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 Mastodon here

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

27 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. Hydrogen in Australia. 

    (ii) $1,300,000,000 for investors via Global Australia.  
    (i) $15,600,000 for innovation and labour via NERA – to close now.

    Me thinks the Government will pick winners and waste money whilst providing capital – to capital – and offshoring profits. New Hydrogen – Old Money – for rope.

    Everyone is on the hydrogen bandwagon. Except – we just ceased funding NERA. At least they published on 30 Mar 2023 “Powering Up: Seizing Australia’s Hydrogen Opportunity by 2040”. See link below.

    (i) “In its seven years of operation, National Energy Resources Australia (NERA) used its $15.6 million project fund to generate $45 million investment in 60 projects.”. 

    (ii) The Australian Government “to generate green hydrogen using clean energy. Australian Government support: Direct support of more than A$1.3 billion committed to accelerate hydrogen industry development ”

    “NERA confirmed as first Industry Growth Centre to close

    “National Energy Resources Australia is the first Industry Growth Centre to announce it will shut down after federal funding is discontinued in July.

    “In its seven years of operation, National Energy Resources Australia (NERA) used its $15.6 million project fund to generate $45 million investment in 60 projects.

    NERA (a zombie now)
    “Regional Hydrogen Technology Clusters
    – 17 Hydrogen technology clusters
    – +500 Organisations connected across Australia
    – 8 States and Territories

    “Cluster locations and contact details

    “Powering Up: Seizing Australia’s Hydrogen Opportunity by 2040
    – NERA — Powering Up HETS Study — Fact Sheet.pdf
    30 Mar 2023
    – NERA — Powering Up HETS Study.pdf
    30 Mar 2023

    “Hydrogen is a clean-burning fuel that can be used in transport, energy storage and electricity generation.

    “Thinking about entering the Australian market?

    “Investors typically establish a new company, register as a foreign company or acquire an existing company. Assess your options with our Investor Guide. Austrade is Australia’s national investment promotion agency. We attract and facilitate game-changing foreign direct investment into Australia. 

    “Australia is expected to become the second largest net-exporter of low-emissions hydrogen by 2030 and the largest by 2050, according to the International Energy Agency’s 2022 World Energy Outlook.

    “There are strong opportunities for investors in export scale projects, along with hydrogen technology, green metal manufacturing and future transport solutions. Investors will benefit from:

    – Australia’s natural advantages: Ample sunshine and wind make us the ideal location to generate green hydrogen using clean energy. Australian Government support:
    – Direct support of more than A$1.3 billion committed to accelerate hydrogen industry development ”

    Verdict on Hydrogen:
    Net Zero good.
    Net profit good.
    Capital – who cares, as it still seems like BAU.

  2. Australian Deputy Minister & Minister for Defence, Richard Marles MP, was on ABC TV’s Insiders programme on last Sunday (Apr 30), where he said from time interval 0:00:53:

    But we’ve also changed. You know, we are much more reliant upon our economic connection with the world. You know, in the early 1999’s, our, er, trade as a percentage of our GDP was around 32 per cent. It’s now, in 2020, was up to 45 per cent, and there’s a physical dimension to that economic connection. Most of our liquid fuels now, almost all, come from overseas. Back in the ’90’s, we use to do it all onshore. In fact most comes now from just one country, and that’s Singapore. So, the threat is not we are about to be invaded, but our exposure to economic coercion, and to coercion from an adversary is greater, and the potential for that coercion going forward is much more significant, and that’s where the threat lies, and that’s why we need to re-posture for that threat.,-richard-marles/102284122

    It seems Richard Marles is ill-informed about the magnitude and sourcing of Australia’s imports of liquid fuels. Singapore is a significant liquid fuel supplier, but so are South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Brunei. See Matt’s tweet on Apr 30 re diesel fuel imports (including a graph of diesel fuel imports Jan 2004 to Aug 2022):

    US petroleum geologist Art Berman tweeted on Jan 18 (including a stacked graph of global production of crude oil + condensate, refinery gains, other liquids & natural gas liquids, from Jan 2000 to Aug 2022):

    Total world liquids production has recovered to 99% of 2018 average level
    but crude oil plus condensate remains more than 4 mmb/d below late 2018 levels

    Matt tweeted on Apr 4 a graph of OPEC crude oil production, from Jan 2018 to earlier this year, plus outlook to Jun 2023:

    My take from the accumulating data re liquid fuel supply:

    * The quality of oil is declining, meaning there’s less net energy available per volume of global liquid fuels produced.
    * OPEC oil production appears to be perhaps at the beginnings of a sustained decline.
    * Australia is exposed to commercial changes & geopolitical constraints in liquid fuel supply markets.
    * Oil production in Asia is in decline, which means more crude oil imports from elsewhere – but from where? Most oil producing countries are now passed peak production.
    * There are multiple layers of vulnerabilities over which Australia has little (if any) control.
    * Australia should rapidly reduce its petroleum dependency to improve its energy security.

