Covid-19 “will be here for some time”

It has become obvious that the impact of Covid-19 will continue for some time, either contracting the virus or the significant impact on everyone’ way of life – months if not years.

Yesterday Jacinda Ardern said we should accept there would be a “significant disruption” to daily life from now on – “this will not leave in weeks. It will be here for some time”. Some time is obviously going to be quite a bit more than a few weeks.

As of Saturday afternoon there were 52 confirmed cases in New Zealand, with the possibility that two of the latest my have been community spread. This is significant, because if community spread is confirmed then communities (probably local at first, for example towns, cities or schools) are going to be locked down – that is, we will be asked if not compelled to stay at home.

So far 279,000 people have been confirmed infected across the world and 12.755 have died.

Italy and Europe continues to bear the brunt of the pandemic.

Reuters: Italy coronavirus deaths surge by 793 in a day, lifting total death toll to 4,825

The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has leapt by 793 to 4,825, officials said on Saturday, an increase of 19.6% — by far the largest daily rise in absolute terms since the contagion emerged a month ago.

The total number of cases in Italy rose to 53,578 from a previous 47,021, an increase of 13.9%

Italy is in lockdown and their health system is under severe strain, currently having to try to care for 2,857 people in intensive care.

Spain, France and Germany also have a large number of cases, but the death rates are markedly different, suggesting that access to good healthcare is imperative – Germany has started to take patients from France. The worst affected countries:

The full table, map and other information from Reuters here.

Good data summaries from John Hopkins University including this map:

That shows the virus spread around the world, with China, Iran, Europe and the US prominent. It seems odd to see so little in Russia but these are reported cases.

Russia has reported few coronavirus cases but a sharp spike in pneumonia

Despite its large population and hefty border with China, Russia has reported just 306 confirmed coronavirus cases. Pneumonia, however, is booming, according to official statistics.

As of March 18, only one lab, located near the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, has been able to carry out tests—and had found only 114 positive results from 116,000 tests, according to the Moscow Times. That is the lowest ratio of tests to positive cases in the world, the paper reports. A deputy in the health committee of the Duma, Russia’s parliament, acknowledged the “figures are likely a lot higher.”

As the US and EU accuse the Kremlin of sowing disinformation about Covid-19 at Americans and Europeans, some Russians are looking back at Chernobyl and accusing their government of again lying to its own people about a public health crisis.

International power playing and propaganda haven’t been halted by Covid-19.

More from Reuters: Latest on the spread of the coronavirus around the world

  • Spain said it would turn a Madrid conference center into a giant military hospital, as Europe’s second-worst outbreak claimed another 235 lives.
  • France reported 78 new deaths on Friday, taking the total to 450, an increase of 21%.
  • Germany may enforce a nationwide curfew if the country’s 83 million people fail to keep their distance from each other this weekend.
  • New Jersey’s governor was expected on Saturday to follow four other states – California, New York, Illinois and Connecticut – demanding that millions of Americans close up shop and stay home to slow the spread of coronavirus infections. The total number of known U.S. cases has climbed past 19,000 in a surge that health officials attributed in large part to an increase in diagnostic testing. More than 270 Americans have died.
  • China reported a record rise in imported coronavirus cases as students and expatriates returned home from the United States and Europe, sparking fears of a second wave of infections just as the country recovers from the initial outbreak.
    All 41 of the new confirmed cases in China were imported from overseas.
  • Indonesia’s total of cases rose to 450, with 38 deaths, a health ministry official said on Saturday. This comes a day after the governor of Jakarta declared a state of emergency in the Indonesian capital for the next two weeks.
  • Malaysia’s cases jumped to 1,183 on Saturday with four deaths.
  • Iran’s death toll from the outbreak rose on Saturday by more than 100 to 1,556, and the total number of people infected now exceeds 20,000, a health ministry official said.
  • Angola on Saturday confirmed its first two cases of coronavirus, while Mauritius recorded its first death as the virus spreads across Africa.

