- Date published:
9:49 am, July 28th, 2020 - 40 comments
Categories: australian politics, covid-19, Economy, health, International - Tags: canada, north korea, pandemic, quarantine, somalia, student protests, universities, USA, WHO
Earlier this month, I saw a Reuters article that had the snag paragraphs (my bold). That was written on July 17th and based on stats up to July 13th.
(Reuters) – Global coronavirus infections passed 14 million on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, marking the first time there has been a surge of 1 million cases in under 100 hours.
The first case was reported in China in early January and it took three months to reach 1 million cases. It has taken just four days to climb to 14 million cases from 13 million recorded on July 13.Reuters: “For first time, world records one million coronavirus cases in 100 hours: Reuters tally”
What it does point to for NZ is that we can’t open our borders any time soon. The world outside NZ has a active and escalating pandemic. We’re having problems containing just the small volumes of returning kiwis to the point that we’re having to ration places in hotels – let alone confine the self-righteous idiots who can’t wait.
Personally I have no sympathy for any of these dangerous fools. Please judges – just throw the book at them and jail them as an example. If anyone dies from their exploits – charge them with murder or even manslaughter.
There is no way that we could contain the tourists, overseas students, part-time workers, immigrants, or even Covid-19 refugees that would want to come here or to go through quarantine. We don’t have the places, the guards,
Now we are at over 16 million confirmed cases world wide. The confirmed cases and the confirmed deaths have been drastically under reported. North Korea being a prime example. They are claiming their first Covid-19 case yesterday – a re-defector climbing back into North Korea from South Korea.
There is almost a sport amongst journalists these days having a morbid look at ‘excess’ deaths by countries, regions, and even cities. Even places with transparent and good medical systems like Canada have pieces like this.
Nearly 3,000 more bodies than usual were cremated in Ontario during the height of the first wave of COVID-19, according to coroner’s office data that provide the first glimpse into how the pandemic has affected overall mortality in Canada’s most populous province.
Ontario coroners authorized 2,941 more cremations in April and May of this year than they did, on average, during the same months in the previous three years. Of those additional cremations, about half – 1,460 – were recorded as COVID-19 deaths, according to the Office of the Chief Coroner.
The rest of the extra cremations could reflect the underreporting of coronavirus deaths, an increase in deaths among people who couldn’t access medical care during the lockdown and a preference for cremation at a time when funerals were curtailed, said Dirk Huyer, Ontario’s chief coroner.The Globe and Mail: “Spike in Ontario cremations could reflect underreporting of COVID-19 deaths“
I have no idea of the scale of this worldwide, but I’d suspect the reporting of confirmed cases being no more than half of the actual cases. Even in NZ we current have a cumulative total of 1206 confirmed cases, and 350 probable cases. We’re not war torn Somalia, a country of around 15.4 million with less than 100 confirmed cases – where gravediggers are reporting that cemeteries are filling up fast in recent months. Nor are we the United States where the chaotic health system has often been getting covid-19 test results in more time than is required to quarantine.
Cris Julian and son Ethan emerged Friday from their two-week coronavirus quarantines in New London, Iowa.
It took less time to wait it out than it did to get their results back. As of Friday night, they were still waiting.
Youngest son Alexander was tested at the same time but got his positive test results back within 48 hours. He was exposed by another student during an open gym workout at his school. Because the state lab was closed July 3, Julian’s doctor’s office sent the tests to Quest Diagnostics.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said COVID-19’s incubation period is up to 14 days, so Julian said that means her test is “worthless now.”
“We will never stop the spread if we can’t get reliable and timely results,” Julian said.USA Today: “‘States duking it out for supply’: Lack of federal plan leads to coronavirus testing delays“
Because many of the test results being returned are not timely, doctors and people who are concerned enough to get tests will often not quarantine when they should. This makes them probable spreaders if they go out to work or in public. This is one of the many causes of flaring of the pandemic in the USA at present.
But if you really don’t want more bad news about Covid-19, then don’t look at the graphs of the confirmed cases and confirmed deaths. Because they’re still rising fast world wide. I took these graphs from the WHO site this morning. It looks as though world wide, we’re finally getting a handle on how to prevent quite so many people dying from Covid-19. However no real handle on how to prevent people from getting infected.
And if you think that is bad, then the cumulative growth in confirmed cases is showing a classic exponential curve – in the early phases. At present, there is no indication that the rise will not increase in its infection rate worldwide.
That 2 week period that is required to be sure that someone doesn’t have the disease is a real problem. The only effective way of dealing with it without having significiant numbers of casualties has been to have rigid lock downs to suppress the disease spread and stiff rigid borders.
Pretty much what we, and many of Aussie states did. In our case we controlled our borders better than Aussie states now being reinfected from Victoria did. But in Victoria, the cases haven’t been dropping even in the areas in lock down. If you want control Covid-19, then dithering politically simply isn’t a good idea. It is better to have a short sharp control and then to maintain it strongly. And Victoria shows this clearly. After foolishly allowing the spread of Covid-19 from quarantined travellers, they have lock down fatigue issues on a second pass at it.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says “far too many people” are going to work while sick, instead of getting tested and staying home while waiting for a result, labelling it “the biggest driver” of coronavirus transmission in the state.