  3. KT2 and Geoff Miell make some sobering points. They are well made.
    I would suggest that readers of this blog may also benefit from reading the latest from Chris Hedges out of the USA. This one is one of his best! The title of this article may not be original but what he outlines in the article certainly deserves attention. The article brought to my attention after being posted on Twitter as
    The Enemy From Within, by
    11:56 AM · May 1, 2023
    Be careful, it is his latest article I am referring to not articles with a similar title. The date is the key to the right article.

    In this article Hedges lampoons the US defence industry and its US Congressional supporters. I found it an interesting exercise to replace his use of “America”
    with “Australia”. It is not a perfect fit but chilling in parts.
    I was inspired by the ABC TV news item about Australia’s Collins Class submarines in particular, and the whole Australian submarine policy in general. It reads like a follow up to the FOUR CORNERS program from last year entitled:
    “WAR GAMES: What would conflict with China mean for Australia?”
    FOUR CORNERS ABCTV 31 October 2022

    In this latest article, Hedges gives a chilling account of how the US defence industry uses the US budget to build and supply military weapons to many countries. In fact, he asserts that military aid to countries like Israel and South Korea is conditional on their spending this aid money buying only US made weapons and military equipment. He goes on to suggest that the Cold War approach to China is against the financial interests of ordinary Americans. Hedges claims that it favours the wealth accumulation of rich people outside AND inside the US Congress.

    Okay what does this have to do with Australia?
    Well, we have made a commitment of some staggering forward estimates (in our defence White Paper) up to 2050 which includes:

    Australian nuclear submarine program to cost up to $368b.

    Now you would think that we taxpayers would have been the first to be told of such a
    commitment of taxpayer’s money. But as the ABC’s defence correspondent Andrew Greene in San Diego and political reporter Matthew Doran put it
    this was first made known in this way:
    “….. AUKUS details unveiled in the US”
    (Posted Tue 14 Mar 2023 at 7:01amTuesday 14 Mar 2023 at 7:01am, updated Tue 14 Mar 2023 at 7:21pm)

    Good of them to let us know eventually.
    My point is that Australia is now tied to the tails of the US defence industry policy.

    Chris Hedges goes on to speculate at what might happen if China reacts militarily.
    It makes chilling enough reading for the USA but for Australia it could be even worse.
    As one insider put it
    “In a potential conflict with China over Taiwan, there is a chance that Australia could become a target. Particularly if Australia were to join the fight directly or were to provide additional over flight and access rights to U.S. forces.”
    US military strategist, 31 October 2022
    (This was sourced from the FOUR CORNERS program mentioned above)

    As my dad used to tell us kids on firecracker night,
    “You kids,when your playing near an explosive situation stand well back.”
    I suggest that in this “hornets’ nest” exercise going on in the USA (according to Chris Hedges) that Australia stands well back. After all we are the little kid on the block.

    In a direct link to the contributions of KT2 and Geoff Miell, Chris Hedges points out that
    1) Money wasted from the US Federal Budget on excessive military spending directly hampers the spending on alternative energy projects in the US; and
    2) If US Naval forces were to attempt to stop oil imports reaching China then there could be terrifying consequences.

  4. Singapore is no threat to Australian energy security. It has no oil production of its own but is a major regional hub for transhipment, bunkering and refining. It would unsentimentally pass on any supply or price shocks from the original producers.

  5. Humans, it seems to me, have about a 2 week window for incalculable trauma, then at varyng rates, incorporate bad news into our decisions & cost benefit calculations as just another data point to evaluate, not as an existential threat anymore. Smoking. Road fatalities. Covid deaths. Ukraine. … and so – “That [Covid] inquiry, which they thought would mirror the well-regarded 9/11 Commission, never came into being.”

    Consequences. Covid. Another book, soon to be forgotten.

    Gregory J. McKenzie points us to
    The Enemy From Within, by
    Chris Hedges. The subhead reads; “The war industry, a state within a state, disembowels the nation, stumbles from one military fiasco to the next, strips us of civil liberties and pushes us towards suicidal wars with Russia and China.”.

