What follows are notes and links made from late February to mid-July 2020, from the time SarsCovid-2 was announced a pandemic and when we saw what appears to be a ‘second wave’ beginning in countries which had not banned all international flights.
What was most needed were international co-operation, and the basic human values which provided the title for this post. What we got was a politicised nightmare, beginning with Donald Trump and his unbalanced, hysterical attempts to blame the region where the virus first emerged. In Australia, the Trumpian-cloned form of what was once the Liberal party inflicted American-style political garbage on us, interfering with the flow of information between the medical specialists and the population. It took a while for the madder Amurican pollies to get in their stride, but Peter Dutton turned out to be one of these traitorous types, even sticking his oar in to push Trumps’ fantasy=cure hydroxychloroquine.. and as late as August.
I received the following letter from Amnesty International in the second week of August, reminding us all that the Trump-style cadres around the world are using this pandemic as mask for legislation denying human rights, undoing efforts to combat global warming and acting so closely in lockstep with the head of a foreign government that questions might reasonably be raised about when co-operation slides into treason. The letter from Amnesty International read in part…
Peter Dutton and the [ neo-Con Amurican ‘Liberal’ Party..] are proposing a new law that would ban mobile phones in immigration detention centres. Yesterday, a Senate Committee recommended the Bill be passed.
Note – these ‘detention centres’ are mostly off-shore islands, not even Australian governed, and mobile phones are the detainees’ ONLY access to humanitarian aid. The same political party which introduced and maintained the most inhumane treatment of refugees (modelled on Trump-style treatment of Mexican and other refugees) had already, quite deliberately, removed and denied all access to medicine as the pandemic arose– except that some international agencies could offer help by phone. None were allowed to visit the refugees in person. See more on this further back/down in this post. – D.
Not only is Peter Dutton trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist, the proposed law as it stands would violate international rules concerning the treatment of detainees. We can’t let this happen. Demand that the Government withdraw the Bill.
Mobile phones and other communication devices are incredibly important to people held in immigration detention, including refugees detained in hotels. The seizure of these items will only lead to further isolation from family and outside support. Banning mobile phones will also limit the exchange of important information that has allowed the Government to be held to account up until now.
The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Mandela Rules) stress the need for people to be able to communicate with family and friends at regular intervals, stay connected with their community and foster an improved relationship with family.
It has only been through allowing refugees and asylum seekers access to mobile phones that Australia has been able to come close to meeting its commitments to these international standards.
At a time when independent oversight bodies are not visiting immigration detention facilities due to the risk of Covid-19, the Government should not be attempting to further remove transparency. Call on Peter Dutton and the Australian government to withdraw the bill so that we challenge this injustice.
Graham Thom, Amnesty International
PS. To take away such a vital form of communication from refugees is a fundamental breach of their human rights and once again chips away at their mental and physical well being. Demand that the Government withdraw the Bill.
And that’s what happens when right wing American policies are blindly and mindlessly adopted by Australia’s liberal Party, aka ‘Murdoch’s party’. – D
If any of my readers care to lend their voice… Peter Dutton’s number at his Electorate office is +61 7 3205 9977/ His office at Parliament House is
If you’d like to call his Parliament’s house office directly,
+61 2 6277 7860.
Another member of the same party has been representing Mr. Trump’s position and trying to threaten law suits (American-style) because the Premier of one state prohibited prescription of hydroxychloroquine in treating covid-19. Our ‘sky’ news is a channel for foreign political propaganda; it is basically Fox news read with a local accent. No sane Australian physician would adopt a foreign madman’s ignorant drug-promotions, but here’s what I received from the people who are obliged to constantly check misinformation and politicised disinformation about the pandemic.
Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly has suggested that Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews could be jailed for blocking (sic!!) the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 during a Facebook posting spree that saw him promote the drug more than 30 times this week.
In a post that has since been edited, Mr Kelly questioned whether Mr Andrews could be jailed for up to 25 years for “continuing to ban hydroxychloroquine” under recently-introduced Victorian workplace laws, which include the crime of “workplace manslaughter”.
“With the current international evidence available, continuing to ban this drug is negligent, it falls below the standard of care that would be taken by a reasonable person — and creates a high risk or death,” Mr Kelly wrote.
“Every office holder in Victoria that continues to ban the use of Hydroxychloroquine, could be risking 25 years in jail under the state’s new laws.”
The text of the post has since been updated to remove any reference to Mr Andrews, stating instead that “continuing to deny the right of medical professionals prescribing this drug to a patient” arguably constitutes conduct that in some states “has criminal penalties that carries [sic] severe penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment for individuals”.
Slater & Gordon industrial and employment principal lawyer Carita Kazakoff told Fact Check there was “zero chance” of Mr Andrews being charged with manslaughter as a result of any decision to ban or limit the use of hydroxychloroquine.
“Workplace manslaughter laws are designed to ensure that employers and organisations who exercise control over a workplace ensure the safety of those in that workplace,” she said in an email.
“While it’s conceivable that the Premier could be a ‘duty holder’ under the Act in relation to a workplace where he supervises or manages people, it is not relevant to the context Craig Kelly has described.”
In March, the [Australian] Therapeutic Goods Administration placed limitations on the use of hydroxychloroquine and recommended against its use for treating COVID-19 outside of clinical trials.
“Given the limited evidence for effect against COVID-19, as well as the risk of significant adverse effects, the TGA strongly discourages the use of hydroxychloroquine outside of its current indications at this time other than in a clinical trial setting or in a controlled environment in the treatment of severely ill patients in hospital.”
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation and Melbourne’s Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity have discontinued their trials of the drug as a COVID-19 treatment as evidence mounts that it is ineffective.
When questioned by reporters about Mr Kelly’s posts, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he would not “get onto what people talk about on Facebook” and asked Acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly to comment on the use of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19.