The news may not all be bad.

One reason for measured optimism is the prospect that antiviral medicines will beat the coronavirus; some are already in clinical trials. Scientists have hopes for remdesivir, originally developed for Ebola; chloroquine, an old anti-malaria drug; and some anti-H.I.V. and immune-boosting drugs. Many other drugs are also lined up for trials.

Even without proven treatment, the coronavirus may be less lethal than was originally feared, so long as health care systems are not overwhelmed. In South Korea and in China outside Hubei Province, about 0.8 percent of those known to be infected died, and the rate was 0.6 percent on a cruise ship.

But:

By some counts, the United States is just eight days behind Italy on a similar trajectory, and it’s difficult to see how America can pirouette from the path of Italy to that of South Korea. The United States may already have 100,000 infected citizens — nobody knows. That’s too many to trace. Indeed, one can argue that the U.S. is not only on the same path as Italy but is also less prepared, for America has fewer doctors and hospital beds per capita than Italy does — and a shorter life expectancy even in the best of times.

Sounds a bit ominous. And I hate to think what may happen when Covid-19 gets going in Africa.

eNCA: Africa coronavirus cases to rise as some undetected

Africa will likely see higher numbers of coronavirus cases in coming weeks because of the likelihood some are slipping through the net, the head of a regional disease control body said.

“We are picking (up) some people but we are also missing some people,” said John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which is a branch of the African Union bloc.

“The situation will get worse before it gets better because the chances are clear that people have slipped through.”

That’s a worry around the world, including here in New Zealand. Even if we manage to contain it and prevent community spread we will have a problem as soon as we re-open our borders. Our lives for the rest of the year are going to be markedly different to anything we could have imagined.

Just one town: Wanaka on the brink

Businesses are shuttering in the picturesque South Island town as the coronavirus pandemic takes its toll.

“The mood is pretty sombre. Businesses are laying off staff and some are closing even if just to avoid the risks posed by tourists who have not self isolated.”

Domestic tourism made up about 40 per cent of visitors to Wanaka and Helmore said they were pinning their hopes on the ski season going ahead.

The ski season won’t start for three months, if there’s enough snow and Covid border restrictions are lifted (and if we are allowed to travel internally by then).

And there’s a real chance it could be worse here already than we know – Man who tested positive for Covid-19 could not get through to helpline for four days

Tūwharetoa Trust Board has confirmed one of its staff members, Te Mahau Kingi, tested positive for the virus after returning to Auckland from London via Dubai on 12 March.

He then flew to Taupō on 14 March, self-isolated and was tested on Tuesday. His results came back positive on Friday evening.

That’s a flight into the country and an internal flight before self-isolating. And then four days wait, then another two days before tested positive before contact tracking would have begun.

I know a nurse who works in an elderly care hospital who was off work last week with flu-like symptoms. She tried to get tested but they said it wasn’t required as she had not had contact with anyone who had been travelling recently. She was allowed to go back to work.

 

Leave a comment

55 Comments

  1. Blazer

     /  22nd March 2020

    C19 may well be here for ‘some time’…but how long can the day of reckoning of the consequences of the lauded, neo liberalism financial disaster be…postponed?

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  22nd March 2020

      Probably forever and we will have to.put up with your trolling about it for as long.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  22nd March 2020

        sure Al ….king troll of the non existent…’loony left’!

        You are as blind as a…bat.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  22nd March 2020

          That means that he has good eyesight; contrary to popular belief, bats are not blind.

          Reply
    • Conspiratoor

       /  22nd March 2020

      When this is all over the moneyed elite will be the last thing we have to fret about. Expect a step change in the balance of power as the big panda moves to ramp up an aggressive ‘soft-power’ strategy.

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/19/china-positions-itself-as-a-leader-in-tackling-the-coronavirus

      Look for similar offers in this part of the world. How do you think they will call these ‘favours’ in?