    We forget. Anew. Every two weeks.

    (An invaluable emergent benefit of a four day week will be imo, to allow society time for reflection and engagement. Maybe I’m being a pollyanna))

    You’d think we’d write new laws or change the Constitution for such an event like Spanish flu or Covid Pandemic. Wouldn’t you? Or proclaim a Commissioner for the Future ala Wales.

    Mecher: “”I think these large numbers, they lose all sense of meaning. And that’s been the most surprising thing to me is how we pretty much have gotten to a point where we just shrug our shoulders at these types of numbers.”

    “Q&A: Chronicling the failures of the U.S. response to Covid”
    “It makes for disheartening reading in spots. The group’s members note, for instance, that in the first two years of the pandemic, U.S. excess mortality — deaths over and above what would normally be expected — was 40% higher than what European countries experienced. Spain, they wrote, performed 50% better than Florida in preventing premature deaths among its citizens.

    “Lessons From the Covid War: An Investigative Report,” which will be published Tuesday, was written by a consortium of scientific and public health experts, many intimately involved in the pandemic response. The group’s members originally came together to do the spade work for what they thought would be an eventual independent commission tasked with investigating the response to Covid. That inquiry, which they thought would mirror the well-regarded 9/11 Commission, never came into being. So the Covid Crisis Group, as it calls itself, has published its analysis of what went wrong and what needs to be done to fix it.

    “Mecher: That’s one of the things that has surprised me through this pandemic, our reaction to mass death. I think back to the headline in the New York Times in late May of 2020, when we surpassed the threshold of 100,000 deaths in the United States, and the headline was “An Incalculable Loss.” Well, since May of 2020, we’ve had 10 more incalculable losses. I think it’s become almost numbing.

    “I think these large numbers, they lose all sense of meaning. And that’s been the most surprising thing to me is how we pretty much have gotten to a point where we just shrug our shoulders at these types of numbers.

    “Lessons from the COVID War: An Investigative Report

    “This powerful report on what went wrong—and right—with America’s Covid response from a team of thirty-four experts shows how Americans faced the worst peacetime catastrophe of modern times”

  6. I sent my first email in 1994.

    Thanks Tim Berners-Lee et al & CERN for … this.

    And happy birthday.

    “Exactly 30 years ago, on 30 April 1993, CERN made an important announcement. Walter Hoogland and Helmut Weber, respectively the Director of Research and Director of Administration at the time, decided to publicly release the tool that Tim Berners-Lee had first proposed in 1989 to allow scientists and institutes working on CERN data all over the globe to share information accurately and quickly. Little did they know how much it would change the world.

  7. JQ has made a number of Twitter posts that make good sense.

    “Lots of innumerate nonsense about millions of dollars in debt per second coming from Chalmers. Real interest rate is about -3 %. Debt/GDP ratio dropping fast right now.” – John Quiggin.

    “Absurd and criminal that the RBA would seek to end the first period of full employment in 50 years in the pursuit of a totally arbitrary inflation target. Like other CBs, cares more about its “credibility” than about its legislated objectives.” – John Quiggin.

    “Job creation isn’t always a good thing. Hobart’s new stadium can only make Tasmania’s housing crisis worse.” – John Quiggin.

    Always pleased when I can agree wholeheartedly with J.Q. It convinces me that I am still mostly sane and on track, despite my idee fixes and inveterate tilting at certain ontological windmills.

  8. Ikon, The real interest rate depends on inflationary expectations. The RBA suggest that future inflation will gravitate towards the “upper end” of the 2-3% range which is much less than current inflation. That suggests real interest rates are around 1%.

    Nominal interest rates do matter because that determines the actual repayments individuals and governments have to make. People with million dollar mortgages face real difficulties with current escalating nominal interest rates even if their house is appreciating at the rate of inflation – in fact it is currently likely to be heading in the opposite direction. Their incomes may not be indexed to inflation. Governments are a bit the same given that printing money isn’t an option in this inflationary environment, creating more debt to fund current excessive debt is a Ponzi scheme that isn’t an option and citizens will throw out governments that increase taxes. (Technically a small open economy like Australia can borrow indefinitely to fund earlier debt but this relies on borrowing costs not increasing with the scale of debt which is a false implication of wrongly relying on the small country view).

