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Covid 19 #26: Now is the Winter of Our Discontent

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7 minutes ago, Luzifer's right hand said:

There is a scandal about FFP2 masks here in Austria. A company ordered masks from China and added fake certificates.

The company responsible had been on the radar in a negative way because of masks that failed tests before by corrupt politicians insisted on ordering from the company again. The company even had a hidden facilty in the basement with clandestine employees that "produced" most of the masks... You can't make that shit up. Millions of these masks have been sold in Austria. 

Not the first such scandal as masks used by health care workers have been withdrawn before after it was discovered that the certificates were fake and that they did not work correctly.

Wait - that's only just reached Austria?
We had to ditch any PPE bought from China back in June due to fake certificates.

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12 hours ago, Padraig said:

 

Edited to add.  And this is a fascinating article from bloomberg on Pfizer.

Can you do some relevant quotes from that article, it won’t let me see it.

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, Which Tyler said:

Wait - that's only just reached Austria?
We had to ditch any PPE bought from China back in June due to fake certificates.

An Austrian company bought such Chinese masks and put their own label on them. Fake Austrian and also Hungarian certificates in some cases. 

Edit: We switched to local companies because of the problems with Chinese masks... 

It was discoverd during a police raid that the masks were not made in Austria. 

 

Edited by Luzifer's right hand

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13 minutes ago, rotting sea cow said:

This is something you could put the blame squarely  on Bill Gates. Reportedly, it was his foundation that recommended Oxford researchers to license the product to AZ instead of making it available to everybody who had the capability.

Someone posted the article here

https://khn.org/news/rather-than-give-away-its-covid-vaccine-oxford-makes-a-deal-with-drugmaker/

No, I wouldn’t blame Bill Gates and neither does that article. All the article says is that Bill Gates told Oxford to team up with someone. As was pointed out the first time that article was posted, just publishing the vaccine formula wouldn’t have helped countries with no capability to manufacture vaccines. Doing a deal with a pharmaceutical company with the ability to rapidly organize a massive manufacturing effort, something Oxford couldn’t do and many countries couldn’t do, only made sense.

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The whole vaccine debate seems a bit pointless to me. It is not about morals(you just need to look at the pay warlords to abuse refugees and prosecute people that want to save lives route the EU has chosen in the mediterranean). The EU is bad at dealing quickly with crisis situations and because of that realpolitik failed it this time and the UK, US and Isreal succeeded.

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4 hours ago, Clueless Northman said:

To be blunt, was Trump still in power, he would be blamed every fucking day for playing America First, no vaccine out of this country until everyone has had it, he would be blamed for not helping long-time allies across the world, he would be blamed for a vaccine isolationist policy, he would be blamed for hijacking vaccines other countries have ordered and paid for.

But suddenly, because this is Saint Biden, it's ok? Fuck that shit, as far as foreign relations are concerned, he's acting barely better than the orange asshole. He could and should have cancelled the executive order.

And then that Bloomberg article Padraig posted stated blankly that Pfizer doses produced late last year in Belgium were sent to the US so that they could make their 20 mio doses delivery, and just when that was over, Pfizer basically said "look, Euros, we're reducing production here for the next weeks because we have work to do on that plant". AZ has been roasted for being suspected of doing the same with UK, but somehow they've all been playing nice with Pfizer which seems to have deliberately pulled off the same shit. So it's basically fine for the US to take what's been produced abroad, but not one dose produced inside the US should be shipped abroad.

I hope EU people and leaders are taking note. I hope that the whole world is taking note that China sends away part of its production, while having to vaccinate 1 bio people, that Russia, which has been badly hit by covid and had high mortality, is shipping significant amounts away as well, but US and UK are the ones hoarding and keeping every bloody dose.

I’ll just go out and say that I would support it if Trump did it too (which was the announced policy by the by) and give the same response.  It is the CORRECT POLICY ANSWER FOR A PARTICULAR COUNTRY, even if it is the “wrong” policy answer for the world.

I actually personally think the US MIGHT be able to get away with sending some to Mexico and Canada because we share a border.  Might.  People understand that and it could be explained.  But I’m telling you, while in the abstract I understand the anxiety and the handwringing and everything else (including the fact that we need to get the whole planet vaccinated) it doesn’t work at this moment.  You don’t withhold a lifesaving anything from your own populace in preference for another country’s people.  You just don’t.   

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2 minutes ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

 You don’t withhold a lifesaving anything from your own populace in preference for another country’s people.  You just don’t.   

So lets see, the EU should forbid any exports to Canada, Japan, Israel, the UK and many others ? Actually the Pfizer plant is in Belgium so should all people of Belgium be vaccinated first and then the EU neighbours and then the rest of the world? That is ridiculous and wrong and it is also ridiculous and wrong of the countries who are doing it in the moment.