What you have to understand is that Morrison and Kelly both belong to the same political party and the entire party has been co-opted, through Rupert Murdoch’s grooming it for decades, to serve as agency for American political influence. No-one in the world would recommend hydroxychloroquine except they were a Trumpian lackey, and Mr. Kelly’s behaviour could be considered a gross dereliction of his duty to truly serve the interests of the Australian people, not Trump’s friends, Abbot pharmaceuticals.
However, to the wider canvas…
As an overview of the months between January and July, as the pandemic spread across the world, I recommend this video made by an English broadcaster contributing to the American CNN network. At the time it was made, there were half a million registered deaths from this new virus, 138,000 lives having been claimed in America – largely due to its increasingly chaotic and dysfunctional federal government’s inaction.
And here’s how to do a ‘cast about the virus, as well as how to tell the politicians to stop messing with medicine.
As I predicted in April, the Australian federal party’s lockstep with Donald Trump is seeing the worst time for Australia occurring from July, and the problem has now (July 27th) begun from Victoria – where now Trump-style use of police against the people has seen orders for imprisonment without thinking through how those persons imprisoned in their homes will access food and other basic needs. Few supermarkets, butchers or vegetable stores will deliver to one’s door. Unlike the situation in Europe.
The situation is not helped by the gradual transformation of Australian news presentations from the sober, European style to the ‘sound bite’ anchor-man talking-head, politicised style of certain American organisations. As example of the saner, unpolitical, European approach to imparting information to the public, here’s a broadcast from DW news on current status of vaccine development. It was published on July 15th., 2020.
In Australia, the government’s first duty is to serve the people of Australia – to use our taxes for us (not to spend billions on unnecessary submarines to add to Trump’s coffers as Morrison has now done)…
A quote from the Guardian today (July 7th, 2020).
Voices from the Blocks, the group of public housing residents under hard lockdown in Melbourne, have released a statement, saying “institutional red tape (is) suffocating community volunteering efforts”.
The statement said:
Since Saturday, community members have been in direct contact with residents who were in desperate need of food and medicine. Many unable to get through to the designated DHHS hotline (1800 961 054).
These families could not afford to wait around hungry and risk their health while the government implemented policy on the fly, four months* into a global pandemic.
*(In fact, we are now seven months into the pandemic -D)
Tigist Kebede, counselor and community member, said:
These are literally our family members, our friends. Volunteers are stepping up and filling gaps as they are hearing directly from residents of the epic failures of government.
On the ground, police officers outnumber all of the volunteers, departmental workers, services and medical staff combined. They have the largest physical presence and present the greatest risk to community, volunteers and residents.
Volunteers are exposing themselves to police brutality in order to provide basic essential medical and food services for residents.”
my comment…The government has, in effect, imprisoned these people. Anyone legally imprisoning a person is legally required to ensure they are provided with food medicines and other necessities. Do we really have to sue the government to remind them they are servants, not rulers, of the people?
Note – these cases are being reported as community-family based, but a more detailed analysis shows the sites of infection were malls and shops and meatworks. Note too that the dubious use of ‘commercial privacy’ is now being adopted to restrict public access to information… and testing is now becoming ‘privatised’ – both contrary to the public interest but in keeping with Morrison and his neo-Con ‘Liberal party”s lockstep with Trumpian practice. This is a public health issue – every test aids all of us – so public funds should rightly be used for all testing and this effort to make it a personal-family matter, with the poorest having to pay, is just Amurican-stupid. Ill-planned, not thought through, done at the urging of propagandist non-news (in this case, sky-news), and adopted for party-political ambitions, not best world scientific practice.
Best summary of
- what we know about the covid-19 virus,
- how infection occurs and spreads, and
- what we must do, as individuals and as responsible members of our community and our country – no matter where we live, although Dr. Campbell is here addressing an audience in India.. (added July 1st., 2020)
I had included the embedded video, but it would seem that Dr. Campbell doesn’t want this useful information disseminated except through his own site, so do go to it
Australia’s Scott Morrison mirrors Trump again – this time by removing all health-care access from refugees and asylum-seekers who live under mandatory detention on off-shore islands. Already, in December he had repealed the short-lived law allowing evacuation of the seriously ill.
NOW, in the middle of a global pandemic, Morrison’s lock-step with Donald Trump has seen the US-style Australian evangelical prime minister revert to the Liberal Party’s past, heinous attitudes. Not even international aid groups are permitted entry now to those detention camps – which are filled with people who have done no wrong, and who we agreed to assist when signing international agreements.
- https://msf.org.au/article/media-coverage/doctors-without-borders-will-treat-refugees-over-video-calls-after-being (07 FEB 2019)
You may think that to cry ‘Shame, Morrison’! isn’t enough. His office switchboard number is +61 2 6271 5111.
The so-called ” second wave” – and comment on consequences following Donald Trump’s insisting Americans abandon health security in the middle of a pandemic. The following are both from May 24th., 2020.
Rachel Maddow, ‘Coronavirus. Workplace Outbreaks Not Limited To Meat Plants‘
and now Trump has ordered other sites of mass gathering to open – including churches. If he is wantonly ignorant, the Republican party which he represents cannot be universally ignorant. They must bear resposibility for permitting him to continue instructing the populace to behave in ways which the whole world knows will lead to further deaths.
Once again, the best investigative journalism has been by Rachel Maddow: Contact Tracings Show Risk Of Coronavirus Spread Through Churches
It’s like Jonestown on a national scale … and still Trump’s fellow Republican politicians will not object, not act to curb their representative, not speak out for the people they are elected to represent. This is no ‘second wave’ but the middle of the first, exponential spread.
As example of sane, responsible government and reportage – the key to New Zealand’s success, this broadcast went out on the same day that FoxNew=Skynews was obsessed with Donald Trump’s rantings on twitter.
