The Elimination ‘Strategy’ = a Bullet to the Stomach for NZ



UPDATE: This article has now had over 126K views - that's roughly 2.5% of the entire country - a huge achievement. Please keep sharing this article and the other articles on this blog, particularly my latest article explaining how the government ignored data that demonstrated we did not need to lock down. I earn nothing from these articles and I am not affiliated to any political party or organisation. I am however deeply opposed to any government that cynically exploits a crisis and the public's panic to enact decisions that destroy lives and livelihoods and advance their own ideologically driven agendas.   

As of Monday 27th April 6pm this article hit 102,00 views. That's 40,000 additional views in 24 hours. 

It's also 19,000 more than the petition #closeNZ (https://bit.ly/2KEe4x2) that led to the government's panicked decision to implement the lock down in the first place - without any understanding of the economic or long term health consequences or a plan on how to get out of the mess they created.    

The mainstream media refused to publish this article. But the message is getting out there.  PLEASE share, tweet and post on FaceBook if you care about our country. The strategy the government is following will be disastrous for New Zealand and is increasingly about politics and winning an election, not logic or science. Please share - the one thing the government cannot ignore is this kind of public push back.  You can make a difference.

Update: As of Sunday 26 April 6pm this article has had 60,000 views. 


Thank you, Alex Davis. 

In late March, just days after first denying she was going to force the country into lock down a lugubrious looking Jacinda Ardern waved around the “flatten the curve” graphic and told us that if covid-19 was unchecked “our health system will be inundated and thousands of New Zealanders will die" and that consequently New Zealanders now needed to sacrifice fundamental civil liberties and their livelihoods to “save lives.”

There are two critical observations from that press conference.

First, it is now increasingly clear that Ardern misled the country with the claims that tens of thousands of deaths. In an excellent and courageous piece of research (read it here) economist Ian Harrison (who has worked for the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Bank for International Settlements and specialises in risk modelling) demolished the fundamental research on which the government relied for compelling the country into lock down.

No doubt the Ardern government will first dissemble, distract and deny this fact. If that doesn’t satisfy the usually quiescent media expect to see the University of Otago Covid-19 Research Group go under the bus as the government claims it simply “relied on the advice it was given.”
Except this is either a bald-faced lie or chronically incompetent. Let’s be charitable and assume it’s the later: Ardern’s incompetence stems from that fact that no one, anywhere, in any position of authority, ever should take a decision of that magnitude without double and triple checking the facts on which you are relying. Ardern didn’t. If one-man band economist Harrison can figure this out why couldn’t the government’s army of advisors?

Nevertheless, emboldened by a public terrified by hysterical, wall to wall reporting from the legacy media, the government doubled down and so we found ourselves locked into lock down, with all its unintended consequences. Consequences which will be severe, long lasting and almost certain to do more damage than Covid-19 will or could.

Which brings us to the second point from that infamous press conference. The lock down we were told was all about “flattening the curve”, to stop our health system from being “swamped.” But then a funny thing happened: the health system (like those offshore here and here and here) didn’t end up getting overwhelmed at all.

So, like slaves chiselling a pretender pharaoh’s name from the pyramids the flatten curve graphics were quietly removed from the press conferences and in the legacy media. They were replaced with a new message – this time “elimination.”  The Prime Minister stated: "We will step down to level 3 in a way that is consistent with our goal to eliminate Covid-19 in New Zealand.” 

To be fair to Ardern you could justify the change in course if it was going to work, no one should expected to pursue a strategy that is clearly flawed solely for political expediency (except of course she has before – see here)

The problem of course is that this new strategy is a), as hopelessly flawed in its empirical justifications as the original strategy, and b) worse, even if succeeds it will cripple New Zealand for years to come.

First, elimination means just that, elimination, and no one outside New Zealand is taking that possibility seriously. Brendan Murphy, Australia’s chief medical officer, told a New Zealand parliamentary committee April 14 that eradicating the virus is a “nirvana” scenario. The reasons the elimination strategy is extremely unlikely to be successful are surprisingly simple:

  1. The R0 value of the corona virus is high and its spreads asymptomatically, so in short it spreads extremely easily, making containment with anything short of a lock down impossible.
  2. upwards of 80% of those who contract the virus have no symptoms (ie never feel sick at all) which makes tracking the virus extremely difficult unless you implement mass population testing and contact tracing at a level far beyond New Zealand’s capacity (our contract tracing system has been described as a dinosaur).  
  3. The tests the government plans to rely on to identify Covid-19 are well known to generate both false negatives and false positives.
  4. It is estimated the number of unidentified cases is between 8 and 10 times the real figures, meaning New Zealand is likely to have tens of thousands of people carrying Covid19 with no symptoms. 

In short it is almost inconceivable that New Zealand can eliminate Covid19 without maintaining a permanent lock down. Which begs the question: if weren’t flattening the curve and we can’t eliminate it why did we go into an economy crippling, poverty inducing, long term public health damaging lock down?

But, just for the sake of argument, let’s pretend that somehow New Zealand achieves the impossible and we do eliminate Covid19 – what then? What happens when the dog chasing the car actually catches the car?

The rest of the world will still have Covid19. As mentioned, no one, anywhere else in the world is even considering this strategy. New Zealand will become a de facto prison for its 4.9M “citizens.”
Large scale in-bound travel to New Zealand will be effectively eliminated, and with it the tourism sector, our largest export earner, contributing $45 billion to GDP annually. Without offshore tourism Air New Zealand will become a domestic only airline, so expect few flights to or from our fair shores (great news if you are a hard-green environmentalist, curtains for tens of thousands of employees).

With few onshore flights the opportunities for New Zealanders to travel offshore will become few and expensive – say goodbye to that holiday in Europe or 2 weeks in Fiji and look forward to 2 weeks quarantine when you return home. It’s also very difficult to grow an international business entirely through Zoom so expect the slow but steady strangulation of New Zealand’s export orientated businesses. Likewise expect prices of imports to surge and with the virtual elimination of immigration and a collapsing economy, walled off East Germany-like from the rest of the world, property prices to fall.

And all this assumes that there are no slip ups. But as Peter Collignon, an infectious diseases physician at Canberra Hospital who advises the Australian government on Covid19 states: “the reality is this virus is everywhere, it’s all around the world. So even if you’re successful for a short period of time, how long do you do this for? Six months? Two years? Invariably, you’re going to get the virus re-introduced.” As Steven Joyce succinctly put it the “idea that we would get rid of Covid-19 is pie in the sky fantasy”

Proponents of the elimination strategy argue that “Colditz New Zealand” won’t be needed for more than 18 months and all we have to do is wait for a vaccine. However, there is no guarantee we will get a vaccine. As David Nabarro, professor of global health at Imperial College, London, and an envoy for the World Health Organisation on Covid-19 states: “You don’t necessarily develop a vaccine that is safe and effective against every virus. Some viruses are very, very difficult when it comes to vaccine development - so for the foreseeable future, we are going to have to find ways to go about our lives with this virus as a constant threat.”


In short, there is a very, very real risk that the cavalry is not coming for New Zealand. We could be trapped here for a very long time – like Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings – “we cannot get out.”

Finally, we need to consider even if an effective vaccine was developed just how high up the priority list is New Zealand really going to be? If you are handing out vaccines do you prioritise the 5M people at the bottom of the world who are at no immediate risk or other 7.5 billion who are? The US and China are already hoarding and interdicting Personal Protection Equipment – what makes us think a vaccine will be different?

In short, the government’s whole Covid-19 “strategy” from start to finish has been flawed. It was based on flawed modelling and amplified by hysterical media reporting. And now New Zealand’s plan to “eliminate” the virus looks more like a bullet wound to the stomach, the result of which will be long, painful and lonely death.

If you enjoyed this article please share across on FaceBook, Twitter etc. These articles take a long time to research and your support in getting the message out there is greatly appreciated.

Both the NZ Herald and Stuff originally indicated they would publish my Covid-19 articles but then pulled the pin at the last moment, I suspect (with some evidence) under political pressure.

I will do endeavour to respond to comments but I also need time to work on the next article. I don't get paid for these articles and there is no advertising on this blog so it has to fit in around my job(!) 

Update: my next article will be out tomorrow - I hope you find it interesting also. I don't get paid for this in anyway. I am not affiliated with any political organisation. I simply cannot stand by and watch inexperienced and ideologically driven people destroy our country. 

Alex Davis.



