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Open mike 16/05/2021

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, May 16th, 2021 - 105 comments
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105 comments on “Open mike 16/05/2021 ”

  1. mikesh 1

    I see that TOP has clambered onto the "antifreeze" bandwagon (https://www.top.org.nz/thaw_the_freeze). However they fail to acknowledge:

    1. That the freeze is temporary – 3 years in the case of $100k+ salaries, and 1 year in the case of salaries between $60k and $100k,

    2. The freeze does not apply to salaries below $60k, and

    3. It comes in the wake of a large amount of QE, together with an expectation of rising interest rates; not to mention rising house prices.

    I think TOP should get their facts right before coming out with this sort of nonsense.

    • Sabine 1.1

      this is old news from 5 days again.


    • Treetop 1.2

      Why would a qualified nurse or teacher choose to come to NZ instead of Australia?

      • Andre 1.2.1

        Because Australia is full of Australians?

        Slightly less flippantly, talking to recent immigrant teachers at my kids' school, we in NZ have a reputation for being a bit less shitty to immigrants than Australia is. At least to white immigrants that speak English well, that is.

        Also, outdoor recreation activities in available in New Zealand were much more appealing to my examples than what is available in Oz. Though since these conversations were with teachers at school camps, that's a heavily biased sample.

        • Treetop

          Possibly single young teachers and nurses prefer Australia to NZ because they can earn more.

          I do not want NZ to lose the teachers and nurses we have here due to the lower pay levels.

          Police and social workers are having to work a lot harder as well. Nurses and teachers also work hard.

          The government was naive to think they could retain the above occupations with a warped wage freeze or entice those professions to NZ.

      • Tricledrown 1.2.2

        Climate lifestyle friendliness of the locals.

    • alwyn 1.3

      I'm sure that almost everyone would consider a 3 year freeze to be anything but "temporary" as you describe it.

      Why, and when, do you expect interest rates to rise? You say that 'with an expectation of rising interest rates; not to mention rising house prices. ' whereas TOP do not expect that to happen. If the freeze was to work they say that "with reduced spending, the Reserve Bank will keep interest rates low, and house prices will continue to rise". Why should the interest rates rise if the wage freeze works?

      There would seem to be rather more logic in the TOP argument that low interest rates will lead to higher house prices rather than your own statement that rising interest rates will lead to rising prices.

      • Nic the NZer 1.3.1

        It used to be a well known fable that government borrowing consumed the countries savings and leads to higher interest rates. This narrative was even offered a number of times by the previous National prime minister (as a justification for under funding public services). But it appears TOP have figured out that actually its the RBNZ which decides what interest rates are suitable.

  2. francesca 2

    does this sound like the final solution ?

    Defence minister Benny Gantz has previously said the bombing will continue until Israel achieves “total, long term quiet.”


    • Foreign waka 2.1

      There is a number of reports from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, i.e.


      that would give some insight of the historical issues between Israel and the Palistinians but also of the middle eastern region.

      As for the comments by Netanyahu at a news conference were that he will not rest until all is quiet in Gaza (or in that vain), will of cause help him politically right now given the internal problems in Israel and the price is paid in, yes yet again… innocent blood. 1/3 of the death are children. Go figure.


    • Forget now 2.2

      No; Francesca & Anker, there are significant differences between the current IDF war crimes, and the systematic murder of approximately 20 million unarmed civilians and PoWs in the holocaust (6 million jewish in the Shoah sub-holocaust, which they are still a bit sensitive about). Such comparisons are just inviting today's OM to devolve into accusations of antisemitism. If you have to Godwin yourself, then Kristallnacht might be a better comparison. Though you are not short of other historical (non-nazi) atrocities to choose from. Parihaka comes to mind for an Aotearoan example.

      Also, I can't see that Gantz quote in the text of the CBS article the Guardian references. It may be in one of the video clips, but so undoubtedly are lots of footage of the dead and wounded. That is one time I am not inclined to seek out the primary source! This is the closest I could find:

      Netanyahu has vowed to expand the offensive, saying "this will take time," … Gantz said Israel's strikes were "only the beginning" and the military said it was activating some 5,000 reservists and sending troop reinforcements to the Gaza border…

      CBS News Radio correspondent Robert Berger, who's covered the Middle East for decades, said the Biden administration appears to be treading cautiously as it wants to avoid getting off to a bad start with Israel.

