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Open mike 19/02/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 19th, 2022 - 81 comments
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81 comments on “Open mike 19/02/2022 ”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    A very interesting article about an interview with Dr Bryan Betty, the medical director of the Royal NZ College of General Practitioners. He was also interviewed on NewstalkZB at around 5.07 last night if anyone wants to find that on "the week on demand".

    Betty was expressing his concerns that the strong focus on Covid of recent years has meant other important aspects of health care have been neglected.

    Dr Betty said he was also concerned that Covid-19 was putting a freeze on things like healthcare programmes, including childhood immunisation rates, which he said had fallen to 76 percent.

    ""We need to be de-escalating this down to get into a position where most of us are just going to have a mild to moderate illness, that we're going to get through like any respiratory illness in winter, and we need to be moving on, and perhaps the way we're approaching it at the moment is causing more problems than good, and we may have reached a pivot point with that.""…..

    ""I'm really worried about measles or whooping cough showing itself up again. And these are actually dangerous conditions that I believe could have the potential to start to be with us again because Covid is dominating our discourse at this point."

    GPs were also raising concerns about the pressure as many people seek advice about Covid-19, he said."

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/2018831132/dr-bryan-betty-suggests-change-of-mindset-with-omicron

    Betty realises there is still a risk of severe illness with Covid, but in the Newstalk ZB interview made the point that the common flu causes about 500 deaths per year also, and we have learned to live with that.

    The problem is that the strong emphasis on Covid has meant that other very sad stories are starting to appear, such as this one:

    "Canterbury District Health Board chief medical officer Dr Helen Skinner confirmed three general surgery patients – one cancer surgery and two cardiac/thoracic surgeries – were postponed on Friday “as there was no capacity in ICU”."….

    "A February 18 presentation to Canterbury District Health Board clinical leaders, seen by Stuff, reveals Baxter is far from alone in her experience.

    It reveals about 1000 general surgery elective procedures have been cancelled since March 2020 – including more than 350 cancer surgeries.

    Patients had suffered “unprecedented cancellations of elective general surgical services” and this was causing “significant concern” and “moral distress amongst the workforce”, the presentation said."

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/127814496/cancer-patients-operation-in-christchurch-cancelled-as-she-waited-in-hospital-gown

    What I have said above is not meant to minimise the concerns about Covid, and some of the terrible suffering some are enduring.

    However, it does show that focussing on one major health issue can result in many others suffering or being put at risk due to so many health resources being diverted to tackle one problem. So, perhaps it is time to change tack with Covid, especially if Omicron does become the dominant strain, and the more dangerous varieties such as Delta start to disappear.

    • Belladonna 1.1

      It's also been very difficult for those organizations advocating for continued screening and vaccination programmes & medical/surgical treatment to get any air time – and cut through the Covid concerns.

      None of them are denying the reality of Covid risk. But they are saying that there are other treatable health risks which *also* kill Kiwis. It does you no good to miss catching Covid in 2021, only to die of a treatable cancer in 2022.

      The delays, as far as I'm aware, have not been through pressure on hospital resources due to Covid cases, but rather through the shut-down of routine (and even emergency) testing during the hard lockdowns (particularly in Auckland, which bore the brunt of it).

      And, I'm not aware of any plans to increase resourcing in these screening/vaccination programmes- let alone for treatment – to deal with the backlog of cases.

      • tsmithfield 1.1.1

        I think also due to capacity being reserved for a potential influx of Covid patients. Something on the news about it the other day. And that they now have sealed ICU rooms so that a ward can be used even if a Covid patient is present.

  2. francesca 2

    Betty realises there is still a risk of severe illness with Covid, but in the Newstalk ZB interview made the point that the common flu causes about 500 deaths per year also, and we have learned to live with that.

    So Betty thinks we can get to 500 covid deaths and then turn the spigot off?

    We'd be having to learn to live with a lot more than 500 deaths with no public health measures at all.And there is still so much we don't know about the long term effects of covid, no matter what variant .It's a novel coronavirus , the precautionary strategy is a no brainer.