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  22nd March 2020

        Trump and Johnson are moving aggressively to coopt businesses and manufacturers into providing solutions. China is too via the likes of Jack Ma and by providing detailed medical information. The State is good at shutting things down but only the private sector can open them up.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  22nd March 2020

          ‘ only the private sector can open them up.’….those delusions are getting the better of you….haven’t you noticed all the private sector lining up with their hand out for …gummint money..as USUAL!

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  22nd March 2020

            You still don’t realise all that govt money came from the private sector. As usual.

            Reply
        • Conspiratoor

           /  22nd March 2020

          Jack Ma exists at the whim of the central committee as do the Russian oligarchs. And if you think this is pure altruism I’ve got a bridge… This is how totalitarian states work. Drop the wrong word and it doesn’t matter how much moola you’ve got. You are simply disappeared

          https://thehill.com/policy/international/487617-chinese-property-tycoon-disappears-after-criticizing-xi-jinpings

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  22nd March 2020

            Of course I don’t think it is pure altruism. Just that even China recognises the necessity of the private sector involvement.

            Reply
            • Conspiratoor

               /  22nd March 2020

              “the necessity of China’s manufacturing capacity” would be a more apt description. In China state capitalism masquerades as a private sector and Jack is simply doing what he is told

              Gotta feel a bit sorry for Jack, and those fools in the west who happily hand their personal details over to any company that begins with ‘Ali…’

              “entrepreneurs feel very insecure about their ownership and control over their businesses and companies. For instance, Alibaba’s Jack Ma once said that if the government wants to take over Alipay (value at $150 billion), he will gift it to the state without complaint. Tech startups are increasingly encouraged to sell shares to government bodies so that government-designated representatives can sit on the board to participate in management and operating decisions”

              https://thediplomat.com/2018/12/chinas-private-sector-is-under-siege/

      • Blazer

         /  22nd March 2020

        a look at NZ will show you how favours’ are called in.

        Political influence is now embedded, especially with the Nats and their NZ 4 Sale policy.

        Like any empire in history…Time is being called on U.S hegemony.
        The rise of China has been aided by off shoring manufacturing by the West,who are trying to rely on their financial power to maintain their dominance.

        NZ as a Chinese satellite would be little different to being a western bankers vassal state.

        Reply
        • David

           /  22nd March 2020

          For sale, the nats ? seriously Blazer so far we have cash going to beneficiaries, more winter fuel payments, millions to forestry and fishery companies which looks more like an election year budget and Winston re election fund.
          Our kindy school leader with her condescending tone has given us a coloured chart with her clever little levels on it so we have something distracting to look at while our border remains porous, healthline understaffed, no requisitioning more medical capacity and capitalism is what worries you.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  22nd March 2020

            that cash is going to our people,as it should!

            National have monetised every sector they can…sold off state assets to their mates,sucked foreign dick,whether its Thiel or Asian millionaires it matters not to them.

            NZ’s open economy’s biggest export is …profits to overseas interests…like some free water.

            Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  22nd March 2020

          Hong Kong 1, Blazer 0.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  22nd March 2020

            Communist China 1-Al 0…

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  22nd March 2020

              Nope. HK knows the difference between a communist satellite and a market democracy. You pretend not to.

    • david in aus

       /  22nd March 2020

      You have moved on from the flu-kills-more-people stance and back to your favourite subject.

      Reply
    • Zedd

       /  22nd March 2020

      ai tautoko Blzr
      some folks need to be reminded that this is about Public health, not just “how much CASH have I lost this week & can I try to get a Govt. handout (aka DOLE) to get it ALL back ?!”

      btw: to those who promote PANIC Buying (as was publicly stated by 1 Natl MP)
      >they need a good kick up their A & stop being so damn selfish !

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  22nd March 2020

        No, Zedd, the MP did NOT promote panic buying.That is a distortion. He corrected himself as we all do when we realise that something’s come out wrong and said that it was understandable that people would stock up.

