Could there be a more woeful time?


This letter to the editor in The Oz made the point all too well. This was the feature letter as well so was the one the paper wanted you to read the most. If you are wondering why Covidiocy is not about to end any time soon, read this.

Could there be a more woeful time to drop masks, QR sign in, vaccination certificates and allow the unvaccinated to mingle among us?

Rising case numbers in NSW project a considerable spike (“Omicron Christmas case surge fears”, 14/12). Have we learnt nothing from the past 21 months? Are we looking at data from Europe, Britain and the US which all admit they jumped too soon in dropping the most simplest of protection, masks?

We are told we have to live with Covid. Indeed we do. However, to go forth today in NSW without contact tracing is totally reckless and inappropriate

 

Chief health officer Kerry Chant has repeatedly said contact tracing minimises the spread and allows fast detection of those present at a venue who came in contact with a super spreader.

The next two weeks are by far the heaviest retail and food shopping weeks of the year. The party season is in full swing. We all want out but it may be two weeks of fun and another year of reintroduced restrictions as evidenced in Germany and Britain.

The timing of dropping all protective armour flies in the face of irrefutable evidence coming out of the northern hemisphere.

There is little doubt that the people who make the rules know better. As for example: Boris Johnson Aide Resigns Over Downing Street Christmas Video — The Outrage Explained.

Allegra Stratton, an adviser to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, resigned Wednesday following backlash over a video that recently surfaced from December 2020 showing her and other senior staff joking about an alleged Christmas party held at Downing Street during the height of lockdown restrictions.

And then there’s this: Sanna Marin: Finland’s PM sorry for clubbing after Covid contact.

Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin
Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin apologised for not double-checking the Covid guidelines on isolating

They think the people whom they govern are pathetic idiots, but what choice do they have but to legislate the rules their communities demand?


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Roger W
Roger W
December 16, 2021 4:26 pm

Once upon a time, she would have been home, looking after her 3 kids and getting dinner ready for her husband, who would have been coming home from working hard for his family all day, looking for his pipe and slippers!
No time for this frivolity and clubbing.
the slippery slope revealed…

duncanm
duncanm
December 16, 2021 4:27 pm

what choice do they have but to legislate the rules their communities demand?

sorry – this is a cop out.

It is true leadership to give people what they need, and understand that need goes beyond the immediate; not what they (/ a noisy minority) request.

bemused
bemused
December 16, 2021 4:47 pm

I read today in the Age, or perhaps Their ABC, that the Covid check-in app was effectively useless (as admitted by the Feds).

That aside, I attended a local pre-Christmas do in our rural abode last weekend and it seems that rural folk have a completely different attitude to the unvaxxed. One local farmer said he was vaxxed but respected me for not being vaxxed. He understood that being vaxxed didn’t mean that he couldn’t get COVID but, if he did, the effect would/should be minimised. He was well aware that he was more of a threat to me than I was to him.

No one there batted an eyelid whether you were or were not vaxxed and I’m not talking about spring chickens in attendance. This was so refreshing, given the horror stories I’ve been reading here and elsewhere when it comes to the animosity shown by the vaxxed towards the unvaxxed. I’m so thankful, in more ways than one, to be living in this rural area.

Boxcar
Boxcar
December 16, 2021 4:58 pm

If someone I know, or even know of, doesn’t catch it soon, I am going to start thinking it’s all bullshit.

Tom
Tom
December 16, 2021 5:02 pm

The people who make the rules think they don’t apply to them.

The defining characteristic of the global ruling class is elitist arrogance.

They need to be replaced by those with the internal moral guidance to solve problems, not relocate them away from those making the rules, which they have decided don’t apply to them.

But our rulers will not be replaced because they’re addicted to the power that ruling by fear and fiat has given them — fully supported and protected by the news media, which has become an authoritarian political movement hell-bent on preserving the status quo through 24/7 pro-government propaganda.

Angus Black
Angus Black
December 16, 2021 5:08 pm

@bemused

Same where I live – though a number of the contractors have been whinging about being forced to accept the vaccine (a couple of them, very cross indeed).

