Covid-19 world roundup

Get rid of ‘old stale’ ideas: Prime Minister wants a new way out of the COVID-19 crisis for Australia

Scott Morrison is ready to hear ideas for economic reform but is a long way away from choosing the path ahead.

The Prime Minister is in what some call a “harvesting phase” on big reform options like tax, industrial relations and deregulation.

He wants business and community groups to come up with proposals but is not going to be prescriptive about the solution – whether that means changes to workplace rules or a company tax cut.

Morrison’s message is not so concrete because nobody can be certain of the depth of the economic chasm the country is falling into. To be blunt: the country is yet to hit the bottom. Nobody can be certain of the scale of the reforms needed to lift the country out.

Countries are wary of relaxing restrictions too quickly.

Merkel warns Germany is on the ‘thinnest ice’ as Europe realizes social distancing is here to stay

Germany risks squandering the gains it has made in slowing down the spread of the novel coronavirus if the country opens up too quickly, Chancellor Angela Merkel warned, joining leaders across Europe who have cautioned that any easing of lockdown restrictions would likely be gradual.

The country is “still at the beginning” of the coronavirus crisis and will have to live with the virus for a long time, Merkel told Germany’s parliament. “Nobody likes to hear this but it is the truth. We are not living through the final phase of this crisis,” she added.
German federal and state governments recently agreed to loosen some of the social distancing restrictions implemented to combat Covid-19, including allowing smaller shops to reopen. But Merkel warned against moving too fast. “This interim result is fragile. We are on thin ice, one could even say on thinnest ice,” Merkel cautioned.

Germany has a relatively low death rate compared to neighbouring European countries.

Belgium has the highest death rate at 540 per million of population, total deaths 6,262 (their population is 11.5 million, 2.35 times New Zealand’s population).

First patients injected in UK vaccine trial

The first human trial in Europe of a coronavirus vaccine has begun in Oxford.

Two volunteers were injected, the first of more than 800 people recruited for the study.

Half will receive the Covid-19 vaccine, and half a control vaccine which protects against meningitis but not coronavirus.

Prof Gilbert previously said she was “80% confident” the vaccine would work, but now prefers not to put a figure on it, saying simply she is “very optimistic” about its chances.

EU leaders agree huge rescue package

A plan for injecting billions of euros of emergency aid into Europe’s struggling economies has been agreed by EU leaders.

At a video conference they agreed to set up a massive recovery fund, to be closely tied to the bloc’s seven-year budget. The European Commission now has to work out the details.

They also confirmed that €540bn (£470bn) of financial support would be released through existing mechanisms, to ease the economic pain caused by coronavirus, from 1 June.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said the future recovery fund would mobilise €1 trillion of investment.

Nearly 3 million New Yorkers have had coronavirus, antibody study suggests

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo revealed Thursday that preliminary results from a coronavirus antibody study show the statewide infection rate is 13.9 percent, which would mean around 2.7 million residents could have carried the disease.

“These are people who were infected and who developed the antibodies to fight the infection,” Cuomo said. “They had the virus, they developed the antibodies and they are now ‘recovered’.”


Percent positive by demographic:

  • Female: 12%
  • Male: 15.9%
  • Asian: 11.7%
  • Black: 22.1%
  • Latino/Hispanic: 22.5%
  • Multi/None/Other: 22.8%
  • White: 9.1%

Another clash between Trump and a top official:  Trump disregards science as chaos overtakes coronavirus response

In another bizarre twist, Trump produced Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to walk back his remarks that the coronavirus challenge could be more difficult in the fall.

Trump claimed that Redfield had been “totally misquoted” by the media. But under questioning from reporters, Redfield confirmed that he had in fact made the remarks that angered Trump.

“I’m accurately quoted in The Washington Post,” he conceded, as Trump countered that the headline was wrong. It accurately described Redfield warning that if a coronavirus resurgence came at the same time as the flu season, hospitals could be overwhelmed.

The President also openly clashed with his top public health officials on the likelihood of the virus returning for another assault in the fall — saying only “embers” of disease were likely that could be easily put out.

And more mixed messages:

The President did break with Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, saying he “strongly disagrees” with aggressive plans to open businesses including hair salons on Friday as pro-Trump southern states look to ease stay-at-home orders.

But his rebuke followed days of Trump all but goading southern conservative states to open up, even though many don’t yet meet White House opening guidelines. And a source familiar with calls between Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and the Georgia governor said that both men expressed support and praise for Kemp’s move to reopen businesses.

The British government’s chief medical adviser says the restriction will likely last into next year, saying it would be “wholly unrealistic” to expect things to return to normal any time soon.

United States President Donald Trump says there is “pent up demand” to ease social restrictions, but has conceded the measures may need to stay in place until at least the summer.

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  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  24th April 2020

    Herald gets around to what was obvious weeks ago – NZ should be teaming up with Oz with a vaccine manufacturing strategy to head off the NH giants commandeering it all for their populations and winter.

    • Pink David

       /  24th April 2020

      Alan, what vaccine are you going to manufacture?

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  24th April 2020

        Whatever works, PD. The objective should be to join forces with Oz to secure a manufacturing source and license to deploy it ahead of time rather than be left at the back of the queue come December.

        • Pink David

           /  24th April 2020

          Manufacturing a vaccine is not that difficult. There is a plant in Wellington that can do it. Creating a vaccine is very, very hard for coronavirus. There is a high degree of uncertainty as to if it is even possible. If there are promising early stage trials, there would be plenty of time to build as much manufacturing capacity as needed before it was approved for use.

          Anyone claiming there will be one in 12 or 18 months is simply lying.