        I will admit to having bought three packs of loo paper, but not huge ones.

        Reply
  2. David

     /  22nd March 2020

    Germany dont test for covid 19 at post mortem. Only 25% of over 80s deaths are being put down to covid 19 with elderly people dying at home or in hospices not being tested so the death toll is probably higher…but nearly all the dead are 80 plus with other illnesses.
    Not worth shutting down the whole economy in my mind given we know who is at risk.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  22nd March 2020

      Then there’s the effect of the panicmongering on people’s mental health; totally irresponsible.

      It’s starting to seem like social control.

      Reply
  3. David

     /  22nd March 2020

    6557 new cases in Italy today after the country has been in lockdown for 2 weeks, killed the economy for absolutely no reason.
    Probably goes to show that we have absolutely no idea how many people have it and have no symptoms. Until we have a cheap easy test to see who is carrying the antibodies we are totally flying blind..

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  22nd March 2020

      Weekly CDC report on 2019/20 influenza season

      “Nationally, influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses are now the most commonly reported influenza viruses this season. … CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 38 million flu illnesses, 390,000 hospitalizations and 23,000 deaths from flu.

      https://www.cdc.gov/flu/season/index.html

      The flu season in US starts in Oct

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  22nd March 2020

        Note the graphs of US cumulative ‘flu hospitalisations’ ie the severe cases rises steeply and then levels off- the Grompertz curve again. The mortality curve would be similar shape but started later on the bottom axis weeks of the year.

        For some reason dying from a well known virus is ignored while a new one which could have similar severity, maybe the same as 2017/18, closes down each country

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  22nd March 2020

          Yes it seems odd, but every country in the world is reacting the same way & treating Covid-19 as a national & global emergency.

          https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2020/3/18/21184992/coronavirus-covid-19-flu-comparison-chart

          Reply
          • David

             /  22nd March 2020

            I cant get my head around the reaction, its ridicuously over the top. Upscale the medical response governments and isolate the folk who get hit hard by it and then just let this thing take its course watch it mutate and die like Sars and Mers,

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  22nd March 2020

              The scaremongering is totally unhelpful, making a disease with what seems to be a 99% survival rate seem like a death sentence.

              Peru seems to be shutting down after 3 deaths.

              Countries don’t close down in the flu season despite the enormous number of deaths from this.

              We know that there is one group who are the ones likely to die; the old who have existing conditions. The average age of those who died in Italy was 80+ with 17 (?) under 50s who were not known to have existing health problems. 50% of the dead had three existing medical problems. One doesn’t have to be a scientist to work out who’s at risk here. Young, healthy people don’t seem to have it badly at all. This doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t use basic, commonsense precautions; they should do that anyway.

              The shutting down of a country and its economy makes no sense. Isolate the vulnerable (without making them live in total isolation; this is a known killer in itself) and use common sense for everyone else.

            • Duker

               /  22nd March 2020

              The difference is shown by the cumulative deaths from flu is tucked away on the CDC weekly update in an hard to find place.

              To be fair they dont put the CV-19 numbers in a prominent place either but here they are for comparison
              Total cases: 15,219
              Total deaths: 201

              I dont have the hospitalisations for a more direct Gompertz curve comparison
              https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  22nd March 2020

            It seems as if suspected cases are being treated and reported as actual ones.

            The numbers are not adjusted when the people recover, by the look of it, but reported as if they were current. This makes it seem worse than it is.

            Reply
            • “It seems as if suspected cases are being treated and reported as actual ones.”
              That’s not how it looks. The daily update currently being given says there are now 67 confirmed cases and four “probable” cases.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  22nd March 2020

              The stats I saw for NZ didn’t allow for the early cases now being cured. If the quarantine is 14 days, then it would seem that only the cases in the last 14 days are current. This would be a much smaller number than 67.