    Having said that, there is still so much to learn about the MRna vaccines too, long term, they are also a novel vaccine for humans

    • tsmithfield 2.1

      No, you misread that. He said we have around 500 common flu deaths per year, and that we have learned to live with general flu, and other respiratory diseases, and that Omicron is in the ilk of those.

      • Shanreagh 2.1.1

        And he says this while we are in the upsurge phase of Covid Omicron. That is nuts.

        • tsmithfield 2.1.1.1

          You have no argument with me. You are arguing against one of the top doctors in the country.

          I suppose, as a general practitioner, he has great concern not only for Covid patients, but also all those others who are being mistreated by the health system as a result of that, such as the cancer patient in that second article I posted.

          • Shanreagh 2.1.1.1.1

            Minimising the risk of Covid does not advance the argument for keeping other health services going. Also I think the argument that there have been delays to accessing services has been patchy. Some DHBs are maintaining services and screening. Others, because of the impact of Covid on their wards etc have not been able to.

            The idea that this patchy service is a result of Covid is disingenuous. For years & years the health sector has been the political football with all manner of crazy set-ups. There were inequities of access before Covid and Covid has brought them out in stark relief.

            Hopefully the move to review the health set-up will give a focus to population based healthcare ie the funds being based on the needs of the population served by the hospital together with best practice for advanced medical and surgical care ie so we have say 3-4 hospitals that are focussed on this…..not every single hospital needs to have say, a linear accelerator.

            I venture to say that falling immunisation rates has been a problem for years and years ie pre Covid, and is going to get worse the more the nutters and those influenced by same get an earful of anti any vaccine madness.

            My next door neighbour is a surgeon at our local hospital says that anti vax sentiments around any vaccination is and has been a huge concern and that hospitals are often put under pressure by those who have decided not to be vaxxed or whose care givers have decided for them. Think measles, whooping cough, flu etc etc

            So people not getting the flu injection and then having lifelong asthma as a result etc.

            Articles about whooping cough and the pressure on pediatric wards are standard here in Wellington and have been for many winters prior to Covid.

            Not denying that we need to focus on this but to raise it now seem like binary thinking to me and not recognising the health threat now

            • tsmithfield 2.1.1.1.1.1

              I think vaccination rates previously were a lot higher than mid 70s, though someone may correct me on that.

              But it stands to reason that vaccination rates would be lower during the pandemic. I think people are scared about going out, so may be less likely to take their kids out to get vaccinated.

              So far as medical treatment goes, the article I linked to pointed to a large number of deferred operations since 2020, which would suggest the pandemic was to blame.

              Again, probably not surprising if that is the case. All sorts of projections were being given for Covid hospitalisations, and I think the health system was making provision for that.

              • Shanreagh

                Immunisation rates have, I understood been trending down for some years…prior to Covid. I know that they were trending down in mid 90s when I was working in a high level helath org and

              • Shanreagh

                Immunisation rates have, I understood, been trending down for some years…prior to Covid. I know that they were trending down in mid 90s when I was working in a high level health org and that was when we set up sets of Maori health providers as young Maori mums were not connecting with Plunket etc.

          • McFlock 2.1.1.1.2

            He's doing his job by advocating on the issues faced by his sector.

            Meanwhile, secondary and tertiary care specialists are also getting busy.

        • Blade 2.1.1.2

          It's not nuts. It's reality. Doctors can't hide behind the curtains in fear of Covid. They must minister to the publics health issues and needs. Covid in reality is the least of their problems compared to the backlog of patients with non related Covid issues.

          • Gypsy 2.1.1.2.1

            And "He also said more attention needs to be given to non-Covid child immunisation rates, else falling jab rates could trigger outbreaks of whooping cough and measles."

            Doctors are rightly raising these concerns, because a serious health crisis is building in the background that is going unattended.

      • Ed1 2.1.2

        The 500 number may have been correct pre-covid, but as I understand it that has lowered significantly with a much wider vaccination last year for influenza. It did not stop all deaths, but saved most. It is debatable whether free flu vaccines should become a regular annual event for all.

  3. Blade 4

    Kiwi ingenuity with a No8 wire solution?

