Category: COVID-19

International doctors endure hardship in COVID Australia

Sabrina is a foreign-trained doctor, or international medical graduate (IMG), as the Australian Medical Council (AMC) refers to her. She landed in Australia in 2018 and completed her AMC MCQ in 2019, less than a year later. She began studying for her AMC clinical exam, which she was planned to take in early 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Australia. All of a sudden, all the scheduled examinations were cancelled and she has been attempting to book one ever since, as this is the only way to get into the Australian employment market. This isn’t just her tale. It’s about an entire community of highly skilled people who are being held back by a system.

Source: International doctors endure hardship in COVID Australia

Singapore reaches 80 pc double-vaccination rate but life is not returning to normal – ABC News

People watch an outdoor movie screening while socially distanced in Singapore

Morrison’s Plan is Gaslighting Australia Singapore is the Canary in in the coalmine not the answer 80% will continue to produce a strain on our Public Health system.

Dr Leong said 80 per cent was “not good enough because it can still burden the hospital system very significantly and there will be too many excess deaths”. “The numbers are mind-boggling, given what’s possible over the next few weeks,” he said. Prime Minister Scott Morrison set a vaccination target as part of his four-step opening plan for Australia, with phase C triggered when double vaccination reached 80 per cent.

Source: Singapore reaches 80 pc double-vaccination rate but life is not returning to normal – ABC News

Road map to Bondi – fresh air is the safest place to be, Hazzard easing outdoor restrictions – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Yes, we have a ‘roadmap’ all the way out of Covid NSW and Health Minister Hazzard is sprouting thought bubbles just like Morrison, now that we won’t be listening to him and Gladys every day – Less bags of wind and heaps more sun and fresh air. That will sort everything out all the way to Christmas. Hell let’s not wait till mid-October, we can start opening up right now – Hunger games are just getting started.

Source: Road map to Bondi – fresh air is the safest place to be, Hazzard easing outdoor restrictions – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Documents Provide New Evidence U.S. Funded Gain-of-Function Research

A researcher works in a lab of Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017.  (FeatureChina via AP Images)

Whose Lab and for whose use?

The Intercept contain new evidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the nearby Wuhan University Center for Animal Experiment, along with their collaborator, the U.S.-based nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance, have engaged in what the U.S. government defines as “gain-of-function research of concern,” intentionally making viruses more pathogenic or transmissible in order to study them, despite stipulations from a U.S. funding agency that the money not be used for that purpose.

Source: Documents Provide New Evidence U.S. Funded Gain-of-Function Research

Morrison and Berejiklian are attempting to shift the blame for Covid on to us | Richard Denniss | The Guardian

NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian and prime minister Scott Morrison at a press conference at Kirribilli House

In an amazing feat, both leaders shift attention away from their past performances and on to future freedoms to be granted, based on decisions made by the public

Source: Morrison and Berejiklian are attempting to shift the blame for Covid on to us | Richard Denniss | The Guardian

‘Not easy to explain’: Sharp drop in South America’s COVID infections stuns experts

A woman in Montevideo, Uruguay gets vaccinated.

Rio de Janeiro: Just a few weeks ago, COVID-19 was spreading with alarming ease across a cluster of nations in South America, overwhelming hospital systems and killing thousands of people daily. Suddenly, the region that had been the epicentre of the pandemic is breathing a sigh of relief.

Source: ‘Not easy to explain’: Sharp drop in South America’s COVID infections stuns experts

More than 1500 new COVID cases in NSW | The New Daily

Playing with the heads of Nova Castrians Hazzard tells them the “good news”

More than 1500 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases have been reported in NSW – another record high – and four deaths. Announcing 1533 cases on Saturday morning, Health Minister Brad Hazzard stressed that vaccinate rates were the “good news”.

Source: More than 1500 new COVID cases in NSW | The New Daily

Should you still bet on Australia? The big post-pandemic picture

Let’s put the daily COVID updates to the side for now. It’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when you obsess about the next daily case count.

Source: Should you still bet on Australia? The big post-pandemic picture

Under-12s are increasingly catching COVID-19. How sick are they getting and when will we be able to vaccinate them?