TRUSTWORTHY SOURCES OF INFORMATION are essential to any hope of a concerted effort, world-wide, to a pandemic:
IMPORTANT – a large study has produced updated list of symptoms of Covid-19 infection (10th May 2020). Britain may be slow but has now introduced best world practice for testing. Everyone over the age of 5 yrs, who has any of these (updated) symptoms, is entitled to a drive-through test – the money coming- as it should be – from national taxes. The benefit to the nation is worth every cent/penny.
Médecins Sans Frontières ( Doctors Without Borders) see https://msf.org (and you may be able to add your own country code e.g. https://msf.org.uk). Of donated money, 85% goes directly to medical projects, just 2% to administrative costs, and 13% on raising awareness, maintaining websites and other forms of fund-raising. For those who know French, and anyone able to read pictures, this short video whose title one may translate as, ‘Our independence is priceless, but not without its cost’
A very well-informed and thought-provoking article by David Wallis-Wells for the Intelligencer, ‘We Still Don’t Know How the Corona Virus is Killing Us‘. April (27th?) 2020.
The complex patterns of the flu virus’ shifting genetics and why ‘nationality’ is irrelevant to pandemic. Dr. Robert G. Webster’s discussion of the influenza viruses, delivered to The Center for the History & Ethics of Public Health. (2011)
“Don’t blame the bats”. Why we – not the bats or chimpanzees – need to change our behaviour and interactions with animals to reduce incidence of pandemic. – Jane Goodall interview (9th. May)
The way the pandemic hit in 2020
- Detailed interview – an intensive care surgeon describes the symptoms and progress of the disease and the slow, long and complex nature of recovery after ventilation If you follow none of the other links, do hear this: Critical care doctor explains what coronavirus intensive care is really like | Covid-19 UK. (7 May 2020 – Channel 4)
and…. This film made in Spain, (English language) but it a mirror of what has happened in Italy, France, England, America and almost anywhere else.
A lucid talk by one of the scientists who identified Covid-19. He says too that the epidemologists have been expecting and asking for advance planning against this, the next pandemic. It was NOT unpredictable, nor unpredicted.
The point made by Professor Holmes – that the virus’ genetic (genome) sequence shows it a natural virus, not a manipulated one, has been confirmed by many other specialists since then, including in this report for DW (May 12th., 2020).
And I would also recommend
Dr. John Campbell England – has made a series of videos uniting the latest scientific information with very practical information meant for real people, day by day.
Important French Announcement – 16th March 2020
Latest science on projection of viruses by beathing, by coughing and by sneezing – re-defining ideas of ‘safe distance’. ‘To mask or not to mask’ (April 8th., 2020). Why and how the virus spreads so rapidly.
As the science advanced, so it gradually revealed the awful range of damage done by this virus, and that its attacks on the body were far more than the ‘respiratory disease’ initially identified with it. This recent (16th May 2020) report by DW news explains and shows the courageous specialists who are doing autopsies on covid patients to advance medical understanding of how the virus works. The report is in English and focuses on the team in Hamburg’s Research institute. Note that Hamburg is not the only centre and their observations and conclusions are supported by others world-wide, from China to Australia and from Britain to north America. This sort of rapid, multi-faceted and cooperative international effort was the core of the WHO’s “Solidarity” plan, from which President Trump withdrew funding and support while the US’ dues were in arrears.
Videos posted by Dr. John Campbell from October 2019-end March 2020 (more recent at the top). A broadcast’s date may differ from youtube’s posting date by a day or so. I’m not sure this list is complete – the videos tend to disperse over time.
28th March 2020 [Covid-19] Update Friday 27th March
25 Mar 2020 Loss of smell and first UK ICU patients
20th. March 2020 Reducing fever, Part 2
18th. March 2020 Reducing fever [Part1], good or bad?
16th. March 2020 Sunday International aspects
16th March 2020 Important French Announcement
14th March 2020 [Covid-19 data] Contradictions
13th March 2020 **Vital Global Information** (Please watch – D)
11th March 2020 Clinical features of infection
10th March 2020 Vitamin D and immunity.
5th March 2020, COVID-19 Mutation and Evolution
5th March 2020. COVID-19 Immunity and social distancing
3nd March COVID-19 Monday 2nd March
2nd March 2020 Global isolation and containment
1 March 2020. Live chat with John, steamed live
29th Feb.2020 COVID-19 (posted 1st March).
28th. Feb. 2020. Q and A with self isolation
26th. Feb. 2020 [Covid-19] Contagion more rapid than thought
26th. Feb, 2020 Infection, Immunity and epidemiology
23rd Feb. 2020 Oxygen in the blood
22 Feb, 2020, Live Chat with John, Saturday, 19.00 UK time
20th.Feb.2020 Droplet v Airborne Transmission
20th.Feb. 2020 COVID-19. 19th.Feb. (Chinese retrospective paper and statistics)
18th. Feb. 2020 COVID-19 Update.
18th. Feb 2020 COVOD 19, Viral infections and update Feb.17th.
18th. Feb. 2020 COVID 19, Mums and Babies
17th. Feb 2020 COVID-19 Infections in infants may be rare and mild
15th. Feb. 2020 Covid 19 Case numbers
14th Feb. 2020 Protect self and family
13th. Feb. 2020 [Covid-19] Definitions
12th. Feb. 2020 COVID 19
9th.Feb.2020 Good afternoon –
9th. Feb.2020 Short Q and A.
6th.Feb. 2020. Healthy Economical Eating 1, Broccoli soup
6th.Feb. 2020 (Dr. Campell’s Teaching video 11)
5th. Feb. 2020 Teaching video 9 [Progress of symptoms and morbidity in Covid-19], Data from China and US.
3rd Feb. 2020 Coronavirus threat interview [skyped] with Dr. John Campbell
3rd Feb. 2020. Wuhan virus compared to MERS and SARS
27 January 2020 Coronavirus
2 Oct 2019 First live chat with John
Why you can trust epidemiologists (specialists in epidemic medicine) to know what they’re talking about in 2020. They’ve been up with the science, including predictions of spread, for years. Here’s a lecture which Peter Piot delivered fully two years ago:
FACE MASKS – the science, and the limits. This also comes under the heading of reliable information, and information about which views have changed as scientific knowledge expanded.
