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COVID-19

The Plague by Albert Camus and Lockdown in Victoria, Australia

During Victoria's lockdown(s), I re-read The Plague, by Albert Camus, which was a prescribed text for me and other Higher School Certificate students (Year 12) way back in 1972. The plot concerns the Algerian town of Oran, which is struck down by bubonic plague in the 1940s. The townsfolk are sealed off and isolated from the outside world, as the plague exacts an increasingly terrible and deadly toll. The book depicts their different reactions to their situation. It has immense power in getting to the heart of what things, and what values, are important in life.

Lung specialist analyses Ivermectin trials and reports on vaccine and Covid patients

Dr Mike Hansen is a lung specialist who works in emergency medicine in the United States. He has been giving reports and updates on Covid 19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Here, he is very clear on Ivermectin dosage and risks, as well as analysing trials to date on its effectiveness. He also gives his opinion about the effectiveness of vaccines from his own experience treating thousands of hospitalised COVID-19 patients.

Oz Doctor group call on the TGA to immediately reverse ban on Ivermectin off-label prescriptions

Candobetter Editor: We have been reluctant to get into any COVID-19 treatment controversies, because we figure it is hard enough dealing with a pandemic, without the additional stress of wondering about unproven treatments. Recent framing of Ivermectin as dangerous horse-medicine, however, is unfair and misleading. Ivermectin has been long been used to treat humans as well as other animals. This treatment might be controversial, but it should not be that controversial. We would make the case that, since people will take Ivermectin, whether or not it is prescribed by a doctor, it would be better for it to be prescribed and supervised by a doctor, to avoid the risk of major overdose and serious consequences.

SPA welcomes near ZPG national figures despite state baby booms

Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) has welcomed the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) that show population growth has fallen to near zero (0.1 per cent) despite an apparent baby boom. Yesterday, the ABS released figures for the year ending March 31. Australia’s population grew by 35,700 or 0.14 per cent. Annual natural increase was 131,000 and net overseas migration (NOM) was -95,300. This news came not long after NSW Health announced more than 19,000 babies were born in NSW hospitals from April to June this year, a nine per cent increase on the same period last year.

Victoria is also experiencing a baby boom with the maternity system stretched to “breaking point”, according to the Victorian health minister, Martin Foley.

Long COVID ‘brain fog’: neurocognitive tests to harmonise global methods

An international taskforce created by a UNSW Science psychology researcher has recommended a set of neurocognitive and mental health questionnaires to harmonise the assessment of patients with long COVID.

The recommended tests and questionnaires, published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, can be used internationally and in a variety of cultural settings.

Covid lockdown fever dream ...

I was talking to someone on the phone about something I had to do. She suggested that I go up and stay in The Lodge with Scott Morrison and work on it with him. She checked with "Scott" and got back to me immediately, that it was OK.

Long time no see family because of COVID-19: Repatriation in a pandemic

It's been a long time since I have seen my friends and family, who live interstate in Australia. There have been unprecedented border closures and, even when we could travel, it's been too risky, because we could pay dearly for our trip with two weeks isolation on our return. No doubt, due to the current COVID-19 situation, there will be those we will not see again. Some grandparents may never see their interstate grandchildren. Many special occasions will be missed.

Bees, trees, and disease - Pandemics - you ain't seen nothing yet, Australia

The mainstream media has given a great deal of coverage to the COVID-19 pandemic - as it should - but interwoven among the stories on poor vaccination rates, conspiracy theories, and the people ignoring quarantine, there is a consistent run of horror stories on the impact of lockdowns, often with a message that we must get back to the pre pandemic "normal" life. This is understandable, businesses are going broke, unemployment is rising, domestic violence and mental illness are increasing. It is an unpleasant situation, but returning to the old norm is not a solution. This, after all, was the lifestyle that created human movement into wilderness areas, bringing us into contact with pathogens that we have little resistance to combat.

Sir Humphrey Covid

It's interesting how so many sentences and ideas now trail off into the inevitable denouement "… but that didn't happen because of Covid"…"We had to change plans because of Covid." It's as though Sir Humphrey Covid is some VIP, for whom doors must be opened and the seas must part. Or, as though Covid is an unexpected first born baby to a couple in their 40s whose lives are now utterly transformed. "We couldn't celebrate Henry's birthday this year because of … Baby Covid." "Covid" could be anything or anyone terribly important - one's mother in law arriving from Europe or a visitation from a long dead relative. All must stop … for Covid!