Comments

  1. I have found your comment during this current crisis very constructive and seemingly well researched.
    What I have not found is commentary centering around the repeal of Abortion Laws pursuant to the Crimes Act which had its third and final reading during the Covid 19 crisis and was signed into law in the last few days. In your previous commentaries you have made reference to other causes of deaths in NZ such as Cancer, Respiratory, Heart, Suicide, Homicide, Fatal injury etc but not abortion. I have no moral or ethical stand on this subject but I find it interesting that during the Covid 19 crisis where 11 deaths have been recorded all due to pre existing conditions and maybe slightly exacerbated by the Virus but doubtful, Abortion produces legal deaths of
    children up to the age of 24 weeks at the rate of 39 per day. And our Prime Minister voted for this legislation during this crisis. Food for Thought. Cheers

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    1. Agreement 110% with your post!!

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    2. yez i have been reading the parliament commentary when this was pushed thru...terrible labour of course backed her with i can only describe as desperate lines to justify abortion up to birth with bias to genetic conditions...disability...down syndrkme..etc

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    3. I’m sure than Jacinda is being a puppet for the WHO controlled by big pharma.

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  2. Thanks for your kind words unknown. I didn't realise that the government is passing laws of this significance during this time. I think the passage of any laws, other than those that are purely for operational reasons should be ceased while Parliament is suspended.

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    1. yes you would think so along with 1080 drops being signed off first week of lockdown in Fiordland 39000 hectares?....and roll out of 5g technology

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  3. "The reasons the elimination strategy is extremely unlikely to be successful are surprisingly simple:"

    Perhaps I can add another;Mycobacterium bovis. NZ has completely failed to 'eliminate this, yet it is a far simpler virus to deal with. If they cannot succeed on the easy one, why makes them think the same failed strategy will work on a far, far harder problem.

    That's before even considering what happens if they succeed, which seems to mean NZ has too be cocooned from the world....for ever.

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    1. I'm by no means a doctor, nor am I involved in the medical profession as you most certainly can't be because M Bovis is not a virus at all. It's a bacterium.

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  4. Thank you Alex for your effort with these brilliant articles. I first read one of your articles online at the NZ Herald, shared the link with my contacts, and they all came back to me saying “it’s not there”. It was obvious to me that the reason for its removal was that it did not conform to our socialist state’s approved messaging. All mainstream media continue to preach the socialist party propaganda, otherwise risk losing their soon to be announced government bailout. It is a shame your articles don’t get enough publicity, also the common sense writing of Bob Jones, Peter Dunne and Ray Avery. How this “flatten the curve” message was used to suck us in to supporting the lockdown, only to get quickly replaced with the fanciful “elimination” is galling. It is horrifying to hear how many Kiwis love Jacinda and what she is doing, with apparent disregard for the massive economic destruction. Maybe these simpletons will come to their senses when the financial pain sets in. NZ deserves what they get if they do not vote these socialist ideological academics out in this year’s election. It is a shame National are such a weak opposition, however, I expect ACT must benefit out of this. Please keep your articles coming.

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    1. yes keep up with the awesome reporting stuff the Herald they been paid by govt that will be why they wont print you never mind we will share your stories ...the virus is nothing more than a bad cold ...it is a smokescreen much more going on behind our backs since lockdown....lies

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  5. Hi Steven - thank you for the kind words. I 100% agree with your sentiments. The extent to which people have willingly abandoned centuries of hard won liberties and decades of economic progress due to sensationalised media reporting is truly concerning and horrifying. Agree that National has been extremely weak in all this. Please if you do like the articles share as widely as possible across all platform, facebook, linkedin etc - I would greatly appreciate it. We need to keep shoving the overton window open! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overton_window

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    1. https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2020/04/anzac-day-residents-of-auckland-retirement-village-share-memories-of-wartime-as-kiwis-prepare-to-commemorate-in-lockdown.html Here are some lovely memories and reminders of brave people who looked to the greater good. If they had been cowardly and preserved themselves at all costs, the world would have faced the evils of an unstopped Hitler. There must have been a spirit of sacrifice for what was determined the greatest good for all humanity. Hopefully we too can determine the path to the greatest good without falling prey to selfishness, pride or cowardice.

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    2. It is truly dangerous to gamble on a vaccine. First it will take 18 months or for a safe one is been thoroughly tested.

      Secondly, just as an administrative exercise, how long will it take to vaccinate enough of the population to declare herd immunity?

      Thirdly, we have enough trouble vaccinating babies against measles and other ferociously contagious killer diseases. Plenty of adults won't bother because they don't think there in the age group there where they are at risk.

      Fourthly, what is the point of herd immunity in fortress New Zealand. Do we open our borders only to other countries that in a couple of years time have reached comparable herd immunity levels to us?

      Fifthly, do we prohibit New Zealanders who are unvaccinated from going abroad? Alternatively, do we quarantining any New Zealander who returns isn't vaccinated after the vaccine is available.

      These comments are made without any medical knowledge of the extent to which vaccinations might need to be updated as the virus adapts. The flu has an annual vaccination to keep up with the virus.

      We were supposed to be flattening the curve. Keeping the health emergency within the Capacity of the hospitals. Instead, lots of people on waiting lists where they will quietly die waiting treatment or even diagnosis

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  6. Youd have to shoot me first before I'd let the Agenda21 supporters force a vaccine on me. If you people cant work out that this was all done on purpose to further the UNs ideals of Agenda21, One World Government, and One World Bank, then your fools.

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    1. Said precisely all in a short paragraph.The agenda has been in progress for quite awhile.

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    2. I think Agenda 21 has now been put back to Agenda 30, from what Im led to believe...!! They are behind the 8 ball a bit...!!

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  7. The problem with the current media and prime minister is no one can question her decisions without being beaten to death by a media that have drunk so much government Kool-Aid .

    We have a direct comparison in Australia’s approach that cannot be denied.

    All Jacinda has to say at present is I disagree.
    I wholeheartedly agree we should’ve checked and rechecked and checked the modelling

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    1. I agree Juan - the best thing we can do is share, share and share these kind of articles everywhere. The truth will out eventually.

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    2. Read history. Jacinda has. It's scary. Start at 1933. No point in wasting time. Watch this space and be terrified.

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  8. It's all well and good being Captain Hindsight; no one actually knew anything at the time. There was not enough data. And no one can say the strategy has not saved hundreds, thousands - there' was plenty of evidence to suggest it was a risk at the time, so it is mendacious and counter-productive to slur the government after the fact. Sure, I had my doubts that lockdown was necessary, but once the state apparatus put its weight behind it, it was best to give operation "err on the side of extreme caution" our full support. Fine.
    The only real risk was cluster overloads on ICUs, and that should be the focus of all future planning - planned emergency capacity for staff, beds and equipment. Well before vaccine-of-the-year.

    Now we are coming out of it, it behooves those who do NOT want to see this happen again be reasonable and show respect to the decision makers who did their best on the information they had at the time, using the resources they had, using the models they had gamed for a decade.
    Only in this way will we be able to use reason and argument to walk back the pandemic thinking that has developed in the technocracy and bureaucracy - the government and opposition committee has had to heed their advice during this - so this Covid-19 becomes a unique event and not a precedent for Covid-21, 23, etc etc.
    So inane and ignorant talk of "socialists"(lulz), agendaConspiracy-of-the-week21, and denigrating, irrational attacks on Ardern and the govt only alienate sectors of the community whose support you will need - need to push back against this becoming the "well-meaning" default strategy for "pandemics", converging public health policy and technology in a way that drastically changes our lives and what we assumed were our rights.

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    1. Fantail - there were plenty of people who were warning the approach to Covid19 was an over reaction - see for example the world's most cited medical research and Professor of Epidemology and Biomedical Data Science Professor John Ioannidis here https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/17/a-fiasco-in-the-making-as-the-coronavirus-pandemic-takes-hold-we-are-making-decisions-without-reliable-data/ NOTE the date March 17th - 7 days before NZ went into lock down.

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    2. "It's all well and good being Captain Hindsight; no one actually knew anything at the time. There was not enough data. "

      This is simply not true.

      "And no one can say the strategy has not saved hundreds, thousands - there' was plenty of evidence to suggest it was a risk at the time"

      The only evidence that existed was a computer model that has, time and again, proven it has no predictive use. It produces a big scary number almost regardless of the data you put into it.

      Nor was there any evidence, none, that a lockdown actually does anything effective at all.

      On the other side, there is a vast amount of data showing how bad it is to shut down an entire economy, particularly on people's health.

      This Hindsight story is bullshit and should be called out as such at every turn.

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    3. Alex, in your response, linking the "we had no reliable data" is Obvious. I said that myself. That is no rebuttal to hindsight.

      No one KNEW what the outcome would be. It was all theory, with different experts selecting different data and excluding others and modelling most likely scenarios. To say otherwise it totally selective tunnel vision, at best.