See also John Campbell’s video of May 22nd., 2020 – giving the latest scientific data pertaining to masks and distances over which breath, coughs and sneezes remain infective.
The systemic erosion of standards and of freedoms in reportage is a growing, if largely unseen problem. It came to the fore in relation to the pandemic but became visible during the same period when Americans began protesting institutionalised police violence after the murder of George Floyd was caught on film. Police across America began targetting anyone seen filming their actions, turned off their own body-cams and deliberately attacked news crews both American and international.
DW news (Germany) published the following article on June 3rd., 2020,
- US attack on press freedom gains supporters. It begins: The violence, hate and mockery aimed at the media in the United States reflect how freedom of the press is being eroded. Donald Trump’s anti-media strategy is also finding imitators in other Western democratic states…
The ghastly effects of misinformation campaigns in social media had become a major, and widely recognised hindrance to proper response to the pandemic. See e.g.
A report from the US PBS network, ‘The dangerous global flood of misinformation surrounding COVID-19′.
A report from DW with France 24 –How contagious? Conspiracies, lies & the coronavirus ‘infodemic’. A debate. (May 13th., 2020),
As if this weren’t bad enough – on June 20th we learned that Donald Trump had effectively run a ‘coup’ to annihilate all the ‘Voice of America’ news networks which report from and to, the rest of the world. If nothing else, this has brought home the parallels between Trump’s behaviour and that of every European dictator’s replacement of democracy with racist dictatorship. That Trump has no objection to concentration camps has also been made clear by Bolton’s report of Trump’s attitude to those in China.
- Trump Stacks US Media Agency With Loyalists Led By Bannon Acolyte (June 20th., 2020)
Within that broadcast, the reporter notes that shortly before Trump’s takeover, he had prohibited members of the Centre for Disease Control force from speaking to VOA international broadcasters, and had begun abusing the VOA networks because one had reported positive news about China’s management of the pandemic. Trump has come to realise that the whole world knows his inability to cope with this, and other, crises, “makes him look bad”. (the following screen shot has been edited to reduce size and enlarge the time-line info). For the original, see the above link.
A little known aspect of the virus’ spread through America is that Donald Trump is directly responsible, through his hostility to non-whites, for the spread of this virus within America and even more widely – to other places in the world. He insisted on the deportation of non-whites, even if they had been resident in America for as much as 20 years.
This BBC report shows why the attitudes of Donald Trump and his Republican Party are tantamount to a crime against the humanity of the very people who have given them power … and the wealth on which their eyes are constantly set.
Sweden’s solution – senicide
A lot of erroneous ideas about how Sweden reacted to the pandemic. What appeared to the rest of the world at first as the ‘Swedish miracle’ – no restrictions but low number of registered deaths – was later revealed as the product of systematic senicide, described euphemistically as a form of ‘palliative care’.
First, the opinions of Professor Johan Giesecke, a retired senior epidemiologist engaged early (by April) to serve as honorary advisor to the Swedish government.
Next, as longer-term increase in deaths began to emerge thee months later, John Campbell spoke of it:
- ‘Sweden: the jury returns‘. (June 16th., 2020).and finally attention was drawn to the efforts of John Tallinger to draw attention to a policy enacted by the Swedish government to do what is, in effect, mass murder of the elderly by refusing even oxygen-therapy and instead inject the patients with life-ending drugs.
- See e.g. ‘Witness – Never hospital. No oxygen’ (May 3rd., 2020) AND ‘Speech to the World. Please Help Us‘ (14th June 2020)
- Interview with John Campbell (16th June 2020).
USA – Libertarians, Trump and a ‘Jonestown’ phenomenon
As numbers of deaths in the US passed 100,000 and the early Trumpian rhetoric failed which had suggested that the virus only infected people who voted for the other political party in the last election, some of his fellow Republicans began withholding information from the public about the rise of infections in Republican-dominated states. One of these is the Kim Reynolds, the Governor of Iowa. Iowa is a centre of big-business agriculture and has long opposed efforts by epidemiologists to introduce safety measures there. (In his talk about the flu pandemics, (linked above), Dr. Robert G. Webster mentions Iowa twice in answering questions after the talk.
- See also Rachel Maddow ‘COVID-19 Risk At GOP Convention Shrouded By Florida Data Opacity’ (June 13th., 2020).
Under-reporting and non-reporting began as Republican-governed states’ rates of infection began rising, from the beginning of May. By how much the US data is under-reported we cannot know at present, but it will become clearer later as regular statistics for death are compared with those for these months.
Australia – Good medical policies; bad government policies
On behalf of all sane Australians, I want to apologise to the rest of the world for Australian liberal politicians’ pandering to Donald Trump’s anti-China propaganda. It is not in the interest of the Australian people to be so closely identified with an American demagogue. Let’s leave this – a medical issue – to the medical fraternity.
I add interviews with Kevin Rudd, perhaps our last real statesman. Elected by a landslide, he was ousted by agitation in the Murdoch press.
- Kevin Rudd blasts Trump’s ‘appalling lack of preparedness’ in coronavirus response | ABC News. Among other things, Rudd points out that a report was prepared specifically on the management of pandemics – in 2016 for publication in 2017 – and that it wasn’t the lone responsibility of the WHO to implement those recommendations, but of every member state.
- Kevin Rudd talks about coronavirus and its effect on the economy (16th April 2020)
- The Economic Impact of Coronavirus: China, Asia, and the World
_______________.Countering fallacies and fake news:
- A well-known and trusted fact-checking site is Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Network.
One Australian university has teamed up with one of the least-bad broadcasting networks to produce a constantly updated newsletter fact-checking various rumours and fake claims for ‘cures’. SIgn up HERE to receive that newsletter. The American SNOPES.com is another important site for checking what is rumour, what is deliberate misinformation and what is fact.
