Wednesday 22nd of September 2021

mom's dumbbells...






















The right-wing commentariat — especially in the Daily Telegraph (I am not allowed to call it Daily Shittograph anymore) and (dark) Sky News, the home of Scomo’s barking dogs — had a field day at bagging “Dictator Dan”, Daniel Andrews, the Premier of Victoria who imposed drastic lockdowns when Melbourne was “infected” with Covid-19. They used New South Wales Premier as an example of good governance… Great this, great that, Gladys B could not place a foot wrong, despite her shitty love affair with a certain Daryl which could have lead to some corruption of intent. Now it appears that New South Wales is "A State Run by Mom Gladys…"


You need to dig into the future… Mom is the evil chief executive officer and shareholder of 99.7% of Momcorp, one of the largest industrial conglomerates in the universe and the source of most of Earth's robots. She is also one of the main antagonists of the Futurama series. So there… But our Glad isn’t as bad as Mom


As one of the richest people on Earth, she maintains her public image as a sweet, matronly figure through the use of things such as a fat-suit, a heart-shaped hairdo and putting on a facade which casts her as the friendly mother of all robots hiding her True Persona.


Mom’s true personality is best described as misanthropic, two-faced, pure greedy, sinister, cunning, narcissistic, foul-mouthed, intensely arrogant, harsh-tempered, megalomaniac, ruthless, scheming, cold-hearted, argumentative, cruel, witty, wrathful, callous, resourceful, neglectful, uncaring, sophisticated, evil, malevolent, resentful and above all a true sociopath.


No, our Gladys isn’t like Mom… She is a pussycat that has tried to engross herself with the public of New South Wales, and all would seem to be purring along, if she had known not to pile the dirt on “Dictator Dan” in a superior manner. Humble cake is hard to swallow in big chunk.

Now, we’ve become her prisoners:


A ring of steel has come down around three council areas responsible for at least 80 per cent of Sydney’s cases as the NSW premier warned the city was failing to quash the virus.

Restrictions were tightened for the third time in as many weeks including all but essential shops now forced to close and bosses facing penalties for making people attend work.

Residents of the worst-affected areas of Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool are not allowed to stray past their council boundaries until July 30 unless they work in health or emergency services.


“I can’t remember a time when our state has been challenged to such an extent,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

“Not a single one of these decisions was taken lightly.”

Sydney’s lockdown crackdown comes as Victorian authorities said their decision to go hard and early with a five-day lockdown was vindicated in the latest case numbers.

Although 18 of the 19 new cases reported in Victoria on Saturday were not in insolation for the entirety of their infectious period, on average each only spent 1.7 days in the community before they were picked up.

“All I can say is the response couldn’t have been better. The judgements that have been made around a hard and fast lockdown have been the right ones. And that’s got us on a good track,” said Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton.

However Victorians have been told to prepare for a possible extension to the lockdown which was due to end midnight Tuesday, with authorities noting: it’s a day-by-day proposition.

“Every Victorian needs to ready themselves for what might emerge over the next 24/48 hours,” said Mr Sutton.

“We’ve got settings in place until Tuesday midnight and we will make another assessment every day over the next three days.”


On Saturday authorities estimated there were 10,000 “primary close contacts” in Victoria as the number of exposure sites stretched towards 200, with 19 new locally acquired cases.

The latest case count took the number of diagnoses in the current Victorian outbreak to 43, all linked to a known source.

Some 12 million Australian residents are under COVID-19 lockdown, with the rest are living with some form of travel restriction, as Australians remain in the dark over the rate of vaccinations needed for the country to reopen.

NSW reported 111 new community cases of the virus on Saturday along with the death of a man in his 80s.

At least 29 of 111 were also infectious before going into isolation, a number authorities say is too high.

Tougher restrictions apply to the entire Greater Sydney region.

From Sunday, supermarkets, pharmacies, banks and few other retailers will be allowed to open and will have to operate with ‘click and collect’ or takeaway.