      Then, from the array of expert opinions saying different things, a non-expert government, and all of government bureaucracy, and the covid response committee of opposition leaders - has to make decisions. This isn't sit on your couch "oh, it's probably fine - look what this selection of scientists are saying" . This is, what is NZ's situation. What are the threats. What are the opportunities. What is the best course on available information.

      Factor in the MSM which always loves to have a poke at the govt because there's a paying market for it, baying for lockdown from well beforehand. And so support for the "err on the side of caution" approach the government took has approached 90% the entire time.

      Note that I personally was always dubious, but once the decision was made we needed to see it through properly, so fully supported it on that grounds.

      Now we have more data. The variables and trends have had a longer time to run, and the potential outcomes are easier to see. Congratulations. So yes. this train of thought is playing either Captain Hindsight - "look there was nothing to worry about"; or you are Nostradamus, which congratulations, pat yourself on the back, maybe if you'd got lucky and wound up at the top of a health bureaucracy your view might mean something.

      The fact is there was a choice of going one way or another. Neither was obvious. On available advice, they went for the side of caution. They had the entire support of the the bureaucracy, government, and public. There was always the chance of it being unnecessary, and we still don't know what would have happened. We could easily have got an ICU smashed by demand, that was ALWAYS the most serious and certain risk. We may still do.

      So, again - assuming like me you don't want to see the lockdown strategy become some go-to or precedent - I'd counsel a lot more caution about trying to paint the govt as some fire-from-the-hip Bad Hat (sure, that always plays well to the "Ardern is a socialist" blogger crowd, but makes zero actual sense), and acknowledge that they made their best choice at the time; BUT now we know more about it so lets develop a better strategy for "next time".

      Not as satisfying as pretending as if there was only one choice back in March, and that govt has somehow been delinquent in the choice they made, but far more productive for making. difference.

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  9. Fantastic article completely makes sense.

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  10. Noone knew the power or sisk factors all the evidence avaiable was ointint towards a massive risk and we have seen massive death tolls in NY purely because people havent locked down
    Mr Hindsight is an idiot who blames the PM for over reacting
    If NZ hadn't taken these early steps there would have been extreme sadness and sorrow
    my suggestion is that Alex Davis gives himself a really good uppercut

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    1. Unknown please refrain from abuse on this blog. See my comment above to Fantail for my response re HindSight.

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    2. That's not abuse, that is his opinion or is only your opinion allowed?

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    3. opinion is to disagree, to opine and debate, name calling and suggesting physical harm..is most certainly abuse .

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    4. "we have seen massive death tolls in NY purely because people havent locked down"

      Untrue.

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    5. Unknown do you really believe New York has massive death tolls due to not locking down? Then how do you explain Sweden with their death rate at 156/1,000,000. Quite a standard flu year for them. No lock down. And they do have plenty of covid 19 positives. USA stands about 126/1,000,000.

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  11. There are very good epidemiologists all around the world whose advice could have been taken... Sweden has done so... their record through this crisis has been good and they have not wrecked their country's economy in the process. Your personal abuse of Alex Davis is unhelpful.

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    1. Sweden has a death rate 130 times higher than New Zealand with only double the population. Now, I have no problem with old boomers dying from the virus, but those old boomer assholes want to put people I love at risk for their selfish desire to go get a fucking haircut.

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    2. "Sweden has a death rate 130 times higher than New Zealand with only double the population"

      NZ's strategy was based on flattening the curve. That is to increase the amount of time that deaths would occur over. Sweden has taken the opposite approach. To compare numbers day to day is silly.

      Notice too how you are not comparing NZ to Belgium, nor Japan, nor Australia.

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    3. Thankyou David for your informed and rational thoughts..

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    4. Isavant at a death rate per million head of population of 156 Sweden has a covid death rate like any other flu year. Nothing exceptional

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    5. It's increased a bit from that number. 2018-2019 recorded 505 deaths related to flu. Sweden's Covid-19 death count already stands at more than quadruple that figure. Nothing exceptional?

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  12. I have just been reading about the Spanish Flu, it was truly horrific, and what was particularly alarming was that fatalities among Maroi and Pacific Islanders were 8 to around 10 times higher than for other New Zealanders! Here's a link to the Spanish Flue entry on Wikepedia which has some parallels to the present situation and many interesting references to New Zealand. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_flu
    Putting political bias aside, it may only be a few more weeks before Covid-19 is completely eradicated in NZ, and this is such a fortunate position to be in. Minimising risk is the responsible thing to do. While one may not be directly affected, you could unintentionally cause the death of others by not acting responsibly. The virus needs people to spread it, it can't spread on it's own, it is something we can directly control but only if we act collectively; there is no other party involved as there was with bubonic plague carried by fleas on rats.
    It considered that the Spanish Flu mutated to become less deadly, which may happen with Covid 19 too in time. Regarding the 'economy' this is a man made construct to smooth trade and has flaws and perversions (something for a whole other article). If we are not immediately fighting our very life, like hundreds of thousands of others infected with Covid-19 in the world who's governments didn't act fast enough, this could be a good opportunity to really think about how the economy could be more resilient and fairer in the future (for example encouraging local supply chains, building communities, circular economies, and considering a basic income for everyone).
    The information technology revolution over the last thirty years means that this is a unique point in history. There are huge opportunities to creatively use the new tools and technology available to make the economy better, and when it comes to opportunity and creativity, New Zealanders are hard to beat.

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    1. '... theory holds that the 1918 virus mutated extremely rapidly to a less lethal strain. This is a common occurrence with influenza viruses: there is a tendency for pathogenic viruses to become less lethal with time, as the hosts of more dangerous strains tend to die out' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_flu

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    2. The Financial times provides a good summary of the Covid-19 situation worldwide. They also include plots of monthly death rates from all causes for this year compared to previous years, putting this year's Covid-19 outbreak in perspective; for some countries it's significantly worse. The data is updated regularly. https://www.ft.com/coronavirus-latest

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  13. What seems to be missing from all mainstream media articles and discussions is perspective. Well before countries started locking down the data showed that over 70s and people with pre existing conditions were the high risk catagory. Focus and protect those, but let the rest of the country carry on. There is no perspective, according to the WHO 300,000-600,000 die every year from influenza. Yet the world carries on. Italy have high death rates every year from flu, 20k last year, 24k the year before, 20k the year before that. Uk avg 17k every year, USA 30-60k every year. According to Otago Universiry 500 deaths in NZ every year from flu. Thousands and thousands die every year in road deaths, from cancer, obesity, etc etc yet the world carries on. What is the baseline, what is an acceptable number of deaths from a particular cause? Smoking, over 5000 deaths every year in NZ, and thousands of illnesses that require hospitalization related to smoking, yet goverments allow the sale of tobacco. But for Covid we are in lockdown, world economies have been destroyed, people without work, and lives ruined. Goverments should have taken a far more targetted approach to the 'at risk' demographic. In the meantime can we please have some perspective from goverments and media.

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    1. The complete lack of context from the media has been criminal. People have reacted as if old, very unwell people dying is a shockingly new concept. Not that I want to downplay that tragedy, but every couple of years many thousands die of flu and no one much notices.

      Italy had 28,000 deaths in 2018. Hospitals were overrun. Where were the headlines?

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  14. Your 3 links to articles about overwhelmed health care systems don't support your article - A synopsis of the first article: Patients in the completely overwhelmed NY health system were denied beds in the specifically prepared Covid-19 hospitals because the patients didn't meet criteria, such as arriving with five days worth of medication. The second and third articles both feature the Nightingale Hospital, an emergency hospital prepared for the worst case scenario - arguably underused because Britain locked down the populace. Further on in your article you use a quote about eradication to undermine the NZ govt aim of elimination. Eradication in the context of disease is a global term, as in the eradication of smallpox. The aim of elimination, in the context of disease, is to reduce cases in a specific geographical area to zero, giving greater control over disease vectors in the future. At the time of going into lockdown here in NZ, the spread of infection and mortality rates in China, Italy and Spain were horrifying. The NZ government, along with many others, imposed strong limits on their populations to contain this virus as well as they could. Could you turn your intellect and research abilities towards helping NZ move forward?

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    1. 100% agree with this, my thoughts exactly after reading. I feel this article is very manipulative in twisting facts to get a point across hoping that people will just read at face value.

      I refuse to believe that so many cases are undetected. Even the article regarding 80% of cases being asymptomatic, is based on figures from China. Should we be believing China who seem to have plummeted in new cases in an unreal amount of time?