2GB Interview & transcript: Pandemic population pause could spark higher living standards (William Bourke & Michael McLaren)

You may have been wondering when and who would point out the silver lining in the current situation, where the interruption of decades of mass immigration has seen employment prospects and living standards for many ordinary people looking good in Australia for the first time in decades. If so, you will be very pleased to catch the following interview between 2GB's Michael McLaren and the Sustainable Australia Party's William Bourke, on this very issue. We are living through fascinating times.

On 10 May 2021, Michael Mclaren (2GB radio) was joined by William Bourke, President of the Sustainable Australia Party, to comment on the RBA’s report that suggests that the pause in immigration due to the COVID-19 pandemic will lead to higher living standards in Australia and could spark wage rises in some regions and industries - even though the economy will be smaller than previously expected. In its quarterly statement on monetary policy the preceding week, the RBA noted, “The Australian economy is transitioning from recovery to ­expansion phase earlier and with more momentum than anticipated.”

Importing India's doctors when India needs them ...

India is in a terrible state due to the pandemic, a situation largely the result of gross mismanagement by the government. The spread of the virus was difficult to control because of high-density cities that made lock-downs extremely difficult for residents, and safe separation impossible. A highly infectious new variant may also be a driver, but there are other factors, including an underfunded health service, and a severe shortage of doctors. India needs about 600,000 more doctors, just to meet the WHO recommendations for doctor to patient ratio. Unfortunately, the situation is getting worse. A study by the Indian Journal of public health found that, because of population growth, India will need another 2 million doctors by 2030.

COVID-19 a double blow for chronic disease patients

Some people assert that only populations vulnerable to severe impact from COVID-19 should be quarantined, but this article shows how difficult this is. In fact COVID-19 vulnerable people are also those who require a lot of professional health care maintenance, however they cannot access that health-care when there is a high infection risk of COVID-19. They are, in effect, on the horns of a dilemma, if we don't suppress this disease and their diseases. The article below, based on a UNSW and international study has a number of recommendations for dealing with the current problem.

Australian GP's: COVID-19 survivors long-term impacts & funding

RACGP Acting President Associate Professor Ayman Shenouda said that GPs would be managing the long-term impacts of the virus on some patients for years to come.

Video: Dr Mike Hansen - Long-term effects of COVID-19

Long Term Effects of COVID (“Long-Haulers”)

"Can the people with COVID suffer long term effects? Including long term effects that affect the brain? Yes. These are the so-called “long-haulers.” And it is not necessarily just people with COVID who have required the intensive care unit."

Why does Didier Raoult's case for hydroxychloroquine inspire such controversy? Interview with two French analysts

[English translation of video-dialogue below the video.] In this very interesting video, Frederic Taddei of Interdit d'interdire (Forbidden to censure) states, at the beginning, that he has no intention of evaluating the value of hydroxycloroquine and azithromycine, because he lacks the medical knowledge to do so. He states his intention in inviting his guests (Olivier Berruyer, economist and statistician, and Raphaël Liogier, sociologist and philosopher) is to find out why there is so much controversy over Professor Didier Raoult and his promotion of COVID-19 treatment using hydroxychloroquine. [Note that this unpolished translation took hours out of several days. Both debaters spoke emotionally and with multiple redundancies, also different versions of the word hydroxychloroquine.] Among other things, the participants' discussion of the politics seemed to boil down to the ambiguity of testing drugs in a pandemic situation where big-pharma, other commercial competition, and fraud, loom. I thought that the main argument could be summarized as: (Olivier Berruyer) 'The effectiveness claimed by Didier Raoult for hydroxychloroquine could only be proven through randomised double-blind trials, but these have never been successfully completed due to a series of mishaps', and 'There is no way anyone could scientifically reproduce Raoult's method because he keeps changing it', versus (Raphael Liogier) 'Pending a perfect cure for COVID-19, Didier Raoult is doing the best he can as he treats people in a personalised manner, monitoring their responses, with drugs he believes to be effective'. I would add that, as the translator, and as an evolutionary sociologist, my own feeling about the reasons for such controversy is that it is related to the way apes behave over a tasty food supply or some other big event (good or bad) that concerns them. It is natural for everyone in the community to get involved in something important - in this case a pandemic. We seize whatever handle, whatever fact or factoid we can get hold of, and we run with it, to the best of our ability and enthusiasm. Apes with alpha-pretensions get up in trees and shout loudly about what they've got, competing for audiences and power. So, I invite the reader to keep in mind ape-ethology when he/she reads the translated dialogue below. {See also the notes at the end, on hyrdoxychloroquine trials and prescription of this drug and the law in France.)