Construction sites, large or small, will be shut.

All office workers and others working from home should not be pressured to go in to work, with employers to potentially incur a $10,000 fine if they push staff to attend.

Ms Berejiklian defended the measures taken to curb the outbreak so far, saying they had prevented “thousands and thousands” of cases and the further restrictions were a “no-regrets policy”.

‘Unfathomable’ COVID breaches

A coronavirus case who left isolation to buy dumbbells and three virus-infected removalists who travelled to regional NSW are among more than 150 people fined for breaching COVID rules in the past 24 hours.

NSW Police attended more than 1000 COVID-related jobs on Friday, with more than half coming from tip-offs to Crime Stoppers.

In total, 162 fines were issued and 18 people charged for breaches of the Public Health Act.

Among them was a 25-year-old aged care worker from Mt Druitt who was fined $1000 after police discovered he drove to Blacktown to buy dumbbell weights.




a drug boom...

The Consequences of the Coronavirus Pandemic are Dire


By Valery Kulikov


More than four million people worldwide have died from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University. Three countries account for more than one third of all the deaths in the world: the largest number is in the United States, with 606,000, accounting for 15% of all deaths, followed by Brazil and India. However, given the difficulty of accurately tracking the spread of the virus, especially in developing countries, many experts believe that the total number of deaths in the world is substantially higher than official figures. For example, according to the conservative estimates by the WHO, it can be confidently stated that the pandemic has claimed 6-8 million victims.

The Director-General of the International Labor Organization, Guy Ryder, stated that the global crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has effectively destroyed the results of all efforts aimed at reducing poverty among working-age citizens over the previous five years. Experts estimate that 220 million people this year will not be able to find work, and if governments do not take drastic measures, soon even more people may be below the poverty line than existed before the pandemic.

The pandemic has widened the gap between the rich and the poor, writes Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine. While the gap between rich and poor four years before the coronavirus pandemic had slightly narrowed, it widened again last year. According to the research center run by Credit Suissebank, 1.1% of the adult population across the planet owns almost 46% of the privately held wealth, meaning a total of $192 trillion! When analyzing the situation by region, it appears that the wealth held by people in North America, Europe, China and the Asia-Pacific region increased significantly in 2020, while the population’s wealth declined in Latin America and India. For example, it was discovered that 22 million people who are USD millionaires live in the United States, with 5.3 million in China and just under 3 million in Germany.

The number of French billionaires has grown from 95 to 109 since June 2020, and the total wealth held by the 500 richest people in the largest country in Western Europe has increased by 30%. These are the assessments of the business publication Challenges, which has been compiling an annual rating of the wealthiest citizens in the Fifth Republic for one quarter of a century.

According to a report by the British nongovernmental organization Oxfam that was prepared in January, the money that the ten largest billionaires have amassed during the pandemic crisis would have been enough to put an end to poverty and pay for vaccinations around the world, UN Secretary General António Guterres stated. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the world has become very fragile, and has entered the worst economic crisis encountered over the last century, Antonio Guterres emphasized at The Davos Agenda. The diplomat believes that the pandemic has exposed world ills such as the income inequality that exists between people and countries. According to Oxfam, since March 2020, the wealth held by the 10 richest people in the world has increased by $540 billion. At the same time, “the billions of people who were living on the edge of poverty at the beginning of the pandemic no longer have either the income or support to survive the crisis,” said Danny Sriskandarajah, the CEO of Oxfam GB. During the same period of time, a small group of people has accumulated more money than they can spend in their entire lives.

In the United States, an increasing number of residents have to deal with mushrooming medical debt, and the crisis in the economy and in the labor market in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is only exacerbating the situation, American media emphasize. At the same time, statistics show that low-income citizens and people of color living in the US, are having the hardest time coping with debt.

In the pandemic, various schemes in the fight against COVID-19 in many Western countries have taken on an unprecedented scale, due to which criminal groups lining their pockets by taking advantage of people’s troubles is occurring at an unprecedented rate.