Doesn’t entirely apply in the one local village that has attracted Greenies retirees/migrants in numbers, but even there, only the usual suspects are an issue.

Old School Conservative
Old School Conservative
December 16, 2021 5:46 pm

Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin wrote her country’s covid restrictions and yet blames an advisor for giving her the wrong information.
Rubbish.
The leaders of this draconian response to covid know the virus isn’t as deadly as they say, and are also openly flaunting their ruling class mentality so the plebs know their place.

Bruce of Newcastle
Bruce of Newcastle
December 16, 2021 6:06 pm

Sanna Marin: Finland’s PM sorry for clubbing after Covid contact.

A 9 by 10 on the hot/crazy matrix.

Pommyal
December 16, 2021 6:19 pm

Boxcar- you make that comment after almost 2 effing years. Why is it taking so long to realise it’s all bullshit for God’s sake?
Nothing that’s happened could possibly be for health reasons.
Inconceivable.

Vicki
Vicki
December 16, 2021 6:22 pm

After quite a few decades of having letters published in The Australian, I am suddenly persona non gratis.

I suspect it is after having number of letters published which questioned vax policies. The last one noted that US study showed that “vaccine hesitancy” was most common in two groups – PhDs & the with a very basic education. I commented that PhDs were “compulsive” researchers & Aussies with a basic education were more likely to have good bullshit detectors (although I used the polite definition of ” excel at detecting incongruities”!).

After that letter……nothing……submitted a few since ……….but nothing.

Vicki
Vicki
December 16, 2021 6:29 pm

That aside, I attended a local pre-Christmas do in our rural abode last weekend and it seems that rural folk have a completely different attitude to the unvaxxed.

We have found that to be true amongst our farming community and in our local town. A great many are anti vaccination, and resent having had to be vaccinated because of the usual coercion. However, like most places which attract “greenies”, “tree huggers” and drop-outs, we do find the usual group of vicious, sanctimonious exclusionists who would dob you in at any opportunity. One of them noticed that our area had a low rate of vaccination on the RMS website & wanted to know who they were!!!

bemused
bemused
December 16, 2021 6:52 pm

However, like most places which attract “greenies”, “tree huggers” and drop-outs…

We have our fair share of those, but they haven’t appeared to be overly vocal for whatever reason.

Rabz
December 16, 2021 7:14 pm

Could there be a more woeful time?

Yes. When the recently lifted NSW restrictions are reimposed, which I’m predicting will be very very soon, i.e. before Christmas.

The loathsome vindictive fascist imbeciles won’t be able to help themselves.

Roger
Roger
December 16, 2021 7:30 pm

The timing of dropping all protective armour flies in the face of irrefutable evidence coming out of the northern hemisphere.

Irrefutable evidence of what, exactly?

Thus far the UK has recorded one death associated with Omicron, and it was officially reported as with, not from the virus.

mizaris
mizaris
December 16, 2021 7:59 pm

The timing of dropping all protective armour flies in the face of irrefutable evidence coming out of the northern hemisphere.

Which is well into the first throes of winter, when colds and flu can be far more prevalent.

And if the letter writer is so afraid, there is nothing stopping them from donning a face nappy, staying inside, self isolating, soaking in sanitiser.

What a fvckwit – seriously is this the best the oz can do???

Anchor What
Anchor What
December 16, 2021 8:15 pm

Omicron is perhaps the ultimate vaccine.
If not, there are the (so far) shunned and excoriated anti-viral drugs.
We are still living in the Age of Stupid.

Bar Beach Swimmer
December 16, 2021 8:36 pm

I went to the local shops today and refreshingly, in a community known for its nervous Nelly mindset, found two people who had good bull dust detectors.

Also, I went to one of the big shopping centres here and despite being able to ditch the mask, was almost the only one who did so.

I finally had my hair done!

Lee
Lee
December 16, 2021 8:53 pm

One of them noticed that our area had a low rate of vaccination on the RMS website & wanted to know who they were!!!

None of his/her effing business!
Typical unsolicited busybodying from a leftist wanting to stick his or her nose into others’ affairs.

