COVID-19 DIARY – KNOWING YOUR KAPPA FROM YOUR DELTA

Argentina cordons off virus-hit slum as critics decry 'ghettoes for poor  people' | Argentina | The Guardian

June 11

Dr Sanjaya Senanayake was on the Channel Nine Australia’s morning show Today to discuss the COVID variants and their new names and how they compared to each other.

I was resistant to the renaming since it when someone mentioned Brazilian, UK and Indian strains I had a fairly good understanding of what that meant.

Alpha strain? Which one is that?

Of course in recent weeks all the talk is about the Delta strain so it’s easier to remember which one that is.

Still Dr Senanayake broke it down, Alpha, Beta, Delta, Kappa,

Both Delta and Kappa strains had originated in India but it was the Delta strain that was now most dominant in the UK and 50 per cent more transmissible than the Alpha strain.

The Alpha strain was the UK strain or in the UK what was known as the Kent strain.

The Infectious Disease Expert advised in the program the original Wuhan strain infected at a rate of 2.5 people, the Alpha or UK strain at 3.75 and now the Delta or Indian strain 5.5 people.

He advised UK data showed out of 12,000 Brits who got infected with the Delta variant only 1 per cent went to hospital but even more interestingly only 2 per cent of those 12,000 had been fully vaccinated He didn’t mention how many had received one jab but those kind of statistics suggested while the Delta variant or Indian strain was able to spread more quickly it was not necessarily more deadly than previous strains.

He advised research in the UK suggested risk of symptamatic disease was reduced by 60 per cent from two doses of AstraZeneca and 88 per cent from two doses Pfizer and that was before you looked at hospitalisations and deaths.

June 12

Saturday and a mass vaccination hub in Sunshine Coast aimed to 1,000 vaccine doses dispensed in a day given the recent scare from the relocating Melbourne couple.

No community cases were recorded in Queensland that day.

June 13

It was reported by Channel Nine News that from mid-July over 300 GPs across Australia would be able to dispense Pfizer vaccines. That was expected to increase to 600 by the end of the month.

The Therapeutic Goods Administrator advised Pfizer doses could now be stored in a normal fridge for 31 days which would help a great deal in terms of logistics.

On the 13th of June 2021 the World Health Organisation reported 175,365,359 confirmed cases globally with a daily increase of 399,198.

There had been 3,794,489 deaths worldwide with a daily increase of 10,151.

In Papua New Guinea there had been 16,727 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 45. There had been 165 deaths.

By the 24th of June, 2021 there will have been a measly 51,170 vaccine doses dispensed in the country of 8.947 million people.

In Australia there had been 30,237 confirmed cases with a daily increase of eight. There had been 910 deaths with no daily increase.

In Malaysia there had been 652,204 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 5,793. There had been 3,844 deaths with a daily increase of 76.

In Canada there had been 1,399,716 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 1,442. There had been 25,886 deaths with a daily increase of 13.

In Argentina there had been 4,093,090 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 26,934. There had been 84,628 deaths with a daily increase of 387.

A record amount of new daily cases had been reported on the 29th of May, 2021 – 41,080

In the United Kingdom there had been 4,558,498 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 7,550. There had been 127,896 deaths with a daily increase of twelve.

Russia's Coronavirus Outbreak: Why Cases Are Rising | Time

In Russia there had been 5,208,687 confimed cases with a daily increase of 14,723. There had been 126,430 deaths with a daily increase of 357.

In India there had been 29,439,989 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 80,834. THey were coming off the most recent surge where these numbers were a step in the right direction but it was worth noting that the previous surge in September 2020 had seen the highest daily increase then of 87,894 17SEP2020.

There had been new confirmed 370,384 deaths with a daily increase of 3,303.

A new record for daily deaths had been set on the 10th of June, 2020 – 6,148. 

In the United States of America there had been 33,124,293 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 13,904. There had been 595,802 deaths with a daily increase of 397.

-Lloyd Marken

COVID-19 DIARY – INTERLOPERS

Goondiwindi Chamber of Commerce

June 08

Tuesday there was some good news in my household – my wife got the Pfizer vaccine. She had made a booking and went to a vaccine site at the Prince Charles Hospital for people in her age group.

This was a welcome development.

As I lamented the failure to vaccinate our more vulnerable I was happy my wife now had received a dose and of Pfizer.

Having gotten the AstraZeneca I had expected my wife to have to wait many more months until the end of the year to get her first dose.

As a husband you prefer your wife to be more protected than yourself and now she was.

In not so good news she was advised she wouldn’t automatically get a follow-up dose in three weeks time.

She had to make the booking herself and she was advised the efficacy would still be there if it took up to nine weeks. She made a booking for as soon as she could.

First Look at Sunshine Coast's New $430m CBD

June 09

Wednesday and news in Australia must seem comical to overseas readers but here we go.

A couple left Melbourne on the 1st of June when it was in lockdown. They travelled through rural New South Wales and arrived in Queensland and Goondiwindi June 5th. After three days out in the community of the Sunshine Coast and one of them tested positive to COVID.

Questions were raised given their route away from the coast and the fact that when they left Melbourne it was in lockdown but it could be that the couple were re-locating for work which would have granted them exemption as well other approved reasons.

That would have to be established.

Also being established was more testing hours at the Sunshine Coast and more vaccine doses being delivered to the area too.

Speaking of locked down Melbourne restrictions were being lifted in the southern capital come Friday.

Now the limit you could travel was 25 kilometres – up from 10. There were no home gatherings allowed but students were going back to learning at school.

From Friday will be required indoors only and many businesses can re-open but with limited capacities.

One new local case reported overnight, over 1,200 remained isolating from the rest of Melbournians.

June 10

Thursday and the male partner of the couple from Melbourne had tested positive. The parents they had stayed with had tested negative as residents came out in droves to get tested across the Sunshine Coast.

Another 400 people are self-isolating and getting tested after potentially coming into contact with the couple at exposure sites in Goondiwindi, Toowoomba and the southern Sunshine Coast.

Nine thousand and eight hundred tests had been carried out the day before.

Authorities were hopeful the pair had been near the end of their transmissible cycle. Hospitals and aged care facilities did not go into lockdown.

The couple had relocated to Queensland for the man’s work and a requirement from his new employer was for him and his wife to get tested so he would have COVID clearance to start work. That is when the positive tests for her came back.

While the Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath would not point the finger at the couple while the matter was under investigation she did confirm, “If people do get an exemption to travel they are requried to quarantine.

Moree's much-loved Mayor Katrina Humphries calls time on 13-year tenure  ahead of September election - ABC News

Mayor Katrina Humphries of the small New South Wales town of Moree with a population 7,383 was ready to point the finger.

Bitterly disappointed. Actually quite disgusted – I think its an incredibly un-Australian thing to do. We’ve looked after ourselves, we’ve managed so well and then people can just ruin it for everyone. We’ve just got over a flood, we’ve had three years of drought, we’ve kept our community safe and now this rubbish.,” she said.

The town of Moree was running out of COVID testing kits.

Sunshine Coast cafe owner Pierre Mortensen felt for four of his staff who were now isolating.

What a shame, they were doing nothing wrong – just doing their jobs and now they’re in a 14 day lockdown,” he said.

As some restrictions were due to be lifted in Melbourne the next day, authorities changed their minds about mask wearing only indoors. Now masks would remain mandatory both outside and inside.

A 52 year old woman died from blood clotting in the brain after receiving a AstraZeneca. Two deaths having resulted from 3.6 million vaccines.

That actually meant in Australia there was so far a one in a 1.8 million chance of dying from blood clotting after having AstraZeneca.

But it also led to another unlikely statistic.

Two Australians had now died in 2021 from blood clotting following getting an AstraZeneca jab.

Only on Australian had died from COVID in 2021 so far.

However 909 had died in 2020 and I wondered of those 909 how many would take the AstraZeneca vaccine if they were still alive to have that opporunity?

June 11

Dr Sanjaya Senanayake was on the Channel Nine Australia’s morning show Today to discuss the COVID variants and their new names and how they compared to each other.

I was resistant to the renaming since it when someone mentioned Brazilian, UK and Indian strains I had a fairly good understanding of what that meant.

Alpha strain? Which one is that?

Of course in recent weeks all the talk is about the Delta strain so it’s easier to remember which one that is.

Still Dr Senanayake broke it down, Alpha, Beta, Delta, Kappa,

Both Delta and Kappa strains had originated in India but it was the Delta strain that was now most dominant in the UK and 50 per cent more transmissible than the Alpha strain.

The Alpha strain was the UK strain or in the UK what was known as the Kent strain.

The Infectious Disease Expert advised in the program the original Wuhan strain infected at a rate of 2.5 people, the Alpha or UK strain at 3.75 and now the Delta or Indian strain 5.5 people.

He advised UK data showed out of 12,000 Brits who got infected with the Delta variant only 1 per cent went to hospital but even more interestingly only 2 per cent of those 12,000 had been fully vaccinated He didn’t mention how many had received one jab but those kind of statistics suggested while the Delta variant or Indian strain was able to spread more quickly it was not necessarily more deadly than previous strains.

He advised research in the UK suggested risk of symptamatic disease was reduced by 60 per cent from two doses of AstraZeneca and 88 per cent from two doses Pfizer and that was before you looked at hospitalisations and deaths.

June 12

Saturday and a mass vaccination hub in Sunshine Coast aimed to 1,000 vaccine doses dispensed in a day given the recent scare from the relocating Melbourne couple.

No community cases were recorded in Queensland that day.

June 13

It was reported by Channel Nine News that from mid-July over 300 GPs across Australia would be able to dispense PFizer vaccines. That was expected to increase to 600 by the end of the month.

The Therapeutic Goods Administrator advised Pfizer doses could now be stored in a normal fridge for 31 days which would help a great deal in terms of logistics.

On the 13th of June 2021 the World Health Organisation reported there had been 175,349,190 confirmed cases globally with a daily increase of 398,721.

There had been 3,795,727 deaths worldwide with a daily increase of 10,250.

As of the 4th of July, 2021 there had been 2,988,941,529 vaccine doses dispensed across the globe.

In Papua New Guinea there had been 16,727 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 45. There had been 165 deaths reported.

It appeared the recent wave of cases that started to rise in early March, 2021 was coming down in the country.

By the 24th of June, 2021 there will have been a measly 51,170 vaccine doses dispensed in the country. 

In Australia there had been 30,237 confirmed cases with a daily increase of eight. There had been 910 deaths.

By the 27th of June there would have been 7,500,700 vaccine doses dispensed in the country.

Malawi sacks heads of Covid-19 taskforce amid audit of use of funds |  Governance | The Guardian

In Malawi there had been 34,485 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 15. There had been 1,159 deaths with a daily increase of one.

As of the 4th of July, 2021 there had been 492,390 vaccine doses dispensed in the small landlocked Africa nation of 18.63 million people.

In Nepal there had been 608,472 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 1,694. There had been 8,412 deahts with a daily increase of 46.

There had been 3,232,604 vaccine doses dispensed in the country with 28.61 million people.

In Malaysia there had been 652,204 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 5,793. There had been 3,844 deaths with a daily increase of 76.

By the 24th of June there will have been 6,823,104 vaccine doses dispensed in the country.

In Canada there had been 1,399,716 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 1,442. There had been 25,886 deaths with a daily increase of 13.

By the 1st of July, 2021 38,068,118 vaccine doses will have been dispensed in the country of 37.59 million people.

Peru revises pandemic death toll, now worst in the world per capita | Otago  Daily Times Online News

In Peru there had been 1,998,056 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 2,799.

The next day the country would reach the milestone of two million cases with 2,001,059.

There had been 188,100 deaths with a daily increase of 253.

Per capita Peru had the worst COVID death toll in the world.

As of the 1st of July there will have been 7,569,763 vaccine doses dispensed in the country of 32.51 million people.

In the United Kingdom there had been 4,558,498 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 7,550. There had been 127,896 deaths with a daily increase of twelve.

Cases of COVID were on the rise in the country.

By the 27th of June there will have been 77,038,257 vaccine doses dispensed in the island nation.

In India there had been 29,439,989 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 80,834. There had been 370,384 deaths with a daily increase of 3,303.

6,148 deaths had been reported on the 10th of June, 2021. A new daily record.

By the 27th of June, 2021 there will have been 323,663,297 vaccine doses dispensed in the country.

NYNG helps vaccinate 10,000 people a day at Javits vaccinations site |  Article | The United States Army

In the United States of America there had been 33,120,623 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 12,354. There had been 594,272 deaths with a daily increase of 394.

By the 1st of July there will have been 330,160,573 vaccine doses dispensed in the country of 328.2 million people.

394 daily deaths in America. Remember when that was shocking and now we think what an improvement such numbers it’s not even news.

But each of one of those 3,795,727 deaths matters and my heart goes out to the people who know those who are no longer with us.

Hopefully we’re getting there. I know it doesn’t feel like it sometimes but hopefully it is true and I choose to hope.

-Lloyd Marken

COVID-19 DIARY – ONE PFIZER VACCINATION NOT A GREAT LOOK BUT FIVE MILLION NATIONAL VACCINATIONS LOOKS GOOD

Annastacia Palaszczuk et al. posing for the camera: (

June 07

Monday and Victoria recorded 11 new cases in the community bringing the total to 81 from this latest outbreak.

Three people were in hospital.

Three of the new cases wre linked to the Arcare aged care facility which took that cluster to nine cases.

A cluster in West Melbourne had grown to 14 cases with four new ones from the same household including three children.

Children do not need to be worried … kids overwhelmingly get mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. [It] doesn’t mean they can’t transmit, doesn’t mean that we don’t need to isolate them and quarantine them, but they overwhelmingly get mild illness,” Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said.

Three of the new cases are linked to the City of Whittlesea outbreak, which now stands at 32 cases.

The day before 24,265 tests had been conducted in Victoria and in state-run sites there had been 17,719 vaccine doses administered.

That added to a total of 550,000 tests conducted in the state since the current outbreak had started two weeks earlier.

Two of the cases at Arcare were a 79 year old resident and an agency nurse who last worked a shift on Saturday. Everybody who worked a shift at Arcare on Saturday were being required to get tested and quarantine for 14 days.

It is critical for us that all these primary close contacts isolate effectively and safely and that the new staff coming in to do the vital work of looking after those residents do so in a very safe and controlled environment,” Victoria’s COVID Response Commander Jeroen Weimar.

Will Victoria's coronavirus lockdown be only seven days? - ABC News

Three of the new from the Whittlesea cluster had tested postive of day 13 of their quarantine.

In fact nine of the eleven new cases were already identified as close contacts and had isolated which was good news according to Professor Sutton.

A number of those won’t have had any symptoms during that entire period [in isolation] so they’ll be picked up on that day 13 test. If they were tested on day seven they might actually have tested positive earlier, but the fact that every single one of them needs to have a confirmed day 13 test before they’re released from quarantine is a standard precaution to be absolutely sure,” he said.

One of the new cases was a cleaner at a construction site which had been listed as a contact stie, he along with 200 others had gotten tested as a result with him the testing positive.

For the lockdown the Victorian government announced a $30 million pakcage. 4.5 million for emergency food relief, grants for food hubs, income support of $800 per person to be administered through the Red Cross and $12 million for culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

It is very much about saying, there is a whole lot of people in our community whose voice is not particularly loud sometimes, but we need to make sure that we provide that support,” Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers Luke Donnellan said.

He said there were new people presenting at emergency food relief agencies who had never before accessed that service.

It’s not just about case numbers, if cases are already in quarantine then they’re not adding to any level of population risk but also they’re not creating more work for the health department by identifying additional exposure sites where we have to then try and screen people who have also been there. When you’ve got low numbers [of cases in an outbreak], it can look very bumpy, but the reality is that might be exactly what you’d expect if you’ve got so many people in quarantine who we know have been exposed directly to a case,” advised Deakin University epidemiologist Catherine Bennett.

Queensland to extend coronavirus restrictions in wake of Victoria cluster,  more vaccine hubs to open - ABC News

In Queensland 63,272 vaccine doses had been dispensed in the past week with 17,032 of those over the weekend.

The state’s Health Minister Yvette D’Ath advised Queensland was getting 50,000 Pfizer doses now per week from the federal government allowing certainty with supply and distribution amongst community vaccine hubs.

To get [a delivery], and sometimes it would arrive early and we’d be told ‘that’s all you’re getting for three weeks’ … now we’re getting consistency,” she said.

AstraZeneca was left to be delivered by GPs to those 50 and over.

After the media beat-up from the previous week Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk aged 50 years and over advised she had received the Pfizer vaccine.

She advised she would have gotten the AstraZeneca jab but they were recommended to be taken twelve weeks apart and the Pfizer jab three weeks.

Premier Palaszczuk advised with a possible trip to meet the Olympic committee in Tokyo along iwth the Lord Mayor of Brisbane and the Australian Prime Minister for a Brisbane bid to host the games in 2032.

There may be a requirement for the state to present to the whole Olympic committee about the Olympics, and I would have been unvaccinated and that’s why I had the Pfizer,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

The Chief Health Officer got AstraZeneca, the Health Minister got AstraZeneca, so the Cabinet is following the guidelines,” she added.

COVID-19 vaccine rollout begins in Queensland, as nurses, police inspector  receive first jabs on the Gold Coast - ABC News

Dr Jeanette Young who was in late 50s but technically a health care worker had received AstraZeneca following health care workers getting Pfizer jabs as part of the 1A roll out.

So not only was Premier Palaszczuk getting the vaccine at a time that the popularity of the AstraZeneca vaccine was waning but she was doing it in order to be able to take an overseas trip as thousands of Australians struggled to travel internationally for work or seeing dying loved ones for example. It certainly was not a good look but a lot of that came down to timing.

Australian PM is vaccinated as rollout begins - BBC News

On February 21st, the 52 year old Prime Minister Scott Morrison got a Pfizer jab along with 84 year old Jane Malysiak and others as the first Australians to get vaccinated.

The Prime Minister taking the only vaccine available in the country at the time and as a leader showing a confidence in taking the vaccine.

Not long after the 50 year old New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian received her first AstraZeneca jab. 

Over-50s rebellion threatens to derail vaccination program

No biggie, other Premiers weren’t rushing out, perhaps to not be seen to be using the privilege of their position but Premier Berejiklian was again showing confidence in a vaccine and as a leader taking care of her health so she could do her job.

On the 9th of April the Australian goverment made the Pfizer the preferred vaccine for those under 50 heightening concerns in the community of the safety of AstraZeneca.

Premier Mark McGowan rolls up his sleeve for first dose of AstraZeneca  COVID-19 vaccine | PerthNow

53 year old Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan rolled up his sleeve for the AstraZeneca jab on the 3rd of May. As a leader over 50 Premier McGowan struck the right tone getting AstraZeneca and the 2A rollout having opened up to allow anyone over 50 to get vaccinated he seemed to not be jumping the queue but just taking up the opportunity that everyone in his age group could now take up.

Now a mere month later Premier Palaszczuk getting a Pfizer jab got some people’s knickers in a twist. I wasn’t one of them but once again timing is a delicate thing and simply put it wasn’t a good look.

As part of the 1B cohort the Premier and Chief Health Officer could have received their first dose in late March reported The Daily Mail.

In mid-April she got the flu jab and had to delay two weeks then got a tetanus shot after her dog bit her during a playfight.

Where she had previously selflessly wanted to wait her turn, whether her trip to Tokyo would ensure million of dollars in work and economic prosperity for the people of her state, if she did end up going. It didn’t matter. It just wasn’t a good look. Maybe two weeks earlier wouldn’t have mattered. But in politics timing is everything.

As one person commented on social media, “It took me over six months, seven cancelled flights and $10,000+ to fly back to Australia to hug my terminally ill mum one last time and you are talking about ‘needing’ to go to the Olympics? Absolute joke and a kick in the guts to stranded Aussies. Assuming home isolation on return too.

Some smart people over the weekend noted a lack of queues at a vaccine hub and got vaccinated as walk ins but the advice was still to make bookings.

More than 936,000 doses have been delivered in Queensland with about 92,500 people fully vaccinated.

The state was also the first to approve 50 pharmacies to dispense vaccinations in remote and regional areas.

It’s just beyond belief we are not using the thousands of pharmacies at our disposal to get millions of vaccines out of fridges and into people’s arms,” The Pharmacy Guild of Australia President Trent Twomey told The Australian.

They estimated the roll out would take another 408 days to complete and with pharmacies that could be slashed to 241 days.

“It’s not an issue of training, infrastructure, supply or consumer confidence – all this is, is bureaucratic red tape which is slowing down the process towards herd immunity.”

The battle of a purpose built quarantine facility continued after the federal government issued a set of criteria to be met.

The Premier’s response.

If the Commonwealth wants to set the criteria they can design the facility, they can construct the facility, they can pay for the facility, and they can run the facility. After all quarantine is a federal government responsibility,” she said.

The Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese was all for purpose built quarantine facilities in the country having included funding for it in last month’s budget reply speech.

There had been no breakouts from the Howard Springs Facility so far, there had been 21 or 22 from hotel quarantine in the past year.

Deputy opposition leader Richard Marles says there is just one purpose-built facility in Australia, Howard Springs in the Northern Territory, which unsurprisingly has no COVID-19 breakouts, while there has been 21 or 22 from hotels over the past year.