So according to experts in the field of combating fraud, the United States alone lost about $400 billion due to fake applications for unemployment benefits, reports Insider. Specialists believe that altogether half of the benefit payments were stolen, and most of the funds ultimately left the country and were deposited with criminal groups in third-world countries.

Opposition parties in Germany have accused the government of embezzling money allocated by government agencies for COVID testing. Those charges first surfaced in late May, following reports that test centers operated by the company MediCan were putting in claims for financial reimbursement from the government for hundreds of COVID-19 tests that were never performed. German Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn, although distancing himself from the embezzlement allegations, was forced to order that another investigation be conducted.

According to a study done by Transparency International, almost one third of EU residents were forced to use their personal connections to gain access to health services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey also found that one in five people in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Lithuania had paid bribes to see a healthcare professional. As the authors of the report emphasize, these results are troubling, because using connections to obtain a vaccine, or a slot in a hospital, can lead to the death of people who are not as well-protected. “The EU is often viewed as a stronghold of integrity, but these results show that countries across the region remain vulnerable to the insidious effects of corruption,” said Transparency International Chair Delia Ferreira Rubio.

Losses to the world economy from the collapse of tourism could amount to more than $4 trillion, it follows from a study conducted at the UN. It was reported that in 2020 the decline in the tourism industry was 73% compared to the previous year, and in 2021, according to experts, a similar decline can be expected.

Another horrific consequence of the coronavirus pandemic is that the world has become addicted to cannabis: the pandemic has turned into a drug boom, according to a report released on June 24 by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna. About 275 million people in the world used drugs last year. On top of that, more than 36 million people suffered from disorders related to drug use. As follows from the document, most of the countries mentioned in it reported an increase in the use of cannabis (marijuana) amidst the global pandemic due to the coronavirus infection COVID-19. In addition, there has been an increase in the use of pharmaceuticals that contain cannabis for non-medical purposes.

Pondering on the possible consequences stemming from the pandemic, experts warn against being overly optimistic, especially over the long term. In particular, they point to potential threats posed to stability in the future, and to the aggravation of pre-existing social and political tensions.

Valery Kulikov, political expert, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.


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erring about error...

The consensus around the need for snap lockdowns has officially shifted – or it’s shifted for the federal Coalition and the Murdoch media at least, since the rest of the nation grasped the concept some time ago. With Victoria in the first day of its hopefully short statewide lockdown, very few are quibbling with the vigilant approach (other than the most ardent anti-lockdown protesters and Victorian Opposition leader Michael O’Brien). Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stepped in with even more comprehensive income assistance overnight, striking a deal with Victoria for the Commonwealth to provide the weekly COVID-19 Disaster Payments pro-rata from the very first day of a lockdown, regardless of its length. It’s the most dramatic change to the PM’s “incentivisation” calculations yet, and the closest we’ll ever get to an admission that the Coalition was wrong to begin with. Even those federal MPs who once adamantly opposed snap lockdowns seem to have come around, telling the media that the Delta variant means they are necessary and something we will all have to endure in the short term. This comes just 14 days after Morrison insisted that national cabinet notionally agree they be a “last resort”. But the one person who doesn’t seem willing to admit that hard and early lockdowns are now warranted is NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who has continued to stand by her late, light lockdown. Admittedly, it’s too late for Berejiklian to do a snap lockdown now, and the “why didn’t you?”s from the media that cheered her on as she fatefully resisted are deeply unfair. But her proud refusal to admit fault and correct course risks leaving Sydneysiders in a devastatingly long lockdown.