      The current world tally is around 2M cases, with approx 200K deaths. That's a 10% mortality rate. Erring on the generous side assuming that there are actually twice as many cases, 5% mortality is still a lot!

      There are some government decisions that I disagree with, and I understand the massive impact on the New Zealand economy - but doesn't mean that what the government has done is entirely wrong.

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    2. "The second and third articles both feature the Nightingale Hospital, an emergency hospital prepared for the worst case scenario - arguably underused because Britain locked down the populace. "

      The NHS currently has more surplus beds than at any time in its history. A&E are operating at 20% of capacity.

      In the US, health care workers are being laid off in the tens of thousands because they have nothing to do.

      In NY, the governor has clearly stated not one person has failed to received the very best medical care.

      In Sweden, to contrast, hospitals are not overrun at all.


      "Eradication in the context of disease is a global term, as in the eradication of smallpox."

      One of the biggest achievements in medical science. The first vaccine was in 1796. The last case of smallpox was in 1977.

      200 years after getting the vaccine. Think about that.

      "At the time of going into lockdown here in NZ, the spread of infection and mortality rates in China, Italy and Spain were horrifying."

      No they were not. It was clearly visible who was at risk, and what steps would have been sensible.
      Covid-19 deaths in Italy are still significantly lower than those for flu from 2018. Smallpox is horrifying. Covid-19 is not.

      "The NZ government, along with many others, imposed strong limits on their populations to contain this virus as well as they could."

      There is no evidence the lockdown has done anything to contain the virus.

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    3. "I refuse to believe that so many cases are undetected."

      Well, the wonderful thing about science is that it does not require your belief.

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    4. Very much agree with your analysis. It is abundantly clear that there would have been an inundation of our scarce ICU beds in the absence of lockdown. And looking at the serious problems at Smithfield Foods and Tyson foods our food supply infrastructure (the once and future backbone of the NZ economy) could well have been seriously compromised in the absence of strong lockdowns. Add to that the potential benefits of being a zero (or minimally low) Covid economy, eg. to the education, film and other industries at least merits giving it a shot for elimination. The virus while highly contagious is not magical. It needs a human host. An R0 <1 has an inevitable elimination in a closed system. We can tack to a different paradigm if elimination strategy doesn't work but right now the virus is clearly not broadly disseminated - thanks to level 4.

      Delete
    5. To David Moore's point the sentinel testing has come back entirely negative proving (scientifically) that the virus is not in fact widespread. With 120,000 tests so far and many more to come it is quite possible with appropriate rigour to reduce the cases to zero plus or minus. Also, among many places, I'm from New York and if you think they have coped, boy do I have a (Manhattan) bridge to sell you. I suggest you study the free articles from the New York Times and Washington Post. The mass graves. I cannot convey the horror that my dear friends have gone through in the last 4 weeks. Also from the UK and you just have to look at ethe daily toll of NHS workers' deaths and 20,000 dead to belie the idea that all is well. It could have been us too.

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    6. " It is abundantly clear that there would have been an inundation of our scarce ICU beds in the absence of lockdown. "

      How is this clear? Sweden has experienced no such inundation.

      Delete
    7. https://voxeu.org/article/covid-19-italy-analysis-death-registry-data Not true on Italy at all. https://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/publications/report_for_chief_science_advisor_-_health_-_24_march_final.pdf The epidemiological basis of teh decision.

      Delete
    8. "Also from the UK and you just have to look at ethe daily toll of NHS workers' deaths and 20,000 dead to belie the idea that all is well. It could have been us too."

      The NHS employs 1,233,963 staff. People who work for the NHS die every day.

      "The mass graves."

      Fake news. You, being from NY, should be aware that grave yard has operated that way for 150 years. 150 years.

      "I cannot convey the horror that my dear friends have gone through in the last 4 weeks."

      Horror? I spent more than 4 months collectively on in combat on active battlefields. Please convey to me the horror your friends have gone through. Was it an incorrect spicy latte delivery? Perhaps their TikTok dance routines didn't get enough views?

      "20,000 dead to belie the idea that all is well. It could have been us too."

      How does this compare to a bad flu season that you were previously completely unaware of?

      Delete
    9. Good grief.

      The Nightingale Hospital was outfitted in 9 days to provide cover for the worst case scenario. It was a well executed action for pandemic control, planned well in advance of covid-19.

      There are beds available in the NHS because Britain is in lockdown, and not doing non-urgent surgery.

      The US health care workers being laid off are not those health care workers treating covid-19 sufferers. US hospitals need to show a profit to their shareholders, and many are not showing a profit while resources are directed at treating covid-19 patients. The layoffs are a result of profit driven ideology.

      The reference to smallpox was simply to help identify the difference between eradication and elimination when the terms are used by an epidemiologist.

      I am sorry you did not find the speed of infection, and the associated mortality rate horrifying.

      Sweden - no lockdown - 6 times as many cases as NZ (adjusted for pop.), 12.1 percent of known cases resulted in death.
      NZ - lockdown - 1.2 percent of known cases resulted in death.

      Please direct your intellect and research abilities to improving things.


      Delete
  15. This is factually incorrect.International tourism GDP is not $45b. More like $18b, domestic is $23b. Maybe this author should base his articles on facts, not made up numbers. And without lockdown or some other form of intervention NZ would have 300,000 + cases by now, 3000 deaths at 1 per cent of total cases and a completely overwhelmed hospital system. Current death rate in NZ exceeds 1% of all cases, so that estimate is not exaggerated. Its really easy to cite our success as an over reaction but if we ran the experiment the other way there would without doubt be many more deaths and serious aftermath effects of this disease. And if we eliminate this disease in NZ we will be in a much better position to revive our economy than other nations. And whether we can open our borders is only going to happen if and when other nations can guarantee they are relatively free of the virus whether we eliminate it or not.

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    1. " NZ would have 300,000 + cases by now, 3000 deaths at 1 per cent of total cases and a completely overwhelmed hospital system."

      Please show your facts instead of your made up numbers.

      Delete
    2. https://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/publications/report_for_chief_science_advisor_-_health_-_24_march_final.pdf Actually the onus is on you.

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    3. DD.

      Easy. Australia. Australia has not gone to a lockdown, yet has identical results to NZ. The difference is a massive additional economic cost to NZ for no benefit. Where was the evidence that a total lockdown makes any difference at all? Currently, no relationship can be established between lockdowns and any change in the number of people dying.

      Computer models have been proven, repeatedly, to have no predictive ability.

      Please also explain how we interact with the world should NZ achieve this 'goal' of 'elimination'. I need to point out NZ has completely failed to eliminate M Bovis after years of trying and its a far less infectious disease in a far more controllable population. Show where the evidence that such elimination is possible.

      "And whether we can open our borders is only going to happen if and when other nations can guarantee they are relatively free of the virus whether we eliminate it or not."

      Do you understand what this means?

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    4. Even in the case the numbers are incorrect using international tourism’s to get you point across about the lockdown is irrelevant as this industry would of had the same out come without NZ going into lockdown. We still would of had to close our borders to the rest of the world just like almost every other country has done.

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  16. This blog post is the kind of nonsense that led leaders in the UK, US, Sweden etc into a situation that will be far worse economically for their countries. Even if we have overreacted, this is many times better than the consequences of underreacting.

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    1. This comment is why NZ has acted out of nothing but fear, and will pay for it for generations.

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    2. Easy to sit there and throw stones when it is not you or your family dying from this virus!

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    3. Unknown - that is *precisely* why we don't allow victims to sit on juries - because those who are emotionally invested in a decisions that affect other people's lives and livelihoods should not be making it.

      David - thanks for your support - I really appreciate it

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  17. "Both the NZ Herald and Stuff originally indicated they would publish my Covid-19 articles but then pulled the pin at the last moment, I suspect (with good reason) under political pressure."

    Someone I know did a very detailed and comprehensive review of the data that was publicly available at the end of Feb and published it on Medium. It was a very sober look at things and outlined that Covid was likely more deadly that the flu, it was very unlikely to be by an order of magnitude.

    Medium took it down as being 'misinformation'.

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    1. Regrettably I am not surprised.

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    2. Or perhaps they did some fact checking, and followed your links, that don't substantiate your article.

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    3. No they did not. It was written by a very competent data scientist. It was based entirely off official numbers. They took it down because it did not follow the party line.

