Monday Message Board

Another Message Board

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

I’ve moved my irregular email news from Mailchimp to Substack. You can read it here. You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin

I’m also trying out Substack as a blogging platform. For the moment, I’ll post both at this blog and on Substack.

22 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. 13,000% Sham Clean Energy Regulator 

    – “the historic clearing rates would need to have increased by between 750% and almost 13,000%.” Andrew Macintosh

    – “Taylor’s office spent $1 billion on ‘sham’ carbon projects” Saturday Paper below.

    – CER says “In extreme circumstances inadequate tree growth can result in ACCUs being relinquished – but this has never occurred.”. (Humphrey Appleby’s only factual statement before spin takes over). “CER response to claims by Professor Andrew MacIntosh” below. 

    “The Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF): Problems and Solutions”
    Andrew Macintosh, Don Butler, Dean Ansell and Marie Waschka
    6 April 2022

    …” The problems are most evident in the ERF’s three most popular methods: avoided deforestation; human-induced regeneration; and landfill gas.”

    “Avoided deforestation.
    …”The data show that the amount of clearing authorised under the INS PVPs was far more than could reasonably be expected to have been cleared within 15 years. For the method’s 15-year clearing assumption to be true, the historic clearing rates would need to have increased by between 750% and almost 13,000%.”

    Human-induced regeneration.
    • “by allowing projects to be located in areas that have never been cleared, the method is crediting fluctuations in tree cover that are due mainly to rainfall rather than changes in land management (i.e. the credited abatement is not additional and permanent).”

    “Human-induced regeneration projects currently account for approximately one third of all registered ERF projects, almost 30% of all issued ACCUs and more than 50% of all ACCUs contracted through the ERF purchasing scheme, worth approximately $1.5-$1.6 billion.”

    Landfill gas.
    …”the largest 20 sites account for 70% of the credits issued under the landfill gas method
    …”To get around this restriction, the Minister recently made a new method that grants these projects a 5 year extension to their crediting period – something that, if it does not breach the law, is certainly contrary to its spirit and intent. A particularly problematic feature of this new generation-only method is it allows all of the large generation projects to continue to use their historic ‘baselines’ (the benchmarks against which they are credited). Most of the large sites have baselines of 0% and 24%, below the minimum 30% level recommended by the Integrity Committee in 2019.”

    4.1 Prevent further harm
    “Unless action is taken in a timely manner, a substantial number of low integrity ACCUs will be generated over the coming months and years, hindering the economic transition and doing further damage to the international and domestic reputation of Australia’s carbon market. This can be avoided through two key measures.
    – Vary or revoke low integrity methods. The existing low integrity methods must be varied or revoked immediately to stop any further projects being registered. Most notably, the avoided deforestation method should be revoked, while the human-induced regeneration and landfill gas methods should be amended to improve their integrity…”
    – “Stop crediting low integrity projects and block low integrity credits from the Safeguard Mechanism….”

      4.2 Governance changes to secure the future of the scheme
    …”These sensible rules were abandoned in 2014 when the ERF was introduced. The Integrity Committee now merely needs to provide its opinion on whether the standards are satisfied and, in making methods, the Minister only has to have regard to the standards. The legislation needs to be amended to once again give the offsets integrity standards primacy in the method development process. Third parties should also be given standing to uphold the standards through judicial review.”

    Enhanced governance arrangements
    “A fundamental problem with ERF is that the Clean Energy Regulator has too many roles and too much power across the complete span of the process. It currently makes the methods, staffs the Integrity Committee, enforces the methods and buys the ACCUs on behalf of the Australian Government. The Regulator’s powers and functions should be separated and distributed to other agencies….”

    Independent inquiry
    “Restoring confidence in the market will require a range of measures but the process must start with an independent inquiry that is charged with finding out what happened and advising on what needs to be done to restore integrity. The public deserves an explanation for what has occurred and what can be done to ensure this does not happen again.”
    (Link on page]

    “CER response to claims by Professor Andrew MacIntosh

    25 March 2022

    “In extreme circumstances inadequate tree growth can result in ACCUs being relinquished – but this has never occurred.”

    “Taylor’s office spent $1 billion on ‘sham’ carbon projects

    “Three-quarters of projects awarded lucrative carbon credits by the government yielded no environmental benefit, according to Professor Andrew Macintosh, one of Australia’s foremost experts on environmental law and policy and the director of research at the Australian National University law school. He described Australia’s carbon market as a “sham”.

