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Open mike 23/12/2021

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, December 23rd, 2021 - 259 comments
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Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

259 comments on “Open mike 23/12/2021 ”

  1. Rosemary McDonald 1

    We're a funny lot when afflicted with FOMO.

    Some haven't had It and their fear of being denied routine healthcare is tipping over into anger.

    Some have had It and want morenow.

    In the meantime, Japan has issued an edict

    …unlike the heavy-handed approach of many other nations, the Japanese government says getting vaccinated is a personal choice – and warns the public not to "discriminate" against those who choose not to.

    "Although we encourage all citizens to receive the Covid-19 vaccination, it is not compulsory or mandatory," a notice on the Ministry of Health website reads.

    "No vaccination will be given without consent. Please do not force anyone in your workplace or those who around you to be vaccinated, and do not discriminate against those who have not been vaccinated."

    A similar message appears on the website of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

    "Vaccines will never be administered without the recipient's consent," it says.

    "We urge the public never to coerce vaccinations at the workplace or upon others around them, and never to treat those who have not received the vaccine in a discriminatory manner."

    Japan has seen a sharp decline in Covid-19 cases since August, leaving experts mystified.

    It's a tricky virus.

    • Ad 1.1

      Not usefully comparable in social obedience.

    • francesca 1.2


      I've come to feel that there is no hard and fast science, instead there is consensus within groups.Particularly when it comes to covid

      NZ doesn't do aspiration , arrived at by consensus, and passed off as science…this is now considered "best practice"

      In Denmark its different

      Usually it is not necessary to withdraw the plunger to give a vaccine, writes SSI, but so far it is the newly recommended method. The Danish Health and Medicines Authority has long recommended the same method.


      As in Japan

      I have a friend, male, in his 30's who experienced breathlessness , chest pain and heart "flutters" after his first covid shot. He went back to the local clinic to report this and was told he was having a panic attack .The symptoms persisted so he was taken to the nearest And E, to be once more gaslighted by the Dr there .Finally a nurse took him aside, said there'd been a few cases of this, and advised him to go and buy iboprufen , recommended along with rest for mild myocarditis

      Thank you that nurse and fuck you those doctors.I wouldn't mind betting symptoms of myocarditis after the vaccine are way under reported

      And when you do ask for aspiration, notwithstanding the Immunisation advisory board's suggestion to aspirate on request, you are likely to be met with ignorance of the method, or a smirking reference to internet rumour

      • weka 1.2.1

        what's the issue with aspiration or not in terms of after effects?

        • Molly

          The vaccine is designed to be delivered into muscle tissue.

          Aspiration of the needle – standard practice until 2004 – checks to see if there is blood in the needle, which indicates that the delivery site is a blood vessel and not the intended muscle tissue.

          If delivered into the vein, the vaccine is not going to produce the same response and level of protection that results from the response of the muscle tissue and lymph nodes. In addition, the circulatory system very quickly transports the vaccine around the body including the heart.

          Animal studies on intra-vascular delivery of the vaccines, showed myocardial inflammation.

          Denmark's advisor here on this topic with Dr John Campbell.

          • Robert Guyton

            What are the chances, I wonder, of hitting a blood vessel in the arm, with a needle that thin?

            Has there been research done?

            • Rosemary McDonald

              Are you serious weka… have you not been keeping up?

              I have a close friend with a PhD in fucking chemistry been trying to engage directly with the PTB on this issue, handing over the research as it becomes available. I passed this latest bit from Prof Hoiby on to my friend lst night and it willbe forwarded today to the PTB. The actual folk advising the vaccinators.

              As Molly points out the research has been done. has been known to be an issue for fucking months.

              Fucking months weka. This is wilful. The fuckers know it is a risk.

              Btw. The excuse for not directing wholesale aspiration…? Pain. Potential pain from the actual aspiration and from extending the time the needle is n the arm. (I should be able to show you the correspondence from this expert at some time.)

              Stupid fuckwits…compared to a lifetime of serious heart issues?

              And yes. The "f" on my laptop is wearing out.

              • weka

                Are you serious weka… have you not been keeping up?

                No I haven't. On lots of things. In addition to general overwhelming life shit, and trying to understand covid, when I come here I have to spend a large amount of time reading with my mod hat on. I'm making no apologies for not knowing things, and I have the full expectation that anyone here can ask for explanations and receive them in a considerate manner.

                Besides, you replied to RG, so I really don't know what you are on about.

                I simply wanted to know what the physiology was, I already knew about the connection. So maybe take a breath and calm down, eh?

                • Rosemary McDonald

                  weka…I make no apologies for my anger. I have close family who suffered as francesca's friend did with exactly the same gaslighting from the medicos.

                  This is actually very. very serious.

                  Especially with them pushing hard to vaccinate the younger children when the rate of heart inflammation is higher in the 12-18 year olds then in the 18-24 year olds…as I said to you last night.

                  • weka

                    I have no problem with your anger, just don't direct at me when I don't deserve it.

                    • Rosemary McDonald

                      I'm guilty of assuming that the safety of the Pfizer product is of serious interest to all of us. Especially those of us with family members in the most affected age groups. Until recently I have sacrificed much needed sleep keeping up with the research, so I get it is a big ask. I posted early this morning then went out to paint some high bits while it was cloudy, and was taken by surprise at the comments and responses when I checked back in on my break.

                      This matters. It really, really matters. And if there is a possible chance that a simple procedure like aspirating might just prevent some of this heart damage in our young then why on earth not instruct all vaccinators to do this?

                      This has been going on for months now and the continued dismissal of the problem by the MOH and the vaccine experts is causing deep resentment against the government amongst those affected.

                      The mandates are bad enough, and the deliberate creating of division in our community is worse.

                      But kill our children and risk the lives of others?

                      Unacceptable and unforgivable.

                      You didn't deserve to cop the full force of my ire and I apologize.

                      I'm not promising to never get het up again over this…but I will endeavor to deflect the heat elsewhere.

                    • weka []

                      thank-you Rosemary.

                      I hear you on the intensity. We have quite a long way to go with this, so I hope you get some sleep too.

                      I asked about aspiration because I wanted to know about it before my next vax. I think Robert asked for this reason too. Sometimes we just asked basic, blunt questions because we want information, there’s no hidden context or subtext.

              • francesca

                They'll offer aspiration when they hit a wall with remaining 1% unvaccinated…or will they?

                Maybe they'll just stubbornly press on with penalising the dissidents

              • Patricia Bremner

                The clinician said they had known for months…. People had a number to call if they had any unusual reaction.

                • Rosemary McDonald

                  what franscesca wrote …most people (up until now) are being gaslit…being told it is 'panic' or 'stress'. They go home and either get betterish or die.

                  Perhaps an older person with a relationship with a doctor might be treated more respectfully?

                  Sorry to hear you had issues…hope your booster goes ok.

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                PhD in fucking chemistry – fucking months (x2) – fuckers – fuckwits

                Sound like an engrossing (or should that be engorging) field of study wink

            • Rosemary McDonald

              Has there been research done?

              With all due respect Robert… that is what Molly just linked to. Get a Young Person (one not nursing a new case of heart inflammation) and get them to show you how to access the links that usually can be found in the description under the youtube screen.

              You might need a wee cuppa and a lie down when you realise that the precious government has been deliberately and willfully putting people at risk in there drive to get as any jabs into arms as possible.

              • Robert Guyton

                Rosemary – when someone writes, "with all due respect", they usually accord any. No matter. I don't see a link from Molly, just an embedded youtube video – must I watch it, rather than ask my very specific, easily-answered (probably) question?

                I'm interested to know, not whether research has shown that delivery to a blood vessel increases the incidence of myocarditis, but whether there is data on the likelihood of hitting a blood vessel.

                I have no need of a Young Person to teach me how to use my slate-and-abacus laptop, nor do I need a lie-down, but thanks for caring.

                • Molly

                  Links are in the description on the Youtube video. laugh

                • Rosemary McDonald

                  With all due respect…Dr John Campbell has done a few videos on the topic of aspiration of intramuscular injections. As Molly said, it was SOP up until the early 2000s, then suddenly it was considered no longer necessary. There was concern that the extra time and perhaps discomfort would put folk off vaccinations for children. (Hmmm..another conversation might be about the increase in complaints about vaccine adverse effects since then…and I'm thinking here about the mass rollout of the HPV vaccines.)

                  Anyhoo…Dr John Campbell has talked about the incidence of hitting a blood vessel inadvertently and it is not very common…but not so rare that it is not an issue.

                  Especially when mass jabbing the entire world with an experimental product. One would think the Precautionary Principle would apply.

                  A couple of months ago he was 'fact checked' after he discussed this issue and research that had been published showing massive heart damage from inadvertent intravascular mRNA injection. One of the youtube fact-checkers was our own Helen Pertussis -Harris…who of course declared the video to be misleading and again played down the rate and seriousness of myo and pericarditis, especially in young men.

                  And even the other day, when it was announced that indeed Rory Nairn (a good Southern Bloke like yourself Robert) in all probability did die from vaccine induced myocarditis that dreadful woman was still playing down the risk… and even went so far as to blame the lad for his own death because he should have sought medical attention.

                  Again…read what francesca wrote about how those 'seeking medical attention' for heart issues post vaccine have been treated. Reports of this shit treatment are legion.

                  I am so absolutely furious about this…and those who have been criticising the vaccine hesitant without keeping up with the weekly (now fortnightly "Safety Reports" and seeing the increasing counts of myocarditis, pericarditis, chest discomfort, nausea and dizziness should hang their heads.

            • francesca

              Unusual , but not unheard of , but then again, so is myocarditis

              As I refer to below the Astrazeneca scientists found the vaccine entered the bloodstream (causing clotting)at the point of injection .

              And Denmark has reverted to aspiration for the covid vaccine

            • Patricia Bremner

              It appears to have happened to me? Robert, so I am having my booster administered at the hospital.

              I believe there was notification on the 20th Dec in the vaccine report, that if that happened to you to ring the help line. 08003585453. I spoke to one lady, and was rung by a clinician to explain my symptoms 7 days after my 2nd vaccine on 23rd June.

              She organised contacting my Dr. (I also gave him a heads up by email) confirming I had my xray and mri in July, and to do bloods now to look for a marker. The Dr. then rang me to say visit tomorrow get the bloods done and he would arrange my vaccine booster under hospital conditions. N and I feel relieved.

              It appears my previous cancer in the 90s caused the original attack to bring about a search for lung disease due to breathing difficulties. We did not consider the Pfizer as it was 7 0r 8 days after the jab.

              The news item stressed this effect could occur up to two to three weeks after the 2nd dose. The condition is extremely rare in older women, about a quarter of a small number in men. The treatment is, unless serious, rest anti-inflams and heart asprin for 3 to 4 weeks. Hope that helps anyone out there.

            • francesca

              Yes, and the idea is that a very fine needle exerts a lot more pressure to deliver the vaccine

            • Molly

              The video cites the difference in side effects between Denmark – that aspirates – vs Norway that doesn't.

              As stated in the video, aspiration was standard practice until the WHO changed advice in the early 2000's, apparently based on one small Canadian study on infants. (Also related in the video, by the very impressive Dr Holby)

              Research on this moving target would be great, but we do have some data as shown.

              Professor Niels Holby


              Total vaccinated with mRNA vaccine = 4,304,710

              Total myocarditis + pericarditis = 129 (0.003%)

              One case in 33,369


              Total vaccinated with mRNA vaccine = 3.765.354

              Total myocarditis + pericarditis = 274 (0.0073%)

              One case in 13,743

              2.4 times more cases in Norway

              "What are the chances, I wonder, of hitting a blood vessel in the arm, with a needle that thin?"

              If the needle is thin, and enters a blood vessel then it can also deliver the whole dose within that vessel.

              There is also some speculation that the high number of young men having adverse effects, may be due to the fact that many of them have larger blood vessels in their biceps, and so may be more likely to have the vaccine delivered into the circulatory system.

              There is no harm done, by aspirating the needle, while there is a possibility of great harm done if the vaccine is not delivered into the muscle tissue.

            • gsays

              Enough research for Pfizer to recommend aspiration.

              But, like the recommended gap between 1st and 2nd shots, and the gap till boosters, our 'experts' differ from Pfizer's recommendations.