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  18. Good points thank you Alex. I too have been making the same points since 4 April. An elimination strategy is untenable. a) We have not yet been able to eradicate chicken pox, measles, polio to name a few, and for these we have vaccines and know a lot about them. b) as you point out if we are the only country covid-19 free, then we are isolated in our own box. Like North Korea of the South Pacific. And what if a vaccine was never forthcoming. A vaccine for birdflu was being developed and then dropped when it proved to be not such a dangerous virus. c) The best face saving option for the Government is to make a common area with Australia. Aussies declare they are going covid free (yeah right) and we accept life with the virus.
    Some say this is a good trial run for a really potent virus which will one day sweep through. After this fiasco, what if next it is like the boy who cries wolf?

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    1. Could you please remember,in your arguments, to separate the meaning of eradicate and eliminate. When epidemiologists use the two words, they mean different things. Eradicate means globally destroy, as in smallpox. Eliminate means reducing to zero the cases of a disease within a specified geographical area. When the two terms are used interchangeably it is confusing, and can result in the spread of misinformation.

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    2. Correct. Thank you for your clarification

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  19. I have to strongly agree with Alex Davis. To the point that I no longer refer to it as "covid-19" , more so as the "labour virus".
    There will always be different perspectives of situations and handling of information. As an example, I remember in the 80's the fear mongering and publicity around HIV and AIDS. " Don't touch that door handle, you'll get AIDS" Don't shake hands, you'll get AIDS". Fear was produced and hatred ensued. Over 500,000 people this year have died from HIV/AIDS (https://www.worldometers.info) we haven't shut the world down and been told to find a cure 30 years on. Just as we haven't been asked to go and buy a hamburger for the 2.3 million odd people who have died of starvation this year. Probably because it's not something that's put in front of you every day, nor is it something that generally effects 1st world countries, but this has.
    The media does an abhorrent job in its reporting. It takes the negative and prays on it. Then , after getting a bail out from the Government, STUFF has the audacity to ask us "to donate $1" as a reader. Laughable. I wouldn't cross the street to urinate on them if they were on fire.
    Labour feels it's better to try and make the country into a welfare state. Only it hasn't realised where the income comes from. Small business.
    Common sense could have seen a better approach with the information that we had to begin. Wash your hands, practice safe distancing. Things easily achievable.
    The "if you can go to a dairy and enter one at a time, why can you not go into the florist next door one at a time to buy flowers?" question asked to Labour's, Mr Nash on one of the Live Chats, shows me that Labour is ill equipped to bring us out of this economic disaster.
    "elimination" is impossible. It was never on the cards and should never have been stated as the aim. If you're "testing" to try and find it, then you don't know where the enemy is.
    The effects from this Labour Virus will be felt and seen for many years to come. The social demise felt by NZ families and families around the world will be 10 x fold of the damage done to those infected. Suicides, Anxiety, Depression, Poverty, Family Violence, Crime, Unemployment will see more costs than ever before.
    Labour had the audacity to say that 10,000 workers who lost their employment in the first week " wasn't that bad" and that 30,000 more unemployed " is an acceptably small number". Imagine if we had said that about the virus?
    Hey, 17 people have died, alot with pre-existing conditions and with a survival rate in the 90 percentile, I'd rather be diagnosed with the virus that say be one of the unfortunate people in NZ who have or are experiencing some form of Cancer. Tell them if they get "infected" they have a 90% chance of survival and I bet you they'll jump for joy! Instead, let's shut the country down and throw the country into an economic crisis and it's citizens into lock down and turmoil. That's a good idea!". One epidemiologist stated that Labour's approach was like "taking a sledge hammer to kill a flea". I tend to agree. If the virus is a flea, then the NZ economy is a dead dog lying in the gutter and labour is waging it's tail in the vain attempt to bring it back to life.

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    1. Thanks for the support Scott - much appreciated! Please re-share wherever you can!

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    2. Scott I agree with so much that you said and you have such an eloquent way of saying it.
      However, this was never about any so called pandemic, as your examples so clearly illustrate.
      And as for labour or national, they each are one side of the same coin and rely on welfare and corporate interests to line their pockets and yet the back bone of our nation is small business which they, the government, are doing their best to eradicate.

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    3. FFS. "The labour virus".
      And sadly, Alex, as I pointed out above, that is exactly where you are getting your support from. Continue this way you may have a career as the new Kiwiblog/Whale oil ahead of you, but don't masquerade this as being about science. Just a bete de jour for the usual overfed cattle.
      Plus David "science is just facts floating in the air" Moore.

      Delete
  20. Sorry, you're talking out of your arse. Compare what's STILL happening in the U.S., where people (& that would be the moronic Republicans) are actively RESISTING lockdown, & the numbers are showing no sign of slowing down, to where I live - South Australia, which mandated social distancing, then supervised quarantine early on. We have only had 483 cases in this State, 4 deaths, & NO (0) new cases for the past 5 days. Proof positive that the hard strategy WORKED !!! If people aren't moving around, they can't spread it. Simple. Yes, it's been hard on the economy, but it's saved lives. It's because of whiny-arse snowflakes in your country, who don't want to have to stay home & be sensible for a few weeks, that you're going to FAIL.

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    1. Are you locked into your home like the people in NZ have been?

      Are businesses still able to operate and carry on, or have they been forced to shut down leaving bills unpaid, drained of revenue and with debts that will climb into the tens of billions like in NZ?

      How many people have lost their jobs and not likely to get them back anytime soon?

      SA have not taken a 'hard' strategy, yet there has been little difference between locking people into their homes and allowing them to move about largely as normal. SA's policy is far more moderate than in NZ.

      "It's because of whiny-arse snowflakes in your country, who don't want to have to stay home & be sensible for a few weeks, that you're going to FAIL."

      What happens when they come out of lockdown, the numbers spike, and millions of them don't have jobs?

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    2. Seems the only "whiny-arse snowflake" could be TheSilverBear.

      South Australia has nowhere near the lockdown that NZ is experiencing. See https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/apr/15/can-i-visit-my-family-parents-coronavirus-australia-lockdown-rules-covid-19-restrictions-nsw-victoria-queensland

      SA, has a land size nearly 4 x times the size of NZ and only a population of just over a 3rd of NZ, it also makes it so much easier to "distance", however the residents of SA are still able to go to work, gather with friends and so on. Hardly a hard strategy which is the point that was being made. That with the softer guidelines that SA are experiencing, those could have been in NZ and with similar results and less damage to the economy overall and alot less jobs and business closures.

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  21. There is a very big difference in the strategy that Australia and South Australia have taken than what NZ has taken, and as a Kiwi living in Queensland running several businesses we have been blessed with the fact that we were not ordered into lockdown like Nz. I have been in constant contact with family, friends and business associates back in NZ that look to Australia’s response to the crisis with envy, sure the economy is going to hurt, but we have not been completely shut down like NZ, so your very point of how well South Australia has done completely contradicts your point, because they have done this without the draconian measures that were taken in NZ, seems to me the snow may well be falling in SA.

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  22. Thanks Alex for a thought-provoking article. Plenty of good points either side of the argument.

    I'm interested to know what level of lock-down - if any - you would have recommended on March 23? As there is a sliding scale of course.

    And how do you think NZ should move from here?

    I think rather than criticise decisions made in the past with the benefit of hindsight, our efforts and thoughts should be directed on what we do now. What's done is done, let's move forward, grateful at least that there was not widespread deaths as well as economic devastation...

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    1. Thanks for the kind words. I think it is valid to criticise the governments response especially given they have eviscerated, overnight fundamental civil and political liberties for what appears to be a dubious cause.

      What would I have done: followed the Swedish model and aggressively protected known vulnerabilities, in particular nursing homes and allowed the rest of the population to continue working to generate the wealth necessary to support the health system those vulnerable individuals need.

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    2. Alex. Would you have locked the borders? Would your strategy have saved Air New Zealand? Would it have been able to maintain business for our exporters who rely on passenger flights to export perishables. Interested to know how you think NZ could of managed this with the majority of the world limiting movement of populations. Do you remember back when there were New Zealanders clamouring for the borders to be shut down? Easy to say this has been handled wrongly when you really have no idea how it would have been had nothing been done. In reality you will never know.

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  23. There a good reason the health systems weren’t overwhelmed after we went into lockdown: THE LOCKDOWN WORKED. That’s the whole point. We avoided that. We flattened the curve. I agree elimination is not going to be possible when we open our borders, but we can’t deny that we have avoided a massive public health crisis and hopefully now new cases occur at a lower, more manageable rate as the curve plateaus.

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    1. If the "lock down worked" then why did places with even more stringent lock downs than NZ (like Spain or Italy) have worst outcomes. Why did Sweden with much more relaxed lock downs do significantly better than the UK? It's not as simple as you suggest DRH.