The federal government’s many alterations to its lockdown support payments have been hard to keep track of, but the size of payments and who was eligible will now be applied consistently across the country. Over the past 24 hours alone, Morrison has made several changes to the payment start date, yesterday taking it from day eight to day one (but only if a lockdown reaches a second week, with payments in arrears if it does), and today saying payments will be made from day one no matter how long a lockdown lasts. All these modifications, but especially this most recent one, are a concession that the federal government got its cruel, lockdown-disincentivising policy wrong – even if it’s not going to openly acknowledge that. When pressed on that fact by an in-form Karl Stefanovic, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg did not accept the government was late to the party. “In order to strengthen the economy, to support people, we need to put our hands in our pockets,” he said. “And that is what we’ve done from day one of this crisis, as you know.” Except, of course, it was day eight that they waited to put their hands in their pockets, back in May, and only after the Victorian government had publicly pressured them. “I think the people of Victoria are doing it pretty tough,” said the treasurer, who has spent the past months insisting his home state had received enough support. “And the Morrison government is there to support them.” (Sunrise had a crack too, with Frydenberg insisting that the Coalition response had evolved along with the virus). Despite having just a few days ago been labelled “petty” by the treasurer, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews was not willing to gloat when asked if the updated arrangements were an admission from the Commonwealth that it initially got it wrong. “I am not here to have a quarrel with anybody but this virus,” said Andrews. He didn’t gloat, because he didn’t need to.


But while Morrison and co have been forced to tacitly admit the error of their ways, their NSW counterparts are not there yet, unwilling to tighten an already dangerously delayed lockdown, or even admit they went too late. The Australian Medical Association today issued a statement, calling on the state government to implement a “more Victorian-style” lockdown, asking for non-essential retail and services to be closed. (And here is a handy list the Andrews government has put together of what should remain open – isn’t it helpful and definitely not funny having a state that’s been through this before?) Modelling from the University of Sydney, meanwhile, has predicted that it will take weeks to get the NSW outbreak under control with the current settings, with even a small drop in compliance predicted to extend it significantly. Berejiklian has remained resistant to all such calls, despite the state recording another 97 cases. In today’s press conference, the premier continued to insist the settings were right, even while admitting the numbers were not looking good. When pushed on why she was not tightening restrictions, Berejiklian said that NSW would “of course” go harder “if we need to”, saying she “would not hesitate” to do so. It’s still not clear how bad the situation would need to be for Berejiklian to implement tighter restrictions. She also seemed to praise herself for starting restrictions when she did, saying: “I shudder to think what would have happened had we not gone into lockdown when we did, given the cases and how transmissible the virus is.” The entirety of Victoria shudders at what has happened because NSW waited so long.


Admitting error is, of course, very difficult, especially for a politician. And you have to feel for Berejiklian, having been held up as the poster child for Staying Open only to have Sky News and The Australian turn on her now that it’s gone wrong. But her pride in standing by her choices is hurting the nation, and especially the citizens of Sydney, leaving them in a half-baked lockdown with no clear end in sight. Perhaps she could take a lesson from the Morrison government on how to change tack without actually admitting fault. Claim that it’s the virus that’s suddenly evolved (even though it evolved months ago, and even though you criminalised citizens coming home because of it), that it’s the virus setting the rules; that you couldn’t possibly have predicted something as wild as the future. Berejiklian has also been blaming the more contagious strain for the fact that the virus got away from NSW contact tracers, but she’s not yet willing to shift course because of it. All along, Berejiklian has talked about not wanting to cause undue hardship to her people, but that’s exactly what she’s now doing. She repeated that claim today. “The worst thing we could do is put in additional measures which don’t have the desired effect,” she said. Incorrect. There are far worse things she could do.


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FREE JULIAN ASSANGE NOW ¢¢¢¢¢¢¢¢¢¢¢¢¢¢¢¢¢¢¢!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

the removalists...

A woman has been found dead in the Sydney home of the twin brother removalists charged after travelling from to country NSW while infected with the Coronavirus.

NSW Health on Monday afternoon reported the death of a woman in her 50s, who was a confirmed COVID-19 case.

The department confirmed she was a resident of south western Sydney and a close contact of a COVID case.


The death was the 61st in NSW related to COVID-19 and the fifth of the current outbreak.

The ABC reported that the Green Valley woman was a family member of the removalists.