      Berger noted also that as Israeli cities are being bombarded, it would be difficult for the U.S. not to back Israel's right to self-defense. That's what Israel would like to hear, unequivocally, from President Biden, but Israel realizes it will come under increasing pressure from the U.S. to show restraint, so it may be trying to hit Hamas as hard as it can before diplomatic time runs out.


      Biden is going to have to do more than mouth empty concern soon, if he doesn't want people (maybe even some Democrat senators who he needs on his side) to start questioning all the US military aid to Israel. It looks like nothing will happen on that until tomorrow (NY Sunday) though:

      According to diplomats at the UN, the US mission, led by ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, had been in favour of a security council statement but had been overruled by Washington. However, the prospect of a demonstration of US isolation at the general assembly, on a scale reminiscent of the Trump era, helped bring the White House and state department around to accepting an open meeting.

      “They were advising Washington that if they don’t have this meeting on Sunday, if you block too hard and say no to everything, it will go to the general assembly, and the numbers there are not good,” one UN diplomat said.


      • francesca 2.2.1

        I'm referring mainly to the intention of the bombing, which is to snuff out resistance

        • francesca

          And from your CBS link

          And on Wednesday, there was no end in sight. Israel's Defense Minister said the attacks on armed groups in Gaza were to be stepped up, to bring what he promised to be "total, long term quiet."

          • Forget now

            You are right on that, Fransesca! End of the second sentence of the second paragraph. I didn't see it on first skim-through, and a ctrl-f search for "Gantz" only turned up the later quote, – I should have copy/ pasted "total, long term quiet" instead. Also, it was the Guardian's CBS link rather than something I hunted out myself (actually hypertexted in your own quote – so I could've got there via that if I realized earlier and left my own link out).

            • greywarshark

              Comparing Gaza situation to Parihaka; Gaza has been a sore spot for 50 years. Parihaka was one important centre of Maori settlement and culture, Gaza is the main city for the vast majority of the Palestinians. But true to say that Gaza and Parihaka are both atrocities on vulnerable people by a dominant armed and aggressive force.

  3. Anker 3
    • I think it does sound like the final solution. Absolutely apalling
    • greywarshark 3.1

      Are we going to ask for sanctions against Israel for this? What will appease them for the dreadful happenings in WW2, would it be enough if the Middle East could come to terms with them as a precursor to giving Palestinians their own country?

      I am not sure how many atrocities have been committed against Jews over the centuries, but after the shock of being ejected from Spain and then Poland, it's no wonder that they wanted a country they could call their own, see brief History early to 2010:

      Some Jews, a Judaean tribe from the Levant, migrated to Europe just before the rise of the Roman Empire. A notable early event in the history of the Jews in the Roman Empire was Pompey's conquest of Judea beginning in 63 BCE, although Alexandrian Jews had migrated to Rome before this event.

      The pre-World War II Jewish population of Europe is estimated to have been close to 9 million, or 57% of Jews worldwide. Around 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, which was followed by the emigration of much of the surviving population.

      The Jewish population of Europe in 2010 was estimated to be approximately 1.4 million (0.2% of European population) or 10% of the world's Jewish population. In the 21st century, France has the largest Jewish population in Europe, followed by the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia and Ukraine.

      Being banished from your home after centuries of residence in Spain on the whim of royalty after being excellent citizens must have been a huge shock causing despair in Jewish hearts.

      The Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain refers to a period of history during the Muslim rule of Iberia in which Jews were generally accepted in society and Jewish religious, cultural and economic life blossomed. This "Golden Age" is variously dated from the 8th to 12th centuries.

      Spanish Inquisition – Sultan Bayezid II sent Kemal Reis to save the Arabs and Sephardic Jews of Spain from the Spanish Inquisition in 1492, and granted them permission to settle in the Ottoman Empire, (…since Jews in 1492,,,had been banished from Spain).

      The Spanish Inquisition was established in 1478 by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms and was under the direct control of the Spanish monarchy. It was not definitively abolished until 1834, during the reign of Isabel II….