  2. artcroft

     /  24th April 2020

    Good old Trumpie with his “The water’s to hot because the water’s to cold” schtick. “Ooh” say the simple minded, “so wise. What a great thinker and leader”. LMAO

  3. Gezza

     /  24th April 2020

    Trump all over the blimmin place as usual, I see. Mind like a can of worms.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  24th April 2020

      Possibly the Guardian could stick with its very own NHS monstrous failures except that would be criticising socialised medical delivery.

      • You’d be referring to this story of how Tory cockwombles systematically gutted the NHS in the name of neoliberal selfishness…

        “ the rank hypocrisy of a government that has spent 10 years doing the exact opposite of ordering us to protect the NHS. In fact, the Tory-led coalition was so little trusted with the NHS that David Cameron had to create his own slogan in 2011 to reassure the public: “The NHS is safe in our hands”.

        Over the next decade, the Tories went on to neglect the NHS at best, pillage it at worst. Pre-Covid-19, the number of NHS hospital beds had fallen dramatically and we were short of an estimated 43,000 nurses.

        The Tory government also did its best to quietly sell off parts of the NHS. In 2013 the government sold 80% of the state-owned blood plasma supplier to the US private equity firm Bain Capital for $200m. This despite the obscenity of Britain’s contaminated blood scandal when more than 4,500 haemophiliacs became infected with hepatitis and HIV in the 1970s and 1980s after being poisoned with blood products brought on the cheap from abroad. In 2016 Britain’s plasma supplier was sold on to a Chinese company for £820m (along with the government’s remaining 20% stake). Protect the NHS? The Tories flogged the country’s lifeblood for tuppence ha’penny.”

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  24th April 2020

          No, Ishmael, I was actually referring to relevant stuff like the NHS refusing to buy needed PPE equipment from British suppliers while dismally failing to supply it to front line medics and refusing to use British testing facilities and services while dismally failing to meet the targets or needs to protect the public and frontline staff.

          None of that had any connection to your irrelevant historic political blame game rant. Grow up.

          • Pink David

             /  24th April 2020

            Alan, the NHS only has 47,000 staff responsible for purchasing. You cannot expect them to have actually purchased anything useful, nor can you expect them to change there ‘systems’ just because of a minor virus.

            There are rules that must be followed.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  24th April 2020

              I’m sure if they’d been given the money they needed, they’d now have 60,000 purchasing staff, no more medics or front line equipment and even less likelihood of efficiently purchasing the equipment and supplies they actually need.

        • Pink David

           /  24th April 2020

          “You’d be referring to this story of how Tory cockwombles systematically gutted the NHS in the name of neoliberal selfishness”

          So lets get this straight. Not increasing spending on the NHS at the same rate as demanded is not caring. Yet, shutting the entire economy down and burning trillions of dollars that can now never be spent on healthcare at all, while everyone will be significantly poorer is caring.

          This is some interesting logic.

  4. More pseudo-medical quackery from Dr. Trump, noted epidemiologist. Evidently we should all be demanding injections of disinfectant and sunlight… SMFH

  5. Pink David

     /  24th April 2020

    The Mystery Flu.

    “Almost 12,000 patients across Britain went to their GP last week (Dec 9 -15) complaining of influenza-like symptoms, such as a fever, aching muscles and headaches. This is 25 per cent higher than the week before, where 9,500 — including almost 8,000 from England — sought advice for similar symptoms. On top of the soaring GP visits, there were more than 50,000 calls made to NHS 111 regarding cold and flu.

    An early start to the season has left 2,092 people in England needing treatment for the contagious virus so far in 2019. By comparison, there were just 256 hospital admissions with flu at the same point 12 months ago.

    And the number of patients rushed into intensive care with the flu is three times higher than last winter.”

    How odd. I wonder if anyone has looked into what this was.

    • Duker

       /  24th April 2020

      Worried well , every GP relies on them, plus look deeper than numbers given in Daily mail

      • Pink David

         /  24th April 2020

        So this;

        “And the number of patients rushed into intensive care with the flu is three times higher than last winter”

        Is the worried well eh?

  6. Alan Wilkinson

     /  24th April 2020

    For Ishmael to enjoy:

    Boris Johnson is planning to return to No 10 as early as Monday to take back control of the coronavirus crisis amid Cabinet concerns the lockdown has gone too far.

    The news of his return to work comes as US President Donald Trump said Mr Johnson called him not long after his release from hospital.

    “He [Boris] called me a few days ago. I will tell you he sounded incredible,” Mr Trump said.

    “I was actually surprised. I thought he’d be like ‘Oh Donald, how are you?’. He was ready to go. I’m very surprised to tell you. It’s like the old Boris, tremendous energy, tremendous drive.

    “I was very surprised because he called me, almost you know, pretty close to when he got out of the hospital.

    “I think he’s doing great. He was so sharp and energetic, pretty incredible, he’s an incredible guy.

    “He’s a friend of ours and a friend of mine. He loves our country, he loves his country a lot, but he loves our country, he respects our country and they’re lucky to have him over there.”
    – The Telegraph

  7. Trump Speak again, after a Homeland Security official talked about ways of cleaning and killing Covid using light (he meant outside versus inside life of the virus), also alcohol and bleach and disinfectant I thought to clean surfaces.

    But then Trump talks about getting powerful light inside the body – and injecting disinfectant into the lungs.

    “So supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just a very powerful light — and I think you said that hasn’t been checked because of the testing. And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or some other way, and I think you said you’re going to test that, too.”

    “I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning? As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.”

    Hear it for yourself here:

    Why the hell does he continue with his daily waffles?

    • Gezza

       /  24th April 2020

      He likes sound of his own voice, which is also usually telling him how smart he is.


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