Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Together Alone

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  • Bart Janssen,

    Hi All
    Nice to see the community popping up again. Be nice to see a few more of the old faces here too.

    Without wishing to be depressing I wanted to link this article.

    It’s been doing the rounds and is pretty clear on what is guesswork and what is known which is a refreshing change.

    We’re stuck at home doing some work stuff as we can. Concentration is utterly shot. Hopefully we’ll be allowed in to work to prevent some of our precious plants from dying but for now we’re locked out.

    Anyway stay safe all.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4461 posts Report

  • Alfie,

    For us, this is day #14 of isolation with our daughter who returned from Germany after four years away. Entering isolation two weeks ago, we agreed that 4:20pm today would be our official first hugs & cuddles time. That seemed appropriate.

    We've played it by the book throughout and to be honest, it hasn't been as difficult as we'd first expected. It helps that we live at a beach and self-isolation is pretty much a lifestyle option most days anyway.

    I'll miss the little dance we perform every time we move outdoors together, however our group decision to work along with TVNZ's exercises for 4-5 year olds this afternoon is likely to be vetoed in the future. Fuck, your average four year old must be fit!

    Less than an hour to go! ;-)

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1440 posts Report

  • Geoff Lealand,

    The first trip in 8 days outside the gate, to deliver a bag of homegrown bananas and feijoas to a friend’s letterbox. Rode the West Rail Trail which follows the rails and skirts Lake Rotoroa, Rather good.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report

  • linger, in reply to linger,


    Highlights from Japan’s coronavirus response, Mar 24-31
    Excerpted from the Japan Times Covid roundup page

    Mar 25th
    Tokyo logs 41 new cases.
    Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike asks people to avoid going outside over the weekend for nonessential reasons.

    Mar 26th
    In response, Tokyo shoppers rush out and panic buy.

    Mar 27th
    Tokyo heads into critical weekend facing risk of coronavirus lockdown

    Mar 28th
    Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike urges residents to refrain from hoarding food at supermarkets, assuring them supply and distribution lines have been and are functioning as usual.
    Tokyo logs 63 new cases.

    Mar 29th
    In a dire warning, Prime Minister Abe urges vigilance to avoid a COVID-19 spike that could overwhelm hospitals, and vows extraordinary steps to support the Japanese economy.
    Tokyo logs 68 new cases.

    Mar 30th
    The government’s top spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, denies rumors of an imminent lockdown of Tokyo. Suga also refutes the idea that crowding in government meetings (see photo) was inconsistent with the government's requests for social distancing.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report

  • Alfie, in reply to linger,

    Thanks Linger. There is so much bad news worldwide at the moment, some of it predictable thanks to state incompetence. The chaos currently raging through the US, the UK suffering the consequences of someone's failed 'herd immunity' strategy and whatever hell may be about to befall Sweden. But I certainly didn't expect Japan to mess this up.

    Like Korea and Singapore you'd expect Japan to take a more science-based, evidential approach to pandemics.

    I hope you're safely hunkered down somewhere?

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1440 posts Report

  • Nora Leggs,


    Hi PA community. It's been a while, but this lockdown has spurred a fresh wave of enthusiasm for photographing small objects. Will this enthusiasm last as long as the lockdown?? Hard to say.

    Maybe a good excuse for a pictorial thread.

    We'll see. It may be one more pleasant distraction for all of you hunkered down at home.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2011 • 2700 posts Report

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Nora Leggs,

    Maybe a good excuse for a pictorial thread.

    We could club in on one. I have two or three lockdown shots I'd let out in public.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Nora Leggs, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Good one Russell, I'm onto it.... :)

    Auckland • Since Dec 2011 • 2700 posts Report

  • Robert Harvey,

    As so often, XKCD has the apt quotation:

    Westmere • Since Nov 2006 • 66 posts Report

  • Neil,

    When i was young I spent quite a few years overseas. Deciding to come back I went to the NZ embassy in Paris. Sat down to wait and saw besides me a pile of Listeners.

    For some reason that particular memory has always remained vivid.

    Since Nov 2016 • 382 posts Report

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Alfie,

    ...someone’s failed ‘herd immunity’ strategy

    Or 'Herd mentality' as I heard Trump refer to it as, today (he also 'misheard' a question about the rise in 'Domestic violence' as 'Mexican violence' - he never misses a chance...)