      The expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, as well as expulsion from Austria, Hungary and Germany, stimulated a widespread Jewish migration to the much more tolerant Poland. Indeed, with the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, Poland became the recognized haven for exiles from the rest of Europe; and the resulting accession to the ranks of Polish Jewry made it the cultural and spiritual center of the Jewish people in Europe.

      And I have not referred to Hungary, another important centre. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_Europe

  4. aj 4

    Gaza building destruction. News reports say these buildings are being destroyed by rockets, yet the way the fall look like controlled demolitions?. Certainly they fall cleanly, lucky that a rocket can be so accurate to take out a building in that fashion

    • Forget now 4.1

      Wow; aj, that's a blast from the past! I haven't read about "controlled demolitions" conjectures since the conspiracy theorists moved on from the 2001 September 11th attacks on the USA. Who do you reckon it was behind this fiendish plot ; the Illuminati, Elvis, or shape-shifting aliens?

      • aj 4.1.1

        Not at all, it just seems weird that a rocket or two can do that to a building. Have a look at some of the footage. We know they can be very accurate so it's probably just that – highly accurate.

      • Stuart Munro 4.1.2

        There is plenty of room for scepticism with respect to 9/11, the report after all was assembled by the same less-than-remarkably-truthful political clique that determined there were WMDs in Fallujah, and was notably lacking physical evidence.

        The use of controlled demolitions against occupied populations is not unprecedented.

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          The Masons ?

          • Stuart Munro

            I realise that this is what passes for an attempt at humour on your part, but it is, I feel, misguided.

            Some atrocities, like the Moscow Bombings, or 9/11, or the Gunpowder Plot for that matter, are almost unimaginable betrayals, were they perpetrated by the authorities.

            Rather than discounting the possibility, the evidence must be examined carefully. Anyone who lived through Rogergnomics in NZ has learned that a significant proportion of those in power at any time may well be raging sociopaths.

        • McFlock

          Not sure your comment really follows.

          Lidice was destroyed as retaliation, they didn't pretend someone else did it.

          911 and the current events have a clear and pretty well documented cause (planes filmed flying into buildings / hamas claiming they fired rockets) and plausible effect (buildings damaged to the point of collapse).

          • Stuart Munro

            I'm not trying to draw a parallel with 9/11 at all, more with Lidice.

            If it transpired that IDF had undertaken controlled demolitions, by the use of dust charges perhaps, rather than exclusively missile or smart bomb strikes, I would not be at all surprised – though it would evaporate the notional figleaf of targeting cells of combatants or whatever the pretext is for current action.

            We had a long discussion a couple of years back about 9/11 – and I consider the report of the commission at best rudimentary. Absent physical evidence I'm unlikely to revise that view.

            • ghostwhowalksnz

              Dust charges ? … of course why is it no one else can see it.

              In these terrible circumstances its about time you were called out as fruit loop.

              • Stuart Munro

                In these terrible circumstances its about time you were called out as fruit loop.

                Let me remind you of the Standard policy on gaslighting.

              • Incognito

                It would help if you leave out the personal insults; some react badly to it and it can quickly descend into a flame war, which I don’t find ironic in the slightest given the topic of conversation.

                It would also help if you add some info about the image such as what, where, when and who took the photo.

                • ghostwhowalksnz

                  Yes , I worded that badly.

                  The picture was from Times Of Israel with the caption

                  Palestinians inspect destroyed buildings following overnight Israeli airstrikes in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, May 14, 2021

                  I used this one because it shows the central crater common to these large israeli bombs and the obliteration in immediate area from blast including wrecked structural concrete.

                  The 'dust explosions' have lighter damage around, mostly light facades, windows and roof sheeting. I had a holiday job when I was a student in a factory processing wheat for flour and starch. They said if you hear the fire alarm, run…dont walk out. This below is dust explosion with no crater and heavier structures nearby still standing

              • Stuart Munro

                We understand of course, that you are as ignorant of dust charges as a prior discussion showed you were of superconductivity.

                The principle is explained here.

                Although contemporary use is more commonly delivered by air as FAE strikes, dust charges have long been popular for military demolitions, being effective against buildings, and not requiring detailed examination of building structure or very precise siting of the charge, lending them to reasonably rapid deployment, especially when retreating.

                Your picture could have been the result of any number of different forms of explosive attacks, including charges placed by ground forces.