    The Australian public debt to GDP ratio is forecast (by some) to be higher in 2028 than it is now: See below. It isn’t massively higher but to suggest we should expand debt further would not be wise.

    Some of the public investments being undertaken in Queensland and Victoria ,in particular, are not patently foolish – some are stupid. But the States face budget constraints – Victoria is cancelling some projects now and will sack civil servants shortly. Governments face real budget constraints and the States have spent too much in the recent past.

    The size of public debt is an issue.

  9. The WHO declare an end to the Covid emergency but not an end to the health risks from Covid. Deaths are now 3% of their level in January 2021 and WHO believe that the likelihood of a more serious Covid strain developing in the future are low.

    Important lessons can be drawn from the Covid policy experience for dealing with future epidemics. These inferences are important.

  10. Harry,

    Your position is all about the abstract numbers and nothing about the real people. The plain fact is that the further tax cuts, if carried through, will starve the federal government of funds (sans money printing which probably is ill-advised at the current time) forcing them in turn to starve social programs of funds, thus denying real and needy people help. Extra money will go to or remain with the rich and the upper middle class. They will buy 10 houses or 100 houses or 1,000 houses each (the rich rentiers that is) or they will buy McMansions, 3 Electric SUVs in the drive, 2 dogs and a cat to decimate the local wildlife and go on long, environmentally destructive holidays (the upper middle class).

    For every rentier who owns 1,000 houses there will 900 persons or households renting and living without enough money for day to day expenses and there will be another 100 living on the street, in a friend’s shed, sleeping on a friend’s couch or cooped up in the granny flat or rumpus of parents or relatives. For every rentier who owns 10, 100 or 1000 houses there will be an individual or household living in poverty. We could shift that equation. There is no stone tablet (except in your imagination) that says one person must own a thousand houses so that, as a corollary, a thousand persons must own nothing. That is purely the result of the current jigging (rigging really) of the economy. We can rejig that without inflation.

    Of course, you have never answered my previous substantive points about the current round of inflation NOT being caused by wage rises in the main but rather being caused by shortages due to COVID-19 and the Ukraine War plus also being caused directly by business administered prices. Monopolies, duopolies, oligopolies and even clandestine cartels have raised prices to increase profits. Many other other businesses then jumped on that profiteering gravy train. “Administered prices are prices of goods set by the internal pricing structures of firms that take into account cost rather than through the market forces of supply and demand.” – Wikipedia.

    There is also a strong critique of the method of aggregating inflation and running the whole economy on that macro principle alone, in the absence of finer targeting and in the absence of caring about what happens to minimum wage workers, the poor and the powerless.

    Bichler & Nitzan, ‘Inflation as Redistribution: Creditors, Workers, Policymakers’

  11. Historic & classic communication on the day of coronation.

    To His Majesty King Charles III,
    From, a political prisoner.



    5 MAY 2023

    “… As your noble government has recently declared, your kingdom is currently undergoing “the biggest expansion of prison places in over a century”, with its ambitious projections showing an increase of the prison population from 82,000 to 106,000 within the next four years. Quite the legacy, indeed.

    “As a political prisoner, held at Your Majesty’s pleasure on behalf of an embarrassed foreign sovereign, I am honoured to reside within the walls of this world class institution. Truly, your kingdom knows no bounds.

    “just a short foxhunt from the Old Royal Naval College ”

    “Dutton joins Albanese for the first time to back end to Assange’s UK incarceration

    “Opposition leader supports diplomatic intervention in WikiLeaks founder’s case, saying it has ‘gone on too long’

  12. Harry Clarke: – “The WHO declare an end to the Covid emergency but not an end to the health risks from Covid.

    Prof Kathy Eagar tweeted today (May 6) in response to the WHO announcement:

    @WHO communicates very poorly. It is a complex rigid bureaucracy. The announcement means that COVID management moves bureaucratically from its emergency division to a management division. It’s all there in the fine print. But not in its key messages where it should be

    And those health risks continue to be very serious:

    An estimated one in 10 infections results in post-Covid conditions suggesting that hundreds of millions of people will need longer term care” – Dr Tedros, WHO, Apr 2023

    That’s 1-in-10 INFECTIONS, NOT people – the more reinfection EPISODES, the higher the risk of needing “longer term care”.

    Here in Australia, 138 COVID deaths were reported this week. Someone has died of COVID every 53 minutes of 2023 so far. And yet politicians, public health leaders & the media don’t think they are worth mentioning.

    The pandemic is not over, and as more and more people either become significantly debilitated in the longer-term by, or die from COVID infections, then the economy & society will become increasingly disrupted.

