has a long way to go.

      They are currently setting up for Agent Orange's presser, he hasn't done one for a couple of days. Let's see how brave the press is today with their questions.

      • dv 3.3.1

        Yes Cinny, the US are 20th in number of tests per million.

        NOTE 20th!!!!!

        • Cinny 3.3.1.1

          Dang!! 20th, crikey, that's even further down the list than I thought.

          I'm watching trumps presser and poor Fauci is having to defend his comment yesterday regarding whether they should have gone into lock down earlier.

          • dv 3.3.1.1.1

            This is the site i am getting the data from.

            https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

            • Cinny 3.3.1.1.1.1

              Thanks a bunch for the link DV, much appreciated. 🙂 Bookmarked 🙂

              • Paddington

                It's worse – they are actually at 42nd, based on the same link.

                • dv

                  Thanks Paddy

                  Jeez how did I get that so wrong. I did a rough count BUT!!!

                  • Paddington

                    All good. I've been watching the Australian numbers – they are certainly moving in the right direction. Ours – I'm getting concerned about. On Saturday our deaths per 1M pop was 107th highest of 210 nations. Today, we're 86th. Australia were 79th, today they are 87th. So their numbers are improving, ours are worsening. Bad day today, sadly.

      • observer 3.3.2

        Oh, they were pretty brave, they managed to get the President of the USA to tear up the constitution, live on TV. That's a scoop.

        It would be laugh out loud funny – if it weren't so tragic for millions.

  4. arkie 4

    If you wanted to a clear example of how capitalists see you and your families lives:

    Do you have any appreciation of how important the economy is? Where does your income come from? The official value of a life in NZ is $10k (ask Phamac). 10 dead from Covid =$100k. Cost so far= $5bn! Wake up, Jesus ignorance is a leg-iron

    https://twitter.com/garethmorgannz/status/1249587266567024641

    • Spa 4.1

      I'm sure that pharmac don't use $10,000 as the economic value of a life in their modelling. I'm guessing that the number they use is $10,000,000 and it has been misread or misunderstood somewhere along the way.

      • Andre 4.1.1

        Pharmac appear to go about it a bit differently than just assigning a dollar value to a life saved.

        Their approach for comparing the value of different treatments is by comparing how many quality-adjusted life years they buy for a given expenditure.

        Pharmac economic-assessment-guide

        [embed replaced with a link because those PDF embeds can't easily be read on a laptop or small device - weka]

        • Andre 4.1.1.1

          Thanks weka. Next time I see that happening I'll try to change it. Deleting the original comment and redoing it using the link tool to embed the link in some text should do it?

      • Stunned Mullet 4.1.2

        PHARMAC use the QALY …

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quality-adjusted_life_year

        … as do most health economic assessing agencies globally.

    • BArely Here, or There 4.2

      I hope that's true, because then we could reason that the half-life potential value inherent in a person could be ascertained, and that we could pay a single lump sum one-off tax payment to cover our entire lives. Then we could all go about our lives as we please. The figure would be quite low of course, and a complete fallacy. Which is what that number was anyway. But I like the beautiful simplicity in the way capitalists think: smart enough to know what numbers are, dumb enough to say them out loud, totally unaware of the consequences. A return to brutal tribalism would see many of the limp sadists running our country soon killed off by cheezel-munching thick-as-pig-shit thugs. An end to capitalism at last. Not an ideally pleasant way, but considering the endless brutal crimes carried out in their name, an end none the less.

    • Forget now 4.3

      So is Morgan saying that if he was paid $10,000, he would voluntarily euthanize himself and allow the buyer to sell his organs?

      Or is his life somehow more valuable than everyone else's?

      • Gabby 4.3.1

        I'm sure he means he wouldn't dream of allowing a dhs to spend more than 10k keeping his sorry arse alive.

  5. pat 5

    Watching Al Jazerra last night and a report on covid 19 lockdown in France as the death toll hits 15,000…Fance's lockdown appears to be the equivalent of our level 3 and in shot during the report was a Paris street with hundreds of shoppers, no social distancing and little PPE….anyone think we will behave any differently?