Not just deaths - COVID-19: How many damaged survivors?

With COVID-19, we should not just be looking at deaths. Deaths may actually be a poor indicator of the damage this virus may do. We should be looking at a continuum, as in: If the proportion of people who contract COVID-19, and who are over 80, die, what happens to those (of any age) who live? Given the ability of this disease (unlike flu) to cause clotting problems all over the body, affecting organs which affect other organs, we should be expecting that a proportion of survivors will have various rates of blood clots and organ damage. What proportion of these will clear, improve, or become chronic and dangerous? How long will how many survivors survive? Check out the following videos by doctors regarding clotting and organ-damage.

The Fat Emperor - Corona Basic Realities Letter - a critique

Ivor Cummins is a health writer and biochemical engineer, who calls himself The Fat Emperor. He has drafted a letter for people to send to politicians and the press, querying the seriousness of COVID-19. He calls it the "Corona Basic Realities Letter," and writes, advocating 'herd immunity', as one of his 'indisputable facts', that: "Sweden, who were vilified for their approach, has had a very similar death rate to other countries." But Sweden actually has had a much higher death rate than its neighbours, although it did practice social distancing and other hygiene measures, whilst leaving businesses open etc.

Ponzi Growth Agenda - the Deluded Neo-liberalism Agenda

Innes Willox, the Chief Executive of the Australian Industry Group or AIGroup, aims to bolster the economy by resurrecting the discredited mass-immigration agenda. His group has been described as: A leading organisation representing business in a broad range of sectors including manufacturing, defence, ICT and labour hire, by the Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council (accessed 1 September 2020), which lists him, among other positions, as “Board Member of Migration Council of Australia,” and notes that he “was Chief of Staff to the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, from 2004 to 2006.”

To appreciate the agenda, in the article, Migration, tax reform a key to revival, (Geoff Chambers, The Australian, 24 August 2020). Chambers wrote that the Australian Industry Group was calling for “a long-term, systematic shake-up of the tax system focused upon the removal of the worst taxes.”

But the overriding aspect of AIGroup’s push requires the Federal government to achieve,“An increase of the migration cap.”

Law & history on State of Emergency other five states - COVID-19 & Andrews stoush

The extension of State of Emergency in the other five states does not need legislation, unlike Victoria. Here's information on the relevant laws for comparison, plus actions taken under similar legislation for COVID-19 in states outside Victoria. We have also now received a Report to Parliament on States of emergency - jurisdictional comparison, which shows clearly what the Victorian Premier is up against.

Victoria, Australia: Andrews power-grab conspiracy or infection-control necessity?

Dan Andrews’ attempt to extend Victoria’s State of Emergency in order to manage COVID-19 has been portrayed by some in parliament as a power grab and as an attack on human rights. But Victoria is the only state in Australia where you have to apply to parliament to extend the state of emergency. Enforcing laws about masks, geographical limits to movement, and curfews could not be done under normal health legislation. That is why, without a state of emergency, State Premiers only ask people to take these precautions. We have obtained information about laws in other states and their history of using these for COVID-19, which you can read at "Law & history on State of Emergency other five states - COVID-19 & Andrews stouch".

Escape from lock-down

The girls needed a break. The university term had just finished and so had "lock-down". Students, Isla and her two housemates, Chloe and Emily, were anxious to escape Melbourne. Emily's friend Olivia who was studying at Adelaide University had been trying, for more than a year, to entice Emily over for a visit, and this seemed the opportunity. Of course all three girls would go over together and, as they all yearned for a seaside experience, after spending so much time in their rented inner suburban house, they booked into an apartment for five nights in Glenelg, not far from Emily. It would be great! They could go for walks along the beach every morning!

Q & A "Fight of our lives" - When economic ideology meets biological system

On Australian ABC's Q & A, 28 July 2020, "Fight of our lives," Bill Bowtell[1] alone seemed able to conceptualise the biological restructuring of our economic environment, although Gigi Foster, economist, NSW, seemed to know instinctively what she needed to combat in order to keep the global, privatised economy going. She advocated allowing people to die from COVID-19, Swedish-style, in order to maintain business more or less as usual. However, when it was put to her that this would make everything less predictable and also incapacitate our health-care system, with no end in sight for the virus, she could draw a logical conclusion, which was, "[...] If we keep our borders closed, until there is a vaccine, we have to restructure the industrial mix in Australia." But this conclusion, anathema to her ideology, seemed ridiculous to her.