          • weka

            thanks Molly.

            What are your thoughts on getting revaxxed immediately if there's blood on the needle?

            Do you know why they stopped aspirating?

            Do you think it's the vaccine causing the myo or the other ingredients?

            • Robert Guyton

              And if Molly would be so kind, can you/she tell me what the research shows about the incidence of myocarditis when the blood vessel wasn't struck.

              • Molly

                How would you determine if the vaccine was delivered into the blood vessel, unless you set up a study that deliberately did so? Which would be unethical.

                The failure to aspirate is a decision made, that relates entirely (to my mind) to reducing the time for vaccination, and reducing the time required to train.

                The cost of aspiration is not a health cost. The cost of delivering medications intended for muscle tissue into the vascular system is possible long-term and fatal health issues.

                I believe – along with many others – that when rolling out such a massive vaccination programme, we should be doing everything possible to reduce adverse effects. Data from Denmark and Norway, indicates that aspiration may reduce the likelihood of adverse effects by a factor of 2.4.

                • Robert Guyton

                  "There is also some speculation that the high number of young men having adverse effects, may be due to the fact that many of them have larger blood vessels in their biceps, and so may be more likely to have the vaccine delivered into the circulatory system."

                  That's interesting speculation.

                  I have no issue with requiring aspiration at the point of vaccination. I was just interested in the depth of the research.

                  • Pat

                    Except it extends past the requirement of aspiration at the point of vaccination (something that would appear to require a widespread retraining) but also the resources and time spent investigating the perceived increased threat of myocarditis.

                    It is triage….the medicos have limited time and will focus on those things that are perceived to be of the highest threat.

                    • Molly

                      It is triage….the medicos have limited time and will focus on those things that are perceived to be of the highest threat.

                      It is not triage. It is a controlled vaccination environment, that only requires a directive on how to deliver a medication by the government to avoid negative outcomes.

                      I am perplexed about why so many excuses are being offered without consideration of the possibility of improved outcomes for both the vaccination efficacy and individuals participating within it.

                    • Pat

                      I suggest it is indeed triage.

                      I have no problem seeking improved outcomes for the vaccination programme but revert to my original point…it is all well and good making decrees but the resulting work has to be done by someone, and expecting it to occur in the midst of a pandemic by an underesourced overworked health workforce is unrealistic…..not to mention potentially counterproductive.

                    • Molly

                      Except it extends past the requirement of aspiration at the point of vaccination (something that would appear to require a widespread retraining) but also the resources and time spent investigating the perceived increased threat of myocarditis.

                      Nurses aspirate to ensure that needles are in blood vessels. It is the same technique. I would think that "widespread retraining" is overegging the omelette, most should use the technique for injections other than vaccinations.

                      "Except it extends past the requirement of aspiration at the point of vaccination (something that would appear to require a widespread retraining) but also the resources and time spent investigating the perceived increased threat of myocarditis."

                      No, it doesn't.

                    • Pat

                      How is it diagnosed?

                      Though myocarditis can be difficult to diagnose, your doctor can use several tests to narrow down the source of your symptoms. These tests include:

                      • blood testing: to check for signs of infection or inflammation sources
                      • chest X-ray: to show chest anatomy and potential signs of heart failure
                      • electrocardiogram (ECG): to detect abnormal heart rates and rhythms that may indicate a damaged heart muscle
                      • echocardiogram (ultrasound imaging of the heart): to help detect structural or functional issues in the heart and adjacent vessels
                      • myocardial biopsy (sampling of heart muscle tissue): in some cases, may be performed during a heart catheterization to allow the doctor to examine a small piece of muscular tissue from the heart


                      so we do or dont we diagnose?….or do we assume who claims post vaccination symptons has myocarditis?….and the additional blood tests, ECGs etc displace what exactly?….and who performs them?…

                      Yes, it does.

                    • Rosemary McDonald

                      …perceived increased threat of myocarditis.

                      Not "perceived" at all. It is very, very real.


                      BNT162b2-BNT162b2 11 235,819 46.6 (23.3 – 83.5)

                      (number of reports, number of doses, rate per million doses)
                      Interval ≤30 days 2 21,160 94.5 (11.4 – 341.4)
                      Interval 31-55 days 8 124,235 64.4 (27.8 – 126.9)
                      Interval ≥56 days 1 90,424 11.1 (0.3 – 61.6)

                      Table 4. Observed vs. expected episodes of myocarditis/pericarditis using a 7-day risk window following
                      dose 2 of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines among individuals receiving dose 2 on or after June 1, 2021, by age
                      group, sex, and vaccine product

                      Age group(years)Females Males Individuals with 2doses
                      Expected* Observed Individuals with 2 doses
                      Expected* Observed

                      12-17 331,016 0.1-0.1 4 338,234 0.4-0.5 31
                      18-24 255,580 0.3-0.3 2 245,430 0.9-1.0 10
                      25-29 196,378 0.2-0.3 3 190,586 0.5-0.6 2

                      There is a link to the pdf containing this data on the above page. That'll be much clearer than my cack handed formatting.

                      Authors funded by Ontario Public Health.

                    • Pat

                      @Rosemary …..perceived as in considered when previously not.

                  • Molly

                    I suggest you watch the video to get the credentials of Dr Holby, to ascertain the weight of his opinion on the data.

                    Do you understand how requiring definitive research in this area, at this time, is problematic?

                    Also, it might pay to put in a bit of effort yourself Robert, and look for the specific types of research you are speaking of. I’ve provided the Youtube links which have links to the papers and publications under discussion as a starting point.

              • francesca

                If you don't aspirate , how would you know?

            • Molly

              The NZ Immunisation Advisory Centre has a protocol for finding blood in the needle after aspiration:

              Q. Is there a need to aspirate before giving the COVID vaccine?

              We are aware that occasionally consumers are requesting that the vaccinators aspirate the needle [pull back slightly to check for any minor blood vessels] prior to administration of the COVID vaccine. While this is currently not best practice and may be more uncomfortable for the patient, there is no danger associated with accommodating the consumer's requests. In the unlikely event that you did see any blood in the syringe after doing this, we would recommend revaccinating with a new syringe and needle.

              Apparently, the advice from WHO was changed after one small Canadian study on infant vaccinations, where the focus was on reducing the likelihood of pain (but I would guess distress for both parent and vaccinator). This evidence has been cited as sufficient for changing protocols for all vaccinations and injections. (Dr Holby (in the video) investigated the change of advice from the WHO in the early 2000's and this is the information he came up with).

              I'm getting a few intravascular injections at the moment, and they aspirate to ensure they are in a blood vessel, so that the medication doesn't go into the tissues.

              It is a way of checking that the delivery site is where you want it to be.

              Aspiration used to be standard practice, which is why older medical practitioners are more likely to be aware of the possible ramifications, and understand that reviewing current methods (arbitrarily changed) may be of significant benefit.

        • francesca

          Aspiration provides surety that the vaccine doesn't enter the bloodstream where it can rapidly travel to the heart, and cause imflammation Since the Astrazeneca scientists highlighted the possibility of the vaccine entering the bloodstream accidentally at point of injection and cause clotting , and the MRNA vaccines are associated with myocarditis, there may be a similar pathway

          I'm putting up Dr John Campbell who makes the case….again

          My main point in my post was that the young man with zero history of panic attacks or heart disorders was so cavalierly treated by the medics when all he was doing was following the advice…seek medical help when you experience these symptoms after a vaccine jab

          • weka

            yeah, that's fucked up. Even if someone was having a panic attack, they should still be checking for post-vax issues. Hopefully this will improved with the new MoH advisory.

            Reminds me of women that get treated with dismissal in the health system eg presenting with severe illness from menstruation, and get labelled as mentally ill.

            The other area is people wanting pain meds being treated as addicts.

            We need more patient advocates.

            • Rosemary McDonald

              We need more patient advocates.

              No weka. We need a government and a Ministry of Health that are not so far up their arses to actually listen to what those not singing from their song sheet are saying.

              This shit is what happens when the government and their pet, paid for PR MSM machine automatically labels those trying to draw attention to this anti-vaxxers.

              • weka

                as I pointed out in my post, this shit predates covid vax by a long way.

                easiest way to get govt and MoH culture change is a strong patient rights movement. Advocates are a step into that.

                If you have other ideas about how to change the MoH now, I'm all ears. But both of us have had more than enough of banging our heads against that wall I suspect.

            • Pat

              An under pressure health system (and the individuals within it) is less likely to have the capacity to investigate such even if the will is there.

              • Rosemary McDonald

                Pat….there is little need to investigate…the work is done. Haven't we already been talking with Denmark about vaccination issues? I will find a reference later. The rate of adverse reactions in Denmark with aspiration as SOP, is nearly third of the rate in neighbouring Norway.

                It is willful.

                • Pat

                  Rosemary…there may be little need to investigate the theory but is there the time and resources within the demands on the system to implement?

                  It is all well and good issuing decrees but somebody somewhere is required to do the actual work…..and I suspect they may have more than enough to do without adding to it.

                  • Molly

                    This is a simple procedure – that improves the efficacy a vaccine to a population by delivering the medication to the tissues it was designed for AND reducing the possibility of serious, adverse side effects.

                    It was standard practice for many decades, and requires a simple single-digit-in-seconds check after insertion of the needle.

                    Actually, the problem is not resources it is this:

                    It requires the MoH and the government to admit that they have delivered the vaccine to the population of NZ without following best practice.

                    They have choice – change the instructions and improve outcomes, OR pretend that they know nothing, and continue as before citing WHO guidelines and awaiting research.

                    If you are getting the vaccine, or a booster – you can look at the existing data – and ask for aspiration if you think that a reduction of 2.4 for possible cardio inflammation is worth that split-second check. (There are other possible effects, but this is what Dr Holby has provided data on).

                    • Pat

                      We know what increased awareness does to incidence (both real and perceived)….as stated to Robert it is triage….devote your limited resources to those areas of greatest impact.

                    • Molly

                      "We know what increased awareness does to incidence (both real and perceived)….as stated to Robert it is triage….devote your limited resources to those areas of greatest impact."

                      The vaccination centres are not triage, they are delivery centres.

                      This doesn't require extra resources, just a modification of delivery.

                      The impact for individuals adversely effected can be devastating. Although you are willing to ignore that cost, I think it worth improving procedures to avoid.

                      You are not addressing the issue being discussed, and seem to be wilfully misconstruing.

                    • Pat

                      Misconstrued?…i think not.

                      The issue(s) being raised are aspiration AND the subsequent lack of attention paid to the risk of myocarditis by the medical fraternity.

                    • Molly

                      @pat, OK. I'll admit I am having trouble ascertaining what you are supporting here.

                      So, to be clear:

                      a) you are onboard with aspiration?

                      b) you agree there needs to be improvement in response to possible adverse effects?

                    • Robert Guyton

                      When I go in for my booster, I will be requesting aspiration 🙂

                    • Molly

                      @Robert Guyton yes.

                      (… and perhaps join those of us requesting it for all?…smiley)

                    • Robert Guyton

                      What effect, Molly, do you suppose a requirement for all vaccine administers to aspirate, might have on the ongoing programme to vaccinate all New Zealanders?

                    • Molly

                      @ Robert Guyton. Since you asked wink:

                      1. Improve the efficacy of vaccines by delivering medication to muscle tissue as designed,
                      2. As per data provided, reduce the likelihood of delivering medication into the vascular system with possibleserious results,
                      3. Reinstate a best practice guideline for administering any vaccines in NZ. (WHO's guidelines seem to be based on a small study, and should be considered less than optimal for that reason),
                      4. Possibly provide a counter-narrative to that which accuses government of not listening, authoritarian practices, and disregard for concerns.
                      5. Provide true leadership by saying we are always looking to do better, and mean it by making this low-cost, possibly high benefit change. (Remembering that despite Denmark vaccinating approx 540,000 more, they had 145 less cases of myocarditis than Norway. That's a significant amount of people and families for a population size similar to ours..)

                      (Despite Pat's obsession with requiring resources to research the occurence of myocarditis, this is unnecessary. It's a recommended small change in practice, not a research grants application. In fact its a return to previous practice.)

                      Goes without saying – all opinions are my own, and are just my own opinion.

                  • Pat

                    "@pat, OK. I'll admit I am having trouble ascertaining what you are supporting here."

