Tuesday 31 March 2020

Sydney Morning Herald Takes First Step Towards COVID-19 Truth

'Self-Quarantined' (Photo: Daryl McCann)

The guy still has to intersperse "fake news" with the truth but, hey, it's a start:

Friday 27 March 2020

Emperor Xi Has No Clothes

Courtesy of Quadrant

Here is my latest article for Quadrant Online

Say it ain't so, Uncle Xi!

Perth Airport: Agents of the PRC stealing Australia's surgical masks

The Chinese Communist Party is truly the enemy of the people of Australia:

China and Its Australian Apologists (Reprised)

This article of mine was published in the October 2019 edition of Quadrant magazine, which was before COVID-19 stalked the people of the world:

On the subject of Kevin Rudd, I am pleased to add this 2016 piece I wrote for the ABC's Drum

Saturday 21 March 2020

Australia: Less hoarding, more social distancing, please!

Here is a view from an outsider, Salvatore Babones, about how Australians might more effectively "flatten" the curve of Covid-19: 

With all international flights cancelled and the coronavirus spreading like wildfire (sorry: "like a bush fire") here in Australia, it may be that the only salvation for us self-isolating expats is to charter a cruise ship and set sail for Japan, in the hope that if we claim to be there for the Olympics, they will let us in. Anything might be better than staying in Australia. It's like Italy four weeks ago: lots of government directives, little actual action.

Unlike in Italy, where many in the country's ruling elite dismissed the seriousness of the epidemic until it was too late, Australia's politicians are careful to maintain a proper decorum in their solemn pronouncements on controlling the disease. But pronouncing and doing are two different things. On the record, Australia is taking all the right steps. On the ground, it's a different story.

In Australia, the risk of novel coronavirus is compounded by that of a second, endemic disease: proformalism. A term of my own coinage, PROFORMALISM is the practice of box-ticking the letter of the law while completely ignoring its intentions. Australia is overrun with proformalism, in good times and bad.

For example, international students who want to study at Australian universities have to achieve a minimum test score on an English language exam to get in. If they pass the test, then pro forma they need no further assistance with English during their studies. If they can't pass the test, they can substitute a one-year "foundations" program in English that has a curriculum equivalent to the test. Having completed this program, do they have to retake the test? Of course not, since pro forma the program taught them English to the same level. You get the idea.

So when the Australian government prohibited gatherings of more than 500 people, the big theatres didn't close. They just limited ticket sales to 500 people per show. Planning a wedding reception, now that the limit is 100 people? No problem: hold it in a tent next to the wedding hall, and you're fine. How can schools stay open with the government has mandated a "social distance" of 1.5 meters (6 feet) between people? Easy: principals have been directed to tell students to spread out. Everyone is safe.

Australia has a strict 14-day self-isolation policy for travellers arriving from overseas, so passengers arriving at international airports are being handed printed fliers telling them to self-isolate. Mission accomplished. A cruise ship arrived in Sydney on Friday, and it turns out that several of the passengers have tested positive for coronavirus. But in the meantime, 2700 people were allowed to disembark, leaving their e-mail addresses in case they had to be notified. I'm sure the e-mails will go out. Whatever isolating they did in the meantime must have been fine.

I moved to Australia in 2008, and the country has been very good to me. I don't have much to complain about. But the one thing I've always found incredibly frustrating is this Australian practice of proformalism. Several of my supervisors subscribe to this newsletter (hello, Michael!), so I won't go into details, but it is absolutely endemic in my university workplace. I've also seen it first-hand in Australian hospitals and experienced it in dealing with the Australian government. I don't know how deep it runs in the private sector, but if any of you do, I'd love to hear from you.

As I write this, Friday night, I am literally looking at a group of 20-somethings holding a roof party on a nearby building, and I can hear several other parties going on around the neighbourhood. Australia is in for a tough time. Good luck, Lucky Country. You're going to need it.

Tuesday 17 March 2020

Saturday 14 March 2020

Some advice from an Australian doctor

What are the Corona Viruses?
Corona viruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV)Novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.  

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. 

Corona virus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is an acute infectious disease causing severe acute respiratory syndrome, pneumonia and kidney failure. The disease has first originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, which has spread globally affecting 145 countries in six continents and recently declared as a global pandemic by WHO. The most affected countries are: China, Italy, Iran and South Korea.

Signs and symptoms: 
Common symptoms of Covid-19 infection include:
Fever, fatigue, dry cough, body aches, shortness of breath, sore throat.
Less common symptoms include: Diarrhoea, dizziness, and headache. In rare cases, affected patients have reported no symptoms.
In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. 
One of the problems with the corona virus is that the symptoms can be mild, especially in younger, healthier people who might experience symptoms similar to the common cold or seasonal flu. The disease is most deadly in people over 75 and those who have existing health conditions such as: asthma, chronic lung disease, uncontrolled diabetes, heart failure, or kidney disease; or immunocompromised patients. 
The incubation period is defined as the period between exposure to the infection, and the appearance of the first symptoms. For Covid-19, the incubation period is between 2 to 14 days, averaging approximately 5 days.

The disease can be spread from person to person by large droplets; for example, from sneezing or coughing; hence it is very crucial to keep at least one meter distance from a suspected or confirmed patient. 

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing by sneezing into your inner arm, and not into your hands. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

The Australian Federal Government have issued travel restrictions for travellers returning from high risk countries; China, Iran, South Korea or Italy. They must isolate themselves for 14 days from the date they have left said countries.
All returned travellers who have travelled in or transited through any high risk countries should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days. If they present with any flu-like symptoms such as feeling unwell with fever, shortness of breath  or dry cough (with or without fever) they should be isolated and treated as highly suspected case of Covid-19. 
The Australian Federal Government has issued a ban on gatherings of more than 500 people as of 
Monday 16th of March 2020.

So far there is no vaccine for Covid-19, or any specific treatments. The recommendation is self- isolation, and treatment of the symptoms: hydration by drinking plenty of oral fluids, taking paracetamol as required; and, if the symptoms progress into pneumonia or any other further complication, possible hospitalisation.  

Friday 13 March 2020

Thursday 12 March 2020

Sunday 8 March 2020

Joe Rogan shocked by Joe Biden's Cognitive Decline

Abortion up to birth? Not in South Australia!

The February 8, 2020, rally outside S.A. Parliament House (Photo: DM Forbes)

Here is a letter, written by veteran nurse Elinor Nan Wilson, addressed to the parliamentarians of South Australia:

Dear South Australian Parliamentarians

I understand from the Advertiser that there is a new law being drafted which, if passed, will allow abortions to be performed up until full term of pregnancy in South Australia.

I have been a nurse for almost 50 years, and a midwife/child-and-family nurse for 45 of those. I trained at the Queen Victoria Hospital in 1975 and have been working in midwifery and child and family health in three states ever since. Having spent most of my career trying to help families deliver their children safely and seeing how difficult it is for some people to become pregnant and then carry to full term, I cannot understand why we would extend the age for aborting other pregnancies. Surely 28 weeks, which the law has allowed in SA since 1969, is long enough to determine whether there are abnormalities, or whether the pregnancy is unwanted for any other reason?

The Return of Pax Americana

Here is my essay for the March 2020 edition of Quadrant magazine: 

Tuesday 3 March 2020