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    2. Spain, Italy and UK waited too long to put these measures in place, they have higher populations and much higher population density. Sweden, with approximately 10 million in population has had 2000+ deaths!
      I will happily wait for my bunch of flowers and my flat white. I AM a small business owner, in the food industry, so zero work, cancellations, (and in a couple of cases, refunds). Yes, it all sucks a bit, but instead of bitching about it, I, and several friends are focused on the Covid Blessings, more time with family, time to go for leisurely walks, time for reading and gardening ( unheard of in my previous busy life) cleaner air and water, more birds.
      I will no doubt be labelled a Pollyanna, but in many, not all, areas, I feel the comeback will be greater than the setback. We Kiwis have proven to be resilient and innovative when confronted with dramatically changed scenarios. Time to step up, and do it again.

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    3. Alex Davis - “If the "lock down worked" then why did places with even more stringent lock downs than NZ (like Spain or Italy) have worst outcomes.”
      This makes no sense. Spain and Italy, the UK and France and others all initiated their lockdowns far too late. That is why they have had disastrous numbers of deaths. NZ has the advantage of being at the ends of the earth and saw what was happening and enacted its rules before we had an unmanageable number of cases.

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    4. "This makes no sense. Spain and Italy, the UK and France and others all initiated their lockdowns far too late."

      How do you know this? Sweden has not locked down and not doing better than many of those countries that have locked down.

      Are you sure the lockdown is not part of the problem?

      "That is why they have had disastrous numbers of deaths."

      Did you notice the flu epidemic that occurred in Italy in 2018 that killed 30,000 and overwhelmed their hospitals? Did you know this is more than Covid has killed in Italy this year?

      "NZ has the advantage of being at the ends of the earth and saw what was happening and enacted its rules before we had an unmanageable number of cases."

      NZ's policy is one of flattening the curve. This means if the lockdown has succeeded as designed, it has simply delayed those deaths. They are still to come.

      Delete
  24. And we believe Brendan Murphy? Australia doesn't.

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  25. As a person who studied Epidemiology in Higher academic research levels, I view your article as misleading. I wonder what your Epidemiology education level is that you based your argument on mainly economic reasoning, citing mainly people whose professions are to see the money rather than keeping life.

    Epidemiology models, just like economics models, are not without flaws. Still, I prefer seeing less people dying from a new virus outbreak to thinking about money. I had been also a clinician for pretty much enough time to have under my own care people dying due to viruses or outbreaks, and I believe that I have one or two baselines to state my input, as opposed to those who view economy first.

    Should you decided to make a proper research prior writing this incomplete article, you would have started showing both sides of the coin. Yes, it seems that you tried to portray that you did show two sides, but this is truly superficial.

    After I was studying for years and doing academic research in epidemiology and now having a much deeper understanding of the threats of outbreaks, I can now only view your article as a sort of political view to kick the leadership rather than showing a real research on the topic. I hope my critics doesn't offend you in any way, and if it does, my apologies.

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    1. Well said Ryan C. There has been mention of the economic effect of letting the virus run unchecked either. It remains to be seen how the countries badly effected by covid-19 fare economically. Will they manage better in the long run as they deal with the cost of the pandemic? Crystal ball anyone?

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    2. This https://profiles.stanford.edu/john-ioannidis is one of the many researchers I draw on. He is medical doctor and a Professor of Epidemiology, Population Health and Biomedical Data Science at Stanford University, where he holds the Rehnborg Chair in Disease Prevention. He is one of the world's most cited researchers ever. He also argues very persuasively that the response to Covid19 is an hysterical over-reaction. Here is a link to a video interview with him https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwPqmLoZA4s

      Delete
    3. "I had been also a clinician for pretty much enough time to have under my own care people dying due to viruses or outbreaks, and I believe that I have one or two baselines to state my input, as opposed to those who view economy first."

      As a clinician, how many treatments have you prescribed that have no evidence to support they usefulness, but have very significant evidence that they will cause great harm?

      I would assume the answer would be that you would never do such a thing. Yet, that is exactly when NZ has done in response to Covid-19.

      You state that you prefer not to think about money, well in my view that would be a criminal act for someone to apply that thinking to an entire country. Money is a tool with which we deliver healthcare. Less of it means much less health and more deaths.

      Just a note on computer models, the science on them is very clear, they have zero predictive ability. None. Basing any policy decision on nothing more than a computer model is an act of gross negligence.

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    4. Dear Alex,

      No need to tell me about who Prof Ioannidis is. I cited his previous works in RESEARCH METHODS (as opposed to his works in Epidemiology), too. You mentioned that his work was cited many times. That's very funny thing to say. Well, for those who read those lines but who are not coming from the research society, I can reveal to you that that in fact citing someone's work in other people's academic work DOESN'T mean that the former work is correct. Many times we cite in academic pieces the work of people as not holding water. I suggest you do a much better, comprehensive research of how many times his work was academically cited as unsupported.

      As it happens, throughout the world, Prof Ioannidis gets these days strong fire back for his Santa Clara's research, too. The critics that come from other well respected professors in Epidemiology put a lot of flaws in his controversial research's results. To most if not all of them he did not bother to answer, by the way...

      Having said that, your article is still touching the opinionated work regarding economics rather than Epidemiology, totally waiving the argument that the political leadership followed by the recommendations of the medical and epidemiological team in the ministry of health and the researchers in NEW ZEALAND. I have not voted for Mrs. Ardern, and I am not her advocate, just to make sure it is understood here. I am not sure to who I am going to vote next time.
      But, as someone who sees such unprecedented outbreak issue all around the world, I prefer going with the medical/epidemiological recommendations to isolate. As I told you, I saw MANY deaths under my own care and supervision - probably more than what people can genuinely understand.

      Furthermore, just to let you and also the audience here know, quite a lot of info in regard to the REAL number of deaths around the world, let alone the infected people with COVID-19, is unknown. Unfortunately, many countries with dozens of millions (and even hundreds of millions) of people do not reveal the data in full. Basing a world-wide epidemiological research is needed (not Santa Clara's) in order to recalculate epidemiological models as time goes. This should bring in the aforementioned lack of info from the above countries. Now you see how hard it is?!

      One more issue, NOBODY knows whether this COVID-19 is a seasonal outbreak. I do hope that it has such a characteristic, but when people try to compare it to Influenza or other seasonal viruses, I can only laugh out loud, as the current evidence is that it comes all around the world, no matter what season (both northern and southern hemispheres) .

      Once the article has appropriate unbiased political sense, this can be regarded a well written one. This is not the instance of article, but a biased opinion.

      All the best. Keep yourself isolated and safe!

      Delete
    5. " I can reveal to you that that in fact citing someone's work in other people's academic work DOESN'T mean that the former work is correct. "

      Ferguson has been wrong in every single prediction he has ever made for pandemics. I cleaned up one of his messes 15 odd years ago (2001 FMD in the UK) where his team ran around the countryside slaughtering millions of animals in the most misguided farce I have ever seen. He destroyed lives and businesses, cost the UK many billions and 60 farmers killed themselves in the aftermath.

      That track record does not seem to have stopped his work being the cornerstone of the entire world's response to this virus.

      That does not seem to have stopped him being a key person in these wildly overstated projections using a computer model that has been proven to have no utility which has never been reviewed.

      "Furthermore, just to let you and also the audience here know, quite a lot of info in regard to the REAL number of deaths around the world, let alone the infected people with COVID-19, is unknown. "

      This is correct. It is almost certainly being overstated in the Europe and the US. They have taken a policy of classing anyone who has, or is suspected of having, Covid-19 as being a Covid-19 death.

      As I'm sure you are aware given your stated background, people at an advanced age often do not die of one thing, it's comorbidity.

      I'm also sure given your knowledge that you would support a return to largely normal for people who are under 65 and do not have a risk profile. The data is very clear on who the risk groups are and you would understand that well as a clinician.

      "One more issue, NOBODY knows whether this COVID-19 is a seasonal outbreak. I do hope that it has such a characteristic, but when people try to compare it to Influenza or other seasonal viruses, I can only laugh out loud, as the current evidence is that it comes all around the world, no matter what season (both northern and southern hemispheres) ."

      Can you detail how Covid-19 is so different to other coronaviruses that it would not be seasonal, or at least have a strong seasonal aspect? There is some indication that countries in summer have far low case numbers than countries in winter.

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    6. "NOBODY knows whether this COVID 19 is a seasonal outbreak"

      I disagree. Those in America who decided to mutate and weaponise a form of corona virus and then when their "work" was shut down, hand finishing that job over to scientists in China and then expose the public to it, certainly know?

