Guest post. Keep blowing those whistles to keep the elephants away

I’m a bit crisised out at the moment but there are 2 stories in the papers that have stirred me from my apathy. The first is in “The Australian” where the Queensland Premier reckons the “lockdown” saved 30,000 Queenslanders from “virus death”. Anyone who gives the slightest credence to a statement that some action has “saved” people from a “modelled” outcome would buy the harbour bridge.

As the shit deepens and it becomes clearer that the “pandemic” is not such a big deal there will be lots of action by the PR spinners to justify the idiocy that has been the SOP up to now, (and in the foreseeable future by the look of things). It reminds me of the story/joke about people being issued whistles and told to blow them every minute to keep the elephants away. When the point is made that there are no elephants in the country we are told “it works”.

I did some analysis of the 50 deaths reported in “The Australian” today. The data is not complete as some are given ages as “80’s” or “70’s” rather than a specific age, and Victoria seems to want to keep all the information under wraps. Given those shortcomings, my analysis does not profess to be exact. Adopting the convention to make the “80’s” 85 and the “70’s” 75 the average age of the 50 victims is 79. It is also the median, (50% of values above and 50% below) by some happy coincidence. The percentage of victims above 80 is 48% and between 70 and 80 is 40%. Only 12% of the victims, (6 people), were less than 70 years old.

44% of victims contracted the condition on a cruise. 20% contracted it “in care” in nursing homes or hospitals. The fact that Victoria only fesses up to 2 deaths in The Alfred hospital and is silent on the rest makes the numbers above a bit rubbery however 64% of cases attributed to 2 “causes” is interesting.

Today, 9 April, it is 40 days since the “death tally” started on 1 March. The current tally is 50. Using ABS statistics for 2018, the daily death toll for the nation is 434 so in the 40 days around another 17,000 Australians have also died. By comparison the “pandemic” deaths are 0.29% of the monthly average death toll.

In South Australia, “The Advertiser” waxes hysterical, as it usually does, keeping the alarm at maximum. We have now “lost” 2 people to the virus but 1,480 to “other things” in the last 40 days. They are not talked about and tallied every day. We are told that there are 18 patients being “cared for” in the RAH, 7 of whom are in ICU. This is out of a total of 420 cases in a population of around 1.72 million, hardly a big deal.

The same story also mentions that we have 1,447 “confirmed” cases of flu as of last Monday, (3 ½ times the “virus” cases), and it is still fine and warm here. Will we tally every flu death each day and spout maudlin sentimental claptrap about “lives cut short” etc.etc? I trust not but perhaps the default setting will now be catastrophe stations, economic chaos, social distancing and the gestapo on the prowl.

Some time ago a person of mature years, (like me), wrote a letter saying that he did not consider it was fair to “take one for the team” if the country did not adopt the draconian bullshit things that it has and he died just to let younger people keep on working and paying their bills. Instead he thought the team should take one for him. When the biblical allotment is reached and exceeded we are on borrowed time. Rather than just being susceptible to “the virus” we are at the danger time for everything and need to consider those who follow us might like to have the standard of living we enjoyed for many years, despite the best efforts of governments. If all lives are considered of equal value then it does not matter who dies. Each one is a mini tragedy for the close family but for the wider population it is a statistic. We have about 160,000 of them every year and we do not have the papers tallying them every day and “journalists” writing poppycock about how tragic it all is.

As years have passed my cynicism about governments has increased exponentially to the point where I try to ignore them but can’t. Watching the posturing and listening to the hysterical drivel is painful. We have a “national cabinet”, (where is that mentioned in the constitution), made up of hopeless idiots who on other occasions, (like electricity policy), cannot agree on what day it is. And they are supposed to “fix” this?

Until the shit starts falling off the universal fan in really large lumps we are stuck with these dopes. When it does, I am heading for the bush without my whistle.

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24 Responses to Guest post. Keep blowing those whistles to keep the elephants away

  1. Matt

    And the ~15,000 deaths in the USA? How does that fit into your ‘analysis’?

  2. Rusty of Qld

    Palasczuck told us to go out in our thousands and vote, “it’s perfectly safe” she said, had her Chief Health Officer back her up. Now she is forbiding us to walk alone on a deserted beach or bush track because it’s too dangerous, Corona Virus you know. They don’t bat an eye, let alone suffer any shame or self awareness.