I might also mention that John Pilger first reminded Britain about the
Signus Cygnus Report of 2016, which had made clear that Britain’s undermined public health system would not be able to cope with the next pandemic. The report (as Pilger says) was suppressed and the whole social care system, like the hospital system, continued to be commercialised (‘privatised’) and run for private profit rather than for public benefit. see ‘What Government is not telling you about Covid-19‘. Pilger’s opinion is that Britain would have been able to cope if the Health Service hadn’t been subverted = with both parties’ collusion. Bed capacity thus dropped from 400,000 (in 1948) down to 127,000 in 2019. And the budget was cut from 4% to just 1% “by stealth”. (Personally, I think every country which has introduced such practice under pressure/guidance of the IMF ought to sue that body – D.)
And here I must add this notable remark about social media opinions:
“Welcome to the comment section where everyone has a Phd in missing the point..” – -Susan Mamvuto
EFFECTIVE National STRATEGIES.
Why various strategies work, or don’t work… this is for the mathematicians and people who like statistics – ‘Simulating an Epidemic’ (added 16th May 2020)
Premature ‘opening up’ can undo the good work of months. Initially, Australia and New Zealand understood that instant response to a pandemic – no matter where it first emerges – is of the essence, and involves isolation at every level, from the national to the personal, in order to rapidly lessen rates of infection. Why these measures are effective is illustrated (below) by the Australian example, but many citizens expressed contempt for the politicians who did not close the border to every foreign arrival equally in
February late January. It was perceived as pandering to the US and Europe which were – as you see indicated below – the chief source of infection in Australia. Why the arrival of European and American tourists is not included in the data, I cannot say. The first of the following images shows the direct relationship between ‘isolate and separate’ measures and the halt of spread in this (possibly only the first) wave of the pandemic. I have the diagram from The Guardian). right-click to enlarge.
Unlike New Zealand (but not unexpectedly), the Australian prime minister again acted as “little sir echo” to Donald Trump and has begun re-opening in lockstep with Trumps wishes in America – as well as stupidly taking up Trumps cry of ‘China dun it’ – thus provoking a wholly unnecessary diplomatic incident which is escalating as I write this (May 16th., 2020).
However, in terms of Australian medical response and the initial reactions: A third and most helpful factor was the presence of a universal health care system not yet entirely corrupted by sell-outs to profiteering commercial interests, whether big pharma or insurance companies which batten off illness and wellness, respectively.
This webpage from Melbourne University is entitled, ‘How to Take Care of Yourself if you have Covid-19‘ and gives a good idea of how the Australian system still works. It also shows another important principle – that people should be provided with clear, factual and practical information.
I think it regrettable that none of Australia’s official sites allows any open feedback comments from readers. The message is that government imagines its role to issue instructions and such information as it thinks suited to ‘the herd’, but has no wish to know – let alone respond to – the wishes or questions of those who have given them their tax-payer funded jobs. This forces comment into the rumour-infested world of social media and denies basic information – such as how widely the virus is already to be found, and where one ought to avoid going.
For that sort of information, in Australia, one is obliged to turn to external newspapers, and in this case the Australian-franchise (unfortunately) of an originally English and independent Guardian newspaper. Below is the map published by the Guardian’s ongoing datablog.
Timelines of failure: Some western governments’ have created a dust-storm about the fact that China hadn’t reported to the WHO before January 3rd., 2020, but the vital question for many hard-hit nations elsewhere is what their own governments did, or didn’t do after that – say over the period from January 3rd. to March 23rd. As example…
- Timeline for the British government: “Britain And The Coronavirus: A Timeline of Failure” (to April 10th. 2020) and the milder version: BBC ‘How did it come to this?’.
- Timeline for the American government(s) – (… to May 8th).
The popularist/demagogue/dictator style of leader has been shown disastrous unless obliged to stand aside in a time of pandemic. Politicised media is also culpable. Here’s Bolsonaro’s record to May 2nd., 2020 – fully five months after the virus was reported to the WHO and the world had witnessed the virus’ progress through Spain, Italy, Britain … and America, whose death toll when this went to air was already over 50,000.
- Brazil’s Bolsonaro: Turning COVID-19 denial into media spectacle | The List setening Post (Full)(May 2nd., 2020).
Trump’s dictatorial ambitions became manifest when, in the middle of the pandemic, civil protest erupted over the deliberate murder of several African-American men, the murder of George Floyd being the final straw. Trump attempted to use the incident to appeal to his racist followers. The media by and large followed Trump in conflating the peaceful protestors with persons who took advantage of the situation to loot cities – especially targetting states which have Democratic governors. Trump is a member of the Republican party and had threatened/promised that when looting started, the shooting [of demonstrators] would start. Governor Cuomo’s briefing set out the situation more clearly than any other source.
The message everywhere is clear – ‘if your leader walks like Trump, and talks like Trump and thinks like Trump, you will die in American numbers. (The same is true for Australia – Dr. Lekugai being a distinct outlier in the Australian scientific community. In fact, the analogy with the 1918 pandemic is very close indeed, with thousands of tourists – not troops – chiefly responsible for the rapid spread and the invasion of the virus into Australia despite lockdown).
Another program on Brazil, this from ‘France 24’ (29th. April)
A ventilator is no ‘magic bullet’ as Donald Trump’s pronouncements have suggested. Here’s what is actually involved in having a patient on a ventilator. (Try not to be turned off by the “Hello-boys-and-girls” tone of the introduction).
The worst enemy we have in a pandemic is a money-centred policy system including IMF-imposed ‘austerity’ measures. Over-emphasis on controlling, rather than informing the population (again, A)merican-style) has also degraded levels of government action towards the people. Here is a four-years-too-late account of the
Signus Cygnus report which explains how shifting emphasis from serving the people to pandering to corporations and profit-making hindered the UK’s science and public health. Upscale these problems and you get the unutterable chaos of the US federal response, worsened by Donald Trump’s words and deeds. Libertarianism isn’t anarchy – it’s rank insanity.