  4. lurcher1948

     /  22nd March 2020
    Reply
    • Corky

       /  22nd March 2020

      It is racist. What happened to New Zealanders? What happened to pulling together as a nation? As I have repeated ad nauseam…Maori see themselves as Maori first, and New Zealanders second. I hope this has helped you out, Lurchy. Because one things for sure..if your scooter breaks down outside a Marae, well, your choppers we be needed for identification.😃

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  22nd March 2020

        *will*

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  22nd March 2020

          I thought that you claimed to be Maori, or half Maori.

          Ad nauseam is the right expression there, but I wonder if you know what it means.

          Reply
        • Corky

           /  22nd March 2020

          Well, let’s be honest…you should be the last to criticise. Caught out again on the other thread, I see.

          So, you haven’t addressed the topic – is the package racist? Y/N and why. Are we one country or two? Simple stuff really.

          Have you thought of anything you can contribute for fellow NZers?🤔

          Reply
  5. lurcher1948

     /  22nd March 2020

    The righties on the rightwing blogs and the righties who ring up talkback say PM Jacinda Ardern has no ideas, but who on the right could do better…no one ever says…shes useless they rant,but do you really think National is the answer AND WHO

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  22nd March 2020

      People who have nothing better to do than ring talkback in the middle of the night are idiots regardless of their political persuasion, Lurch. Stu Pidd rolls home from the pub and decides to go on air…..

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  22nd March 2020

        Some online media sites here in NZ are saying their ‘traffic’ is 3x above normal levels for this time of the year.

        PG would probably say much the same ….but hes not making money from it.
        Countries like Russia who havent joined in the ‘breathless publication of every infection’ are being ‘epidemic shamed’ for not getting carried away covering it up

        Meanwhile in the US the flu death rate even though its over 20,000 this season alone is ‘only just below epidemic status’ according to the CDC

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  22nd March 2020

          An elderly woman I know was advised to listen to talkback at night instead of reading in bed when her sight becaime bad…she said that she’d never heard such a lot of whingers and moaners in her life and went all out to find lamps and ways to keep reading.

          Reply
  6. Alan Wilkinson

     /  22nd March 2020

    An American commentator stating the obvious that seems to have entirely eluded our government so far: the Govt must work on plans to open up the economy again within 60 days and stop the disaster of drifting along waiting for a vaccine:
    https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/mark-penn-in-coronavirus-fight-america-needs-a-60-day-plan-to-battle-virus-and-save-our-economy

    Reply
    • duperez

       /  22nd March 2020

      “Seems to have entirely eluded our government so far: the Govt must work on plans to open up the economy again …” Seems to have eluded the public simply because there is no big announcement?

      You think there has been no thought and no discussions about the other end of the tunnel?

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  23rd March 2020

        Yes. There is a serious failure of imagination being evidenced by our Government to date. I see nothing remotely comparable to efforts elsewhere – particularly in the UK and US. I just read an article by a UK columnist in Melbourne who decided to return home for that very reason.

        Reply
  7. David

     /  22nd March 2020

    The US is stopping testing all but the most serious cases in some states. NY is right in saying they are running out of equipment so if you have to dispose of masks, gloves etc every time you test someone not in the at risk group because they have the snivels is a waste of resources. Even if they have covid 19 no point testing unless it requires hospital care really if all that happens is flu like symptoms for a few days then you come right.
    Leave the medicos to look after people not collate details for headlines.

    Reply
  8. lurcher1948

     /  22nd March 2020

    I have a roll of toilet paper for sale, open auction…start bidding
    PS all profits go into my retirement fund

    Reply
    • Conspiratoor

       /  22nd March 2020

      New or used?

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  22nd March 2020

        Lurch, did you see the story about the Australian woman who changed the kind of dunny paper on the standing order and wrote ’48’ for the quantity as they usually had 48 rolls ? She assumed that this meant rolls, but it was boxes of 48 rolls and 2306 rolls appeared on pallets. They couldn’t be sent back, but they are selling some at a small profit to make money for school trips.

        Reply

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