                    I'm supporting realistic expectations of what can be delivered and when.

                    • Molly

                      "I'm supporting realistic expectations of what can be delivered and when."

                      OK. On this we disagree.

                  • Rosemary McDonald

                    …and I suspect they may have more than enough to do without adding to it.

                    Oh, yes Siree…they're busy as…

                    • Pat

                      Very droll…..I doubt any sane person expects to be vaccinated, diagnosed or treated by the DGoH however.

                • francesca

                  I’ve read Norway has 1 in 13,000, they don’t aspirate

                  Denmark has 1 in 38,000 and they do aspirate

                  Can’t find the link

                  Denmark and Norway have joined in keeping a register of adverse effects with data immediately available to both

                  Both numbers seem very high, isn’t the number 1 in 100,000 usually quoted

                  But if our anecdotal events are accurate, there’s likely to be far more unreported myocarditis episodes out there.

                  Quiet casualties of the drive for universal vaccination, kept out of the daily updates to keep the public health message simple…and misleading

            • Molly

              "We need more patient advocates."

              Ideally, we should be training medical practitioners to be patient advocates.

              • Gezza

                Mine have been. My first GP retired last year. Her replacement is just as good when it comes to persisting to get the right person & / or treatment out of the health system (& hospital specialists) for what the patient needs. Neither of them will be fobbed off.

                Clearly it is going to pay me to ask the vaccinator to aspirate the needle when I get my booster shot. It will take them few seconds to do it & is most unlikely to slow them down unless they’ve hit a blood vessel, in which case they’d be safest to have another go with a new needle.

              • weka

                Ideally, we should be training medical practitioners to be patient advocates.

                I think there is a conflict of interest between being a practitioner and being an advocate. Practitioners all have biases and different approaches. I don't think we can expect them to put aside all of that and be in an advocacy role. But definitely agree that practitioners could change a lot around how they perceive patient rights and thus how they relate with us.

                • Gezza

                  My recent 2 week stint in Welly hospital evidenced quite a marked difference between the younger doctors on the medical team looking after me & the senior consultants, when it came to listening to the patient & responding to their stated needs.

                  The older Consultants tended be somewhat dismissive if you were querying their advice or treatment. You really had to put your foot down & argue if what they were doing wasn’t working. They would never admit you knew better than them. And then they’d quickly sweep out of your room or cubicle with their silent entourage of medical students & junior doctors to continue their rounds.

                  The younger residents were generally much easier to deal with. They were far more inclined to listen intently & to try to meet your treatment requests. Albeit sometimes stymied by the senior consultant (to whom they had to refer most matters, as you were technically their patient, before changing any treatment regime).

                  Trying to be fair, though, I would note that senior consultants are typically very busy & have to keep a whole heap of students & junior doctors moving on their morning rounds otherwise none of them would get through it & be able to begin their other day’s work.

                  I got the impression a great deal more of the young doctors’ training these days focuses on respecting & listening to patients & trying to meet their needs than was probably the case when older consultants were doing their training.

                  I’m not shy about sending an email to the relevant head honcho complaining about bad doctoring or nursing, though I never do it in a huff. I wait a few days to see if I still think it’s a problem that really needs addressing. And I’m equally likely to send an email thanking them for the care and attention they did provide.

          • Patricia Bremner

            Always ask for a second opinion… bloods looking for the marker?

    • DukeEll 1.3

      It's a tricky pin to dance on the head on.

      Wanting everything society can offer you but not being prepared to sacrifice something so small for society

      • francesca 1.3.1

        "not being prepared to sacrifice something so small for society"

        Something so small like being collateral damage with permanent heart damage or death.How about the MOH makes a small sacrifice and uses the precautionary principle , switching to aspiration …a sacrifice of 5-10 seconds for the greater good

        • Rosemary McDonald

          Not even 5-10 seconds. I've done this when Peter needed hamster juice shots after having chemo. Stick it in…draw back, not blood, push plunger.

          Extra time needed when if blood appears…new syringe and contents.

          Small price to pay. I read the other day that 20% of those experiencing myocarditis from any cause will probably suffer heart failure within 5 years. Going to need a whole lot of donors for those heart transplants.

        • Patricia Bremner

          Mainly it is recoverable with treatment and at 80 it is the lesser evil.

        • DukeEll

          Billions upon Billions of doses delivered with little adverse affect. correlated with additional causations in the extremely rare instance of an issue

          But find any excuse you want to justify your anti social position, as far as society is concerned you aren't welcome and I whole heartedly agree with the masses for once

          • Molly

            You are conflating Rosemary's decision to not vaccinate, and understandable questioning of MoH policies and procedures, with the discussion being had here on the very real possibility that a simple aspiration procedure when delivering vaccines is best practice.

            If you would take time to look at the data provided, and understand what is being discussed without prejudice, you may be supportive of what is proposed.

            Simply, a return to a vaccination procedure that aspirates as standard practice.

      • Pete 1.3.2

        It seems some people think every single person administering the vaccinations is going to do it exactly the same way, in exactly the same spot to bodies all exactly the same. Everywhere, all over the world.

        If anything untoward happens with the receiver the people involved will respond exactly the same way. Everywhere, all over the world.

        I imagine that with the next pandemic there'll be robots to carry out all steps of the process so the human element is minimised and virtually removed.

        Failing that the obvious way for there to be no problems with vaccines is to have no vaccines. It will save lunatics untold effort racing around the place saying how terrible vaccines are and warning the public off them.

        More than 4.4 billion worldwide have have the vaccination. I wonder what would have happened with no-one having one. Along with no mask wearing and no lockdown type approaches of course that some lunatics here have argued.

        • francesca

          Why take that extremist position ?

          Why not aim for improvement in all health deliveries?

          • DukeEll

            as you are using the lack of improvements as a justification for your own piss poor actions and behaviour.

            get jabbed, then complain

            • francesca

              Idiot.I'm double jabbed and about to get my booster.For the optimum outcome I'd like aspiration

            • Molly

              I too, am double jabbed, and like Francesca, will be asking for aspiration for my booster.

              This discussion is regarding the rest of NZers vaccinated population receiving the same benefit by a directive from the MoH to modify current advice.

        • Molly

          This discussion is about improving the outcomes for those receiving the vaccine, with a return to previous precautionary methodology.

          I think you are missing the point.

          • Rosemary McDonald

            Molly. I posted this study the other day and it received the usual dismissive response.

            If you(and anyone else interested) have the time can you download the full pdf and look at the numbers. The rates for the Moderna shot in part accounts for the considerable vaccine hesitancy in the US where it has been used most. Many countries in Europe nor longer use Moderna for those under 30.

            The rates for Pfizer, 30 days or less between doses, is a whopping 94.5 cases per million doses… three times more than the rate Bloomfield and Co admit to.

            • Molly

              I know Rosemary. I admire your tenacity, and have little regard for those who are participating in this discussion without doing even a minimum of research and/or consideration before posting their reckons. wink

              I believe those who have been subject to, or witnesses of unreliable, and harmful healthcare often have their experience discounted by those who are fortunate enough not to have those experiences. And yet, a lot of harm can be avoided by fairly minor adjustments to policy or procedure, or by ensuring adherence to best practice.

              I fail to understand those on here unwilling to consider we may be able to improve vaccination outcomes by a simple return to previous standard procedure. This frustration is not new, just re-emerges when a new example is apparent.

        • Rosemary McDonald

          Along with no mask wearing and no lockdown type approaches of course that some lunatics here have argued.

          Who has argued for these approaches here on TS?

          Link please.

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    Trotter examines the prospects for mutiny in the US military: https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2021/12/23/decisive-action/

    Either they're writing to warn Trump and his followers that the United States Armed Forces are prepared to stop them. Or it is an act of desperation from military men who already sense that the armed forces should no longer be considered reliable defenders of the US Constitution.

    Alarmingly, at least some of the Generals’ advice suggests that it may be the latter… The Army, itself, will split between Trumpists and Constitutionalists.

    Quite a few months have passed since I last commented on this schism within the Republican ranks. Dunno how seriously to take evidence that the military are dividing in response.

    The Democratic Party, in particular, is a rudderless hulk, riven by faction, and incapable of self-discipline.

    Leftist political thought will do that to you. Moderates vs ideologues is perennial.

    The mid-term elections are less than twelve months away and, right now, all the smart money says that the Republicans will re-capture both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The key question then, of course, is what will they do with the full powers of Congress at their disposal?

    This scenario will play out if the center cannot hold. Common cause between moderates on both sides of the divide would preserve democracy. If the moderates are incapable, it would be due to tacit loss of faith in democracy itself.

    Evidence of such would be epoch-changing transformation. Trotter may eventually realise this, but not in his current essay, which meanders towards a dark end in nihilism. Although he uses the chimera of a Trumpist coup to disguise that (clearly a play for trendy paranoid readers).

    • Sanctuary 2.1

      I suspect that Chris Trotter hasn't got the faintest idea of the thinking of the US Military and he doing his usual shroud waving projection of his own insecurities.

      • Dennis Frank 2.1.1

        Interesting that the last successful mutiny in the US military defeated a Democrat president: https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2021/11/11/world-war-ii-mutiny-protests-veterans/

        However it seems to have been a genuine grass-roots rebellion deriving from an almighty consensus of shared feelings. The current scenario, in contrast, is divisive. Anyway, here's how the thing snowballed:

        threatened with left-wing independence movements in its far-flung overseas territories and across Asia, the U.S. government decided that rather than fully demobilize the military, it would maintain a troop force of 2.5 million. That did not go over well with the soldiers’ families, who bombarded their congressional representatives with photos of children missing their fathers and pairs of baby shoes with tags reading “Bring Daddy home.”

        Washington relented, and soldiers packed their bags, until President Harry S. Truman panicked at the “dangerous speed” of demobilization and ordered a slowdown in January 1946. Now it was the troops’ turn to put up a fight. The first protests took place in the Philippines, a U.S. colony that had suffered untold repression and slaughter in the 50 years since Spain handed it over in the Spanish-American War. During World War II, the United States had fought to end a brutal occupation by the Japanese. Then, more than 20,000 American soldiers marched in Manila, demanding to return home.

        Another 20,000 demonstrated in Honolulu. Three thousand joined them in Korea, and 5,000 in Kolkata. In Guam, 3,500 Air Force troops staged a hunger strike, while 18,000 soldiers pooled money to send a cable to journalists making their case for repatriation.

        The armed forces were segregated at the time, and all 250 members of the all-Black 823rd Engineer Aviation Battalion in Burma sent a letter to Truman, saying they were “disgusted with undemocratic American foreign policy” and did not want to “take the field in league with the alien rulers against the freedom revolts of the oppressed peoples.”

        When Lt. Gen. W.D. Styler, the Army’s commanding general in the West Pacific, addressed the troops on the radio, they drowned him out with boos. When Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson landed on Guam, service members protested and burned him in effigy.

        Truman told an aide that the protests were “plain mutiny.” And yet just one day after the biggest protests kicked off in Manila, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower announced that the military would not discipline the protesting soldiers because there “had been no acts of violence or disorder.” Then the government gave in to the demonstrators and began a rapid drawdown of troops. A year and a half later, the Army had shrunk to fewer than 1 million men.

        People power, huh? How long since that meme showed up in msm?

  3. Peter 3

    "Defenders of the Constitution"?

    The Constitution and what it means is simply a matter of interpretation, it is not a finite, exact thing.

    The interpretation could get down to who has the most or the biggest guns.

    • Foreign waka 3.1

      Well, if it is a matter of interpretation and keeping in mind the illiteracy in this country, than it is not worth the paper it is written on.

      Wolfgang von Goethe – Der Zauberlehrling

      Walle! walle
      Manche Strecke,
      daß, zum Zwecke,
      Wasser fließe
      und mit reichem, vollem Schwalle
      zu dem Bade sich ergieße.

      Und nun komm, du alter Besen!
      Nimm die schlechten Lumpenhüllen;
      bist schon lange Knecht gewesen:
      nun erfülle meinen Willen!
      Auf zwei Beinen stehe,
      oben sei ein Kopf,
      eile nun und gehe
      mit dem Wassertopf!



      • Pete 3.1.1

        A previous (extremely popular) President described a clause in the Constitution as 'phoney.' Which suggests that it is open to whim.