                • ghostwhowalksnz

                  Thermobaric weapons arent 'dust explosions' which rely on say fine flour dust or similar to rapidly burn from ignition point

                  Your previous comments were 'dust charges' which is absurd as these large high explosive bombs have been commonly shown in screen grabs from video of them falling onto the buildings that then explode

                  • Stuart Munro

                    That superciliousness never gets old does it?

                    In the context of military demolitions, dust charges are not absurd – rather they are perfectly ordinary.

                    from the link I gave you, which you evidently chose not to read:

                    They are, however, considerably more destructive when used against field fortifications such as foxholes, tunnels, bunkers, and caves

                    It's good that you know about flour mill explosions

                    The 'dust explosions' have lighter damage around, mostly light facades, windows and roof sheeting

                    but these are accidental or inadvertent uses of the principle. A deliberate military use will tend to be more destructive.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    I love the way you take the mantle of expertise on subjects on which you are, and choose to remain, shamefully ignorant.

                    But moving past your fatuous trolling to the demolition of civilian dwellings and infrastructure such as a functioning media centre.

                    The use of house demolition under international law is today governed by the Fourth Geneva Convention, enacted in 1949, which protects non-combatants in occupied territories. Article 53 provides that "Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons … is prohibited."[42] In its accompanying commentaries, the International Committee of the Red Cross refers to demolition only being justified by "imperative military requirements", which the Convention itself distinguishes from security considerations. The ICRC has clarified that the term "military operations" refers only to "movements, maneuvers, and other action taken by the armed forces with a view to fighting" and does not cover action undertaken as a punishment. In a further reservation, the ICRC regards the tactic as legitimate only "where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations".

                    This, and not your suddenly acquired ersatz understanding of explosives, is the heart of the matter. It is why I instanced the destruction of Lidice, which was demolished, as the Israelis are demolishing buildings at present, as an illegal form of collective punishment.

                    • ghostwhowalksnz

                      Like I said I worked in a flour factory, so I knew very well what a dust explosion could do , clearly its a danger your head could face any minute.

            • McFlock

              So you're suggesting "controlled demolitions" of the buildings in Gaza?

              Why sneak a team into enemy-controlled territory, place charges, and sneak out again? In order to pretend to drop a bomb on the buildings?

              Or are you suggesting "controlled demolitions" of Israeli buildings in order to make the Hamas rockets look more powerful than they actually are? I can at least see a bit of a point to that version.

              • Stuart Munro

                Whether they are achieved by bombardment or groundbased explosives, demolition is a fair description of what's happening in Gaza.

                Ordinarily a force with the kind of power imbalance enjoyed by the Israelis would use ground teams because it's appreciably cheaper and usually much more controllable. Bombs can fall on wedding parties and the like, generating undesirable media responses. But Israel gets a lot of ordnance at low or no cost, some of it may finally be as accurate as claimed, and they may be expected to produce trial results for some items too.

                "controlled demolitions" of Israeli buildings in order to make the Hamas rockets look more powerful than they actually are

                I have no evidence for that. The Israeli government are not so scrupulous I would rule it out, but they are also pretty thick-skinned with regard to world opinion. Short of graphic slaughter of their own civilians they'd struggle to generate a sympathetic response that eclipsed the disproportionate casualties among Palestinians.

                • McFlock

                  Ordinarily a force with the kind of power imbalance enjoyed by the Israelis would use ground teams because it's appreciably cheaper and usually much more controllable.

                  [citation needed]

                  The reference to Lidice is misleading, imo. Lidice was the killing of an entire population and destruction of their dwellings in a single act.

                  I believe the goal of Netenyahu (beyond immediate domestic political survival) is to continue the Palestinian diaspora to a point the ever-shrinking territory can be annexed. But part of this strategy is to make it difficult to report on the hardship on the ground so the Palestinians have difficulty getting international attention – hence the destruction of media offices.

                  War crimes? Yes. But not Lidice. More like what was done to the Armenians.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    Part of the Lidice item is a demolition which the Nazis recorded for propaganda purposes. We don't have the full reel here, but about 2.30 you can see something of what they were about.

                    At a political level, the process resembles the Armenian genocide – but the demolition somewhat resembles Lidice – and the parallel ought to trouble the conscience of the perpetrators.