Morrison leadership for what it is is reactionary never proactive leaving the kids at risk

We’re expecting advice from ATAGI as to whether the rollout should be extended to all 12 to 15-year-olds, as countries like the United States and Canada have done. But where does that leave children under 12? We know they’re making up a large proportion of new infections in Australia’s current outbreaks, which was not the case last year.

Source: Under-12s are increasingly catching COVID-19. How sick are they getting and when will we be able to vaccinate them?

Michael Pascoe: COVID political ground shifts – is an election moving it?

There’s a push in the LNP to STOP talking about the numbers

There’s a push within the Liberal Party, both federal and state, to open up New South Wales when it is 56 per cent fully vaccinated. More than half of NSW’s intensive care unit beds are already occupied. Florida has a fully-vaccinated rate of 51 per cent. Its ICU beds are 90 per cent full and filling fast. And Florida has roughly one ICU bed per 3500 people. NSW has one per 9500. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Source: Michael Pascoe: COVID political ground shifts – is an election moving it?

Victoria ‘unlikely’ to eliminate Delta as PM backs NSW on reopening

Premier Daniel Andrews on Saturday announced a lockdown for regional Victoria.

We are living in Alice’s Wonderland of political flips and flops NSW and Morrison are now “leading” the way on Covid and case numbers are “no longer Relevant”. We are supposed to now believe Morrison and Berejiklian’s Liberals are brilliant, leading the way, while Andrews and McGowan are fools. 70% of adults vaccinated which mind you is actually only 50% of Australians and Covid will be deemed “just another flu. That’s now the LNP/Johnson-defined man-made yardstick never mind the virus.

The federal government-backed in NSW’s stance on Saturday and said it could reopen on its current vaccination targets, regardless of daily cases numbers and despite push back from other states.

Source: Victoria ‘unlikely’ to eliminate Delta as PM backs NSW on reopening

Greg Abbott Tests Positive for Covid-19 – Rolling Stone

AUSTIN, TX - JUNE 08: Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks during a press conference where he signed Senate Bills 2 and 3 at the Capitol on June 8, 2021 in Austin, Texas. Governor Abbott signed the bills into law to reform the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and weatherize and improve the reliability of the state's power grid. The bill signing comes months after a disastrous February winter storm that caused widespread power outages and left dozens of Texans dead. (Photo by Montinique Monroe/Getty Images)

“Governor Greg Abbott today tested positive for the COVID-19 virus,” wrote Communications Director Mark Miner. “The Governor has been testing daily, and today was the first positive test result. Governor Abbott is in constant communication with his staff, agency heads, and government officials to ensure that state government continues to operate smoothly and efficiently. The Governor will isolate in the Governor’s Mansion and continue to test daily. Governor Abbott is receiving Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody treatment.”

Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody treatment is the same treatment former President Trump received after contracting the virus last October.

“Governor Greg Abbott today tested positive for the COVID-19 virus,” wrote Communications Director Mark Miner. “The Governor has been testing daily, and today was the first positive test result. Governor Abbott is in constant communication with his staff, agency heads, and government officials to ensure that state government continues to operate smoothly and efficiently. The Governor will isolate in the Governor’s Mansion and continue to test daily. Governor Abbott is receiving Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody treatment.” Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody treatment is the same treatment former President Trump received after contracting the virus last October

Source: Greg Abbott Tests Positive for Covid-19 – Rolling Stone

Child Hospitalization for Covid-19 Hits All-Time High in US: Report | Common Dreams News

Students and children wearing masks during the Covid-19 pandemic.

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Children’s Hospital Association showed that “children accounted for roughly 15% of all newly reported COVID-19 cases across the nation for the week ending on Aug. 5. Nearly 94,000 child cases of COVID-19 were recorded during that period, a 31% increase over the roughly 72,000 cases reported a week earlier. In the week before then, there were 39,000 new child cases.”