    Forget 'Dunning / Kruger' I'd like to see the UK's skyrocketing 'death line curve' referred to as the 'Cummings / Johnson Death Curve' - those two infectees deserve such an honour. (Sorry for the 'reckons' - I'll take the Karma-hit).

    Stunned to see Bauer pull the plug on their NZ operations - Opportunism on their part I suspect - but my sympathies and commiserations go out to all staff affected, some of whom are within this 'bubble community'.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report

  • Moz,

    I've just realised that there's a complete album of all my friends online:

    (my response to Charlie Stross claiming that his sock puppet accounts were real people and he had photos of them)

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1233 posts Report

  • Paul Campbell,

    A reminder that PA needs money to operate, I suspect that Russell's been carry the load as it has quietened down, and after today's news that's likely harder for him - I'd like to suggest that old timers who have found themselves back again hit that "supporter" button above

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2623 posts Report

  • Neil, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    Have had lots of disagreements with RB but he’s always been a voice of clarity. Much needed now. Will definitely support.

    Since Nov 2016 • 382 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    Thanks guys. I have indeed been thinking about Public Address and Press Patron as a readymade, modest income stream. I expect to be posting a lot more here – and I'm really keen to get Fiona back on her old TV blog, as soon as she's officially no longer a Bauer employee. Given that she keeps getting paid until that happens, I'm not exactly gagging for it :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Worik,

    I'll bight...

    My daughter was getting mentally prepared to leave Melbourne for NZ (after five years as a street poet... other story that makes her dad proud) as Australia was "literally and figuratively on fire". But plan was to do it some time this year, or next. No rush....

    On end of business 20-March Melbourne was heading into chaos and daughter realised that letting her passport lapse was, erm, inconvenient. Passport arrived late on Tuesday (thank you, from the bottom of my heart to the crew at the consulate, it was due Thursday) on the plane Wednesday, landed in Dunedin one hour before the curfew.

    Happened to have a vacant flat for her to quarantine in... Whew.

    Our band was due to play the awards night at the Fringe here, when it was cancelled we took over the fringe theatre and did a online gig....

    Here we are

    Waitati • Since Jan 2017 • 13 posts Report

  • linger,

    Professor David Spiegelhalter on the risks of Covid-19 from More or Less 28/03/20 (9 minutes; stream or MP3 download)
    Headline result is that the mortality risk profile from Covid-19 among adults is much the same as the mortality risk profile in general. Essentially, contracting the virus has the effect of compressing your existing annual risk of death into a few weeks: hence the risk increases with age, and for those with other pre-existing conditions that lower life expectancy.

    It follows that, if the virus were allowed to spread unchecked, the effect would be roughly the same as the nation's annual death rate. Spiegelhalter notes that in the UK, that would correspond to 500,000-600,000 deaths.

    Spiegelhalter doesn't explicitly say this, but it also follows from general patterns of life expectancy that the risk is higher for men than for women at any given age -- and the evidence so far does seem to bear this out, as mentioned in a subsequent episode (04/04/20).

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report

  • linger,


    There’s a kind of controlled experiment in progress right now, if you want to try to assess the effect of New Zealand’s “fast and hard” lockdown measures.
    Coincidentally, the number of cases in Tokyo is roughly the same, and has been increasing at roughly the same rate, as the number of cases in New Zealand over March. (Yesterday those totals stood at 959 for NZ vs 891 for Tokyo.)

    Tokyo has not (yet) gone into enforced lockdown. (If it does, it will be a local government decision, with the central government having little constitutional authority.) Nevertheless, there are voluntary measures in place that are at least equivalent to NZ’s “Level 3” response: schools are closed (now until at least the first week of May), many chain restaurants have shut, anyone who can work from home is encouraged to do so.
    As of midnight April 3rd, Japan’s borders have been closed to all foreigners (e.g. I could not have re-entered the country this week), and returnees are being quarantined for 2 weeks. (That will include our students returning from Wellington. Stable door, horse, etc.)

