Counter to Tom’s post on Covid

[ 2/Feb/21 Tom stated on facebook – …”New Zealand and Australia are in their non-flu season summertime, meaning everybody returns to being healthy, right? So of course it is then made to look that the reason they’re healthy right now is because they locked down so supremely. What a lie.”]

Sorry Tom – but that is simply self serving BS!

Look at the actual evidence.

NZ did lockdown and contact trace (twice – second time not as severe as the first, because systems were better).

Everyone was supported to have enough resources to survive during lockdown.

Lockdown was complied with enough to allow all those infected to be traced and moved to high security facilities (Hotels isolated for the purpose).

Lots of mistakes were made, and lots of lessons learned.

Systems are far from perfect, and they are good enough for the current situation.

Here are the facts:

Our first recorded case was on 28th February 2020, the second on 13th March.
On 19th March borders closed except to returning residents (who needed to self isolate for 14 days).
21st March the 4 tier system announced.
On 25th March we entered Level 4 Lockdown (everyone except essential workers stay at home, all schools closed).
29th March was first Covid death reported (we were already in lockdown).
2nd April a state of national emergency declared.
The peak of new cases was 89, on both the 2nd and 5th of April.
By 19th April new cases were at single figures.
27th April we moved from Alert level 4 to 3 – allowing a little more freedom of movement.
13th May, after 2 consecutive days of no new cases we went to alert level 2.
22nd May was last reported community case.
8 June we went to Alert level 1 – basically free movement with recording of places visited to make contact tracing easier.
22 people died in that outbreak.

Thereafter only new cases were those found in managed isolation at the border until:
11 August 4 new community cases reported
12 August Auckland goes to level 3, the rest of the country to level 2 – the case seems to me to have very probably to have started from a virus picked up from frozen meat from the USA handled at a facility in South Auckland, but no way to actually prove that – and it remains the most probable explanation (to me – personally).
Several sub-outbreaks through church meeting groups.
Peak of cases 14 on 1 September with 2 deaths on 5th Sept and one on 16th.
23 Sept Auckland goes to level 2
26 Sept – The final case of that outbreak.
7 Oct Auckland back to level 1.
Life reasonably normal except for lack of tourists.
23 Jan 2021 – a community case reported where they had contracted it in their final days in manage isolation at the border from someone else in the facility. Contact tracing and self isolation immediately invoked for all contacts.
28 Jan 2 more direct transmission cases identified (already in self isolation – moved to quarantine).
Nothing more to date, despite testing of about 10,000 possible contacts per day for several days.
Lots of people self isolating at present. 5 days of no new community cases.

[followed by]

Tom,
It is summer now, and we had no virus in winter.

New Zealand is a small enough place that most everyone interested in any subject has over a reasonable life span met most of the others interested in that subject.

It is very difficult to actually keep a conspiracy quiet, particularly in the public service (and most of our testing is done through the public service).

So, in a sense, it is always possible to mount a conspiracy, but to mount one of that magnitude in this country, would be very difficult indeed.

I have not entirely dismissed the possibility of a grand conspiracy, and it does seem to be very low probability, based upon the evidence sets I have at this time, from the people I have reliable trust networks with in this country.

The possibility of pandemic has always been with us. On the scale of possible pandemics, this is about as mild as it gets.

If we got a really dangerous pandemic, then the only effective strategy is immediate and full isolation, until an effective mitigation strategy is available (probably vaccine, at least until people generally are carrying personal medical nanotechnology in their blood streams, and that technology is still more than a decade away).

That is never going to go away.

At some level, and for some time, isolation is always the most effective mitigation strategy possible – it breaks the infection cycle.

[followed by]

Why would you expect anything else?

Most people do have some sort of common sense.

When people they know start dying then most people start taking this seriously, and the rate of spread slows as a result of those millions of individual assessments.

Why would you expect anything else?

Why are you using that to justify conspiracy?

It doens’t !!!

That isn’t proof that there isn’t a conspiracy, it is simply not proof that there is one.

[followed by 3rd Feb]

I have been an advocate of a UBI for many years as a necessary transition function in the move from scarcity to abundance based thinking.

That to me is an entirely different class of problem from pandemics.

It seems clear to me that this is a real but relatively mild pandemic.

No pandemic makes an impact on overall death figures if it is controlled.