         “People are … getting credits for growing trees that are already there,” he says. “They are getting credits for growing forests in places that will never sustain permanent forests. And they are getting credits for operating electricity generators at large landfills that would have operated anyway.”

  2. A week ago abortion clinics in the USA were running their businesses providing a service to the community. Then, by order of some state governments, some were closed down. It’s the sort of conduct you might expect from the former Soviet Union , closing down businesses without compensation. I think that we can expect a lot of litigation demanding compensation, with a lot of people making the argument that if abortion clinics can be shuttered without compensation, why not any business?
    Am I missing something here? Would you have to go to ISDS under a free trade treaty?

  3. Again there are appeals by business to increase the permanent immigration intake to 200,000 per year to relieve the “worker shortage”. There are 500,000 unemployed in Australia but it is assumed that these people cannot or will not offer themselves for jobs at prevailing wages.

    Even ignoring the unemployed and not admitting vast numbers of immigrants there is no need for a “worker shortage” in Australia. There may be a shortage in the number of workers at the current level wages in certain industries. If wages are higher in certain industries then fewer workers will be demanded by firms in those industries and more workers will offer their services in those same industries. Both these effects will tend to reduce the so-called “worker shortage” through the standard effects of rising wages in allocating labour. Some industries will contract while others expand in response to these wage changes but that is the way an economy addresses “worker shortages” through price adjustments.

    But firms would prefer to get extra workers from overseas than to pay higher wages to current Australian workers. Governments get their funding from these firms, compete for votes from the ethnic vote that favours liberal immigration policies and would prefer to get skilled workers from overseas than to pay to increase the skills of Australian workers through education and retraining.

    The losers from such a deal are the Australian workers who forego the increased wages that need to be paid to get rid of the “worker shortage”. The gainers are the shareholders in the firms employing the extra workers from a liberal migration program without paying extra wage costs and property owners whose land values will increase through increased migrant demands for housing and other fixed assets.

  4. “COVID waves and pressure on Queensland hospitals set to continue for years, Chief Health Officer John Gerrard warns” – ABC.

    There, the Queensland Chief Health Officer John Gerrard said it. Not little ol’ alarmist Iko who I will point out has been right all along. Gerrard said it! The architect or at least chief advisor and spokesperson for Queensland’s COVID-19 policy from the date of his appointment. The public official who said infection was “necessary” for immunity: a “wall of immunity” I think were the words.

    Well, there is no wall of immunity. Omicron variants, especially the now ascendant BA.5 are escaping immunity like clear consommé through a kitchen colander. I predicted this all along. Little ol’ alarmist Iko. What does Iko know, eh? This is turning into a national disaster and possibly a national catastrophe. It is already a global disaster.

    “Waves and pressure on Queensland hospitals set to continue for years..”, Chief Health Officer John Gerrard says this!!! So people, who’s in favor of this continuing for years? Forget about getting into hospital for anything other than COVID-19, or at least forget about being in hospital for anything else and being safe from COVID-19. You won’t be safe. Cancer treatment will equal treatment plus immuno-suppression plus covid-19. Major heart treatment will mean operations plus immuno-suppression plus covid-19. Hip replacement will mean hip replacement plus COVID-19. An eye operation (me, likely) will mean eye-operation plus COVID-19. Actually it won’t in my case. I have decided to now go blind in one eye (if I have to) to avoid imminent death by COVID-19. Seems a worthwhile trade-off. I have decided to accept continuous cataract deterioration in the other eye (for up to 5 years and then review the situation) rather than sign up for death by Covid.

    Covid-19 is escaping the vaccines. By the end of the year, the current (Wuhan amended spike) vaccines will be functionally useless against the evolved variant of COVID-19 extant by then. That outcome is now all but guaranteed by the rate of mutation and vaccine escape. We will not have a useful vaccine unless a Hail Mary of sterilizing mucosal vaccine or sterilizing pan-beta-coronavirus vaccine comes through.The chances of that are very low. They can’t or won’t assign sufficient resources to even make a vaccine more recent than on for BA.2, so far. BA.2 vaccine will be semi-useless against BA.5 and we will be up to BA.8 or equivalent before they even get that out.