- “Sleepwalking into disaster”
- Our situation in clear, factual and simple language – as spoken by Stephen Fry.(April 23nd.2020)
The world is learning why Germany’s health system is a model which other countries might do well to emulate. This video is by an American woman amazed to find that other countries believe care for people is the prime task of government. This second video is a short guide made in English by Germany. However, the obligatory monthly insurance premiums cost on average about 800 Euros per month: the equivalent of a quarter of the average Australian’s weekly income, though average incomes in Germany may be higher.
We might contrast and correlate the way governments are supporting citizens’ health against their spending on military weapons. Last year, for example,
IN 2019 alone, America spent 732 BILLION dollars on weaponry; China spent less than half that – 231 Billion dollars; India stands third, spending 71 billion dollars. Russia spent 65 billion dollars and Saudi Arabia 62 billion dollars. Germany’s military spending rose a surprising 10% – to 49 billion dollars.
The total which these countries alone took from citizens’ taxes to spend on weapons was a sum 1,210 billion dollars – equivalent to taking $159 dollars each from every man, woman, AND child on the planet.
In America alone, to account for the taxes diverted from other uses to the war machine … just in 2019… was equal to demanding from every American man, woman and child the amount of $US 36,860.
This is why the needs of the American people for basic health-care, education and infrastructure are not being met, and while few insist on universal health care, many insist on the right for citizens to buy weapons for use within the country of a type intended to kill none but fellow citizens. And they do. In the past five months alone, American citizens have committed mass murder at a regular rate of between 26-28 incidents a month… it is quite literally a daily occurrence.
As I write these paragraphs, the number of registered Covid-19 deaths is 106,000 and it is no secret that the figures are being fudged. American care-homes and meat-packing plants have taken the course of refusing to release figures – as a matter of “commercial privacy”. Numbers released by China are often doubted. Russia is not introducing wide-spread testing apparently from the same idea as Trump expressed, ” if you don’t test, you have no case numbers”. Most countries are omitting numbers from jails, from migrant-refugee camps, and more… Here’s the evidence about military spending…
Added today (30th April 2020) as America’s registered cases number 1,064,572 and deaths 61,669- Published on April 22 by The Economist, Covid-19: Why is America’s death toll so high?
and Stephen Fry, ‘Boris & Trump’s Deadliest Trick’.
Trump’s reaction is always the same: he makes mistakes. He finds someone to blame (in this case, the WHO and then China), and then he tries to ‘fire the scapegoat as he ‘fired’ the WHO, and tries to find someone else to cover financial losses stemming from his errors. Now he’s making noises about suing China. It’s a ludicrous thing to do… and a very stupid precedent to establish. After all, the so-called ‘Spanish flu’ probably started in Kansas and to that China lost several million people, as did Europe.
- Trump’s Coronavirus Survival Strategy: ‘Blame China’ – article from an American source, published April 14, 2020.
- ‘Blame China’ the propagandist brain-child of Mike Pompeo… Hear Christopher Lydon’s illuminating podcast, ‘Scapegoating in a Pandemic’.(May 7th., 2020). Note – the first voices in that podcast are not Lydon’s or his guest-speakers. They are campaign-ads issued by the two opposing parties.
Just as it is difficult to keep feeling sad if you’re forced to laugh, so it is difficult to keep feeling afraid if you are distracted into feeling hatred. This is why every demagogue uses hate-campaigns to persuade people to maintain wanted, but adverse, risk, and why panic brings out latent xenophobia and magnifies racism already evident.
DW (German media) How the coronavirus pandemic fuels racism | COVID-19 Special
and in Australia…
Martha Gessens review of the progressing collapse of democracies – written at the time of Trump’s election and revisited in connection with Trump’s presidency in 2020.
- The Rule Of Law Failing Under Trump, Rachel Maddow show 14th. Feb. 2020.
In Australia at present, More than 700,000 children live in poverty. More than 100,000 of us are homeless. Over a million people living and working in this country on temporary visas have been blocked from income support during this pandemic.
Bushfire survivors around the country are still living in tents and caravans because of inadequate government support. THIS, not the militaristic ambitions of a foreign country, are what our taxes are given to support.
Even if we weren’t in the grips of a global recession and climate crisis, not a single cent more should be committed to weapons of war. Australia doesn’t need it. The people aren’t interested in America’s dedication to constant war.
America’s president is loyal to Putin and was impeached for it. Our ‘liberals’ are loyal to another foreign power – and should be held to account for that. We are not Americans.
The systematic, deliberate ‘terraforming’ of our Australian character and standards have been largely driven by the Murdoch press. As example – with our large Asian population, we saw masks being worn regularly when the pandemic was announced. Two American supermarket chains (which were permitted to form what is effectively a cartel with 85-90% of the market between them) positively ordered its employees NOT to wear masks while sky-news and Murdoch press labelled it an ‘Asian thing’ and the prime minister in lockstep with Trump took the incredibly idiotic step of starting a diplomatic incident with our second largest trading partner. Now, with covid-numbers rising in one state (Victoria), the Australian way has always been to care for each other and to consider our country one people, each helping each. In the Murdoch press today, the screaming front page headline read, ‘Victoria a drag on the economy’. That’s an Amurican headline. A truly Australian one would read, ‘Victoria hard-hit by the pandemic’. The derisive-divisive way – Trump’s way – is foreign to the Australian culture. It also serves to promote stupid red-neck refusal to wear a mask now because Murdoch and Fox-sky news has politicised it during these last few weeks, and the constant touting of “the economy” over people’s lives and needs is another Murdoch-Amurican innovation that we really, really, don’t need.
I hope that when Trump is next indicted, the investigators will look very closely at his links to Rupert Murdoch, a very old man who cannot said to have spent his life particularly well.