Source: Child Hospitalization for Covid-19 Hits All-Time High in US: Report | Common Dreams News

NSW lockdown: Entire state of NSW enters seven-day lockdown

The entire state of New South Wales will be subject to stay-at-home orders as lockdown came into effect in regional areas on Saturday 5pm. On the state’s worst day during the pandemic so far, Deputy Premier John Barilaro said on Twitter the stay-at-home orders would be introduced on Saturday for all of regional NSW. The regional lockdown is set to last for seven days.

Source: NSW lockdown: Entire state of NSW enters seven-day lockdown

Abbott Begs For Help As Texas Hospitals Overflow With COVID | Crooks and Liars

Abbott Begs For Help As Texas Hospitals Overflow With COVID

In a press release by Greg Abbott’s office, the Texas governor is asking out-of-state healthcare personnel to help with the latest COVID surge. He is also asking hospitals to forgo voluntary procedures in an effort to help those stricken with the virus.

Source: Abbott Begs For Help As Texas Hospitals Overflow With COVID | Crooks and Liars

How does COVID affect the brain? Two neuroscientists explain

Scientists are becoming more and more concerned with the emergence of a syndrome termed “long COVID”, where a significant percentage of sufferers of COVID-19 experience long-lasting symptoms. Studies suggest symptoms remain for approximately 5-24% of confirmed COVID cases, at least three to four months after infection. The risk of long COVID is no longer thought to be directly linked with either age or the initial severity of the COVID illness. So younger people, and people with initially mild COVID, can still develop long-COVID symptoms. Some long-COVID symptoms begin quickly and persist, whereas others appear well after the initial infection has passed. Symptoms include extreme fatigue and ongoing breathing complications. What particularly concerns us as neuroscientists is that many long COVID sufferers report difficulties with attention and planning — known as “brain fog”. So how does COVID affect the brain? Here’s what we know so far. How does the virus get to our brains?

Source: How does COVID affect the brain? Two neuroscientists explain

‘Just Look at the Data’: Top US Health Official Calls for More Vaccine Mandates | Common Dreams News

Dr. Francis Collins

But there’s fierce pushback from some GOP leaders, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has blamed President Joe Biden and immigrants for his state’s record Covid-19 hospitalizations.

Source: ‘Just Look at the Data’: Top US Health Official Calls for More Vaccine Mandates | Common Dreams News

Younger adults can get very sick and die from COVID too. Here’s what the data tell us

We learned this week of the tragic death of a 27-year-old man from Sydney who had COVID-19. This follows a 38-year-old woman who died from the virus last month. Throughout the current Delta outbreak in New South Wales, we’ve heard young people are making up a greater proportion of people in hospital compared with earlier in the pandemic. We’re seeing similar patterns overseas.

Source: Younger adults can get very sick and die from COVID too. Here’s what the data tell us

Doctors, chemists, hubs to deliver 2 million jabs a week when supply arrives

COVID-19 vaccine rollout chief Lieutenant-General John Frewen with federal Health Minister Greg Hunt.

While these rates represent a significant improvement, Australia still lags behind the two dose vaccination rate of most OECD countries at a time when Sydney’s outbreak is worsening and both south east Queensland and Victoria are in lockdown because of community cases.

Source: Doctors, chemists, hubs to deliver 2 million jabs a week when supply arrives

Nation at risk without ‘ring of steel’ around Sydney, epidemiologists warn

New South Wales “urgently” needs to implement a “ring of steel” around Sydney to stop the Delta variant spreading across the country, epidemiologists have warned. So far, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Prime Minister Scott Morrison have both rejected calls to ring-fence Sydney.

Source: Nation at risk without ‘ring of steel’ around Sydney, epidemiologists warn

Australia’s vaccination plan is 6 months too late and a masterclass in jargon

But, as the plan admits, there is no exhaustive detail for any of these initiatives, and in particular for how to reach the vaccination target. And any substance competes with jargon and sloganeering.

Source: Australia’s vaccination plan is 6 months too late and a masterclass in jargon

George Christensen makes anti-lockdown speech to Coalition partyroom

Rogue Coalition backbenchers George Christensen and Matt Canavan have slammed the use of COVID lockdowns and deployment of military on Australian streets. The duo used a series of speeches and interviews to question the stances of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Mr Christensen was chided for not wearing a mask on the floor of Parliament on Tuesday, after earlier defending the actions of anti-lockdown protesters, and saying the government shouldn’t be mandating masks.