Fit-for-purpose facilities should be doing the bulk of the work,” Deputy Opposition Leader Richard Marles told the ABC’s Insiders program.

In good news Australia hit five million vaccine doses administered.

It had taken us 47 days to reach our first one million jabs, now 1 million had been dispensed in just the past nine days.

National Vaccine Operational Coordinator Commordore Eric Young advised 811,980 Pfizer doses would arrive onshore in the next couple of days and 230,000 AstraZeneca doses produced locally by CSL Limited would be batch released too.

Commodore Eric Young says extra 50,000 Pfizer doses distributed to NSW hubs  - ABC News

The Royal Australian Navy officer advised the biggest week yet of the vaccine rollout would take place with 1.1 million doses distributed across two and a half thousand locations in Australia including an additional 100,000 vaccine doses for Victoria where Melbourne remained in lockdown.

-Lloyd Marken

COVID-19 DIARY – MELBOURNE LOCKDOWN EXTENDED

Meet the Sikhs who keep coming to the rescue for vulnerable Victorians

June 02

Wednesday and six new confirmed cases in Melbourne led the lockdown to be extended in the Victorian capital for another seven days while some restrictions were lowered in regional Victoria.

This was the first time a snap lockdown in Australia had been extended.

If we let this thing run its course – it will explode,” warned Acting Premier James Merlino.

We have to run it down to the ground. There are a dozen countries that had no community transmission going into 2021 that have now lost control. That had community transmission and will probably not bring it back to a point where they have not got community transmission again,” advised Victorian Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton.

There were some changes, from Friday people could travel up to 10 kilometres (up from five) from home and senior (Year 11 and 12) students were to return to school to learn too.

Certain labour jobs like landscaping or painting were also allowed.

There would be no ring of steel around the capital but restrictions would be different outside of Melbourne. To ensure people were staying put there would be roving mobile patrols from police and in open regional businesses would have to check ids of people entering. Hmmmm.

Pedestrians cross the road at Flinders Street Station on the first day of eased coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions for the state of Victoria following an extended lockdown in Melbourne, Australia, June 11, 2021.  REUTERS/Sandra Sanders

Across the state it would now be mandatory to sign in when entering any business using a QR Code including supermarktets which until recently had been a recommendation.

Regionally all students could return to school, there was no limit on where or why you could go except for travel to Melbourne – you need a permitted reason for that and restrictions applied to you while you were there.

Still outside of Melbourne you could have no visitors to your home beyond intimate partner or single bubble exceptions.

Regionally face masks wre not required outdoors but were indoors. 

Outdoors gatherings could number ten, beauty and tattoo parlous could resume with mask on and religious gatherings could have up to people as could funerals. Weddings were limited to 10 people.

Outdoor pools, drive-ins, outdoor entertainment venues were capped at a certain capacity or no more than 50 people.

209 million dollars was going to support Victorian businesses.

June 03

Thursday and Dr Norman Swan on the ABC’s 730 program advised, “Be under no illusion, this is the way it’s going to go from now on. More and more high risk variants from low income countries which don’t have access to vaccines. Our protection this year is mass vaccination as fast as possible. We can’t remain a fortress forever.

I believe that when the vaccine roll-out is complete and we drive the number of infections around the world we will see a lower rate of these variants emerging,” Professor Kanta Subbarao of the Doherty Institute advised in the program.

Great we know where we’re headed. Getting there as quickly as possible remains the challenge.

June 04

Friday and Queensland had put in place 18 vaccination hubs in an effort to get 15,000 vaccinations done over the weekend.

The plan was to give priority to aged care and disability care workers and while Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath had advised, “I want to be clear; these sites are not for the general public, they are not open for walk-ins,” but regional authorities like Darling Downs’ Annette Scott did say, “We’ll certainly prioritise the people who’ve registered for a vaccine. You’re more assured of being in and out of the clinic much more quickly. So yes to the walk-ins, but we can’t guarantee you won’t have a wait.

Ms Scott was happy for 16-39 year olds to attend but advised they would not have priority.

“I’m over having the COVID test.  It would be nice to actually have the needle done and not have to be panicky every time we cough or something. I was only actually unwell just last week …  and it made me worried because I’m with people who don’t have very good immunity. Someone’s got to take my shift and the families of the people we’re caring for, they get worried that we’ve been around their loved one and they haven’t been done… It’s hard,” said disability support worker Gabrielle Bright.

They lost all their freedom last year. The clients don’t understand completely and so it’s really scary for them. Last year it was like it was bedlam and now we just want to get it over and done with, we just want to be immunized. We want to be safe,” she told.

Amen.

Two blue signs advertising the COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Toowoomba

Australian Medical Association Queensland President Chris Perry warned, “We’re supporting the hubs, but most people should go to their GP where it’s going to be so much easier — the line-ups at hubs could be a bit uncomfortable. They’re trying not to turn people away, but they don’t want everybody turning up. It would just be awful.”

Two cases of the new Delta strain B1617.2 which had been discovered in India and was also now making its presence known in northern England were announced in the cluster of Melbourne cases.

The fact that it is a variant different to other cases it means it is not related, in terms of transmission, with these cases. It has not been linked to any sequence cases across Australia from hotel quarantine or anywhere else that it is not linked in Victoria or any other jurisdiction,” advised Victoria Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton.

The cases were amongst a family who had travelled to Jervis Bay so authorities were working with their NSW and ACT counterparts.

It is a concern that it is not linked to other cases but we are chasing down all those primary case contacts for that family and looking into where it might have been acquired,” Sutton. said.

It spread extremely rapidly across India to become the predominant variant, almost the exclusive variant there. It does appear to be the most significant in terms of transmissibility. There isn’t much information about severity of illness with this variant, although there are some anecdotal reports of greater illness in children as well as greater increase transmissibility in children. We have concerns for that reason,” he said.

The Chief Health Officer was buoyed by testing numbers advising, “The fact we’re getting 50,000 tests per day, that is five per cent of Victoria has been tested in the last week. It is a huge part of being able to get on top of this.

Covid Victoria: Melbourne lockdown extended another week, 6 new cases |  Herald Sun

June 06

On Sunday, June 6, 2021 Sunday the World Health Organisation reported there had been 172,677,879 confirmed cases globally with a daily increase of 394,544.

There had been 3,721,209 deaths worldwide with a daily increase of 9,483.

In Papua New Guinea there had been 16,374 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 47. There had been 164 deaths. As of the 6th of June, 2021 there had been 38,176 vaccine doses administered in the country.

In Australia there had been 30,158 confirmed cases with a daily increase of eight. There had been 910 deaths. As of the 6th of June, 2021 there had been 5,931,245 vaccine doses administered in the country of 25.36 million people.

Malta takes strict measures as COVID-19 cases surge - Xinhua |  English.news.cn

In Malta there had been 30,568 confirmed cases with a daily increase of nine. There had been 419 deaths. By the 12th of June, 2021 there had been 557,758 vaccine doses administered in the island nation that has a population 441,543 people.

The EU member nation’s vaccine rollout has used shots made by AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer-BionTech.

In Venezuela there had been 239,252 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 1,239. There had been 2,698 deaths with a daily increase of nine. By the 17th of June, 2021 there will have been 1,302,992 vaccine doses administered in the country of 28.52 million people.

Tunisia imposes 7-day lockdown to contain COVID-19 - CGTN

In Tunisia there had been 353,782 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 1,479. There had been 12,948 deaths with a daily increase of 46. By the 19th of June, 2021 there wil have been 1,554,145 vaccine doses administered in the African country of 11.69 milion people.

In Malaysia there had been 610,574 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 7,452. There had been 3,291 deaths with a daily increase of 109.
As of the 6th of June, 2021 there had been 3,330,436 vaccine doses administered in the country with a population of 31.95 million people.
Canada extends COVID border closures with US until July 21 | United States  News | Al Jazeera

In Canada there had been 1,389,508 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 2,063. There had been 25,679 deaths with a daily increase of 35.

By the 17th of June there will have been 30,885,092 vaccine doses administered in a country of 37.59 million people.

In the United Kingdom there had been 4,511,673 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 5,651. There had been 127,836 deaths with a daily increase of 13.

June 2nd no new deaths had been recorded in the country.

July 31, 2020 had been the last day no new daily deaths had been recorded in the country.

On the 17th of June, 2021 there had been 71,672,208 vaccine doses administered in the country of 66.65 million people.

Indian state sharply raises COVID-19 death toll prompting call for wide  review | Reuters

In India there had been 28,809,339 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 114,460.

There had been 346,759 deaths with a daily increase of 2,677.

By the 14th of June, 2021 there would have been 261,740,273 vaccine doses administered in the country.

In the United States of America there had been 33,015,604 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 17,729. There had been 591,276 deaths with a daily increase of 583. New daily cases were getting back to the same level as May 2020.

By the 17th of June, 2021 there will have been 317,983,185 vaccine doses administered in the country of 328.2 million people.

Now for a good news story, ABC News interviewed President of the Sikh Volunteers Australia, Jaswinder Singh, whose organisation helped out during the terrible bushfires of 2019-20 and the Melbourne lockdown last year. They were back providing food to people during this lockdown.

“I have lost my father in India. [I] was not able to attend the funeral because of the lockdown restriction. A lot of other community members I have seen in the same boat. Times are hard but only by giving in to others the support and encouragement gives hope for everyone.”

These are the tough times and very hard ones on everyone. But the better we stay together, the better we put our trust into each other the better and the more and more we help each other can only put hope into society and that is the only way to cross this type of crisis.

God bless Jaswinder Singh, God Bless the Sikh Volunteers Australia. WIth people like them we will get through this.

-Lloyd Marken

ONE YEAR EARLIER: June 4, 2020

A disgruntled home owner asks the Prime Minister and a press pack to get off his lawn while decked out trackdaks. The Prime Minister happily accomodates him in the wake of President Trump clearing Lafayette Park by force so he can take a photo of him being absolutley useless. 

June 6, 2020

Black Lives Matter protests are held in capital cities across Australia with 30,000 people marching in Brisbane when public gatherings are limited to 20 people.

COVID-19 DIARY – MELBOURNE OUTBREAK PUTS SPOTLIGHT ON LACK OF VACCINE CARE FOR THOSE WHO NEED IT

May 31

Monday, a new week and there were 11 new cases in locked down Melbourne.

There was an indication in the news coverage that the lockdown would be extended.

Raising concerns was three new cases linked to aged care where cases had led to most of Australia’s deaths from COVID in 2020, in particular in Victoria during their series of lockdowns.

One was a Arcare Aged Care Worker and the son of the worker.

The other a 99 year old! Arcare Aged Care female resident who was asymptomatic but had been transferred to hospital. She had previously received her first doze of a COVID vaccine.

Also positive was an unvaccinated Arcare worker who had also worked at a Blue Cross Nursing home last week as well.

Up until Thursday staff in aged care were allowed to work across facilities until the lockdown took effect.

All remaining Arcare staff and residents were now going to be offered the Pfizer vaccine even though AstraZeneca was seen as the primary one to dispense to over 50 year olds.

The unvaccinated staff member had been on leave three weeks earlier when some residents had been vaccinated and left over doses were given to staff it was reported by Channel 9.

655 aged care residents died in Victoria last year from COVID last year. So far there have only been 910 deaths from COVID in Australia so far.

Both the Blue Cross residency and the Arcare residency were now in lockdown with a staff member of the Blue Cross facility having tested positive.

Pfizer doses were rushed to the Arcare facility the same day to offer to staff and residents either their first or second doses of the vaccine

It turned out one of the protestors in Melbourne over the weekend who breathed on media and was carted off by Police worked in aged care.

The situation amplified the fact that now in the fourth month of vaccines rolling out in Australia we still didn’t have all aged care residents and those with disabilities and attending staff vaccinated.

Partly that was because the vaccine was not mandatory for either those vulnerble citizens or those who took care of them.

Part of it was because it was complicated to deliver the vaccine to them.

Part of it was supply had been slow and state and federal authorities had chosen to race to get the vaccine out to as many of the general public that they could.

It did mean though that those who are often forgotten because they don’t have as loud a voice were being left behind in this race.

There was talk of maybe making COVID vaccinations mandatory for Aged Care Staff and as the ABC reported there was precedent of making those who worked in hotel quarantine get vaccinated in order to work.

June 01

Tuesday.

Close to 42,699 Victorians got tested in the past 24 hours as the cluster of cases grew to 54 iwth three new cases.

There were thankfully no new cases in aged care.

Meanwhile there was concern over how the virus was currently spreading. One of the day’s four new cases in VIctoria was thorugh fleeting contact and one new cases had never been to any of the contract tracing sites.

Speaking of the contract tracing sites there were plenty of them in Melbourne.

The state’s mass vaccination sites were going to “roll-out the red carpet” to aged care workers.

It was known that nine per cent of them had been fully vaccinated so far while on the job!

But the full numbers from them attending their own GP, etc was unknown.

On the ABC’s 7:30 program Professor Katy Eager from the University of Wollongong told that aged care workers were to their own devices to get vaccinated leaving them out of 1A frontline workers cohort.

Walk ins were to have a priority lane and go the front of the queue to get vaccinated from the 2nd of June through to Sunday the 6th at ten mass vaccination sites across Victoria, four in Melbourne and the rest in towns like Ballarat, Bendigo, Wodonga and Traralgon.

The Victorian government was also setting up nine disability vaccination centres for those with disabilities to get vaccinated.

It was reported just 335 people with disabilities in residential care out of 22,000 had been fully vaccinated.

Channel 9 News reported that 38,912 , 86% of aged are residents in Victoria have received one vaccine dose. Around half at 25,319 had received one dose.

In Australia 72,707 aged care workers have had either one or two jabs out of a workforce totalling 366,00.

The Victorian government wouldn’t be drawn on whether the lockdown would be exended or if there would be one set of rules for Regional Victoria and one for the capital Melbourne.

The World Health Organisation also announced they would now call strains after the Greek alphabet rather than from the country it originated from.

A sentiment I understand but one that I think will just cause confusion at a time when clarity is required. The B.1.1.7 mutation we knew as the UK strain would now be referred to as the Alpha variant, the B.1.315 mutation we know as the South African strain would now be referred to as the Beta variant, the P.1 mutation we knew as the Brazilian variant would now be referred to as the Gamma variant and the B.1.617.2 mutation known as the Indian variant would now be referred to as the Delta variant.

We’ll see how that works out.

The ABC aslo reported on the lockdown in Malaysia, only essential businesses were open, schools had moved to online learning and people could only move in a ten kilometre radius from their home. Of note you could exercise by jogging but not cycling. Malaysia’s hospitals were filling up.Ministers and Deputy Ministers were giving up their salary for three months to fund government health initiative. projects. There was also a 12.5 billion stimulus package.

A exhibition building in Kuala Lumpur had been converted into a mass vaccination site. mass immunisation centre.

On the 1st of June, 2021 the World Health Organisation reported in Malaysia there had been 572,357 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 6,824. There had been 2,796 deaths with a daily increase of 67.

The country had reached a new daily record of confirmed cases May 30 with 9,020.

On June 3rd, 126 daily deaths would be a new daily record in that figure.

-Lloyd Marken

ONE YEAR EARLIER: May 30, 2020 

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson advised two millions deemed clinically extremely valuable that they could now leave their homes once a day for a little exercise and could even meet with a person from another household if there was only one of them. The advice was not to go to shops or crowded places and that services providing delivery of food or medicine would continue.

Rwanda reports its first fatality due to COVID-19, a 65 year old driver who had returned home from a neighbouring country when he fell ill.

The Queensland’s government moved to Step 2 of the National Three Step Program ahead of schedule from June 12 to 12pm June 1.

There could now be gatheirngs of twenty people and you could travel anywhere in the state.

Fellow blogger Beetley Pete wrote of the sad passing of his friend Brian Cushion from COVID.

June 1, 2020

Police were used to clear protestors from Lafayette Park so the President could oddly hold the Bible and take a picture.

COVID-19 DIARY – FOUR MILLION AUSTRALIANS – A FEW OF THEM WITH DISABILITIES VACCINATED

Coronavirus Victoria update: Victorians wait up to six hours in vaccination  queues as demand spikes

May 28

Friday and the Federal government was copping heat for what was happening in Victoria.

There were four new cases in Melbourne taking the current Whittlesea cluster and 15,000 close contacts identified. It was also pointed out that some of these venues had more people reported at them then QR code recording had indicated. Sadly this meant people were either failing or choosing not to log in when they arrived at the venues and this complicated contract tracing now.

Wage subsidies were being looked at for affected businesses but nothing definitive was offerred yet.

Some of these cases had been symptomatic for days before getting tested in what cold and flu season.

You have to work on the assumption that it’s COVID, get that negative test,” urged Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton.

People were definitely getting tested now, a new record of 47,462 tests had been carried out in one day as well as a new state record 17,223 vaccinations in one day.

We do not want to see people randomly queing outside of buildings in order to try and get a vaccine,” warned Victoria’s COVID Response Commander Jeroen Weimar.

While the federal government had sent 160 Australian Defence Force members to Victoria to assist they were copping heat for their primary responsibility in the vacccine roll out.

As Australia reached 4,031,539 vaccine doses administered (close to two months after we initially planned to hit that number), half a million Australians having been fully vaccinated and a record 124,000 jabs in a day the media reported on the fact that those in aged care and disability were not yet all vaccinated.

Ten million doses of AstraZeneca and Pfizer had been delivered in the country.

A quarter of those were being held in reserve for second doses and the rest had been distrubuted to the states according to Health Minister Greg Hunt.

Yet only 6,000 out of 26,000 Australians who lived in disability care had received a vaccine.

As Pfizer was made available to more people in Australia there was also going to be less than 200,000 doses of the vaccine in June than there had been in May.

True story.

Meanwhile my older sister who lived in disability care and was under 50 well she wasn’t vaccinated. Her story one of thousands in this country.

Then there was the fact that there were aged care homes staff and residents yet to receive one jab.

At the five minute mark of the below report you will see a little bit covered about Sikh Volunteers Australia who are delivering food to the needy during lockdown when demand increases. Good people doing good deeds. Legends!

The lockdown in Victoria prompted more people to get vaccinated in Queensland with the daily dose up by 7,000 in the past 24 hours including Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath.

So what was the total, well that was hard to get from official sources but COVIDLIVE.COM.AU reported 771,016 vaccine doses had been administered in the state with 88,774 Queenslanders apparently fully vaccinated. The population of Queensland was 5,185 million.

And as Channel 7 News reported only 25 Queenslanders who lived in disability residential care had been vaccinated.

Twenty five.

That wasn’t even one a day for how long we had been vaccinating in the state.

That wasn’t…

That was…

That…

Th..

….

That wasn’t good enough. Not one little bit.

Not now.

Not ever.

May 29

Saturday and there were five new cases in lockdown Victoria.

There was also protest against the lockdown in Melbourne but the police were ready for them.

Fourteen people were arrested and 55 were fined.

May 30

On the 30th of May, 2021 the World Health Organisation reported there had been 169,631,767 confirmed cases globally with a daily increase of 480,388.

There had been 3,646,501 deaths worldwide with a daily increase of 11,838.

In Papua New Guinea there had been 15,901 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 53. There had been 162 deaths.

By June 6, 2021 there will have been 38,176 vaccine doses administered in the country.

A small drop in the ocean for a country with a population of 8.776 million people.

News in Australia had switched to the crisis in India, then the Victorian lockdown but the country of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels still needed us.

In Australia there had been 30,083 confirmed cases with a daily increase of ten. There had been 910 deaths.

By the 6th of June, 2021 there will have been 5,203,977 vaccine doses dispensed in the country.

Kenya's COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Has Got Off to a Slow Start - Australian  Institute of International Affairs - Australian Institute of International  Affairs

in Kenya there had been 170,485 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 444. There had been 3,141 deaths with a daily increase of 17. The country was coming down from a recent wave.

By the 9th of June, 2021 there will have been 1,030,445 vaccine doses dispensed in the country. Kenya had a population of 52.57 million people.

A view of deserted roads during a lockdown in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 13, 2021.

In Malaysia there had been 558,534 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 9,020. The highest daily increase of cases in the country ever. There had been 2,650 deaths with a daily increase of 98.

On June the 3rd, 126 deaths reported in one day would set a new daily record for that statistic.

By the 6th of June, 2021 there will have been 3,330,436 vaccine doses dispensed in the country. Malaysia had a population of 31.95 million people.

In Canada there had been 1,374,275 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 3,202. There had been 25,440 deaths with a daily increase of 29.

By the 3rd of June there will have been 25,226,671 vaccine doses dispensed in Canada which had a population of 37.59 million people.

In the United Kingdom there had been 4,480,949 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 3,240. There had been 127,775 deaths with a daily increase of seven. On June 2nd no deaths from COVID would be recorded for that day.

By the 7th of June, 2021 there will have been 68,381,870 vaccine doses dispensed in the country with a population 66.65 milion people.

Russia records highest daily COVID cases since February | Reuters

In Russia there had been 5,063,442 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 9,694. There had been 121,162 deaths with a daily increase of 355.

By the 8th of June, 2021 there will have been 30,708,050 vaccine doses administered in the country with a population of 144.4 million people.