    How much longer before New Zealand becomes the ''must watch'' space for a democratically elected government in serious trouble of losing control of their country?

    • Ad 4.1

      I have never seen a government lose control of the narrative faster than this.

    • observer 4.2

      Well apart from all the other times in all the other years in all the other cities in all the other democracies like London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Madrid, Washington, a hundred other American cities …

      I believe some of them may even be on the internet. Have a look some time.

      Ottawa today: police with riot gear, guns, gas masks. Happening right now.

      Wellington: Barry Manilow.

      Of course if you want tear gas and tanks you should say so. You probably do. I'd settle for towing.

      • alwyn 4.2.1

        I think I would rather have the Ottawa situation rather than have Mallard's mad choice of moronic Manilow music inflicted on me.

        • aom 4.2.1.1

          The problem is that Wellington has a bunch of picnickers who want both Ottawa and Manilow, along with anything else they can commandeer.

      • aj 4.2.2

        "I have never seen a government lose control of the narrative faster than this"

        Well apart from all the other times in all the other years in all the other cities in all the other democracies like London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Madrid, Washington, a hundred other American cities …

        Yes. Give them a break. As if they haven't had enough to deal with over the last two years. Very easy to criticise in hindsight.

        Look, for my mind the pandemic has let loose a kind of panic in some people. The fear, perhaps, of dealing with something like this has tipped otherwise reasonable people over the edge, and this is being capitalised on by the hard core RW activists both overseas and within New Zealand.

        Everyone else is simply tired of having to deal with the sea of changes to our lives but most people just soldier on and do what has to be done.

        Governments are the meat in the sandwich, and we all know how well our response has been to date. Not perfect, but amongst he best outcomes in the world.

        Anyone who thinks the people in government, health, police, MIQ etc etc have enjoyed the last few years is dreaming. They must be exhausted, and despite clots like Ian Taylor suggesting they went on holiday, bullshit, the pandemic is relentless and they will be working long long days, going to sleep thinking about the work that has to be done and waking with those things first on their mind.

        They have had to make a lot of very difficult calls and the mandates are amongst them. Rather them than me doing this.

        They have all my gratitude for their mettle, for taking the advice of health and science, and they deserve some compassion.

        • Blade 4.2.2.2

          You had a excellent post in my opinion until you wrote this:

          ''They must be exhausted, and despite clots like Ian Taylor suggesting they went on holiday, bullshit.''

          Technically, you are correct. In reality government members were on roster.

          Then we must consider the fiasco over RATS…you know, the tests you can buy from vending machines overseas.

          And let's not forget Chris Hipkin's korero on that issue. There's a word I want to used by cannot.

          Incidentally, I have tried explaining to some fellow Tories, why Labour winning the election was the best thing out for National. They just couldn't rap their heads around that statement. If they read your post the penny may have dropped.

        • tsmithfield 4.2.2.3

          “Yes. Give them a break. As if they haven’t had enough to deal with over the last two years. Very easy to criticise in hindsight.”

          I agree with you to a point. I do think the government is on hiding to nothing in this situation.

          Would National have done any better? Maybe not. It is one hell of a problem for any government to deal with.

          But the problem for the government is that they are in charge. They had all the positive press when things were going well in the days of elimination. Now, the government is being judged, rightly or wrongly, for the way they are dealing with this phase of the pandemic.

          I do think it is a good time to be in opposition at the moment.

          • observer 4.2.2.3.1

            Fair comment overall.

            I'd give Luxon some credit for what he isn't saying … so far. If he's tempted, I hope more experienced heads in his caucus will dissuade him.

            He's not yet said "Ardern must sack the Police Commissioner" or similar. Good for a headline, maybe a poll boost. Very bad as a precedent.

            • Blade 4.2.2.3.1.1

              He was on TV news tonight. He said something about Labour needing a plan.

              I wasn't paying too much attention because he's a waste of space.

              Instead of prattling on about Labour's short comings, what's National’s plan?

              For him to peek out from behind the curtains means pollies are just waking up to how serious this situation is becoming.