Source: George Christensen makes anti-lockdown speech to Coalition partyroom

Paying Australians $300 to get fully vaccinated would be value for money

I reckon Albo’s on the right track. The opposition leader wants to pay A$300 to every Australian who is fully vaccinated by December 1. The Grattan Institute is on a similar theme. It has proposed a $10 million per week lottery, paying out ten $1 million prizes per week from Melbourne Cup day. One vaccination gets you get one ticket. Two gets you two tickets. The costs are tiny compared to what’s at stake. Treasury modelling released on Tuesday puts the cost of Australia-wide lockdown at $3.2 billion per week. Paying people to get vaccinated fits the government’s criteria of a response that’s “temporary, targeted and proportionate”.

Source: Paying Australians $300 to get fully vaccinated would be value for money

We need to start vaccinating people in their 20s and 30s, according to the Doherty modelling. An epidemiologist explains why

Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly, said it well in Tuesday’s press conference: we can aim for a “soft landing” where other countries can’t. The modelling tells us when we get to 80% adult vaccination coverage, we can avoid the huge wave of infections we’ve worked so hard to prevent. Unlike the United Kingdom, where cases peaked again on reopening, or the United States, where cases and hospitalisations are both on the rise, we can leverage our past success in outbreak control and get through this without ever seeing a wave of a truly international proportions.

Source: We need to start vaccinating people in their 20s and 30s, according to the Doherty modelling. An epidemiologist explains why

Christmas in July party sparks aged care cluster | The New Daily

Christmas in July party sparks outbreak.

A worrying coronavirus outbreak in a NSW aged care facility sparked by a Christmas in July event has ballooned out to 20 cases. The cluster at the Wyoming Residential Aged Care Facility in the Sydney suburb of Summer Hill included 18 residents and two staff members by Monday afternoon. Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the outbreak had been sparked by a super-spreader ‘Christmas in July’ event at the facility, which is owned by Hardi Aged Care and regulated by the federal government. “I understand that the actual numbers are believed to have occurred off a super-spreading event that occurred in the aged care facility,” Mr Hazzard said. “Sometimes it isn’t a good idea to have a ‘Christmas in July’ right in the middle of a pandemic, but I do understand that it is an effort to try and provide entertainment and support to residents.” Chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said all of the infected residents lived on the top floor of the building. She said the entire floor, all 32 residents, had been taken to hospital either to be treated for the virus or as a precaution. “The reason for that is that some of them are obviously positive and others are close contacts of the positive c

Source: Christmas in July party sparks aged care cluster | The New Daily

COVID Is Spiking in Florida and Mississippi. Their GOP Governors Are Waging War Against Masks. – Mother Jones

On Saturday, Florida recorded 21,683 new cases of COVID-19, breaking its one-day record for new cases. But even as the state swells with fresh infections, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis remains hellbent on his war against mask mandates. He even recently barred school districts from instituting mask mandates when classes reconvene in August.

Source: COVID Is Spiking in Florida and Mississippi. Their GOP Governors Are Waging War Against Masks. – Mother Jones

Coronavirus Victoria: Thousands’ of truckies entering Victoria from NSW without permits, says Victorian Transport Association

Transport industry groups want less onerous COVID-19 tests for drivers, but health experts warn they are less accurate.

The Victorian Transport Association says thousands of truck drivers are crossing the state’s border each day without a permit and shunning testing requirements designed to shield against the NSW coronavirus outbreak. The peak industry body estimates between 15,000 and 19,000 trucks are entering Victoria daily, the vast majority from NSW. A Victorian government spokesperson said there were 9800 valid permit holders.

Source: Coronavirus Victoria: Thousands’ of truckies entering Victoria from NSW without permits, says Victorian Transport Association

A Conservative Radio Host Mocked the Vaccine. Now He’s Hospitalized With COVID. – Mother Jones

Phil Valentine’s family says he regrets his position and pleaded with listeners to get vaccinated.