The twin brothers were charged with breaching public health orders after it was alleged they received a call from NSW Health on Friday informing them that one of them had tested positive for coronavirus, but continued their journey to the country town of Molong to finish their delivery.

The tragic Sydney death came as NSW’s string of near triple-digit daily COVID cases continued, despite rules keeping millions of people at home tightened even further.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the tougher restrictions imposed across the lockdown area from the weekend – with most retail shut, construction work halted and thousands of people in the hardest hit suburbs confined to their local government area – should bring case numbers down.

But the effect won’t be seen immediately.

“I am convinced if we work together, we will see that number go down [but] we will not see the effect of the harsh restrictions for another four or five days,” Ms Berejiklian said on Monday.

“I know they are there to be had if all of us stick together and work hard.


NSW posted another 98 local coronavirus cases on Monday – coming on top of 97 last Friday, 111 on Saturday and 105 on Sunday. A total of 1340 people have officially contracted the virus since the first case – an unvaccinated airport limousine driver – was diagnosed in Bondi on June 16.

As many as 44 of the cases recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday were active in the community while infectious, including 20 for their entire infectious period. Ms Berejiklian repeated her view that that number needed to fall before the lockdown could end – and transmission between family homes and at workplaces must also reduce.

“The closer we get that number to zero, the sooner we can end the lockdown,” she said.

On Monday afternoon, NSW Health released more exposure sites across the state. They include shops and cafes in Lakemba, Rose Bay, Parramatta and Bonnyrigg.


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unvaxed jones and kelly...

Sky News has been forced to apologise for a segment in which host Alan Jones and ex-Liberal MP Craig Kelly indulged in a “grossly misleading” spray about the pandemic and vaccines.

The comments came in a Sky News rant on July 12 about Sydney’s COVID lockdown and Australia’s handling of the pandemic.

“This bids to be the greatest public administration scandal this state has faced,” Jones said.


To which Mr Kelly, now an independent MP and Sky News regular, agreed furiously.

“It is the most-greatest policy disaster I think this country has ever had,” he said.

The pair went on to discuss a technical coronavirus briefing from Public Health England. Titled SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and variants under investigation in England and published on 9 July 2021, the document outlines differences between cases of the Alpha and Delta variants.

Jones and Mr Kelly used it to argue that the Delta variant hasn’t led to higher death rates from the virus.

However, in a correction published on its website on Tuesday, Sky News acknowledged the pair failed to properly consider further context in the technical briefing, which noted “case fatality is not comparable across variants”.

“The briefing pointed out that the variants ‘have peaked at different points in the pandemic, and so vary in background hospital pressure, vaccination availability and rates and case profiles, treatment options, and impact of reporting delay, among other factors’,” the correction said.

But Jones and Kelly went further. In comments described by the host of the ABC’s MediaWatch, Paul Barry as “grossly misleading”, they also discussed a table that showed deaths by vaccination status in confirmed cases of the Delta variant in England.

However, they failed to take into account the country’s high rate of vaccination in the elderly with underlying comorbidities – and who would be at risk of hospitalisation and death.


“England’s death rate from Delta is lower than from previous strains but that’s almost entirely because so many people there have now been vaccinated – which, of course, is not true of Australia,” Barry noted.

“Almost 90 per cent of UK adults have now received at least one jab,
while two-thirds have been fully vaccinated. And according to the UK government, having two COVID jabs could effectively give you 90-100 per cent protection against severe disease.

“The vaccination program there has also prevented more than 30,000 deaths.”

Sky News’ correction acknowledged the broadcast did not point out that England had more cases of the Delta variant in people who had not been vaccinated, compared to those who had.

“In Australia, where still the majority are unvaccinated, and the predominant strain is Delta, there will be, inevitably, more cases of the Delta strain in the unvaccinated,” it said.


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we all know it's scomo's fault...