Zyconoclast
Zyconoclast
December 16, 2021 9:15 pm

Bruce of Newcastle says:
December 16, 2021 at 6:06 pm
Sanna Marin: Finland’s PM sorry for clubbing after Covid contact.
A 9 by 10 on the hot/crazy matrix.

Judge for yourself.

C.L.
C.L.
December 16, 2021 9:22 pm

I’m willing to give the Finland lady a pass. 🙂

C.L.
C.L.
December 16, 2021 9:27 pm

The sooner all this tracing and close contact horseshit ends the better.
Just stop it.
If it isn’t stopped, it can never end according to its own zero-manic ‘logic.’

If I was told I was a close contact of an omicron-infected person, no, I wouldn’t quarantine.
I’d avoid the granny next door and be as circumspect as I have always have been when unwell.
Apart from that, fuck it.

Bruce of Newcastle
Bruce of Newcastle
December 16, 2021 9:28 pm

I’m willing to give the Finland lady a pass.

She desperately needs a brain transplant. Other than that I’d agree with you.

grumpy
grumpy
December 16, 2021 9:36 pm

@ Zyclonoclast 9:15pm
Those pics are of at least 3 different women. Different shaped faces, different noses, different ear shape.
Which is the original and which are the clones?

Jannie
Jannie
December 16, 2021 10:23 pm

I had my vax and the booster in July. I am now supposed to have another booster to be up to date. But I don’t want any more, there is too much info surfacing about serious side effects. No more vaxxing for me. These are the dumbest times in history, but not yet the worst of times.

Miss Anthropist
Miss Anthropist
December 16, 2021 10:31 pm

If the vaccinated had not fallen over themselves to be compliant little lemmings we wouldn’t be in this woeful situation.
The buyers remorse is strong in the credulous

05
05
December 17, 2021 4:03 am

Jannie says:
December 16, 2021 at 10:23 pm
I had my vax and the booster in July. I am now supposed to have another booster to be up to date. But I don’t want any more, there is too much info surfacing about serious side effects. No more vaxxing for me. These are the dumbest times in history, but not yet the worst of times.

Unfortunately those, like me who have got vaccinated to keep their job are now likely on a ride we can’t get off.

Today I was told I had to show my proof of vaccination to enter SANTOS Stadium in Adelaide to watch my 11yo play. I was livid and after fucking around for 10 minutes I managed to find it to show the smiling NAZI but the vast majority of people were happy as Larry to show their virtue in digital form.

With the useless Scomo now saying it’s “not compulsory to NOT wear a mask” and “not compulsory to go out” in order to appease the frightened ninnies that walk around with masks still on despite it being 35deg as well as vigorously pushing boosters and jabs for 5yo’s, I cannot see a way off.

They’re too invested and have scared too many people that any reversal is political poison.

We’re done.

Mark M
Mark M
December 17, 2021 8:10 am

They locked the unjabbed out … they can’t blame the unjabbed …

97 people at Taylor Swift theme night in Sydney, all “fully jabbed” test positive for China flu

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/alert-issued-over-taylor-swift-sydney-dance-party-after-97-test-positive-for-covid-19/84073b6f-3a65-461f-beda-18ea0e1ff191

Petros
Petros
December 17, 2021 8:49 am

It’s amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness. Leo Tolstoy.

cuckoo
cuckoo
December 17, 2021 8:56 am

Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin apologised for not double-checking the Covid guidelines on isolating

Full marks to the lawyer/PR flack who came up with that formulation.

H B Bear
H B Bear
December 17, 2021 9:12 am

Full marks to the lawyer/PR flack who came up with that formulation.

Try it in Magistrates Court and see how you get on.

It helps when you make the rules.

duncanm
duncanm
December 17, 2021 9:18 am

Sanna Marin

– Jacinda with a dental job.

I pinged the Art Gallery of NSW about their covid policy, which flies in direct contrast with the NSW government statement on access to Libraries, museums and galleries for all.
This is their weasel response.

Dear Duncan,

Thank you for your email.