  3. Aynsley Kellow

    Matt: 15,000 deaths seems a lot, but at 45 per million it is half the rate population adjusted of the UK.

    Good post Rafe.

  4. Colonel Bunty Golightly

    People tend to forget – politicians are simply spruikers who talked a bunch of people into voting for them. Once elected they are given portfolios that they have absolutely no skill set in dealing with. Thus a greedy and self interested public service makes the decisions without any recourse. What we are dealing with are unskilled and often stupid (but always self interested) individuals pretending to know what they are talking about and relying on information supplied by other self interested (but totally protected) individuals. The system and the people in it are basically corrupt – witness today the NSW Arts Minister hiding behind loophole to justify his holiday travel and being protected by the Premier of all people! Witness also the buck passing and blame shifting regarding the Ruby Princess – again the main players in the debacle are being protected by the NSW Premier.

  5. C.L.

    Excellent post.

    It reminds me of the story/joke about people being issued whistles and told to blow them every minute to keep the elephants away. When the point is made that there are no elephants in the country we are told “it works”.

    LOL. That is EXACTLY what they’re going to do.

  6. Hodor

    Colonel BG, totally agree re the lack of skills, having been subjected to it personally.
    Retiring fixed it though until now it has affected I and most of the rest of private sector Australia.

    Rage, if you are right, just what is it that made them lose their marbles?

    Gotta be something sinister from the wingnuts, (chunks)

    I’m not being racist or discriminatory. I hate everyone equally.

  7. Louis

    Good post Rafe.

    I think there are more than few people in government quite worried this thing will be almost over before they have even started hitting the ground with most of their schemes. The economic destruction was almost instant but the financial relief will be far too little too late for most.

    I will be very interested to see how much the universities push – and how successful they are – in getting the foreign students back to the country via only token restrictions air travel. Universities are as addicted to the foreign student money as the government is to it’s cigarette tax.

  8. BorisG

    Rafe it is sad to see you joining the cranks declaring the pandemic is not a pandemic and dismissing modeling. Not sure how many people across the world need to die before you wake up. We are fortunate to have indeed very limited community transmission but we can’t we once in a while learn from errors of others?

    And while we’re are at it, Sweden which took a more relaxed path, has now overtaken Italy in covid 19 deaths recorded in one day.

    Luckily our government got a better advice and or better listened to experts.

  9. BorisG

    Universities are as addicted to the foreign student money

    What’s wrong in trying to attract as many paying customers as possible?

  10. BorisG

    The story about whistles is good for slogans but one only need to look at daily deaths in Italy to see how the reduction in daily deaths followed the lockdown measures. Ok, I get it, correlation is not causation…

    Yeh also have an deadly gamble in Sweden. If Sweden come out ok I will be first co concede that I was wrong. So far Sweden does not look good.

    People who look at Australian numbers and say they are small do not understand exponential growth. This growth needs to be arrested well before it is too late. Exponential growth is very hard for most humans to grasp. If our resident intellectuals like Rafe can’t grasp it, what to say about less educated people?

    Perhaps it was easier in South Korea and Singapore because they learned about exponential growth from their experience with SARS.

  11. David Brewer

    Great post, Rafe or Guest, whoever you might be.

    It is hard to remain calm when we see the authorities wrecking the whole economic and social basis of our prosperity and welfare in the name of “precaution” – even buggering up the health system in the process – by resorting to Draconian measures that in many cases cannot possibly have more than an infinitesimal effect on the spread of the virus, and all in thrall, once again, to model predictions of calamity that Blind Freddie could see are absurdly alarmist.

    Nevertheless, if we are to convince our bedwetting brethren to get a grip, we may need to put things as calmly and soberly as possible. Like Guest, I am probably beyond that at this stage, but maybe we could invite our micturitional mates to ponder what Ionnadis says about the dangers of the current media coverage of this thing, for example:

    It is very useful to have the information about the clinical presentation of this new infection. In mild and moderate cases it is very difficult to distinguish the symptoms compared to what is the common flu, or even the common cold in some mild presentations. In severe cases, we have presentations that fit what we call the severe respiratory distress syndrome, and this really grave. This is a very serious condition, and of course in several cases it can be lethal. I would be very careful [about making] inferences based on single case reports and anecdotes. I feel that every single patient has the dignity of his life, and every single patient is a different story, and we have to give great respect to that life and that person. But I am worried that if we see in the news presentations of single cases…heralded as being something that “I have never seen before”, “this is so horrible”, “that’s the worst case of severe respiratory distress syndrome that I have seen”, we are falling into a trap of sensationalism. We are trying to make sensational comments about every single death that is happening, and severe respiratory distress syndrome is a major problem. It does kill people, and it kills people regardless of the exact aetiology, the exact reason, the exact virus or pathogen that is responsible. I think that we should try not to panic.