    That’s right folks. We are screwed and face years of being screwed. Chief Health Officer John Gerrard said it, not me. Without elimination we are screwed. I said that and I’ve said it all along. I am not the only one of course. Many on this site wanted greater multi-level controls, not just leaky vaccines. Completely vindicated. The minimisers, the “open up and let it rip merchants of death” were completely wrong. You were even told the whys and wherefors of why you would be wrong. You wouldn’t listen. I’ll never forget this while I live. I will never let the minimisers forget they were totally wrong at every level: intellectual, scientific, political economic and moral, Dead wrong and playing a part in enabling a lot or avoidable deaths and disablements. The Long Covid invalidity wave will be horrendous, mark my words.

    The sooner we eliminate COVID-19 the better. It can still be eliminated, country by country. It has to be or we collapse into anarchy. Without control there will be riots in the street, people dying in dark bedrooms everywhere and crawling on the pavements outside hospitals. That is my prediction.

  5. Science deniers have pushed us towards “The Swerve” to avoid climate catastrophy. And forcing
    communism style decisions in haste to avoid >+2deg warming.

    How ironic the capitalists cause communism. 

    And Nature today provides “Four broad categories capture countries’ political and economic barriers to quit coal. Use these to tailor solutions” to alleviate The Swerve.

    +JQ on coal.

    “The Swerve”

    (Happy) July 4, 2022 
    Cory Doctorow

    “Others are just ideologically committed to traveling in a straight line. The swerve is morally bankrupt. It’s communism.”…

    Nature today;
    “To end coal, adapt to regional realities”

    “Four broad categories capture countries’ political and economic barriers to quit coal. Use these to tailor solutions.”

    “During the COVID-19 pandemic, … power generation from coal dropped by 4% from 2019 to 2020. But in 2021, it jumped by 9%, to a record high. Recent events have, if anything, shifted power generation towards coal.

    “Today, 2,429 coal power plants are in operation globally, with a total capacity of more than 2,000 gigawatts (GW). The total power capacity from coal increased by 110 GW from 2017 to 2022. If all the plants in the pipeline are built and are run for 40 years alongside existing plants, they will soak up 60–75% of the emissions budget needed to be on track to keep global temperature increases below 1.5 °C.

    “Urgent, targeted action is needed to shift this trajectory. A global phase-down will not happen unless the global community targets support to suit political realities.

    “To identify the most useful policies, we created detailed case studies from 2018 to 2020 on 15 key countries, which together comprise 84% of the world’s current coal power-plant capacity, and 83% of the global coal pipeline for new plants3. For each case study, researchers conducted detailed interviews with policymakers, analysts, academics and non-governmental organizations, following a harmonized framework so that cases could be compared fairly4….

    “This revealed four categories into which all economies that have, or are planning to build, coal-fired power plants can be grouped5: phase-out regions that are already drastically reducing their reliance on coal; established coal users; phase-in countries that do not yet rely on coal but are actively building new coal plants; and export-oriented regions (see ‘How we categorized coal-using economies’). Each category has distinct political challenges.

    “How we categorized coal-using economies
    [Table ]

    “…The policies that work for one won’t necessarily work in another.

    ‘Although China comprises about half of existing and planned coal capacities, other countries cannot be neglected. Indeed, if all the phase-in countries continue to embrace coal, their aggregate emissions could surpass those of China. The emissions from coal plants already planned or under way in these countries will exceed those of all coal plants that currently operate in India. Every group is important.”

    “Now is the perfect time to increase coal royalties to fund Australia’s energy transition”

    “That’s the headline and standfirst for my latest piece in The Guardian, looking at revenue options for the coming Queensland Budget. It’s over the fold”

    Just 3 years ago…

  6. “How ironic the capitalists cause communism.”

    That is precisely what Marx predicted. The internal contradictions of capitalism, especially the internal contradictions of capital accumulation, would provoke a revolution from the ever more oppressed and impoverished workers and the “army” of the unemployed and dispossessed. That day was put off in the West by expanding exploitation fully into the third world, stealing most of their resources and using global labor arbitrage. Also, it was done by exploiting and looting the natural environment in an unsustainable manner. Marx was also aware of this problem. He coined the term “metabolic rift” (between the human economy and the natural world) which means much the same as ecological and resource unsustainability mean today.

