A few correspondents have asked why I’m not posting the rest of this series as I promised, fortnightly.
The posts are written, but I cannot bring myself to post them. It seems to me inappropriate to pursue disputes over something as small as a single 600-yr old manuscript when what is most needed now is a sense of immediate realities and of solidarity with everyone else on the planet.
I do understand that research helps take one’s mind off the news for a while and can relieve boredom, but the Bibliography should help with those who want to study more and there are dozens of outstanding questions yet to be addressed, many ‘weed-seeded’ Voynich doctrines in need of re-inspection and revision. Those so inclined will find enough to do.
So – forgive me, but as things are at present, I don’t intend publishing the rest of that series until – perhaps – the last week of April.
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 Already, in December he had repealed the short-lived law allowing evacuation of the seriously ill.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.
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.
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.
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’
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.
HOWEVER… On May 30th.,2020 Dr. Campbell became aware that certain papers – even some published in formerly immaculate sources such as The Lancet or the New England Journal of Medicine appear to have by-passed the usual standards of peer review. He apologised for not having realised this sooner, and speaks of some assertions which he had earlier accepted on the reputation of the publishing Journal.
The following list of Dr. Campbell’s Covid-19 related videos from their beginning in October 2019 to March 28th 2020 when I compiled the list shown below (click the black arrow). They have continued – usually every day – from then to the present time. I added the first months’ worth not only to be helpful now but as a guide for later studies of this time, to show how scientific knowledge advanced almost as rapidly as the disease itself spread, day by day. And precisely because the science is advancing rapidly, readers should go to Dr. Campbell’s site for more recent advice, including.
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.
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:
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 lot of erroneous ideas about how Sweden reacted to the pandemic. Here are the views of Professor Johan Giesecke, a retired senior epidemiologist presently serving as honorary advisor to the Swedish government.
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.
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.
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 newspapapers, 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 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.
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.
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…
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.
‘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.
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)
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.
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).
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?
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.
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, harrassed and intiminated 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.
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’