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Snow Leopard

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« on: August 21, 2021, 10:28:56 am »
-4
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« Last Edit: April 23, 2022, 06:50:29 pm by Snow Leopard »

Sine

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Re: Australia's response to Coronavirus is disproportionate
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2021, 11:21:44 am »
+17
Tbf NSW is barely in lockdown right now so the response is probably not enough.

Also, vaccinations are not mandatory in Australia and I don't think they will ever make it mandatory. However, they might limit what you can do if you aren't vaccinated which has been the case currently/in the past given the risk it may pose to others E.g. to enrol in school in Victoria you need to have an up to date immunisation history. Also when you are vaccinated you should still be wearing masks, social distancing given you can still get the virus, spread it but a lot less likely to die from it.

Quote
But most studies have found that COVID-19 is estimated to have a death rate between 1 and 3 per cent. Or, another way to look at it is that there is a survival rate of between 97 and 99 per cent.
I think 1% kind of assumes you have the health facilities and resources to cope with everyone who needs to be in ICU, if too many people are sick at the same time the death rate would be higher. Also, 1-3% of 8 billion is 80-240 million.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2021, 11:30:32 am by Sine »

PhoenixxFire

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Re: Australia's response to Coronavirus is disproportionate
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2021, 11:40:15 am »
+18
- Doctors and other health professionals in Australia are unable to give advice about COVID-19 for fear of losing their registration with APHRA:
This is complete crap. aphra doesn't suspend registrations for giving advice about a disease - but they do require that all practioners follow standards, including around evidence based practice.
- Even medical professionals in New Zealand are speaking up about how vaccines shouldn't be mandatory: https://nzdsos.com/
And some people who are qualified as scientists claim that climate change isn't real. There are conspiracy theorists in every field.

Are you seriously trying to say that we should just cop a 1-3% death rate? That's a huge number of people. It is absolutely despicable to suggest that we should let hundreds of millions of people die so that you don't have to stay home.
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PhoenixxFire

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Re: Australia's response to Coronavirus is disproportionate
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2021, 01:41:27 pm »
+6
Lol calm down, I never said that I don't want to stay home, I am very much following the laws.

I just think it's important to not just accept whatever the government and media tells you and to question it. There's nothing wrong with open debate. After all, COVID is not just something temporary, it is something we will have to learn to live with. The decisions made by our government is drastically affecting how we are living our lives. So why shouldn't we have a say in it?
The points you have mentioned in your post are not opinions that should be debated, they are facts. There is no debate about facts because they are true regardless.
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turinturambar

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Re: Australia's response to Coronavirus is disproportionate
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2021, 02:38:36 pm »
+12
But most studies have found that COVID-19 is estimated to have a death rate between 1 and 3 per cent. Or, another way to look at it is that there is a survival rate of between 97 and 99 per cent.

Whenever I hear people questioning the seriousness of Covid-19, just about the only number looked at is the death rate.  And, as other commenters have pointed out, that death rate for a novel and infectious disease is not good.  But I think we also need to look at the effects on those who have survived.  There are reports of heart damage, and of lung damage.  There's long Covid: Some are still struggling with a range of weird and wonderful symptoms nearly 18 months after catching it.  Those who have gone through ICU and ventilation and survived are more likely to have PTSD.  I could go on, but it is those as much as the deaths that makes me think Covid-19 is a serious disease which should be taken seriously.  And that remains true when a large percentage of the "most vulnerable" are vaccinated, hopefully reducing the death rate.  The hope is that after much of the population is vaccinated that calculus will change (and our politicians have now in principle agreed on that), but we have to wait and see.