    Marx was right and is about to be proven right in spectacular fashion. One point he overlooked, IIRC, but which was picked up by subsequent theorists was the possibility of the socialism or barbarism alternative. We are not guaranteed socialism. We have to make it happen with our own actions and with concerted community actions. The alternative is barbarism which we would now call global ecological and civilizational collapse. The one near certainty is that capitalism is doomed. There is maybe one escape path for it. That will require about 5 billion to 7 billion human deaths and a machine-AI, robot run economy with tiny rich and technocratic elites. You and I, and all like us, are not invited to that party. But I doubt that will happen. Too many catastrophes are lining up to permit it.

  7. Monkeypox is now an out-of-control global pandemic featuring an exponential rise in cases and exponential spread. This is what happens when a modern (globalized) society gives up on infectious disease control: indeed refuses to do it at all. Look at Dr, Eric Feigl-Ding’s latest tweets on the subject.

    Okay prediction. The world, except maybe China, Japan and maybe a few other parts of Asia, will do NOTHING effective. Monkey-pox WILL spiral out of control. Indeed it is doing so now. This is what we do now under late stage neoliberal capitalism. We all but ignore pandemics and let them spread with no controls except leaky vaccines. This approach does not work. We need multiple layered controls of PIs and NPIs to control and eliminate these contagious diseases under conditions of high global population and inter-connectedness.

    Since our governing and wealth elites refuse to properly control infectious disease and because we supinely acquiesce and even believe in all the denialism in may cases, we are now doomed to multiple simultaneous pandemics. The other driver for multiple pandemics is the erosion of the human immune system en mass by SARS-CoV-2. It degrades the human immune system, especially over time with multiple infections.

    Without multiple layered controls, PIs and NPIs, for infectious diseases we are now doomed to a vicious spiral to collapse. This collapse will either precede or synergistically interact with climate change which among other things unleashes new novel zoonoses (new diseases) in humans at an accelerating rate. Without radical action this is the beginning of the rapid collapse of Western capitalism. Of course, I will hear some arguments from disbelief. For heaven’s sake just observe the exponential trends in the system.

    So again, predictions. COVID-19 will be worse than now by Christmas and the crisis will go on for the next 5 to 10 years at least. Monkey-pox will be a serious subsidiary pandemic by Christmas. Our hospitals and HCWs will be semi-broken, if not totally broken by then. Services for a medical elective or emergency need will become close to non-existent for poor to middle class people. There will a third pandemic, at least, which will take hold in 2023, with all three or more pandemics running concurrently. This is unless we radically change course and go into multiple hard elimination measures for all pandemic pathogens known and arising.

  8. Further to my extremely dire predictions above, a short thread from Twitter (credited) about why large sections of the medical and scientific communities failed us. Warning, disturbing information content for LongCOVID sufferers,

    “I am still astonished by the level of basic ignorance among the “experts” that the pandemic has revealed. LongCOVID was anything but a surprise, we knew this would be a huge issue on December 31st 2019 when it was announced this is a SARS virus (SARS-CoV-2).

    LongCOVID was anything but a surprise, we knew this would be a huge issue on December 31st 2019 when it was announced this is a SARS virus. And we knew that from what happened to the survivors of the previous SARS virus, on which we had 10+ years of observations. As a side note, that experience gives no hope to those who got hit with (SARS2) LongCOVID in early 2020 and still have not improved — they never will.

    The only question was what the rate would be with SARS2, not whether there would be a huge number of such people. With SARS1 it was 25-50% of people with serious disability, with SARS2 it is about a fifth of that.

    Now the question that now comes up is how is it that so many highly accomplished people in science and medicine didn’t know that. SARS was one of the main candidates for a major pandemic all this time, it did not come out of nowhere, and those people were consciously alive in 2003 could have followed the events in real time.

    Then it took at most a few days in early 2020 to review the literature on SARS1 and coronaviruses and get up to speed with what is known (And everything that has happened in the last two years and that is yet to happen was known back then.)

    But no. We saw none of that. It’s as if none of that literature and knowledge existed and nobody wanted to go back to it.

    The most optimistic assumptions were confidently made, then when they were shown to be patent absurdities by the brute force of objective reality, we now we have “experts” acting surprised about that.

    The whole scientific and medical establishment is coming out looking really really bad in this. Lots of previously highly esteemed people have revealed themselves to be utter failures both scientifically and morally — not doing their job as scientists while readily sacrificing the life and health of millions for their own short term convenience, and then memory-holing the whole thing.