 

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It’s worth noting that China and Russia are , let’s be honest, not democratic, and therefore don’t have to worry so much about any uproar if there is a lack of supply of vaccines because they have been exported.

Both those countries are using this crisis as a way of pushing their own soft power and influencing nations around the world.

Ideally yes there would be a push to export more vaccines from the EU, but you can see that they have really struggled to get them to their own population, and I can only imagine the political damage internally if Europeans were dying because they had committed to sending vaccines abroad. 

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7 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

Ideally yes there would be a push to export more vaccines from the EU, but you can see that they have really struggled to get them to their own population, and I can only imagine the political damage internally if Europeans were dying because they had committed to sending vaccines abroad. 

Actually I think you did not follow the discussion, the EU IS allowing exports while others are not. Now they just did forbid one export to Australia by AZ which is in breach of contract with the EU and owns them at least 60 mio doses. I think the uproar about this one export denial in the media of countries which forbid any exports is misplaced.

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1 hour ago, Fragile Bird said:

No, I wouldn’t blame Bill Gates and neither does that article. All the article says is that Bill Gates told Oxford to team up with someone. As was pointed out the first time that article was posted, just publishing the vaccine formula wouldn’t have helped countries with no capability to manufacture vaccines. Doing a deal with a pharmaceutical company with the ability to rapidly organize a massive manufacturing effort, something Oxford couldn’t do and many countries couldn’t do, only made sense.

Just one question.Why is Bill Gates an authority figure when it comes to vaccines? The man was a college dropout and a computer programmer. As far as I know he has no special training on dealing with pandemics, or vaccines, or even vaccine manufacturing. I do realize that he has the money to hire the best people for his foundation, but that does not make him more knowledgeable than anyone else who can read and understand the stuff written about the pandemic.

Of all the logical fallacies one can indulge in, appeal to authority is the most insidious, and the hardest to refute. Just think back to all those iterations of Windows that made you want to tear out your hair.  Do you really want Bill Gates as a front man for all pandemic issues?

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1 hour ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

I’ll just go out and say that I would support it if Trump did it too (which was the announced policy by the by) and give the same response.  It is the CORRECT POLICY ANSWER FOR A PARTICULAR COUNTRY, even if it is the “wrong” policy answer for the world.

I actually personally think the US MIGHT be able to get away with sending some to Mexico and Canada because we share a border.  Might.  People understand that and it could be explained.  But I’m telling you, while in the abstract I understand the anxiety and the handwringing and everything else (including the fact that we need to get the whole planet vaccinated) it doesn’t work at this moment.  You don’t withhold a lifesaving anything from your own populace in preference for another country’s people.  You just don’t.   

I really don't get why this is even a debate. Sure, if you want to have a moral and/or philosophical debate, but when you get back to the real world there's not much to discuss. A country's government is first and foremost responsible to its citizens. To give away a highly in demand to non-citizens in another country while your constituents are begging for it is career suicide. 

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8 minutes ago, maarsen said:

Just one question.Why is Bill Gates an authority figure when it comes to vaccines? The man was a college dropout and a computer programmer. As far as I know he has no special training on dealing with pandemics, or vaccines, or even vaccine manufacturing. I do realize that he has the money to hire the best people for his foundation, but that does not make him more knowledgeable than anyone else who can read and understand the stuff written about the pandemic.

Of all the logical fallacies one can indulge in, appeal to authority is the most insidious, and the hardest to refute. Just think back to all those iterations of Windows that made you want to tear out your hair.  Do you really want Bill Gates as a front man for all pandemic issues?

Money = intelligence to a lot of people in a capitalistic society. It's obviously stupid.

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1 minute ago, Tywin et al. said:

I really don't get why this is even a debate. Sure, if you want to have a moral and/or philosophical debate, but when you get back to the real world there's not much to discuss. A country's government is first and foremost responsible to its citizens. To give away a highly in demand to non-citizens in another country while your constituents are begging for it is career suicide. 

You and I are in perfect agreement on this.  Once the scarcity eases (probably May or June), I think you'll see a slightly different picture.  I also agree with @Heartofice's point about the calculus in China and Russia.  China has used pretty hard line methods to keep the virus under control internally, so it's probably less politically fraught to export vaccine.  I'm not sure what this does in Russia from a political perspective.  Russian politics are super complex and not my area, but I'm guessing Putin has a tight enough grip right now to survive some excess deaths.

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2 hours ago, Fragile Bird said:

No, I wouldn’t blame Bill Gates and neither does that article. All the article says is that Bill Gates told Oxford to team up with someone. As was pointed out the first time that article was posted, just publishing the vaccine formula wouldn’t have helped countries with no capability to manufacture vaccines. Doing a deal with a pharmaceutical company with the ability to rapidly organize a massive manufacturing effort, something Oxford couldn’t do and many countries couldn’t do, only made sense.

