Wednesday 26th of January 2022

gybing towards the unknown...



















NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state must learn to live with COVID-19 as the number of people in hospital with the virus doubled within a week and the nation’s chief medical officer called for a circuit-breaker to halt the spread across Sydney.

As NSW reported a record 291 new cases on Friday, Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said low vaccination rates, non-compliance and the speed of diagnosis highlighted the need to reconsider the state’s strategy.

“There is no sense that it is heading rapidly towards zero which is what remains our national approach at the moment. There is clearly a need for a circuit breaker,” Professor Kelly said.


More than 300 people are being treated for the virus in hospitals where health authorities have confirmed at least two people have died after contracting the virus from nurses.


Ms Berejiklian, who at the start of the latest outbreak said zero or as close to zero cases was the goal of the lockdown, on Friday said that target was now an “aspiration.”

“It’s obviously a challenge for us to get down to that number, but that has to be our aspiration. We have to try and get down as low as we can,” she said.

“We know, given where the numbers are and the experience of Delta overseas, that we now have to live with Delta in one way or another – and that’s pretty obvious. But the higher the vaccination rate, the safer we all are and the more free we will be”.


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new message?


‘The war has changed’: Internal CDC document urges new messaging, warns delta infections likely more severe

The internal presentation shows that the agency thinks it is struggling to communicate on vaccine efficacy amid increased breakthrough infections


The delta variant of the coronavirus appears to cause more severe illness than earlier variants and spreads as easily as chickenpox, according to an internal federal health document that argues officials must “acknowledge the war has changed.”


The document is an internal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention slide presentation, shared within the CDC and obtained by The Washington Post. It captures the struggle of the nation’s top public health agency to persuade the public to embrace vaccination and prevention measures, including mask-wearing, as cases surge across the United States and new research suggests vaccinated people can spread the virus.

The document strikes an urgent note, revealing the agency knows it must revamp its public messaging to emphasize vaccination as the best defense against a variant so contagious that it acts almost like a different novel virus, leaping from target to target more swiftly than Ebola or the common cold.


t cites a combination of recently obtained, still-unpublished data from outbreak investigations and outside studies showing that vaccinated individuals infected with delta may be able to transmit the virus as easily as those who are unvaccinated. Vaccinated people infected with delta have measurable viral loads similar to those who are unvaccinated and infected with the variant.


“I finished reading it significantly more concerned than when I began,” Robert Wachter, chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, wrote in an email.

CDC scientists were so alarmed by the new research that the agency earlier this week significantly changed guidance for vaccinated people even before making new data public.

The data and studies cited in the document played a key role in revamped recommendations that call for everyone — vaccinated or not — to wear masks indoors in public settings in certain circumstances, a federal health official said. That official told The Post that the data will be published in full on Friday. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky privately briefed members of Congress on Thursday, drawing on much of the material in the document.


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Now are we at a point of "limiting the damage" or "arresting the virus in its track"? Should we accept that say 50 per cent of the population will catch the virus whatever we do, 30 per cent of those will be sick but will fully recover, while 5 per cent of the 50 per cent will be sick for the rest of their life and one per cent will croak — while the rest of the infected will remain status unknown? And has all this will vaccination, isolation, desolation and decimation of business activities been for nothing much except pain? Making the rabid-disinformators happy?...


Should we target protection say of the oldies? You are the experts... I am not...


What's going on? See: 


statistical advice...


covida miranda...


democracy for idiots...


the covid dilemma...



lambda olympicus...


The Japanese government covered up the detection of the highly infectious Lambda variant of the Covid-19 virus after finding it during an airport screening three days before the Tokyo Olympics began, according to the Daily Beast.

On July 20, the country’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) reported the discovery to international virus database GISAID. But an unnamed researcher from the institute, the news outlet writes, claimed that it was decided to withhold releasing this information to the public – until after the Games.

While the NIID researcher told the outlet that previous official announcements about new variant discoveries had been made between three and 11 days after they were identified, Japan’s health ministry only announced it to public broadcaster NHK earlier this week – a delay of about two weeks.

“There was a consensus at the Ministry of Health that this information would best be reported after the Olympics were over. Whether that is because they felt that it would be better to heighten public awareness when the news cycle slows down or whether this is because it might tangentially be associated with the Olympics, which is embarrassing – that I don’t know,” the NIID source told the Daily Beast.

Speaking on condition of anonymity since they were “not authorized to speak on the record,” the researcher added that, as far as they knew, the variant was “detected at an airport checkpoint and has not been in the wild [found among the general population].”


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New South Wales has recorded 319 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases, as calls grow for an outbreak ‘circuit breaker’ and ‘ring of steel’ around Sydney.

On Saturday, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard told press the state had seen locally acquired daily cases surge past the 300 barrier for the first time this outbreak in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday.

Of the 319 new cases, 125 were linked to previous cases, with 194 remaining under investigation.


“Obviously that presents challenges for our health staff,” Mr Hazzard said.

“That is why I’m saying to the community, you have a really got to get serious about staying at home.

“You cannot leave our health staff continually having to search where you have been, what you have been doing, it is not fair to the community.”

The state saw 108,449 tests up until late Friday, Mr Hazzard said.

There have been 28 lives lost over the course of the outbreak, with five deaths of people over the age of 60 recorded on Friday.

Three of those five deaths were linked to an outbreak on a ward in Liverpool Hospital.

