Scifi author Chris James has a secret talent – he channels a Venerable from the 6th century called Bede. Chris was kind enough to allow me to reproduce some of the great man’s words of wisdom to start the New Year.
“And lo, at the beginning of the First Year of the Third Decade of the Age of Stupid, a Great Pestilence did make its way from the East along the Silk Road, and did cause much harm and bring vast Misery and Death to the countries of the West and the New World.
“But this was the Age of Stupid, when people turned their backs on the Men and Women of Knowledge. Yay, verily, in the New World, the disciples and acolytes of the Orange Shit-Gibbon did follow their Master’s teachings, unto the arms of Death itself, for they did not believe the Great Pestilence was real because they could not see it with their own eyes. Indeed, His disciples and acolytes did curse and spit on the Men and Women of Knowledge, and did reject the evidence that Knowledge brought forth even as the Great Pestilence did fill their lungs with foul liquid and they breathed their last. Such was the Age of Stupid.
“In Perfidious Albion, the Greased Albino Piglet strove to pretend to care for all the common people; but, lo, He gave out all of the Gold to His associates of knaves and charlatans, who did cluster about Him in the same manner as insects do weave and dive and fret about excrement. In Perfidious Albion, too, did thousands perish needlessly from the Great Pestilence, but this did not matter because the Hoarders of the Gold could protect themselves, and did reason that because they hoarded all of the Gold, they were better and their lives worth more than the common people. Such was the Age of Stupid….
To read the entire post from the Venerable Bede, please click here.
Sadly, the Venerable Bede had no words of wisdom about the #LiarFromTheShire in the Antipodes, but I guess travel was a bit restricted back then.
Have fun, and may the Bede be with you. 🙂
p.s. Just corrected a boo boo I made when copy pasting the opening paragraphs of Chris’ post!
Our cousins, the Kiwis, actually came up with this perfect Antipodean Christmas Carol but…it’s all in the family so I’m claiming it for Australia too! Mwahahaha…-cough-
My thanks to Carol of Carol Cooks, for introducing me to the Summer Wonderland video, and some fantastic foodie delights during the year. Apart from being a great cook, Carol also has a wicked sense of humour which is why I believe she should be an honorary Antipodean. Welcome to the Downunders, Carol!
As for everyone else, wherever you are, and whatever you plan to cook for your <<insert name of holiday here>> I hope you have a safe holiday even if it isn’t the most joyous one. Next year will be better, and next holiday will make up for this one.
I’d like to wish all Americans the very best for the future under the leadership of the 46th President of the United States.
You have a lot to be proud of. You’ve broken voting records despite Covid-19. You’ve elected a Woman as your Vice President, and that woman is Asian-African-American. Most importantly, however, you’ve shown that democracy is not dead. The rest of the democratic world salutes you.
The road ahead won’t be easy, but I hope that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris really will care for all Americans, not just those who voted for them. Americans of both persuasions have to learn to like each other again. Or at the very least, to show compassion and justice towards each other. Without compassion and justice, there is no glue to hold society together.
The Dept of Health & Human Services [VIC] publishes Covid-19 case data, but it’s not wildly accessible. There are no graphs or charts, and the breakdown of infections – i.e. the source of the infections – is only available on the day of the media release. In other words, it’s buried.
I don’t know whether this is a deliberate attempt not to ‘worry’ people, or simply typical DHHS bureaucracy. Either way, the messaging is not getting out there, so I trawled through the data and created a simple Excel spreadsheet.
First up, the raw data for MAY, 2020:
Next, the raw data for JUNE, 2020:
As you can see, I wanted to show the source of the infections, but gave up when the data was too hard to find. Apologies, but I do have a life.
Now for some charts from that data. The first one is a line graph showing the ups and downs of infections [in Victoria] for all of May and June.
This chart gives a decent overview, but the data is squashed up because you can’t fit almost 60 days onto a small chart. Despite this, you can clearly see three things:
Victoria only had two days on which we recorded zero new cases: June 6 and June 9.
Victoria never really got rid of the virus. That was why Premier Dan Andrews resisted Scott Morrison’s push to reopen as quickly as possible. Sadly, he didn’t resist enough. Or Scott Morrison proved to be a bigger bully than expected.