By the time many of you read this, three Australian capital cities – and more than half the nation’s population – will be in lockdown, as South Australia joins its eastern neighbours in a seven-day lockdown from 6pm, after recording a case of community transmission in a restaurant. Victoria’s lockdown has been extended for a further seven days, after recording 13 new cases, with permits to enter the state from a red zone suspended for two weeks. Sydney, of course, remains in lockdown, and although the premier described today’s 78 new cases as “green shoots”, there were still a concerning number of cases in the community during their infectious period. But that’s not the only collection of three the prime minister should be worried about. A trio of major polls this week show faith in Scott Morrison is plummeting, with Guardian Australia’s Essential poll and Nine’s Resolve Monitor today joining The Australian’s Newspoll in revealing the nation is reserving much of its condemnation over the current situation for the federal government. Morrison, who has spent the past few weeks attempting to shift the blame wherever he can, has again gone to ground, having failed to give an interview since Friday, presumably while he waits for all of this to blow over. But will it? Snap lockdowns are expected to keep occurring for some time, and Australians are not likely to be properly protected from the highly infectious Delta strain for many months at least.

For some time now, an increasingly large share of the burden for each frustratingly avoidable lockdown has been deservedly placed on the federal government, thanks primarily to its failure to vaccinate the population in a timely fashion. And it’s clear from this week’s stark polls that the nation agrees, with all three major polls looking disastrous for the PM. Today’s Guardian Australia Essential poll finds that confidence in Morrison is dropping, with a 15 percentage point drop in perceptions that he is good in a crisis, along with an eight-point drop in voter trust, since March 2021. The blame isn’t all for him, of course, with the Coalition as a whole recording a massive decline in approval of its management of the crisis. Similarly, Nine’s Resolve Monitor finds that voters’ belief in Morrison and the Coalition as the best party to handle COVID-19 is also dropping. Although they’re still ahead of Labor 37–25, that’s down from a lead of 42–20 in April. Both of these follow Sunday night’s Newspoll, which saw support for the Coalition drop to its lowest level this term, while Morrison’s approval rating dropped to its lowest point since the pandemic began (though not quite as low as it reached during the 2019–20 summer bushfires). As per usual, support for the premiers has not seen the same dip, with approval of the state governments still ranking highly. (The exception is NSW, but even NSW residents are putting less blame on the NSW government than other states are.)

The blame-shifting PM, never willing to take any responsibility, is now having it heaped upon him by the public. So who, Morrison might be asking, can he blame for the fact that such a high proportion of the country thinks he is to blame? Some onus must surely be on the premiers, who – regardless of party – have done a highly effective job at using their lockdown pressers to make sure their citizens know that it is the federal government that has let them down on vaccines. The media has also recently gotten behind this narrative as the nation’s abysmal vaccination rate becomes harder to ignore, while The Australian’s Simon Benson has attempted to pin it all on the Opposition’s “brutal” tactics, noting that the ALP’s “coordinated and unbridled political campaign” is working, as if it wasn’t an attack grounded in fact. Could it also be that Australians are simply able to grasp the obvious truth, backed up by modelling, that so much of this could have been avoided if we were just that little bit more vaccinated? Morrison treats Australians as if they are stupid when he tells them that there was never any chance they could have been vaccinated enough by now to avoid these lockdowns, when it’s obvious to anyone that even just one more vaccinated limo driver could have avoided all this. Morrison, it seems, will now be wearing each and every outbreak, regardless of where or how they start.

Polls, of course, are unreliable and prone to fluctuations, and many suspect that Morrison will slowly regain his footing when (or if) the rollout picks up pace. After all, he has pulled himself out of deeper holes than this before (his approval rating following the Black Summer bushfires reached into the negatives). Ironically, it was this very pandemic that allowed Morrison to claw his way back up in the polls after the bushfires, applying several valuable lessons about how he was supposed to look and act in a crisis. But it’s increasingly obvious now that he really isn’t cut out for managing crises at all. Will Australians be willing to forget again? Morrison might be hoping for another nation-uniting disaster to distract from the current fiasco, but he better not stuff the next one up. Three really is a crowd.