    And yet businesses are complaining they can’t find enough people to work. Hello???

  13. Geoff, I absolutely didn’t want to disturb your Covid hysteria. My statement was accurate and you essentially repeat it. The emergency over but still a health risk. Check please! I don’t want to start a new strain of relevance deprivation syndrome among the health doomsayers. You are welcome to maintain your sense of panic. The rest of us will get on with our lives and do the best we can to avoid infection as we know Covid can have bad effects.

  14. Harry said “we know Covid can have bad effects”. I hope you are not relying on antivirals at a time when you need them Harry. You’re in the at risk group. 

    “As of July 2022, no Paxlovid drug resistant SARS-CoV-2 has been observed in clinical context.[67] The engineering of a nirmatrelvir-resistant chimera of Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) under laboratory conditions was published without formal peer review in July 2022.[68] As of November 2022, multiple pathways that could lead to Paxlovid resistance have been demonstrated in vitro.[69]”

    “Multiple pathways for SARS-CoV-2 resistance to nirmatrelvir

    “However, because SARS-CoV-2 has evolved to become resistant to other therapeutic modalities3–9, there is a concern that the same could occur for nirmatrelvir. 

    “Our findings indicate that SARS-CoV-2 resistance to nirmatrelvir does readily arise via multiple pathways in vitro, and the specific mutations observed herein form a strong foundation from which to study the mechanism of resistance in detail and to inform the design of next-generation protease inhibitors. ”

    “As the use of these antivirals increases there is a concern that drug resistance may arise, particularly if given as monotherapies. For remdesivir, in vitro and in vivo studies have shown mutations associated with resistance9,24,25, and resistance to molnupiravir or nirmatrelvir is now under active investigation. Here we report that there are multiple routes by which SARS-CoV-2 can gain resistance to nirmatrelvir in vitro.”

    Nature. 2023; 613(7944): 558–564. 
    Published online 2022 Nov 9. doi: 10.1038/s41586-022-05514-2

    Harry, hysterical is not nice. And I’ll just append your last paragraph to show you the way it reads to those “among the health doomsayers”.

    HC: “The rest of us will get on with our lives and do the best we can to avoid infection…” …  individually, thus enabling continual evolution & spread of Covid. 

    To Geoff & Ikon’s “doom” I’ll add – At $110-$880 million PER WEEK, and labour market effects with “40,000 people are unable to work due to the illness,”, Covid ain’t over, emergency or not.

    ‘It can’t be ignored’: The illness costing Australia at least $5.7b a year

    “While the exact level of absenteeism caused by long COVID is not known, new analysis by Impact Economics and Policy, using a “lower range” estimate that an average of 40,000 people are unable to work due to the illness, puts the weekly cost to gross domestic product at $110 million, or $5.7 billion annually. If the highest estimates for long COVID absenteeism is used the cost to GDP rises to $880 million a week, or $46 billion a year.

    “Dr Angela Jackson, an economist at Impact Economics and Policy who did the costings analysis, said the figures “highlight the long-term economic costs from COVID-19 and the ongoing need for public health measures including vaccination and education”.

    “Modelling by Angeles and Hensher for the Deakin-Menzies Institute submission (and used by Impact Economics and Policy to estimate the economic cost of long COVID-19) showed the number of people whose daily activities are “limited a lot” by long COVID was at least 35,000, although under a worst-case scenario that number increases to almost 197,000.

    “These people will still be experiencing symptoms that limit their daily activities a lot, with likely impacts on their ability to work with potential for long-term disability,” the submission noted.

    “Mounting an appropriate response to long COVID is especially challenging … it cannot be ignored simply because it is inconvenient.”

    “A study by the Brookings Institution published in August 2022 found that more than 4 million Americans were out of work due to long COVID. It put the cost of lost wages in the US at $US170 billion a year (and potentially as high as $US230 billion).

  15. Harry Clarke: – “The emergency over but still a health risk.

    COVID-19 is not just a health issue.

    Robyn Dunphy wrote a piece published on 7 Nov 2022, including:

    This is NOT just a health question. In broad terms, we hear arguments of economy versus health, or health versus economy, whichever you prefer. The simple fact that the health of the population impacts the health of the economy seems to escape many people. There is no healthy economy without healthy people. Let’s be very clear on that. The economy needs workers and it needs customers. Without sufficient numbers of both, businesses close. End of story. Yes, I am sorry, it IS that simple.