To Annika Smethurst's points, I agree to some extent: There are places where we probably could have found a better balance between compassion for individual circumstances and the need to protect the health of the community.  But the broad sweep of restrictions is justifiable.
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Geoo

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Re: Australia's response to Coronavirus is disproportionate
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2021, 02:57:09 pm »
+13
The vaccines are also massively important to keeping our health system from being overrun. ICU beds can be filled up quickly from an outbreak, and since the covid vaccine prevents serious symptoms from occuring, it keeps people out of the icu. Look at the USA in Arkansas at the moment, they are having to turn away children from their pediatric ICU beds due to them being flooded with cases. It's gotten to a point where health staff are just waiting for a child to die to put a child in the ICU.  Same thing with adult hospitals. The vaccine is not all about deaths.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/08/13/children-hospitalizations-covid-delta/

I think it's fine that you're questioning what you're being told by the media and government. I believe people should be doing it more often (check out media watch on the abc), but it's also important to trust certified sources like our state/fed health departments and other credible institutions like the Doherty institute for example to come to your opinion, instead of misinformation spread throughout the internet.
And like Phoenix said, your dealing with facts here, not opinions.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2021, 03:26:55 pm by Geoo »
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Re: Australia's response to Coronavirus is disproportionate
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2021, 10:20:44 pm »
+7
We have seen what happens with countries that let people go 'free'. My opinion is either we do lockdown or we don't - any half measures, especially with this Delta variant, will serve only to frustrate people and do very little. Lock us down hard for a few weeks and we can go free again. If we have a clear end date, 'here are the restrictions and after x date we will let you free', perhaps people will keep the law.

Personally, I am getting vaccinated, as much for my own safety as it's a requirement to keep my job after the 17th of September. I've read of 'long COVID', and seen scans, and it's frankly terrifying. With multiple existing respiratory issues, I definitely do not want to catch COVID, if I can help it.

And 1-3% deaths, even that number: if everyone in Melbourne caught the virus, that's at least 50,000 people, and more when our healthcare systems are overrun, our staff go down with it, and there's not enough oxygen to keep everyone breathing.

I know. We are all frustrated. We all want to be free, to see other people, to go where we will. But do we want to pay the price in corpses?
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turinturambar

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Re: Australia's response to Coronavirus is disproportionate
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2021, 11:57:01 am »
+7
Lock us down hard for a few weeks and we can go free again. If we have a clear end date, 'here are the restrictions and after x date we will let you free', perhaps people will keep the law.

We can't set an end date, because we can't reliably predict the success of containment measures.  Look at Victoria's situation: Last time round, in under two weeks we had every positive case in isolation while infectious.  This time round, we're more than two weeks in, the number of positive cases not in isolation continues to grow, and it's not actually guaranteed that we can contain it.

And, while it's easy to blame people doing the wrong thing or breaking the law, lockdown restrictions of necessity allow some parts of the population more mobility than others, and if it gets embedded in those populations it will be harder to contain.  Consider Sydney: an earlier lockdown might have stopped it seeding into the Western suburbs, but I gather once it was there pre-lockdown, a lot of the early spread was through permitted workplaces, and that wouldn't have been stopped by lockdown.

I do believe Victoria's management of the virus is incredibly poor. The first resort in Victoria when we have 1 or 3 cases is always a lockdown, state wide too and often with little notice - Unnecessarily plunging certain parts of melbourne into lockdown. Some of my relatives live 400km away from Melbourne CBD in a very isolated town - they attend a school with a total enrolment less than 50 and they still have to go through restrictons and remote learning. The town they live in has never had a single covid case since this pandemic started.

I have been somewhat critical of how quick the government has been to include regional Vic in lockdowns.  Releasing them after a few days this time round was a positive development, though obviously after the Shepparton cases they are now back in lockdown.  Where you draw the boundary and whether cases in one part of regional Vic justify lockdown in a completely different part of regional Vic I don't know.

Melbourne is a different case.  I am in a suburb that hasn't (yet) been affected: I don't think I've had a case or an exposure site within 10km of me all year.  However, it's not hard to see that a case could get to me (via a permitted worker, for example).  Last year, while there remained hotspots where case numbers were much higher, it crept across Melbourne in July, and from memory by end of July most postcodes had had at least one case.  It's also a question of where you draw the lines, and how you stop it crossing those lines: Clearly, Sydney has found reason to add more LGAs to the "LGAs of concern with tighter restrictions" over time.  Would some of that spread have been prevented if the new LGAs had originally had tighter restrictions?  I don't know, but that's why Victoria is doing what they do.