                    • McFlock

                      The main part of it was the murder of everyone in the village.

                      The Israelis are giving warnings to get out. That's their PR (and conscience) deniability.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    citation required

                    The mk84 (2000lb) bomb comes in at around $3100 US when supplied to the US (other countries pay more – though Israel may not) the JDAM kit is quoted at anything from $17k to $40k – some of those being bulk deals or date back to 2011. So all-up around $50k US – pretty cheap really.

                    Presumably 500 kgs, give or take, of high explosives for tactical use, without the guidance or casing is somewhat cheaper – though not amazingly so.

                    • McFlock

                      The cost of the operation isn't just the explosives. It's the probability of loss of the delivery mechanism for those explosives.

                      Aircraft: no anti-air threat, precision placement, not much more complex than a training flight.

                      Ground team: at least half a dozen highly trained individuals who can slip into the heart of Gaza undetected with multiple car bombs (two people each bomb), then slip out again.

                      Cost: extensive training for the specific mission (would be a bugger for someone to park outside the wrong building), plus the cost of training each soldier and the probability of them being captured or killed in the mission.

                      Sure, losing a jet and pilot would be expensive, but the probability of that would be incredibly low.

                      Whereas, while the odds of a ground attack being sprung might be well less than 50% (for the sake of argument), the risk is non-trivial. To do what they can do anyway.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    There was a bit of an anomaly about IDF presence in Gaza.

                    First they said they were present, then they said they were not.

                    Having largely taken out the alternative sources that could have confirmed the presence or absence, the official line invites a degree of scepticism.

                    • McFlock

                      But then announcing an incursion is not covert. Which your secret ground team would have needed to be, to avoid being mobbed.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    I am not, and never have, posited a 'secret ground team'.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    Or were the "dust charges" delivered by FedEx?

                    Who knows – either the ground forces weren't there – official version – or they've gone off the radar so to speak. I'm sure the most moral army in the world can be trusted unsupervised – about as much as a US cop who switches off his camera.

                    • McFlock

                      Who knows? Well, if they existed either their camouflage is awesome or they were operating covertly and in secret.

                      Either way, the risk-adjusted penalty for failure is much higher for a ground team than just dropping bombs, which they said they did.

    • joe90 4.2

      Israel restricts dual use materials, cement and reinforcing steel among them, from entering Gaza. Poorly constructed buildings tend to collapse with little prompting.


    • Sanctuary 4.3

      "Rocket" is a general term used by the media to describe anything from a firework (a very small rocket) to an ICBM (a very, very big rocket).

      Technically, a "rocket" is a device that is powered by the chemical reaction of liquid or solid fuel propellants (most likely including an oxidiser) to lift a payload that could be anything from a warhead to a spaceship. Additionally rockets that are not capable of leaving the earth atmosphere are unguided – sounding rockets, rocket pods on helicopter gunships or used by rocket artillery all being examples. Hence, Hamas launch "rockets" at Israel.

      A "missile" is powered by any number of engine types – rocket, ramjet, turbojet, pulsejet or even hybrids of the above, has some sort of guidance system and has an explosive warhead, hence Israel uses "missiles" to shoot down "rockets."

      The most likely weapons being used on buildings in Gaza will be neither of the above but rather guided bombs like the JDAM or Paveway series of laser and GPS guided weapons. These are kits bolted onto old fashioned "dumb" bombs that give them much improved accuracy and these guys are the ones that really pack a punch – up to 1000kg, more than enough for a few (when accurately and leisurely dropped from medium altitude against no opposition) to demolish a building.

      Anyway, I wouldn't get too excited and build an entire world view/conspiracy theory based off a journalists inexact description of the cause of an explosion.

    • Tricledrown 4.4

      Modern warfare precision bombing gps accuracy

    • Treetop 4.5

      Tunnels beneath the building could have stored explosives. The sooner the bombing stops, lives will be spared.

  5. joe90 5

    Sharing an hotel breakfast buffet with aircrew, apparently.

    180 local cases. That’s what Taiwan’s Dr. Fauci, Chen Shih-chung just confirmed on TV today (May 15th). After holding out for wave after wave, containing each breach with citizen vigilance, contact tracing and cool-headed and coordinated government action, there is now uncontained community spread of COVID-19 in Taiwan. How did we get to here?


