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Aussies and NZers: Jabs, Jobs and (grounded) Jets


Paxter
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Jacinda Ardern has apparently now abandoned the elimination strategy with cases in Auckland still stubbornly persisting.

Just goes to show you that with Delta, I think it's really just a matter of luck (QLD having been lucky so far). I know people question NSW's methods as they took a little too long to lock down, but we're seeing places like Victoria, the ACT and New Zealand all undergo 7+ weeks of strict lockdowns and they're still unable to stamp out Delta. So I think to some extent that shows how little control we have over the virus.

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The media is getting a bit ahead of itself there (of course they are, the fuckers have been a collection of Lord Haw Haws from Day One, systematically undermining the response at every turn). What has happened is that we basically eliminated the virus among the law-abiding community, and it has been circulating among the criminal gangs - who don't obey lockdown rules, and who lie to contact tracers. It's basically become a case of trying to keep the compliant community safe while it burns through the unvaccinated muppets. Which, alas, will take a long time. Keeping it confined to Auckland is also a priority, as is getting every man and his dog vaccinated. We'll see how things stand in a month's time.

I happen to think the Government has buckled a bit under sheer media pressure, but we're still at a fraction of the peak cases a month or so ago, 29 cases today is also a far cry from the insanity across the Tasman. We *do* have control over the virus (even sabotaged by muppets and the media), as 29 daily cases is very different from 1000.     

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NZ certainly has more control over the virus than Sydney or Melbourne, and that counts for a lot in terms of health outcomes and hospital load etc. But the "short and sharp" lockdown for Auckland has gone for over 7 weeks now - and for some punters the lockdown and ultimately its effects are what counts, more than the case numbers. It's similar to the ACT, which has had cases in fairly controllable numbers (usually fewer than 50) but who have been stuck in lockdown for just about as long as Sydney (11 weeks or so I think).

Don't get me wrong, having low case numbers (and lower than Sydney/Melbourne) is great for many reasons, but while the lockdown itself is still in place which creates a situation akin to Sydney/Melbourne for all of its residents, that's a big fly in the ointment.

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Prof. Shaun Hendy, an independent NZ COVID modeller and supporter of lockdowns came out today and said the govt moved to level 3 too soon and that a few more weeks at level 4 would have got us to elimination. Maybe he's wrong, but he's a lot better at this stuff than any of us are, so I'm inclined to believe he may be right. And his view happens to align with my view that the govt moved to soften the lockdown too soon.

Too many prominent people who are against this government decided it was more important to take the government down a peg or two than to actually achieve elimination once again and allow the govt a free shot at proving it can be done. It would all but guarantee massive popularity returning to the government if elimination was achieved. And they just couldn't have that. It was not just that direct undermining attempt, it gave businesses cover to also pressure the government behind the scenes. It was effective enough that the govt caved in to a level 3 decision before it should have, and has now caved in to further loosening things up that will very probably lead to a further rise in cases and a good chance of the infection spreading further out of Auckland.

Just because it's cycling through the underbelly of society doesn't mean the govt will be able to be effective at keeping it there. It's not like that group of people doesn't interact with the rest of the society around them.

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I would argue that the extended Auckland lockdown has been extremely effective (much more so than in, say, fatigued Victoria) and bent the Delta curve as hoped for in time for more vaccinations to be deployed. The “short, sharp lockdown” thing was a nice idea in theory, but I never saw that as practical. Covid zero is also unlikely once borders are more open, regardless of vaccinations. 

As for “insanity across the Tasman”…I would say that’s an overreach. Australia still has extremely strong health outcomes during the pandemic compared to virtually all international peers. I wouldn’t lose sight of that just because it compares poorly to one jurisdiction (NZ).