Turkey's daily Covid-19 cases hit all-time high – latest updates

In Turkey there had been 5,235,978 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 7,656. There had been 47,271 deaths with a daily increase of 137.

By the 8th of June, 2021 there will have been 30,857,320 vaccine doses administered in the country of over 84 million people.

In India there had been 27,894,800 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 165,553!

There had been 325,972 deaths recorded with a daily increase of 3,460.

By the 7th of June, 2021 there will have been 238,840,635 vaccine doses administered in the country.

Student-organized COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Colorado high school gives out  over 800 shots - ABC News

In the United States of America there had been 32,916,501 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 25,091. The kind of daily increases that had been seen during a downturn of COVID in May 2020.

There had been 588,292 deaths with a daily increase of 743.

By the 3rd of June, 2021 there will have been 301,161,088 vaccine doses administered in the country of 328.2 million people.

-Lloyd Marken

ONE YEAR EARLIER: May 29, 2020

The World Health Organisation reported in America there were 1,694,864 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 19,606.

There had been 100,304 DEATHS with a daily increase of 1,415.

COVID-19 DIARY – VICTORIAN LOCKDOWN SPURS ON VACCINATIONS

Barricades block the entrance to Flinders St station on the first day of a five-day lockdown implemented in the state of Victoria in response to a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Melbourne, Australia, February 13, 2021.  REUTERS/Sandra Sanders

May 27

Still Thursday.

There were 11 new cases overnight in Victoria prompted the state to go into a seven day lockdown.

A cluster linked to the Wollett man who had quaratined in South Australia and then tested postive now stood at 26 cases out of 34 active ones in Victoria.

There were five reasons why people could leave home during the lockdown.

Shopping for food, travel to work, medical care and caregiving, exercise around your local area for two hours AND… getting vaccinated.

At the same time the state government announced from tomorrow anyone over 40 would be elligble to get vaccinated leading the VIctorian vaccine hotline to crash due to the flurry of calls. 77,000 calls were received in a 15 minute window.

With 40-49s able to apply to get vaccinated, half the population of Victoria could arrange to get vaccinted.

Meanwhile those with disabilities and some in aged care remained unvaccinated.

Our most vulnerable people.

We also know that our nation’s vaccine rollout has been slower than we’d hoped. And if more people were vaccinated, we might be facing a different set of circumstances. Sadly, we’re not,” Acting Premier James Merlino said.

Maybe a cheap shot at the federal government as he as state leader carried out what would be an unpopular action.

People lined up at the Convention Centre.

On Tuesday the Victorian government at state facilities had dispensed 16,000 vaccinations and on Wednesday they had carried out 12,677. Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton advised Victoria could do 30,000 a day and with proper supply they could reach 100,000 a day.

We have delivered 666.000 doses to the Victorian government and over 853,000 doses to primary care in Victoria,” Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

Channel 9 News reported that 9 aged care facilities in the state had yet to receive one single dose in the fourth month of the vaccine roll-out in Australia. Dr Norman Swan speaking on the ABC’s 7:30 program said it was 29 aged care facilities.

Schools would switch to remote learning while childcare and kindergartens remained open.

Restaurants and cafes were back to only take-away.

Public gatherings were out as were private gatherings but intimate partners could see each other and singles could have one visitor. Shopping and exercise should be within a five kilometre radius of home.

Only 10 people were permitted at funerals and weddings were only allowed under exception circumstances.

Masks were mandatory.

The lockdwon was scheduled to end 11:59pm June 3.

Melbourne COVID-19 exposure site list grows as authorities scramble to  contain cluster - ABC News

If we make the wrong choice now, if we wait too long, if we hesitate too much, this thing will get away from us. And lives will be at risk,” Merlino explained in making the decision to go into lockdown. The fifth carried out in Victoria.

We know where transmission occurred. There’s the workplace that’s been identified and all of the others are the related households and casual links for the City of Whittlesea outbreak. So that’s very reassuring, that’s great work again of contact tracing, but it’s also about people giving very detailed information about where they’ve been so that we can make those links appropriately,” said Professor Sutton.

One of the cases was an elderley man who had come out of ICU but was on a ventilator.

We send our best wishes to that family and we send our prayers for a quick recovery,” Health Minister Martin Foley said.

“My understanding is that just in recent days we’ve passed over 50 per cent of over-70-year-olds being vaccinated. Sadly this was not one of those 50 per cent.”

40,411 tests had been carried out in the past 24 hours and there were 21 new testing sites set up with over 200 operating across the state as queues backed up into the night and people had to be turned away.

Victoria enters COVID-19 lockdown as cases from Melbourne outbreak grow -  ABC News

The Acting Premier advised there were 150 exposure sites to be listed and there had been 10,000 close contacts following contract tracing.

From 1am tomorrow Queensland would be shut to Victorians.

Only Queensland residents returning to the state will be allowed entry and they must enter 14-days of hotel quarantine.

Those who had entered before the borders closed and been in Victoria in the past 14 days needed to observe Victoria’s lockdown rules.

If you’ve filled out a declaration pass, you’ve been in Victoria in the last 14 days, you will need to follow exactly the same process as if you were still in Victoria. That means you must stay wherever you are for the next seven days, when it will be reviewed by Victoria and you can only leave for those essential reasons,” advised Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young.

Stay at home order lifted for Victorian travellers in NSW

From 4pm today anybody entering New South Wales from Victoria had to observe the same lockdown rules while staying in New South Wales.

South Australia had closed the border to their Eastern neighbour at 6pm Wednesday night.

The only people allowed into SA from the affected area from that point on are essential travellers and returning South Australians, who will need to quarantine for 14 days.

People are unable to enter Tasmania if they have been in Victoria in the past 14 days.

Western Australia had closed the border to Victoria too.

From midnight Thursday travellers from Victoria will be banned from entering the Australian Capital Territory unless they have an exemption.

ACT residents who leave Victoria to come home after that time can enter but must follow stay at home requirements until the 3rd of June when the lockdown was scheduled to end in Victoria.

The Northern Territory has declared Greater Melbourne and Bendigo COVID-19 hospots, meaning anyone arriving from those areas will undergo mandatory quarantine. 

Anybody who had been in those areas since May 12, needed to get a COVID test and isolate until they returned a negative test.

New Zealand hit pause on the travel bubble between them and Victoria.

This outbreak is inevitable, we will see more until hotel quarantine is tightened up so its a weakness in our system that needn’t be and let’s hope this is the wake-up call to fix it.” Professor Brendan Crabb from the Burnett Institute said.

WIth a bit of luck and good management this Melbourne outbreak will be the warning shot we need to get vaccinated.

-Lloyd Marken

COVID-19 DIARY – DONKEYS FOR LIONS

Boris Johnson told to 'get Brexit plan B' | News | The Times

May 27

Thursday.

On the other side fo the world and a Wednesday, Dominic Cummings the former Chief Advisor to the Prime Minister of Great Britain Boris Johnson gave testimony at a parliamentary inquiry about the handling of the COVID pandemic.

What was said in those seven hours if proven true was pretty damning.

What was claimed or confirmed Cummings mostly related to behind closed door meetings and briefings where debate can be debated and remarks can be flip.

But still…

Johnson compared COVID to swine flu and suggested he be injected live on television with it to prove it wasn’t dangerous.

Was distracted about developments in Italy with his divorce and announcement of his partner’s pregnancy.

A senior civil servant likened COVID-19 to chicken pox and floated mass infection parties to build herd immunity.

Johnson quipped COVID was only killing over 80s.

Expressed regret over the first lockdown and said he would rather see the bodies pile in their thousands than order a second lockdown.

When asked if Johnson was fit to hold office, the man who was a key part of the team that saw him win power replied “No.”

Cummings was even harder on Health Secretary Matt Hancock who he said had told cabinet members that people being transferred from hospitals to nursing home were being tested prior to being transported but it didn’t happen.

“While the government rhetoric was we have put a shield around care homes and blah blah blah, it was complete nonsense,” he said.

Cummings advised the Prime Minister to get rid of Hancock otherwise we are going to kill people but he didn’t. Perhaps for political reasons.

In his testimony Cummings relayed two central points about the government initial plan – that herd immunity through spread was a key strategy and that the British public wouldn’t stand for lockdowns.

Those two assumptions were completely central to the official plan and were both obviously completely wrong,” Cummings said.

He told that during the pandemic civil servant Helen McNamara came to him and said, “I think we are absolutely f—ed. I think this country is heading for a disaster, I think we are going to kill thousands of people.

Cummings left government last year during a power struggle and also created controversy around himself when he seemingly broke lockdown rules last year when travelling from London to northern England while he had COVID!

What I find remarkable in this day and age with the news is how we just don’t know the answer for things for certain.

Did he break lockdown with COVID or not?!

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in Parliament the same day, “The handling of this pandemic has been one of the most difficult things this country has had to do for a very long time. And none of the decisions have been easy. At every stage we have tried to minimise loss of life, to protect the NHS and have followed the best scientific advice we can.

So was this political revenge from a former staffer?

Or somebody who had nothing to lose now?

Why didn’t he do more he was asked when he was there in government?

There’s no doubt in retrospect it was a huge failing of mine and I bitterly regret I didn’t hit the emergency panic button earlier than I did. I failed and I apologise for it,” he said.

“I’m not smart, I’ve not built great things in the world, it’s completely crackers that I was in [Downing Street], the same as it’s crackers that Boris Johnson was in there,” Cummings said.

“Any system that leaves people with the choice between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn is obviously a system that’s gone extremely badly wrong. There are thousands of people in this country who could offer better leadership than those two.”

I don’t have the answers but from my limited perspective in March last year Johnson struck a intransigent tone.

On March 13, 2020 as the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced restrictions to start on the 16th of March there would be no mass gatherings of 500 people or more after the weekend. , in the UK the Cheltenham racing festival was in full swing with the Cheltenham Gold Cup held on the 13th of March with over 68,500 attending.

Amid a global pandemic, Cheltenham Festival surviving all four ...

In the United States of America President Trump had announced a restriction on travel between Europe and the U.S. with the exception of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. 

On the 13th of March there were 802 cases in total reported in the United Kingdom. Over a quarter of those had just been reported that day – 208. There were two new deaths leading to a total of 10.

On March 18, the Australian government issued its highest travel advice level (level 4), advising Australians to avoid all travel regardless of destination, age and health.

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison held a press conference announcing new restrictions which included only two visitors to aged care homes and a ban on indoor gatherings of 100 people or less with certain exceptions like schools, supermarkets and exceptions.

The World Health Organisation reports 2,630 cases in the UK that day with a daily increase of 676. The death toll almost doubles that day with a daily increase of 43 taking the total past 100 to 103.

How Clean Air Cities Could Outlast COVID-19 Lockdowns

On the 23rd of March, 2020 the UK government announced restrictions with people only able to leave home for essential work or shopping, medical needs, or providing care for others. with exercise per day allowed. No public gatherings besides funerals and many forms of retail shut down.

On the 24th of March, 2020 in the United Kingdom there were 6,654 cases with a daily increase of 967. There were 335 deaths with a daily increase of 54.

On the 25th of March, 2020 the WHO reported March 26 in the United Kingdom9,533 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 1,452. The number of dead were 463 deaths with a daily increase of 41.

On the 31st of March, 2020 in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland there were 22,145 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 2,619. The number of dead were 1,408 with a daily increase of 180.

COVID-19: U.K. calls on the engineering industry to produce ...

On the 11th of May, 2020 Boris Johnson announced a move from Stay Home to Stay Alert.

Allowing travel across the country and to go out to parks as long as you maintained social distancing.

People working in construction and manufacturing could also return to work because those jobs could not be done by home.

The leaders of Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland urged their people to stay home still.

On the 11th of May, 2020 in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland the World Health Organisation reported there were 219,187 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 3,923 on the day Prime Minister Boris Johnson decided to lower restrictions.

The number of dead stood at 31,855 with a daily increase of 268.

On the 21st May, 2020 the United Kingdom came to be listed as the country with the fourth most number of cases in the world. There were 248,297 confirmed cases with a daily decrease of 525. The number of dead 35,704 with a daily increase of 363.

On the 31st of May, 2020 Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson advised two millions deemed clinically extremely valuable that they could now leave their homes once a day for a little exercise and could even meet with a person from another household if there was only one of them. The advice was not to go to shops or crowded places and that services providing delivery of food or medicine would continue.

“I do not underestimate just how difficult it has been for you, staying at home for the last 10 weeks, and I want to pay tribute to your resilience,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement.

On the 31st of May, the World Health Organisation reported 272,830 confirmed cases in the United Kingdom with a daily increase of 1,604. The number of dead were 38,376 with a daily increase of 215.

Coronavirus: Grounded planes and deserted airport terminals - BBC News

On the 8th of June, 2020 the British government unveiled a quarantine plan for all returning travellers including British citizens to give their details and self isolate for the next 14 days.

The press was already reporting that Whitehall was looking at opening up travel to Europe again by mid-July.

On the 8th of June in the United Kingdom when these measures were put in place there had been 286,198 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 1,326.

The number of deaths 40,542 with a daily increase of 77.

From my limited perspective some of the actions taken by the UK government suggest a lack of awareness of the threat during this and later periods.

A priority on the economy over lives.

Herd immunity was even evoked by Johnson in some early press conferences. In comparison to other European countries the UK moved slower and less stridently on a consistent basis.

What Cummings has testified might be irrelevant, there is enough in confirmed actions to question.

An inquiry is scheduled to being next year.

The World Health Organisation reported on the 27th of May, 2021 in the United Kingdom there have been 4,470,301 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 2,987.
There had been 127,748 deaths with a daily increase of nine.

-Lloyd Marken

COVID-19 DIARY – JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE TO SIP YOUR LATTE AGAIN

File:Lygon Street, Carlton.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

May 24

Monday and a new week.

As of 25 May 2021, the World Health Organisation reported a total of 1,545,967,545 vaccine doses have been administered around the world. The global population was 7.674 billion people.

The second repatriation out of India following the lifting of the travel ban of May 15 touched down in Darwin.

All 165 scheduled passengers had passed their tests and were able to fly back.

The testing company previously used by Qantas had been replaced after more than a dozen of the passengers from the previous flight who had tested positive had subsequently tested negative They were now being prirotised for getting a return flgiht.

There were eight repatriation flights scheduled for the following fortnight.

May 25

Tuesday and there is an increasing outbreak of cases in Melbourne who had suffered the most in 2020 with lockdowns, case numbers and aged care deaths.

There were five new daily cases and genomic testing linked it to the man who had done time in hotel quarantine in Adelaide and then become positive in Melbourne.

New restrictions or old restrictions returned to the Victorian capital.

Masks were to be worn inside, there was a limit of five people at home gatherings and public gatherings were restricted to 30 people.

New Zealand hit pause on the travel button with Victoria.

WA and Queensland advised anybody who had been in a hotspot needed to go into 14 day quarantine immediately. South Australia had the same measure for those who were already in the state but for Victorians who had not entered and had been in those hotspots were now banned from entering South Australia.

China released a video for their vaccine roll-out and announced an intention to administer up to 20 million doses a day.

A report from the ABC showed people were not going back to the office full time.

The ABC took stats from Australia Talks data that showed those working from home full time had shifted from four per cent to 25 per cent during the height of the pandemic here and was now currently at 12 per cent.

It appeared going forward a lot of people were keen to have a mix of working from home and in the office. Cutting out their commute saved them money and time and they found they were connected and present with their families.

Of course this was dependent on what your home life was, what your set-up at home was and what you did for a living.

I personally loved going into the office.

However I was certain the genie was out of the bottle and the stats reflected this.

Those who did 0 hours working from home had shifted from 49 per cent pre-pandemic to now 37 per cent.

May 26

Wednesday and the COVID cluster in Melbourne grew to 15 people with six new cases in the community.

It’s good that everyone is linked at this stage, but we are concerned about the number and the kind of exposure sites. I cannot rule out taking some further action but we will update people as soon as we know,” Victorian Acting Premier James Merlino said.

The next 24 hours were going to be crucial.

Three hundred known prmary close contacts had been tested and 80 results received so far with the rest expected in the next 24 hours.

The exposure sites that they then generate, how many close contacts they might have, and how long they have been in the community – they are all factors we need to consider,” Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said.

More than 26,000 COVID-19 tests were administered in the 24 hours to midnight Tuesday, and 15,858 vaccine doses were administered through the state.

As the cluster of cases grew to fifteen in Victoria, New South Wales residents were encouraged to postpone travel to Melbourne.

There also several locals who had visisted one of the contact sites, a shopping mall in Melbourne, who had gotten tested with two returning negative results. There were two that I was aware of, but there were a number of others that had gone to the shopping centre,” New South Wales Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant explained.

‘And as you can imagine, a shopping centre could have captured a broader group of people.’

The government to the north of Victoria was falling over itself to not close to their neighbour but yeah but nah but yeah but nah but.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard apologises for calling Labor Leader Jodi  McKay 'quite stupid' in mask stoush

Those who had been in Greater Melbourne or Bendigo since May 12 were advised to not visit residential aged care or health care facilities unless it was to seek treatment or for compassionate reasons.

People who had been in Melbourne’s far north well limit your attendance at locations at pubs, and clubs, and gyms and

Yeah large family gatherings

But you know you can still see your family and

Look avoid crowded indoor settings

But you know we won’t make you quarantine at home like those mongrel Queenslanders!

But you know… speaking of your house… do you like your house yeah… houses are great!

I mean if you like your house so much that you spend the new few days there then that’s probably for the best.

And if you got out and you can go out but like when you’re out………………….

Don’t go anywhere where there’s like ooooohh…lots of people

Or old people

Or sick people

Or people with disabilities

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand if you do….

Like could you wear a mask?

Nobdoy else will be wearing a mask and we’re certainly not going to mandate you wear a mask

Just like we’re not going to make you quarantine

Because there is no need to do any of that and we wouldn’t do that to you!

But if you could kind of do all of that then that’s probably for the best but we’re not going to do that because we’re not like the Queensland and WA governments.

You know..

………………………………………..

Well you know………………………………….

Cause we’re fucking morons.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian faces biggest test of nerves yet over  Christmas coronavirus crisis - ABC News

Or as they put it.

If you don’t really need to go to Greater Melbourne it might be an idea just to leave it for a few days until we get some clarity from the Victorian government as to what’s going on,” New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard advised.

While the vaccine is our way out [of the pandemic], we know that there’s certain behaviours that we needed to embed on that journey, and one of those is if you have the most minimal symptoms, please get tested,” Dr Chant said.

On Tuesday there had been 16,698 tests carried out in the state.

The same day 13,200 vaccine doses were dispensed by New South Wales Health.

So far in NSW, 1,142,002 doses had been dispensed, 371,117 by NSW Health and 770,885 by GPs and the Commonwealth.

NSW Health was stepping ahead of the national rollout getting over 40s to regsiter interest getting Pfizer jabs at their Sydney Olympic Park clinic.

There was still work to be done in Phase 1A and 1B which included front line health care workers, those who worked in quarantine or border control and their household contacts, thsoe with underlying health conditions aor disability.

Then there were the over 50s to get AstraZeneca.

The 40-49s who had registered for Pfizer were starting to get contacted.

-Lloyd Marken

ONE YEAR EARLIER: May 23, 2020

Trump went and played golf on Saturday the 23rd, on the weekend that the United States of America neared 100,000 deaths.

94,011 of the 334,534 deaths reported in the world from COVID were American.

May 25, 2020

George Floyd was murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis.

I got tested for COVID-19 for the first time returning a negative result.

COVID-19 DIARY – NEWS JUNKIE

May 21

In the wake of my sister and her husband finally getting the jab it was timely to think of where vaccinations were in the UK.

More than 37 million Britons had received at least one vaccine dose.

The initial roll-out targeted 32 million people who were either aged over 50, or residents and workers in aged care, or frontline health care workers, or those with underlying health problems and unpaid carers.

People who fell under those categories had accounted for 99% of all COVID deaths in the UK and the government had aimed to have offered anyone in that group at least their first jab by the 15th of April.

Now the rollout had expanded to get 21 million Britons aged 20 to 49 years old to receive their first jab by mid-July.

The thirty seven million equated to 70% of the adult population.

More than 21 million had their second dose.

There was a move to crank up second doses to over 50s in the wake of the new Indian variant.

In mid-march 500,000 first doses were administered per day.

Now first doses averaged 190,000 per day and 340,000 second doses were being administered on average.

Chart showing the total number of vaccine doses per 100 people by country

Public Health England has estimated that 11,700 deaths have been averted in people aged 60 years or older in England up to 25 April 2021, as a direct effect of being vaccinated.

Scotland has vaccinated 92% of those aged 40 and over with at least one dose, while Northern Ireland and Wales have reached 89%.

England, on average, has vaccinated 91% of the same age group, with the South West reaching 94% and London 83%.

Well over half of the adult population of Great Britain has received their first done and roughly a third have received their second dose.

There have been disparities between ethnic groups and poorer and wealthier areas.

The Pfizer-BioNTech jab – the first to be given the green light in December – is being imported from Puurs, Belgium.

A second vaccine, from Oxford University and AstraZeneca, is being made at a number of sites in Britain. Further doses are expected to come from the Serum Institute of India and the Halix plant in the Dutch city of Leiden.

The third, from Moderna, is coming from sites in Switzerland and Spain, via Belgium.

