The virus

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List and archive of articles published or linked to, and discussion thereupon. No article is closed for discussion.

Tim Read on the government's coronavirus response

Interview, Brunswick News 30 July 2020 link

Are we are turning the corner in Victoria?

Tim Read is not sure either way about that. He does not believe the situation will get out of control as long as people do a good job of observing restrictions, such as distancing, masks, and isolation if symptomatic. Getting the infection rate down is a matter of careful, "curious" epidemiological work. A small sub-population not following health advice for some reason is enough to keep the virus propagating. A non-judgemental curiosity is what is needed to find and plug the leaks...

Hotel quarantine disaster: Coming from the Liberals, are their views on this matter are informed with the benefit of hindsight?

Tim says he does not recall Liberals raising the issue before it blew up...

Code red for Premier Daniel Andrews as coronavirus crisis reignites

by John Ferguson, The Australian 18 July, 2020 link

The Andrews story is no longer a parochial Victorian tale about a former backroom Labor head kicker’s 10-year leadership and six-year hold on a state. It is now overwhelmingly about the virus death and illness toll, the stalled national economy and how his government has contributed to Lockdown 2.0. ...

The costs of the shutdown are overestimated – they’re outweighed by its $1 trillion benefit

by Richard Holden and Bruce Preston, The Conversation, 16 May 2020 link

As Australia begins to relax its COVID-19 restrictions there is understandable debate about how quickly that should proceed, and whether lockdowns even made sense in Australia in the first place.

The sceptics arguing for more rapid relaxation of containment measures point to the economic costs of lockdowns and appeal to the cold calculus of cost-benefit analysis to conclude that the lives saved by lockdowns don’t justify the economic costs incurred to do so...

Discussion on this opinion piece is closed in The Conversation but can continue in Brunswick News.

Trump's Wuhan lab leak theory

by Clive Hamilton, The Age | 9 May 2020 link

... On February 6, a short paper by two scientists from Wuhan universities and titled "The possible origins of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus" appeared. Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao noted that the habitat of the bats carrying the suspected virus is 900 kilometres from the seafood market, that the bats are not eaten by Wuhan residents, and that "no bat was traded in the market".

Nor is there any evidence of an intermediate host (speculation has centred on pangolins). They point out that there are two research centres that experiment on bat viruses in Wuhan, one less than 300 metres from the seafood market and the other, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, around 12 kilometres. They concluded that "the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan". The article was quickly removed...

Discussion on this opinion piece is closed in The Age but can continue in Brunswick News.

Did cars cause coronavirus?

Can bikes fix it?

by Brunswick News | 4 May 2020 link

Tim Read and the BRN both come up with a story that the coronavirus pandemic is something good for bikes in the ongoing struggle against the car. They find stories (different ones each) from media around the world, where various cities are temporarily reserving extra road space for bicycles...

The Greens are big boosters of bikes as we know but they also favour public transport. Unfortunately bikes are getting used in these places in preference to public transport, that being the riskiest way to travel in the epidemic...

Covid Elimination? What then?

by Tim Read, MP | 17 Apr, 2020 link

... State and federal governments, following health advice, have triggered a serious economic depression. The government decisions that caused this have wide support, but the toughest decisions lie ahead. And these decisions should be made publicly, not behind closed doors...