The health of our visitors and staff is our top priority and the Art Gallery’s vaccination policy is based on a full risk assessment. Because we’re a public venue with thousands of visitors each day, we have decided this is an important step to keep our staff and visitors safe. We appreciate your understanding.

We will continue to provide extensive online offerings for those who can’t access the Art Gallery.

We keep visitors updated on current requirements at: https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/visit/what-you-need-to-know-before-visiting/

Kind regards,

The minister responsible for the arts has yet to respond.

I’ve just looked, and the Australian Museum in Sydney is also requiring vax.
https://australian.museum/visit/covid-19/

Time for another couple of letters.

duncanm
duncanm
December 17, 2021 9:19 am

FMD… has is the State Library!
https://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/node/210541

So the NSW government has a ‘no vax required policy’ for Museums, Art Galleries and Libraries, but the NSW State versions of all of them require vax.

Its another ‘we’re not forcing passports’ at State level.

Fuck them all.

DP
DP
December 17, 2021 9:19 am

Dear Prof. Kates

UK cases are at a record high at 88,000 on Thursday 16, up from 78,000 the day before, compared with the previous record on 8 January.

Testing is up at 1.6 million on 15 December compared with 1.3 million the day before, as shown on this site:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/testing?areaType=overview&areaName=United%20Kingdom

Worldometer figures for the UK 7-day moving averages for cases and deaths are graphed here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/189200946@N04/51749448301/in/dateposted-public/

Notable is the high level of testing around April this year with few cases, which take off in mid-June, but there seems little correlation with deaths. Perhaps those susceptible have all died.

England and Wales excess deaths by age group for 2020-21 and cumulative deaths by age for 2015, 2018, 2020 and 2021 are also graphed from ONS data.

DP

Mother Lode
Mother Lode
December 17, 2021 9:22 am

What makes it more ridiculous is that in a few years the cycle will start again with a new pandemic, like we had with SARS, Bird Flu, Swine Flu, etc.

And I love how the letter writer is terrified of ‘case numbers’. No how many are in hospital, not how many have croaked. Instead, the high number of ‘cases’ represents how numerous are the people who are carrying the bug without being made sick by it.

I have a sibling who channels the ABC in her conversations and text messages going to pieces over case numbers, and adding her voice to idea being put about that unvaxxinated people should not receive treatment if they get the bug because they will be a burden that could have avoided their condition.

I might also add that she carries a fair bit of extra weight. I can see the same logic being used there later. But at this moment she identifies herself as part of Team Vaxx and with her team demand her opponents be penalised, so much so that she has lost sight of fact that there are other games where she might find herself on the team that is to be punished.

As they say, be careful what you wish for…

duncanm
duncanm
December 17, 2021 9:44 am

As they say, be careful what you wish for…

exactly. People are blind to how dangerous the concept of selective medical treatment is.

It leads straight down the path of government controlling your whole life.

hzhousewife
hzhousewife
December 17, 2021 9:59 am

Hmm. Wouldn’t it be amusing if the govt decided only folks with an approved BMI could access services and entertainment!

duncanm
duncanm
December 17, 2021 10:01 am

hzhousewife — it’d knock out 80% of the PS onto sick leave.

Judge Dredd
Judge Dredd
December 17, 2021 12:56 pm

Why is the virus surging during summer?
The vaccine is the vector.

Kneel
Kneel
December 17, 2021 2:10 pm

“The buyers remorse is strong in the credulous”

Don’t knock it – they (us) may be your best hope to toss the whole lot of BS in the bin…

Knuckle Dragger
Knuckle Dragger
December 17, 2021 7:11 pm

Dear Sanna,

As my future bride – apologise for nothing.

Dot
Dot
December 17, 2021 8:29 pm

She is the Finish PM because middle aged men and teenage incels vote for her.

SIMPS!

Do not engage in such disgusting cucketry my bruddas!

Dot
Dot
December 17, 2021 10:03 pm

UK cases are at a record high at 88,000 on Thursday 16, up from 78,000 the day before, compared with the previous record on 8 January.

Testing is up at 1.6 million on 15 December compared with 1.3 million the day before, as shown on this site:

10,000 cases from 1.6 million tests.