Thing is, there are many countries that have that capability (you pointed out that even Canada has some). As we see in the EU, capacity is sitting idly as we see in the deal of Sanofi with J&J and those companies that want to team up with the Russians. These are all vector vaccines with many similarities with the Oxford vaccine.

Now if AZ doesn't want to make a deal with you, you simply cannot.

Of course, having a company with resources help a lot in many things. Or not as we see in the persistent problems with AZ.

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

To give away a highly in demand to non-citizens in another country while your constituents are begging for it is career suicide. 

To be fair they aren't not giving it away. They're, arguably, stopping suppliers exporting it to other people in need which is a bit different. I'm not entirely clear whether the US (or the UK for that matter) are actually doing that, they might have just bought up all the supply from their domestic producers.

Edited by ljkeane

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8 minutes ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

You and I are in perfect agreement on this.  Once the scarcity eases (probably May or June), I think you'll see a slightly different picture.  I also agree with @Heartofice's point about the calculus in China and Russia.  China has used pretty hard line methods to keep the virus under control internally, so it's probably less politically fraught to export vaccine.  I'm not sure what this does in Russia from a political perspective.  Russian politics are super complex and not my area, but I'm guessing Putin has a tight enough grip right now to survive some excess deaths.

Comparing the US with China or Russia is a mistake. Totally different political systems with very different cultures, and frankly, anyone is justified in being skeptical of all three governments, especially if you don't live in one of the countries. Is it true that some countries with means are being more egalitarian than others? Yes, of course, but then to apply that to the U.S. without considering the political realities of a given country is shortsighted, and I'll say it again, making an argument that sounds good at a dinner party yet would be terrible at a policy meeting isn't a great way to make governing decisions. 

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

Comparing the US with China or Russia is a mistake. Totally different political systems with very different cultures, and frankly, anyone is justified in being skeptical of all three governments, especially if you don't live in one of the countries. Is it true that some countries with means are being more egalitarian than others? Yes, of course, but then to apply that to the U.S. without considering the political realities of a given country is shortsighted, and I'll say it again, making an argument that sounds good at a dinner party yet would be terrible at a policy meeting isn't a great way to make governing decisions. 

To be clear, I agree.  The US (or EU for that matter) calculus is totally different in terms of our political situation and also the pandemic reality on the ground.  

Separately, but relatedly, I continue to take the world in 2 week increments.  It's still really, really hard to project out beyond that.  I think the debate on vaccine availability/variant spread, etc. etc., is going to look different in two weeks because there are a lot of factors and unknowns that confound perfect modeling.  

Edited by Mlle. Zabzie

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11 minutes ago, ljkeane said:

To be fair they aren't not giving it away. They're, arguably, stopping suppliers exporting it to other people in need which is a bit different. I'm not entirely clear whether the US (or the UK for that matter) are actually doing that, they might have just bought up all the supply from their domestic producers.

I think the fairest assessment is that there is simply too much conflicting information, traveling between so many countries with competing interests, and that the subject is so complicated that very few individuals could understand the entire complexity of it all. 

What we should hope and strive for is wealthy nations to take on the burden of helping poorer nations, but if those governments are comprised of elected officials, you have to be realistic in that they will try to take care of their own first. Coldly, any suggestion by a given government that they're trying to help other nations before they truly help their own is PR bullshit that's probably toothless. 

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2 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

What we should hope and strive for is wealthy nations to take on the burden of helping poorer nations, but if those governments are comprised of elected officials, you have to be realistic in that they will try to take care of their own first. Coldly, any suggestion by a given government that they're trying to help other nations before they truly help their own is PR bullshit that's probably toothless. 

No one discusses not helping their own before helping others. No one proposes giving all vaccine away to others and having none for themselves. This is about cooperating and sharing. To forbid all exports on vaccines and vaccine raw materials may help one nation in a short time frame. But cooperation and the reduction of trade barriers makes more vaccine for all in the long run. Perhaps today one nation has all the vials and the next all the syringes? A bann on export isnt helping anyone then is it?

 

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25 minutes ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

To be clear, I agree.  Our calculus is totally different in terms of our political situation and also the pandemic reality on the ground.  

I know, we both see this issue eye to eye.

Quote

Separately, but relatedly, I continue to take the world in 2 week increments.  It's still really, really hard to project out beyond that.  I think the debate on vaccine availability/variant spread, etc. etc., is going to look different in two weeks because there are a lot of factors and unknowns that confound perfect modeling.  

Now this I disagree with. We just have to accept that many of our long term predictions are wrong, but we still need to make as many of them as possible to plan for future events. 

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