Apart from a few small dips, new cases in Victoria have been rising steadily since June 9. This is in stark contrast to May. In May, new cases fluctuated up and down, but the overall trajectory was down. In other words, the lockdown was working.
The next two graphs show this more clearly. The first is for May:
The second graph is for June:
What’s even more worrying than that upward trajectory for June is that the number of new cases has doubled in just four days – i.e from 20 on June 24 to 41 on June 27.
All up, we’ve had 10 consecutive days of double digit new cases. 10 days in a row. And in the latest news, a nurse working at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, one of the biggest in Melbourne, has tested positive for Covid-19.
Scott Morrison may believe that we can control this virus, but that is pure, arrogant bullshit. The numbers don’t lie. We can’t ‘control’ this virus any more than we could control the bushfires that devastated two states just a few months ago. Remember them? Remember how good Scomo was at ‘fixing’ the inferno? Yes, I thought so.
The truth is that nothing has really changed [for the better] since we originally went into lockdown:
Despite all the hype about the contact tracing app, I’ve heard nothing new about it since it was revealed that it doesn’t work that well with iPhones.
We have some more intensive care units, and more medical personnel trained to use them, but overseas data has shown that even the most sophisticated health care system can be overwhelmed when the virus surges out of control.
We have more PPE [personal protective equipment], but I don’t know whether we have enough for medical personnel in a surge. Pretty sure we don’t have enough for medical personnel and the general public if shit hits the fan.
So where exactly is Australia’s magic bullet supposed to come from?
One option that does work is the mandatory wearing of masks in public – to protect us from those who are infected but don’t know they are. Masks stop them from breathing on us.
South East Asian countries, like Thailand, that have mandated the wearing of masks have almost ridiculously low infection rates. Here is Oz, however, people still give you funny looks if you wear a mask in public, so I guess masks are a no-go.
So what else is there?
Well, there is testing. If there were random, compulsory testing [like in booze buses] we’d get a much better idea of how many asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spreaders there are, but it seems that testing is a) voluntary and b) mostly looking for people who are already sick. People who fear they may be forced into self-quarantine for 14 days are refusing to be tested. The irony is that they could well be the very people we most need to test.
When it comes to therapeutics, there are a couple of existing drugs that have an anti-inflammatory effect and may reduce the number of covid-19 deaths, but they’re still largely untested.
And that’s about it. Short of another draconian lockdown, we don’t really have any effective way of controlling the virus, which leads me to think that our success the first time around was due more to luck than good management. Sadly, I fear that our reopening won’t be as lucky because the ‘stages’ are based on the idea that all of us will ‘do the right thing’. Yeah, right. -facepalm-
The reality is that the messaging has been wrong from the start. People were told that they wouldn’t be badly affected by the virus, so now all they can see is that they’ve been made poor, bored and unhappy just to save a few oldies who were going to die anyway. ‘Eff that… Little wonder then that when the leash is loosened there’s a rush of me,me,me behaviour.
If our leaders really had wanted to reopen ‘safely’, they should have started with an education campaign that focused on the reality of the virus and what it does to people. Then they should have made any reopening, no matter how minor, contingent on the lack of new cases. Clear rules with clear targets.
Finally, they should have made it very clear that the instant people stop obeying the rules, the whole town/state/country will go back to lockdown. And when the inevitable happened [like toddlers pushing the boundaries], the consequences should have been followed through. Again, clear rules and clear consequences.
Instead, we’ve had a wishy-washy ‘plan’, mixed messages all over the place, and media showing how hard it is to live with the lockdown instead of how hard it is to die of the virus… And yes, ABC and Ita Buttrose, I’m looking at you. Since when did the people’s ABC pander to the likes of Scott Morrison?
To be honest, I think we should have had another Grim Reaper campaign:
Right at the end, the voice over says ‘Prevention is the only cure we’ve got’. Sounds familiar, don’t you think?
There’s been a lot of controversy about the Grim Reaper strategy, but the truth is it worked. It made us aware of both the danger and what we had to do to stay alive.
Overkill? I don’t know. If we act like toddlers, shouldn’t we be treated like toddlers?