        Election processes went ahead according to the Constitution early this year. There was an attempt to stop them and impose something over the Constitution. The sanctity of the document, so often professed, and so boldly, was refuted. Aggressive attackers clearly had support from 'normal' people and powerful people who themselves had sworn oaths to support that very Constitution.

        Certainly on January 6 it was not worth the paper it was written on.

  4. Blazer 4

    'In economics, moral hazard occurs when an entity has an incentive to increase its exposure to risk because it does not bear the full costs of that risk'

    A very good summation of the housing crisis in Aotearoa.='too big..to fail'

    The Natz and Natz lite make it plain that they will support house prices ,it is at the very centre of their domestic economics.

    By disregarding measures like levies on empty homes,stamp duty,and building supply monopolies,there is a clear and rational signal to 'investors' to never give up on a good thing.

    We see the social consequences-poverty,homelessness and surge in food banks.

    Then there's the 'brain drain' as young qualified workers leave for greener pastures/opportunity to own their own home.

    To counter this , immigration is ramped up to ensure the status quo is maintained.

    Selling NZ -the banks,supermarkets,farms,forestry,infrastructure is the only growth industry.

    Make all the staff at the O.I.O redundant except for one…and give them the rubber stamp.

    Hedge fund managers,oligarchs and asian godfathers ,welcome to Godzone.

    Never cease to be amazed how the NZ Dairy industry just can't survive without overseas …workers.

    Labour cabinet-take down those posters of…Tony Blair!

    • Gezza 4.1

      By disregarding measures like levies on empty homes,stamp duty,and building supply monopolies,there is a clear and rational signal to ‘investors’ to never give up on a good thing.

      How will disregarding measures like building monopolies improve things? What building monopoly measures did you have in mind?

      • Blazer 4.1.1

        Lets take 'gib board' a vital component in building.

        Fletchers has a monopoly on this product.

        They can't keep up…much dearer here than in Australia .

        Plenty of other options like Thai elephant board,Knauf etc…BUT…you will cost kiwis their…jobs if we import!

        • roblogic

          Or go back to using earth.

        • Gezza

          Oh. So you meant the government is ignoring &/or permitting building supply monopolies, not that it should be introducing monopoly measures.

          I think you’re right, B.

          Plenty of other options like Thai elephant board,Knauf etc…BUT…you will cost kiwis their…jobs if we import!

          That DOES seem like a relevant factor for consideration, though. Or do you think claims of Kiwi job losses are BS – or at least overstated.

          Apart from the multiple RMA compliance costs, it’s something of a puzzle to me why building costs are so astronomical in Kiwiland. Maybe my ignorance showing here. But we’ve got forests everywhere, whole logs just going overseas for chipping & pulping, sawmills closing down.

          Surely we’ve got building supplies manufacturing capability, or could quickly develop it? I dunno why we haven’t. Hopefully someone in the construction or building fields know can fill me in as I’m obviously missing something relevant.

          • Blazer

            I was a bit ambiguous…the 'jobs' line is ALWAYS over played.

            Just look at Rio and the smelter game of bluff and bluster.

        • Descendant Of Smith

          Was speaking to a gentleman who worked in the building industry who some years back worked out he could import and sell cement much cheaper than it was currently in NZ. He saw this as a good thing for the building industry.

          The existing players soon made it clear that if he continued to do this he would lose all his building contracts and would not be given any more until he stopped. He logically stopped. These people are ruthless – always have been. Competition they do not want.

  5. alwyn 5

    Isn't it wonderful that an entertainer was lucky enough to be able to return to New Zealand in time to celebrate Christmas.

    "Lorde confirmed on Wednesday that, “by some stroke of good fortune”, she has returned home to New Zealand for Christmas and a much-needed summer break."


    What a dreadful shame that lots of other New Zealanders stuck overseas can't be as "lucky" as Lorde was?

    "The family of a Kiwi school girl separated from her cancer-stricken mum after an Australian holiday turned into a six-month ordeal are desperate to reunite the pair after an extension to the MIQ gauntlet."


    I wonder what the difference could possibly be? It couldn't be that the schoolgirl doesn't travel in the right social circles surely?

  6. Bill 6

    Wow! Seems like Australia has finally got something right. Strange times in deed.

    Scott Morrison – "We're not going back to lock-downs. We're not going back to shutting down peoples' lives. […] We've got to get past the heavy hand of government, and we've got to treat Australians like adults."

    • Pat 6.1

      I wonder why? (not)

      "That trend is expected to continue this financial year, even as borders slowly open — with 41,000 more people to depart than arrive.

      But in 2022-23, things will start to quickly turn around.

      That year is expected to see 180,000 more people arrive than depart, followed by 213,000 the following year, and 235,000 in 2024-25.

      To put that number in context, during the last "normal" year (2018-19), that number was 241,000."


      The only 'growth' card they know how to play.

    • weka 6.2

      This sounds like an anarchist supporting neoliberal right, 'let's get on with the economy, never mind the dead and disabled people' pandemic responses, because it upholds libertarianism.

      Morrisson isn't doing this because it's a good idea with omicron (we don't know yet if omicron is safer). It's classic right wing self responsibility, and it's based on assuming that self responsibility = getting vaccinated and boosted going forward. Are they going to promote any other measures? Or are they basically saying, get vaxxed everyone and when that doesn't work out, oh well at least we saved the economy.

      I assume that Australia has a much better capacity for managing hospitalisation. We know that welfare for ill people is a fucking nightmare, considerably worse than in NZ. My understanding is health there is not good with chronic illness that it doesn't understand especially re diagnosis.

      Dr Campbell is saying that Oz's approach is relying on vax and natural immunity, and using lockdowns? when the hospital system is threatened by too many people at once in an acute covid crisis. As rates rise, so does anxiety in population, who will then take more precautions (tui award there, but the people who do do the right things may or may not be enough to hold rates low enough).

      He also says

      • we don't know yet how omicron affects hospitalisation
      • natural gives cross immunity to next variant
        • not sure this is true, have seen the medical opinion we should be cautious about this, key point: we don't know yet
      • we don't get a lot of cross immunity from delta to omicron

      He uses these qualifying words a lot: may, might, seems to…

      My own view: it's too early to know what omicron will do over time. That will change in the next month or so, and then we will have much better data upon which to make informed decisions and use precautionary principles. One the let it rip button is pushed, it can't be unpushed. Campbell acknowledges we are looking at trends at the moment, not known characteristics of omicron.

      • weka 6.2.1

        that's from the first 13 minutes.

      • Subliminal 6.2.2

        Absolutely agree with you there Weka. The clarion call of "individual freedom" is always an attempt by the 1% to keep economic flow in their direction in the knowledge that they will seldom be in the experimental mix of general society. Whats a few extra deaths in the lower classes anyhow? Plenty more where they came from!

      • Editractor 6.2.3

        It also doesn't take into account future costs from morbidity. Just the usual short-termism.

      • Bill 6.2.4

        This sounds like an anarchist supporting neoliberal right, 'let's get on with the economy, never mind the dead and disabled people' pandemic responses, because it upholds libertarianism

        Hmm. And the carnage of lock-downs? When advanced countries shut down their economies, as many did, then the people of the Global South are effectively subjected to a sanction regime. You not read up on the international consequences of 'western' nations locking down? The excess deaths from hunger among children in the global south for just one example?

        Or what about all the cancelled vaccination programmes in the global south that have resulted in bodies piling up? Rates of drug overdoses in western countries during lockdowns not crossed your radar? Increased incidence of domestic abuse, deterioration of mental health, cancer and other treatments postponed during lock-downs that have resulted in pre-mature death …?

        You're blind to all that?

        I don't care what Morrison's reasoning is, and realise he'll likely be undermined by state level governments.

        But both Australia's Chief Medical Officer and Federal Health Minister agree with the Australian PM. Maybe their medical opinion is to be dismissed because their take happens to align with a person from "that tribe"?

        Jabbering fucking monkeys need to stop hugging into their fear and take a look at the world. After four weeks, there are zero Omicron patients in ICU in Australia – which essentially aligns with the known data from South Africa and elsewhere.

        It bemuses me people were eager and happy to "take the plunge" and insist others "took the plunge" on medicine that wasn't properly trialed and tested, but are now all about "wait and see" and "get another injection" when real world data and scientific studies are all pointing to Omicron being a fairly benign viral infection.

        • Subliminal

          Perhaps you could supply some links so we could all catch up? I have not read anything about carnage in the third world caused by first world lockdowns

          • Bill

            Have you not? Well, here's a thoroughly referenced 7000 word piece by Stavroula Pabst and Max Blumenthal for your perusal.

            Flattening the Curve or Flattening the Global Poor? How Covid lockdowns obliterate human rights and crush the most vulnerable.

            • Subliminal

              I'm not sure whether or not you think covd is a real or imagined disease? Data from most countries shows a significant real drop in life expectancy recently. Covd killing people is real, not in our imaginations. Given the reality of a pandemic its a little over the top to blame the economic melt down on attempts to mitigate a pandemic. You say lockdowns caused economic disaster. Many others would say the pandemic and poor public health responses had a cascading effect.

              Next, NZ has shown an increase in life expectancy over the period of the pandemic and a far more robust economy. Of course its taken a hit but not to the same extent. To hold up the US and Colombia and India as regions that prove the failure of lockdowns is idiocy. Along with Brazil, it would be difficult to find any countries who's leaders cared less about the well being of their general populations. Colombia has recently been brought to a standstill by strikes aimed not at "individual freedom" but at the heartless Ivan Duque government. All these leaders are on a par in their disdain for the everyday public.

              • Bill

                My sister, my brother-in-law and nephew each got Covid. Double injected. I do not believe they were afflicted by some psychosomatic condition.

                Noting that you refute nothing from Pabst’s and Blumenthal’s article.

                • Subliminal

                  From Oxfam:

                  To respond to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has committed its $1 trillion lending capacity..

                  is not because of lockdowns. It is because of a pandemic. From the World Bank:

                  Even before COVID-19 reduced incomes and disrupted supply chains, chronic and acute hunger were on the rise due to various factors including conflict, socio-economic conditions, natural hazards, climate change and pests. COVID-19 impacts led to severe and widespread increases in global food insecurity,,,

                  Again, covd has caused not lockdowns in the first world have caused and from the same source

                  high food price inflation at the retail level, reflecting labor shortages, a sharp rise in the price of fertilizer, currency devaluations, and other factors.

                  I dont think anyone disagrees that covd has had an impact but to spin this as an effect of lockdowns is ludicrous. Ive looked at a few of Blumenthals sources and he is the one making the leap from covd effects to lockdowns.

                  • RedLogix

                    A colleague of mine this year came to site from 18 months of COVID lockdowns and deep restrictions in the Phillipines. I'd say Bill is closer to reality here than you are.

                    • Subliminal

                      This is also a good take on the disaster occuring in Central America. It is indeed a disaster but putting lockdowns in front of covd as the driving force of the disaster is really arse about face.

                  • Bill

                    COVID-19 impacts led to severe and widespread increases in global food insecurity,,,

                    You think that was maybe due to things like lock-downs meaning (for example) produce couldn't be harvested? Or are you suggesting that so many people were so unwell from Covid that produce couldn't be harvested?

                    Similar and rather obvious argument for the highly conditional IMF/WB loans. You are suggesting economies were crippled because of a viral disease and not because of the deliberate reaction to the presence of a viral disease?

        • weka

          And the carnage of lock-downs?

          What was the carnage in NZ? And Australia?

          • mauī

            Covered in Bill's third paragraph. It makes sense to me anyway, there are enormous costs to halting life as we know it. Even a relatively minor thing like someone in the community not being able to access a library could be a huge problem for them.

            Link on some of the mental health consequences,


            • weka

              How was library access impacted during NZ lockdowns? My local library was great. I think the only no access was during L4. Don't know what happened in the last Auckland lock down.

              If you are talking about mandates, then again, my local library is being very good about finding other ways to make books etc accessible.

              More of an issue might be internet access. However instead of saying let a pandemic spread through the community, we could increase access to the internet in other ways.

              The problem with the 'lockdowns cause more harm' argument is that they don't appear to be comparing with no lock down and the consequences of covid having free reign.