    Remembering that the total population of Tokyo is about 6 times that of New Zealand, Tokyo has actually fared quite well so far. But in the past week (after one week of NZ lockdown) the rate of increase in Tokyo has gone consistently above that of New Zealand.

    So yes, NZ’s lockdown does seem to be having a measurable effect already, compared with the closest alternative.
    Stay safe, everyone.

    Some notes and caveats:
    1. NZ case counts were redefined March 25th to include probable cases, some of which later proved negative. The count for March 25th includes an adjustment to add previous probable cases.
    2. Numbers can fluctuate from day to day with little clear trend because many cases originate in infection clusters.
    3. Tokyo numbers also fluctuate because of uneven access to testing (e.g. the figure for Mar 30th, a snowy Sunday, is artificially low for this reason).

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to linger,

    Many thanks for this. I have directed it to my daughter in Shibuya.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    Excellent suggestion. Done!

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report

  • Simon Armstrong, in reply to ,

    Lighting an open fire?

    Just, wow.

    New Zealand • Since Jan 2015 • 81 posts Report

  • Simon Armstrong, in reply to ,

    How’s your day going?

    Typically odd. A conversation with stranger climbing local maunga concerning clear night skies due to lack of Oz fires and vehicle pollution was rudely interrupted by phone call from Work and Income to verify some details of my application as first time bludger. During which, lady out walking her husband gave me the big finger little finger emoji sign, not sure how to interpret that.

    New Zealand • Since Jan 2015 • 81 posts Report

  • linger, in reply to Simon Armstrong,

    lady out walking her husband

    That certainly conjures up an image.
    (But not of the emoji, which I have no referent for.)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Apologies for my porn star name everything else was taken, I'm Michael.

    What are people's thoughts on Simon Bridges Intercity commute?

    It reminds me of how Judges would act "the rules do not apply to me" when I worked in the Courts.

    Surely he has a Wellington address by which to undertake his crucial role in today's Crisis Govt. Or was it just a one off transgression?

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2020 • 24 posts Report

  • linger,

    Another week’s Covid-19 roundup from the Japan Times

    April 1st
    Tottori Prefectural Government has begun using cardboard and plastic sheets as partitions between officials’ desks. Officials explicitly deny that this is an April Fools’ prank.

    April 2nd
    Tokyo logs 97 new cases.

    April 3rd
    Total Covid-19 infections in Japan reach 3113 (excluding the Diamond Princess cluster); Tokyo logs 89 new cases.

    April 4th
    Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike continues to urge residents to stay indoors.
    Tokyo logs 117 new cases.

    April 5th
    Tokyo logs 143 new cases, putting its total over 1000.
    Now “just a matter of time” before Abe declares a state of emergency, says a government source.
    Chiba prefecture closes schools until May.

    April 6th
    Total Covid-19 infections in Japan reach 4041 (excluding the Diamond Princess cluster); death toll stands at 108.
    Tokyo logs 83 new cases – lower mostly because fewer tests are conducted over the weekend.
    The Tokyo Medical Association declares a state of medical emergency.
    U.S. Forces Japan announces a public health emergency for the Kanto region until May 5th.
    Finally bowing to the inevitable, Abe signals a coming announcement of a state of emergency.

    April 7th
    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declares a 1-month state of emergency (effective April 8th) covering Tokyo, Osaka, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Hyogo and Fukuoka prefectures.

    In the Japanese context, a state of emergency is not an enforced lockdown. Prefectural governments can only issue a “strong request” to stay at home except for essential tasks, though they have more direct power to close schools, childcare, and other public facilities.

    Footnote: As of April 5th, there was a striking imbalance in hospitalisations in NZ (13 out of about 1000 cases) and Tokyo (over 800 out of about 1000 cases). Both Tokyo and Osaka are now moving mild and asymptomatic cases out into hotels to keep ICU capacity open (e.g. one hotel in Tokyo will take 100 patients today). On the one hand, this suggests that the bar for hospitalisation has so far been much lower in Japan. Probably it is logistically harder to quarantine Tokyo cases at home. Tokyo hospitals may also be treating some patients from surrounding prefectures. But on the other hand, this large discrepancy in hospitalisations may also mean that some asymptomatic (but still contagious) cases in Japan have gone undetected, which would help explain the current spike in new cases.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report

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