SITES with ONGOING STATISTICS – as reliable as we have, anyway, in a global pandemic.
The Guardian’s Covid-blog giving up to date information about Australia. Today (May 16th. 2020) numbers are rising again. See comments above on Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime minister, who should have paid more attention to the model provided by New Zealand than by the Trumpian court. The effectively neo-Liberal party in Australia also wants to exploit the people by introducing American-style, rather than our present civilised style health-care system.
Current statistics [Roylab] on Covid-19 [streaming]. Note Health-workers in Germany have said, on numerous sites, that the rate of reported cases to deaths will appear atypical during the period before the last week of March because in Germany some deaths ensuing from Covid-19 were not being so described, but as due to pneumonia or other causes ‘with’ Covid-19. Though I haven’t been able to confirm this, it is said that reportage is being made more consistent throughout the EU countries since then. (edited 8th April)
US media is behaving as if the country’s first epicentre – New York – is America as a whole. As if the declining admissions in New York means the whole country is recovering. There’s also a habit of supposing that if a test says you’re not infected that you’re safe. The opposite is true – anyone who hasn’t had the virus is still vulnerable to infection.
A valuable study, by The Economist, on why America’s political and medical system inhibited efforts to address the pandemic.
Here’s a site listing the deaths state-by-state in the US. ( because of the dateline which lies between me and the US or due to delay in processing hospital reports, you should click the ‘yesterday’ tab on that site…
here’s part of the state-by-state chart for April 15th/16th 2020. If a football stadium collapsed killing 1,000 people would you listen to protests that the same stadium stand should be re-occupied immediately or as soon as possible while the stand remained a danger? Think twice, then think again before agitating for thing to ‘re-open’ and return to normal. There is no ‘return to normal’ possible. There is still no vaccine and no reliable treatment. The danger won’t be less while the virus is still free to infect anyone within speaking distance or indeed up to
12 17 feet (c.5 meters) away from a sneeze. People in isolation aren’t working but dead people will never work again.
Lack of universal access to health-care is certainly one important reason among the many for America’s terrible devastation by this pandemic.
-thinking today (April 10th) of our extended family, of which there are members living in America, as in Asia, in Africa and in countries of Europe –
My personal choice – for their combination of respect for their audience and a sense of priorities-
Address by a political leader: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar Ireland (March 17th., 2020)
Elizabeth Winsdor, Queen of England – by reason of her address on April 6th. 2020
Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York for exemplifying “intelligence, compassion and truthfulness” (e.g.) Briefing on May 8th., 2020.
Sense of community and rapid action in England – the Nightingale hospitals
Italian lads’ snorkel ventillator – (begins at 5:25)
The Covid-19 lockdown theme: ‘One Day More’ (the original). Courtesy of The Guardian and youtube.
Honour in reportage.
Fang Bin (China) – who after filming conditions in a Wuhan hospital, was arrested and then died, apparently of covid-19 infection.
Chen Qiushi (China) – who has disappeared – also after reporting as a citizen journalist.
Captain Brett Crozier (USA) – fired because his determination to get medical assistance as a Covid-19 wave began on his ship led to a letter “copied to too many people”.
Dictators often resort to public punishment when an individual shows more character and care for the people than their own political aims allow.
“Wilbur Ross At Nexus Of Donald Trump Russian Deal” (MSNBC 28th Feb. 2017).
Roy Zimmerman’s The Liar Tweets Tonight
Here’s an intelligent response directed towards people for whom individual choice is more important than community health.
Governor Gavin Newsome (California). 20th. March 2020 Nice balance of care and power. Understands that knowledge can address both panic and indifference.
And here’s the real Australia – the people our wannabe AMurican political elites never let you see and most seem not to know exists. (warning – contains honest, intelligent and compassionate language). And for a straight-talking Australian doctor see here.
The mess-age of politicians – a sample of the party-serving and lobby-serving misinformation issued by politicians. Here refuted by an American physician.
The horror of Trump’s systematic eradication of independent thought and oversight, uncannily parallel to Stalin’s methods.
- ‘Jake Tapper: Trump’s war on accountability’ (18th May 2020). Firing all independent voices and oversight in Washington.
- – ‘Brian Stelter calls out ‘vicious’ cycle of Trump’s anti-media attacks’
Trump is inherently and determinedly hostile towards those whose first loyalty is to the people of America.
The primary means of infection is still person-to-person, but it is also realised now that constant care must be exercised to prevent person-object-person infection (infected object – not people – are called fomites).
An American physician’s advice on how to reduce risk of infection during grocery shopping, and when bringing groceries indoors. Latest data, though, indicates virus persists
- on Copper for 4hrs;
- on cardboard for 24hrs;
- on stainless steel and plastic for 72h.
Painted surfaces, such as those on ships which are coated with oil-based paint, *may* last as long as 17 days – that data is not secure. However, remember to wipe down painted surfaces in your home, as well as door-knobs, light-switches and buttons on microwaves and toilet. Whatever is most often touched is most often dangerous – that’s the basic biochem rule.without
And the worst of the worst in my opinion…
- Scott Morrison… using everyone’s concern for fellow citizens to cover illicit and unwanted attacks on human rights, workers rights, and our country itself. Australia’s Scott Morrison mirrors Trumpian priorities and methods. He appointed a former mining CEO, Neville Power – a man with no experience in medicine or non-commercial public service to head the so-called “National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC).” It has been set up in such a way that it is answerable to no-one. NO oversight; NO obligation to be transparent about meetings and deals done; no obligation to produce reports on activity for which they become answerable to the people of any state. It is obvious that ‘Covid’ here means ‘money-making’ because this supposed health-co-ordinating group has recommended Morrison rubber-stamp a coal seam gas project against which the indigenous community and people from all over the country have been protesting. It’s basically a project to frack the last remnants of our wheat-and-sheep country in NSW, the Liverpool Plains. Such cold-blooded abuse of the medical emergency to abuse the people … Is this the price we’re paying because Morrison barked at China?