    Really, really depressing.” – Georgi K. Marinov, Department of Genetics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.

    I would add to the above my deep suspicions that it was neoliberalism and generic managerialism (the ideology and the management methods respectively of modern capitalism) which corrupted much of the medical and scientific establishment of the West. A failure this egregious reveals deep foundational and structural problems. We already know that government, education and the delivery of essential services have also been deeply corrupted and damaged by rampant neoliberal capitalism and generic managerialism. The rottenness and the white-anting go so deep the West may never recover from this. It’s going to be touch and go. Total collapse will be our fate without radical democratic socialist change.

  9. A bit of possible good news (as in it’s not bad news) on COVID-19.

    “Findings already done. vitro T cell stimulation with Spike protein-peptide libraries have not demonstrated SAg. There may be HLA predispositions with some TCRVb skewing. The found structure has 30% resembles to know SAg. that’s why it’s called SAg-LIKE motif and not actual SAg.” – Twitter source.

    I’ve called this “Twitter source” to indicate it’s not necessarily authoritative or definitive. What it means in layperson-speak is that the COVID-19 spike is not a superantigen, according to this source. That doesn’t mean some people don’t get inflammation, autoimmune responses and cytokine storms in relation to SARS-CoV-2. They do. If this news is correct then we can say as piece of hypothesized highly bad news (SAg) has not been demonstrated yet and this may be key evidence against it.

    I will clutch at straws of hope at this point, just like anyone else.

  10. Excellent news for those concerned about being reinfected with COVID-19. It’s really, really unlikely that you’ll die, be hospitalised, or even get very sick, according to a recent absolutely gigantic, extremely high quality study of the entire nation of Qatar.

    This is by far the best study of the phenomenon so far – and it shows that reinfection is rare, and near-universally not serious.

    “Effectiveness of primary infection against severe, critical, or fatal COVID-19 reinfection was 97.3% … irrespective of the variant of primary infection or reinfection, and with no evidence for waning.”

    There’s also this other study which shows that the most recent variants are about as deadly as the Omicron variant, and that vaccines remain very effective against the new variants, and reinfection with them is very flu-like and mild.

    This reinforces the need to constantly update vaccines and revaccinate people particularly in high risk categories as the absolutely overwhelmingly primary response to the bug. Laggard countries like China very much need to pick up their act on this.

  11. Now, for the fully realistic news comprised of known facts delivered by The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC). Note, this isn’t alarmist, doomist Iko going off his rocker. These are the hard, cold facts known to date, backed by science and reported by an authoritative, dependable group.

    Please, take all the precautions they list. I would add, take MORE precautions if at all possible. Make sure your mask is N95 or better. Avoid all public spaces as far as possible, consistent with performing ONLY essential life and work activities.

  12. Such a simple measure would be to reintroduce a mask mandate for all settings that don’t involve eating and drinking. It wouldn’t impede business, and it would slow down the spread of the variants-of-variants out there now. And getting people to think a bit about how they can do shopping and stuff in other, less busy hours, to reduce the density of people during what are the peak-shopping times, and having high quality masks for the aged care workers, from the gardener and the cleaners up to the head of the facilities.

    I don’t see any reasonable pathway back to elimination and quarantine, given we now how Omicron variants that are about as infectious as measles, and for which we have no durable vaccine or immune system protection once we’ve had the infection. The debt mountain we have is large but not the end of the world; however, I don’t think we could afford to do it all over again, with lockdowns and other very difficult to enforce measures against people who have already been through the wringer. Given the astronomical price rises in goods and services—I got hit another 10–15% increase in staples last week—and supply issues jamming up product lines no matter the price offered, the economy is in a fragile state. While some of this is precisely because of Covid, it seems to have taken on a life of its own, flowing through all parts of many nations’ economies.

    With the additional climate related chaos along the east coast and inland, there are much larger economic factors to consider now, and I think the political and economic conditions mean elimination is effectively impossible. It could have been done, in the early days, but it needed us to enforce a strict and effective quarantine of all inbound travellers as just the cost of doing business in Australia. If some other countries had joined in such a process and formalised it, perhaps elimination might have worked. Once we did the “let ‘er rip” right at the start of the Omicron variant’s arrival and upward tick in cases, we killed elimination as an affordable strategy, but sticking us with a very dear recurring expense due to the ramifications of “living with” Covid. That is the Morrison legacy.

