Monday Message Board

Back again with another Monday Message Board.

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link. You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page

56 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. There is much evidence of waning vaccine efficacy. There is plenty of evidence from the USA, the CDC, as well as from UK and Israel. There is also evidence of equally high viral loads in vaccinated people compared to unvaccinated people, even though the vaccinated don’t (usually) get as sick. This evidence has been around for a while. In rapid pandemic evolution terms, a month is a “while”

    “… data were published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), demonstrating that Delta infection resulted in similarly high SARS-CoV-2 viral loads in vaccinated and unvaccinated people. High viral loads suggest an increased risk of transmission and raised concern that, unlike with other variants, vaccinated people infected with Delta can transmit the virus. This finding is concerning and was a pivotal discovery leading to CDC’s updated mask recommendation. The masking recommendation was updated to ensure the vaccinated public would not unknowingly transmit virus to others, including their unvaccinated or immunocompromised loved ones.” – CDC “Statement from CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH on Today’s MMWR” Media Statement.

    It is beginning to look like people will need boosters every 6 months. For Australia, that is an ongoing rate of 50 million vaccines per year every year. For the world, if we ever got it fully vaccinated, that would be 16 billion vaccinations per year plus allowance for wastage and other issues,. Let us say 20 billion vaccine doses per year. So far the world has managed about 5 billion doses. Let’s assume that is just starting from this year. It indicates that creating 20 billion doses a year may well be feasible. Hoe long will it take to ramp that up and get vaccines to the whole world? Five years seems a possibility if all goes well.

    However, the pandemic will run for many years yet and it may well be found that vaccination rates of 95% of the total population plus many other intervention measures will be needed indefinitely. The move from 70% or 80% to 95% vaccination rates will prove necessary and will have to be mandated in the end. That transition from 70% to 95% will be a VERY dangerous period and not only for the unvaccinated. If opening up is pursued too quickly, many of the vaccinated (1/5 to 1/4 of them) will also get serious COVID-19. Multiple new and more dangerous mutations will arise and spread around the world, especially if we open international borders to travel.

    Over 70s, even if vaccinated, will have to put themselves pretty much into permanent lock-down for the rest of their lives unless they want to live it up and die quickly. Even over-60s and anyone with medical pre-conditions will have to do the same thing. Being vaccinated will be an imperfect defense; so imperfect that going about life “normally” will remain a very significant risk.

    But I suspect most people will attempt to live “normally” meaning the old normal. So death rates, especially in older cohorts will rise markedly and then stay there for many years. Welcome to high death rate world. Average life spans will decrease. Only a few years ago, people were worried about the preponderance of the elderly demographic. That situation sure has changed quickly. However, overpopulation will remain a serious issue as the world’s sustainable carrying capacity will decline much faster than population decline even under a global pandemic.


    I certainly endorse this article by Redflag – Socialist Alternative.

    “Australian workers have been shielded from the worst of the coronavirus crisis (thus far); now, our bosses and “leaders” are trying to convince us that we’ve had it too good and need to accept mass deaths like the rest of the world. We can’t let that murderous propaganda campaign go unopposed. We have to put up a fight. History will remember what side people stood on in this moment.”

    Morrison and Berejiklian are indeed waging a murderous propaganda campaign on behalf of heir capitalist handlers. Thousands of people, maybe tens of thousands, are going to die unnecessarily or get Long COVID because of the “Live with COVID” edict of the capitalist bosses who pull Morrison’s and Berejiklian’s strings.

  3. The Federal Govt. through Greg Hunt have doubled down on their ruling of no Pfizer and now no Moderna for the 61 to 70 cohort. Vaccine advisory body ATAGI has suggested allowing older Australians the “choice of vaccine” to ensure they are vaccinated. However, Greg Hunt has just ruled it out. Those over the age of 60 will remain eligible only for the AstraZeneca vaccine. AMA president Omar Khorshid said, “The AMA’s message to anyone over the age of 60 is to go out and get your AZ vaccine.” Does Dr. Khorshid mean that his advice applies no matter what medical pre-conditions an over 60 person might have? If he doesn’t mean that then he should have said so.

    What possible reasons are there to deny a choice for over 60s? Are Pfizer and Moderna likely to remain in short supply indefinitely? Will there never be situations where Pfizer and Moderna might be wasted and where such wastage could be reduced by permitting over 60s walk-ins with or without precriptions stating a need for Pfizer or Moderna?

    I am quite puzzled by this doctrinaire line. Is it just to ensure Pfizer / Moderna supply for younger people or is there some other reason for pushing AZ on the 60s cohort? Does the government fear losing money on it somehow? Does the government fear a contractual penalty from the licensees AstraZeneca or Vaccitech? Has our government made this contract secret… erm, I mean commercial-in-confidence?

    On the face of it, there seems little logic to the government’s position unless they are still covering for ordering too little Pfizer / Moderna or are trying to avoid some contractual penalty. There seems to be no recognition that quite a few over-60s, via their GPs or specialists if they were permitted their proper professional discretion, would be prescribed Pfizer of Moderna for perfectly valid health reasons.

    If Pfizer or Moderna gets “tipped down the sink” while over 60s are refused it, that will certainly be a scandal. I hope media and whistleblowers keep an eye on that issue. It almost feels like the Government has a particular animus against the over 60s cohort. Is it that we don’t vote enough for them or that we are too rusted on and can be taken for granted. But I guess I shouldn’t feel special. The neoliberals treat every one like dirt except their super rich mates.

    The vaccine rollout has become an unholy rush because first it wasn’t a race and then it became a stampede. It’s a stampede generated by Berejiklian and Morrison letting Delta run wild, either by gross negligence or calculated intention. Could it be a deliberately staged stampede to reach the “magic” 70% mark to get some “freedoms” ready for Morrison’s pre-Xmas election?

    Gladys Berejiklian literally used the term “magic” for 70% double-vaccination. But 70% and 80% double-vaccination rates are not “magic” numbers with Delta variant and waning vaccine efficacy. Indeed, such levels will prove woefully inadequate and we will have a public health disaster if starting from a position of one thousand or several thousand cases a day and then opening up partially or fully at 70% or 80% . It will be a total disaster. The NSW health system is ready to crack now. Can Berejiklian and Morrison not see it or do they think they can lie their way out of anything?

  4. The EU has joined the list of powerful and sceptical regulators investigating NVidia’s planned takeover of ARM:

    The EU Commission Competition Directorate gets its ordoliberal DNA from postwar German anti-monopoly legislation, in turn reflecting the belief that Weimar-era cartels and monopolies like IG Farben had fostered the rise of Nazism. I don’t know how much truth there is in Brecht’s Cauliflower Trust theory, but it has certainly been influential. Combined with the national security worries of the UK and China, and the revival of antitrust fervour in Biden’s´administration, he betting must now be against the deal going through. Good.

  5. James Wimberley,

    Nvidia cards and their support are crap. Their drivers are total crap. I hate them. Still stuck with Nvidia card in my machine. It’s never performed anywhere near where it should and proven impossible to improve. Almost everything the Americans make these days is crap… except their vaccines… go figure.

    Keep nVidia at ARMs length I would say. 😉

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