Good neighbours

It was a stifling summer night with the usual crowd at the jazz venue Jonathan had frequented regularly for the previous few years. On this particular night he was introduced to Ruth, a rather earnest, slim, dark haired lady, in her early thirties. Jonathan, although somewhat lonely following the recent acrimonious break-up of his marriage to Danielle, and consequent distancing from his young son David, was not seeking a new partner. He felt the need to sort out his feelings and his finances before taking steps in that direction. He and Danielle had sold the family home in North Caulfield, and now he had to find another house with only half the funds, while house prices were sky-rocketing. He really needed to get away by himself to think about his future.

Ruth edged her way from the other side of the table to where his group were seated and suddenly she was sitting next to him. A cold and distant manner came naturally to Jonathan and he found himself using it, despite her insistent, tipsy, approaches. He needed something stronger than beer, but resisted the urge. He felt danger and knew he had to remain sober. In any case, he had to drive home shortly.

Governments in Australia please! Elimination strategy not suppression. Give this island a chance!

Early this year, as the COVID-19 virus gained a toehold in Australia, the message from governments, via the media, was that the aim was to "flatten the curve" so that case numbers would be such that our hospital systems would not be overwhelmed. It was not to eliminate the virus altogether.

Why would governments not want to flatten the curve right down to the x axis and eliminate the virus from our population?

Video: Some blood-types are higher risk with COVID-19 - Medical review of literature

This video is from Dr Mike Hansen's excellent medical channel, June 16, 2020. Dr Hansen works in Emergency Medicine as a pulmonary specialist and has made a number of highly informative videos on the subject of covid 19.

Transcript for the above video, originally entitled, "Does Blood Type Matter for Coronavirus (COVID-19)?."

People have either blood type A, B, AB, or O.

Are people with blood type O less prone to suffer from COVID-19? And does blood type A make people more prone to COVID-19?

Let me first start out by saying that people of all blood types can get COVID. And people with all blood types can possibly die of COVID if they get the infection.

COVID-19 makes high-rise high-density living a dangerous anachronism

In Melbourne last Saturday nine public housing towers with 3,000 residents were shut down for at least five days, due to a large cluster of identified cases of COVID-19 within their walls. Since then, of course, the whole of Melbourne has been locked down for about six weeks. And this is a Melbourne burgeoning with high-rises. It seems a lifetime ago, but it is only about five months since the cruise ship, Diamond Princess, with identified cases of COVID-19 was unable to disembark in Yokohama, Japan. Her hapless passengers were confined to their cabins, in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus aboard the ship and on land. Predictably however, the virus spread through the ship and by early March there were six casualties.

Lower immigration: State Gov needs to rethink Plan Melbourne - Clifford Hayes MP

The Victorian Government’s master planning document, Plan Melbourne— which drives high density development throughout our suburbs—assumes continuing rapid population growth over the next decade. The coronavirus pandemic, and the Federal response to it, means this assumption has been overtaken by events, and that Plan Melbourne is out of date. The Morrison Government expects a fall of up to 300,000 people moving to Australia over the next 2 years. The Federal Government expects net overseas migration to fall by 30% in the current financial year, and to crash by 85% in 2020-21 to around 40,000.

Calls to Up immigration often ignore Australia's economic and social reality

Daniel Ziffer's journalistic effort for the ABC Saturday May 9th, "Calls to cut immigration often ignore Australia's economic and social reality," was sparked off by Shadow Minister for Immigration and Home Affairs, Senator Kristina Keneally's week old article, calling for a review of the numbers of skilled temporary workers. The purpose of the review she was calling for was to give Australians who have lost their jobs due to coronavirus lock-down, first preference in the job market when "normality" returns. This mild and reasonable suggestion has met with a frenzy of opposing articles in the mainstream media, and this ABC concoction is yet another of these.

What does the future hold after COVID-19?

Will governments buy back vital resources and essential services from the embattled private sector, or will they allow the wealthy to pick up resources and monopolies cheaply, pressing the unemployed and endebted into slave-like conditions? Can we adapt to or avoid a future that appears to hold more and worse pandemics? If COVID-19 is a pandemic designed for elite purposes to cull the aged and weak, why have some governments tried to protect their vulnerable populations? We have obviously become too economically dependent on the model of continuous accelerated growth in human numbers and human activities globally to be able to protect ourselves from the pandemics that come with this economic model.  At the same time the long-predicted oil-resources breakdown in supply is looming. Can any good come of this? Is this an opportunity?

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