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Everything posted by Paxter

  1. Not the biggest story to come out of this crisis by any means...but WA's beloved Rottnest Island is about to be used once again for internment (this time as a quarantine station for cruise passengers). The last time this happened was WWII, when it was used to detain suspected enemy aliens (Italians).
  2. For sure Canada has some inherent weaknesses (winter only just ended, land border with the US, unfortunate timing with Spring Break returns). But Canada locked down sooner and more comprehensively than Australia. Aus is basically operating on the premise that community transmission is/has been low. If that assumption proves wrong, then Aus could see a dramatic uptick in cases in the nearish future.
  3. Countries with experience in managing pandemics do seem to have the upper hand though. Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan are all reporting a lower absolute number of infections than Australia, despite closer proximity to the original epicentre. One wild card that seems to have upset the public health response in Australia in the last week or so is arriving cruise ships.
  4. All done with Flaubert's Madame Bovary. This was a great read, seemingly way ahead of its time in focusing on the everyday travails of a woman wanting so much more from life than it can give. I finished the novel feeling depleted; as much as it was a fun read with no shortage of comic relief, Flaubert certainly didn't have the most rosy view of the civilised/human world. I was lucky to stumble on Lydia Davis' translation, and would recommend it to anyone interested. Now resuming my slog...Stone of Farewell.
  5. MG was as well attended as ever AFAIK. On a sample size of 1: I was there this year and haven't gotten sick in the nearly four weeks since :P.
  6. Yeah the modelling I’ve seen suggests that the lockdown has to last months rather than weeks - otherwise you achieve only delay. ETA: Also, finally, the NRL season has been suspended. What a farce that was.
  7. Sanity prevailed with the AFL. The NRL is taking a “fuck it” approach.
  8. Serves me right for posting late at night...you’re right that it wasn’t a matter of “could”. Again, it seems that the Govt is doing a better job of responding economically than health-wise. The stimulus package is good, but the shutdown seems (at least from afar) chaotic and unnecessarily late.
  9. I think K is assuming that you weren’t able to close down borders early enough to avoid community transmission. Which is indeed the case in Australia as I understand it.
  10. Looks like Bondi and social distancing don’t mix...
  11. Personally I’m not convinced that the Australian border closure happened anywhere near early enough to create a clear advantage vis a vis northern hemisphere countries. And Australians are still returning home now in large numbers (the latest being a cruise ship). Plus Australia is now lagging the world on social distancing by keeping businesses trading.
  12. Yeah I think we are still weeks away from being able to tell whether the public health impact is going to be similar or different across these two (reasonably) similar countries.
  13. Just to build on something I said earlier...I actually think now that Australia has got their overall response quite wrong. The Government has taken the middle road between two extremes and I think they have erred too far towards #2. Shutting the country down as early as possible, causing massive economic pain, but giving the health care system the best possible chance of coping. If after a month or so things are under control, then you could at this point start to relax certain policy settings (while monitoring the transmission rate very carefully!) Keep things open as much as possible, mitigating the economic pain, but effectively playing Russian Roulette with people's lives and risking an Italy (or worse)-style situation.
  14. Qantas has now grounded its entire international fleet. I basically just have to hope that my family stays healthy now - it’s going to be tough to get back to Perth in the next couple of months, even in a life or death scenario.
  15. An annoying minor thing - but why are we still playing footy? I know that sport is important to us...but putting $ ahead of player safety is not the way to go. There is a good reason most other codes around the world have suspended play.
  16. I'm hoping that (by now), most supermarkets won't let you stock up by making panic purchases! It's a very minor point in the scheme of things, but the major grocery stores should have been wising up to hoarders much earlier than they have.
  17. Makes sense - thanks. Italy looks like less of an outlier and more of a predictor based on that information.
  18. I'm interested in any reasons people are aware of for the dramatically different scenarios in Germany vs. Spain and Italy. Germany's number of confirmed cases is now increasing by over 1,000 daily, but they are reporting just 27 fatalities overall.
  19. Canada is a net food exporter, so I'm not as worried as others about the food supply. Fresh food is a different story, but you can't stockpile that anyway. I am more concerned about medical supplies and the health care system in general. My family members back home in Australia are struggling to get access to Ventolin, for example. I'm just hoping that enough capacity building is happening behind the scenes in Canadian health-care land.
  20. Hmmm...I'm probably not as sanguine as you Jeor. I think the Government's performance in this crisis has been OK, but they aren't going as far yet as some of the SARS-affected countries, or even other western countries like Canada. We have been in a full lockdown for a while now, despite having around the same number of confirmed cases as Australia. And Canada has a similar profile in terms of health care, banking and budget wiggle-room. The comparative numbers from around the end of next week onwards (after the incubation period) will be interesting.
  21. Yes, I think the Italian fatality rate stats would be way off given testing limitations. But the absolute number of deaths is getting high - they will overtake China in the next couple of days.
  22. Yes, somewhat ironically, the banking sector could be a source of strength in the early stages of this crisis. They are pretty well capitalised, so some of that capital can now be used to absorb credit losses from critical sectors (e.g. small businesses). The trouble for the banks will be if their (gigantic) mortgage portfolios are stressed by unemployment as the crisis wears on.
  23. Good move K. Some quick comments based on the ever-changing state of affairs: Australia should "go early" on things like aged care/hospital visits, businesses activating business continuity plans etc. to flatten the curve. We also need to go much further on financial support for businesses and vulnerable groups. Our debt to GDP ratio is low compared to our peers and we have a AAA rating - it's time to make use of that wriggle room. Upcoming decisions around business closures/local or regional lockdowns etc. will be critical from an economic standpoint. A services-based economy can only go so long in lockdown without causing widespread unemployment, which will have flow-on effects to the housing market. In the UK, BoJo seems to have made a decision not to sacrifice the economy, while Spain and Italy (and, sort-of, France) look likely to go the other way. The economic impact on Australia will be much greater than the Financial Crisis. We were basically shielded from that crisis by small exposures to the US housing market and a rising China. The Government will likely have to do some things it did during the Crisis (e.g. increasing the deposit guarantee to $1m; guaranteeing wholesale funding of banks; fiscal and monetary stimulus) and some things it did not (e.g. targeted bailouts of key industries).
  24. Hugs TWS. Sounds like a shitty situation. My first day of working from home is tomorrow, most of my colleagues assume this will go on for at least a couple of months. I’m at least looking forward to the sleep ins!
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