    • Margaritte 5.1

      There but for fortune go we! history shows that the first wave or even the second is not the worst killer.

      • joe90 5.2.1

        So much for the magic bullet.

        (CNN)One of the most vaccinated countries in the world is experiencing a Covid-19 outbreak.

        While other nations struggle to secure enough vaccines, the Seychelles is in the enviable position of having already fully immunized more than 61.4% of the population.

        But that hasn't been enough to stop the spread of Covid.

        Over the past month, case numbers have been rising in the Indian Ocean archipelago, prompting authorities to impose restrictions in the country of 98,000 people. Data released Thursday shows there are more than 2,700 active cases.

        Of the current active cases, 33% have been fully vaccinated, according to the Ministry of Health.


        • Sabine

          i expect cases to go up in the US again with the removal of masks. The vaccine helps to make it less deadly, but one can still get it and still transmit it. But maybe that is the new growth sector of the future – covid outbreaks. s/

          • joe90

            A roll up your sleeve future.

            • Forget now

              That's a roll up your sleeves read there; Joe90! Though the google scholar link downloads a pdf rather than online pages. I won't pretend to follow all the calculations, but some of the assumptions are a little suspect.

              In particular, based largely off patterns with previous coronaviruses epidemics, they put both the: Loss rate of sterilizing, and partial, immunity at 1/2 per year. While more recent research shows that these values may be unduly pessimistic, at least with known variants and the Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine. Further viral mutation leading to new Variants of Concern will probably require at least a third, though not necessarily yearly shots:

              Comirnaty’s six-month data is a testament to the vaccine’s durability, which is likely to be maintained up to at least 12 months following the initial two-dose regimen… The six-month data from the Phase III portion of the Phase I/II/III trial showed a 3.7-point drop to 91.3% efficacy against symptomatic disease…

              In general, a vaccine that triggers a durable response for the first six months typically has longer-term durability, Thomas added. And so, despite mRNA vaccines being a new technology, it is unlikely that Comirnaty’s efficacy will drop below 50% protection in the next six months, he noted. Regulatory agencies’ passing grade for Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) is 50%.


            • ghostwhowalksnz

              Ive had 5 in last year and havent even had the Covid one yet.

              2 flu- separate years, 2 others which were some sort of catchup of vaccines past and 1 pneumonia ( which I jumped in early last year once it was clear a lot people were dying from secondary pneumonia)

              Its like having dental xrays, just a thing you do as necessary

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          "But that hasn't been enough to stop the spread of Covid." [Seychelles]

          Thats because you are doing cut and pastes without any understanding, Seychelles is a tourist country and those arriving for holiday and testing positive are counted as in community.

          Its getting ludicrous for the cut and pasters, people who couldnt read beyond the first paragraph in scientific medical paper are like magpies with some shiny object when they swoop on a pre publication paper that hasnt even been peer reviewed.

          • Incognito

            Do you know which vaccines are being used and how effective are they?

            • Forget now

              From the link at 5.2.1:

              The Seychelles is relying on China-made Sinopharm and Covishield, the AstraZeneca vaccine made in India. Of all fully vaccinated people, 57% received Sinopharm, which was given to those ages 18 to 60, while 43% took Covishield, which was given to those over 60.

              As for efficacy, that rather depends on what studies you look at. Possibly relating to variant specificity (with different geographical areas), as well as dose interval period:

              Covishield is Serum Institute of India’s version of AZD1222…

              AZD1222’s efficacy was around 54.9% when the second dose was given less than six weeks after the first dose, as per a February study analysing Covid-19 cases in phase 3 clinical trial participants across the UK, Brazil and South Africa. The efficacy increased to 59.9% when the second dose was given 6-8 weeks after the first dose, 63.7% when the second dose was at 9-11 weeks, and 82.4% when the dosing interval stretched to 12 weeks or more…

              According to Oxford University and AstraZeneca, interim results from phase 3 clinical trials conducted on 32,000 participants across the US, Chile and Peru show that the vaccine had an efficacy of 79% against symptomatic Covid-19 when the interval between doses was four weeks. More importantly, the efficacy in the cases of severe or critical symptomatic Covid-19 was 100%.