The UK is also lined up to receive at least three further vaccines if they are approved for use.

A jab manufactured by US firm Novavax will be made in Stockton-on-Tees in north-east England, while another by French company Valneva will be made in Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland.

The third, produced in the Netherlands by Belgian firm Janssen, owned by Johnson & Johnson, should also be available later this year.

On the horizon were vaccines from Valneva, GlaxoSmithKline, Novavax and Janssen.

Ministers have also announced an eighth deal with biopharmaceutical company CureVac to develop vaccines against future variants.

On Friday here in Australia there was plenty of COVID news to cover.

Some continued coverage in the need to get more people with disabilities vaccinated.

There was talk of putting blood clot cases into perspective from COVID restrictions.

There was talk of the need to get overseas students able to study at Universities in Australia.

Gauri Gupta, sister of Govind Kant’s who passed away in India, spoke to 7:30 about her loss.

There was talk of getting MRNA production up in Australia in the next two years with the federal government putting a callout for companies to make applications.

In the past, whenever we have needed boosters because a pathogen has mutated, it has generally taken about six months to get that up and running in a laboratory setting. With the mRNA vaccines it only takes six weeks. So that in itself is a big game-changer,” Professor Sanjaya Senanayake told Channel 9’s Today of the benefits of local mRNA production.

12,000 daily vaccination doses in New South Wales took the number of vaccinations in the state past 1 million wtih 1,030,428.

The national total was 3,472,874.

Out of that roughly two thirds were AstraZeneca doses and the other third was Pfizer.

Channel 9 reported 24 cases of of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) linked to AstraZeneca vaccinations in Australia with 21 confirmed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration

Recently a 53 year old South Australian man received a jab on the 4th of May and ended up in hospital May 18 with severe abdominal pain.

There was also the 18 year old nurse in Queensland, a 57 year old woman in and a 79 year old man both from Victoria.

Over 230 volunteers were allowed back into the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne including ‘The Splint Ladies‘ who have each been volunteering at the hosptial for three decades.

It was also reported that earlier in the week the Chinese made COVID vaccine Sinopharm was dispensed in the Solomon Islands making it the first Pacific Islander nation to receive the vaccine. Australia had also pledged to deliver 60,000 doses of AstraZeneca to the islands.

No one is safe unless everyone is safe. That means having access to vaccine is very critical and for countries like Solomon Islands that are extremely vulnerable because of our isolation and also because of our limited resources, accesss to vaccine for us is almost likened to life. And we are so grateful to the COVAX facility for the AstraZeneca vaccine as well as the People’s Republic of China for the Sinopharm vaccine,” Solomon Islands Health Minister Dr Culwick Togamana said.

India appeared to be coming off the peak of its largest and most devasting wave. The virus was spreading more rurally sadly in the country which would have consequences since there were less resources in those places.

In neighbouring Nepal it was reported 50 per cent of COVID tests returned positive on a daily basis, sometimes higher. The number of hospitalisations had increased and beds and oxygen were in short supply.

Following a petition that I coincidentally signed urging the Australian government to help, they announced seven million dollars of support would be sent.

The World Health Organisation reported on the 21st of May, 2021 in Nepal there had been 488,645 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 8,227. There had been 5,847 deaths with a daily increase of 190.

But for some none of that was the big news of the day.

Oh no.

The big news for them was that Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk had not yet had her COVID vaccine.

And neither had the Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young.

With so much coverage about blood clots people argued leaders taking the jab could build confidence.

They argued this struck the wrong tone, gave the wrong message.

Dr Young as a health care professional was waiting to get Pfizer and the Premier merely said she was waiting to do it after her flu shot which she had not yet had – halfway through Autumn.

At work we had taken our flu shots in early April but another school of thought was workplaces should hold off giving flu shots so early in the season.

In the past 24 hours in Australia 92,000 doses had been administered in the country.

The next day there was continued back and forth reported between Premier Palaszczuk and Prime Minister Morrison about the potential Wellcamp Airport quarantine facility. No real movement there.

On the ABC their program The Vaccine covered the latest on the vaccine roll-out in Australia and the latest news coming out of India.

Health Minister Greg Hunt’s words at a press conference were covered as unhelpful as the main vaccine on offer in Australia remained the AstraZeneca vaccine which had links to very rare cases of blood clotting.

Right now we want to encourage everybody over 50 to be vaccinated as early as possible but we’ve been very clear as supply increases later on in the year there will be enough vaccine of mRNA for every Australian,” Greg Hunt said.

You could argue it was simply acknowledge the fact that some people were going to hold out for Pfizer regardless of their age but there was a need to encourage people to get vaccinated as soon as they could.

Also has history had shown, we couldn’t assume that vaccine doses would arrive as we hoped they would at the end of the year in the quantities expected. There was a winter to contend with in between too.

Casey Briggs reported there had been 3.47 million vaccine doses dispensed in the country with over 100,000 doses dispensed.

The seven day average was just under 70,000 a day.

it was also reported cases were back on the rise in Brazil and surging in many South East Asian nations like Thailand and Malaysia.

Thailand hits over 1,300 daily COVID-19 cases after new year travels |  Daily Sabah

Physician and journalist Dr Norman Swan on the program spoke about vaccine hesitancy and the roll-out in Australia in general.

He advised waiting for Pfizer a choice someone could make but that given the leaks from hotel quarantine already and the rising number of infectious cases now was not the time to wait to get vaccinated.

The latest 617 Indian variant 617 was almost 40 more infectious than the British variant.

The R number is the number of people that one infected person will pass the virus on to on average.

The original Wuhan variant that swept the world had an R number of of 2.4

The UK strain that originated in Kent had an R number of 4.5.

Indian Covid variant could overwhelm NHS if it proves more transmissible  than Kent strain

It was estimated the Indian variant’s R number was at least 6 maybe even as high as 8 and could prove a little vaccine resistant.

He also reminded that risk of death from COVID goes up and the risk of blood clotting from AstraZeneca goes down.

He also spoke of how initial clinical trials presented the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine with an efficacy rate of 62 per cent.

SInce those trials, AstraZeneca was been dispensed twelve weeks apart with better results and both AstraZeneca and Pfizer seemed to give almost 100 per cent chance of avoiding hospitalisation from COVID. The current efficacy rate in the real world from infection was about 85 per cent with AstraZeneca and 95 per cent with Pfizer. A significantly smaller gap.

Infectious disesases expert Associate Professor Sanajaya Senanayake from Australian National University also joined the program.

You will hear there was a blood clot today, and you don’t hear about the half a million cases people who received vaccines who didn’t get a blood clot,” he noted about media coverage.

Which I understood what I meant but at the same time the number of vaccines being dispensed was being reported and also the reality of the statistical likelihood was also being covered but of course fear doesn’t make you act sensibly.

Australia at the moment does not have community transmission of COVID which is a wonderful thing in so many ways but combined with the one in a 100,000 risk of a clot with the AstraZeneca vaccine people are hesistant,” said Associate Professor Senanayake.

There was so much talk about the need for more marketing, the fear of blood clots and while I understand all of that is relevant.

I have to say the most important thing was getting our most vulnerable and our most keen vaccinated. That came down to logistics and that came down to organising.

COVID vaccine rollout delays frustrate vulnerable Australians in priority  group - ABC News

My older sister in disability care had still not been vaccinated.

Our aged care residents and staff had still not all been vaccinated.

Plenty of young people were keen do the smart thing and get vaccinated.

Worry about them.

They don’t need an ad to convince them and they know what’s at stake.

Now we’ve seen in Taiwan a country who like Australia has controlled COVID really well what can happen. They’ve got a very low vaccination rate and COVID has been introduced into the community, they’re having about 300 cases a day now and they’re going into a lockdown. That’s the danger here. We can go from having no COVID to having widespread community transmission in the blink of an eye. And then trying to mass vaccinate everyone when there is a lot of COVID around that becomes complicated,“warned Senanayake and his words would only been proven more true in the weeks ahead.

May 23

Sunday and on the 23rd of May, 2021 the World Health Organisation reported there had been 166054891 confirmed cases globally with a daily increase of 590064.

There had been 3564623 deaths worldwide with a daily increase of 11865.

In the Solomons Islands there had been 23 cases recorded and zero deaths. As of the 13th of May it was reported 11,536 vaccine doses had been administered.

In Papua New Guinea there had been 15,187 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 54.

There had been 156 deaths with a daily increase of two.

More had to be done.

There had been 13 new daily deaths recorded on the 20th of May, a record for the country.

More had to be done.

As of the 13th of May there had been 11,537 vaccine doses dispensed in the country.

In Australia there had been 30,004 confirmed cases with a daily increase four. There had been 910 deaths.

As of the 27th of April, there had been 3,089,183 vaccine doses dispensed in the country.

COVID: Nepal reeling from a deadly second coronavirus wave | Asia| An  in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 07.05.2021

In Nepal there had been 505,643 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 8,591. There had been 6,153 deaths with a daily increase of 129.

By the 29th of May there would have been 2,802,596 vaccine doses administered in the country with a population of 28.61 million people.

In Malaysia there had been 505,115 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 6,320. There had been 2,199 deaths with a daily increase of 50.

As of the 16th of May, there had been 1,914,554 vaccine doses administered in the country with a 31.95 million people.

In Canada there had been 1,352,121 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 4,676. There had been 25162 deaths with a daily increase of 51.

The country had reached the milestone of 25,000 dead from COVID on the 20th of May with 25,018 and a daily increase of 35. 

The country was coming off its most recent and largest wave of COVID with the percentage of its population much higher than it had been only a few weeks earlier.

By the 27th of May there would be 22,622,529 vaccine doses dispensed in Canada which had a population of 37.59 million people.

In the United Kingdom there had been 4,460,450 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 2,523. There had been 127,716 deaths with a daily increase of six.

By the 31st of May the UK had dispensed 64,923,228 vaccine doses amongst a population of 66.65 million people. 

France's sidewalk cafes and restaurants reopen after 6-month shutdown -  MarketWatch

In France there had been 5,497,073 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 11,821. There had been 107,732 deaths with a daily increase of 75.

By the 29th of May there would have been 36,487,886 vaccine doses dispensed in a country with 67.06 million people.

In India there had been 26,530,132 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 240,842. There had been 209,266 deaths with a daily increase of 3,741.

The next day India would reach the milestone of over 300,000 COVID deaths with 303,720 and a daily increase of 4,454.

While the country was coming down from its most devastating wave with reported case numbers there had been 4,529 deaths reported four days earlier on the 19th of May. The highest number of daily deaths from COVID in the country ever.

By the end of the month on the 31st of May, there would have been 218,358,591 vaccine doses dispensed in India.

Brazil's Covid Crisis Is a Warning to the Whole World, Scientists Say - The  New York Times

In Brazil there had been 15,970,949 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 76,855. There had been 446,309 deaths with a daily increase of 2,215.

In Brazil the highest number of daily deaths had been 4,249 reported on the 10th of April, 2021.

By the 27th of May there would have been 60,017,445 vaccine doses dispensed in a country with 211 million people.

In the United States of America there had been 32,762,914 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 27,921. There had been 583,696 deaths with a daily increase of 743.

By the 27th of May there would been 294,270,594 vaccine doses dispensed in a country with 328.2 million people.

ONE YEAR EARLIER: May 21, 2020 

The United Kingdom came to be listed as the country with the fourth most number of cases in the world. There were 248,297 confirmed cases with a daily decrease of 525. The number of dead 35,704 with a daily increase of 363.

In Brazil there were 271,628 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 17,408! The number of dead were 17,971 with a daily increase of 1,179.

May 22, 2020

There was talk of opening up state borders in Australia. In response Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan said, “New South Wales had the Ruby Princess — I mean, seriously? And they are trying to give us advice on our borders, seriously?“.

COVID-19 DIARY – MARKETERS SAY YOU NEED TO MARKET SALVATION

May 20

Thursday.

There was news that Pfizer jabs could be more easily dispersed here in Australia. Currently Pfizer can be stored for up to five days in a regular fridge but now following research The Therapeutic Goods Administration were looking to approve normal fridge storage times be extende up to 31 days.

3,278,854 vaccines doses had been administered in Australia but 1.5 million doses were currently in storage so dispersal could be helped.

There was also talk in the media for the need for a bigger flashier advertising campaign for vaccination. Either the song and dance numbers from Asia or the charm of New Zealand’s relaxed demeanour or the starpower fo Sir Michael Caine and Sir Elton John in the UK or Dolly Parton in the U.S.

Advertising Guru Simon Reynolds who created the chilling Grim Reaper HIV advertisements from the 1980s wasn’t pulling any punches thirty years on. His advice, cut through apathy with fear because there is little doubt there virus is something to be afraid of.

With over 3 million dead and 164 million infected I am inclined to agree.

When asked if his advice was to use fear again he replied, “Well use reality.”

Pfizer drugs could be stored in a regular fridge from the now with fridge storage times going from 5 to 31 days which could prove a major development.

With the end of Jobkeeper in Australia, the unemployment rate had gone from 5.7 per cent in March to 5.5 per cent in April.

Thirty thousand and six hundred jobs had been lost in the month but the people looking for work also decreased from 66.3% to 66.0%.

Basically there were less people working and less people looking for work too.

Unemployment was effectively where it was pre-COVID in Australia which was kind of miraculous but that wasn’t too say there were people who had lost work or lost their business.

Eunice Wang had gone from a part time job in the tourism industry to casaul work in retail. Less hours, less security and less money but she was all smiles.

Heroes come in all forms.

Her resilience just one more example of what we need to support and what we need to find within ourselves.

Others like Jimmy and James Gantidis of the struggling to survive Melbourne River Cruises.

The Wall Street Journal had also covered the COVID crisis in India with an informative concise video.

In the United Kingdom the BBC was updating a page Covid: When will I get the vaccine with information.

On the 20th fo May, it advised people aged 34 and over could book to get their first vaccine dose. In Scotland it was anyone over 30 and in some parts of Glasgow it was anyone over 18. The Welsh were the same as Glaswegians and in Northern Ireland people 25 and up could get vaccinated. There was priority for some to get second doses too in England where the Indian variant was taking off.

Second doses are also being offered earlier to some people as concerns grew over the second variant.

With the priority on those age groups that meant those who wanted to get vaccinated in older age brackets should have mostly already done so. Also the bulk of frontline health and social care workers, clinically extremely vulnerable people and those with underlying health problems aged over 16 had also been prioritised.

Those who had their first done should have received their second dose within twelve weeks of the first. There was a shift too for those over 50 with health conditions to get their second dose now within eight weeks of the first jab.

The three vaccines of choice in the UK remained the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine, the Oxford-AstraZenea and Moderna.

Previously the decision had been made on the 7th of April to offer an alternative for those under 30 from the AstraZeneca vaccine due to extremely rare cases of blood clots.

At the end of March 20 million doses of AstraZeneca had been administered with 79 cases of blood clots resulting in 19 deaths. A one in million chance fo dying. Out of those nearly two of the cases had been women, the people who died were 18 to 79 years old with three of them under 30.

Since the 7th of May that had heen applicable to those under 40 years of age.

That decision was taken as the numbers racked up to 242 clotting cases and 49 deaths from 28.5 million doses administered.

The UK’s medicines safety regulator says there have been 242 clotting cases and 49 deaths, with 28.5 million doses of the vaccine administered.

With thoses stats the risk of death from a blood clot was two in a million chance for people over 40 and four in a million chance for those over 30.

The risk of a clot is roughly one in 100,000 for people in their 40s, but rises to one in 60,000 for people in their 30s. Two in a million people in their 40s died rising to four per million people in their 30s.

Table comparing the Oxford, Pfizer, Moderna, Novavax and Janssen vaccines

Official guidance currently was to have people get the same vaccine for both doses. It was believed teh three vaccines currently being used in the UK would prevent people becoming seriously ill or dying even against variants.

It appeared the Indian variant spread more easily.

Companies were working to have booster jabs ready to counter variants by autumn in the northern hemisphere.

The Cov-Boost study will recruit 3,000 people of all ages to test whether re-vaccinating some people in the autumn is necessary.

The UK had on order eight different vaccines and 517 million doses.

Following on from 40 million Pfizer doses initially there were now at least 60 million Pfizer booster jabs to come in the northern autumn.

Chart showing the vaccine doses the UK has on order
In the UK the vaccine was being offered to pregnant women.
The UK’s vaccine committee says pregnant women should be offered a jab when other people their age get one.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are preferable, they say, because data relating to 90,000 pregnant women has not raised any safety concerns.

Data on how the AZ vaccine works in pregnant women may become available in the near future.

For the moment Pfizer was approved for use in over 16 year olds and AstraZeneca and Pfizer over 18s with of course that major caveat regarding AstraZeneca.

In Canada and the U.S. Pfizer was approved for use with teenagers.

No decision has been made on whether teenagers or younger children will be offered a vaccine in the UK.

AstraZeneca is trialling its vaccine on six-to-17-year-olds in the UK. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are currently testing their vaccines on those aged 12-18.

Moderna and Pfizer are also testing their jabs on children between six months and 11 years old.

There were 2,135 new daily COVID cases in Great Britain on the 20th of May.

And three daily deaths.

-Lloyd Marken

ONE YEAR EARLIER: May 20, 2020

It is announced that Captain Tom Moore who raised 33 million pounds for the UK’s National Health Service by completing 100 laps of his garden in the lead-up to his 100th birthday will receive a Knighthood from Her Majesty The Queen.

Captain Tom wears glasses, blazer and war medals with a thumbs up in front of cakes decorated with planes and tanks.

COVID-19 DIARY – ONE IN THREE?!

What Vaccines Should my Baby Get | What Vaccinations Should my Baby Have

May 19

Wednesday.

There was some back and forth between leaders about the proposed quarantine facility in Toowoomba, Queensland.

Who’s going to operate it? Where’s the workforce going to come from? Who’s running the infection control procedures or where is the security workforce coming from? All of this needs to be established,” Prime Mr Morrison had told ABC radio on Tuesday.

We will continue to put our case to the federal government, but it’s a bit rich cherry-picking which ones the federal government likes and which ones they don’t like. [Prime Minister Scott Morrison] doesn’t need any more detail … the threshold question here is are they going to allow flights to land into the airport, yes or no?” was the response from Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk the next day.

While Queensland Oppositon Leader David Crisafulli noted, “It seems a little strange that Victoria, a government of the same political persuasion as here in Queensland, has been willing to release that to the Commonwealth.

Regardless further facilities like the one at Howard Springs would be useful for building capacity for taking on returned travellers and avoiding breakouts in capital cities.

Sydney Morning Herald and The Age ran a poll and reported that one in three Australians who had not been vaccinated were hesitant to get vaccinated.

The Prime Minister spun it into a postive about 70 per cent who wanted to get the jab.

“Let’s just get on with them,” Mr Morrison said.

There’s plenty of time to have the chat with the others who are a bit hesitant. That’s alright, it’s a free country and they should talk to their doctor. Those who are hardcore against it is a much smaller number – a much, much smaller number – but there are others who are open to the conversation and we will have that,” said the PM.

While one in three wouldn’t pony up a bare sleeve to save lives from a poll was the talk of the news broadcasters.

Actual news was a new record of 95,000 doses had been adminsitered in the past 24 hours in the country. We now sat at 3.28 million jabs performed.

The single biggest source of confidence any Australian can have is looking at their friends and family, their mum and dad, their grandma and grandpa being vaccinated,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said.e told reporters in Brisbane.

There had been 18 rare blood clot cases in Australia from 1.8 million AstraZeneca vaccinations.

Those rates are very similar to what have been seen overseas but the difference here in Australia, the experts are saying, is that the cases appear to be more mild. They are speculating this is because there is high awareness here in Australia, physicians don’t have the huge strain of treating COVID-19 in our healthcare system, so they have been diagnosed earlier and managed really effectively with good outcomes,” Liz Chatwin, the president of AstraZeneca in Australia and New Zealand

Experts have reported there are 50 blood clots every day in Australia from a multitude of different causes, so that just underlines how rare this condition is,” she further added.

If Australians needed another reminder of reasons to get vaccinated they need look no further than India.

There bodies washed up in on the shore of the River Ganga.

Bodies also protruded through the sand of the shore where many had been buried.

The images were harrowing and revealed yet again the horror and scale of the loss being felt in the country at the moment.

On the 19th of May, 2021 the World Health Organisation reported the highest number of daily deaths in India with 4,529.

That took the total to 283,248 deaths.

There had been 25,496,330 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 267,334.

-Lloyd Marken

COVID-19 DIARY – ROLL OUT ROLL UP – PART VIII

U.K. rolls out 1st doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine | CBC News

May 18

Tuesday.

Five months and ten days after 90 year old Margaret Keenan got the first jab in the UK – my younger sister in London got vaccinated.

The good news didn’t stop there.

There was an opening and her husband walked up the road and got vaccinated as well.

WIth cases already occuring at their school again this was welcome news even if it would take time for the full protection offered by their Pfizer shot to take full effect.

The good news didn’t stop there, family over in Canada had also got vaccinated with Moderna.

News of people I cared about abroad getting vaccinated was a welcome relief and couldn’t have come soon enough.

In England another step was made in the lowering of restrictions.

Britons could now go abroad to Portugal and a few other limited countries.

Hospitality and tourism were back in business.