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changing tunes...


There is a rather unfortunate clip of Gladys Berejiklian from June 4 that has resurfaced – unfortunate in light of the NSW premier’s request earlier today that other states redirect their Pfizer doses to prioritise south-west Sydney. It is among the worst of the many statements by the premier that have aged poorly. Speaking to radio hosts Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O, Berejiklian was asked about the idea that Victoria – at that point in a lockdown with both Kappa and Delta variants circulating – might want some of “our” doses. “No, they can’t,” she says. “The feds are giving them more anyway,” she adds petulantly, noting that Victoria was already slated to receive more AstraZeneca. (“Why does everyone look to us to save their own stupid decisions?” Sandilands asks. “I can’t comment on that,” Berejiklian sighs, as if she would very much like to.) The clip has been doing the rounds since the premier this morning declared a national emergency, along with 136 new cases, and made an appeal for more doses, which she will be repeating in this afternoon’s national cabinet meeting. The federal government has already given NSW more doses of both AstraZeneca and Pfizer (as other states were during previous outbreaks), but this is a request to redirect other states’ supplies to go specifically to the young essential workers of south-west Sydney, to try to stem the outbreak. The call for more doses caused an immediate explosion online as also-locked-down Victorians lashed out, suggesting the NSW government got themselves into this mess and are still yet to accept accountability. The request is a little galling, especially in light of all the “gold standard” gloating, and the criticism of other states’ early, preventative lockdowns. But the behaviour of the NSW government doesn’t change the fact that Sydney is in serious trouble: it needs the doses much more than other states – even those also in lockdown. Redirecting some extra doses to NSW is the right thing to do, but most importantly it’s in the national interest to do so.

Responses from other state and federal leaders have been mixed. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews was measured in his own lockdown press conference, agreeing that this was a national emergency and calling for a “ring of steel” around Sydney to protect the rest of the nation (saying he expected a “pretty frank” discussion about it in today’s national cabinet meeting). Andrews added that Victoria could only send contact-tracing support to Sydney once the virus had stopped leaking over the border. But when it came to the extra Pfizer doses, Andrews was cautious. He said he was not opposed to NSW receiving a greater allocation of doses, but would not have Victorian doses going to NSW “so they can be open while we are closed”. “We need to be very careful when having a discussion about who we prioritise,” he said. “The fact of the matter is, we don’t have enough vaccine for everyone, and the virus will go to the unvaccinated.”

In Canberra, the military head of the vaccination rollout, Lieutenant General John Frewen, appeared to reject the NSW plea, expressing concerns about reallocating doses. Appearing before the Senate select committee on COVID-19, Frewen said the government was looking at ways to provide additional support to the area, but that the rollout must “continue at speed across the nation”. Frewen added that vaccines were allocated to states and territories on a “per capita basis”, with no reserve of Pfizer to give to NSW, and that any reallocation of Pfizer “will require the concurrence of other jurisdictions”.

The prime minister, meanwhile, is in an awkward spot, having recently upset other states with his needless NSW favouritism, and now unable to justify helping Sydney with extra doses. It will be on the states to choose to help (hence Berejiklian’s appeal to her fellow premiers). But they should do so.

Many of us who aren’t residents of NSW bristle at the suggestion that the state should have precious vaccine supply redirected to it to address an outbreak that is out of control because a lockdown was enforced there too late, and too lightly. It feels deeply unfair that Sydney should be “rewarded” for its folly, helped out of its mess with a limited resource, when other states have endured many more days of harsh snap lockdowns – at great cost to their economies and the mental health of their populations – to avoid such a situation. But the unfairness of the situation doesn’t change the risk – or the need. The chances of NSW Health getting on top of this terrifying outbreak are slipping, and people are getting sick and dying. Redirecting some of those vaccines may save lives. While Victoria and South Australia are also suffering through lockdowns, they still have a strong chance of ending them without casualties. But there is a moral imperative to do everything possible to help the people of Sydney, even if their premier wasn’t willing to do it for other states. It’s in all of our interests that this outbreak is controlled soon. Recriminations for the decisions that led NSW to this point can come later.