      Can you not see? This was not an unprecedented event. It is not about a virus or even the destruction of our economies and therefore livelihoods. It is about resource control, including of the human persuasion and to achieve this mass surveillance and tracking. Along with of course the rollout of the technology needed to handle such an enterprise. These implementations and consequences, are simply tools to bring all of this into fruition. As you have seen, more tracking and surveillance has already been implemented and plans are already in place for digital identity and immunity certification to coincide with the wide spread roll out of block chain digital currency. You only need to look into the Global health and security agenda and cross reference it with their partners and affiliates and do some research into what their agendas are and it's all pretty easy to see what's really going on.
      Everyone wants to be a hero these days. I guess if those deemed less heroic stay home, their belief that they are saving lives will make them feel like heros.
      I do agree with Angie that we should still look at the positives in this situation and there are many.

      Delete
    7. Well said, Ryan C.

      As you say, in effect this item tilts towards an unrealistic attack on the political leadership. So many unknowns still. (Unless you are David "the answers are floating in the air" Moore.)

      Filing this thread under Dunning-Kruger. Peace out.

      Delete
    8. Thanks a lot, Fantail,

      Yes, there are so m any theories from people all around. I can understand why people try to build reasoning in everything, or try to counter opinion with the majority of the Academic epidemiology professionals (giving out names of particular professionals...).
      I am not sure if any of the above commenters come from the science of Epidemiology at all. This seems like they are not. Many of the entire article's commenters (and on other articles) do have a sort of controversial answers as to why it all began... you know. something "realistic" like in the fashion of flat earth fantasies.

      Absolutely not intending to offend anyone, however, I see this now as impossible to feed people in knowledge of this science without getting into such a detailed answer, which, unfortunately, I do not have enough time to spare for.

      Peace out, too ;-)

      Delete
  26. An interesting read....much of which we already know or have researched through other news sites. My question is...Where to from here?

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  27. Why doesn't anyone talk about the "cures" that are out there for the disease like Intravenous Vitamin C, Hydroxychloroquine & the antibiotic that goes with it (forget it's name), which have been proven time & time again to have people on their feet in no time -- If there are cures like this out there, why should we be worried about the disease?? - lets go for the Herd ammunity which is the only real way to "eliminate" it ---- I don't understand why there is not more talk about this? Jacinda can do lots of things to destroy our nation, but she can't stop us administering cures to the people who are sick - Surely Dr's can do the right thing?? they know this is a farce --

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    1. Treatments is perhaps the best term for this. There is a lot of work going on, but the media totally focus on vaccines are the 'solution'. If you mention 'Hydroxychloroquine' you will get a massive reaction from the anti-Trump crowd.

      Herd immunity is the only real way out. It's very possible Sweden will achieve this mid-may.

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  28. Chris G, you cant eradicate a virus, we live with about 1 kg of virus in our bodies, we need to look at why it started, lax hygiene in wet markets in Wuhan and yes 10,000 cell towers , poisoned environment, GM food lower human immune systems and allow any of the virus you are carrying ti erupt

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you will find it did not come from the wet market, but escaped the lab next door. They were researching corona viruses in bats.

      Delete
  29. Yes we have been set up by a government who does not understand the scientific or medical evidences. Government is following the WHO who is setting the world up for their own porous and that is to destroy people and the economy.

    ReplyDelete
  30. What a load of Trumpian nonsense.
    My best advice is stop your verbal diarthoea and wipe the bs off your chin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please try to be civil on this blog and respond with arguments, data and logic, not abuse. If you can't stick by those rules I will delete abusive comments.

      Delete
  31. I am following this thread, and all the links given, with interest. Here is a link to a short article about the current situation in Sweden. https://www.dailyherald.com/discuss/20200426/fighting-the-virus-with-personal-freedom-in-socialist-sweden

    With hindsight, I have come to agree that the lockdown could have been less strict, but I don't think there was any particular political agenda involved. Given the circumstances, it was an excellent response.

    I would be very interested in seeing the ways people think we, as a country, can best progress going forward, and what we have learned during lockdown that would be useful in the future.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Given the circumstances, it was an excellent response."

      Well, I regard it as a one in a hundred years blunder that will be written about long after Covid-19 is forgotten.

      "I would be very interested in seeing the ways people think we, as a country, can best progress going forward, and what we have learned during lockdown that would be useful in the future."

      Don't elect infants into political office.

      Delete
    2. "..a hundred years blunder that will be written about long after Covid-19 is forgotten."

      As in "Let's write about the time we locked down. What was that about? I..uh.. I forget."?

      Delete
    3. As in, no one knows, or cares, who Archduke Franz Ferdinand was. His assassination was just the starting gun for WW1.

      The world has seen plenty of viruses, most of which have been forgotten. Australia have a bad flu season last year, over 3000 died. No one noticed. Italy had a very bad flu season 2018, 28,000 died and the hospitals were overrun. No one noticed.

      In 2018 the US had the worst flu season in 40 years, no one noticed.

      https://edition.cnn.com/2018/09/26/health/flu-deaths-2017--2018-cdc-bn/index.html

      In Jan 2020 the US was shaping up for the worst flu season on record.

      https://edition.cnn.com/2020/01/03/health/flu-week-52/index.html


      Wait a second..........

      Delete
  32. https://pitchbook.com/profiles/company/159094-99 https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/alphabet#section-overview https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/google-ventures#section-overview and is it true about bill gates family tree?

    Henry Sturgis Morgan
    Co-Founder of Morgan Stanley
    8th great-grandson
    Katharine Hepburn
    Movie Actress
    8th great-granddaughter
    Bill Gates
    Founder of Microsoft
    8th great-grandson
    Julia Child
    American Chef, Author and TV Personality
    8th great-granddaughter
    Allen Dulles
    5th Director of the C.I.A.
    8th great-grandson
    John Foster Dulles
    52nd U.S. Secretary of State
    8th great-grandson
    Jordana Brewster
    TV and Movie Actress
    9th great-granddaughter
    John Adams Morgan
    1952 Olympic Sailing Gold Medalist
    9th great-grandson
    Bill Weld
    68th Governor of Massachusetts
    9th great-grandson
    Princess Diana
    Princess of Wales
    10th great-granddaughter
    Adlai Stevenson III
    U.S. Senator from Illinois
    10th great-grandson

    Prince William
    Duke of Cambridge
    11th great-grandson
    Prince Harry
    Duke of Sussex
    11th great-grandson

    ReplyDelete
  33. Thank you for your informative and well written article Alex. Your perspective is very insightful, especially if we infer that the Covid 19 virus was ever the threat it on its own that it has been made out to be. You have pointed out quite a few subversive intentions of our current government, or atleast those behind them. This little country at the "bottom" of the world has been in many ways set aside for overseas interests, who have already bought up a good half of our land and therefore have a controlling stake in our nation. So, it would make sense for the government to do what it can to utilise this "event" to isolate our little slice of supposed paradise from the rest of the world, imprisoning its people at the same time, under the guise of saving lives. From the start, the government has maintained that Covid 19 was an unprecedented event that they were unprepared for. Does the evidence show this to be true? It really depends where you look and how far back. Personally, I would say no.
    All you have to do is look into event 201, which was a tabletop exercise ran October 18th last year, hosted by the John Hopkins center for health and security, the World economic forem and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. The scenario; the world is affected by a zoonotic corona virus pandemic. Recommendations include; the shut down of travel, economic trade, schools, quarantine of whole populations, centralised control of the worlds economies, financial institutions and trade, control of the media by governments, ministrys of health and other people deemed as trustworthy to the public, such as religious figures and to ensure that all contradictions to their rhetoric is alleged to be fake news, mis or disinformation. Sound like we still have the right of free speech? The theoretical pandemic is considered to be under control once the worlds population had either reached an 80 to 90% infection rate and in this scenario considered to be immune or that 80 to 90% had been vaccinated with a suitable vaccine, should one be found. This information was shared with the governments of the world including ours in regards for the need to prepare for such an event and recommendations of how to as well.
    Of course the amazing speed of the shutdown shows that despite their claims to the contrary, the government already had things in place to ensure its success and little supposed errors or inadequacies here and there, can not trick those that choose to look a bit closer. Can we believe anything the government says? Of course not. The purpose of their media presence, to claim themselves as a victim, "we were unprepared", "this was an unprecedented event", "we were following the advice of the experts and they got it wrong." Next they claim the need for defense, "we must protect our country", "we have to shutdown our entire nation", "we must take control of all resources including citizens", "we must save lives!" Then the publics reaction, "we are all going to die, save us", " what about our livelihoods?" and then the final faze, the solution. Don't worry the government will save you. Here is some bailout money, of course this means more money for the governments coffers and most people that need it will not be the beneficiaries and then peter will need to be robbed to pay paul and then there's the need to find, in this case the origin of the virus, so we must have more tracking and surveillance right? And so it goes on.. Linguistic gymnastics aside, it is very clear that the government does not have our best interests at heart. If they even had a heart.