    • Forget now 5.1

      Some Kiwis treat level 4 as level 3 (or lower) as it is. I even had family visitors bringing my kids Easter eggs on the weekend. They said that there was a newspaper piece with the PM saying that the Easter bunny and tooth fairy were essential services. Which; yes, is accurate, but a truly spectacular missing of the point!

      Perhaps we need the government to invent another even more restrictive level 5 category to ensure that we observe minimum level 4 protocols? That would be horrible for people who realise that rules are not just for other people though.

      • pat 5.1.1

        think that level is called Martial Law

      • Sabine 5.1.2

        well it is easy then is it not.

        Keep yourself home to level 5 or 10 if you think it is needed, and be done with it.

        Do you realise that this lockdown for the families of the expendable essential workers have no safety in lockdown? Or does that just by completely – or can we finally dispense with the pretend of caring for workers?

        My partner is one of the expendables. He leaves does his job and brings what ever he encounters back. The government provides no sanitizer to the families, no gloves, no masks. We provide that, when we can find it, from our socialist government survival allocation of funds.

        So frankly, this is bullshit as the government is quite happy to pretend that nothing could be done to save the expendable workers and their whanau should the men and women keeping this country running atm come home with any transmittable disease.

        So why not wrap yourself in a bail of cotton, add a few layers of bubble wrap and a full body condom to assure your safety.

        Because some of us in lockdown were never safe we were just locked up like prisoners in our little private cages.

        • Forget now 5.1.2.1

          Sabine

          You obviously feel strongly about this, but maybe you could take a couple of minutes to proofread before you push publish? I may be getting your points wrong, but you can't expect people to read words that aren't there…

          I know a nurse who has to not be within two metres of their spouse (vulnerable group). So they don't get to see each other except through windows for the duration. At that, they're lucky that their place is big enough to manage that trick. A shelf-stacker in a cheap flat or apartment has got to be having a harder time of it. Especially if families are cohabiting and there is no other option.

          But SARS-COV-2 doesn't have a heart to care. It's going to do what it does, and we have to respond to that. It would have been better to have Pandemic preparation drills before the Crow swooped down upon us, but you can only change the present (with an eye to the future).

          It's not all about me. Fewer people dying is better – even if that's John Key, Roger Douglas, or some other villain. Could the government be doing better in some areas – sure. But it's a juggling act.

          BTW I have been in prison. Your cage comparison can only be made from ignorance. The difference is readily apparent to me.

          • Bruce 5.1.2.1.1

            Yes i agree people are losing it being at home for few weeks try a few years in a real cage with crazys all about, listening to people being cut up or sprayed with blood from the knife fight you cant remove your self from. As was said do this standing on my head,

    • Treetop 5.2

      I did see on AJ TV last night that France intercepted masks and gloves which were intended for Italy and Spain.

      The EU has not worked when it comes to having PPE stocks for a pandemic. EU are also arguing about how a loan to the poorer EU countries will be paid back.

      EU are becoming irrelevant.

      • pat 5.2.1

        Yes…the EU is struggling big time…the crisis has shown the same divisions that the GFC did, perhaps more so…a decade on and the cause of the problems havnt been addressed…same the world over

        • Treetop 5.2.1.1

          Italy is not even back to pre GFC economy. Austerity has not been the answer.

          Business is not my thing, but I can see greed.

  6. Reality 7

    Rightly or wrongly, I got the feeling on reading those comments from the group advocating a “return to normal” that they are wanting to be “in the picture” for some attention and headlines. None of them appear to be part of the regular advisers and experts we have become familiar with.

  7. ScottGN 8

    Amazing that the Dom Post reporter got away with calling the Bolsonaro gang ‘health experts’. Most of them seem to work in the field of economics.

  8. Reality 9

    One of this group is an associate professor of law, another is a professor of experimental economics. The mind boggles.

    An important aspect of Dr Bloomfield’s role is to present the facts in a calm and considered way. There has been no panic (apart from supermarket shoppers). People have largely been great at accepting what we have to do. No health system anywhere will be perfect. There will never be funding for 100% of everything. Having a close contact in the MOH, I know they are working very very long hours and have done for weeks.