Edited by Paxter
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Having said the above I don't think the govt is totally disappointed to have failed to get all the way to zero, in hindsight. There is no longer a need to face the question of how / when they let COVID-19 into the country. Since it is already here completely by accident and in the community it's just a question of when lockdowns are removed from the toolbox, and a simple (simplistic) vaccination target can be established for that. Ardern has already said that if the Waikato had been at 90% vaccinated it would not have gone into lockdown, so that's a benchmark of sorts. Get to 90% and your region won't face a lockdown. Only Wellington, Auckland and the deep south are is somewhat close to that.

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14 hours ago, Jeor said:

Jacinda Ardern has apparently now abandoned the elimination strategy with cases in Auckland still stubbornly persisting.

Just goes to show you that with Delta, I think it's really just a matter of luck (QLD having been lucky so far). I know people question NSW's methods as they took a little too long to lock down, but we're seeing places like Victoria, the ACT and New Zealand all undergo 7+ weeks of strict lockdowns and they're still unable to stamp out Delta. So I think to some extent that shows how little control we have over the virus.

I do genuinely believe that if everyone (or even 95%+) had followed the rules we would be out of lockdown back with 0 cases in the community by now. But compliance was not good. It is in the gangs but even outside of those I think there have been a large number of breaches across the entire country. It's a bit of a pity because even inspite of those I feel we were really close to stopping it again before level 4 ended. Now without going right back to a hard lockdown, which there is no political will to do, it is out of hand. 

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31 minutes ago, Paxter said:

So NSW goes from having one of the most progressive Liberal leaders in the country to one of the most conservative. Vote was 39-5.

Yay.

Again, well fuck. I'd like to think he's much too radically conservative for NSW and will get booted at the next election but there's a lot of damage that can be done in 18 months.

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20 hours ago, karaddin said:

Again, well fuck. I'd like to think he's much too radically conservative for NSW and will get booted at the next election but there's a lot of damage that can be done in 18 months.

The only silver lining is that a deal was clearly done with the moderates to make him Premier. So the likes of Keen, Hazzard, Speakman (all ministers under Berejiklian) should be able to balance things out in Cabinet. Keen’s promotion must surely have been part of the deal.

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NSW will still be the first state in Aus up and running as close as possible to normal again.

Don't get stuck in Queensland without the ability to come home if you did wanna leave. With a government who spent millions if not billions (commercial in confidence you see) on afl finals, SOOs, Olympics bids, state grants to sporting venues, NRL finals and a vaccination hub that is unlikely to ever get used but is now going to the Scomo with cap in hand saying they don't have enough money for the health system. If only they'd had 18 months to get the health system up to a standard where an outbreak could be handled...

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1 hour ago, Squab said:

NSW will still be the first state in Aus up and running as close as possible to normal again.

Don't get stuck in Queensland without the ability to come home if you did wanna leave. With a government who spent millions if not billions (commercial in confidence you see) on afl finals, SOOs, Olympics bids, state grants to sporting venues, NRL finals and a vaccination hub that is unlikely to ever get used but is now going to the Scomo with cap in hand saying they don't have enough money for the health system. If only they'd had 18 months to get the health system up to a standard where an outbreak could be handled...

Every state and territory leader signed the same letter calling on the Federal Government to extend the temporary 50/50 health funding increase in view of the current pandemic. It suits SCOMO and Hunt politically to direct their attack against the Queensland Government rather than the LNP premier of Tasmania, who has stated he won't be opening borders until his state has achieved 90% vaccination rate. I agree there are some reasonable criticisms to be made of allowing sportspeople and celebrities into states ahead of ordinary people, though not sure that QLD is the only offender. 

The Coalition government are being a teensy bit hypocritical, given they had the same 18 months to get vaccine procurement and rollout right, not to mention more effective quarantine arrangements.

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1 hour ago, Wall Flower said:

Every state and territory leader signed the same letter calling on the Federal Government to extend the temporary 50/50 health funding increase in view of the current pandemic. It suits SCOMO and Hunt politically to direct their attack against the Queensland Government rather than the LNP premier of Tasmania, who has stated he won't be opening borders until his state has achieved 90% vaccination rate. I agree there are some reasonable criticisms to be made of allowing sportspeople and celebrities into states ahead of ordinary people, though not sure that QLD is the only offender. 