People walk at The Arcade shopping mall, amid the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Bedford town centre, Britain May 25, 2021. REUTERS/Paul Childs

Cinemas, restaurants, museusm and casinos as well as The London Eye were all open for business giving close to 1 million people a change to go back to work.

Theatre was back – The West End was open for the first time in 14 months.

Cases of the Indian variant in the country had double in the past 4 days reported Channel 9 News.

It was interesting to watch here in Australia. Britain had suffered more in case numbers and deaths than here in Australia and as a result had endured a more lengthy and stringent lockdown.

But international travel was still limited in Australia and while our theatres had opened up again without restrictions the number of cases were significantly less at the point those decisions were made then was the case currently in Great Britain.

It seemed and I would appreciate any commentary from my fellow British bloggers, that Britons had endured something and were enthuasiastic about their new freedom.

If there was a risk to enjoying it they felt they had endured enough to consider taking that risk. Maybe also an awareness that restictions could be lowered again.

Happy to hear your thoughts.

In the news was discussion about Queensland not having a mass vaccination hub with the Queensland Premier arguing the population was more decentralised. In the past 24 hours New South Wales and Victoria had each dispensed over 11,000 vaccine doses. Queensland and Western Australia had both been under three thousand each.

a man and a woman sitting at a table in front of a window: Chris Uhlmann sits down with Scott Morrison.

There was talk of a vaccine passport again, this time to allow more free travel between states during lockdowns for those who had been vaccinated.

All of those arrangements will have to be put in place,” said the Prime Minister acknowledging the power lay with the state governments.

[It’s them] who actually prevent Australians moving from one state to another consistent with their public health orders,” he said.

On international borders where the power lay with the Federal Government, the PM advised it would be a gradual process.

One step at a time and a risk that Australia can manage safely. It’s not closed one day, open the next. It will be tempered by the medical advice at every step,” Morrison said.

It’s not something that’s doable yet,” he added in regards to travellers quarantining at home after returning.

An 18 year old nursing student had been hospitalised with blood clots three weeks after receiving an AstraZeneca jab. It took five hospital visits to get properly diagnosed and it properly left her shaken.

Also in the news 47 year old Sydney father Govind Kant had passed away. A son who went back to his bury his mother in India, he was then unable to get a flight back before getting COVID. He recovered from the virus but his lungs were too damaged and he passed away. In the space of six weeks his family had lost a mother, a father and their brother.

-Lloyd Marken

ONE YEAR EARLIER: May 18, 2020

A truck driver who had tested positive to COVID-19  had made deliveries to twelve McDonalds while asymptomatic in Fawkner, Melbourne.

It was one year on since the Prime Minister Scott Morrison had won the election. In his first year as leader the devastating bushfires of the 19-20 Summer had occurred followed by COVID.

COVID-19 DIARY – HOW YOU TAKE CARE OF YOUR MOST VULNERABLE

Gladys Berejiklian on Twitter: "What an amazing welcome from the staff at  the Endeavour Foundation warehouse in Seven Hills- the largest employer of  people with intellectual disability in Australia.… https://t.co/3oNHXjZtF9"

May 17

Monday.

I have talked previously about the fact that many people with disabilities were being left behind in the vaccine roll-out.

Now finally there was some media coverage thanks to one angry Mum named Margaret Ruff who had had enough.

Her son 45 year old Raymond who lives in a residential group home was still waiting for the jab.

This example struck close to home with regards to my older sister.

And now we had the stats.

Out of 26,000 people with disabilities living in care residences across Australia.

Only 999 had received a jab.

The country had moved to 2A of the vaccine rollout to get everybody over 50 vaccinated but at least 25,000 vulnerable people who fell under catergory 1A which started roll-out in February were still waiting for their jabs.

The disability royal commission heard from families today “Basically we’ve sort of been left on our own.

As at 15th of May, 2021 3,089,183 vaccine doses had been administered in the country wtih 32,386 in a the 24 hours leading up to that.

There were complications to be sure.

There had been 296,336 doses given to those in aged care and residentially disability facilities with 1,524 given in the past 24 hours

67,172 of those were doses administered had been in Queensland.

There were lots of things to complicate delivery of vaccines amongst those with disabilities and in aged care.

One was travel, you had to do and delivery at the residency and you weren’t going to do for one jab.

There was consent to be gained or established.

If they were underlying health conditions you had to get the go ahead from your Doctor or specialist which could take more time here.

You might need others on sight for those who would be anxious to get a needle without someone that put them at ease.

But allowing for all of that – it was absolutely piss poor what had occurred here.

We need to do better.

As Margaret Ruff put it, “It’s disgusting, it’s absolutely disgusting. How do you judge society, by the way they treat their ill and vulnerable.

With the India travel ban there had been renewed talk about how to improve our quarantine system in Australia.

In the news that week there was talk of using Bladin Point for overseas workers for Australian farms to be be quarantined. The facility currently did that for a U.S. Marine Rotational Force that trains in the Northern Territory during the dry season.

Thousands of US marines to touch down in Darwin before June 2021 - ABC News

“When those contracts finish then there is the opportunity to do further work there, particularly dealing with workforce requirements in the Territory,” he told reporters on Brisbane on Monday.

The Victorian government had also spent $15 million dollar to prepare for the construction of a 500 bed quarantine facility at Mickleham north of Melbourne. It would take $200 million to build but that was small change compared to the cost to the economy when a capital city or state goes into lockdown.

A proposal from Queensland to build at Wellcamp Airport in Toowoomba to quarantine 1,000 travellers and be manned from 300 staff was rejected.

Increase in infrastructure could be the boom Toowoomba needs

The idea that you can just put these out in the desert somewhere, and I know Toowoomba’s not in the desert but the point being (that) they need to be close to a major capital city airport. The planes aren’t going somewhere else, they’re coming into Brisbane, and that is a very long trek over to Toowoomba,” said the Prime Minister.

Victoria has put a very comprehensive proposal to us, something we can actually work with, and we are. If they [the Queensland government] were to do that, then they could expect the same sort of hearing that the Victorian government’s getting,” the PM explained.

Howard Springs is 25 kilometres from Darwin.

Mickleham is 40 kilometres from Melbourne.

Victoria's Mickleham quarantine hub proposal site a surprise to most

Wellcamp Airport is 160 kilometres from Brisbane.

I wondered what were the factors that went into these decisions.

Previously remote locations had been ruled out because of lack of access to major health care facilities.

On the other hand the push was to mitigate all the pressure on hotel quarantines in major capital cities.

Some outbreaks had occurred following leaks from hotel quarantine staff being out in the community unknowingly infecitous.

But other outbreaks had occured when returned travellers had spent time in quarantine, tested negative and subsequently gone out in the community and been infectious.

Yet again other outbreaks had occured from hospital staff becoming infected.

In terms of distance Ipswich was 40 kilometres from Brisbane but also been part of a greater Brisbane lockdowns this year.

A recent lockdown in South East Queensland had seen cases spread as far as Byron Bay 165 kilometrest to the south and Gladstone 515 kilometres to the north.

So distance couldnt’ be the only factor here, available facilities, support and necessary staff and travel all had to be weighed up.

Furthermore it appeared these facilities were to augment not replace hotel quarantine.

Researchers at Griffith University in Queensland were working on an anti-viral drug which would seek out and destroy COVID-19 cells in an infected person’s lungs while leaving other cells unharmed.

The hope was the drug could be on the market in two years.

-Lloyd Marken

ONE YEAR EARLIER: May 17, 2020

Some national parks in Queensland had re-opened. Karen and I headed out on a Sunday drive, going to the Natural Bridge in Springfield National Park near the border of New South Wales.

COVID-19 DIARY – REVIEW OF ‘PLUCKED’ AT ANYWHERE FESTIVAL AVAILABLE ON WEEKEND NOTES

Weekend Notes 23

 

May 16

 

I got an e-mail a little while back inviting me to review a show at Anywhere Festival which was pretty exciting.

On Sunday night Karen and I left early from a family gathering and headed for Elements Collective a bar in the Valley.

I really enjoyed the themes and jokes of Plucked, the first show from new theatre company WhittleBerry.

The review ran in the Weekend Notes newsletter, racked up some views and the following weekend the show was sold out.

So a lot can be expected from WhittleBerry in the years to come and it was very exciting to see their firsrt show.

You can read my review here Plucked – Anywhere Festival – Brisbane (weekendnotes.com)

I really enjoyed going to the Anywhere Festival in 2021 and seeing a terrific show.

As Karen and I headed home, I once again realised how lucky i was to live in Australia while developments happened elsewhere.

Actress Lisa Hickey made her directorial debut here, I had previously seen her perform in The Curators productions of Uncle Vanya and Ibsen’s Ghosts, and as Cassius in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar mounted by heartBeast Theatre, writing reviews for Scenestr and Weekend Notes.

I really enjoyed going to the Anywhere Festival in 2021 and seeing a terrific show.

It had been a while since we had gone to see a show in the Valley. I once again realised how lucky i was to live in Australia while developments happened elsewhere.

Weekend Notes are a growing online magazine with a wealth of contributors based out of several cities across the United Kingdom, Australia and New York. Articles are leisure related and can include a wide variety of subjects from rainforest hikes to cultural festivals, from what hot new play is on at your underground theatre to a ultra trendy eatery. Writers are paid for their work based partly on how many views their articles get so please feel free to stop by and show some love.

-Lloyd Marken

 

COVID-19 DIARY – REPATRIATION

Howard Springs quarantine capacity boosted | Katherine Times | Katherine, NT

 

May 14

 

The first repatriation flight for Australians from India since the short lived travel ban took off from New Delhi with only half of the 150 the passengers scheduled to be on board.

Forty-six people had COVID and twenty four were close contacts. 

Forty six having tested positive for the more contagious Indian variant and people close to them left behind for what would have been their deliverance.

While the government tried to fill the flight with more passengers, it struggled to do so because of the window for pre-flight testing restrictions.

People like Jitin Wig whose wife and toddler tested positive. 

“The whole medical system here is a shambles, so if it does get serious here for any of us, I’m not sure how I’d be able to get help. I’m not sure if I’d be able to get any medicines, I’m not sure if I’d be able to get any oxygen, or anything else they might need,” Wig said of the overworked Indian health care system they might need help from in the coming days.

I understand the government’s position, if people are testing positive, they don’t want to bring the infection over, I understand they are trying to protect the economy, the people. Even though I’m one of those people who didn’t get to go on a flight today, I would still agree that I somebody is testing positive, it is best – for the larger good, I would say – to not bring them over,”the father added.

He did want the government to help those left behind with medical support and consider taking particularly vulnerable people if they had COVID. 

Would you want to board an international flight with someone with COVID on board?

What was the likelihood somebody on that flight would ultimately test positive?

Could other arrangements be made to get those vulnerable people home than just putting them on a flight with others? 

Surely.

Sunny Joura interviewed on ABC News was due to travel on the same flight with his elderley mother but he tested positive. 

In a moment that would have been unsettling he did well to stay calm during an interview with ABC News. He had previously tested negative to fly back on the 28th of April when the ban was put in place. 

He did suggest that decision could now potentlally prove to have turned out to be a death sentence for him.

He also said that only five repatration flights had been sent over from June to December 2020 to India which had been a missed opportunity to get people home before this subsequent wave. Only 750 out of 10,000 Australians in the country had been able to get on repatriation flights during that six month period. He had been trying to get home for 11 months and had had two flights previously cancelled but this was the first time he had tested positve.

The goverment had tried to fill the suddenly spare seats but pre-flight testing didn’t give much of a window of time.

Prior to boarding people take a PCR test two days before the flight and then a rapid antigen test. Both have to return negative results.

 

 

QF112 arrived at the RAAF base in Darwin on Saturday morning. Picture Glenn Campbell

 

May 15

 

The next day Qantas Flight 112 touched down in RAAF Darwin with the passengers headed for quarantine in Howard Springs.

I’m sure they didn’t feel that whatever they had gone through was over but hopefully the worst of it was.

How many would test positive while in quarantine?

How many had left for India to care for a loved one or bury them?

How many counted themselves lucky just to be home?

I wonder.

For what its worth in this small corner of the internet.

Welcome home, it’s good to have you back and hope to have everyone home soon.

“We really need to ensure that we have a system in place to bring these people safely home so they can receive the medical care here in Australia that they require. If our system can’t handle easily 100 people coming back who are testing positive a week, if that if it can’t handle that, then we need to look seriously at our healthcare system,” Associate Professor Adam Kamradt-Scott, from the Global Health Security Network, said.

 

 

May 16

 

On the 16th of May, 2021 the World Health Organisation reported there had been 161,854,452 confirmed cases globally with a daily increase of 675,747. 

There had been 3,367,187 deaths worldwide with a daily increase of 12,305.

They're our family': Australia pledges 1m Covid-19 vaccine doses to Papua  New Guinea | Papua New Guinea | The Guardian

In Papua New Guinea there had been 13,928 confirmed cases. There had been 136 deaths.

There had been 504 new daily cases on May 11. Thirteen deaths would be reported on the 20th of May, the most in one day in the small nation. The spread of the virus was still going on in PNG.

As of the 13th of May there had been 11,537 vaccine doses dispensed in the country. 

In Australia there had been 29,967 confirmed cases with a daily increase of ten. There had been 910 deaths.

As of the 27th of April there had been 3,089,183 vaccine doses dispensed in the country.

In Canada there had been 1,318,399 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 5,991. There had been 24,869 deaths with a daily increase 44.

As of the 20th of May there had been 20,124,578 vaccine doses dispensed in the country. The population of Canada was 37.59 million people.

African nation worst hit by COVID-19 falling behind on vaccines | The Japan  Times

In South Africa there had been 1,611,143 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 2,750. There had been 55,183 deaths with a daily increase of 59. 

As of the 25th of May, 2021 there had been only 182,983! vaccine doses dispensed in the country. The population of South Africa was 58.56 million people.

In the United Kingdom there had been 4,447,984 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 1,156. There had been 127,675 deaths with a daily increase of seven.

Those daily numbers were similar to the early part of March 2020 when the first wave was building and late August before numbers continued to rise to devastating effect over winter. Not quite the lull of June and July 2020 but close.

As of the 24th of May there had been 60,965,594 vaccine doses dispensed in the country. The population of Great Britain was 66.65 million people. Given they were now vaccinating people 38 years old and over there must be a few who had gotten second doses or even more?

World reacts to India's catastrophic COVID surge | Coronavirus pandemic  News | Al Jazeera

In India there had been 24,684,077 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 311,170. There had been 270,284 deaths with 4,077.

A record of new daily deaths had been set on the 12th of May with 4,205 deaths recorded that day.

As of the 24th of May there had been 200,494,991 vaccine doses dispensed in the country. 

In the United States of America there had been 32,574,504 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 40,431. In March, April, May and June 2020 the daily averages had never been that high. Many had been less than 20,000 back then. 

There had been 579,664 deaths with a daily increase of 680.

As of the 13th of May there had been 283,181,265 vaccine doses dispensed in the country. The population of the U.S. was 328.2 million people.

 

-Lloyd Marken

 

ONE YEAR EARLIER: May 14, 2020

A MacDonalds at Fawkner in Melbourne Victoria had 90 staff tested and isolated pending results after a break-out of eight COVID-19 cases from the fast food outlet including four staff members and four family members of a worker.

May 15, 2020

On the 15th of May the World Health Organisation reported 6,989 confirmed cases in Australia with a daily increase of 14. 98 Australians had died and there was no daily increase.

 

COVID-19 DIARY – ROLL OUT ROLL UP – PART XII

What is the Moderna COVID vaccine? Does it work, and is it safe?

May 13

Thursday Australia announced a deal to procure 25 million doses of the American Moderna vaccine with 10 million jabs hopefully by the end of year and then 25 million booster jabs next year to deal with variants.

As the federal govenrnemt looked to set-up production of MRNA vaccines in Australia Moderna’s CEO Stephane Bancel said in a statement, “We look forward to continuing discussions with Australia about establishing potential local manufacturing opportunities.

Adelaide plant BioCina who had bought a plant in Adelaide off Pfizer threw its hat into the ring as being able to produce MRNA vaccines like Moderna at its facility within 12 months.

We can have the ability to manufacture a hundred, a hundred and fifty million doses that would serve the region rather than just Australia so there is an export oppourtunity as well,” BioCina Chief Executive Ian Wisenberg said.

This followed deals with AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Novaxin and Moderna would still need to secure the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

If supplies from Pfizer were delayed maybe ones from Moderna, which had a cited efficacy rate of 94.1 per cent, might help with numbers..

We think there is no reason why you can’t mix and match vaccines. The trial data is not out yet. There’s some trials being done UK looking at AstraZeneca first done and Pfizer or Moderna second dose.” Department of Health Secretary Professor Brendan Murphy said looking ahead to the future.

The Univesity of South Australia was also developing a vaccine in partnership with Biotech Company Semetis had also received three million dollars from the Australian government. It was possible still a year from getting to the market. 

In New South Wales 7,500 people got vaccinated in one day.

WIth 7 new cases of blood clots in Australia there were now 18 cases of blood clots from 1,800,000 vaccinations in Australia. That was 1 in a 100,000 chance of having it happening to you someone vaccinated. Remember 1 in 600 Americans had died from COVID last year.

An independent panel for the handling of the pandemic released its findings.
It didn’t get much news coverage despite holding many lessons for I learn from not just for future pandemics for the current ongoing one.

Some critical points were the sharing of information between nations, empowering the World Health Organisation and effectively in terms of the outbreak in the West a lack of action throughout the month of February, 2020.

ABC News reported some suggestions were a disease surveillance system that could publish information about developments in a country they were working in without the need to get permission to do so and rich countries doing more to vaccinate poorer nations.

Let’s hope some lessons are learned from the panel’s findings.

On the 12th of May, 2021 the World Health Organisation recorded in India there had been 4,205 deaths in one day.

A new record.

May 14

A new step in the vaccine roll-out a week on from the 2A cohort was due to start next Monday with 400,000 Pfizer doses to be dispensed to 14 different sites across Victoria for a small group of those under age 50.

You had to make a booking and priority would be given to critical and high risk workers, adults with underlying health conditions, disabiltiy and aged care carers and workers.

Uber Drivers and public transport workers could make a booking from May 24th the following Monday.

Victorian Acting Premier James Merlino advised the state was averaging 8,000 vaccinations a day. A testing clinic at the Melbourne Showgrounds would also open a mass vaccination hub on Monday as well.

I am very supportive of any measures to get as many people vaccinated as possible as quickly as possible. Winter is coming,” Shadow Health Minister Georgie Crozier said.

The bulk of contract tracing and COVID tests following in the wake of a man who had tested positive earlier in the week having travelled from Adelaide had returned negative results with no new daily community cases. The man had originally departed India on the 19th of April and travelled via the Maldives and Singapore.

Channel Nine News reported three hundred thousand vaccine doses had been given out so far in the state.

Army drafted in as 'mass' coronavirus testing is rolled out in Bolton | The  Bolton News

In Great Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned the staged steps to lower restrictions could be disrupted by the Indian strain which was spreading through Great Britain.

In one week Public Health England reproted cases of the variant had tripled in the country with 1,255 in England, 35 in Scotland, 12 in Northern Ireland and eleven in Wales.

On May 14th, 2021 the World Health Organisation reported in the United Kingdom there were 2,656 new daily cases.

On Monday England was due to open up pubs and restaurants and six people from two households could gather at one of their places.

After that was the fourth and final step due June 21 where there will be no limits on social gatherings indoors or outdoors, no limits on weddings and nightclubs will re-open.

That seemed to still be on the cards but the PM warned, “I have to level with you that this new variant could pose a serious disruption to our progress and could make it more difficult to move to step four in June.

But I urge everyone to exercise the greatest caution because the choices we each make in the coming days will have a material effect on the road ahead,” he added.

Having down throught the ages with one jab currently anyone over 38 could get vaccinated. Now there was a run on to cut the 12 week gap between the first and second jab to just eight weeks for those over 50 or with underlying health conditions.

Mr Johnson added that there was “no evidence to suggest that our vaccines will be less effective in protecting people against severe illness and hospitalisation”.

The UK’s Chief Medical Adviser Professor Chris Whitty warned that if the Indian variant was more transmissible the island nation would see a significant surge.

That’s a really critical question to which we do not yet have the answer. We expect over time this variant will overtake and come to dominate in the UK in the way that the Kent variant did,” he added.

Remember how the UK strain was up to 70 per cent than the orginal COVID that across the West, well the Indian strain could be 50 per cent more transmissible than the UK strain according to the Scientific Adivsory Gorup for Emergencies (Sage).

The British Army were deployed to the towns Blackburn and Bolton to help with handing out test kits.
Mobile testing units had been set up Bolton and opening hours and delivery of doses had been increased at that town’s vaccination centres.
A rapid response team of 100 nurses, public health advisers and environmental health officers had also been sent.
Opération gif 3 » GIF Images Download
In the United States of America the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) eased indoor mask wearing guidance for vaccinated people allowing them to not wear masks in most indoor places.

The CDC guidelines showed quite clearly by vaccinating you were less at risk and could engage in more activities.

As vaccinations slowed down there was a push to encourage more of the populace to drive those vaccinated numbers just a little higher.

Governors were doing their part like in Ohio where vaccinated adults could go in the draw to win one million U.S. dollars. I’ll do it for free but God Bless America.