    Gee I wish I could be that diplomatic.

  12. Fair Shake

    So successful have the whistles been, we will all be issued new ones for the next creature wave which is expected to be gorillas, then giraffes followed by Unicorns.
    University’s are preparing 12 month online courses on how to use Anti-creature whistles, plus counsellors for the mental illness epidemic expected from just hearing a whistle…even at halftime.

  13. Rafe Champion

    To give credit, the author is David Bidstrup who has contributed several good posts on the debacle of renewable energy.

    On that topic at 6.00 South Australia was importing power and the wind across SE Australia was delivering 8% of the modest pre-breakfast demand.

  14. Petros

    The baby boomers feel threatened and they are making sure that everyone suffers. Notice how the super funds haven’t tanked that much. They will protect their nest eggs. Bugger the younger generations though. They will be paying for decades.

  15. Herodotus

    Petros, get off the boomer bashing wagon.
    Try blaming the women’s lib mob for insisting that women get out and earn that second income, thereby making it possible for the couple to bid higher for houses and gradually increase the cost thereof, helped along by greedy governments hitting the real estate market with taxes while becoming control freaks about developing land.
    By the way, my son is doing just fine, professional, plenty of money, owns property and can afford to have wife at home for the littlies as long as she wants to do that.
    Go find another narrative. That one is crap.

  16. min

    The number of covid 19 cases is compared with that of influenza and although there appears to be many more dying from influenza every year I cannot remember the hospitals being unable to cope with the numbers.
    Are there any photos of previous similar events and why do so many have to be hospitalised for covid19 than apparently for flu ?
    NY has a shortage of medical equipment needed and btw we have a shortage of flu vaccine . I was texted weeks ago that it was coming and they would keep me informed and as I heard nothing rang to find out only to be told they had run out .

  17. Kneel

    …dismissing modeling.

    All models are wrong. Some are useful.
    I would suggest to you that a model that is wrong by at least one, and possibly two, orders of magnitude is not useful.

    Remember they (Imperial College study that we based our restrictions on) said “2.2 million” in USA alone?
    Now down to as low as 30k, and still over-predicting – but at least approaching reality.

    And at 120k, that’s about half annual flu mortality…

  18. Aynsley Kellow

    My favourite aphorism on modelling: It is like masturbation. If you do it too much, you begin to confuse it with the real thing.

  19. Kneel

    …NY has a shortage of medical equipment needed…

    They need PPE – they have, to date, plenty of ICU and ventilator capacity.

    Cuomo is crying wolf and playing politics – he hasn’t even touched the 4,000 ventilators Trump sent, and says he needs 30,000, so Orange Man Bad.

    They need PPE for the same reason we do – CCP grabbed it all, and won’t export any, despite being the major supplier and trying for a while to be sole supplier of same. FFS, they sold Italy PPE that Italy previously gave them!

  20. BorisG

    To give credit, the author is David Bidstrup who has contributed several good posts on the debacle of renewable energy.

    Sorry Rafe, I had a suspicion that this wasn’t you. It is called guest post after all. So I apologize for condemning you. The post is wrong though.

  21. BorisG

    Rafe can you amend the heading to include the author for all to see?

  22. John A

    Matt #3402981, posted on April 9, 2020 at 9:53 pm

    And the ~15,000 deaths in the USA? How does that fit into your ‘analysis’?

    Within a population of 350 million? How many US citizens die of something every day?

    And notice that the so-far attributed to Covid-19 deaths are heavily concentrated in the Big Apple, a population estimated at 8.4 million.

  23. Aynsley Kellow

    Note also that it has been confirmed that the US is counting ‘died with’ as ‘died from’. Huge exaggeration.

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