              I didn't see carnage in NZ and Australia. I saw people having a hard time for sure. Some of it unavoidable, some of it definitely avoidable if we'd organised differently.

              For a view of what might have happened under a different approach, have a look at the UK.

              What do you think is going to happen to people when climate catastrophe hits? Covid is resiliency training. Personal and community. I don't believe we are going to go back to whatever we had before.

              Maybe the countries that let covid spread will do better than NZ because people had to adapt already, whereas we're still complaining about not being able to travel overseas rather than being a nurse in an ICU getting traumatised by watching too many people die in a MAS*H scenario.

              • Anne

                The problem with the 'lockdowns cause more harm' argument is that they don't appear to be comparing with no lock down and the consequences of covid having free reign.

                And there it is in a nutshell. I think even Maui will understand that. 😉

                Thanks for a superb comment weka. Best one I've seen. I believe our library in Devonport also used contactless provision for borrowers during the lockdowns 4 and 3 and I'm sure many others did too.

                While the subject has been raised… I drink to the always excellent service from our librarians. They are second to none.

              • Bill

                The problem with the 'lockdowns cause more harm' argument is that they don't appear to be comparing with no lock down and the consequences of covid having free reign.

                Odd binary thinking. So there is either lock-down or nothing? And lock downs work?!? The studies of lock-downs precede the arrival of Covid, and are conclusive that they cause more harm than good. (Even the WHO had directives out on that front) The observational studies between different countries that had/had not lockdowns as a response to Covid have been done btw.

                But maybe you're blase about the kids that starved and the millions pushed into poverty, and the millions of others pushed from poverty to extreme poverty because, well "here in my li'l corner of Aotearoa I saw none such, and so A-OK"?

                Talk to workers involved in NZ's social agencies about the various rebounds they caught after lock-down.

                • weka

                  It's an observation. That some people advocating 'let it rip' don't compare what we did with what would have happened if we had not used the pandemic response we did. It's not binary thinking, it's pointing out that the argument appears to just look at the one option (lockdown approach is bad because it harms people).

                  So there is either lock-down or nothing? And lock downs work?!?

                  No. It's your binary thinking that takes you to that thought. It's nothing to do with what I am saying.

                  I'm not aware of an country that NZ could be compared to. And, I think each country needs to develop its own responses based on a large range of factors specific to each country.

                  I find the argument 'poor people died/were harmed globally' to be specious, and it's an idiotic idea to think that NZ doing well and us talking about how to do well somehow means that we don't think about anyone else or shouldn't take them into account (again with the binary thinking).

                  We were lucky. That we had Ardern instead of Key as PM, that we had Bloomfield in charge of the MoH instead of some numpty neoliberal fuckhead, that we're out in the Pacific, that we're a relatively wealthy nation, that outside of Auckland we're relatively sparsely populated, that the pandemic arrived in our summer, that we still give a shit generally as a population. We can and should take advantage of all that.

          • adam

            And the carnage of lock-downs?

            What was the carnage in NZ? And Australia?

            That comes across as far right nationalist shitfuckery weka. A socialist is a internationalist, and gives a shit for all the poor. Which includes the global south.

            But lets forget the global south for a moment – and do drug overdoses in the USA as carnage.


            More died from overdoses than Sars-covid2

            Anyone have the figures here – can't find anything that is recent? Have anecdotal evidence from people I engage with in the medical system who say it's getting almost as bad as the US.

            • weka

              So no carnage in Australia and NZ then. Good. And yes we should be paying attention to what is happening in other countries.

              • Bill

                You obviously haven't, as suggested, talked to anyone involved in front line social services in NZ and the rebound they experienced hard on the heels of lock-downs.

                But hey, how about reduced quality of education leading to reduced long term prospects of children?

                Or cancelled/delayed tests or treatment for cancer and other critical diseases leading to increases in deaths?

                Or reduced access to non-critical health services leading to an increase in depressions and other long term mental and psychological problems?

                Increases in suicides; in divorces; in domestic violence; in sexual violence…

                And that's not even taking into account business failures, job losses, and the flow on effects from those.

                Best bit? With the fcken stupid traffic light system, many businesses that rely on foot traffic are losing at least 10% of their business + whatever percentage of people who will simply not give their coin to a business that's seen to discriminate…more job losses and social strains barreling down the pike.

                But sure. No carnage – at least for you.

                • RedLogix

                  Or cancelled/delayed tests or treatment for cancer and other critical diseases leading to increases in deaths?

                  I have a very old friend – going back to primary school days – who ticks this box. But – annecdata angry

                • weka

                  You obviously haven't, as suggested, talked to anyone involved in front line social services in NZ and the rebound they experienced hard on the heels of lock-downs.

                  There you go again with the binary thinking. Because I don't believe that the NZ situation has been carnage, it must means that I don't know anything about the negative effects. You then go on to list things that are obvious. You describe them as carnage, I don't. Carnage would have been all that plus thousands of deaths, many people with long term illness, hospital overrun and staff burnout.

                  I don't know how else to say this. The issue isn't whether lockdowns etc caused harm (obviously they did), it's whether the prevented much worse harm. This is not a difficult concept, but as I said elsewhere, there are people arguing for letting community transmission happen who don't include in their argument the comparison of where were are to where we will be if covid is let rip.

                  Best bit? With the fcken stupid traffic light system, many businesses that rely on foot traffic are losing at least 10% of their business + whatever percentage of people who will simply not give their coin to a business that's seen to discriminate…more job losses and social strains barreling down the pike.

                  Yep. And I've seen you pre-covid make the argument for getting rid of a bunch of useless jobs. Welcome to the precarious future. It's not going to go away with letting covid run free, and it's the precursor to climate change. Best we get on with adaptation, and that includes both community/local responses to make sure people are ok, and parliamentary politics to get the best possible governance given the situation. No magic wand around. No going back to how things were. And no escaping the neoliberal shit show, at least this time round. We can be incredibly grateful we didn’t go down the path that somewhere like the UK did, so even within neoliberalism there are better pathways.

    • Editractor 6.3

      Just stop swallowing jars dude.

    • 5,715 cases in NSW today when not long ago cases were down to a couple of hundred; 33,000 cases in Australia in the last 7 days, more than double the previous 7 days.
      Is that what you mean by treating Australians as adults?

      • Bill 6.4.1

        Case numbers do not matter. Severe illness and death matter.

        • weka

          to clarify, long covid doesn't matter?

          • Bill

            Just what exactly the fuck are you on about? Long Covid is a thing that impacts on how ‘cases’ are counted, how? ffs.

            Long covid matters if it's serious. Side effects from injections matter if they're serious. Effects from lock downs matter if they're serious.

            The idiotic compliance of a fucking brain dead populace that can't see beyond a team or a tribe matters too.

            • weka

              Case numbers matter because a % of those people, who aren't in the 'severe illness and death matter' category, will get long covid. Case numbers is how we can estimate the impact of long covid because we can't see into the future.

              The idiotic compliance of a fucking brain dead populace that can't see beyond a team or a tribe matters too.

              tribe/antitribe diatribe. I'm really not into that binary framing.

              • Bill

                You're being intellectually bereft. A positive result for Covid is not (in spite of currently in vogue classification monkey business) a "case".

                If someone is receiving medical treatment, then by all normal and traditional reasoning, they are a "case".

                If someone develops long Covid and receive medical treatment, they are a "case".

                Categorising positive results as "cases" is simply a way to manipulate a narrative and put the proverbial fear of god into people – have them usefully running around like their hair's on fire and not noticing the political framework that's being slipped into place.

                It's just a little bit laughable for you to claim you're not into "that binary framing"when your very first sentence in response to my posting of the John Campbell vid is an exemplary example of just that – casting bullshit aspersions of the type usually designed to elicit dismissal "because concurrence" with "the despicable opposition".

                • weka

                  Not sure what you are saying here. If I get covid, get tested, stay home and don't use/require medical treatment, should I or should I not be counted in the covid statistics?

                  You appear to be saying that we shouldn't be cautious with omicron and long covid but can instead count long covid cases once they appear. Have I got that right?

                  I know you think counting people with covid is fearmongering, but you haven't explained why it's bad idea from a public health perspective.

                  It's just a little bit laughable for you to claim you're not into "that binary framing"when your very first sentence in response to my posting of the John Campbell vid is an exemplary example of just that – casting bullshit aspersions of the type usually designed to elicit dismissal "because concurrence" with "the despicable opposition".

                  I can see how you might think that, because you are using binary thinking. To my view, I just put out some ideas about your political positioning. If I am wrong, then someone can make a counter argument. It's reasonable to look at people's thinking about the pandemic in a political compass frame, especially as we are in a time when the rigid boundaries between political world views are breaking down (was happening before covid). This interests me for a range of reasons, not least because it elicits more honesty.

                  If you want to evoke Morrisson's statements about the pandemic then expect there to be political analysis of that (the statements and your evoking). If you believe that you are invoking the despicable opposition, I'm can see how that makes things difficult for you. My own feeling is if you genuinely feel allied to what he is saying, then stand your ground, own it, and make the case.

                  • weka

                    that by the way was a pluralistic response.

                  • Bill

                    Many, many people who are not tested have Covid. So, what you saying about "Covid statistics"? I'll repeat. A +ve result for Covid is not "a case". Hell, given the 80% of false positive readings that constitute PCR +ve results, the tallies are fucking useless from a medical perspective – that includes anything that might approach a genuine public health response (something 'no-one' is interested in executing)

                    All of the currently available data on Omicron is incredibly positive. One wag, apparently citing some risk/benefit analysis numbers for injections, went so far as to suggest Omicron would get FDA approval given it's 10x safer than the numbers for Pfizer and what not.

                    The raw numbers being presented to us as being people with Covid do not matter a fuck – they tell us nothing of value. (1. – unknown numbers of people with Covid aren't tested and 2. – the tests themselves present a wildly inaccurate picture for those tested).

                    A politician has finally said something that would align, at least in part, with an actual public health policy. I didn't comment on that because of his fucking politics or my fucking politics, but because it aligned with common sense. Any cynical motivations or politics are his and his alone. I'm commenting on a health issue and a response from a PM, a Chief Medical Officer and a Federal Health Minister that chime with sensible health measures.

                    Granted, that it came out of an Australian context is a tad surprising given their response thus far (at least at a state level).

                    • KJT


                      PCR tests do not have an 80% false positive rate.

                      Just one article of many.

                      “The positive predictive value (PPV) is the proportion of all positive tests that are true positives, in this case 950/(950 + 180) or 84%. Thus, most of the positive tests are true positives”.

                    • Bill

                      PCR tests do not have an 80% false positive rate

                      Correct. Just as well that's not what I said then, innit? I said that of the positive results, about 80% of those positive results are false positives.

                    • KJT

                      Thanks for the excellent example of how statistics can be used to mislead.

                      Though. It seems you are misleading yourself, in this case.

                    • Bill

                      Explain how Fenton is misleading (or how I’m misleading myself).

                    • RedLogix


                      Bayesian probability is very counterintuitive if you haven't encountered it before – but Fenton's brief and basic explanation here is correct – give the assumptions being outlined. There is nothing about this that is 'misleading'.

                      It's also – as a scan of the wikipedia article suggests – a topic that has a lot of complexity layered in behind the basics. And on this Fenton really is an expert authority.

            • Bearded Git

              750,000 people with long Covid in the UK Bill, and that was a couple of weeks ago.

              • Bill

                Yeah. My brother-in-law was afflicted. But he was an actual Covid case – ie, he had symptoms that accompany viral infection.

                And if long Covid is the concern (and I'm not suggesting it be dismissed) then the instances that arise, not from infection but from injection have to be considered too, no?

                • weka

                  people can get long covid after asymptomatic infection.

                  I would guess that people can get something akin to long covid post-vax. We know that people with chronic health issues are reporting relapses and flares after vaccination. Numbers appear to be small but imo they're not insignificant and yes, we should be taking them into account alongside everything else.

                  They don't look like they're high enough to warrant not vaccinating populations though. It's pretty clear whatever is going on, people who are vaccinated have more protection than those that don't across the board.

                  And I doubt it's possible to know at this stage what is going on with chronic post-vax after effects, because the medical profession is just not that good at looking. They're also not that good at understanding chronic illness. I'd be interested if you find any decent analysis on this. I've tried googling a few times but can't get past google's gate keeping of terms.