Source: A Conservative Radio Host Mocked the Vaccine. Now He’s Hospitalized With COVID. – Mother Jones

Dying Trump Supporter’s Last Words: ‘Please Go Get Vaccinated…This Is Nothing Nice’ | Crooks and Liars

Dying Trump Supporter's Last Words: 'Please Go Get Vaccinated...This Is Nothing Nice'

Morrison’s advice “It’s up to you”

Except that was never going to happen. A brief perusal of Brad ‘Bradster’ Vinnard’s Facebook page shows a deep antipathy towards COVID vaccines, a love of Trump and other right-wing causes, and his love of Harleys. His Facebook comments were the usual hodgepodge of extremism and conspiracy theory, that the vaccines were unsafe, unproven, no worse than the flu, a means for government control, etc. Just the usual paranoid delusion so often seen by followers of Donald Trump.

Source: Dying Trump Supporter’s Last Words: ‘Please Go Get Vaccinated…This Is Nothing Nice’ | Crooks and Liars

Republican Self-genocide — and Darwin | The Smirking Chimp

Even more crucial to the Republican campaign of killing their own people rather unsoftly are the right’s media personalities. A preppy Fox News host says “maybe [the vaccine] doesn’t work and they’re simply not telling you that.” A Newsmax host agrees with the Wisconsin senator, saying “I feel like a vaccination in a weird way is just generally kind of going against nature.”

Source: Republican Self-genocide — and Darwin | The Smirking Chimp

Indonesia’s coronavirus cases hit a record 54,500 in a single day, overtaking India to become epicentre – ABC News

Workers in protective suits carry a coffin containing the body of a COVID-19 victim to a grave for a burial

Indonesia’s health ministry reported 54,517 new cases and 991 deaths on Wednesday The country’s real daily case count could top 200,000 by the end of the month Health authorities fear the Delta variant could hit more remote areas

Source: Indonesia’s coronavirus cases hit a record 54,500 in a single day, overtaking India to become epicentre – ABC News

Coronavirus Australia: Kevin Rudd claim reveals the call Scott Morrison never made

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian  announce COVID-19 financial relief.

Scott Morrison faced an inevitable question in the hours after former prime minister Kevin Rudd confirmed he had spoken to the global chief executive of Pfizer two weeks ago to ask for more vaccines to be sent to Australia. That question? When did Morrison speak to the Pfizer boss, Albert Bourla? Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announce COVID-19 financial relief. Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announce COVID-19 financial relief.Credit:Wolter Peeters The answer? Never. The Prime Minister told Sky News on Monday he had met one of Pfizer’s senior directors in Europe last month but had mostly spoken to the company’s Australian managing director.

Source: Coronavirus Australia: Kevin Rudd claim reveals the call Scott Morrison never made

Just get the jab(s) – » The Australian Independent Media Network

While some have good and valid reasons, such as allergies to one of the vaccine components to consider in regard to this or any other vaccine, the majority of us have nothing to fear except fear or irrationality itself. Jane Gilmour produced a lot of statistics in The New Daily that proved there is more risk in using a battery drill or driving to the local green box hardware store next weekend than getting a blood clot from the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. So, while this website doesn’t profess to offer medical advice – do yourself (and the rest of us) a favour as soon as you can – just get the jab(s).

Source: Just get the jab(s) – » The Australian Independent Media Network

We’re sorry we looked down on you Victoria – see you on the other side of lockdown

Sydney is in a stricter lockdown and we might be here some time.

Listen, Victoria . . . We’re sorry, ok? A couple of months ago, Gladys Berejiklian spoke for much of the state when she said: “I fear for Victoria and I worry about what their government may do. I hope we have demonstrated to other states it is possible to manage an outbreak and not shut down a city.” Not one of us shouted her down, at least not publicly. We so assumed that in this state our systems were better than yours that we either just pitied you and your endless lockdowns, or looked down our long noses at how badly you had stuffed it up. And now look at us. We stuffed it up by not doing what you told us to do: go early, go hard.