Is this new to you? Here’s one easy guide to the whole mess.Honest Government Ad | 2019 Election (Season 1 Finale)
And the latest catastrophic misuse and abuse of pandemic relief.
Honest Government Ad | Economic Recovery (5th June 2020)
- The American-style rental system – increasingly imposed by international real estate conglomerates in Australia. It permits a person who does not own a property to rent out that property and so pass on all the purchase cost (save initial deposit) to tenants. In effect, this means that dollar-for-dollar the tenants pay a greater proportion of the purchase-price than does the so-called ‘owner’ yet this fact is unrecognised – unlike the situation in e.g. Scotland. Other countries do not allow corporations or individuals to rent out a building unless they own it outright, nor to claim ownership if some other organisation (such as the lending bank) holds the title deeds. This means that when tenant and owner sign a lease, and tenants meet their obligations, they cannot find the building sold out below their feet because the ‘owner’ failed in his own obligations to the lending bank. Some countries allow for those purchasing right to use the building (i.e. tenants) to decide how long the lease will be – up to 99 years was possible in England, giving a family normal stability for generations, so long as the rental was paid. Other countries prohibit ‘owners’ from including the interest on their own bank- loans from their calculation of rent. The US system (to which Aus laws made our own conform) means that once the lock-down period ends, we are sure to see the greatest number of forced evictions in the country’s history. There are better, fairer and saner systems to adopt.
- Hungary using a ‘cage + starve’ policy as a means to eliminate refugees at their border, a technique not seen since the concentration camps of 1940s Germany.
- Lamentable politicking (added April 8th., 2020) – and for the antithesis of Intelligence, Compassion and truthfulness any dictator does as example: scratch a demagogue and you find a dictator – whether in Ecuador, in Hungary or in America.
- Lamentable culture. The homeless are not being mentioned – by anyone. A doctor feeding the homeless during the pandemic was followed, harassed and intimidated by police. [update – 10th May 2020. By the middle of May, the Governor of New York State, and the mayor of New York City were ‘addressing the issue’ (See Governor’s briefing briefing comments – begins from 23:03]. How this worked in practice was not ideal. MSF was caring for the homeless everywhere in this pandemic.
- Tell no-one anything. Don’t lock down. Politics and money are first prioity. People are just production/consumer units… The paradigm here isn’t Wuhan, but the American republican state of South Dakota.
- Portrait of Donald Trump – a true and vivid image of a self-obsessed liar… by the writer of Trump’s ghost-written ‘autobiography’, who has since apologised for having agreed to write it. Tony Schwartz: The Truth About Trump | Oxford Union Q&A. (November 2016). As example, Trump’s false assertion about his own father’s birthplace – on April 3rd., 2019.
- Why some countries can’t afford to address the problem efficiently or equitably.
last edited and updated on April 29th., 2020
Filthiest ad. My nomination is Dymphna Boholt for this advertisement – which Youtube allowed to appear above New York Governor Cuomo’s daily briefing on his state’s death-toll, food shortages, and rental hardship. It’s truly (and literally) un-Australian and despite her suburban Aussie accent, Ms. Boholt is 100% AMurican.
The Australian press is not reliable. The national broadcaster has been systematically gutted by generations of Australia’s neo-Con “liberal” Party, and American propaganda broadcasts introduced with Australian accents. ‘Skynews’ is indistinguishable from Fox news. It is telling that Skynews journalists are fomenting foreign political problem here and fomenting more enthusiastic support for America’s demented president than you find even in America. We were used to trusting our ABC and that trust has been betrayed by the Murdoch machine.
Our free press rating is now among the lowest in the world – this from ‘Reporters without Borders’
As part of the push to turn Australia from an independent sovereign nation to an American sponsored militarised dictatorship, we have recently learned that in addition to destroying our trade relationship with China (by parroting Trump’s idiotic ‘China dun it’ about covid-19), Morrison has now squandered billions of our tax-money on submarines which we certainly don’t need to maintain Australia’s interests. The European and international standards maintained by our ABC – the national broadcaster whose independence was once beyond political manipulation – are being distorted and debased in an effort to replace better with propagandist American-style Fox-Skynews “chat news”.
Today (July 1st), the Australian Federal Police are being ordered to push for criminal charges against ABC journalist Dan Oakes who exposed war crimes committed by Australian special forces.
We are now seeing closed secret trials, raids on journalists and whistleblowers and lawyers facing prison time. That’s the American way.
Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton wants to go even further – passing a new law that would see people tracked without warrants, lawyers kicked out of interrogations and children as young as 14 hauled before ASIO for questioning. These measures are what we associate with America’s destruction of human rights wherever it introduces its notion of ‘democracy’. It is unworthy of Australia and deeply repugnant to most of us. Our ‘liberal party’ should be re-named the neo-Con party. But to be honest, the ‘opposition’ Labour Party is now scarcely distinguishable.
Apparently even our soldiers, who had a fine reputation for integrity are now also being corrupted. American military occupation of our country is far advances… with at least eight of these foreign military establishments on our country’s soil, and from at least one of which the elected members of our parliament – sent to inspect and then to debate the question of lease-renewal, were refused entry at gunpoint… by foreign soldiers, and on our own soil. That was less than five years ago.
Australia is being terraformed to become a worse, less democratic, less open, less well educated and more ‘mercenary’ society in which the people are remembered only in lead-ups to election.. and are otherwise seen as nothing other than a body of milch-cows, to be sold out to the next foreign explotative commercial company.
God help AustMurica… If we keep on this road, we know where we’re headed. Towards the reckless endangerment of Australia’s people.
Finally, I’ve been asked to explain why I should object to Australia’s way of life being re-formed to suit the style of the ‘world’s greatest power/democracy’.
I’ll let an American explain it.