But New York Mayor Bill De Blasio was a man more after my own heart tucking into fast food that New Yorkers could get from Shake Shack if they got vaccinated. Free fries and a burger?! Hmmmmmm.

God Bless America!

And God bless Bill de Blasio, don’t listen to the haters Mr Mayor, you looked good tucking into that burger. I would’ve made a meal of it.

-Lloyd Marken

Bill De Blasio GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

ONE YEAR EARLIER: May 13, 2020

The number of unemployed was cited as 10% or 1.4million Australians. This was the highest unemployment rate since the early 1990s recession in Australia and in which unemployment had risen at a far slower rate then during the pandemic.

May 14, 2020

A MacDonalds at Fawkner in Melbourne Victoria had 90 staff tested and isolated pending results after a break-out of eight COVID-19 cases from the fast food outlet including four staff members and four family members of a worker.

COVID-19 DIARY – ROLL OUT ROLL UP – PART XI

Coronavirus: Watch breathtaking India image on April 5 2020 at 9 pm  captured from Space

May 08

Saturday and I watched the ABC program Planet America which covered that vaccination numbers were going down in America where the most vaccines were available and a country that still had the highest recorded death toll from COVID.

The United States now set a target to have 70 per cent of the population aged 16 and over vaccinated by July 4th Independence Day. Currently about 56 per cent are at least partially vaccinated.

The state with the most fully vaccinated population was Maine with 41.5 per cent.

Texas was at 28 per cent and the state with the least was Alabama with 24.1 per cent.

The Food and Drugs Administration was looking to approve vaccinations for Americans 12 to 15 year olds starting next week.

The Brazil variant had now become the second most prevalent strain in the U.S.

America was also supporting the waiver of intellectual property rights on COVID vaccines.

May 09

In the United Kingdom I got a bit excited that over 40s in the UK were now getting the jab.
I hoped that meant it wouldn’t be much longer for my younger sister and her husband to get the vaccine.

On the 9th of May of May, 2021 the World Health Organisation reported there had been 157,375,575 confirmed cases globally with a daily increase of 814,195.

There had been 3,278,607 deaths worldwide with a daily increase of 13,408.

The WHO reported as of the 20th of May, 1,448,242,899 vaccine doses had been administered worldwide. The population of the world was at least 7.674 billion people.

Coronavirus Can't Kill Me Now'; Africans Cheer Rollout of COVAX  Vaccinations | World News | US News

In Papua New Guinea there had been 12,226 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 140. Two days later there would be 504 new daily cases.

There had been 121 deaths. The next day there would be nine deaths reported. The outbreak continued in PNG.

The WHO reported as of 13th of May there had been 11,537 vaccine doses adminstered in the country. The population of Papua New Guinea was 8.776 million people.

In Australia there had been 29,906 confirmed cases with a daily increase of nine. There had been 910 deaths.

The WHO reported as of the 27th of April 3,089,183 vaccine doses had been administered in the country. The population of Australia 25.36 million people.

Canada: COVID at 'critical' levels, personal contact discouraged |  Coronavirus pandemic News | Al Jazeera

In Canada there had been 1,273,169 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 7,849. There had been 24,529 deaths with a daily increase of 40.

The WHO reported as of the 13th of May there 17,563,063 vaccine doses administered in the country. The population of Canada 37.59 million people.

In the United Kingdom there had been 4,433,094 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 2,047. There had been 127,603 deaths with a daily increase of five.

The WHO reported as of the 18th of May there had been 56,992,075 vaccine doses adminitered in the country. The population of Great Britain was 66.65 million people.

In Brazil there had been 15,082,449 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 78,886. There had been 419,144 deaths with a daily increase of 2,165.

The WHO reported as of the 13th of May there had been 50,011,889 vaccine doses administered in the country. The population of Brazil was 211 million people.

Turn away if you do not want to be displayed by the plight of the Indian people and what they have endured.

Below is a photo of the bodies in the Ganges River.

Dozens of bodies wash up on the banks of the Ganges River - New York Daily  News

In India there had been 22,296,414 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 403,738. There had been 242,362 deaths with a daily increase of 4,092.

The day before had been the highest daily death count at 4,187.

The country would reach more than quarter of a million dead on the 12th of May with 254,197 deaths.

Only America and India had reached that milestone and the number of cases and deaths was believed to be much higher. 

The WHO reported as of the 17th of May there had been 185,766,518 vaccine doses administered in the country. The population of India was 1.366 billion people.

In United States of America there had been 32,338,866 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 45,192. There had been 575,521 deaths with a daily increase of 790.

The WHO reported as of 13th of May there had been 264,357,485 vaccine doses administered in the country. The population of the U.S. was 328.2 million people.

-Lloyd Marken

ONE YEAR EARLIER: May 08, 2020.

Fifty refrigerated trucks were parked in Sunset Park, Brooklyn spoke to the loss of life in New York City as funeral homes and moratories were overwhelmed.

Here in Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a 3 step program out of lockdown with state governments to choose their own timelines to follow.

COVID-19 DIARY – HEAVILY WEIGHTED DECISIONS – PART II

India's COVID-19 deaths will rise sharply till mid-May—US study | Inquirer  News

May 06

A Sydney man and his wife tested positive for COVID-19 having visited 14 suburbs over five days where he unknowingly had the virus.

In a twist there was no explanation for how we caught it.

Genomic testing linked him an American man who quarantined at the Park Royal in late April. So there was a missing link.

New restrictions were put in place on the eve of Mother’s Day to run three days until midnight Sunday night.

Mask were to be worn indoors and on public transport, there was no singing or dance indoors with the exception of weddings where 20 could get up and boogy. No more than 20 visitors were allowed in households and no more than two visitors to aged care facilities.

If this was WA or Queensland they would have shut down the whole city. They would have said stay at home, they would have said don’t go about your business. We’re saying the opposite,” jabbed Premier Gladys Berejiklian

Which was a bit funny because recently the Queensland Premier had chosen not to go into lockdown when a case had been out in the communtiy for several days. That decison ultimately meant that two Queenslanders with COVID had travelled to Byron Bay leading to the Bryon Bay Bluesfest having to be cancelled in Berejiklian’s home state.

Additionally there was the missing link element here, somebody was out in the community potentially with COVID with no idea that they had it, maybe even more.

Yet the New South Wale Premier was urging people to go out about their business.

It also did eventuate in a lockdown in south east Queensland so Berejiklian’s comments needed to taken as seriously as her thoughts had been prior to making them.

In Victoria state run vaccination centres were averaging 8,000 jabs a day since phase 2A started earlier in the week.

The New Zealand government paused travel from Sydney for two days.

Six thousand people from New South Wales had travelled to New Zealand over the last 6 days would be contacted.

Those who had been to Sydney hotspots travelling into Western Australia were ordered to self quarantine for 14 days and those entering Queensland had to go into hotel quarantine.

Canada also approved Pfizer for use on teenagers aged 12-16 following trials. There was still a long way to go in vaccinating the adult population though.

Nationwide the same day 14,568,067 doses had been dispensed and 1,173,962 people or 3.1 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated out of a national population of 37 and a half million.

In Queensland a man was in Intensive Care following blood clotting after getting the AstraZeneca vaccination. He was one of five cases of clotting across the country in the past ten days as the government moved to deliver 270,000 doses of the vaccine next week.

There had been eleven cases of blood clotting after 1.4 million doses of AstraZeneca had been given in Australia including one dose to yours truly.

That is 11 / 1 400 000.

That is so far you had a 1 / 140 000 chance of getting a blood clot.

Out of those eleven cases though had been one fatality.

The threat of dying from COVID remained higher even in a country like Australia where case numbers and deaths had been so low.

Capacity at the Howard Springs facility was due to expand from 850 to 2,000 in preparation for repatriation flights from India as more aid from Australia landed in India.

An ABC News report said that these expansions would be complete by the end of the month, not May 15 but it did give the government time to have undertaken a lot of the work to expand capacity if repatriations did begin on May 15.

Two weeks is a long time in politics, Perth had been in lockdown at the end of April with talk about high numbers of COVID cases in hotel quarantine.

Back then the pressure was on for the Federal Government to act to protect the country from another outbreak in the community and certain sectors of the media were constantly bemoaning shutdowns as hurtful to the economy.

The plan to do something had been discussed at National Cabinet and signed off by health beaurecrats.

But now less than a week later and the focus was on the moral considerations of such an unprecedented decision and the government seemed anxious to peel back the law in another weeks’ time.

Phrasing it around lower number COVID cases in hotel quarantine and a shift to more repatriations through facilities like Howard Springs made sense.

Specialist staff at the Howard Springs facility wear heavy PPE gear.

It was understood the first repatriation flight from India would start as soon as the ban lifted May 15 with a flight that could bring home 200 passengers with priority given to 900 Australians stranded in the sub-continent that were classed as vulnerable.

It was expected that Howard Springs would be close to empty of travellers quarantining there at that point.

Anybody scheduled to board would have to return two negative results before stepping on the plane.

“This second wave is very bad, the logistics in India are very difficult, people are living in remote towns and villages and to get them safely to an airport is a very difficult undertaking. These are the real, practical consequences. There are thousands of people, many dying on the streets in India. So it’s going to be very complex,” Immigration Minister Alex Hawke.

I imagine those Australians waiting to get on those flights were like, “Yeah no shit mate.”

There would only be one repatriation flight per week, previously to the travel ban there had been two a week from India.

But two weeeks was a long time for the virus to wreak havoc.

How many people would die waiting for a flight home in that time?

On May 6th, 2021 the World Health Organisation reported in India there had been 21,077,410 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 412,262.

A world record for daily new cases.

There had been 230,168 deaths with a daily increase of 3,980.

A new record of daily deaths in India too.

May 07

The next day the Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the ban would end on May 15.

The original decision to put in place that biosecurity order until the 15th of May has proved very effective and it will run its full course until that time without any change,” Morrison said.

The challenge we have had with arrivals from India is the higher incidence of infections and the stress that was placing on the quarantine system,” he explained.

Australia's Scott Morrison stands by 'one country' remark on China and  Taiwan | The Japan Times

At one point the infection rate at Howard Springs was 15 per cent, much higher than the goal of two per cent causing concern for the quarantine system and potentially Darwin’s hospital system.

However now those numbers had halved and there was an expectation they could be close to zero by next weekend.

No decision had been made yet about commercial flights coming in from India.

Meanwhile the situation in India remained dire.

Positive test results for COVID were averaging about 20 per cent and plenty of people were not getting tested and dying from COVID.

The percentage fo the population that had been fully vaccinated was 2.2%.

More than 46,000 Red Cross staff and volunteers were helping in India.

In the capital city Kathmandu of neighbouring Nepal positve test results for COVID were up to 47 per cent. The country was in lockdown and its hospitals were stretched.

On May 7th, 2021 the World Health Organisation reported in India there had been 21,491,598 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 414,188.

The highest ever – 414,188.

The global total of new cases in the world that day was a little over double this with 853,895.

There had been 234,083 deaths with a daily increase of 3,915.

The next day would set a new record with 4,187 deaths. 

-Lloyd Marken

ONE YEAR EARLIER: May 6, 2020

In Melbourne, there was an outbreak at the Cedar Meats abattoir leading to 62 confirmed cases.

COVID-19 DIARY – HEAVILY WEIGHED DECISIONS – PART I

May 03

Monday.

The vaccine rollout continued in Australia with vaccinations being opened up to the 2A Cohort. Anyone over 50 could now get the jab and the main jab available was the AstraZeneca one.

This had followed discussions at National Cabinet.

Politically it was commented that maybe with the vaccine rollout not going smoothly the Prime Minister had moved to more closely consult with state Premiers to achieve results and to also share any blame for failure to deliver.

Either way, with the decision to list Pfizer as the preferred jab for under 50s, the very rare examples of blood clotting being reported in media, and elements of the community that were fearful or against vaccinations – there was now a need to build momentum and confidence.

Sometimes I worry that people have become complacent over our good fortune here in Australia.

There are plenty of countries that avoided major outbreaks for some time before falling foul of the virus.

There was also talk about the need to open up borders and that would only be suitable once we got the majority of the population vaccinated.

So this was the next step and a step in the right direction.

Nearly 16 million doses would be part of 2A which was a cohort of six million Australians aged 50 to 69.

I knew that still not all of 1B had been completed which included people with disabilities and the staff at their centres.

Across the country people were lining up at vaccination hubs including people like the 53 year old recently re-elected Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan who rolled up his sleeve for the AstraZeneca jab.

In Melbourne there were waiting times for people who just rocked up on the day – some as long as two hours.

On Monday a new element to the India travel ban that had been announced on Saturday came into effect.

Any travellers who have been in India in the 14 days leading up to their date of arrival in Australia could face jail time of up to five years and a fine of up to $66,000.

The law appeared to be unprecedented and in some circles was labelled immoral and inhuman.

“It is incredibly disproportionate to the threat that is posed,” GP Dr Vyom Sharma told Weekend Breakfast.

Our families are quite literally dying in India overseas. Many people are trying to come back. We know that hundreds of people in this situation are classify as medically and financially vulnerable, to have absolutely no way of getting them out — this is abandonment,” he said.

A week previously the WA Premier Mark McGowan had said, “India is an epicentre of death and destruction as we speak.I don’t think there is any need to go to India, I don’t.

Epidemiologist Michael Toole, from the Burnet Institute cited a lack of confidence in hotel quarantine from the government.

By his count there had been 16 separate leaks from hotel quarantine in the past six months in five major capital cities.

We need to do that by ensuring that the ventilation in every hotel room is adequate and that staff wear the most appropriate protective equipment, including respiratory masks. That just hasn’t happened because we don’t have a national standard. Each state and territory is basically doing their own thing,” he cited as a possible solution.

As I said, we’ve seen in 16 times in the last 6 months. And if we don’t make any improvements, we can expect more than a dozen more breaches to occur in the section six months,” he told.

Hysterical and ruinous': Christmas Island furious over Australia's  coronavirus plans | Christmas Island | The Guardian

Opposition MP Jason Clare suggested Christmas Island as a solution as had been done a year earlier with people returning from China but notably that was previous to the Howard Springs facility being set up.

According to Education Minister Alan Tudge, the Howard Springs facility in the Northern Territory currently has an infection rate of 15 per cent, well above the goal of 2 per cent.

Fifty-seven per cent of the positive cases in quarantine had been arrivals from India. It was placing a very, very significant burden on health and medical services in states and territories,” Foreign Minister Marise Payne said.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dlsms4JhCCY

May 04

In the 24 hours leading up to Tuesday morning across Victoria’s 22 mass vaccination hubs there had been a record 6,923 doses administered.

As media spotlight ramped up on the travel ban, Prime Minister Scott Morrison when interviewed said, “I think it would be very remote circumstances that would see them imposed. I don’t want to see them necessarily imposed anywhere because I don’t want to see people breaching the rule. If everybody cooperates, then we can get things in a stronger position and that means we can start those repatriation flights again.

The Australian Medical Association had written a letter to the Prime Minister and Health Minister to remove the jail terms and fine amounts.

“To be clear, the AMA is supportive of the pause on flights so that our hotel quarantine system can be readied for the increased risk that we are clearly seeing now of Australians returning with the virus … from India,” AMA president Dr Omar Khorshid said.

“The government, in our view, should be doing everything in its power — chartering flights, using our Defence Force if necessary — to bring the most vulnerable of the Australians in India home. In the longer term there’s also the need to replace hotel quarantine with purpose-built facilities, and I’ve had a conversation with the Minister of Health expressing that view today, and the AMA will continue to fight for that.”

-Lloyd Marken

ONE YEAR EARLIER: May 4, 2020

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced that Prep, Year 1, 11 and 12 would return to school next Monday May 11. For the other grades it was planned for them to remain remote learning with a return to classrooms May 25.

COVID-19 DIARY – I GOT VACCINATED WITH ASTRAZENECA

April 27

I caught up with my GP in regards to a recent endoscopy I had taken.

I mentioned I had tried to book a vaccine appointment online and had been unable to.

Weeks earlier she had advised I was under 1B cohort and would be getting the vaccine but the health advice had changed since then.

Pfizer was now the preferred vaccine for under 50s which she explained meant I could now wait for the Pfizer.

I told her I was not concerned about the risk from COVID to myself but I did believe we as a community needed to get as many people vaccinated as much as possible and that I was happy to play my part. i was prepared to get the AztraZeneca vacccine, my specialist had advised I could and the risk was extremely minimal.

There were things she needed to consider as my General Practioner but we were in agreement.

She identified a time to get the jab that Thursday morning, when I mentioned wanting to make a vaccine appointment I was told they were very booked up at the moment but I mentioned Thursday morning and sure enough there was a spare and I was booked in.

My GP has always taken good care of me.

April 29
Thursday was the day and I arrived for my 11:40 appointment.
I got taken into a room and debriefed and filled out a form. It was noted that I appeared younger than 50 (what a relief) but I my specialist and GP had given the go ahead.I went into another room, was sat down, took off my shirt and then I was jabbed in the shoulder.

I was then sat in another room for 15 minutes to see if I had any adverse reactions.

The vaccination was administered entirely by medical staff at my local medical centre.
Fifteen minutes later I was free to go and ushered out the door.
It ran like clockwork and was painless.
I got quite a bruise from my flu vaccination weeks earlier even though the needle had gone in particularly smoothly.
Not such a significant bruise with the vaccine jab, nor fatigue or muscle aches for me althought the next day working from home I had felt my hips and back hurting from sitting at my desk but that happened quite a bit.
I have been hanging on tenterhooks for others I know to get protection from COVID.
My sister in particular in the UK where there had been so many cases and deaths but also friends, family and fellow bloggers from around the world and here.
Getting one myself didn’t make me feel much different.
However I bellieve it is something we should all do as soon as we can, I believe it is part of much larger effort to make our way down the road to recovery.
I wanted Karen to get one too and it seemed likely she would be lucky to receive a vaccination by the end of the year. I was not happy about that.
Yet it still kind of blew my mind that less than 14 months after our lives radically changed in mid-March 2020 and here I was receiving a vaccination.
I was very lucky to live in Australia.
Was it possible my dose had been made in India. I don’t know probably not but it was one more reason to be grateful and to think of what I was going to do with my good fortune.
I understand some people are scared of getting vaccines. The only thing I would say is the statistics seem to suggest you have a one in million chance of dying from the blood clot.
But COVID will cause further outbreaks. Even the small ones expereinced recently in Australia probably carry a greater risk to you than taking the vaccine. Taking the vaccine isn’t just about yourself either, it’s about building a herd immunity that will hopefully bring this disease under control.
I know you’re scared but I know you can be brave too. So maybe talk to your doctor and see what they advise.

20210429_122430
                                Copyright Lloyd Marken.

May 02
On the 2nd of May, 2021 the World Health Organisation reported there had been 151,882,470 confirmed cases globally with a daily increase of 829,666.
There had been 3,188,172 deaths worldwide with a daily increase of 13,229.
In Papua New Guinea there had been 11,262 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 56. There had been 115 deaths.
Two weeks later on the 13th of May, the WHO reported there had been 11,537 vaccine doses administered in the country. That was it. Less than the number of cases reported in the country.
Australia had previously announced a delivery of 8,000 doses in March to the country.
One hundred and thirty thousand vaccine doses had been announced to be delivered to PNG under the COVAX scheme in mid-April.
In Australia there had been 29,812 confirmed cases with a daily increase of eleven. There had been 910 deaths.
In Malaysia there had been 411,594 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 2,881. There had been 1,521 deaths with a daily increase of 15.
In Canada there had been 1,219,425 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 8,342. There had been 24,219 deaths with a daily increae of 50.
In the United Kingdom there had been 4,418,534 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 1,907. There had been 127,524 deaths with a daily increase of seven. 
The numbers were now finally under the kind of figures that had been posted during the initial first wave in the UK. They weren’t as low as the daily averages from the previous summer but they were the lowest they had been since September.
In India there had been 19,557,457 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 392,488.
The highest number of daily new cases recorded in the country had been yesterday with 401,993 cases.
There had been 215,542 deaths with a daily increase of 3,689. A new record of daily new deaths in the country.
In the United States of America there had been 32,039,197 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 53,619. Still way too high. There had been 570,835 deaths with a daily increase of 810.
-Lloyd Marken
ONE YEAR EARLIER: May 2, 2020.

COVID-19 – WHEN ONE HURTS WE ALL HURT

India COVID cases above 24 million as mutant spreads across globe |  Coronavirus pandemic News | Al Jazeera

April 28

As the situation deteroriated in India it consumed our news.

Seven days in a row of 300,000+ new cases every day.

The situation is critical right now. This pandemic is the worst we have ever seen until now and these two weeks are going to be a hell for us,” said Doctor Shaarang Sachdev, Head of Emergency at his Indian hospital.

You’ve all seen the images now.

It was estimated every four minutes in New Delhi a person died.

People racing family members in the back of cars to hospitals and temples and anywhere else where they heard help could be found but none could.

Where people had piled up on mattresses in hospital corridors now

Parks were being made as make shift crematoriums. Pyres burned on roadsides.

Mass funeral pyres reflect India's COVID crisis, D - GNN

People were dying from COVID long before they could get tested.

The scale of death and illness had overwhelmed the system.