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So I had a look at Event 201, it seems like a high level practice scenario for a pandemic. https://www.who.int/ihr/eoc-exercise/en/ shows a similar exercise in Dec 2018. It was the third that year and apparently there was regional training, and various exercises. If you google global pandemic exercises you will see there have been many over the years. It appears to be countries discussing possible approaches in the event of a global pandemic. It seems quite sensible.

      Delete
  34. All you have proved is that you can fool some of the people all of the time & all of the people some of the time but never fool all of the people all of the time.
    If your article was printed on toilet paper there might be some use for it but given it appears to be written by someone with one eye it has no credibility.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. KiwiTruth please debate the issues rather than stooping to ad hominen.

      Delete
  35. Perhaps the reason why ICU's have not been overwhelmed like here in the UK is because people have been in lockdown so you starve the means by which the virus can spread...it is that simple. Yes it is a pain and we all want to get back to work but most people support lockdown. NHS staff have died from Covid-19 treating patients with a decent number having to also self isolate.
    If there was no lockdown then cases and deaths would have risen, again it is that simple. ICU's would have been overwhelmed so in my view lockdown has worked. At the beginning I was of the opinion that heard immunity would have been the way but then we were seeing healthy people like a couple of people I know one of which who is very fit and a keen cyclist having to get oxygen at hospital. Likewise other healthy people just had very mild symptoms to being floored by the virus but able to recover at home. In other words no of us want to get badly ill from Covid-19 with the easy transmission of this virus and the randomness it has on people. It is worth pointing out that most people will only get mild versions at worst BUT remember how easy it can be transmitted and you may not even know you are a carrier and easily get passed on to someone who is in a vulnerable category.
    Normal life will return but it will take many months for some countries but lets not forget the economic impact on the economy and the hindrance on peoples lives, we as citizens absolutely must watch our respective governments to ensure that once this passes that any restrictions are lifted.
    It really sucks what has happened and with myself I am currently furloughed from work and I am hoping I can go back soon but we must make sure this virus gets starved of hosts to transmit which is....us.
    Our eventual focus should be on China and the WHO whom I think did not do enough to contain and warn soon enough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Perhaps the reason why ICU's have not been overwhelmed like here in the UK is because people have been in lockdown so you starve the means by which the virus can spread."

      ICU's in the UK are not overwhelmed. The NHS has a record surplus of spare beds. A&E are operating at 20% of capacity. The additional capacity created is empty. Completely empty.

      Thousands are dying each week above the usual average and they at not dying of Covid. Over two thousand last week. The hospitals have been emptied and it's costing lives.

      Delete
  36. What is a life worth? Is an old and vulnerable person's life worth less? Should we force them to give up their civil liberties until a vaccine so us healthies don't have to? Should key workers be more exposed to the virus (often lower income, minority people) while the rest of us hunker down if we wish (see US, UK, Europe). So many moral considerations absent from your thinking.

    New evidence is now emerging that children may be more susceptible than first thought... some kind of toxic shock reaction in some cases... we ate still learning so much about this virus and NZs approach has bought us TIME to do that. Do we yet know the longer term health effects on people with even milder responses? We don't - the more time we have to study it, the better.

    If the death rate ends up low and people regain full health after having the virus then the response won't have been a bad thing - we will have gained valuable insight into how best to deal quickly should a new virus emerge. zoonotic viruses are becoming more prevalent and when the big one hits, the highly contagious highly fatal one, we will be better prepared.

    My family in the UK would love to be 'trapped in NZ'. The border is open there, but people have seen this virus destroying lives AND livelihoods - (this failed herd immunity strategy has led to far more pain) - people are not jetting off on holidays or planning any, life isn't normal in the slightest. They have no chance of containing the virus now - only time can tell who was right, until then its pure speculation with strategising best left to the experts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "New evidence is now emerging that children may be more susceptible than first thought... some kind of toxic shock reaction in some cases."

      The overwhelming evidence and data shows children are unaffected by Covid-19. No one under the age of 45 has died with Covid-19 without major existing health problems. There is no evidence of children being impacted at all by Covid. Zero, zip, nil.

      7 children under the age of 12 died in the US last week from Flu. No one noticed.

      Why is this?

      Delete
    2. It would seem there is evidence that children are impacted by Covid. The largest study on kids & Covid to date, says..

      "Overall, the data suggested that children are less likely to develop coronavirus symptoms than adults. Of all reported cases in the US, only 1.7 percent were children, even though they make up 22 percent of the population.

      Among the children for whom complete information was available, only 73 percent developed fever, cough, or shortness of breath. That's compared to 93 percent of adults reported in the same time frame, between the ages of 18 and 64 years.

      That supports previous research from the Chinese CDC, which found that most infected children had mild or asymptomatic cases.

      But some children do develop severe illness, and 147 of the patients in the new CDC study were hospitalized, with five sent to intensive care. Three children died.

      US infants had a much higher hospitalisation rate than any other child age group. Of 95 infants, 62 percent were hospitalized. The estimated rate for children aged 1 to 17 was 14 percent at most."

      Yes, fewer than the flu, but not Zero, zip, nil.

      Delete
  37. Alex, you seem very excited to see your blog reach 40,000 hits. I have 'popped in' many times, and so, I'm guessing, have many of the other responders. So maybe not that many new fans, soz!!
    I initially read your blog with interest, and followed the links, that made it look real kosher, but didn't really add up. Then I noticed that a lot of comments endosing you got a friendly 'thanks' and those comments with dissenting views kept disappearing. I was also surprised you deleted my query about who interviewed your favourte Dr. Who the hell are The press and the Public? What's their adgenda? Are they real dodgey, or do you just not know?
    Your fan club is made up of conspiracy theorist ranters and pale stale mansplainers, so I cannot, will not, stay, and read their toxic ramblings.
    Possibly one or 2 might read my post before you delete/censor it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well said. Anyone who starts their writing with a statistic about how great they are clearly has their ego in Trumpland. So what does that say about their research?

      Delete
    2. Angie I can 100% assure you I have not deleted any comments on this blog ever other than one of mine own by accident.

      Second, as I explained at the end of the article I don't have time to respond to every comment on this blog - if I did I would not have time to do anything else in my life. I am not under any obligation to respond to any particular comments though I do tend to reply and give time to people who are pleasant rather than those who abuse me (that's a reasonably common behaviour among people generally I think).

      Third, I have made it clear however that I will delete comments that are abusive (I haven't done that yet however - see above).

      Fourth, not quite sure about the mansplaining accusation?

      Delete
  38. Alex, would those deaths have happened if Covid hadn't been here? Yes? If Covid had been allowed to run rampant would more deaths have happened? Yes? So your point is? Suggestion... don't start your article with a statistic about how great your article is. It's very egotostical.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My primary interest in this blog (other than satisfying my own desire to write) has been to get a message out about the damage I believe (based on reasonable, but I agree not infallible, data) that the government's response to this crises is causing. Getting that message out by definition involves it being shared. I was aware that other people might not have any idea how broadly this message had been spread (there's no public visitor log on this blog that I can find how to turn on) so I let people know that this has in fact been *very* widely disseminated to encourage people who agreed to share it further. If you don't like what I write you don't have to read it or of course you could write your own blog. Whichever you choose good luck and stay safe.

      Delete
  39. It could be observed that in hindsight it is easy to be wise ... even acknowledging your claims to timing. I myself was deeply concerned with the kneejerk nature of the decision. BUT as a mere pleeb and not an academic I blindly assumed our best minds were at work ... as it transpires that may not have been the case. Many very eminent virologists have been gagged by legacy media in NZ which would much rather assume the option of being mesmerized parrotts, rather than well research and informed journalists. There are very famous scientists that have pointed out that beating Covid19 is not an option, far better to shield your "at risk" communities and let it run its course, as we do for each influenza virus as it passes through.

    ReplyDelete
  40. They were fighting against fascism not socialism bro. And ALL of NZ did bloody well in this crisis. I live in Ireland and all of Europe have said if we did what NZ did there wouldnt been over 250 000 people dead and 60% is in Europe alone. Im so proud of our Prime Minister and all of NZ for showing the world how it worked. We been in total lockdown since February in Ireland and already over a thousand dead and we the least hit. so stop crying like a little baby and keep yourself safe. i am not proud of this . You really suck dude.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Del Hunt could you a) please substantiate you claims and b) stop the ad hominen attacks.

      Delete
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