Source: We’re sorry we looked down on you Victoria – see you on the other side of lockdown

Australian-led team finds animal, not lab, COVID’s ‘likely’ origin

An Australian-led team of eminent biologists has backed up the theory COVID-19 probably originated from animal-to-human transmission via a Wuhan market, rather than the Chinese city’s virus research lab. A critical review paper into the origins of SARS-CoV-2, the disease that causes COVID-19, has concluded it is most likely of zoonotic origin – jumping from an animal to a human. The review was released on Thursday as a preprint, which means it is not yet peer reviewed.

Source: Australian-led team finds animal, not lab, COVID’s ‘likely’ origin

Filed under:

Antivaxxers Want You To Believe Vaccines Don’t Work Against the Delta Variant. They’re Wrong. – Mother Jones

While there is plenty of reason to be optimistic, experts say we’re not out of the woods just yet. “Even if we are fully vaccinated and all our lives are starting to go back to normal,” Shafir says, “COVID-19 is still a pandemic.” To see our way through this, she says, we need to minimize the chance of transmission “to the greatest extent possible.” The fewer cases there are, the less opportunity the virus has to evolve. As she puts it, “The pandemic isn’t over anywhere until the pandemic is over everywhere.”

Source: Antivaxxers Want You To Believe Vaccines Don’t Work Against the Delta Variant. They’re Wrong. – Mother Jones

Australia needs COVID rollout and reopening targets, experts say

We have been currently in the First Phase for 18months of unfulfilled promises Mr Morrison

“It should have always been the plan. It should have been a race. It’s taken [the PM] 18 months to realise it. And Australians are paying the price for his complacency,” Mr Albanese said on Twitter.

Source: Australia needs COVID rollout and reopening targets, experts say

Tourist hub Bali swept up in Indonesia’s harsh lockdown despite 71% vaccination rate, as country’s infections spike — RT World News

Tourist hub Bali swept up in Indonesia’s harsh lockdown despite 71% vaccination rate, as country's infections spike

Given Bali’s popularity with tourists and its status as an economic hub, the immunization efforts have focused heavily on the island, where around 71% of residents have been vaccinated so far. Amid a recent spike in cases – seeing about 200 per day – the island remains closed to international tourism, including for vaccinated sightseers, allowing only Indonesian nationals and those with special permits to travel there. It boasts a population of some 4.3 million. Since the pandemic first emerged in late 2019, Indonesia has seen some 2.2 million cases and nearly 60,000 deaths.

Source: Tourist hub Bali swept up in Indonesia’s harsh lockdown despite 71% vaccination rate, as country’s infections spike — RT World News

A Guide To Covid Vaccinations OR Naked Men Startle Deer… – » The Australian Independent Media Network

The stroll-out by Hunt and Morrison

Like the vaccine rollout, someone else will need to take over if it’s going to be finished any time in the near future.

Source: A Guide To Covid Vaccinations OR Naked Men Startle Deer… – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Privacy rights jeopardised with Covid apps tracking every move – Michael West

covid data misued

Law enforcement agencies have a cavalier attitude to the right to privacy and a “whatever it takes” attitude to raiding databases of personal information, writes Greg Barns. Given the treasure trove of information now available from all the Covid tracing apps, strong penalties and laws are needed to ensure evidence obtained from those apps cannot be used in legal proceedings.

Source: Privacy rights jeopardised with Covid apps tracking every move – Michael West

Vaccine Refusal in Trump Country Makes It a Sitting Duck for COVID Delta Variant | The Smirking Chimp

It took four weeks for Delta to become the dominant COVID strain in Great Britain, and at present it has spread to more than 60 countries worldwide.