    Covid-19 should be a serious operational consideration for any business, large or small. In very simple terms, sick people who can’t work don’t have money to spend. The economy, including your business, will suffer as a result. It is a double whammy, as there is the risk of lack of workers and lack of customers. We already see supply chain disruption when any of us visit our local supermarket.

    An increasing health problem becomes an increasing economic problem: – increased health care costs, less disposable income, less spending, worker shortages, disruptions to economy, loss of business confidence/investment, homelessness, etc.

    Mitigations against transmission of COVID-19 are essential to ensure we maintain a healthy society and a healthy economy.

    Harry Clarke: – “I absolutely didn’t want to disturb your Covid hysteria.

    It seems to me, by using words like “hysteria”, “doomsayers” and “sense of panic”, you appear threatened by compelling evidence/data presented that is apparently inconvenient for your “get on with our lives”/’back to normal’ narrative. I’d suggest doing “the best we can to avoid infection” as isolated individuals is very likely to end in failure. Mandated effective collective action is more likely to be a successful strategy.

  16. No Geoff, you are part of the “impending doom” brigade. Of course you want “Mandated effective action” on the basis of your views. I wear masks, avoid crowds and generally take care. If I get Covid again I will probably survive but may not. I’ll live with that and get on with my life.

  17. Harry,

    If you wear masks (N95 or better), avoid crowds and generally take care, that would make you one person in a hundred. In my observation, 99% of people are not doing that at all. It’s a shame because those precautions are quite easy, along with getting vaccinated of course, and those measures make a huge difference.

    COVID-19 is still the third or fourth most common cause of death in developed countries. We have added a whole new and very significant cause of death and morbidity to our collection of ailments, since 2019, and yet just about everybody acts as if it is a big nothing. It’s actually an indictment of a system which puts money for the rich before people’s lives.

    Despite the lies from the WHO and our governments the pandemic is not over. It is entrenched. It will remain entrenched and very likely will worsen again with new mutations, until if and when we decide to fight it properly.

    Eventually, we will have to take proper action on COVID-19. The human race cannot live with it. It is too insidious and too dangerous a disease for that and the costs will be too high. Its dangers have been completely misunderstood by the mainstream and deliberately and egregiously downplayed by the business lobby, to suit their money-making agendas at the cost of human lives.

    This essay below exposes the myths about COVID-19 and immunity. We were sold invented myths and tropes by the oligarchs which completely distort and obscure the real facts.

    I append this essay for all to read, hopefully.

  18. I would caution accepting anyones opinion, particularly if they are anonymous and their qualifications are unknown.

    I would also caution against laypersons drawing conclusions from scientific studies.

    One study referenced was this a
    which, at first glance, is not supportive of the claims made by this so called John Snow project.

  19. rog,

    There are listed signatories but the lead editors and authors *should* name themselves, that is true I agree. See:

    However, people naming themselves (that factor alone I mean) is no guarantee that what they are saying is factual and verified. The biggest liars in the world are always promoting themselves and naming themselves front and center. That’s part of their grift. Donald Trump, Scott Morrison and the lead reporters and commentators at Murdoch media all come to mind.

    I wonder if you have emplyed the same admirable scepticism re the GBD (Great Barrington Declaration) and all the COVID-19 denialist and minimizing propaganda arising from innumerable uncredentialed sources and people gone “off-reservation” from their (often paltry) area of expertise.

  20. rog: – “I would caution accepting anyones opinion, particularly if they are anonymous and their qualifications are unknown.

    I would also caution against laypersons drawing conclusions from scientific studies.

    What would you accept, rog? Would you accept or reject what Prof Brendan Crabb AC has tweeted in a thread earlier today (May 8, bold text my emphasis)?

    While this sends the wrong message, I suspect it will mean little. What WHO was doing in the emergency response was no longer making a difference in most places. The battle to take CVID as seriously as it deserves to be was lost a long time ago. 1/

    Fact is, we have a major ongoing new cause of death that is in the range of 5-10% more people dying than previously, & chronic conditions that WHO itself just said last week is in the order of hundreds of millions of people, 1 in every 10 infections 2/

    Despite this, it is widely acceptable even amongst public health officials to compare CVID to the common cold. That’s the dystopian paradigm we’re in. 3/

    The shift away from ‘emergency response’ to the unfortunately benignly termed ‘disease management’ (I prefer something decidedly more ambitious) is worth a try. While not overly optimistic, the change of tack has the chance to freshen up and renew the approach. 4/