Yet Indian health care workers fought on, they did what they could, they risked their own lives.

A black market had sprung up around oxygen tanks but it seemed there just wasn’t any.

How Kerala ramped up oxygen capacity and supply - India Today Insight News

I get around 50 calls every day, somebody asking for beds, somebody asking for cylinders, somebody asking for drugs. We don’t have anything available and patients are dying,” said one doctor.

It is funny what images get to you.

I took it in when the burning pyres were shown on a scale that was hard to see.

But the image that got to me was men simply laying bricks and building for more cremations.

In a split second my brain recognised the scale of death you’ve seen is nothing compared to what is to come.

Police went everywhere to deal with anger spilling out from a population feeling such anguish and fear.

India's COVID-19 Crisis: Images Reflect the Surge That's Being Felt Around  the World | Council on Foreign Relations

Perversely there were still religous ceremonies and festivals going ahead in river banks, in mass groupings and without social distancing or mask wearing.

The pandemic was raging.

RAGING.

It had raged in Wuhan, it had raged in New York, it had raged in India previously reaching nine million cases and it had raged in Brazil and was still raging.

But it almost felt like the scenes coming out of India…

If we had held out hope that 2021 would not be as bad as 2020 – as I had hoped – well that hope was almost irrelevant now.

India's COVID-19 crisis is a 'crime against humanity,' says prize-winning  author as nation sets new case record - MarketWatch

I do still want to see that the vaccine had changed the situation but seeing loss on such sale meant that whatever gains we came out of this year we had witnessed very clearly that the situation can become as tragic and heartbreaking as it has ever been.

On the 28th of April, 2021 the World Health Organisation reported in India there had been 17,997,267 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 360,960. There had been 201,187 deaths with a daily increase of 3,293 deaths.

In the face of such events it can be easy to lose heart. But helping in whatever way you can makes a diffrence. There were many organisations that could use support at this time.

One of them is Medicines Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders).

On April 28 their website adviseed they were “preparing to support two units within a ‘Jumbo’ hospital in Mumbai. The units will include two sets of tents with about 1,000 intensive care unit bed capacity in each. Five additional medical doctors and five nurses have been recruited to strengthen the response.

Inside Mumbai's jumbo covid facility - Built in a fortnight | The Economic  Times

MSF was also “providing prevention kits, counselling and phone follow-up to high-risk patients, including TB and diabetes patients and the elderly.

Since 2006 MSF have been treating patients in Mumbai for drug resistant tuberculosis and HIV.

They were also indentifying cases and referring patients to suitble hospitals and clinics.

Most of our 256 patients come from the informal settlements where, due to poor living conditions, the risk of disease is high,Dr Hemant Sharma, Project Coordinator of MSF’s COVID-19 response in Mumbai said.

Doctors Without Borders were also doing work in Papua New Guinea.

The situation in Papua New Guinea is an example of the global inequity of access to vaccines and other medical tools. When cases numbers began to soar, health workers here remained unvaccinated, while other countries are hoarding more vaccines than they need,” MSF Medical Manager Farah Hossain said.

MSF Focus on Papua New Guinea

In early April a MSF team supported the COVID_19 facility set up in Port Moresby by the National Capital District’s Provincial Health Authority with a capacity of 43 beds for very ill patients.

The team has trained local medical practitioners on emergency situations, the application of PPE, oxygen therapy and treatment of acute pneumonia.

They go wherever they’re needed and donations go to their underlying cause to allow them to response to any crisis where they’re needed not just where the world’s attention is currently focused on.

The following week we made a small donation.

-Lloyd Marken

COVID-19 DIARY – ONE LOCKDOWN ENDS AND A NEW BAN BEGINS

Cyclist wearing mask rides near fence of lookout over looking Perth city skyline of tall buildings.

April 26

Monday.

Perth came out of its snap lockdown with no new community cases reported that day.

Mandatory mask wearing would remain until at least 1 minute past midnight on Saturday morning.

Retaurants, pubs and cafes could re-open but indoor gyms, nightclubs and casinos would remain shut.

“The short three-day lockdown has done the job it was designed to do. It was the circuit-breaker we needed to limit community spread. Western Australians have done their bit to keep our community safe,” Premier Mark McGowan said.

QANTAS plane on tarmac in Hobart.

April 27

On the larger scale the Australian government made a decision to stop all direct flights returning from India India due to the higher number of COVID cases from returned travellers in hotel quarantine in particular from India.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said all indirect flights through other cities like Doha, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur had been paused by their respective governments.

Last week on the 22nd of April, National Cabinet had made the decision to reduce flights from India by 30 per cent. 

It followed a reduction in repatriations and travellers going through hotel quarantines due to increased case numbers in said quarantine.

The ban halted two passenger flights from India to Sydney, two repatriation flights from India to Darwin and eight further repatriation flights scheduled for the first two weeks of May.

Travel to India was also retricted to matters of national interest, under medical exemption and for COVID-19 purposes.

Specialist staff at the Howard Springs facility wear heavy PPE gear.

On the 24th of April the number of positive cases at the Howard Springs facility in the Northern Territory had reached 48.

“The Northern Territory only has a certain amount of ICU beds,” the Northern Territory Deputy Opposition Leader Gerard Maley had said.

As of that Saturday, a total of 6,668 people have arrived in Darwin on repatriation flights since October last year, of which 117 have tested positive to COVID-19.

The total number of positive coronavirus cases reported in the Territory is 160, with all cases relating to international or interstate travel.

The Prime Minister said the total number of weekly cases in hotel quarantine had risen from 90 to 143.

The pause would last until May 15.

It was reported 9,000 Australians in India wanted to return home with 650 of them categorised as vulnerable.

Australia says chance of jail remote for India travel ban offenders - Times  of India

We don’t think the answer is to just forsake those in India and just shut them off. I don’t see this as a problem we have to solve, I see this as a group of people we need to help. These are Australians and Australian residents who need our help, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

When flights resume, all passengers will be required to have both a negative COVID-19 PCR test result and a negative rapid antigen test result prior to departure.

The Australian government was also sending 500 ventilators, 1 million surgical masks, 500,000 P2 and N95 masks, 100,000 goggles, 100,000 pairs of gloves and 20,000 face shields.

On the 27th of April, the World Health Organisation reported there had been 17,636,307 confirmed cases with a daily increae of 323,144. There had been 197,894 deaths with a daily increase of 2,771.

“I stress this is an initial package, there’ll be more to follow,” the Prime Minister advised about the aid being sent.

“This is the challenge of a pandemic, you don’t get the perfect of all situations,” the Prime Minister said.

The European Union decided to sue AstraZeneca for breach of contract after they failed to deliver 30,000,000 dozes of their COVID vaccine by the end of June. The pharmaceutical company was only going to be able to deliver a third of that amount.

The U.S. government planned to send 60 million doses of AstraZeneca overseas to where it is needed if the move gets approval from the Food and Drugs Administration.

-Lloyd Marken

COVID-19 DIARY – THE FALLEN

Bomana Cemetery - Anzac Portal

April 25

ANZAC Day in Australia in 2021.

Light Up the Dawn Services continued across the country repeating the new tradition established last year due to COVID lockdowns.

But public marches did return to most states even if with COVID restrictions.

I took no part in any of it but I did pause and think about the fallen.

On the 25th of April, 2021 the World Health Organisation reported there had been 146,142,034 confirmed cases globally with a daily increase of 850,448.

There had been 3,094,238 deaths worldwide with a daily increase of 13,282.

The largest single daily increase of new cases was on the 23rd of April, 2021 – 912,279.

The highest number of deaths recorded in one day remained 16,660 reported on the 28th of January.

I’m sure who died from COVID had been underreported. Through the sheer scale fo the loss it was impossible to know for sure they said.

In Australia there had been 29,658 with a daily increase of 19. There had been 910 deaths.

In New Zealand there had been 2,245 confirmed cases and 26 deaths.

In Papua New Guinea, home of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels, there had been 10,670 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 68. There had been 102 deaths. The country remained in the grip of the pandemic spreading.

Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels - Wikipedia

In South Africa there had been 1,574,370 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 1,385. There had been 54,125 deaths with a daily increase of 59.

In Turkey there had been 4,591,416 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 40,596. There had been 38,011 deaths with a daily increase of 339.

Their highest number of new daily cases had just been a week earlier on the 17th of April with 63,082.

The highest number of daily deaths would be 394 recorded on May the 1st, 2021.

In Germany there had been 3,287,418 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 18,773. There had been 81,564 with a daily increase of 120.

In Italy there had been 3,949,517 confimed cases with a daily increase of 13,814. There had been 119,021 deaths with a daily increase of 322.

In Japan there had been 562,141 confirmed cases with a daily increase 5,142. There had been 9,913 deaths with a daily increase of 59. There was growing surge of new cases in the country.

Coronavirus: South Korea declares highest alert as infections surge - BBC  News

In South Korea there had been 118,887 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 644. There had been 1,813 deaths with a daily increase of one.

In Malaysia there had been 390,252 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 2,717. There had been a 1,426 deaths with a daily increase of eleven. There was a growing surge in Malaysia too.

In Indonesia there had been 1,636,792 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 4,544. There had been 44,500 deaths with a daily increase of 154.

In Vietnam there had been 2,833 confirmed cases with a daily increase of one. There had been 35 deaths.

In Zimbabwe there had been 38,064 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 19. There had been 1,556 deaths.

In Namibia there had been 47,671 with a daily increase of 288. There had been 624 deaths with a daily increase of two.

Cambodian Capital to End Blanket COVID Lockdown Despite Surge | World News  | US News

In Cambodia there had been 9,975 confimed cases with a daily increase of 616. There had been 74 deaths with a daily increase of three. The country had recently seen the pandemic take off there.

On May 4th, 2021 the country recorded its highest daily number of new cases with 938. The highest number of daily deaths was ten on the 24th of April, 2021. 

In Somalia there had been 13,459 confirmed cases and 689 deaths. No daily increases that day.

The highest number of new daily cases was 326 on March 30th, 2021. The highest number of daily deaths was 32 on April 15, 2021.

In Rwanda there had been 24,535 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 76. There had been 328 deaths.

In Timor-Leste there had been 1,808 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 151. There had been three deaths.

Like Papua New Guinea, Cambodia and others, COVID was starting to be reported more in the tiny young nation. Their population was 1.293 million people. By the 2nd of May, 2021 30,599 vaccine doses would have been distrubuted in the country.

On May 9th, 2021 would be the highest amount of new daily cases with 262. Three deaths on May 14th, 2021 would be the highest daily record in the country so far. 

Fighting COVID-19 in Solomon Islands – Save the Children Australia

In the Solomon Islands there had been 20 confirmed cases and zero deaths reported.

In Afghanistan there had been 58,843 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 113. There had been 2,582 deaths with a daily increase of ten.

In Iraq there had been 1,025,288 with a daily increase of 6,967. There had been 15,217 deaths with a daily increase of 43.

The highest number of new daily cases in the country was 8,696 three days earlier on the 22nd of April, 2021. A new wave of cases was cresting in the country.

In Canada there had been 1,164,581 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 8,747. There had been 23,883 deaths with a daily increase of 61.

The highest number of new daily cases was 10,275 fours day earlier on April 21, 2021.

In the United Kingdom there had been 4,403,174 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 2,061. There had been 127,417 deaths with a daily increase of 32.

India COVID-19 deaths could touch 1 million by August: Lancet | India News  | Al Jazeera

In India there had been 16,960,172 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 349,691!

It was a new record for new daily cases but pretty much every day was a new heartbreaking record that left death and misery in it’s wake of a scale previously unseen.

There had been 192,311 deaths in the country with  a daily increase of 2,767.

In the United States of America there had been 31,693,289 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 61,884. There had been 566,184 deaths with a daily increase of 838. Still way too high.

Milestones in Space Photography -– National Geographic

All those lives lost in countries around the world.

Just like lives lost in a war.

We were a year into this war, the casaulties were mounting and yet here we were. Vaccines had been made. We opened up, we closed down, waves came and went. Life wasn’t the same and wasn’t going be for a while yet but it still went on.

At the end of it, maybe for a lot of people nothing will ever be the same. Some memories will haunt, some losses will be painfully felt for the rest of days to come.

But come they will.

If not for us then for those who come after us.

All we can do is our best and the rest will take care of itself.

Such was it for those we remember on ANZAC Day.

The Fallen.

The Remembered.

The Lost.

Lest We Forget.

-Lloyd Marken

COVID-19 DIARY – ROLL OUT ROLL UP – PART X

Mass cremations begin as India's capital faces deluge of COVID-19 deaths |  Reuters

April 19

Monday.

At a National Cabinet meeting the and federal leaders agreed to opening up vaccinations to anyone over 50 in Australia.

Regardless of whether the older age groups had all been vaccinated.

The thinking was as more people got more vaccinated it might grow confidence for some to get vaccinated who were sitting on the fence.

Hence starting on 2A phase of those aged 50-69 before the rest of 1B had been completed.

There wasn’t a lot of coverage in the media at the moment but I can tell that not all those with disabilities or living in supported accomodation had received their vaccines yet.

We don’t want to see one vaccine that’s rolling off the line and going through the approval processes and the batch testing sitting in a fridge,” Morrison said.

Great…so how about getting it to those with disabilities?

The priority of the Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy remains to vaccinate vulnerable populations under priority groups 1a and 1b,” the Prime Minister said.

The medical advice remains that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is safe and recommended for Australians over 50 years old and all states will continue to be prioritised AstraZeneca for Australians over 50 years old,” he added.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison

“Scott Morrison promised aged care residents and disability facility residents, the most vulnerable members of our community, would be fully vaccinated by Easter, but still more than three-quarters of aged-care facilities have not had their residents fully vaccinated. This is simply not good enough; Australia needs to speed up this crucial vaccine rollout. I’d like to see a new plan with clear timelines and targets. The last one which had targets like 4 million Australians by end of March, the job done by October, is clearly in tatters, we need a new plan with revised timelines and targets,” said Shadow Health Minister Mark Butler before the meeting.

Six million Australians would come under the 2A phase.

The Department of Health reported on April 14th, 2.3 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine had been produced in country and 714,000 received from overseas.

Breakdowns of how many people have been given which vaccine are not provided by the government or health authorities.

The changes would be potentially approved at the next National Cabinet meeting scheduled to take place on Thursday but had agreed in-principle to the changes.

The Prime Minister said National Cabinet still planned for GPs to be the primary way of dispensing vaccines to the populace but state governments would look to assist with mass vaccination sites.

Mr Morrison said the Commonwealth will continue to finalise the vaccination of residential aged care facility (RACF) residents with Pfizer using an in-reach model.

Australia remained slow in getting its country vaccinated.

This had implications for opening borders back up going forward causing issues for trade and business but as the Prime Minister Scott Morrison noted, “The pandemic is raging. globally. It’s raging.

Also being discussed was mass vaccine centre hubs in particular to when Pfizer doses arrived later in the year for under 50s to get vaccinated with.

“There’s a lot of work to be done given that would be effectively, if we wished, a 12-week sprint. There’d need to be plenty of planning to achieve that,” said the Prime Minister.

There was also talk from the Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt about looking to set up an MRNA capacity here in Australia but it could take up to a year.

Other countries, Germany for example, decided they wanted to manufacture their own mRNA vaccines in country, to be assured of supplies of these state of the art vaccines, and they built a factory in about six months. We’ve seen for months now, talk from the government and no action,” countered Butler.

India is running out of COVID-19 vaccines, as second wave accelerates

In India a surging new wave of cases and deaths continued in a country that was a major vaccine producer.

On April 19th, 2021 the World Health Organisation reported there had been 15,061,919 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 273,810. There had been 178,769 deaths with a daily increase of 1,619.

They had reported a million new cases in less than a week.

New restrictions and curfews were being put in place but the the wave was rising.

Sixty per cent of all vaccines were produced in India and the country was home to the Serum Institute of India which was the world’s largest vaccine producer.

They were a major player in the global vaccine sharing initiative COVAX.

Covax vaccine-sharing scheme delivers first doses to Ghana - BBC News

But now India was in short supply of vaccines themselves.
While vaccines could only do so much now given the spread was happening it did raise questions about the competing priorities of India’s delivery of vaccines to the rest of the world and to its own people.
SII had also previously slowed down exports in January to prioritise the most vulnerable in India with vaccines. Those decisions did have impacts abroad particularly in Africa.
The world has never looked to produce vaccines on this scale in these timeframes.
The United States of America with the most number of reported cases and deaths in the world had placed a temporary ban on raw materials used for vaccine production. The European Union had also tightened restrictions around vaccine exports.
Stage-3 Trials Given A Miss: Congress Leaders On Covid Vaccine Approval
The two main vaccines in India were the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine also known as Covishield, and the Indian vaccine Covaxin made by Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Their roll out began in earnest in January with health care workers and those highest at risk. They wanted to vaccinate 300 million people by August in a country of 1.4 billion people.
Covaxin had been rushed into service before third trial efficacy data had been released but initial vaccine hesitancy had been overcome.
Still only 14.3 million Indians had been fully vaccinated and now the pandemic was raging.
The capacity to have vaccinated the whole country in such a short time would not have been possible.
In Punjab last week there had been 450,000 doses of Covishield and 30,000 doses of Covaxin in a state of 27 million.
Covishield: A timeline of the Covid-19 vaccine manufactured by Serum  Institute of India | Hindustan Times
Other states had to suspend their vaccinations including the COVID ravaged Maharashtra which had also administered more than 11.1 million doses more than any other state.
Last week Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a meeting with state governors had praised the success of India’s vaccination efforts.
India had become the fastest nation to reach 100 million jabs in 85 days. America had taken 89 and China 102.
The Indian government moved to receive more vaccines the same week by fast tracking approval of vaccines already approved for use in other countries.

India delivers COVID jabs for 'world's biggest vaccination drive' |  Coronavirus pandemic News | Al Jazeera

April 21

Wednesday and my Mum and Dad got their Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine.

This was a huge relief for me.

I am told that on the way to the centre they were a little nervous and decided to put on the radio for some music to distract themselves and a news bulletin about blood clotting came on and they promptly turned the radio off.

There were no side effects and they will get a second dose in three months time.

April 22

The Australian government announced a travel ban on all direct flights from India. That included Australians trying to return home.

312,731 new cases were reported in the country that day alone and there were now well over 2 million active cases in India at 2,291,428.

2,104 deaths had been recorded in a single day.

The death toll stood at 184,657.

One third of active cases in Australia have now orginated from returning flights from India.

The travel ban will started on April 27 and will last for two weeks until May 15 when a further decision will be made.

New South Wales was also going to have a major vaccination hub open by mid-May to delvier 30,000 doses a week.

April 23

Friday the week was coming to an end, a long weekend beckoned but perhaps appropriately on the eve of ANZAC Day the mood was sombre as Perth went into a three day lockdown, a boat with COVID cases docked in Australia and images out of India broke my heart. Just look at that masked woman at the end shaking as she cries.

Anzac driveway events set to stay: RSLWA | Liverpool City Champion |  Liverpool, NSW

A man in his 50s had flown into Melbourne on Wednesday and tested positive Friday morning. He had been in hotel quarantine for the required days then been out in the Perth Community for five days with a friend who had now tested positive.

Those 270 passengers on the flight into Melbourne would need to isolate for 14 days and were currently being contact by Victorian authorities.

Thirteen more people had tested positive in the Howard Springs quarantine facility in Darwin – all returned travellers from India in the past week. So they were deferring flights throughout May into June.

There were 18 more hotel quarantine cases in New South Wales, twelve of them returned travellers from India.

Channel Nine 9 News reported the Queensland Premier had written a letter to the Prime Minister calling for a two week freeze on any travel from India.

Sydney port workers await COVID-19 results after boarding ship with  positive crew members - ABC News

Thirteen out of fifteen Port Botany workers tested negative to COVID having boarded a tanker previously that had an outbreak of COVID on board.

The tanker Inge Kosan had travelled from Port Moresby and docked in Sydney on the 31st of March and then gone on to Vanuatu where it was detained with twelve cases on board and one death due to COVID.

But it was India that captured our attention. Well over a year into a virus that first impacted China in late 2019 had wrecked havoc but perhaps never on a scale like this.

It was heartbreaking.

Just when you think we might have seen the worst of this.

We were reminded the virus never sleeps.

It never rests.

We can’t afford too either.

-Lloyd Marken

COVID-19 DIARY – ROLL OUT ROLL UP – PART IX

Rare blood clots from AstraZeneca vaccine mostly affect younger people |  Financial Times

April 16

A New South Wales woman had died after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.

There had been 79 clotting incidents following 20 million jabs of the vaccine in the UK.

Now there had been three in Australia.

As the federal government looked to ramp up their vaccine rollout the numbers were daunting.

Currently 100,000 Pfizer doses were arriving every week.

That needed to ramp up to 1,500,000 doses a week to meet to all 40 million doses arrive by year’s end. Close to 50 million doses would be needed to vaccinate the whole population.

THe 40 million Pfizer doses of course were only part of 170 million doses we had on order.

It was unlikely we would receive all doses by Christmas but the end goal had to be vaccinating people as quickly as possible. Novavax was still unapproved, delivery numbers of Pfizer was less than ideal and now the AstraZeneca was not the preferred choice for under 50s.