Sadly, none of the possibilities I’ve outlined have actually happened. We had a poorly organised, draconian lockdown that resulted in massive queues outside every Centrelink office in the country. And we’ve had big chunks of society thrown under the economic bus, but in terms of ‘management’, that’s about it. Now, I fear we’re having a reopening that’s being ‘managed’ as well as you’d expect.
We could have reopened safely, but Scott Morrison didn’t do a single thing to make a safe reopening possible. He just laid out his ‘plan’ and expected everyone to make it happen. Yeah, the smirk may be gone but #ScottyFromMarketing still knows bugger all about human nature.
Buckle up for stage two my fellow Victorians. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Apologies everyone! The video /was/ available when I published this post but apparently it is now ‘private’. I’ve just tried a number of channels on Youtube and they’re all blocked. I have no idea what happened. Maybe Sky News waved the big copyright stick? 😦
This is the only still image I have:
I was trying to get a pic of the padded restraint.
Updated April 23, 2020, Australia
One image that will stay with me forever is that of a patient, a large man in his fifties perhaps, trying to take the plastic hood thing off his head. The staff had to tie down his hands. They did it to try and save his life, but I know what he was doing. The hood thing wasn’t enough. He felt like he was suffocating, and in his desperation he thought that he would breathe better if it came off…
I almost drowned when I was 21. How and why doesn’t matter. What matters is that I still remember what it felt like not to be able to breathe out. I remember the desperation. There is no logic at that point. It’s all animal instinct.
I hope that man survived, but I fear he didn’t. One of the scary statistics I’ve read since this pandemic began was that of all the people sick enough to be intubated [put on a ventilator], only about 50% survive.
50% – toss a coin. Heads or tails. Life or death.
Financial interests in Australia, the UK and the US are calling for the lockdowns to be eased. They think the danger is over because the curve is starting to flatten. But the people pushing for a return to ‘normal’ see human lives only as a statistic. I hope that at least some of them watch this video and realise that this thing can still get away from us. And if it does, we could all end up like Bergamo in Lombardy.
Apologies, I know you’re all celebrating Easter however you can – waves- but I could really use your help. I’ve always found blurbs hard to write, but coming up with one blurb for three books is driving me insane. If you’ve got a sec could you tell me what you think of this?
Innerscape Omnibus blurb 1
‘Innerscape is marketed as a digital paradise where the terminally ill live out their lives in young, pain free bodies indistinguishable from the real thing. But Miira Tahn, last Lady of Dhurai, soon discovers that all is not well in paradise; an assassin is stalking the Burning Man, and nothing is what it seems. Together with friends, Kenneth Wu and Jaimie Watson, Miira becomes embroiled in a deadly game of cat and mouse where losing means death. Only by fighting back can she save herself, and those she loves.’
Is it too cheesy? Does it give too much away? Is there enough to interest a reader? Is it ‘sci-fi’ enough? -cringe- Is it just too boring?
As I’ve probably mentioned before, there are all sorts of autoimmune diseases in my extended family, so this novel corona virus is of huge concern. People I love are amongst those who are most likely to die from this virus, yet the message in the media seems to be ‘it’s okay, you probably don’t have anything to worry about’.
‘You’ personally? Maybe not, but what about those you may infect?
What about the frail elderly in nursing homes?
What about those over 65 in the community?
What about young people with diabetes? asthma? multiple sclerosis? lung conditions? heart conditions?
These people are not expendable. Grrrr….
Anyway, in order to protect people in my family, and ensure that I don’t bring Covid-19 home to them, I went searching for information. The best information I’ve found so far has come from an English gentleman by the name of Dr John Campbell. This is his Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/Campbellteaching
John Campbell is not a medical doctor, but he has been a medical practitioner all his life. He also has a couple of medically related PhDs. That’s where the ‘Dr’ title comes from.
I say all this so that you understand that he is a teacher in the field and knows how to do research in the field. He is not at the front line of Covid-19 research, but he is very good at explaining what is known…to us.
John Campbell’s videos also include a host of practical info that I certainly didn’t know about – such as how to wash your hands properly. I know, sounds utterly basic doesn’t it? All I can say is, watch the video and learn how to protect yourself a little better.