The Coalition government are being a teensy bit hypocritical, given they had the same 18 months to get vaccine procurement and rollout right, not to mention more effective quarantine arrangements.

Never get between a state leader and a bucket of money. Or any politician really.

If only the Queensland government had been given 12, maybe 18, months notice... They might have had time to get the heath system ready.

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29 minutes ago, Squab said:

Never get between a state leader and a bucket of money. Or any politician really.

If only the Queensland government had been given 12, maybe 18, months notice... They might have had time to get the heath system ready.

It's not about preparing but about the additional costs involved. My sister is an emergency/recovery nurse in Port Macquarie. Even in a regional LGA with only a few cases, they have had to set up, equip and staff two separate emergency wards, in addition to setting up and staffing testing and vaccine hubs. Not to mention the additional costs of providing all medical staff with PPE.

Where I live, in Canberra, the government has set up a number of testing and vaccination hubs, built a surge capacity centre, recruited additional medical staff, provided outreach support to several affected age care home, etc. At the start of the outbreak, we had a lot of medical staff isolating as close contacts which put enormous strain on existing staff levels, hence the urgent need for additional recruitment. Our government is also putting work into ensuring better vaccine coverage in the indigenous population and disability sectors, two health issues that should be the Fed's responsibility.

The Federal Government is pushing states and territories to open up but the realities of managing this won't be their problem and, as usual, they are already quick to blame shift when it works to their political advantage.

 

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Minor axe grinding but I can’t help myself: Aussies living away from home, whether interstate or abroad, need to suck it up a bit. Yeah, we may have to go another Christmas without seeing family and it sucks. And it’s been very hard (but not impossible) to get home over the past two years, either on free repat flights or at our own expense. I’ve seen my family once since 2019. But the end is in sight and I think we can all wait a few more months to allow for the right transition on borders.

The strict border policy is shitty but it’s kept my family and friends safe this past two years and I’m grateful for that!

Edited by Paxter
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23 hours ago, Paxter said:

The only silver lining is that a deal was clearly done with the moderates to make him Premier. 

I was clinging to this - thought he must've given reassurances that he wasn't going to kill a lot of people via covid and lose them the next election. But he's just announced the first acceleration in the reopening roadmap (ditching mask requirements which are frankly the last thing that should go), abandoning the covid briefings altogether, and giving economics experts more of a say in the recovery plan (presumably at the expense of the health experts). This could end quite badly.

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Aaand there go a load more restrictions. NSW & Vic were (are) already playing quite fast and loose with the doherty modelling to justify their reopening plans. This has just completely thrown it out the window in NSW - only marginal attempts at suppression are now happening after 80%.

Edited by Impmk2
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Yes, this was a disaster of a press conference. Perrottet has just tacked very hard to the right, renaming the COVID-19 committee the "COVID-19 and Economics Recovery Committee" and saying flat out that Kerry Chant's advice has to also be weighed against economic factors. Then doing away with a lot of restrictions all at once, including masks in office buildings.

Makes me sad to see this as a self-confessed moderate Liberal voter. The state Liberal party had hit upon a winning formula with centrist, competent, non-ideological leaders like O'Farrell, Baird and Berejiklian and one would have hoped they'd learn from this. But it's clear that a number of Liberals have been chafing at the bit to get more political/ideological and Perrottet has been their standard bearer. I think this will give Labor a big opportunity at the next state election in 18 months' time.

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Yeah this is potentially going to be a hot mess; maybe a version of what Premier Kenney has served up in Alberta (resulting in new restrictions and ICU well over capacity).

Thankfully Perignon wasn’t the author of the original roadmap. Gladys was probably in long enough to avoid complete disaster.

Edited by Paxter
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