              ''He's not yet said "Ardern must sack the Police Commissioner" or similar. Good for a headline, maybe a poll boost. Very bad as a precedent.''

              Please tell me you are joking? Costa should be gone by lunchtime under a National government.

    • McFlock 4.3

      lol so they actually did the #dumbkirk thing

      • Blade 4.3.1

        Yep, you said they would do something like that I believe?

        • McFlock 4.3.1.1

          Joe90 posted the twitter thing here when the clownvoy was still in transit.

          But you know twitter things, usually if it's too funny to be true it's not true. Takes a while for the actuality to wriggle out, sometimes, unless there's an actual pic or video of the very thing and nothing has been added to the tweet.

          Of course, now there's a realist chance of riots or worse, it's not so funny.

  4. Joe90 5

    But focussing on one major health issue ……..

    /

    "Even a mild case of COVID-19 can increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular problems for at least a year after diagnosis, a new study1 shows. Researchers found that rates of many conditions, such as heart failure and stroke, were substantially higher in people who had recovered from COVID-19 than in similar people who hadn’t had the disease.

    What’s more, the risk was elevated even for those who were under 65 years of age and lacked risk factors, such as obesity or diabetes.

    “It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, it doesn’t matter if you smoked, or you didn’t,” says study co-author Ziyad Al-Aly at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and the chief of research and development for the Veterans Affairs (VA) St. Louis Health Care System. “The risk was there.”"

    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-00403-0

    • Belladonna 5.1

      Unfortunately, with Omicron loose in NZ – there is nothing that can be done about the risk of long-Covid.

      All you can do is slow down the spread – and spread out the potential load on the hospital system. [Not saying that this isn't a worthy aim]. That doesn't reduce the numbers of people who are going to catch Omicron – it just spreads it across more months – so has zero impact on the numbers with Long Covid (it doesn't matter whether you caught it in March or June – the consequences are the same)

      No one knows what the risk factors are – apart from the fact that they don't appear to be associated with any of the co-morbidity factors which increase the risk of severe Covid symptoms. So, you can't even decide that you're in a high risk group, and self-isolate.

      Interesting interview on RNZ Saturday morning with Kim Hill – Chris Smith UK virologist saying that the data isn't in for the Long Covid impact of Omicron (because not enough time has passed) – but that he's picking that the percentages will significantly reduced from Delta. He bases this on the sheer numbers infected with Omicron, and that if the LC rates were similar to Delta, they'd be overwhelmed with LC cases – and they're not. [My paraphrase]

      https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/saturday/audio/2018831191/chris-smith-covid-19-science-news

      He also commented that they are guesstimating that at least 50% of the Omicron cases are completely asymptomatic. They can't prove this, because you don't go and get tested if you don't have symptoms. But commenting that significant numbers of people are being detected with Omicron through routine testing, when they present to hospital with a completely unrelated health issue [I'm thinking: broken leg, car crash, giving birth, etc.]

  5. Molly 6

    Missed this in January – busy in the garden – but an interesting point for discussion as to the 'why?'

    Guardian – Women 32% more likely to die after operation by male surgeon, study reveals

    For each of the 1.3m operations they analysed, the sex of each patient and details of how their procedure had gone and also the sex of the surgeon who carried it out.

    They found that men who had an operation had the same outcomes regardless of whether their surgeon was male or female. However, women experienced better outcomes if the procedure had been performed by a female surgeon compared with a male surgeon. There were no gender differences in how surgery went for either men or women operated on by a female surgeon.

    Conclusion of the study found on JAMA:

    Conclusions and Relevance In this study, sex discordance between surgeons and patients negatively affected outcomes following common procedures. Subgroup analyses demonstrate that this is driven by worse outcomes among female patients treated by male surgeons. Further work should seek to understand the underlying mechanism.

  6. Anker 7

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/300521459/feilding-women-terrorised-by-neighbour-plead-for-police-and-kinga-ora-to-act

    a story about two women in Kings Ora houses who have been terrorised by a neighbour who threatened to kill one of them. Why hasn’t he been evicted? I thought there was some progress on this

    • Belladonna 7.1

      Looking at this article, I don't see any change in the operational stance of KO.