As for the speed of going into lockdown, it raises considerable uncertainty and I don't like it.  Giving regional Vic yesterday two hours notice for a mid-day lockdown was a new low.  But what do you expect them to do?  Let it spread for another week so we have enough notice?  Look at Melbourne, look at ACT, look at NZ, look at Shepparton: In all those cases, one case detected has triggered the rapid detection of many more.  I'd prefer that not to be so, but it is, and that's the situation they're trying to respond to.

Quote
This virus is going to be with us for a very long time, probably forever - do we really want to start making lockdowns a norm and have a thing called "snap" openings?

Right now, our phase is "desperately try to contain this until vaccination numbers are higher".  That takes time.  Yes, Covid may well be with us forever, but the hope is that it will be less serious for a better vaccinated population.  Which we don't have yet.

Quote
We were actually in a moment were sex work was permitted but family visits weren't ;-;

The state government's re-opening plan prioritised business interests over family interests, and I wasn't entirely happy with that.

However, leaving aside all moral judgements about the relative worth of family time over sex work, the sex work is probably less risky for Covid spread because there is less of it.  From a government perspective, home visits are considered risky because more people can be involved and because it is an environment where people are more likely to relax their guard because they feel safe.  But, in addition to that, you have a large number of families across Melbourne who are likely to do family visits, and all it takes is for one or two of those somewhere around Melbourne to have unknowingly positive cases visit and it can set off significant spread before being detected.
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Poet

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Re: Australia's response to Coronavirus is disproportionate
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2021, 12:19:57 pm »
+17
I think this thread is something of an extremely volatile topic. No matter your position, you are speaking with consideration towards the privilege we hold in Australia, and the lives lost to this virus every day.

Your sociopolitical viewpoint can criticise the way that Victoria has handled this, but if we did not lockdown, we would be in the same position as NSW in a matter of days. That's just how it is.

There are 4.42 million dead worldwide from COVID. And those are only the medically confirmed cases.
Every single one of those deaths was a person. A mother, a father, a son, a daughter. Someone's baby. Someone's best friend.
Criticising a person or government for following evidence-based health advice in an effort to save lives that would have been lost is astounding to me. Perhaps it could be done in a fairer way, for example spot-lockdowns - but attempts at those, especially under the Delta variant, have proven ineffective.

Sex work being permitted whilst family visits are not is something brought up by a couple of people, and I do understand the confusion. However, sex work is permitted because it can be performed in a way that follows health advice - use of protection, face masks, and pre-entry COVID tests are all part of what brothels and workers must abide by. However, family visits are highly emotional and will not be performed in a safe or sterile environment. You wouldn't deep clean your house every day, or take a test before popping over to see your sister. A brothel will enforce that.
It may not seem essential work to you, but please keep in mind that it is not an inconsistency. It is still an essential resource for many people who use it as an outlet. And it keeps our economy moving.


On another note, have a look at yesterday's protest:

I think we can all agree that these people are the ones putting lives at risk now. It will be a miracle if no new cases emerge from a protest cluster. This kind of behaviour is what had Melbourne locked down for over 100 days straight last year. And this is why state-wide lockdowns are needed. These people came from all over the map and are very boldly non-compliant. When there is a pandemic as severely infectious as this one, state-wide lockdowns aren't for those of us doing the right thing. They're for those who go out of their way to, ultimately, spread the virus where it had no business being.

This response is not disproportionate. It is preventative.
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Professor Polonsky

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Re: Australia's response to Coronavirus is disproportionate
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2021, 05:17:02 pm »
+14
I just think it's important to not just accept whatever the government and media tells you and to question it. There's nothing wrong with open debate. After all, COVID is not just something temporary, it is something we will have to learn to live with. The decisions made by our government is drastically affecting how we are living our lives. So why shouldn't we have a say in it?
You are saying "why not have a debate about it", but you are not making any coherent point. People in this spread defended our COVID strategy, and your response was "well let's have a debate!". Okay, what is the debate you want to have? No one is stopping you from making whatever point you like.

