I'm betting (Australia) has it beaten

Not a medical breakthrough, I’m just betting that Australia has it beaten in the same way that China does, and is not like the USA.

It is difficult to get a handle on this. News is sensationalist at any time on any subject, and is dominated by cheap foreign coverage at any time on any subject, and right now is dominated by news from Italy, the UK, and the USA. And the medical advice is concentrating on how to avoid a disaster, not on how well off we are.

But I want to put this out there, so that in two weeks I can either say that I was right, or that I was wrong.

70% of Australian cases are imported. 30% are from direct contact. A tiny number are from community infection. International travel has ceased: there will be no more imported cases. From now on the number of new (direct contact) cases should be smaller than the number of people getting better, and in two weeks we should be able to see that.

Not an expert. Not even very well informed. Putting it out there.

Wait until Autumn?

The fact we moving into winter is a major problem, wait till people have the flu plus coronavirus and see what happens. With Easter approaching and many business shutdowns for two weeks will people isolate in their homes, I just don’t see it happening, expecting a big spike in two weeks.

Dude, no way.

Look at the graph on the Dept of Health page. That line is going up, up, up.

The reason that so many of our cases seem to come from overseas is that it is a screening question for who gets tested.

At the moment, with many businesses either deciding to shut down or having done their first serious week of remote-working it still feels frayed. The state premiers, esp Dan Andrews in Victoria and Gladys are continually having to ratchet up Federal measures, which are widely seen as being too timid. They are being very reassuring in their daily responses, and in both NSW and Victoria there is a sense of a solid and pragmatic disaster-emergency system and mindset resulting from the bushfires kicking back into gear.

The release of passengers from ships carrying infection was a major fiasco, so there are many dispersed sources for community infection. We’re just starting to see community cases from unknown sources kick up, but testing of possible carriers has not focussed on these to date. Whether continued shut-downs, reduced international and interstate movement and boosted testing will slow it down is yet to be seen. Cautious people are saying 6 months or Christmas, but even if the worst unfolds over that period rather than being jammed into April-May, that will be a considerable achievement.

I like your optimism. Australia’s big natural advantage is the ocean barrier, which is great until cases slip through and generate infection within the population.

…with respect: comparing the way New Zealand has handled Covid-19 and the way that Australia have handled it Australia hasn’t done that well at all to be honest. The messaging and the organization from Scott Morrison has been abysmal. I don’t think you guys have done enough. We’ve done much more than you guys and the messaging from our central government has been quite clear: things are going to get worse. And they are saying that while we have a complete lockdown, with only a handful of cases, and zero deaths.

I’m betting that even though we’ve only had zero deaths we certainly haven’t beaten it. Its a huge mistake to start thinking like that as well. Both our nations are about a week away from getting hit. It won’t **start **to be over until they’ve got a vaccine. And that is 12-18 months away.

I haven’t followed NZ closely, and we do tend to have a bit of a nation-crush on Jacinda Ardern, but it does seem to have been a lot more focussed and clear how NZ should respond. Things like reversing restrictions on hairdressers are just poor health, poor policy and poor leadership. That’s one benefit of having one fewer layer of government.

Yeah, that. Given the shortage of tests I’m sure it’s a sensible strategy to test only recent arrivals and corona-close-contacts, but until we have the ability to test anyone who’s got any symptoms, no matter how mild, we’re not going to be able to track and contain it properly.

There’s less of a percentage of the general public that has it than recent arrivals, no doubt, but since the general public outnumbers recent arrivals by about 100 to 1, that does not in any way mean less numbers.

We might be able to move to a Taiwan/South Korea strategy of just jumping on cases when they appear and living a normal life the rest of the time, but only if we get Taiwan/South Korea levels of testing.

I’ve been mildly encouraged that the numbers of new cases seem to have flattened out over the last few days in places that aren’t NSW. But that might be just that it’s getting harder to find them since we don’t have the ‘people who got off a plane’ strategy to rely on any more.

We’ll know we’ve conquered it when new hospitalisations start to go down. I don’t even know what the stats are for that.

I’ve heard a few people say similar things over the last couple of days (in a ‘why do we need this dumb Federal/State distinction anyway?’ kind of way) but I have been VERY thankful for my State government recently - I think they’re doing a much better job. It’d be nice if we had effective leadership coming from the top like in New Zealand - failing that, I’ll take my effective leadership wherever I can find it. So thank God for two-layer government!

Cautious optimism on this from me. The graph is going up still. But it isn’t an exponential anymore. Day to day numbers of confirmed infections have plateaued. We have reported two straight days of dropping new infections. It is that day to day ratio that tells you how you are doing. If it weren’t for meat headed stupidity of allowing passengers to disembark from the cruise ship Ruby Princess - which has essentially turned out to be little short of a plague ship, that the numbers would look dramatically better. The good thing is that we knew who came off the ship, and started testing them, albeit days ate.
We have some of the highest testing rates. Still way short of enough to have a firm grasp of unknown or asymptomatic cases, but enough that we can feel happy that the numbers we do see are representative of effectiveness of the current shutdown.