      KO regional director Graeme Broderick:
      "If a tenant receives three warnings within 90 days, Kāinga Ora can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to end the tenancy."

      Note, he's not saying they will apply to end the tenancy.

      I would have thought that 3 official warnings in 3 months is a pretty high bar (given the required 'investigation' time and allowing for a response from the tenant) – and anyone reaching that level should be automatically referred to the Tenancy Tribunal.

      And, actually, 3 warnings is much too high a bar, for someone who has committed actual assault and criminal damage. One instance should be sufficient for KO to understand that the current housing situation is not suitable for either him or his neighbours. This is the kind of situation which could go on forever: assaults someone, gets sectioned for a couple of months, return and repeat.

      I think this is business as usual for KO. Rights of the disruptive over-ride the rights of the community.

      Also, he's been sectioned to the Mental Health unit – so the house has been empty since July, but he still has the tenancy. I thought we had a critical shortage of KO housing? I doubt this is the best use of scarce housing resources.

  7. gsays 8

    Another great day to be a NZ cricket fan.

    South Africans desperately fighting to avoid an innings defeat in Christchurch.

    34/3 against a well rested, motivated bowling attack.
    This first hour is mana from heaven for us tragics

    Trent who? Just kidding. What depth the team has.

    Edit 34/4, Henry has a wicket 2nd delivery of the day.

  8. joe90 9

    A Message To You Rudy

  9. Poission 10

    Biden just announced that Russia is to invade the Ukraine.

    • aj 10.1

      Anyone notice how much Biden as slipped in his public speaking in the last 4 months.

      No-one seems to want to acknowledge he's stumbling and barely coherent at times.

      CIA’s final report: No WMD found in Iraq

    • francesca 10.2

      If The US had kept true to its promises in 1991 we wouldn't be now subject to the threat of catastrophic war in Ukraine , and quite possibly a nuclear disaster.

      Putin is wanting the West to honour the deal that led to German reunification , the conditions were that Nato would not move an inch to the East.This has been scoffed at and called Russian disinformation, but the transcripts have been found .

      Der Spiegel has published the findings in the last few days

      https://then24.com/2022/02/18/der-spiegel-discovers-natos-eastward-expansion-is-a-broken-promise-after-all/

    • Subliminal 10.3

      Whats with the "just" announced. This has been "just" announced for a couple weeks. At present, the civilian population is being evacuated to Russia.

      Seems that this humanitarian effort is more likely to allow the present line to be held or for any break through by Ukraine to be obvious to the whole world without putting civilians at risk. It also takes away any opportunity for any side to stage any false flag horror against civilians.

      Russia remains consistent in declarations of no intention to invade. At this point in 2015, the Ukraine was given the opportunity to move through the contact line only to find themselves trapped.

      With no civilians to deal with nor horrors for them to endure, Russia has no need to intervene. If the Ukraine wishes to test their newly bought Western military hardware, they will need to move through the contact line. If they don't it will be more of the waiting game while those from the Donbass who wish will be assimilated into Russia. Western war hysteria is getting a bit old now. We've heard enough from Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya.

      • francesca 10.3.1

        Its been known for a lot longer than 2 weeks .But for der Spiegel to be publishing now signals the German wish to get the Minsk accords on the move.

        • Subliminal 10.3.1.1

          Well they are certainly getting the hurry along now after 7 years. On the day that Sholz was last in Moscow, the Duma passed a bill to allow the President to recognise the LDNR as an autonomous region. Of course, this would break the Minsk agreement but it would allow the newly formed Republic to invite in the Russians as peace keepers. Germany and France are being asked to take their responsibilities in regard to Minsk seriously. But it will involve standing up to the US and the fracturing of Nato. Which is why Russia believes the only way to solve the crisis is to deal with the US directly up till the time nations like Germany and France are prepared to act in the interests of their nations rather than vassals that are only allowed to trade where directed by a US that acts only in its own interest.

          • aj 10.3.1.1.1

            Sting's 1985 song. No less relevant today than it was then.