    Clearly there are public health outcomes that are becoming entrenched in our health system, and both the acute presentations of Covid cases at hospitals, and the grinding down nature of long-covid as a burgeoning chronic health condition are causing a significant economic cost that is in some ways hidden from direct view. Collateral excess deaths due to unavailability of emergency health care for non-Covid patients are another cost factor both human and economic, as Ikon pointed out.

    What we do have is a disease that is killing multiple times what even a bad flu season does, and it is fast evolving, immune-evasive, vaccination elusive, little snekker. Eventually we’ll all pay for this decision to “let ‘er rip,” through the extra costs of needing extra hospital beds, staff, equipment and admin to deal with the now permanent nature of Covid patients needing those things, and so other patients get the care they need. Otherwise, we let the hospital system implode through impossibly demanding work conditions and lack of physical resources. This, too, was an economic cost I don’t believe was considered (at least not seriously) by the “let ‘er rip” crowd. Well, now we must pay the piper.

  13. Don,

    I refer in particular to your second paragraph which starts with: “I don’t see any reasonable pathway back to elimination and quarantine, given we now have Omicron variants that are about as infectious as measles, and for which we have no durable vaccine or immune system protection once we’ve had the infection.” I also refer in general to your whole post.

    It sounds eminently reasonable and realistic, on the surface, to think this way. I can understand the attraction to this line of thought and to the general idea that it is the only realistic, possible pathway, going forwards. However, I still think it is wrong.

    As you say, some mitigation beyond the vaccines (which are failing) is clearly necessary. Masks are one of the easiest and cheapest mitigations to implement physically and economically. Socially, they became a difficulty only because of bad messaging. Change the messaging and indeed the rules and masking could be spread near-ubiquitously in at least the situations you name.

    Beyond this we need to implement further measures to find the bare minimum (at least) which would reduce the Re (effective transmission rate) below 1 within the community. These measures might not be as onerous as people imagine. Certainly, allowing unimpeded spread has become very onerous. The burden of illness and death is very high now and shows no sign of abating, ever. Indeed, all the signs still are that it will get worse and worse indefinitely. As The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) statement notes, infections escape natural and vaccine immunity and re-infections are possible within 28 days. The burden of death and illness is one of the main causes of social and economic disruption today, including a continually high sick-leave and absences drag in the work force. I am firmly of the opinion that these overhead costs are higher than the costs of getting Re below 1.

    With Re below 1 the pandemic dwindles, slowly if just below 1 and more rapidly if well below 1. In this case, the importation of new cases, through travel and immigration, then becomes the prime problem. The bottom line is that people coming into Australia would need to be subject to tight restrictions to make this policy work. That would require full reinstatement of full-vaccination and testing rules for entry into Australia. We would also require quarantine stations in every state. We might as well build them now – state of the art ones. The reason is that multiple pandemics are coming. The second one, a new highly mutated monkey-pox has already started. The reasons why these multiple pandemics are coming would be the topic of another full post.

    Now, if people feel the above measures are not possible, they need to ask themselves when they would become possible. Would they become possible when 25,000 people die a year from COVID-19 or 50,000 or 100,000? When would these measures seem less onerous than the mass deaths? We will easily see 20,000 dead this year and climbing. When would endless personal illness multiplied by hundreds of thousands as sick leave / absences from the workforce rising to 10% or 20% or 30% of the workforce, continuously, seem more onerous than getting serious about controlling this pandemic and future pandemics?

    This pandemic is not going away. It is trending worse and worse. Without a near-miracle cure or prevention, which now seems close to scientifically-technically impossible, we face ever-worsening outcomes. The ONLY option is to control COVID-19 with full measures. Continuing on the current path leads to far worse human and economic outcomes.

  14. Ambulance, Code Red & Covid?

    2017, 2018, 2019, 2020-Covid, 2021-Covid.
    Ambiguous dates specified in article
    @48months just 9 Code Red or 1 per 5.3 months
    @60months 1 Code Red per 6.6mths

    @2022 first 7 months -one Code Red per month.

    “Ambulance Victoria has enacted its seventh code red escalation in as many months, with the service overwhelmed by demand overnight.

    “In comparison, only nine were called between 2017 to 2021.”