    The new plan: has good in it, including a welcome emphasis on reducing transmission. It does seem odd to not emphasise the mode of transmission, like discussing malaria control with considering mosquitos. 5/

    Turning this around will not be easy, the acceptance of a major toll to our health, health system, labour market & more is baked in. Improving air quality is perhaps the best bet of the moment. No social license needed. No one needs to know. Which, weirdly, seems to be key. 6/end

    rog, are you rejecting the conclusions of the John Snow Project piece titled SARS-CoV-2 and “Textbook” Immunity, like (bold text my emphasis):

    Infection with a virus does not ‘sharpen’ the immune system, particularly when the virus is shown to in fact cause immune aging and harm. Instead, we should expect the cumulative impact of repeat infection to manifest in diverse illnesses and diseases and to shorten life expectancy.

    This is our assessment of the situation based on the best available textbook evidence and it is at odds with the ‘mild endemicity’ hypothesis that underpins the policies of most governments around the world. If the current nonchalant attitudes towards uncontrolled transmission of SARS-CoV-2 remain in place, we will discover which model of endemicity is correct in the coming years. We believe the evidence is already accumulating to suggest this population-scale experiment of mass infection by SARS-CoV-2 will lead to a rejection of the ‘mild endemicity’ hypothesis, but then it will be too late.

    Ignoring a deadly disease doesn’t end well.

  21. In todays world, where fake news blames fake news for being fake and social media grips the collective mind, transparency and accountability have become even more valuable resources.

  22. The studies get clearer and clearer about the dangers of long COVID.

    Sooner or later we will have to eliminate wide COVID-19 spread and get it back to rare pocket outbreaks (most realistic goal now). But what are we doing now?


    “We have the tools”

    Great! Have you improved indoor air quality?


    Can I get a booster?

    “No (not unless in specific demographics and not frequently enough anyway)”

    Still get free tests?


    See the data?


    Wear a mask?

    “If you must, but we will relentlessly mock you”

    End Quote by wendy cronin.

    Actually, I don’t get mocked for wearing a mask, I get ignored and/or avoided. That’s great. It improves my safety more.

    As the pandemicene worsens and interacts with climate change we will see one of two responses from functional nations. They will respond to these dangers appropriately or they will become non-functional.

  23. That Swedish study was from data collected at the very beginning of Covid and therefore pre vaccination.

    There has been a number of studies showing that vaccination gives a superior cover to infection.

    A suitably qualified epidemiologist should be able to supply a better interpretation of this study.

  24. Rog,

    1. A study of this length perforce looks at pre-vaccination (unvaxxed) cases. COVID-19 is a new and rapidly evolving disease. We won’t be able to fully study long COVID incidence and severity in vaxxed persons long term until a similar lapse of time. Even then, the results will have many confounding variables. For example, which variant(s) and which vaccine(s), and when, did each patient have and have mixed with their own medical preconditions?

    2. Nobody at the John Snow project and nobody currently active on this blog has ever said that infection gives a better and/or safer cover than vaccination. We all understand and say that vaccination gives a superior and safer cover than infection.

    Perhaps you are trying to say that there will be less long-COVID now that many people are vaccinated. That may well be true. On the balance of probabilities it likely is true.
    However, the safest path with respect to COVID-19 is to never catch it. Vaccines give only temporary and partial protection. The vaccines are not a perfect shield to illness or death or long covid for that matter. And let us not forget that many people are not getting their follow-up vaccine boosters. Vaccine effects wear off after 6 months plus. We need to reduce transmission.

    Our problem has been tolerating COVID-19 pandemicity-endemicity. (We needn’t argue the technicalities of those terms here.) We should have used and kept in place multiple controls to drive C-19 to near elimination. Multiple controls include TTIQMF (Test, trace, isolate, quarantine, mask, filter.) We should still re-implement those controls, formally and legally. Any other path condemns us to a future of most of dying from C-19 or having shortened lives from it. Multiple infections will equal immune system damage, autoimmune damage and premature immunosensence for many, maybe even most people.

    The future looks very grim if we don’t stop this virus. SARS-CoV-2 as a novel pathogen is sui generis. We have never seen anything like it before. It is extremely contagious, wrecks all systems in the body, including the immune system itself, and there is no lasting immunity to it. It is highly immune evasive.

    I think Professor Brendan Crabb is the expert you want.