            In Europe and America there's a growing feeling of hysteria
            Conditioned to respond to all the threats…..

    • weston 10.4

      Wonder if "the significant intelligence capability " is the same one that determined a family in afganistan in the last days of the US withdrawal was making a bomb prompting a drone attack that killed all of them , when in fact dad was filling water bottles from a garden hose as the whole world saw .

      • aj 10.4.1

        Murder of 7 young children, I think. No justice, ever.

        Blinken channelling the Colin Powell speech at the UN.

        Just lie after lie after lie.

  10. Blade 11

    I get tired of posters trotting out NZs low Covid death rate as an indicator of how well this government has handled the pandemic, and how lucky we are to have had such a great government watching over us.

    Really!!!

    Welcome to the obverse side of the government's pandemic response. The government isn't responsible for all the stats in the link below. But their Covid response is a major contributor in my opinion. Of course, older folk with mental illness aren't part of this article. They would also have high numbers coping with mental issues.

    https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/rise-in-self-harm-hospitalisations-points-to-growing-mental-health-crisis-among-young-people/

    • Ad 11.1

      The broader background mortality stat changes would be fairer, rather than cherrypicking.

      • Blade 11.1.1

        ''The broader background mortality stat changes would be fairer,''

        I agree.

        Let father time provide those stats.

        • Ed1 11.1.1.1

          We saw a decrease in overall mortality for the first year of the pandemic – more vaccinated for flu, more staying home if showing any symptoms. It is part of why housing got harder – we even put rough sleepers under cover . .

    • The Unliving 11.2

      I get tired of posters trotting out NZs low Covid death rate as an indicator of how well this government has handled the pandemic, and how lucky we are to have had such a great government watching over us.

      So, objective reality doesn't suit your narrative. What does a better outcome look like to you?

      The government isn't responsible for all the stats in the link below. But their Covid response is a major contributor in my opinion.

      It is to be expected that a pandemic would negatively affect mental health. Do you think people would have been happier with rampant COVID?

      The Government's handling of COVID-19 has had public approval of up to 80%. Incidents of serious self-harm have been increasing for some time. I would imagine factors such as poverty, inequality, uncertainty of the future, and the negative impacts of social media would explain far more of those mental health stats than New Zealand's largely successful handling of COVID-19.

    • observer 11.3

      Of course mental health is under strain. It's a pandemic.

      It would be under strain if the government had followed any of the other approaches by other governments, from herd immunity to total lockdown, along the scale from full freedom to no freedom. If there was a pain-free answer, who found it?

      But there was certainly lots of misinformation and speculation over the past 2 years. Suicides up, that was a common chorus. Evidence? No.

      https://www.1news.co.nz/2021/10/04/nz-suicide-rate-drops-for-second-consecutive-year/

    • McFlock 11.4

      Do you know the difference between a hospitalisation and a death?

  11. Puckish Rogue 12

    Scratch a liberal and a fascist bleeds

    I hope these two people are all right:

  12. aj 13

    Jin Russell is very good and this is a great thread.

  13. Ad 14

    Top work Nico Porteous with another Gold!

  14. observer 15

    The sudden discovery of Dr Bryan Betty (see upthread) is the perfect illustration of how medical expertise is completely ignored by anti-vaxers … until they find a convenient straw to grasp.

    He has been a voice of reason throughout the pandemic. But of course he has been promoting vaccination in the MSM, so … ignore.

    Today he commented again in the MSM – which has suddenly become a messenger of truth!

    Anyway, since he has now been placed on the Approved Opinion List, let's just remember what he's been saying all along. Thank goodness the anti-vaxers now believe him! We can get 100% vaccinated now …

    "As health professionals working on the frontline of the pandemic for the past 18 months, we have seen the devastating effects of the virus first-hand. We are committed to keeping our communities as safe as possible and is why we continue to highlight the importance of vaccination."

    "If there is only one thing you read about COVID-19 today, make it this," says Dr Betty.