  15. JQ, for The Consequences of the Pandemic, I feel you need to be across this paper, mentioned at Statmodeling.

    Andrew Gelman says;
    “In summary, I would not take paper by Herby et al. seriously. It does seem that they worked hard on it, but putting in lots of effort is not enough if the approach has fundamental flaws.”

    “3 examples of post-publication review (ecology, the underground economy, and “lockdowns”)

    3. Nicolas Banholzer writes:

    You may be interested in sharing your thoughts on a recent meta-analysis by a group of economists, which concluded that “lockdowns [during the COVID-19 pandemic] have had little to no public health effects” and that “lockdowns should be rejected out of hand as a pandemic policy instrument”.

    “The strong conclusions from this meta-analysis were quickly taken up by public media, in particular conservative outlets in the US. However, several epidemiologists expressed strong criticism about the the analysis (e.g. by Seth Flaxman, Samir Bhatt and Neil Ferguson).

    “I was contacted by a science editor from a popular newspaper in the UK to comment on the above meta-analysis by Herby et al. After sharing my initial thoughts, I teamed up with two colleagues to look more closely into the methodology of the meta-analysis.

    “Together, we encountered several methodological issues including but not limited to:”…

  16. The recent Australian news on COVID-19 is really bad. The Friday Courier-Mail on a page 8 & 9 spread said this:

    More boosters needed to fight sub-variants.
    “This is not, however a complete solution in itself” – Paul Griffin , Mater Health Servises Director of Infectious Diseases.”

    Fifth Jab!!! Not a complete solution!!! It is very clear we are in deep trouble now. The vaccines-only policy is failing comprehensively and trending to the catastrophic.

    Here are some main points.

    “1. A US study found the ability of a third dose vaccine (NOT Astra-Zeneca) to prevent infection was 87% after two months but dropped to 66 per cent by 6 months.
    2. The Astra-Zeneca vaccine was found to have NO effect against Omicron re infection rate.
    3. A US study found that 25 weeks after your second dose of mRNA vaccines effecitveness against infection from Omicron was just 14.9%.
    4. Five million eligible Australians have not had their third dose.
    5. Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 are demonstrating extensive escape from earlier infectious immunity. (So that you might as well regard as useless.)
    6. Studies in Israel have found a 4th dose booster will lift your immunity to Omicron infection by about 10 to 20 per cent. This extra protection begins to wane within 5 to 8 weeks.
    7. There are new Omicron-specific boosters due for a 5th dose (maybe in Australia by August) but only targeted against original Omicron and provides “some” protection against BA.4 and BA.5.”

    This is a dreadful picture. This is a picture of the impending complete failure of the vaccines-only strategy. Something I predicted maybe mid last year. Some top scientists predicted this from 2020 and were of course ignored.

    This is leading to a potential Marek’s disease (in chickens) type situation for humans with COVID-19.

    “The evolution of Marek’s disease due to vaccination has had a profound effect on the poultry industry. All chickens across the globe are now vaccinated against Marek’s disease (birds hatched in private flocks for laying or exhibition are rarely vaccinated). Highly virulent strains have been selected to the point that any chicken that is unvaccinated will die if infected. Other leaky vaccines are commonly used in agriculture. One vaccine in particular is the vaccine for avian influenza. Leaky vaccine use for avian influenza can select for virulent strains.”

    The SARS-CoV-2 virus in humans is very different from the Gallid alphaherpesvirus 2 which causes Marek’s disease in chickens. And humans are very different from chickens, obviously. We cannot necessarily expect a complete analogue of that outcome. That is to say, while we are seeing evolution of SARS2 to great infectiousness, immune escape and vaccine escape most definitely, we are not seeing evidence YET of sustained evolution to greater virulence: though this is still early days in novel zoonosis pandemic timeframes. Neither are we seeing evidence of evolution to less virulence, so- called “mildness”, a term I detest in this context. The virulence remains something of a random walk which is dangerous in itself as it is a “Russian roulette” odds system where if the chamber is spun enough times, the disastrous result almost inevitable comes up.

    Continuing to fail to implement multiple controls to bring Re (effective rate of transmission) below 1 now looks like leading to a severe and endless national crisis. Without these multiple controls seriously and legally implement we face the continuous deterioration of national health and national economy.