Of course the big question is - where to from here? We can’t open up again, the spread would just accelerate again. Closed borders across the country may mean that some areas become virus free. Maybe after a month of no new cases we could unlock ourselves up and keep the borders closed. Interstate travel is banned, and I can’t see that improving for a long time. International travel is going to be impossible for a very long time.

Not directly relevant, but I think I dodged a bullet there. I disembarked the Ruby Princess in Sydney back in January on an earlier cruise - before it got to the ship but still a mild concern at the time.

Also, back when I thought the brushfires were more a concern, I brought a 10 pack of N95 masks with me to Sydney but left them, unopened, for the hotel staff when I thought they could use them more. Not regretting that decision, but the coincidences piled up fast and hard.

Considering there are a substantial number of essential workers and a large number of people who either don’t think COVID-19 is serious or who think their minor transgressions don’t matter this will be difficult to achieve.

In New Zealand, we are being given clear messaging - it will take at least 2 weeks into the lockdown before we know if it is being suitably effective, and whether it will need to be extended. Cases will go into the early thousands (from our current 451), and there will be some deaths. But at this stage, we have very few hospitalizations, and only 2 patients in ICU.

Some people in NZ are calling this a Rahui, rather than a lockdown. A Rahui is a stop or pause (generally on food-gathering or recreational activities) placed over a region by the local maori tribe, usually as a result of something unexpected. It is common for a rahui to be placed over a beach, lake or river if someone dies in the water there, lasting until the body is recovered, or a suitable time passes. A lockdown has connotations of prison, of restriction and loss of freedom. A Rahui is more positive, a time to reflect, to gather strength and purpose, and to recover. I really like this concept as applied to what we are going through - there is going to be a lot of work to be done after this is all over.

I think we could have it beaten if we are lucky. The problems that make it no certainty are a pitiful lack of leadership at all levels of government, and Australians acting like Australians, “She’ll be right mate.”

I think both problems will soon be addressed when the shit hits the fan in the US in the very near future. The governments and the people will work out that golden rule has been spelled out by Jacinda Ardern, “If you have any questions about what you can or can’t do and you’re looking for answers, apply a simple principle: Act like you have COVID-19. Every move you make could be a risk to someone else.”

My mother lives in Goulburn. She bought a new car a few years ago, and has a booking this coming week to take it in for its 36-month service. When she does this, the dealership gives her a ride home, and then comes and picks her up again when the car is ready.

I told her, in no uncertain terms, that I thought that she should call the dealership and put off the service until the spread has been either contained or at least dramatically reduced. Not only are there a whole bunch of people coming and going from the dealership on a regular basis, but she would be sitting in a strange car that God-knows-how-many people would be using, both before and after her.

If this were an urgent matter, that’s one thing, but it’s a routine service on a car that travels less than 10,000km a year. While there’s a pretty decent chance that going ahead would be harmless for everyone, part of the process of social distancing is that it works best if everyone practices it, and we all need to do our part. Also, my mum is 76 and not exactly a picture of robust physical health, so I’d prefer that she just stay home.

Taiwan isn’t going wide with testing like South Korea. Same as Japan. South Korea is in a class by itself.

Taiwan does a lot of tracing of contacts but not as much testing because there aren’t a lot of unknown sources of infection.

Singapore is a model of testing and contact tracing.

I’ve got a lot of friends in Taiwan that are concerned the lack of testing could be the tip of the iceberg hiding a hidden spread. That said, Taiwanese are being very hardcore about wearing masks, santitaiton and self quarantine, as well as government checking in multiple times per day to verify the self quarantine (calling the home phone, making people take selfies at home, etc)

And like lots of other older people her underlying concern is probably that the car place will be doing it tough and they can use the business. An alternative to try is that she re-books and pays for the service now, and brings the car in when the all-clear is given. I’m trying this approach with mine, and they mostly get the logic. Or, if in doubt, get the car place to create a special ‘Car service voucher’.

Now I’m worried for you guys! Because that was Australia’s theory too - just check the incoming arrivals, and do contact tracing - and we appear to have completely buggered it up. And the official messaging has moved seamlessly from ‘there’s no community transmission in Australia’ to ‘well there’s a little, but we don’t need to worry about it’ to ‘well ok we have these thousand or so cases that we don’t know where they got it from … but it’s still less than the overseas-linked ones!’ without making an enormous impression on Federal Government policy.


No way in hell Melbourne. This thing is just kicking off.

For a country with a relatively small population, we had DOUBLE the number of new cases in the last 24 hrs compared to the US (the next closest contender). Minimal testing, bloody eejits believing social distancing doesn’t apply to them, and a government that couldn’t organise a root in a cathouse means, IMHO, that we ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.