What happens if (or when) the Delta variant again leaks to other states, or if other outbreaks desperately spiral out of control? Surely then we should do the same again for the next set of people unlucky enough to be a national hotspot. The vaccine rollout should be agile enough to deal with this, to redirect doses when and where they are urgently needed. I don’t know how many extra doses would need to be redirected to Sydney or over what timeframe – that would be for the experts to figure out. But surely, with the long-awaited Pfizer “ramp-up” finally here, states without outbreaks (or with them mostly under control) can temporarily forgo some of their supplies to help their neighbours – and to protect themselves. We are all meant to be in this together. It sucks that there isn’t enough supply for everyone, and that’s on the federal government. But right now, we need to give it to the people who need it most.

Ideally, of course, this kind of diversion of supplies will never be needed again. In future, there needs to be a national agreement that, in the face of the Delta variant and until our population is widely vaccinated, lockdowns will not be the “last resort”, as Morrison only weeks ago insisted they should be. It needs to be an early intervention, with adequate federal financial support, which is still lacking. If other states are to bail NSW out, the NSW premier needs to own up to the fact that she got the strategy wrong here, maybe show some remorse for the way in which she sniped at other states, and promise not to do it again. (As Saturday Paper cartoonist Jon Kudelka tweeted, Victorians who endured a painfully long lockdown last year should be allowed one “I told you so” in exchange for first Pfizer doses they redirect to Sydney.) This should not, as Daniel Andrews suggested, be something that allows Sydney to open back up while Victoria stays locked down. NSW will still need to use harsh lockdown measures to get this under control. But there’s a chance that without this immediate support, that won’t even be possible at all.


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beaten by covid...


During Sydney’s belated and half-hearted lockdown in response to this current outbreak of the Delta variant of Covid-19, Premier of New South Wales, Gladys Berejiklian said on July 22: “I don’t think everybody appreciates how contagious this strain is and how different it is from past strains”1. Just about everybody with a modicum of intelligence and an ability to read or hear the news has known that the Delta strain is very much more transmissible than previous strains. It was first detected in India in early April 2021 and was detected in the UK in mid-April. At that stage, the UK was getting ready to open up its economy after months of lockdown and a rapid vaccination program. After two months the UK was in the middle of a third Covid-19 wave and the opening up of the country had to be delayed. By the middle of June, it was predicted that the Delta variant would “take over altogether on a worldwide basis”. This is because it is 60% more transmissible than the Alpha strain (the Kent variant) identified in the UK in late 20202.


Berejiklian continued with “There’s no doubt that Delta has beaten every single jurisdiction in the world”. At the time, this was a lie and it is likely to be doubly wrong now. At the beginning of June, 2021, Victoria had an outbreak of Covid-19 in which four of the cases recorded were of the Delta variant, and possibly were infected in southeastern NSW in the days before3. By the beginning of July, that outbreak had been stopped, with the last locally acquired case being recorded on the 30th of June4. Two weeks later another outbreak of the Delta strain began in Victoria, imported from NSW. At the time of writing (July 28th) Victoria is still recording locally acquired cases but all have been linked to current outbreaks and all were in quarantine for the entirely of their infectious period5. As a consequence, Victoria is starting to open up again. It is now likely that the jurisdiction of Victoria has stopped the Delta variant twice. Now, South Australia had an outbreak of the Delta variant a little over a week ago, and a short sharp lockdown seems to have defeated that outbreak.

There have been numerous lies during the last 18 months. This lie from Berejiklian was chickenfeed when viewed alongside the monumental lies coming from the federal government, but it annoyed me because I knew it was a lie when she uttered it, and no journalist picked her up on it. While the lying is symptomatic of the current state of politics, the inability or unwillingness of journalists to call it out at the time is something much worse.


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