    The Labor Party are currently doing nothing: fiddling while the nation’s health burns. It’s a bad, maybe even worse, than the inaction of the Morrison government on bush-fires and climate change. What’s it going to take? People dying on the pavements around hospitals. Or a new National or State Hearse Service to ferry dead bodies from all the suburbs to mass graves? I mean so that ambulances are not tied up doing this. On current trends, this IS what will end up happening. We, the people, need to begin serious agitation by virtual and communication means if necessary. It’s doubtful how long the streets will be safe. There will be riots if nothing is done by our governments and authorities to stop this escalating pandemic. The economy itself may grindsto a halt and possibly even essentials become scarce. By the end of this year the current generation of vaccines (even updated) will be totally useless. What then?

  17. Ikonoclast: – “Now, if people feel the above measures are not possible, they need to ask themselves when they would become possible. Would they become possible when 25,000 people die a year from COVID-19 or 50,000 or 100,000?

    From a dispassionate perspective, at least dead people don’t need to be continually fed and looked after. Now consider the increasing cohort of ‘long-COVID’ sufferers that do still need to be fed and looked after. When do full mitigation measures become possible? Is 100,000 ‘long-COVID’ sufferers permanently unfit for contributing to the Australian economy the number? Or 1 million? Or 2 million? Or 5 million? When does it become a priority?

    Iko: – “The ONLY option is to control COVID-19 with full measures. Continuing on the current path leads to far worse human and economic outcomes.

    IMO, the political and business elites still cannot see the longer-term implications and have a way-too-optimistic view of the ongoing COVID pandemic reality.

    IMO, it’s the same denial and wilful ignorance in dealing with the climate crisis. ICYMI, David Spratt outlines his take on some big-picture issues and why the public, policy makers and even many activists have a way-too-optimistic view of the state of our climate system: tipping points, the scandal of Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs), the IPCC, UNFCCC climate policies, understanding existential risks, and how to communicate these stories, in a YouTube video titled ‘Biggest Scandal in Climate Policy’ – David Spratt on Tipping Points, IPCC, IAMs and Risks, published on Jul 1, duration 0:59:51.

  18. “1. A US study found the ability of a third dose vaccine (NOT Astra-Zeneca) to prevent infection was 87% after two months but dropped to 66 per cent by 6 months.

    Is actually a pleasant surprise for me. A bit too pleasant frankly, doubt that works for current Omricon subvariants.

  19. hix,

    Yes, I did not fact check the Courier-Mail’s claims. That looked a bit high to me too. I simply wanted to list the picture one of our newspapers was giving. It was saying a lot more that was generally bad or concerning compared to our TV stations who have been ignoring our pandemic until the last few months. TV journalists are complete lemmings, lacking all critical abilities. Newspaper journalists are usually no better. I was surprised the paper reported anything that ran against the pure “vaxxed and relaxed” propaganda.

  20. Geoff Meill: “From a dispassionate perspective, at least dead people don’t need to be continually fed and looked after.”

    True in one sense and I agree with the rest of your post. But there is more to be said about the people dead from COVID-19. Far from all of them were nonagenarians close to death in any case. Studies I found (a while ago) indicated an average loss of 11 QLYS (quality life years) for each COVID-19 death.

    In the USA alone, “At least 5.2 million children have lost a parent or caregiver to Covid-19, putting them at risk of poverty, exploitation and abuse and highlighting the lasting scars of the pandemic, a study shows.

    More than 1.2 million children under nine years of age were orphaned between March 2020 and October last year, along with 2.1 million kids between 10 and 17, according to a new modeling study published in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health journal.” Bloomberg, 25/2/22.

    This is just one example of the enormous knock effects of the loss of people to COVID-19: the tremendous social harm ensuing.

    In terms of climate change everything you say is correct: complete denial and complete postponement of serious action. Ultimately climate change will kill far more more people than COVID-19. Indeed, a good part of the effects of novel pandemics and old diseases re-emerging can be put down to climate change too.

    The issue is that the COVID-19 pandemic is closer and visibly killing more people right now, in Australia and globally. COVID-19 global excess deaths are now reckoned at 25 million in two and a half years. That’s 10 million per year averaged. Climate change appears to be linked to 5 million excess deaths per year according to a recent study.

    I want both problems addressed as does any sane, knowledgeable person. Many of the activities which cause climate change (like excess travel, excess recreation and excess, inefficient consumption) also contribute to COVID-19 spread. We could synergistically deal with both by targeting both issues together.

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