Source: Vaccine Refusal in Trump Country Makes It a Sitting Duck for COVID Delta Variant | The Smirking Chimp

Australian scientist on WHO team which investigated coronavirus origins in Wuhan defends team’s findings – ABC News

A man with white hair and wearing glasses and blue scrubs smiles in a labratory.A World Health Organization report into the origins of COVID-19 found the virus likely started with bats before spreading to humans via another animal But in recent days, US intelligence officials have been investigating a previously dismissed theory the virus may have leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan Medical virologist Dominic Dwyer, who visited Wuhan with the WHO team, says no new evidence supporting the lab theory has emerged

Source: Australian scientist on WHO team which investigated coronavirus origins in Wuhan defends team’s findings – ABC News

What’s the ‘Indian’ variant responsible for Victoria’s outbreak and how effective are vaccines against it?

The COVID-19 variant responsible for Victoria’s latest outbreak is one of three Indian variant sub-types, which spreads more easily than the original strain. Here’s what we know so far.

Source: What’s the ‘Indian’ variant responsible for Victoria’s outbreak and how effective are vaccines against it?

10,000 contacts and 100 exposure sites as Victoria lockdown begins

Victorians are waking to their fourth lockdown in 15 months, once again sparked by hotel quarantine, but the state’s chief health officer said it was “absurd” to blame a failure of contact tracing. More than 10,000 close contacts have been identified as the Melbourne cluster grew to 26 infections on Thursday, and virus detectives are racing to track everyone down. The list of exposure sites also swelled to more than 100 locations.

Source: 10,000 contacts and 100 exposure sites as Victoria lockdown begins

Victoria lockdown: Victoria needs to accept that mistakes were made

Lines of people wait to be vaccinated at the Exhibition Building in Carlton on Thursday.

It’s a convenient falsehood that Victoria could have avoided a lockdown if it weren’t for the mistakes of other jurisdictions. Again we are told to believe that this was a crisis inflicted on Victoria, not inflamed or aggravated by it.

The lockdown purpose isn’t to stop the virus but its “spread”. The spread can’t be stopped without effective vaccinations and quarantine. Morrison failed on both counts and continues to do so. However, this Ch9 writer says Victoria has to share the blame. Vaccination reduced the spread in the UK from 60k a day to 2000 similar massive reductions have been seen in the US. Yet Smethhurst says Vic should “share the blame”. Morrison’s 2% vaccination success certainly doesn’t cut it yet Hunt and Morrison keep chest banging. They refuse sole responsibility for quarantine on our borders because if they make a mistake they then can’t “avoid the blame”. Politics is their priority for Morrison is the first to deny any blame and first to share the state’s success. The virus well it’s a political opportunity as long as he can seem to be doing something while doing nothing and control the narrative with Ch9’s help.

Source: Victoria lockdown: Victoria needs to accept that mistakes were made

COVID is surging in unvaccinated Taiwan. Australia should take heed

Alarm bells rang internationally last week when Taiwan announced it was moving to its second highest COVID alert level after a recent surge of cases. The country last year recorded zero cases of community transmission for eight straight months. The recent increase in cases has led many people to wonder: what happened to Taiwan’s COVID success story? One part of the answer is a very slow vaccine rollout. Australia should take heed.

Source: COVID is surging in unvaccinated Taiwan. Australia should take heed

Why Strongmen are Losing the Fight Against Covid | The Smirking Chimp

Since Covid-19 exploded in India, the prime minister, Narendra Modi, seems more intent on controlling the news than the outbreak. On Wednesday, India recorded nearly 363,000 Covid cases and 4,120 deaths, about 30 percent of worldwide Covid deaths that day. But experts say India is vastly understating the true number. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, estimates that at least 25,000 Indians are dying from Covid each day. The horror has been worsened by shortages of oxygen and hospital beds. Yet Modi and his government don’t want the public to get the true story. One big lesson from the Covid crisis: lying makes it worse. Vladimir Putin is busily denying the truth about Covid in Russia. Demographer Alexei Raksha, who worked at Russia’s official statistical agency, Rosstat, but says he was forced to leave last summer for telling the truth about Covid, claims that the daily data in Russia has been “smoothed, rounded, lowered” to look better. Like many experts, he uses excess mortality – the number of deaths during the pandemic over the typical number of deaths – as the best indicator. “If Russia stops at 500,000 excess deaths, that will be a good scenar

Source: Why Strongmen are Losing the Fight Against Covid | The Smirking Chimp