              The efficacy found in these trials is much higher than its efficacy in trials conducted in countries like the UK and Brazil.


              The ongoing Phase III clinical trials of one of China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines, which have been conducted in five Arab countries since the summer of 2020, show an efficacy of 78.89 percent on people aged 18 and above, the company executives said during a seminar about vaccine development held in Shanghai on Thursday.

              The clinical trials also show a 100 percent protection against severe illness and hospitalization of COVID-19 patients


              The problem is that these are all interim results against a mutating virus, so may not be entirely predictive for new variants. Also, to be blunt; whether you can trust the results from drug companies who have a profit motive to inflate their stated efficacy. As for Sputnik 5 (or S5light), the Russian's unwillingness to release their data (and some suspiciously fabricated looking numbers) makes it impossible to say for sure.


              • Incognito

                Ok, thanks. The thing is that it seems that we cannot know what the true level of immunity is at any given point in time in the Seychelles and against the different variants that may be brought into the country by travellers. Thus, it would be prudent not to rely on vaccination alone, despite the high vaccination numbers, wouldn’t you say?

                • McFlock

                  Well, that's a truism.

                  But 60% isn't a high vaccination rate, either. 60% in six months from new is pretty good distribution and puts them on the path to an effective vaccination level, assuming they don't keep bringing in new variants to [checks notes] a global tourist destination [sigh].

                  • Incognito

                    That’s what I thought, but I wasn’t sure whether I was missing something when I tried following this thread; I probably did 🙁

          • joe90

            Well, I'm sorry to offend your egg-head sensibilities by noting a couple of instances where vaccines could well not be as effective as we'd like.


            • ghostwhowalksnz

              The medical experts have allways said they arent a total asnswer

              Are you even aware 95% is 1 in 20, who dont get the complete cover obviously not.

              Then there is those who claim they are being tested when they arent or say they are vaccinated when they arent – we have seen this in the MIQ system here where there it wasnt voluntary. A sports team that had compulsory vaccinations to travel and play sounds very much like that, but we shall see on that one whether they are the 1 in 20 !

            • McFlock

              Effectiveness is overall.

              But it doesn't mean every tenth person will not have an effective response. Clusters happen. Statistics are like that.

  6. joe90 6

    Surprised they haven't brought out the calipers.

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Thousands of retired Black professional football players, their families and supporters are demanding an end to the controversial use of “race-norming” to determine which players are eligible for payouts in the NFL’s $1 billion settlement of brain injury claims, a system experts say is discriminatory.

    Former Washington running back Ken Jenkins, 60, and his wife Amy Lewis on Friday delivered 50,000 petitions demanding equal treatment for Black players to Senior U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody in Philadelphia, who is overseeing the massive settlement. Former players who suffer dementia or other diagnoses can be eligible for a payout.

    Under the settlement, however, the NFL has insisted on using a scoring algorithm on the dementia testing that assumes Black men start with lower cognitive skills. They must therefore score much lower than whites to show enough mental decline to win an award. The practice, which went unnoticed until 2018, has made it harder for Black former players to get awards.


  7. Adrian 7

    So on the eve of lifting mask and distancing restrictions, reports are that the majority of anti-vaccers in the US are hardcore Republican Trumpers. And this is a problem?

    • Andre 7.1

      Well, I can take a Darwinian view of who we're talking about in this exact instance.

      But the general principle remains that having a large pool of people where the disease can propagate easily and mutate frequently (because of the large numbers of people currently carrying the disease) is not a good thing.

    • Tricledrown 7.2

      Once more Trumpist's get Covid and die or get long covid they will change their stupidity.

      But unfortunately you can't vaccinate against stupidity.

  8. Incognito 9

    Good piece by a good thinker and writer, Rod Oram, about an extraordinary person, Helen Kelly.


  9. Incognito 10

    The point that I take from [Maōri poet] ranapiri and from considering the poetry of breath is not to speak for others but to recognise the responsibility that we have to each other to listen and respond.

    I also take this image of shared breath to suggest that the role of professors – and of all teachers, writers, and researchers – should ultimately be not to profess but to enable the sharing of others’ breath, voices, opinions, and words, so that we can all learn, so that we can all breathe a little more easily.