  9. RedBaronCV 10

    Would love the daily press conferences to have some better questions.

    On the top of my list would be:

    Is Data ventures the commercial arm of the Stats department required to fulfill OIA's and if not why not – they have definitely been wallowing around in all our private data. And how much is the head of it paid. Not from what I have seen a crowd to trust.

    The so called phone tracing Apps. In communities where phone usage is shared, non existent or non data enabled (like me I turn it off) and who are frequently poorer how is this supposed to work? or do they just get infected. Not everyone has a $600 phone.

  10. Andre 11

    Interesting. Governors along the west coast and in the northeast are getting together to coordinate responses and resources. That is what the federal government should be doing, but they've evidently concluded the Quid Pro Quoronavirus isn't going to ever do his job and he'll be forever just ineffectually fiddling around in his covfiefdom of the Oval Office.

    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/democratic-governors-form-compacts-coordinate-reopening-coronavirus_n_5e94d0e0c5b63e2705ca8054

  11. Bernie Sanders endorses Joe Biden for president

    "Today I am asking all Americans – I'm asking every Democrat, I'm asking every independent, I'm asking a lot of Republicans – to come together in this campaign to support your candidacy which I endorse,"

  12. Andrea 13

    Could all the virtue signallers with their latex one-use gloves please dispose of them properly instead of flopping them on the ground in the supermarket carparks?

    Ya reckon?

    Because those 'heroes of the frontline', the underpaid and overworked, have to pick those dangerous and nasty items up. And dispose of them safely.

    If you can't do the decent thing – stay home and starve. You'll never be missed.

    • Forget now 13.1

      Ew! I haven't seen that myself, only getting down to the shops once a week. But so much Ew!

    • Rosemary McDonald 13.2

      "…virtue signallers…"

      Hmm…please don't disparage folk for taking precautions.

      Quite right to take on the litterbugs however, whatever the litter.

      But take some comfort in the fact, or near so, that the nasty greeblies will be on the outside of those gloves , the side that almost invariably ends up on the inside when the gloves are removed😉.

      • Forget now 13.2.1

        Yes. I missed that "virtue signalling" line myself in the wave of revulsion that rolled over me. "Vice demonstrating" would be a better term there.

        I have seen the phrase used elsewhere as a kind of dogwhistle akin to "PC" or "snowflake". Is the definition; the act of insincerely performing a socially approved action? I can see how that almost fits the situation. Though wouldn't a true virtue signaller then ostentatiously place the gloves in a bin – or several more layers of plastic.

        Hard to know others' motivations, unless they proclaim them out loud. And even then they have to both know the truth and represent it accurately. However, it's also hard for humans not to see and believe patterns in their surroundings.

    • Treetop 13.3

      Yes I have noticed that latex gloves is the new broken glass (stubbie bottles) but can cause more damage.

      Disposing of PPE waste needs an education programme.

  13. Andre 14

    Remember that Wisconsin election the Dem governor tried to delay and the Repugs at all levels up to the US Supreme Court forced to go ahead?

    The real significance of that election wasn't the primary between Biden and Sanders, it's also the general election for a bunch of local government positions, including one seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

    It appears the incumbent conservative has lost, and that seat has flipped to the liberal challenger. From vote numbers for the Dem and Repug presidential primaries, it appears that Repugs just didn't turn out to vote. Kind of a predictable effect if there's disease going around and the question at the top of your voting paper is moot to begin with.

    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/13/wisconsin-coronavirus-election-results-lawsuits-184666

  14. Ad 15

    Bernie Sanders has now made it clear that he fully endorses Joe Biden and that all his supporters should too.

    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/13/sanders-endorses-biden-183961

    “Today, I am asking all Americans — I'm asking every Democrat; I’m asking every independent; I’m asking a lot of Republicans — to come together in this campaign to support your candidacy, which I endorse, to make certain that we defeat somebody who I believe is the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country,” Sanders told Biden.

    “I will do all that I can to see that that happens, Joe,” Sanders pledged, after calling Trump a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe and a religious bigot who botched the nation’s initial response to the coronavirus pandemic.

    “I want to thank you for that. It’s a big deal,” Biden said. “Your endorsement means a great deal, a great deal to me.”