        • bwaghorn

          Yeah but, I'd hazard a guess that the lower severe illness/deaths will be due to the lockdowns being time for vaccines to do their job!!!

          (Hay pedants,do you use that their in this sentence)

      • Bill 6.5.1

        Just to repeat – case numbers are a meaningless metric.

        That, and you're aware that a person being admitted to hospital for any reason is tested, and if the test comes back +ve, they are tallied under "Covid patient", yes?

        And that the same "less than accurate" criterion is applied to patients in ICU or on ventilation – so that no matter what they are in ICU or on ventilation for, if they have tested +ve for Covid, they are deemed to be a Covid case in ICU or on ventilation?

        I'm going to guess you didn't realise that.

        • Drowsy M. Kram

          Just to repeat – case numbers are a meaningless metric.

          Not the only metric, and not a perfect metric, but certainly a meaningful and useful metric that public health systems can use to monitor the spread of the virus. This is the worst pandemic in a century – best to keep an eye on it, imho.

          The coronavirus pandemic is far from over [updated 17 Dec.] Some countries are reporting more new coronavirus infections compared with the previous two weeks. Global data trends show that the pandemic isn't over yet. DW sums up the current situation in three charts. [Covid-free Tonga omitted]

          The Importance of COVID-19 Data Collection and Transmission
          Reporting COVID-19 data is vital. It’s vital for reporting accurate case numbers and outbreaks. It’s vital for identifying the most vulnerable demographics. It’s vital for understanding which treatments are most effective. And it’s vital for keeping hospitals open during the pandemic.

          • Bill

            Aside from the obvious opportunity they present to manipulate peoples' perceptions, numbers of cases do not matter.

            Hell, medical bureaucrats are just more or less making shit up when it comes to what constitutes a case – eg, no medical intervention is a “case” of Covid for some strange reason

            • Drowsy M. Kram

              Aside from the obvious opportunity they present to manipulate peoples' perceptions, numbers of cases do not matter.

              Nonsense, imho. Assert that the only value of COVID-19 case numbers is to manipulate perceptions until you're blue in the face – it won’t make it so.

              Expecting front-facing staff to safeguard public health with no idea of case numbers would be a disaster – is that what you want? God help us if your beliefs were informing NZ’s COVID health response.

              Health and Care Worker Deaths during COVID-19
              The Joint Statement calls for immediate and concrete action to protect health and care workers:

              1. Strengthen data collection and reporting on infections, ill-health and deaths among health and care workers due to COVID-19;
              2. Protect health and care workers during and beyond the current global COVID-19 pandemic; and
              3. Accelerate the vaccination of all health and care workers in all countries.

              Failure to take action undermines the physical, mental, and social well-being of those individuals we depend upon to manage the pandemic. Recognition and commemoration are not enough. It is our moral obligation to protect and invest in health and care workers. And we must move forward together.

              Unite against

              • RedLogix

                You've neatly avoided the obvious there – Bill is essentially saying that unless you have a well understood and stable relationship between 'case numbers' and 'serious outcomes including death' then the former is meaningless.

                Case numbers can be useful inasmuch as it's a leading indictator and potentially useful for planning, but again only useful if it correlates in some predictable way to demand on ICU beds and Oxygen for instance.

                But as I said ages back – the only number that matters to most people is IFR, what are the chances of dying if you get infected? And for Omicron the data we have at present suggests it may be comparable to, or even lower, than for seasonal influenza.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  RL, I'm not avoiding anything. It seems that everyone has their favourite COVID number – the one that really matters. For me it's the number of active cases, currently ~23.5 million (never been higher) and rising, because that’s an indication of pandemic progression globally, but if I believed it was the only number that mattered, then that would certainly exclude me from any pandemic advisory role.

                  That there isn't a stable relationship between case numbers and whatever is to be expected; we could each reel of at least a dozen factors that modify case outcomes. But I'm pleased that you believe case numbers can be useful for more than just manipulation of perceptions.

                  With any luck Omicron infections will prove to be relatively benign, and there won't be any more variants in the works. But if past experience with this pandemic is anything to go by, you'd have to be stark raving bonkers to bet the farm on that, imho.

                • weka

                  Bill is essentially saying that unless you have a well understood and stable relationship between 'case numbers' and 'serious outcomes including death' then the former is meaningless.

                  Right. We don't have stable relationship because we don't actually know what the long term serious outcomes are. What is the long covid rate with omicron? We don't know. We barely even understand what long covid is. And death and long covid aren't these discrete, isolated phemonena that can be easily assessed and counted. They're complex and interrelated with many other dynamics and events. If someone dies from kidney complications 8 months after covid, but they weren't counted at the start, how does that work?

                  Another study by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System found that kidney damage and disease might be a long-term symptom of COVID-19, even in people with mild or moderate cases of the coronavirus. The study, published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, looked at medical records from the US Department of Veteran Affairs. It found that patients who had COVID-19 but weren't hospitalized had a 15% increased risk of suffering a major kidney event, such as chronic kidney disease, were 30% more likely to have acute kidney injury and more than twice as likely to develop end-stage kidney disease as people who didn't have COVID-19.


                  We can't know yet, but we have to consider the long term demand on dialysis and kidney transplants. Not to mention the welfare bill.

                  I will note that Bill has spent a lot of time arguing for free covid without saying anything about long covid. To the point of ignoring it as far as I can tell.

                  Case numbers can be useful inasmuch as it's a leading indictator and potentially useful for planning, but again only useful if it correlates in some predictable way to demand on ICU beds and Oxygen for instance.

                  Yes, but case numbers matter hugely from a public health perspective if you also want to prevent spread (which in turn affects future case numbers and demand on the health and welfare systems).

                  • RedLogix

                    Agree with this on the whole, but a couple of thoughts:

                    What is the long covid rate with omicron? We don't know.

                    It's reasonable to expect that because Omicron has milder symptoms that do not attack the deep lungs and behaves more like the common cold, that it's much less likely to lead onto long covid.

                    We barely even understand what long covid is.

                    Yet it's commonality with the cluster of syndromes such as CFS/ME/MS should give us some insights. And that all the well-known co-morbidities for COVID are also established diseases of 'living indoors' cannot be ignored either.

                    Another thought that comes to mind – how the hell are we going to disentangle the long term impacts of contracting the virus as distinct from vaccines? It seems to me fuzzy thinking to argue for the precautionary principle in one case, but ignore the other.

                    • weka

                      It's reasonable to expect that because Omicron has milder symptoms that do not attack the deep lungs and behaves more like the common cold, that it's much less likely to lead onto long covid.

                      How reasonable? Would you bet your health for the rest of your life on that?

                      Yet it's commonality with the cluster of syndromes such as CFS/ME/MS should give us some insights. And that all the well-known co-morbidities for COVID are also established diseases of 'living indoors' cannot be ignored either.

                      Let me rephrase. The medical profession barely even understands what long covid is. This is both a slight and not a slight. It's a slight because as you point out, there are parallel syndromes and they're not good at understanding those either. It's not a slight, because even by its own processes and standards, it takes time for researchers and medical practitioners to learn what a new emerging illness is. There's a fair amount of research being done on long covid, but so much more yet to learn.

                      Another thought that comes to mind – how the hell are we going to disentangle the long term impacts of contracting the virus as distinct from vaccines? It seems to me fuzzy thinking to argue for the precautionary principle in one case, but ignore the other.

                      I'm not ignoring the issues with vaccines. I've said all the way through that a) the vaccines are unlikely to be a silver bullet in controlling covid, and b) I expect there to be side effects beyond the rare examples the MoH are focused on. A big problem here is cultural. If the MoH and scientists and medical professionals believe in the supremacy of mainstream medicine and vaccines, then they have a conflict of interest in investigating vaccine side effects. It will be hard for the to conceive of the problem and design appropriate responses. We saw on TS how strong that belief is and how it impacted on discussions. I assume that in the MoH that is a strong dynamic as well.

                      We know that people with chronic illnesses were excluded from vaccine trials, but I've not see much set up in the way of tracking impact of side effects afterwards. That to me would have been one relatively straight forward way to look at real life impact.

                      As for disentangling, I guess we have a control group in the non-vaccinated. Again, if it weren't for the cultural issues, we could already be studying this. Maybe someone is, but I'm guessing it's not getting a lot of funding and attention at this point.

                      Yet it's commonality with the cluster of syndromes such as CFS/ME/MS should give us some insights. And that all the well-known co-morbidities for COVID are also established diseases of 'living indoors' cannot be ignored either.

                      Yep. But, mainstream medicine is particularly bad at this. It doesn't understand CFS/ME well, likewise auto-immune conditions, and a range of illnesses that it's not even able to usefully name because of the reductionist rather than the holistic approach. More hope lies in places like China which have integrated western medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine that is able to look at patterns of disease in individual rather than assume that there is a distinct disease that can be studied at the population level. Don't how they will work with vaccine damage, but I suspect it won't matter greatly in individual treatment whether someones collapsing health is prompted by the vaccine or virus or both, because the solutions lie in supporting the whole person rather than focusing on the pathogen or toxin.

                      Fwiw, my own belief is that the vaccine is on probability less damaging at the population level than unrestrained covid. I also take into account the realities of the cultures of the major public health institutions eg they're not going to suddenly switch to diet and Vit D supplementation approaches. We should be talking about those approaches as well of course, but not as a substitute for vaccines, masks, distancing etc. We need all the tools at this point.

                    • RedLogix

                      How reasonable? Would you bet your health for the rest of your life on that?

                      I'm not dismissing your concerns at all. I think I've touched on this before, but between the ages of 28 to 35 I went through a very bad series of viral illnesses – all triggered by a four month workplace adventure in the Southern Ocean. In that seven year period I had a very bad dose of glandular fever (off work for three months), then as a result of broken sleep due to being on call continuously I contracted, on a yearly basis at the end of each winter, measles, mumps, giardia, chickenpox and finally rubella. My GP was very impressed at that last one!

                      Somewhere along the way I also started getting the classic male pattern 'every second Saturday' migraines. Finally it all mushed into a generalised 'post viral syndrome' that for some years left me prone to extreme fatigue and thankfully short bouts of depression. Throw in a decent dose of PTSD after the Edgecumbe earthquake and you could say by the time I turned 40 my body was trying to tell me something.

                      It was only when I undertook two substantial water fasts and started paying attention to the root causes – which was primarily a major psychological stress – that I started to put this period behind me and my health stabilised. And even today I'm still connecting the dots and learning more as I go along. The role of Vitamin D is one of the pieces that finally fell into place for me thanks to COVID.

                      I know that does not answer your question directly – because I don't think I can. Ultimately 'betting on my health for the rest of my life" is a complex of factors, some of which I can control, others I need to be cautious about, and others that I still have yet to learn about. I think I got this attitude from my father who for a man has always been unusually pro-active about his health in his own way. And he's well over 90 now.

                      If nothing else I'm rather impressed with what I'm learning about the functional medicine field and I'd campaign hard to see more of their ideas make it into our public health domain.

              • Bill

                A positive result for Covid is not "a case".

                Is it "a case" if someone has no symptoms, are not receiving any treatment, but test positive on whatever bloodtest or what-not that tests for the presence of herpes?

                If not, then why this peculiar framework around Covid?

                That's aside from touching on the roughly 80% false positive readings that constitute PCR testing's positive results.

        • KJT

          It would be good if commentators actually bothered to understand how statistics work.

          • Bill

            What's stats and how they work got to do with authorities deliberately and cynically boosting numbers in order to keep a particular narrative running?

            • KJT

              You think.

              In most places the opposite appears to be occurring.

              • Bill

                Can you explain what you mean?

                Are you saying the reporting of death with Covid intended to mislead people into thinking death has been because of Covid has ceased?

                Are you saying that hospital admissions being tested for Covid and then reported as Covid cases if they test +ve, no matter the reason why they are in hospital and receiving treatment, has ended too?

                You saying that any death for any reason where the corpse tests +ve for Covid being reported as a Covid death no longer happens?

                You saying any death within 28 days of testing +ve being reported as a Covid death doesn't happen any more too?

                • KJT

                  If they have covid on admission to hospital, they have covid.

                  They are a "covid case". Jeepers.


