More on Trump with Covid, senator also tests positive

Donald Trump is experiencing ‘mild symptoms’ after testing positive for Covid. He will continue to work at this stage, but he and his staff will separate themselves from vice president Mike Pence and his staff – Pence will take over presidential duties if Trump becomes incapacitated.

Trump has been acting as if Covid is virtually over and not a risk. here’s a Twitter timeline:

That was a fund raising dinner after he knew his close aide Hope Hicks had tested positive.

Senator Mike Lee has also tested positive to Covid. Three days earlier he had met with the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Lee says he will isolate for ten days but will be back at work in time to deal with the Supreme Court nomination.

The US sharemarket started down on Friday but has recovered.

RNZ: Pence negative, Trump has mild Covid symptoms – White House

US President Donald Trump has mild symptoms of Covid-19 after he and his wife, Melania, tested positive for the coronavirus, the White House says.

Vice President Mike Pence, next in line for the Oval Office, has tested negative for Covid-19, hours after Trump announced that he was infected, Pence’s spokesperson said.

Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, said the president was “on the job” and “in good spirits”, adding that he expected him to make a quick recovery.

Officials said the process of tracking all the president’s contacts in recent days was ongoing, adding that Trump was considering how he might address the nation or otherwise communicate with the American people later today.

Contact tracing will be a big job.

Yesterday, the first couple said they intended to self-isolate after one of Trump’s closest aides, Hope Hicks, tested positive. Soon afterwards, they too received positive test results.

But there has been criticism of Trump’s decision to go to a fundraiser attended by dozens of people in New Jersey on Thursday, apparently when officials already knew about Hicks’s symptoms.

Testing positive will impact on Trump’s ability to campaign, and should also impact on his attitude to Covid and the current state of the virus in the US, but that’s not a given with Trump.

I presume this will rule out at least one of the presidential debates.

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi is next in line of succession after Pence. She said on Friday that she had been tested for Covid-19 and should know her results soon.

In response to Trump’s positive diagnosis, she said: “This is tragic. It’s very sad. … Going into crowds unmasked and all the rest was sort of a brazen invitation for something like this to happen.”

Before the positive test announcements:

After the announcements:

Biden praying for Trump is an odd image.

A burn from within the family:

The president’s niece, Mary Trump, who wrote a scathing book about her uncle, had this message: “I reserve my sympathy, empathy, and despair for those who are sick and for those who have died because they were misled, lied to, or ignored.”

CNN: GOP senator on Judiciary panel tests positive for Covid-19 days after meeting with Trump’s nominee

Sen. Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, announced Friday he tested positive for Covid-19, just days after meeting in person with Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Tuesday.

Barrett tested negative for coronavirus on Friday, according to White House spokesperson Judd Deere.

Lee, who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, tweeted on Friday that he took the test Thursday, and would “remain isolated” for 10 days. He said he has “assured” Senate Republican leaders that he will “be back to work” to join the Judiciary panel to advance Barrett’s nomination to the full Senate for a confirmation vote.

Ten days is a short isolation time for someone with Covid, and presumes that he will recover and test negative quickly. Most people with Covid only suffer from mild symptoms, but some are unlucky and suffer from severe and extended problames, and over 213,000 in the US have been very unlucky.

Covid continues to cause major disruptions. There are currently over 300,000 recorded new cases a day around the world , with over a million recorded deaths in total.

Donald aand Melania Trump test positive for Covid

News earlier today – a close aid of President Donald Trump, Hope Hicks, had tested positive for Covid, having travelled with Trump to the debate and to rallies this week.

Trump has just announced that he and Melania have also tested positive and will go into quarantine.

Trump will no doubt have the best health care possible, but he will be concerned as he is in a higher risk age group.

And this will curtail his campaigning that had been progressing despite Covid.

It will also dent his claims that the US is dealing well with Covid.