There are currently 56 people with COVID-19 in intensive care, with 23 of those on ventilators.

Hazzard pushes back on CMO’s ‘circuit breaker’ call

On Friday, Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly called for NSW to implement a “circuit breaker”, saying the “national” goal was zero COVID-19 cases.


“There’s no sense of (NSW) moving rapidly toward zero,” Professor Kelly said at a Friday evening press conference alongside PM Scott Morrison following a meeting of national cabinet.

“It’s clear there needs to be a circuit breaker,” he said.


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Victorians have woken up to the first day of the state’s sixth lockdown (and a typically negative News Corp front page), while NSW recorded another record high of 291 COVID-19 cases, along with one negligent death. National cabinet – which yesterday lost its right to secrecy – is set to meet this afternoon, with tensions high over the allocation of the mysterious extra Pfizer doses. Victoria, NSW and Queensland are all expected to come asking for more. Professor of epidemiology Tony Blakely told ABC News Breakfast that the chances of Sydney’s lockdown ending this month as planned is “zero”, noting that the most likely scenario was that lockdown would continue “in some form or other” for months. But that’s not the only troublesome zero floating around today. In a morning press conference, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian gave the strongest indication yet that she had abandoned a “COVID-zero” policy, claiming that while it was still an “aspiration”, the state authorities would simply be trying to get case numbers down “as low as” they could, with vaccination rates the key (although the target of a 50 per cent vaccination rate before easing lockdown, it has been noted, has not been mentioned for days). “We now have to live with Delta, one way or another,” Berejiklian said. The NSW premier’s vaccination rhetoric continues to be out of step with that of the PM, who yesterday used Question Time to throw further shade at her emphasis on vaccination over lockdown. But some are questioning whether it’s time for other premiers to stop lionising “zero”, amid Victoria’s 24-hour fall from donut-shaped grace. Some say that state leaders are failing to prepare their citizens for the post-zero future laid out in the Doherty Institute modelling. Obviously, the goal has to be relinquished at some point. But is NSW doing it too soon? Or should other states also stop conditioning their citizens to expect a standard that is seemingly impossible to maintain, as Victoria has just learnt for the third time in 10 weeks?

COVID-zero – and the corresponding strategy of hard, early lockdowns – has now been widely accepted as the national policy goal, with the federal government’s Doherty Institute modelling showing that allowing the highly infectious Delta variant to circulate at anything less than a 70 per cent vaccination rate would have dire consequences for Australians and the healthcare system. But even as the federal government has firmed up its newfound love of hard, early lockdowns, the NSW government has continued to pull away from the national COVID-zero policy, which Berejiklian today continued to make clear was merely an “aspiration”. The reasoning for this is obvious: it appears to now be too late to strive for no new cases, at least without much more extreme measures. (Berejiklian’s most high-profile critic, Sky News political editor Andrew Clennell, has labelled her claims that Sydney’s measures were the harshest the nation had seen as “demonstrably untrue”.) But Berejiklian’s split has major implications for the citizens of NSW – not least that they will remain cut off from the rest of the country until the national targets are reached, or until Christmas at least. Accepting the virus in the community while the state vaccinates its way out of this situation will also mean many more deaths and many more people contracting “long COVID”, especially among the essential workers keeping Sydney going.

NSW has learnt the hard way that it is impossible to maintain Delta cases at a manageable level through contact tracing. Striving for zero cases is the only way to live, right now, until we’re sufficiently vaccinated. But should state leaders be doing a better job of preparing the public for what comes next, when the virus is eventually allowed to circulate and we must put zero behind us? And should they, like Berejiklian, be placing more emphasis on vaccination as the only ticket out of this, even though they still have the ability to quash outbreaks through early lockdowns? It’s clear the prime minister – who has changed his tune on “living with the virus” multiple times, and has done a terrible job of communicating the Doherty Institute modelling (even going so far as to call a press conference on it without releasing it first) – is not up to the job of preparing Australians for the next phases of the pandemic. Communicating the plan will likely come down to the premiers. The nation is expecting to hear from the prime minister after today’s national cabinet. But what will no doubt be more interesting is hearing exactly what was discussed between the leaders, now that the shroud of cabinet confidentiality has been lifted. That Administrative Appeals Tribunal decision will no doubt be appealed by a federal government with a zero tolerance for openness.




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"If the objective was to frighten the hell out of the community, I can guarantee you they have done that."

Dai Le, a local councillor in Sydney, is speaking angrily about the deployment of 300 military personnel to the city's streets this week. 

Her constituency, Fairfield, is one of eight areas in Sydney considered the epicentre of Australia's biggest Covid outbreak in a year. 

These poorer and ethnically diverse suburbs in Sydney's west and south west are home to about two million residents. Many are considered essential workers in food, health and other industries.

The soldiers arrive almost a month after police deployed an extra 100 officers to the area to enforce lockdown rules.

"I feel we've been treated like second-class citizens," Ms Le says.


"They have killed people's confidence, they have triggered so much fear. What is this message? What is it doing to a community that's already under siege?" 

As Sydney scrambles to contain a Delta outbreak that has grown to more than 4,000 active cases and 27 deaths, these suburbs have been put under harsher restrictions than elsewhere.

A citywide lockdown will last until at least 28 August. But unlike other Sydneysiders, these residents have been told to wear masks even outdoors. They cannot travel more than 5km (three miles) when leaving home for essential reasons, less than the 10km afforded to others. There are also stricter limits on who can work.


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