                  • Bill

                    So, you are asserting that a person in hospital and getting treated for cancer, but who incidentally tests positive for Covid, and who doesn’t necessarily receive any treatment for Covid, is nevertheless a Covid patient/case.

                    Righty – O.

                    • KJT

                      And someone who goes into hospital with a broken leg, and is diagnosed with leukemia after admission is counted as a broken leg case and a leukemia case. So what.

                    • Bill

                      Is this willful bullshittery on your part? I believe it has to be.

                      For your parallel example to actually be parallel, it would be necessary to have a far more serious reason for admission than the secondary discovery. And the secondary discovery would need to be one that generally no treatment is offered for.

                      We are told, in the case of a patient with leukemia, who upon admission returns a +ve PCR test for Covid, that they are a hospitalised Covid case.

                      And given that 80% of +ve results for Covid from PCR tests are false positives (you did watch the video I provided, yes?), the public is being sorely misled and pumped with fear, which is then used to justify all manner of bullshit and so-called “Public Health” Measures.

                      That's the "so what".

                    • KJT

                      The significant number is the number of false positives per people tested.

                      Less than 4%.

                      Otherwise you are just being misleading.

                      Because you know how it will be read.

                      A favorite tactic of both anti-vaccers, and right wing politicians in particular.

                  • RedLogix


                    Maybe you could review Fenton's excellent and basic explanation of how Bayesian statistics work.

                    I'm not sure how to put this constructively – but on first encounter most non-mathematical people do find this pretty counter-intuitive, but nonetheless this is how probability works in the real world.

                    Note carefully – the most critical element of the explanation is the apriori assumption that around 1 in 200 people have the virus. This is what drives the counter intuitive outcome. If instead we assumed everyone had the virus then your 4% false positive would play out the way you expect.

                    Another excellent explanation here that covers four different ways to view the same data, pessimist, optimist (both of which are based on intuition alone) and the two common mathematical approaches called frequentist and bayesian. In real life you will encounter people using all four approaches – and the most common error made is to use a frequentist approach when the actual prevalence is very low and the bayesian rule should be used instead.

                    • weka

                      @RedLogix, can you please explain this?

                      Bill said,

                      I said that of the positive results, about 80% of those positive results are false positives.

                      Does that mean if in NZ 100 people test positive for covid on a PCR test, 80 of those people don't actually have any covid virus in their respiratory tract?

                    • RedLogix

                      Fenton's presentation is less than 4 minutes long and answers your question precisely.

                      The crucial point is understanding the impact of the assumed 1 in 200 prevalence in the example he gives. Formally this prevalence is called the apriori. And the lower this is the bigger the impact Bayes Rule has on the meaning of the data.

                      Some wag said that COVID will make virologists of us all yet – and now it looks like we'll have to gain a decent smattering of statistics along the way. devil

                    • weka

                      I had already watched it before I asked my question. I noticed the a priori assumption, which is why I framed my question in NZ terms. Is the MoH working on a 1 in 200 people in NZ have covid assumption?

                      Anyway, I still didn't get it. And my question is quite straight forward. I am assuming the answer is no.

                    • RedLogix

                      Is the MoH working on a 1 in 200 people in NZ have covid assumption?

                      Well that multiplies out to be around 27,500 people with COVID in NZ. It would be fair to think the actual number is even less that this, but all that does is make the impact of Bayes Rule even more dramatic. So 1 in 200 is a decently conservative apriori.

                      And note that while KJT quoted a "4% or less false positive rate", Fenton uses 2% which is even more conservative again.

                      But even after using two very conservative assumptions, Fenton still shows there is an 83% chance that if you test positive you actually don't have the disease. In this light Bill's claim stands up perfectly well.

                      I really don't know how else to convey this, except to say that I've done enough Uni level stats to assure you Bayes Theorem is real and has important implications when understanding data. It's one of those statistical ideas, along with Simpson's Paradox that most people will not have encountered before COVID came along. I know a lot of people like to sneer at statistics as data interpretation tool, but the geek in me enjoyed it a lot. It has a lot of unexpected subtleties and surprises, and is actually quite an accessible branch of mathematics at least at the 101 levels.

                    • weka

                      I'm not sneering at stats, I just don't understand why one would start with an a priori which itself is an abstract rather than empirical.

                      And how does this relate to research on PCR efficacy, which says that it's a pretty effective test.

                      And why is there not a clear answer to my question? If Fenton is correct in real life (rather than theoretically), then why not just say yes, for every 100 people in NZ who get a positive PCR test, only 20 will actually have corona virus in their respiratory tract.

                      I still don't know which is true. Telling me that stats is useful, while true, still doesn't help answer the question.

                    • locus []

                      Rather than "educated guesswork", and philosophical ramblings I'd prefer to trust expert explanations about false positives 50/100,000 for PCR tests




                    • RedLogix

                      I just don't understand why one would start with an a priori which itself is an abstract rather than empirical.

                      Yeah – that's the bit about Bayesian probability that trips most people up. The thing is no-one, not even the MoH, know exactly how many people in NZ have COVID virus right now.

                      So you have to make an educated guess about the general prevalence in order to understand what the after test result means. Over time as you do more testing you can refine the apriori. In other words the guess becomes more 'educated'.

                    • KJT

                      “becomes more ‘educated’.

                      Such as after 5525818 tests., when we have a very low rate of cases.

                      Testing for COVID-19 | Ministry of Health NZ

                      I'm a fan of Rutherfords dictum. "If you cannot explain it to the char lady".

                      And the other one. "You shouldn't baffle people with jargon".

                      Or use interpretations which simply mislead lay people.

                    • weka

                      The thing is no-one, not even the MoH, know exactly how many people in NZ have COVID virus right now.

                      But the question isn't how many people in NZ have covid. The question is how reliable are PCR tests. We know how many people have been tested, we know how many tested positive or negative. We know roughly how reliable PCR tests are in general.

                      Here's the original comment from Bill,

                      Many, many people who are not tested have Covid. So, what you saying about "Covid statistics"? I'll repeat. A +ve result for Covid is not "a case". Hell, given the 80% of false positive readings that constitute PCR +ve results, the tallies are fucking useless from a medical perspective – that includes anything that might approach a genuine public health response (something 'no-one' is interested in executing)

                      The raw numbers being presented to us as being people with Covid do not matter a fuck – they tell us nothing of value. (1. – unknown numbers of people with Covid aren't tested and 2. – the tests themselves present a wildly inaccurate picture for those tested)

                      From the subsequent conversation, what the argument appears to be is that we shouldn't count positive tests as cases because PCR tests are wildly inaccurate. Or only people that need medical care are actually cases, so we should only count them. Or only people with covid and no other health issues should be counted, or something.

                      But we know the tests are not wildly inaccurate, that 98% of the positive tests are true. Not how many people have covid across the population, but of those tested how many have covid.

                      Bill might think that knowing how many people have covid and how this relates to how many people need hospitalisation (or other care) matters not a fuck, but I'm pretty sure the people running hospitals think that it matters a great deal if they want to plan around worst case scenarios, or even most likely scenarios.

                      Ditto public health and long covid.

                      Ditto looking at spread (numbers and speed).

                      I mean, it's not like the modellers don't know how to do public health modelling. And just because they can't know everything doesn't mean what they do know is useless.

                    • RedLogix


                      Thank you for giving the up to date link. I used the data for the past week:

                      Total Tests 20Dec to 26Dec

                      • Tested Positive 447
                      • Tested Negative 105,251
                      • Inconclusive 18

                      From this it's easy to calculate a well educated guess at the apriori prevalence which is going to be (105,251 + 283) / 483 = 218

                      Or 1 in 218.

                      Which by sheer coincidence is very close to the number Fenton happened to be using. Does that help?

                    • RedLogix

                      what the argument appears to be is that we shouldn't count positive tests as cases because PCR tests are wildly inaccurate.

                      Nope – the problem is not that the tests are necessarily ‘wildly inaccurate’ in themselves. The problem is purely statistical in that when the prevalence rate is low, then even quite accurate tests (and an individual test false positive rate of 4% or less is actually pretty good) – can yield a very counterintuitive meaning as we are seeing here. In the real world data in my comment above, of the 447 positive tests in NZ last week – about 370 of them don’t actually have COVID.

                      Bayes Theorem applies to a huge range of data science problems, not just COVID testing.

                    • KJT

                      What RL is getting at, is say, you test 1000 people for Covid, when none of them have covid. Because of the rate at which the test throws up positive results, for things like related viruses, or when samples get contaminated in the lab, etc. Some will test positive. A number between 1 to 4% of them, (the range of false positives, from individual tests, various researchers have found) will show positive. In this case, a 100% false positive rate.

                      If all of them have covid, then the false positive rate would be zero.

                      In populations which have high numbers of covid cases the false positive rate reduces accordingly. Which is the case in less fortunate parts of the world.

                      Which is why the MOH say, "Positive Covid tests", not "Covid cases".

                      Bill, and his sources, intend people to come to the misleading conclusion from his numbers, that the number of covid cases worldwide is grossly overstated. That we are becoming too "scared".
                      As if the people compiling case numbers, are unaware of how this works.

                      A misleading use of statistics.

                    • KJT

                      And the idea that the MOH does not know the likely actual case numbers is incorrect.

                      Again it can be arrived at by statistical analysis.

                      The maths principle is similar to a celestial navigation solution called, "Approximations to noon".

                    • locus []

                      Thank you KJT… spot on

                    • RedLogix

                      Finally we've arrived at the right place.

                      As if the people compiling case numbers, are unaware of how this works.

                      I would certainly hope they do – but have you noticed any of them attempting to explain the implications of Bayes Theorem to the public?

                      Because the reality is that last week we had 447 "Positive Test Result" and on the face of it, about 370 were people who did not have COVID.

                      There is of course a simple way to mitigate this problem, and that is to take a second or even third test in those who test positive. This very rapidly eliminates the false positives and refines the data down to the true numbers.

                      But unless all this is correctly performed and explained – then yes we have every reason to think the official data is misleading.

                    • KJT

                      "take a second or even third test in those who test positive".

                      That is why “they” do exactly that.

                      It has even been in the news papers. Positive test cases later confirmed as negative.

                      And how do you expect “them” to explain it. When even you couldn’t, without jargon known only to those who have studied University level statistics..

                    • KJT

                      And. most tests are performed on people who are most likely to have covid. Who either have symptoms, have arrived from a country with much higher rates of covid, are in an area with a larger number of cases, or are exposed at the border. Of course, greatly reducing the false positive rate.

                    • RedLogix

                      You might want to read this article. Not nearly as clear cut as you suggest.

                      And this false positive effect goes a long way to explaining all those ‘asymptomatic cases’ in many countries.

                    • KJT

                      An assumption!

                    • KJT

                      Bill said. "I said that of the positive results, about 80% of those positive results are false positives".

                      Now we have arrived at the problem with Bill's and RL's numbers of false positives.

                      That would apply if we were testing the whole of NZ's population at random.

                      However we are not. We are disproportionately testing the proportion of the population most likely to have covid., Those with symptoms, Those who arrived from countries with high rates of covid, border workers and those from areas that have higher rates of covid.

                      The proportion of false positives will be a number somewhat less than 80%, as I, and indeed RL, explained above.

                    • weka

                      What RL is getting at, is say, you test 1000 people for Covid, when none of them have covid. Because of the rate at which the test throws up positive results, for things like related viruses, or when samples get contaminated in the lab, etc. Some will test positive. A number between 1 to 4% of them, (the range of false positives, from individual tests, various researchers have found) will show positive. In this case, a 100% false positive rate.

                      I followed that completely up until the last sentence. If the false positive rate is 1 – 4%, how can it also be 100%?

                      If all of them have covid, then the false positive rate would be zero.

                      This I also don't understand.

                    • KJT

                      Individual false positive rate is 1 to 4%.

                      The false positive rate in the population if none have covid, but say 1% test positive is 100%. None of that 1% that tested positive have covid. 100% of those that tested positive have had a false positive result.

                      If they all have covid. Then there can be no false positives. They are all positive. The false positive rate is nil.

                      I should have distinguished more clearly between population false positive rates and individual ones.