    Sanders and Biden pledged to form six task forces to advise the Biden campaign on policy to bridge divides with progressive voters and, especially, young people who voted for Sanders and against Biden in droves.

    That is a most statesmanlike statement from Sanders there.

    • bill 15.1

      Biden – the architect of a crime bill that threw away the key on (soon to be) jailed black people. He is the guy leveling charges of racism?

      Biden – Tara Reade. And he wants to get on his high horse about Trump being sexist?

      Maybe he should have thrown in something about corruption too? 🙂

    • millsy 15.2

      I hope Biden gives Sanders a decent job on his administration.

    • mauī 15.3

      Political phenom endorsing the political living dead.

      These are very strange times indeed.

  15. Anne 16

    The deeper into the mire Trump finds himself (entirely of his own making), the more villainous his manner and despotic his actions and threats become:

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52274969?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.com/news/world/us_and_canada&link_location=live-reporting-story

  16. The racist fuckwit Paul Henry has a new tv show starting on 3.

    New current affairs programme

    Expect four nights per week of anti government propaganda leading up to the election.
    Wonder who will host the election debates on both major channels? 🙄

    • weka 17.1

      Assuming he lasts that long. But yeah, way to go TV3, biggest crisis of our lives and you want to give him a voice?

      • The Al1en 17.1.1

        It will legitimise the voice of the business as usual crowd, as paid for by businesses, as usual.

      • Muttonbird 17.1.2

        They are either tone deaf or so desperate they are being forced into high risk decisions.

        Who there though Hannah Tamaki would be a good idea for Dancing with the Stars is anyone's guess, but I heard that the loss of key upper management in the last few months left some inexperience at in that space.

        It is showing.

        • weka 17.1.2.1

          Tone deaf, desperate, don't give a shit, inexperience. It all adds up to a cultural and ethical issue.

    • Treetop 17.2

      Please, please do not allow Hosking to host the election debates.

      • The Al1en 17.2.1

        Well they do have Campbell now, so maybe as he's on air and hoskin's isn't, hopefully not.

        • Treetop 17.2.1.1

          Campbell would be good. I like the more serious political reporters, not the flakey/ lacking substance ones.

    • McFlock 17.3

      Fucksake: pandemic, radioactive forest fires, now that walking pustule is back on telly? As soon as his ratings drop he'll be back to his old edge-lording ways.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 17.4

      9:30pm – too bad, that is the time I spend rubbing sand in my eyes and pushing pins under my fingernails – otherwise I'd be watching, promise.

    • Gabby 17.5

      A dykshyt to make lockdown less bearable. Goody.

    • Peter 17.6

      It's Henry so they won't use a 'Producer'. Since it's Paul Henry they'll have instead a Proctologist.

  17. gsays 18

    Could be the height of optimism that '3' as we know it will still exist come election time.

    I will not miss it when it goes.
    Edit: snap weka

  18. Adrian 19

    Well the things you find out in a shitfight. Burger King NZ is owned by Blackstone US. Was is probably the correct tense now because they ripped so much money out of it in NZ it couldn't survive a 2 week holiday.

  19. joe90 20

    Vampire capitalists extortionists.

    edit: Blackstone gets a mention

    In 2017, Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity firm, acquired Easton Hospital, a facility located in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, north of Philadelphia. Shortly after acquiring the hospital, Cerberus, through its Steward Health Care subsidiary, sold the property (but not the hospital itself) to a real estate investment firm, Medical Properties Trust.

    Easton Hospital’s property was packaged with seven other hospitals, which netted Cerberus $304 million. But now Easton Hospital had to pay rent to operate on the land it had owned for the last 127 years.

    Although the precise details are not public, it’s also likely that Cerberus saddled Easton Hospital with much of the debt it used to acquire the hospital. Typically, a private equity buyout “includes debt financing in the range of 50 percent to 70 percent of the purchase price, which the acquisition, in this case Easton Hospital, is expected to repay.

    So, for the last few years, Easton Hospital was forced to divert a significant portion of its revenue to paying rent and the debt imposed on it by Cerberus. Not surprisingly, it’s financial condition worsened.