It is if left uncontrolled, to run its course, that you would see significant change in death figures, and more importantly, a significant percentage of people who require ongoing care, unable to work. One of the four people in our community who got it is still in that category, 10 months after getting it.

Yes we have a need for a major shift in our world financial systems (not just financial, but many other systems also), and yes some sort of shock is required to initiate change, but I do not see that those two things are necessarily related in this instance.

The idea that everything that happens does so for someone’s purpose is, to my understanding, to vastly overestimate the impact of human control. Sometimes sh*t just happens. This seems to be one of those times.

Now the next question is, how do people with agendas (of which we have no shortage) react to such perturbations to what was “normality”. In that arena I would expect to see a lot of opportunistic behaviour from many different sets of groups. None of that behaviour is any proof that any of those groups had anything to do with the emergence of this virus.

To actually do such a thing, in this day and age. To actually make a decision to knowingly take millions of lives, would leave one exposed to a significant loss of liberty.

Such people tend to have high valance for liberty.

Thus to me, it seems entirely possible that the origin did not involve the intentional activity of anyone in the first instance.

Thereafter, sure, lots of groups taking advantage of “opportunities” – that always happens.

Everything else you say I can go along with.

[Tom raised Sweden – 3 Feb]

Sweden is much more cooperative than the US.

In Sweden, the authorities only need to suggest doing something and many of the population will comply (if what is suggested seems reasonable considering the needs of all in the community).

Thus Sweden did not need to go into a hard lockdown. And the Swedes acknowledge that they made an error in not treating it more seriously earlier. Their death toll is actually very close to the USA on a per capita basis.

Populations in countries that have long harsh winters know that cooperation and planning and social cohesion are essential for survival – that lesson gets reinforced every year.

In countries with milder climates that lesson can get lost, as the harsh events demanding cooperation for survival come with lower frequency, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t come.

Our survival as individuals within populations is always dependent on our ability to cooperate as a population in the face of such challenges.

We have many such challenges in front of us now, but so few people are yet sufficiently aware to see them.

Compare Sweden to NZ.

Sweden has a death toll of about 1,150 per million, the USA about 1,260 (not that different), and New Zealand has 5 (very different).

We went into hard lockdown early (for two months), and put in strict border quarantine, and have reasonable contact tracing measures in place. We have had 3 subsequent outbreaks (two from border issues and one that hasn’t got hard evidence but circumstantial evidence suggests surface contamination on imported frozen products), all of which were managed and contained without hard lockdowns (because of contact tracing capacities in place).

Life is fairly normal for most of us here, except that we don’t have the hoards of foreign tourists that we normally have (hard for tourism based industries).

So from where I sit the evidence suggests very different interpretations from those you seem to be taking. I can supply some very large spreadsheets (that I have assembled from data I take from the Johns Hopkins site every day (and have done so since 25th March last year – I think I have missed 6 days in total in that time, for various reasons – so a reasonably complete dataset). I also have very detailed spreadsheets of what happened in NZ, from our first reported case on 28 Feb onwards. I am a data geek – always have been.

[Tom sent me to a youtube video of an economist making claims about statistics – clearly bogus when I actually checked with the dataset she said she referenced.]

Tom,
Sorry – but the claims made by that economist in the video you linked me to are just wrong. Utter fabrication.

I went to the site she said she got her data from – the cdc site:
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid_weekly/index.htm
I downloaded the data myself, put it in a spreadsheet – and the excess covid mortality is clearly there in the week by week statistics. The weekly total deaths go up by the amount of the covid deaths that week – week after week.
I can send the spreadsheet if you are interested.

But given that you keep bringing up these completely bogus claims, I am starting to suspect that you are not interested in any data that conflicts with your beliefs.

The excess death toll is there, clearly, in all the stats, and that is with less than 8% of the population having caught it.
Without the lockdowns, about 80% of the population would have caught it by now, and you would be looking at an annual death toll twice what is normal, with half of it coming from covid 19 cases.

That is as close as it gets to fact.

Covid is real – no ifs buts or otherwise.

You have gone so far down this particular conspiracy rabbit hole that you have actually lost contact with reality – sorry – but that is fact.

I really hope that no-one you love dies as a result of these delusions.

If you do nothing else, believe it is a serious issue, causing significant excess deaths. That is real, beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt – supported by the very datasets that idiot on the youtube link you sent said she got her data from.

Stay safe.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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