Big difference in Covid-19 random tests in NZ and US

Street testing has been carried out in various parts of New Zealand and is not finding positive Covid-19 cases, which suggests the community spread of the virus is very low (although some claim we still insufficient data to make decisions about reducing lockdown restrictions).

All (about 340) tests processed  from the Queenstown supermarket site returned a negative result.

All 308 tests done in the Waikato (Otorohanga, Hamilton, Matamata, Cambridge, and Te Awamutu) were also negative.

All test results to date done in Christchurch are also negative. Testing groups of the public is continuing, now in Auckland.

In contrast in the US One third of participants in Massachusetts study tested positive for antibodies linked to coronavirus

Around a third of participants in a Massachusetts study tested positive for antibodies linked with coronavirus, according to researchers.

The Mass. General study took samples from 200 residents on the street in Chelsea, MA. Participants remained anonymous and provided a drop of blood to researchers, who were able to produce a result in ten minutes with a rapid test.

Sixty-four of the participants tested positive – a “sobering” result, according to Thomas Ambrosino, Chelsea’s city manager.

“We’ve long thought that the reported numbers are vastly under-counting what the actual infection is,” Ambrosino told the Boston Globe. “Those reported numbers are based on positive COVID-19 tests, and we’re all aware that a very, very small percentage of people in Chelsea and everywhere are getting COVID-19 tests.”

But:

Ambrosino called Chelsea the epicenter of the crisis in Massachusetts. Chelsea has the state’s highest rate of confirmed cases, with at least 712 confirmed cases and 39 deaths – an infection rate of around 2 percent.

Even so, that positive rate must be a concern.

The daily rate of new cases in the US has flattened off but is still running at about 30,000, with a total recorded cases of 728,293.

The death rate has more or less flattened to, but is running at over 2,000 deaths per day (yesterday 2,535), with the total 37,154 which is well above any other country, with Italy on 23,227 and Spain 20,043.

There has only been half as much testing or less in the US than Italy, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, Austria, Norway, Israel and South Korea.

The testing rate in New Zealand is a bit behind the biggest testers but is still 50% higher than the US.

New Zealand locked down quicker and more comprehensively than most countries (from 22 to 26 March) and so far has benefited from that.

Our daily increase in cases rose steeply to 70 on 26 March and peaked at 89 on both 2 and 5 April, but has dropped off quickly since then (the last three days have been 15, 8 and 13), even though more testing has been done.

Total confirmed and probable cases over time

So for now Covid-19 looks contained here, but there is now debate and big decisions to be made about how soon and home much to relax lockdown restrictions. Government will decide on Monday whether to drop from Level 4 to Level 3 on Thursday or not.

Some are saying things like Data isn’t enough for this decision, and there are doubts whether the New Zealand goal of eliminating the virus from the country can be achieved. Virologist on latest Covid-19 science:

It will be very difficult to eliminate Covid-19 completely from circulation in New Zealand when so many cases are believed to be asymptomatic, a leading UK virologist says.

Dr Chris Smith, consultant clinical virologist at Cambridge University and one of BBC Radio 5 Live’s Naked Scientists, says he’s been talking to lots of virologists and vaccine experts in the last few weeks and they are very sceptical.

“Most people are of the opinion, given how well optimised this new coronavirus is, it has a really high prospect of becoming another circulating coronavirus and causing seasonal infections and cold-like symptoms or in rare cases more severe outbreaks, because by the time that presumably happens the vast majority of us will have become immune to it either because a vaccine has been invented or because we’ve become naturally infected with it.”

But he believes it will take an extended time before a vaccine is ready and in the meantime many countries won’t be able to sustain lockdown measures, and the disease will resurge as a result.

However the random tests so far suggest there may be few asymptomatic undetected cases in New Zealand.

It doesn’t look so good in the US – A New Statistic Reveals Why America’s COVID-19 Numbers Are Flat

According to the Tracking Project’s figures, nearly one in five people who get tested for the coronavirus in the United States is found to have it. In other words, the country has what is called a “test-positivity rate” of nearly 20 percent.