0.625 % positive rate.

What do you think the expected false positive rate is from a PCR test?

From the esteemed BMJ.

https://www.bmj.com/content/373/bmj.n1411/rr

The positive rate in the UK is practically that predicted by the expected false positive rate (they’re not the same thing).

Similarly, Baden et al., 2020, found a 0.6% background positive PCR test result in the 30,420 clinical trial participants for the Moderna vaccine, after initial testing. Study participants for this trial were selected based on being at higher risk for exposure to the virus and the testing was conducted from late July to late October 2020.

Common sense would suggest that a test with 99% specificity would return only about 1 in a 100 false positive results. But this is not how it works. The false positive rate is far higher when disease prevalence is as low as the studies just cited have found. In other words: the Positive Predictive Value of screening testing is very low when background prevalence is low (Bokhorst et al. 2012; Skittrall et al. 2020; Dinnes et al. 2021).

Here’s why: If we test 1,000 people randomly in a population where 1% have the illness at issue, and our test is 99% specific to that illness, we will have one true positive and one false positive for each 100 tests. So testing 1,000 people results in 10 true positives and 10 false positives.

Using the BMJ test accuracy calculator (Watson 2020; see link for the calculator in the references; it’s educational to play with the calculator to see how different inputs affect false results)., we calculated various scenarios using real-world background prevalence data and test accuracy data.

First, we conservatively assumed 1% pre-test probability of active infection, which is, based on the data reviewed above, which is a higher level of active infection than was found in the large vaccine clinical trials.
We also assumed 58% sensitivity and 99% specificity, which are the findings of a recent Cochrane meta-analysis combining 64 published studies of antigen test accuracy, when used to test asymptomatics (Dinnes, J. et al. 2021).

The result in this scenario is 50% false positives (1 true positive and 1 false positive)?—?even with a 99% specificity test. There would theoretically be zero false negatives, so the risk of missing actual infections is not at issue.

50% is the same as random chance. In other words, this 99% specificity test can do no better than a coin flip when declaring a positive result. So screening in this scenario is not warranted because data that is no better than a coin flip is not data?—?it’s random chance.

However, the situation is much worse than this because neither PCR nor antigen tests are close to a 99% specificity level in practice, for various reasons (Braunstein et al. 2021). Lee 2020 performed a lab analysis of the CDC PCR test accuracy, which was widely used in the first months of the pandemic, and found it had a 70% specificity (i.e. 30% false positives) and 80% sensitivity (20% false negatives). This is because of faulty designs built in to the test from the beginning, as various news accounts from the Washington Post, NPR and ProPublica have since revealed.

This level of inaccuracy matches the CDC’s own internal report that found 33% false results when its PCR test was released in late February 2020, as reported on by National Public Radio (Temple-Raston 2020).
Intuitively, and in an emergency situation, we may think that a 70-80% accuracy rate is far from perfect but may still be “good enough.” But this is where common sense and intuition gets us – and the public – into trouble. If we input these figures in the BMJ calculator, we obtain a catastrophic 30 out of 31 false positives.

In other words, at a 1% pre-test probably (background prevalence), just one out of 31 positive test results is a true positive. And, again, we have zero false negatives, so the tests are not missing true positives in this scenario.

This problem relates to more than just misidentifying positive COVID-19 cases; it also is relevant to data on hospitalizations and death rates. After testing became widely available, it became standard practice to test all patients admitted to hospitals in the U.S., regardless of symptoms. While this may have been a necessarily cautious step in order to minimize outbreaks in hospitals, it significantly inflated hospitalizations and deaths attributed to COVID-19. A positive test result was the primary basis for defining COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths since no symptoms were required to designate a COVID-19 hospitalization or death as such.

In other words, since the CDC and WHO case definitions took the unprecedented step of defining a “confirmed case” as simply a positive lab test result, and then most jurisdictions also defined a COVID-19 hospitalization and a COVID-19 death in the same manner, if the large majority of positive test results are false positives, it is necessary to re-examine the pandemic surveillance data chain from the beginning.

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