  10. Incognito 11

    A decent snapshot of the burning question where & how did Covid-19 originate. It is basically a critical appraisal of a (the) recent piece written by Nicholas Wade on this topic.


    • Andre 11.1

      I kinda take the view that it's somewhat of a distraction whether it was a lab escape or zoonosis directly transferred from the wild.

      Both possibilities are completely live at this point, and investigating both possibilities have shown a number of risky practices in labs and in handling wildlife that are risks of being the source of a new pandemic. As are the risks of a new pandemic originating from industrial farming that was a more widespread concern prior to this pandemic breaking out.

      All of these issues need attention and improvement. I kinda fear that if the source is definitely proven to be one or the other, then all the focus will go on eliminating that specific risk, and efforts to mitigate the other identified risks drop by the wayside.

      It's something I've seen happen all to often in the wake of other cockups, where the identified root cause ends up being the only thing that gets corrected and all the other problem areas (that didn't turn out to be the cause this time around) get forgotten.

      • Incognito 11.1.1

        I hear you and it could be used as an distraction but I don’t think it is. In fact, I think it quite critical that we’ll be able to answer it and draw conclusions from that. Eliminating other possibilities as the cause doesn’t mean eliminating forever as possible future causes. For example, if the virus originated naturally, it won’t mean we can relax the rules in labs, as these should still be audited and reviewed on a regular basis, as they are here in NZ. I think we need to find out, if we can, and accept all possible consequences, implications, and outcomes of that knowledge.

    • mauī 11.2

      Critical appraisal? The dude is basically writing off one plausible scientific theory as a "conspiracy theory".

    • Graeme 12.1

      Well she doubled down, or more like quintupled, claiming Ngai Tahu are going to own half the South Islands water. All based on some random report.

      Ngai Tahu's representative said she was "deceptive and wrong"

      It's almost as if someone's feeding them stuff so they can make twits of themselves…

      • Incognito 12.1.1

        The problem is that the National Party is not modelled on and thus not representative of Aotearoa-New Zealand as a whole and constantly behind the eight ball. You would expect that to some degree from conservatives. The Party needs to modernise its caucus, its leadership, and its thinking and these things go hand in hand. As it is, National is politically stuffed.

      • Sacha 12.1.2

        Deliberately confusing governance for ownership is part of that party's M.O. Nasty, desperate creatures.

        • Graeme

          They're sore that they won't be able to sell the water assets off, and line their own pockets in the process.

          Tau's comment shows them for what they are,

          Co-governance would provide a safeguard against any future government that wants to privatise the waters assets that are being transferred from councils, he said.

          "Labour governments in the 1980s and National governments in the 1990s and 2010s, including the one in which Judith Collins served as a senior minister, have not been able to resist the temptation of selling public infrastructure – from electricity networks to rail to offshore interests.

          "The Ngāi Tahu presence provides extra protection against that."

  11. Tricledrown 13

    Colin's last stand no bounce for all her Race baiting.can we run a sweepstake who and when.

    • Patricia Bremner 13.1

      The who is a problem. Who will bell the cat/dog lol.

    • woodart 13.2

      old white man, but not for a few months. interesting to see that nats want either , a has been, or somone so new and shiny, that he hasnt been assigned a study buddy. nats have obviously gone down the rascist route, wonder what dr shane and simon truly think of that. nats demographic has changed a lot in the last two yrs, very male pale stale. a zero sum game.

      • Incognito 13.2.1

        I think the issue is that both Reti and Bridges support their current Leader in this and that they don’t see it as racism as such at all. Labelling them as racists, correctly or incorrectly, is distracting from their arguments and rhetoric and thus not countering them as effectively as one should or could. Countering doesn’t necessarily mean winning the argument either AKA point-scoring. No wonder Te Pāti Māori has had enough of being a political football in Parliament.

        • Sacha

          Reti had an uncomfortable time on Q&A this morning.

          • Incognito

            Interesting. My take on Reti is that he’s squirming not because he’s trying to show his loyalty to and defend his Leader but because he’s actually agreeing with her and defending the indefensible and being disloyal to his roots. I could be wrong, of course. In any case, he’s put himself in this position and only he can resolve it. Then again, a man’s ambition can be his downfall.

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