That is “very high,” Jason Andrews, an infectious-disease professor at Stanford, told us. Such a high test-positivity rate almost certainly means that the U.S. is not testing everyone who has been infected with the pathogen, because it implies that doctors are testing only people with a very high probability of having the infection.

…The test-positivity rate, then, is a decent (if unusual) proxy for the severity of an outbreak in an area. And it shows clearly that the U.S. still lags far behind other countries in the course of fighting its outbreak.

Comparing American states to regions in other countries results in the same general pattern. In Lombardy, the hardest hit part of Italy, the positive rate today stands at about 28 percent. That’s comparable to the rate in Connecticut. But New York, so far the hardest hit state in the U.S., has an even higher rate of 41 percent. And in New Jersey, an astounding one in two people tested for the virus are found to have it.

Five other states have a positive rate above 20 percent: Michigan, Georgia, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Colorado.

In New Zealand difficult decisions need to be made about keeping our Covid-19 infection rate right down, but the US is still battling high infection and death rates and appears to have widespread community infection in some areas.

 

A positive new Parliament

After the swearing in of the new Government today we will have a popular but untested Prime Minister, and an experienced and respected leader of the Opposition who also looks to be stable and has a record now of reasonably successful campaigning.

Ardern tries to be relentlessly positive, a good attribute for the leader of a fresh new Cabinet. If it transfers into her performance and the performance of her government then it will be good for the country.

Even most of those who didn’t vote for one of the governing parties will accept the democratically formed new government and give them a fair go.

Bill English is also trying to sound positive in the wake of a disappointing outcome. It’s important that he continues to be mostly positive, for the good of his party. It will also potentially substantially increase the impact when he or his colleagues find good reason to hold the Government to account.

I think that most of what the incoming Government has indicated it wants to do will have wide public support as long as they don’t overreach and things change relatively smoothly.

With the country in a reasonable state and positioned to do well, and with a positive Prime Minister and a positive leader of the Opposition, there is good reason to be positive about the future of the country.

Does Andrew Little finally get it?

Has Andrew Little had a common sense epiphany and now realises that being seen as a perpetual pissy fit leader isn’t very attractive to voters?

Little had to go all the way to Canada to find someone he would listen to, telling him he needs to present something positive to voters.

Duh.

Andrea Vance wrote at One News: Little should take a leaf out of Trudeau’s buff book to pull voters

Andrew Little’s taken himself off to Canada to lick his wounds.

But it’s not too late, Little. A year ago, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party confounded expectations to win the federal election… and the hearts of millions of women around the world.

I doubt that Little is in the same league regarding hearts of women.

Here’s what Little can learn from Canada’s JFK.

Sunny – not sulky – ways

That advice in itself would be a great start.

Trudeau didn’t go negative. He had poise even in the face of ridiculous attacks on his hair – and Stephen Harper’s attack ads.

“You can appeal to the better angels of our nature and you can win while doing it,” Trudeau said.

His campaign focused on a “positive, optimistic, hopeful vision of public life”. He warmly embraced refugees, as opponents fear-mongered.

This “tone-at-the-top” was emulated by the party as a whole – from candidates through to volunteer door-knockers. Post-election polling showed Trudeau was the main attraction for 20 per cent of Liberal voters.

Little has heard this same message from Trudeau himself and has come back enthusing about it.

If he had listened outside his bubble in New Zealand he could have heard this same advice here, but at least he has finally taken it on board.

I hope Little can turn his image around, I really do. We desperately need a decent opposition, one that isn’t relentlessly negative and sullen and sulky. So if Little gets positive it will be a great start.

But will a sunny positive Little trickle down the Labour ranks? That could be a major challenge for Little.

Labour MPs seem to have become locked into a mostly negative campaign for the last eight years. Some of the sullens are leaving, like Phil Goff (probable) and Clayton Cosgrove. Will they be replaced by sunnies?