  7. Kevin Quickfall 8

    Yeah some animals are more equal than others eh

    • Kevin Quickfall 8.1

      Apologies my comment was in respect to Lorde's good fortune in securing a MIQ spot

      (re Alwyns comment 5 above)

  8. Stephen D 10

    Brian Easton is always a good read, when I can understand the economics.

    This paragraph from his latest in Pundit especially rang a chord.

    ”The big public health win in the last two years has been the campaign against the Covid virus. Compared with most other countries we have done bloody well. It has been partly our isolation, partly political leadership, partly a surprising degree of science literacy in the population (the anti-vaxxers are a small minority) but also that the public health profession, which includes Director General Ashley Bloomfield, have been just brilliant. Given the way that the previous government had run down the public services (it had higher priorities but not far away lurk commercial interests which profit from poor health practices), the university practitioners have stepped up to the mark.”

    So Coleman’s running down of the health system was deliberate. He went into a top private health job after all.

  9. swordfish 11

    The elderly with co-morbidities should be allowed a booster shot right now. That’s even if they're lumbered with the wrong ethnicity … & therefore beyond the pale according to various 400-buck-an-hour virtue-signalling Lawyers, well-remunerated Public Servants & other authoritarian Upper-Middle adherents of Woke dogma.

    I'd also say, as someone currently on Chemo for Cancer (& therefore immuno-compromised to one extent or another), I'd quite like to get a third shot as well … but apparently not until late Jan. Obviously tough shit if Delta hits people in my situation – or elderly New Zealanders in general – over the Xmas – New Year period.

    While I've been broadly supportive of the Govt's policy direction on Covid over the last couple of years … they're quite useless in certain key respects.

    • Molly 11.1

      swordfish, I hope you and your parents get access to the boosters as soon as possible.

      Having just gone through chemo myself, it is likely you are deliberately immuno suppressed, and your response to the vaccine may result in little to no benefit until your immune system restarts again. So, the delay might be beneficial in terms of improving your vaccine response, and resultant protection.

      All I can offer, is the benefit gained from doing things for yourself that may improve your chances of good health, over and above the medication. Fortifying yourself, if permitted, with Vitamin D3, K2 and zinc at fairly high levels.

      Just heading into hospital now for an injection and will be asking them for another Vitamin D blood test. My previous one – paid for myself – had me at around 8% of optimum NZ levels – and NZ levels are low compared to other nations.

      All the best in your treatment, and for your continued health.

      • Rosemary McDonald 11.1.1

        All I can offer, is the benefit gained from doing things for yourself that may improve your chances of good health, over and above the medication. Fortifying yourself, if permitted, with Vitamin D3, K2 and zinc at fairly high levels.

        yesyes …and perhaps chuck in a couple of thousand mg of Vit C?

      • swordfish 11.1.2


        Yep, cheers Molly … I've been taking Vit D supplements since early last year (initially 2000 IU per day, then 3000, recently increased to 4000) … influenced by a certain Cumbrian Dr of Scots descent … and am just getting around to K2 & Zinc now.

        Have heard that a booster may have some effect if administered as far away from the Chemo infusion date as possible … say midway between cycles. And, of course, those who had their 2 jabs during Chemo are certainly eligible for their boosters now [suggesting there is belief among Oncologists in its efficacy] … It's just those of us who got vaccinated before commencing Chemo who have to wait.

        All the best for your situation too, Molly.

    • Sacha 11.2

      Looks like people in Auckland or Northland can now get boosted right away. Jan 5th in other regions, unless they adopt the same medico-legal workaround beforehand.


      the four-month booster for those 18 years and older would begin on 5 January, walk-in appointments only, and Book My Vaccine would be used from 17 January.

      Auckland district health boards have created a workaround to allow people to get their booster vaccines earlier.

      Northern Region Health Coordination Centre clinical lead Anthony Jordan developed a standing order to override this.

      Previously, the Immunisation Advisory Centre had required people to have a prescription from their doctor.

      • swordfish 11.2.1

        Cheers, Sacha … that very fact is upsetting Wellingtonians a wee bit according to local Pharmacists & GPs. People want it now & can’t understand the regional favouritism / disparity.

        Personally, my 4 months aren't up until mid-Jan.

        • Dennis Frank

          my 4 months aren't up until mid-Jan

          Not long to wait. It's Jan 8th for me. Hope they've re-opened when I show up!

        • Sacha

          Most welcome.

          can’t understand the regional favouritism / disparity

          How very Welli of them.

  10. Dennis Frank 12

    The latest fashion trend in political correctness is the elimination of death. People no longer die – they pass on.

    Last year, a TV reporter stood in front of a car wreck and told the camera that the driver had “passed away”, while fleeing police. Judging by the vehicle’s state, the driver didn’t drift off to the Elysian Fields.

    In New Zealand, until recently, people used to die. My grandparents died, and so did my father, or that’s what people said at the funerals. But when Mum died a couple of years back, everyone, from the nurse at the hospital, to most giving their commiserations at the funeral, expressed their regret at her “passing away”, or worse, her “passing”.

    Which makes it sound like she either gave a cheery wave on her way to the shops, or she was excreted.


    The reporter provides helpful illustrations of how to go with this trend…

    The deceased was lying in his “casket”. (A euphemism for coffin. In the old days, you could store knick-knacks or jewellery in those.) He, in the slightly adapted words of the Monty Python parrot sketch, was “An ex-person… Old Australian euphemisms for the Great Divide, like, “Fell off one’s perch,” or, “Did a bit of a perish,” at least had the benefit of understated ironic wit. Not that I’m advocating their use in formal settings.”

    No, would be somewhat uncool. However observing that an ex-person is doing a bit of a perish could usefully get you a reputation for being laconic. For those formal occasions, best to stay with the trad kiwi observation: `uh-oh, looks like he's kicked the bucket, bugger!'

    • francesca 12.1

      That irritates me as well .

      Any dead person i have ever seen looks dead to me, not on their way somewhere else .It's a genteel euphemism, almost as if saying she died was the equivalent of slapping a dead fish on the table at dinner time .(I stole that from Margaret Atwood)

      • francesca 12.1.1

        Small towns in rural areas 50 years ago used to have proper restrooms.Lovely cool, dark places you could rest up , go to the toilet and sit down for a breather.

        They were designed for rural women from out of town who would spend the whole day getting provisions.They were strictly for women to rest up, feed their babies ,and relieve themselves .Thy were usually provided by Rural womens leagues

        The men would go to the pub

      • Dennis Frank 12.1.2

        not on their way somewhere else

        I chose to side-step the spiritual dimension of the topic! Often amuses me how the christians invented hell to make punishment in the afterlife seem credible despite the jews not having had such a crazy idea.. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell

        They seem to have culturally created it as an over-simplified banal riff on the more sophisticated ancient greek underworld.

        a dungeon of torment and suffering that resides within Hades (the entire underworld) with Tartarus being the hellish component

      • Descendant Of Smith 12.1.3

        I've noticed the trite and awful nonsense of "thoughts and prayers" creeping in as well.

    • Shanreagh 12.3

      About 10 years ago my cousin gave me the official position on her death of ensuring that nowhere in any death notices etc did the words 'passed away, passing on, ascending anywhere' or similar euphemisms appear.

      For a lover of language as she is this is an important role for me. Thankfully she has also written it in her funeral directions so hopefully there will be no need for interventions from me at funeral directors or for me to throw myself across the printing press as it prints her death notice. wink

  11. Anker 13


    Harry Miller from Fair Cop wins his case in the Court of Appeal against policing peoples speech. Harry who is gender critical posted a number of tweets in the context of debate about gender self I’d was visited at his work place by a cop who said he was there to discuss Millers thinking. He was then put on a hate speech register even though he had committed no crime.

    any legal experts here know whether this ruling likely to impact us in NZ when they bring the hate laws in?

    by the way, the hate incident register could be accessed by future employers…….chilling

  12. Gezza 14

    Prettygirl comes over & shows me her 8 kids

    Looks like the 2nd batch of ducklings of the season are hatching now.

    Was out looking down at the stream a couple of hours ago and saw a new mummy duck with her 10 ducklings zipping all over the stream. They look from afar like little fluffy jet-skis. How on earth they manage those incredible speeds is mind-boggling. Their little webbies under the surface must look like Roadrunner Cartoon blurs.

    Most ducklings (90%+) are yellow and black, but this mum had one amongst hers which was just yellow all over, no black.

    Might be why Elvira the four foot NZ Native Longfin eel has suddenly put in an appearance too.

    • francesca 14.1

      You've got a magic creek at the bottom of your garden

      • Gezza 14.1.1

        I know. Certainly feels like it. It’s a sizeable stream actually. In some countries I reckon they’d call it a river; there’s a fair volume of water going down it every day & the catchment area is all hilly farmland or hill forest to the East, South & West.

        Best placed I’ve ever lived. I love living near natural water. Grew up 5 minutes walk from a Tasman beach & New Plymouth’s biggest river’s mouth.

        Yesterday while I was looking to see if my new pukeko parents were anywhere in sight with their 3 pooklets (who’ve now developed pretty little white feather-frilled halos around the tops of their heads & white feather-frilled edges to their winglets) a large black shag suddenly dove underwater & torpedoed off downstream, hunting beneath the surface.

        Fascinating to watch.

        Pooky & Honey originally had quadruplets, but two weekends ago we had very unseasonable wet weather for several days & a very cold southerly blasted through with it. The eggs don’t all hatch on the same day & the pooklets are very mobile & voracious soon after hatching, so the first ones out get a good start being fed by the parents. The poor wee runt of the 4 didn’t survive the cold, wet weather. ☹️ The others all seem to be doing well.

        • francesca

          Me too .

          Where I live, one boundary is insultingly called a stream, but as far as I’m concerned its a river, wonderful and wild after a storm with white water and the occasional blue duck.Rocks as big as houses and bush on either side.I love rivers , I wouldn’t give you tuppence for the sea, ok to walk alongside but not to live .
          It’s thrilling to be able to closely observe the daily dramas of wild life.
          This is the second nesting of a white faced heron, only brought up one baby, but that’s now fledged
          Such a pleasure to watch
          Eels are great too , love watching them move

          • Gezza

            My sister calls me the Bird Man of Tawa & once sent me a letter addressed like that.

            Often sign off my texts to her with these 3 emojis:

            I agree about the eels. They are undulatingly graceful &, when they need to be, both powerful & explosively fast swimmers. I love watching them too.

          • Gezza

            Cheers Robert. Yes. It would be a less vibrant world without birds. I’d miss the dawn choruses I love so much.

            One thing I especially like about my pūkekos is that they are very vocal, & they make a number of different sounds for different purposes.

            Because I talk directly to them all the time, & use the names I give them consistently, they respond with “chat” sounds that are quite quiet & are quite different from their normal ‘wild’ calls and alarms. If I’m talking to Pooky, it will be Pooky that chats back, not Honey. And vice versa. They recognise I can tell them apart.

            Pooky is currently trying to bully me a bit. When I say “All gone. No more”, he doesn’t accept that & will come into my yard & up onto the trellis outside my kitchen window, and shriek a few times, & fly up (or across) close to the window, insisting that I give him more bread strips.

            I’m not giving in to him. He needs to make sure the pooklets are getting plant roots, grass seeds, and insects etc – their normal natural diet – as well as my bread chunks. But it’s clear that these birds “think” & strategise.

            Sparrows certainly do, & so does Blackie, my resident blackbird (altho he’s a bit aloof & won’t come too close), & Twinkle, my gorgeous young song thrush, whose sex I can’t tell because males and females have exactly the same plumage & who is also still very wary & likes to keep his her distance.

            • dv

              Thank you Geeza for the videos. They are great. Have a good Xmas.

              • Gezza

                You’re welcome, dv. I’m glad you enjoy them, & I appreciate your frequent thumbs up & comments on them. Hope you & yours have a great Xmas / New Year too.

                Sir Gerald Ormsby Battersea Bradders
                🐧 North Wellington Avian Aviation Authority 🐧

  13. Stephen D 15

    Replying to the thread at 14.

    We live opposite a pair of puriri. Tuis, kereru, piwakawaka, riorio, kotare are all regulars. There is a local blackbird that sings lustily outside our bedroom window at dawn. Lots of thrushes. Why the tui has chosen to mimic the rasping call of the local mynas only they know.

    That article linked to by Robert gives some reason to why we’re so invested in them all.

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