    On March 22, as the pandemic shut down much of the nation and put a premium on hospital capacity, Cerberus sent a letter to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf demanding the state assume “all operating expenses and liabilities of Easton Hospital” or the company would “proceed immediately on planning to close the facility.”

    The gambit worked. On March 27, the state announced it would provide Easton Hospital with an infusion of $8 million to keep the hospital open until at least June 30, 2020. But Cerberus said it was promised more money, and threatened to close the facility at midnight. At the time, five people had already died of COVID-19 in that area of the state. To avoid shuttering the hospital, Pennsylvania relented, and agreed to pay Cerberus $8 million in exchange for a promise to keep the “facility open and operating for at least the next four weeks.” To keep the hospital operating through June, the state will have to pay Cerberus $24 million.

    https://popular.info/p/how-private-equity-is-using-the-pandemic

  20. joe90 21

    For those clamouring to get back to BAU.

    Japan's Hokkaido prefecture, which accounted for the country's highest number of coronavirus infections as the pandemic initially swept through Asia, has seen a sudden uptick in cases, causing government officials there to declare a state of emergency less than a month after lifting a similar order.

    [..]

    Hokkaido declared a three-week state of emergency in February that was lifted on March 19. The prefecture had begun to reopen schools and was even allowing carefully orchestrated public gatherings.

    But the latest order reverses all that, asking residents once again to refrain from nonessential trips outside their homes and closing prefectural primary and secondary schools until May 6.

    https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/13/832981899/emergency-declared-in-japanese-prefecture-hit-by-2nd-wave-of-coronavirus-infecti

    • ianmac 21.1

      You are right Joe. A very significant reversal. Our Government has a tremendously difficult decision to make. Will be damned whichever way we go.

      • The Al1en 21.1.1

        It surely is a damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario, though for purely selfish reasons, I wouldn't say no to a couple of extra weeks in lock down, but then I am immune compromised, so I won't be back at work until level 1 is declared anyway.

  21. arkie 22

    Not a great look:

    Anti-Corbyn Labour officials worked to lose general election to oust leader, leaked dossier finds

    Call for investigation into ‘possible misuse of funds’ by senior officials on party’s right wing

    Labour party officials opposed to Jeremy Corbyn worked to lose the 2017 general election in the hope that a bad result would trigger a leadership contest to oust him, a dossier drawn up by the party suggests.

    A huge cache of leaked WhatsApp messages and emails show senior officials from the party’s right wing, who worked at its HQ, became despondent as Labour climbed in the polls during the election campaign despite their efforts.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-leak-report-corbyn-election-whatsapp-antisemitism-tories-yougov-poll-a9462456.html

  22. Smeg! Just in case you missed it, there's a new movie length Red Dwarf out.

  23. Ed1 24

    I was intrigued by a statement that came from China some time ago along the lines that the government there had told banks not to expect to make a profit this year. Seems quite reasonable in some respects, and something that to an extent could be expected here given the governments underlying support for the baking system. With those thoughts I think any bank that achieves much the same profit this year as it did last year should be regarded as a leech on New Zealanders, and we should take not of their greed in considering who we should do business with.

    With that in view, I expect most banks will change the classification on most loans to require much heavier reserves against default, to provision for all sorts of future "committed" spending, and do their utmost to get profit down, so a big profit will be evidence of incompetence at the skill of ripping us off while appearing to be there to help us.

    How will Kiwibank fare? At least their profits stay in New Zealand, but is that good enough?

  24. joe90 25

    Lest we forget.

  25. pat 26

    "The last six weeks have seen a bout of intervention without precedent. The results have been momentous. A giant public safety net has been stretched out across the financial system. We may never know what went on behind the closed doors of the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England during those critical moments in March. So far, only muffled sounds of argument have reached the outside. But as the virus struck, the men and women in those three central banks held the economic survival of hundreds of millions of people and the fate of nations in their hands. This is the story of how global financial meltdown was averted by central banks taking decisions that, just a month earlier, they would have dismissed as utterly impossible."

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/apr/14/how-coronavirus-almost-brought-down-the-global-financial-system

    deja vu

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