  25. If you are wanting to spend all day reading studies then consider this, from the peer reviewed journal of the prestigious ISID

    “• In a population-based dataset, 2.0% of patients with COVID-19 had post-COVID-19 condition (PCC).

    • The cumulative incidence was higher among women than men (2.3% vs 1.6%).

    • Among hospitalized (intensive care) patients with COVID-19 (n = 2509), 36.9% had PCC.

    • Among non-hospitalized patients with COVID-19 (n = 478,241), 1.5% had PCC.

    • Compared with patients without PCC, patients with PCC were older and had a tertiary education.

    As the recent parliamentary enquiry into Covid found, we just don’t know enough about long Covid to form an opinion let alone a policy.

    Obviously more research needs to be done.

  26. We know more than enough about COVID and long Covid to know that we don’t want to catch it. We know enough of its dangers to know that is much more dangerous (at least 10 times more dangerous) than seasonal flu. We know it has added a new 3rd most common cause of death in Australia. We know enough to form an opinion and policies on the basis of the precautionary principle and concerns about fat tail or long tail risk. We know enough now to be very cautious and apply (re-apply) multiple measures to reduce transmission rates to as near elimination levels as possible. Any other opinion is founded in denialism of the real and extensive human and economic harms we are suffering as a population from COVID-19.

    Obviously, more research still needs to be done too. Obviously, more data collection needs to be done also. So why did they reduce testing so markedly? It doesn’t stack up. Something stinks (actually many things stink) in the current denialist policy settings.

  27. I just attended my local medical clinic for a check-up which I could not sensibly avoid or delay unless I wanted to run significant risks of undetected skin cancer. There’s the “balance” of current health policies: risk developing undetected skin cancer or risk catching COVID-19.

    No doctors or staff were masking: not even in blue baggies. Myself (N95) and one woman (blue baggy) with a child (oversized adult N95) were the only ones masking and waiting outside like me. The waiting room had about a dozen patients waiting and two staff there.

    My doctor accepted that I had a mask on but did not don one himself. I held my breath when I took my mask off for the face check bit. Overall, he’s a good doctor and I like him and his approach. I am fairly reticent and ill-confident in person (as opposed to my overcompensating online persona) so I did not ask him to mask. It’s just disappointing that C-19 dangers are so underplayed by the deliberate false narratives surrounding it: false narratives perpetrated by business and business-captured government.

    I mentioned it was six months since my fourth COVID-19 vaccination. Doc said that’s too long and most of the protection wears off by 3 months. I thought it might be 4 months and I thought after the 4th some protection would linger to 6 months at least. Well, not according to my doctor. I do intend to get a 5th vax soon but we (wife and I) are trying to finesse the timing 5th for holiday purposes. Meanwhile we hard isolate indefinitely at home but for absolutely necessary medical/dental/pharmacy visits.

    If the above is still true (protection wears off substantially after 3 or 4 months even for any booster) then why is the government pushing towards (it seems) only one vax a year or at the most two? Clearly, this policy leaves vulnerable windows for infection of anyone and everyone. They government are clearing relying infection immunity which is inferior and acquired with vastly more risk. The hybrid immunity thesis is balderdash. The risks far outweigh the benefits.

    This is a bad faith policy, very bad faith. It is clearly dishonest, callous and penny-pinching. There are protection holes you drive a Mac truck through. Clearly almost nobody cares and certainly nobody with power or wealth cares.

    I’ll make this prediction. One day they *will* care but by then it will be too late for most of them. Catching COVID-19 over and over is playing Russian Roulette with your health. Sooner or later you get a bad outcome. And it’s Russian Roulette with no prize pot for the larger majority, only dangers. The only prize pot is for the rich who can surround themselves with special protections, treatments and priveleges. For the rest of us it is a very negative sum game.

    Disclosure: Thankfully, my nonagenarian F.I.L. got over his Covid-19 bout and is well enough to date. His sense of taste and smell returned. It’s early days yet of course. He was qaud vaxxed with the last being 6 months ago. He has good genes (obviously being a nonagenerian) and has always eaten well and looked after his health – non smoker all his life for example and used to have two beers a week, at most. He received anti-virals I believe although nobody tells us much. He said it was a bad experience “worse than the flu”.

    His case is anecdotal of course. The broad, society-wide statistics show that C-19 is still the third most frequent cause of death in Australia. Why do we continue to largely ignore C-19 and our full possible range of protections? It is simply so the rich can get richer. It’s all about the money. The lives of other people meaning nothing to the rich and privileged. They have demonstrated this throughout history.

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