My 2 cents are these: COVID, and particularly Delta, spreads too quickly to allow outbreaks to be contained reliably without using harsh measures like lockdowns. So if you're going to be locking down anyway, the logic is to lock down early, which will hopefully allow you to get on top of the outbreak, rather than let it balloon and only then lock down. I think experience has consistently shown so far that early lockdowns are better. Almost every country in the world has adopted some suppression strategy - the question is at what point you start taking harsher measures to suppress the spread.

The alternative to suppression is essentially the "let it rip" strategy. People can choose to limit their movements, but that is not mandated by the government. Nothing stops hospital and ICU overruns. People will die, and people won't get medical care they need. Sweden is often cited as an example of this. Sweden has had almost 15,000 COVID deaths (the equivalent of Australia having over 36,000 deaths). Neighbouring Norway, with half of Sweden's population, has had 800 deaths. I think this is instructive.

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Re: Australia's response to Coronavirus is disproportionate
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2021, 12:42:09 pm »
+1
I haven't read the entire thread (yet) but I'll throw in my opinion.

It's not that the government's response in disproportionate, its just that they screwed up at the start of the pandemic. Many "developing" countries like Vietnam and Cuba obliterated the virus and haven't gone into lockdown since iirc.

I feel like the situation in Victoria is hopeless at this point. The only solution Andrews thinks he has is lockdown. Every time there is a few cases he throws us into lockdown again. There are other solutions maybe shut the damn borders for real this time and keep them shut. Maybe fund contact tracing teams. Maybe he doesn't realise that the cost of upgrading contact tracers is cheaper than freezing the economy.

Back to the Victoria lockdown, there is literally no compliance. People are in playgrounds in front of my house and police were filling up at a gas station at midnight and didn't arrest the others who were breaching the curfew. Protests are making things worse. The lockdown won't work if people don't care.

Using the "let it rip" strategy isn't great, as Professor Polonsky pointed out with Sweden, but why couldn't we have adopted a Cuba strategy? Stop the virus at the start and don't have to put up with it again, so much that Cuba is donating its doctors to countries that seriously need them.

I think the best strategy at this point would be to go on a vaccine blitz. Clearly the state governments can't handle this, so I think Canberra needs to sort things out for us. If we vaccinate more people then we would stop the spread and also stop the chance of a deadlier "Australia strain" from emerging.

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Re: Australia's response to Coronavirus is disproportionate
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2021, 04:33:17 pm »
+9
The C-19 situation (government response, and lockdowns, etc) is far more complex than just saying "yes the lockdown is needed" because it helps save lives.

Tony Blakely (a leading epidemiologist) was one of the key supporters of the blanket lockdown last year (which worked quite well). Unfortunately, Delta is very different and Prof Blakely has proposed easing some restrictions and that we might have to live with ~500 cases a day or something in that vicinity.

Those in ardent favour of lockdowns discount the mental health impact that it's having on many Australians. I'm fortunately privileged enough in a situation where my mental health isn't adversely affected (i'm sad but i find myself able to get out of bed in the morning and have something to look forward to) - but many people are not.

Small business owners are facing options where they're racking up 5-6 figures of debt, employees of these businesses are facing themselves in situations where their employers can't afford their next paycheck and they have literally nothing to look forward to. Years of high school students find everything they enjoy about school wiped out, some forced to study on internet insufficient for them to connect to their school zoom, in a crowded house way too small to accommodate their family and likely eventuating into disproportionately affected educational outcomes. The people least affected are those living in comfortable rooms with parents willing to pay for additional out-of-school support and they indirectly benefit from reduced competition.

Yes, maybe exiting lockdown results in hundreds (and thousands) of true deaths but I'd contend that at this point many people are dying a non-physical death (debilitating impact to mental and financial health).