    COVID-19: The vax facts

    1. So far, over ten million people around the world have died from COVID-19.
    2. As well as being deadly and highly contagious, the virus can have serious long-term side effects called long Covid.
    3. Without the vaccine, almost everyone will get the virus.
    4. Those infected without being vaccinated are at least 20 times more likely to get dangerously ill. This is even higher for Māori and Pacific peoples.
    5. Once administered, the vaccine is cleared from the body within a few days, leaving the body’s defenses strengthened to fight COVID-19.
    6. If vaccinated, you are less likely to spread the virus to your whānau, friends and workmates.
    7. The vaccine is FDA approved and safer than either the contraceptive pill or common pain relief such as paracetamol.

    (emphasis added)

    https://www.rnzcgp.org.nz/GPPulse/RNZCGP/News/College_news/2021/Seven_key_points_you_should_know_about_COVID-19.aspx

    • PsyclingLeft.Always 15.1

      "The sudden discovery of Dr Bryan Betty " by the the anti vaxxers.

      On Point , Observer !

    • tsmithfield 15.2

      Don't lump me in with "anti-vaxxers" please. I am absolutely pro vaccine, and double jabbed and boosted and actively encourage others to do the same.

  15. Ad 16

    A Russian invasion would throw the global economy into disarray (axios.com)

    Since President Biden is now completely sure that the Russians are serious about invading the Ukraine, there would not only be geopolitical shockwaves and human tragedy, but it also could upend markets and strain the global economy

    "

    • The largest country on earth by land mass, Russia is a commodities giant, ranking as a top producer of natural gas, oil, nickel, palladium, copper, coal, potash, wheat and more.
    • Disruptions to Russian exports — either at Russian President Vladimir Putin's say-so or due to sanctions — would drive up commodity costs, adding to global inflationary pressures and supply chain disarray.

    State of play: Russia is the largest supplier of natural gas and crude to the European Union.

    • Oil prices briefly jumped above $96 a barrel on Monday — the highest since 2014 — as investors grew skittish about continued access to Russian crude.
    • Natural gas is an issue too. Europe — particularly Germany — is most exposed should supplies of Russian natural gas stop flowing. More than 20% of Germany's gas flows from Russia, so a gas shutoff to the European economic and export giant could hurt growth and reverberate throughout global supply chains.

    Yes, but: The impact of a disruption of Russian raw materials would be broader. It's difficult to predict how the dominoes would fall.

    Worth noting: High prices are also incentivizing American energy production.

    What we're watching:

    • Inflation: If oil prices hit $120 a barrel — as analysts think could happen if Russia invades — that could make the recent inflationary surge more long-lasting than economists now think. (Central banks are watching. More on that later.)
    • Autos: An invasion could break another link in the rickety auto supply chain. Russia is the world's biggest supplier of palladium used in catalytic converters that scrub auto emissions.
    • Wheat: Russia is the world's third-largest wheat producer — Ukraine too is a massive wheat farmer — and prices for the grain could spike on an invasion, even without major disruptions of shipments. (That's what happened during Russia's 2014 takeover of Crimea.)
    • Aluminum: When Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska — who controlled Russian aluminum producer Rusal — was sanctioned by the Treasury Department in 2018, it set off a 30% price surge."

    It would certainly complicate Minister Robertson’s forecasts for Budget in May.

    • adam 16.1

      Begs the question, why are the US putting the largest peace time sanctions on Russia in history- if it's the economy they are worried about?

      Now they talking about more sanctions against China.

      Worse, in the sanctions is a clause to remove Russia's ability to trade at all. This is mad, jingoistic crap.

      • Ad 16.1.1

        They would I expect calculate that trade sanctions would still cost less than actual escalating European war.

        • francesca 16.1.1.1

          Billions for the arms industry though .Got to keep those factories running ..Flooding Ukraine with lethal weaponry won't stop a war in the Donbas,

          Zelensky is now emboldened to mount an attack , with the US propaganda machine providing cover via its "false flag " bs.With a compliant media turning the other way until the Donbas fights back

  16. mango 17

    Does lprent know the front page hasn't been working all week?

  17. Petition smashed thru 50,000 today (over 10k signatures in 1 day!) — up to 58,000 as of this evening — please sign

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