Another challenge will be the Labour troops, the door knockers who have had the stuffing knocked out of them over and over.

And an even bigger challenge may be the Labour activists, the online warriors who keep tearing their hair out in frustration and keep tearing to shreds anyone deemed to be an opponent or an enemy of Labour.

Little himself did this recently when he blasted ex-Labour party members as right wingers and banned his MPs from going to the same meetings as them.

The bashing of anyone deemed an enemy of Labour is on show at The Standard frequently, where it oozes bitterness and intolerance.

Burning off potential Labour voters is a stupid strategy, and that has been happening from the top down.

It seems that Little has finally got it, that sulky sullen negative leaders don’t attract support. Now he has been told the obvious in Canada perhaps we will see a sunnier more positive Leader of the Opposition.

Whether that can trickle down the party will be another matter, the Labour troops can’t all be sent to Canada to have common sense epiphanies.

Labour accuse Government of interference in prosecutions

Labour list MP Andrew Little has accused the Government of pressuring the police to reduce the number of prosecutions. This has been strong denied by the police and Government. Stuff reports Pressure to lower stats – MP:

Police were under government orders to “minimise” the number of domestic violence charges they lay to make crime statistics look good, Labour MP Andrew Little claimed yesterday.

But the claim has been strongly denied by both police bosses and the Government.

Family violence figures released yesterday by the University of Auckland’s Family Violence Clearinghouse show police charges for domestic violence offences dropped by up to 29 per cent from 2009/10 to last year.

And for the same period, the number of offences recorded by police fell by nearly 10,000.

But the number of investigations into family violence grew from 86,800 in 2010 to 95,100 incidents last year.

Little, a list MP and New Plymouth’s Labour Party candidate, said he believed the drop in family violence charges was due to the Government putting direct pressure on police to lower the crime statistics.

“What I have been told authoritatively is that front line police have been told to minimise the number of charges they lay.

“That is not just family violence but across the board. I’m told it’s not just domestic violence, it’s all forms of offending.

“I think that a combination of that and using police safety orders is what is showing up in the reduced number of charges in relation to domestic violence,” Little said.

Little has said similar in a media release:

Police are being instructed to charge fewer people in order to meet National’s crime reduction targets, Labour says.

“Front line police and others in the criminal justice system are telling us police have had pressure put on by senior officers to reduce the number of charges they lay to meet the Government’s targets,” Justice spokesperson Andrew Little says.

On Firstline this morning David Cunliffe support these claims. He said that no evidence was available to support the claims but that they had been told of the issue.

Cunliffe said he had no “solid proof” but it had been heard on the street.

Government says the claims are unfounded and outrageous.

Some scepticism is justified, especially leading into an election campaign.

This is a serious accusation. Labour should back up their claims with evidence or they risk being seen as indulging in ‘cry wolf’ politics.

In a speech in the weekend David Cunliffe promised a clean campaign with no smear politics.

That’s what I believe in.

That’s what Labour believes in.

That’s what we’re all fighting for.

And that’s why on September 20 we will win.

This election campaign should not be about dirty tricks or dodgy deals; smear campaigns or a personality cult.

We’re going to run a positive campaign because people matter most.

It’s not long ago Labour were complaining bitterly (with some justification) about a lack of evidence in claims about Donghua Liu donations. They were saying it was a smear campaign.

There’s still a need for the Opposition to hold Government to account, but unless they can provide a solid case that Government have been interfering in prosecutions this may look like a dodgy dirty smear attempt.

What can we do better for our children?

We all know that addressing abuse and harm of children is difficult, there are no easy quick answers. Many people and groups are trying to do something about it. The more effort and co-operation the better, if we all help a little it can add up to a lot.

Everyone can contribute, with ideas and actions. As individuals and as groups what should we be doing? How can we help best?

Any positive ideas on what might help? Or  stories of what is helping children and successfully confronting violence and abuse?

If we think positive we will do positive.