I was a huge supporter of the lockdown last year but the more I talk to people who have been severely affected by these lockdowns the more I understand that many of us who abide by regulations and support this are, in fact, heavily, heavily privileged. I've seen people suicide because of depression stemming from lockdown-related impacts (and this is something not reported because it's against the government's agenda). If you look at the volume of calls to mental-help related services, it's spiked considerably with every lockdown - and many of these cases irrespective of how much 'money' you invest in mental health services there are still hundreds, if not thousands of lives destroyed as a result.

I think COVID zero is a failed policy and honestly we just all need to vaccinated ASAP
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Re: Australia's response to Coronavirus is disproportionate
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2021, 05:02:28 pm »
+7
Imo worth noting that Prof Blakey also welcomed the harder restrictions the Andrews government recently announced and was only suggesting the easing to then catch at around 400 cases a day if after 2 weeks we aren't seeing numbers drop  (unless I've missed some more recent news?)

Quote
"And I strongly support the Victorian government's strong stance to give it a really good push for two weeks,"

he isn't saying to drop it now.


^^ not trying to say that you were saying that Orb, but I know lots of people here won't be that on top of covid news & may not have the context behind it.


I'm trying to avoid talking on this too much otherwise I'll end up spending an hour here typing away but thought I'd quickly chuck that in.

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Re: Australia's response to Coronavirus is disproportionate
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2021, 05:06:43 pm »
+5
Tony Blakely (a leading epidemiologist) was one of the key supporters of the blanket lockdown last year (which worked quite well). Unfortunately, Delta is very different and Prof Blakely has proposed easing some restrictions and that we might have to live with ~500 cases a day or something in that vicinity.

Imo worth noting that Prof Blakey also welcomed the harder restrictions the Andrews government recently announced and was only suggesting the easing to then catch at around 400 cases a day if after 2 weeks we aren't seeing numbers drop  (unless I've missed some more recent news?)

For newcomers and those who haven't seen it, here's the ABC interview with Blakely that Orb refers to:
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-08-23/expert-says-victoria-should-consider-soft-lockdown/13509596

I personally agree with the suggestion that after September a 'soft lockdown' would be more appropriate with consideration towards vaccination numbers and community wellbeing.
This does have the potential to branch more into general Australian COVID-19 discussion rather than the specificities of this thread, so further theoretical discourse outside of this conversation can be continued here.
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Sine

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Re: Australia's response to Coronavirus is disproportionate
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2021, 06:21:22 pm »
+10
COVID-zero was definitely a possibility in Australia but slow actions for delta make it a lot tougher. I think people tend to forget that deaths/hospitalisations also impact the economy along with the population's mental health.

Anecdotes/feelings are fine I guess but If anyone is interested in whether lockdowns are actually worse than COVID-19 (based on the current available evidence) there is a paper on it in the BMJ
https://gh.bmj.com/content/bmjgh/6/8/e006653.full.pdf

Quote
Using these data, we can see that New Zealand and Australia, two countries that imposed several lockdowns and heavy restrictions, experienced no excess mortality during 2020. Similarly, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand had either no excess mortality or only very modest increases in mortality during lockdown periods when there were few or no COVID-19 cases. Indeed, there are no locations in the dataset that experienced both excess mortality and lockdowns concurrently with low numbers of COVID-19 cases, which is what we would expect if lockdowns were independently causing large numbers of short-term deaths. Conversely, places with few COVID-19 restrictions such as Brazil, Sweden, Russia or at times certain parts of the USA have had large numbers of excess deaths throughout the pandemic.

Quote
Countries that imposed several strict lockdowns without experiencing large COVID-19 epidemics (eg, Australia, New Zealand) did not have large numbers of excess deaths. This provides strong evidence that lockdowns themselves are not sufficient to cause surges in deaths

Quote
There is consistent and robust evidence from many countries that government interventions to control COVID-19 have not been associated with increased deaths from suicide

Quote
It appears clear from evidence to date that government interventions, even more restrictive ones such as stay-at-home orders, are beneficial in some circumstances and unlikely to be causing harms more
extreme than the pandemic itself.