The problem has been particularly prevalent in aged care, the Premier says.
Julie Leask, a social scientist who specialises in risk communication and nursing at the University of Sydney, says this reluctance to call in sick is largely linked to how financially stable people feel.
“For example, for casual workers …isolation after a test could mean no work, less chance you will get a shift in future, and considerable financial stress. In that situation, it’s easy to rationalise a scratchy throat as just being a bit of a cold,” she says.
Professor Leask says casualisation and presenteeism — working while ill — was already a problem in the health industry so we couldn’t expect it to be resolved overnight.ABC: “Coronavirus cases aren’t coming down despite Victoria’s lockdowns. Experts seek to explain why“
While there is some good news with potential vaccines entering Phase 3 testing in various high Covid-19 infection locations world wide, none of them are likely to be entering widespread production and release until mid next year.
The world’s biggest COVID-19 vaccine study got underway Monday with the first of 30,000 planned volunteers helping to test shots created by the U.S. government ― one of several candidates in the final stretch of the global vaccine race.
There’s still no guarantee that the experimental vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., will really protect.
The needed proof: Volunteers won’t know if they’re getting the real shot or a dummy version. After two doses, scientists will closely track which group experiences more infections as they go about their daily routines, especially in areas where the virus still is spreading unchecked.
“Unfortunately for the United States of America, we have plenty of infections right now” to get that answer, NIH’s Dr. Anthony Fauci recently told The Associated Press.
Several other vaccines made by China and by Britain’s Oxford University earlier this month began smaller final-stage tests in Brazil and other hard-hit countries.
But the U.S. requires its own tests of any vaccine that might be used in the country and has set a high bar: Every month through fall, the government-funded COVID-19 Prevention Network will roll out a new study of a leading candidate ― each one with 30,000 newly recruited volunteers.HuffPost: “Massive Coronavirus Vaccine Study Gets Underway In U.S.“
While the activity on the vaccines is incredibly fast by historical comparisons, the time scales are immense compared to the rate that the pandemic is escalating.
It takes a month just to get participants details, medical profile, test them and to inject them. It will take several months to run both the sample and the placebo groups through their lives to allow enough of them to be exposed to the virus and get a statistically valid sample. Analysing the data may take months both for the developers and for the regulatory bodies. And then if all goes well, it usually takes at least half a year to get production difficulties at scale dealt with.
If there is a viable and effective vaccine to be had (and there are still questions about that), then it will be found. It won’t take the 4 years of the previous record for a developing a new vaccine – the mumps vaccine back in 1967.
In the meantime, new treatments will be tested to reduce the death rate. But they won’t stop the spread of the disease, and probably won’t reduce the death rate much in those most vulnerable to getting severe symptoms.
All of the lobbyists in NZ who are currently producing puff material for journalists to republish on behalf of the clients can get stuffed. It may be of benefit for their clients and their employees. However it is not in the interests of the bulk of NZ citizens.
For instance, I can’t see any reason to bring in overseas students before we have a viable vaccination. The risk levels are simply too high.
Universities New Zealand chair Derek McCormack said talks with the government were going well until returning New Zealanders breached their isolation recently.
“The universities have got good ideas and we’re in a position where we need to wait on government to engage with us on what the regulations would be to satisfy everybody that it would be safe to bring in international students.”
McCormack said universities will need public trust before they can bring foreign students into the country.
But he said overseas students pose less risk than returning New Zealanders because they can be chosen from countries with few Covid-19 cases and will be deported if they break quarantine.
Foreign students are worth more than $5 billion a year to the economy and universities say they are getting more inquiries than usual from students wanting to study in in this country.RNZ: “Universities want detail on student quarantine requirements“
It costs taxpayers billions per week to have lock downs. A single spreader could cause that, and deporting someone after they break quarantine is completely ineffectual. We’d be relying on luck that we’d be able to trace all of the contacts and to keep a outbreak contained.
What Victoria and the US have shown is that reimposing lock downs is far harder and less effective than not having problems in the first place. So this fatuous set of statements by McCormack is completely stupid. Perhaps if we imposed the full cost per instance of a breakout from quarantine on the universities (or other interested lobbyists), then they’d start to look at the actual cost / benefit ratios with a better attitude.
The same applies to tourists, seasonal workers, travel companies and all of the other lobbyists waffling out there then they will get the point as well.
Companies and organisations need to plan on vaccines arriving to NZ and in the countries that send people to NZ, at the earliest, in the second part of next year. That assumes that one of the vaccines undergoing phase 3 trials in the rest of this year provides an effective t-cell or antibody response.
In the meantime, we’re likely to use all of the available quarantine capacity for returning kiwis and for the other essential business that can’t do something remotely and need to send people offshore. It appears to be hard enough to contain them – and they have a stake in not bringing Covid-19 to NZ.
While the affected business models will suffer, it is less expensive for the country to support them as they scale back their businesses or shut them down. Support will be there for that from the rest of NZ, but there won’t be any widespread support for putting us at risk by opening our borders for their benefit.