April 17

Forty eight year-old Genene Norris of the New South Wales Central Coast had passed away from blood clots having received the AstraZeneca vaccine. On saturday The Therapeutic Goods Administration advised her death was likely linked to the vaccine. She received her jab on the morning of the 8th of April hours before the government changed their policy. She did have underlying health conditions including diabetes.

Her family made a statement, “We cannot believe that this time last week she was with us and now she is gone.

There were three cases of rare blood clotting following over 900,000 vaccinations in Australia so far.

A woman from Western Australia and a man from Victoria, both in their 40s were now recovering.

We have seen some hesitancy … particularly in the state-run clinics,” the Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly said in regards to shaken confidence in getting the vaccine.

One of the crucial components about vaccine hesitancy, or the opposite vaccine certainty, is about understanding and knowing that if there is bad news, it’s told. That there is openness from people like myself,” he explained.

A recent Oxford University study had pointed out that getting COVID led to an even higher risk of getting blood clotting which Professor Kelly referred.

The vast majority of our citizens know the benefits of taking a vaccine, they also know the risks, as slight as it is. I turned 50 last year and got the jab and am very excited to get the second one. The vast majority of our citizens want a vaccine, want to get ahead of it,” advised New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oZyVY0gE1c&list=PLsBzd5S5fFgFdYL2NUa6np-BQIis6Z8cX&index=21

April 18

There had been 330,000 vaccinations carried out in Australia in the past seven days but anecdotally a Sydney GP told of a halving of his vaccination bookings.

We need those vaccinations to be in people’s arms not in the fridges so I appeal to everyone to come in and get vaccinated because this vaccine is a safe vaccine,” Dr Rifi said.

National Cabinet meetings were scheduled to go every two weeks to work through vaccination roll out issues.

On the 18th of April, 2021 the World Health Organisation reported there had been 140,373,652 confirmed cases globally with a daily increase of 835,129.

We reached 3 million deaths worldwide from COVID the same day.

3,005,346 deaths worldwide with a daily increase of 11,858.

In Papua New Guinea there had been 9,738 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 223. There had been 89 deaths with a daily increase of five.

April 15th had marked the highest number of new daily deaths in the country with eleven. 

In Australia there had been 29,505 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 21. There had been 910 deaths.

On the 29th of December the last COVID death in Australia had been reported. 

April 14th, 2021 marked the first new death from COVID in the country since then. 

In Canada there had been 1,106,062 confirmed cases 9,346. There had been 23,541 deaths with a daily increase of 41.

Cases were surging.

A record of new daily cases had been reached in the country on December 28, 2020 with 9,827 cases.

That record was broken on April 13th, 2021 with 9,936 new daily cases and it would be again on the 21st of April, 2021 with 10,275 new cases.

In the United Kingdom there had been 4,385,942 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 2,206. There had been 127,260 deaths with a daily increase of 35.

In Brazil there had been 13,832,455 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 85,774. There had been 368,749 deaths with a daily increase of 3,305.

In India there had been 14,788,109 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 261,500. There had been 177,150 deaths with a daily increase of 1,501.

The next day there were 273,810 new daily confirmed cases.1,619 new reported daily deaths.

Every day was a grim new record.

A week later 349,691 new daily cases and 2,767 deaths. 

Every day in between a new record.

In the United States of America there had been 31,250,635 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 73,697. There had been 560858 deaths with a daily increase of 911.

ONE YEAR EARLIER: April 17, 2020

The World Health Organisation reported there had been 2,080,235 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 81,839.

139,507 people had died from COVID-19. The daily increase was 8,473.

COVID-19 DIARY – ROLL OUT ROLL UP – PART VIII

April 10

Vaccinations were rolling out across regional communities in Queensland including up in the far north where we were bordered with Papua New Guinea.

April 11

Sunday.

On the 11th of April, 2021 the World Health Organisation reported there had been 135,097,616 confirmed cases globally with a daily increase of 754692.

There had been 2,921,503 deaths worldwide with a daily increase of 11,974.

In Papua New Guinea there had been 8,442 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 100. There had been 68 deaths.

In Australia there had been 29,396 confirmed cases with a daily increase of six. There had been 909 deaths.

In Canada there had been 1,045,278 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 9,255. Two days later the country would set a new record of daily new cases with 9,936. There had been 23,251 deaths with a daily increase of 40.

May 4, 2020 still remained the date where the highest number of deaths had been reported with 235.

During the second wave 210 deaths had been reported on January 9th, 2021. The highest number of daily deaths in that wave.

In the United Kingdom there had been 4,368,049 with a daily increase of 845. There had been 127,080 with a daily increase of 40.

In India there had been 13,358,805 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 152,879. There had been 169,275 deaths with a daily increase of 839.

The highest number of new daily cases during the first wave in India had been 97,894 on the 17th of September, 2020. The numbers were well beyond that now.

That record got broken on the 5th of April, 2021 with 103,558 new daily cases.

April 7th a new record again with 115,736 new cases.

April 8th – 126,789.

April 9th – 131,968.

April 10th – 145,384.

And a new record again on the 11th of April with 152,879 with no end in sight.

In Brazil there had been 13,373,174 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 93,317. There had been 348,718 deaths with a daily increase of 3,693. The day had seen their highest recorded amount of daily deaths with 4,249.

Poop tests stop COVID-19 outbreak at University of Arizona | Science | AAAS

In the United States of America there had been 30,772,857 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 80,631. Way too high as it appeared America was rising slightly in daily average of new cases. There had been 555,712 deaths with a daily increase of 929.

April 13

A report on the Channel 10 program The Project covered that the Australian government was not intending to purchase the Johnson and Johnson vaccine as it was same type of vaccine as the AztraZeneca vaccine which we were manufacturing in Melbourne at CSL Limited.

We remained reliant on delivery of the PfizerBioNTech vaccine for the majority of those under 50s going forward and had used it for the bulk of our frontline workers in healthcare and hospitality already.

So why weren’t were we manufacturing Pfizer here?

Well that was because the PfizerBioNTech vaccine was an MRNA vaccine that we didn’t have the current capability to build.

However The Project report argued with proper funding we could have such a capacity maybe in 12 months.

A year seems a long time away and facility building always seem to suffer delays but such an investment could pay off down the line in the future.

Given what had transpired in the past year and the need to give ourselves more options in the fight to overcome COVID it seemed like a compelling idea worth a further look.

April 14

In the United States of America the government hit pause in the use of new Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“This announcement will not have a significant impact on our vaccination plan: Johnson & Johnson vaccine makes up less than 5 per cent of the recorded shots in arms in the United States to date,” Mr White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said.

As of April 12th there had been 6.8 million shots of the jab administered in the country.

Less than 5 per cent of all vaccinations in the country with Pfizer and Moderna accounting 180 million doses delivered.

Out of the 6.8million Johnson & Johnson shots there had been 6 cases of blood clots and so far no deaths.

The six cases involved all women aged 18 to 48 and symptoms occurred six to 13 days after they received their shot.

The Australian government had made a decision earlier in the week to not place orders for the vaccine. Having 170 million AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Novavax vials in the pipeline.

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine: Here's what to know - ABC News

This is a really rare event, there have been six out of the 6.58 millions doses, this is less than one in a million, so this (pause) is out of an abundance of caution.,” advised Dr Fauci.

People are asking me if they should cancel their Johnson & Johnson vaccine appointments and I have told them not to but I know many will and this will stall progress in controlling the pandemic,” Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert at St John Hopkins said.

Johnson & Johnson announced it would also delay its rollout of the vaccine in Europe.

The British/Swiss Oxford AstraZeneca, the American Johnson & Johnson, the Chinese CanSino Biological and the Russsian Sputnik V vaccine were all adenovirus vector vaccine. A “cold” virus that instructs our cells to produce a spike protein found on the surface of the virus.

When your body begins producing the harmless spike protein, your immune system reacts and learns how to fight the real thing.

The Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines use mRNA technology. Those are harder to manufacture and have to be kept in freezing temperatures as opposed to simple refrigeration.

Twenty million of the Johnson & Johnson doses had been delivered to America, they had just started getting the first of what was planned to be 75 million doses by the end of June and 120 million by end of September.

Three hundred thousand vaccinations had been given in South Africa.

Four hundred million doses were scheduled to go to the Africa bloc.

Remember how I said this would be the vaccine given to the third world because it was a one shot jab that doesn’t require refrigeration?

GSK to manufacture 60 million doses of Novavax vaccine for the UK

As America hit pause on Johnson & Johnson and Australia demurred the vaccine, the spotlight turned to Novavax a little in my country.

With Pfizer as the preferred vaccine for under 50s, the bulk of which was scheduled to come in the final quarter of 2021 – Australia’s third vaccine became of greater importance.

Fifty one million doses to come sometime in mid-2021 but when could be anywhere from July to September now following supply shortages.

“When you start producing [vaccines] at a scale of millions and millions and millions, I mean, small scale is fine, but whenever manufacturing is required at that scale, there will always be a challenge. Whether that be the packaging or the supply chain.” QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute’s Professor Rajiv Khanna said.

The American produced Novavax worked in a similar way to the adenovirus vaccines but used the same spike protein as the virus.

The protein is then collected, concentrated, purified and mixed with other chemicals to make sure the body’s immune system mounts a strong response.

Trials in Great Britain with 15,000 people resulted in an efficacy rate of 89.3 per cent.
Pfizer had a efficacy rate of 95%, Moderna at 94.1%, the efficacy of AstraZeneca had a wider range of results from 62 to 90 per cent. A recent study published in The Lancet showed a twelve week wait between doses which was becoming the norm in places like the UK and Australia showed 82 per cent.
Trials in South Africa up against the South African variant had the rate go down to as low as 49.4 per cent.
While we weren’t taking up Johnson & Johnson for the moment and Novavax was our third and currently last option, the vaccine was likely to be approved for other countries (many invested in its development) before Australia.

Coronavirus: Qantas further cuts international flights, grounds eight A380s  – Business Traveller

April 15

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was working on a scheme people returning from trips overseas quarantining at home. If they had been vaccinated. This would be for initial essential overseas travel like business deals, medical procedures and family funerals.

Vaccinations had also taken a dip following the government’s announcement last Thursday night.

The Prime Minister also announced an intention to have the 16 million Australians under 50 receive their first and second Pfizer doses through October to December 2021 using mass vaccination sites but who would man them was raised in response.

That would require 230,000 vaccinations a day.

-Lloyd Marken

ONE YEAR EARLIER: April 11, 2020

The United States of America overtakes Italy as the country with the highest number of deaths due to COVID-19.

April 12, 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is released from hospital having survived COVID-19 thanks to the dedicated NHS staff who saw him through intensive care.

April 13, 2020 

CBS Reporter Paula Reid took it to Ballbag in a press conference after he had consistently behaved in an appalling manner for several week offering no correct and consistent messaging and seemed more invested in belittling reporters rather than answering really simple questions. This time he couldn’t even manage that. 

April 15, 2020

Term 2 started for schools around Australia with most states opting for remote learning where students were not children of essential workers.

In Potters Field on Hart Island in the Bronx. They buried the dead.

COVID-19 DIARY – O CANADA

Sunrise on Western Canada

 

April 09

Where I live there isn’t much in the news about Canada. 

I have always taken care to keep track of their stats on the World Health Organisation dashboard because I know people over in Canada and I want to know what they’re facing. 

Canada had its share of woes but in comparison to the United Kingdom and the United States their numbers were not as bad. 

Now with the United States of America steaming ahead with vaccinations and the UK dispensing at a fast rate too the numbers were changing.

Canada april

If you look at the graph above taken from today May the 9th, 2021 Canada experienced a severe second wave over their most recent cold months. This is similar to most of the world following an initial wave in March/April 2020.

But unlike say the UK or the US, Canada has experienced what some other European countries have which is despite the introduction of the vaccine they have quickly gone into a third wave.

Spare a thought for some of the European countries which had no dip in February or March and whose death rates have also gone up.

With Canada while the case numbers have risen, so far the death rates have not followed suit at the same rate.

A Forbes article from April 9 discussed Canada’s infection rate. 

It noted during the first two waves of COVID in the country, Canada’s numbers were among the lowest in Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nations and with a significantly lower infection rate than the U.S.

Now that was looking to change. The BBC reported Canada was averaging 180 cases per million.

The US was just ahead with 196 cases per million, down from 700 cases per million in January. 

The B117 UK Variant was the dominant strain in the country with 90 per cent of cases but the Brazilian P1 variants was also now in the community and rapidly spreading.

Whiting Event in Lake Ontario

In Ontairo where 14 million people lived, a four week lockdown had been imposed with non-essential retail and Toronto schools shut down.

The Vancouver Canucks hockey team had postponed games as 25 players and staff caught COVID.

The BBC reported the US had fully vaccinated 19.6% of its population, compared with 8.5% in the UK and 2% in Canada.

Having started vaccinations on December 14, Canada had orders with 7 different vaccine supplies totalling 400 million doses but it has very little production capacity itself. 

The only two approved vaccines for the country in February were Moderna and Pfizer with delays of delivery as production ramped up in Europe and countries despately needed the vaccine too.

At the point six million doses were expected to be delivered by the end of March.

Canada had signed a deal to locally produce Novavax and began construction of a factory in Montreal.  

COVID-19 response: Building the infrastructure

Regardless.

Canada had enacted a hotel quarantine scheme on the 22nd of February, 2021.

Travellers had to test negative within 72 hours of getting ready to fly to Canada. Then they quarantine in designated hotel for three nights until receiving the results of another test they took upon arrival in the country. If they tested positive they could quarantine for 14 days at home, if they tested negative they had to quarantine in a facility chosen by the government for 14 days. 

Similar though not as stringent as a scheme Australia put in place eleven months earlier in late March 2020!

Vaccines could be less effetive against the new strains taking off and also as shown in Brazil affect more young people leading the median age of hospitalisations becoming much younger. 

In the videos below you can watch interviews with Intensive Care Unit physician Dr Michael Warner discussing the situation with hospitalisations in Ontairo in March, 2021.

Provincial Governors in Canada issued lockdowns and restrictions in response to rising hospitalisations.

But the action taken by each province varied.

There was a curfew in Montreal and Laval and four areas of the Quebec province had seen lockdowns extended. 

Eastern Canada, Day and Night

Just that week a gym in Quebec City was the epicentre of a spread of  419 cases.

Comparatively the Maritime provinces followed a similar policy to New Zealand with quick and severe suppression strategies. They now had established a travel bubble amongst each other.

Vince Volpe set up a petition via Change.org to try and have education staff prioritsed as essential workers to get vaccinated sooner rather than later in Canada which I signed along with 76,837 others.

On April 30, 2021 there was an update on the petition.

A statement had been released by the Ontairo’s Minister of Education Stephen Lance that from the 3rd of May, all education workers in the province would be able to book a vaccine appointment.

Pandemic concerns: Teachers worried about their health, quality of  education – Chilliwack Progress

Mid may would atleast mean second doses could be administered before the new school year in September. Classes were happening right now followed a delayed spring break but at least getting all teachers vaccinated by a new school year would be something if it could happen. Not just teachers too but all school staff and early childhood care centres.

Mid-May is about the latest that it can possibly happen where we will still have vaccines for education workers, and have all of the second round of shots finished in time for the new school year, but that does nothing for this school year,” elementary school teacher Lyndsay Houghtling said during an interview with CTV’s Your Morning on the 7th of April. 

We have an entire spring break available to us where we could realistically have it all done and have all of our education workers vaccinated, including our educational assistants are seen by [child and youth workers], our custodial staff, our administrative staff,” Houghtling said.

We hoped the vaccines would see the end of the worst of the pandemic but it is not over yet.

Canada, the lack of dips in Europe, the situation in places like Papua New Guinea, Brazil and India are painful reminders of this.

Maybe there is hope to be found in the fact that Canada with rising case numbers and hospitalisations and low vaccine rates still has not seen a similar rise in deaths.

Either way Canada you are never far from my thoughts.

On the 9th of April, 2021 the World Health Organisation reported in Canada there had been 1,028,041 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 7,148. There had been 23,173 deaths with a daily increase of 32.

 

-Lloyd Marken

 

ONE YEAR EARLIER: April 09, 2020.

The WHO reported in Canada there were 18,433 cases with a daily increase of 1,384. There had been 401 Canadians die with a daily increase of 56.

 

COVID-19 DIARY – ROLL OUT ROLL UP – PART VII

Coronavirus Australia: AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine change could harm  rollout

April 07

Wednesday.

My brother from another mother passed on some very good news.

His father, mother and brother had all recovered from COVID and were out of hospital.

It was quite a relief.

There were some pretty sad stories about the state of hospitals and the number of people getting sick in India and it was only going to get worse.

He told me a story of a wardsman who basically slept at the hospital, worked non-stop and applied IV tubes to patients since medical students were being pressed into service.

As so many sad stories were set to come out of India we had one of relief although anxiety still remained high.

In Australia 920,334 vaccines doses had been dispensed.

Still a fairly slow rate and in the news were the fact that private hospitals in Brisbane had still not been able to vaccinate their frontline staff. Including the Brisbane Private Hospital, St Andrews Memorial Hosptial and the Wesley Hospital. Hospitals I had been a pateint at over the years.

April 09

Thursday night and a radical blow was struck to Australia’s vaccine roll out.

The main element of the the country’s vaccine strategy had been 53 million AstraZeneca doses with over fifty million doses to be made right her in Australia at CSL limited.

Pfizer had been used and other vaccines were going to be secured but the Oxford-AstraZeneca was going to be our jab of choice.

That was until now.

The Australian government named Pfizer as the preferred vaccine for adults under 50.

The use of the Pfizer vaccine is preferred over the AstraZeneca vaccine in adults aged less than 50 years who have not already received a first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine,” the Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly said.

This is based both on the increased risk of complications from COVID-19 with increasing age, and thus increased benefit of the vaccination, and the potentially lower, but not zero risk, of this rare event with increasing age,” he said.

A Melbourne man had been hospitalised last week developing blood clots a fortnight after being vaccinated.

Authorities did advise it can still be used for those under 50 if “the benefits are likely to outweigh the risks for that individual and the person has made an informed decision based on an understanding of the risks and benefits“.

I personally had been waiting for the vaccine to be available at my local medical centre to receive a jab. Now I could not make a booking because I was under 50.

AstraZeneca delays filing for US approval for COVID vaccine | Business and  Economy News | Al Jazeera

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) advised getting a rare blood clot after receiving the vaccine was somewhere between one in 166,000 and one in 250,000.

Out of those stats about a quarter would die.

So that was approximately a one in 800,000 chance of dying from taking the AstraZeneca jab.

According to UNSW haematology senior researcher Jose Perdomo, it appears “very likely” that the AstraZeneca vaccine triggers a unique immune reaction characterised by low platelet count and clotting.

This is similar to another relatively rare but serious clotting condition, caused by the use of [blood thinner medication] heparin. This type of immune reaction involves platelets and white blood cells, and that is the reason for the development of severe clotting. In both cases, clotting appears within two weeks of administration of the substances.” advised University of New South Wales haematology researcher Jose Perdomo.

The average Australia had a one in 1,000 chance of getting a blood clot from deep vein thrombosis and 6 per cent of those would die. That is a one in 17,000 chance of an Australian dying from DVT in a year.

“Everything we do in life – every medication we take, every vaccine we give – has a risk. It is a very safe vaccine but that doesn’t mean that occasionally some very rare side effects won’t occur, and that’s what we’re seeing. People just need to be aware that every day we balance risk versus benefit, usually without thinking about it,” said Professor Jonathan Carapetis, from the Telethon Kids Institute and Australian Association of Medical Research Institutes.

In Australia over 900 hundred had died from COVID. That alone was a one in 30,000 chance of dying from it in a country where the disease had been relatively so far kept in check.

If every Australian was vaccinated with AstraZeneca given the current statistics it could be estimated that something like 25 would tragically die. Far less than 900.

However I beleived the governments were far more prepared to have lose lives through lack of action rather than through direct action.

Who really wants to be the one who pulls the trigger on 25 lives?

No one.

But the cost of doing nothing could be end up being higher.

In America one in 600 people had died from COVID.

A cautious approach is recommended since specific risk factors are currently unknown,” Dr Perdomo advised.

I wondered if in a country that had suffered far more loss if the risk of these blood clots would lead to such decisions.

And it had.

How a British COVID-19 vaccine went from pole position to troubled start |  The Japan Times

In Great Britain where over 125,000 people had died from COVID and government had failed to enact restrictions as early as some other countries.

In the country partly responsible for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and having rolled out the drug to many millions already even there Great Britain was restricting use in people under the age of 30.

On April 7th the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended that Pfizer or Moderna vaccine be offered to people under 30.

In the UK there had been 79 cases of blood clotting and 19 of the cases had proven fatal. Three of those were under 30. Eleven under 50.

They presented a risk/reward analysis based on a COVID-19 infection rate of 2 per 10,000 – roughly equivalent to the UK’s situation in March.

The UK government had come to this decision from a risk reward analysis based off the statistics from March when the risk of COVID was 2 per 10,000.

Analysis, prepared by Cambridge University based on this statistic argued that someone aged 20-29 was more likely to end up in intensive care from AstraZeneca than COVID.

That of course didn’t take into account the lowering of the median age of hospitalisations whwere the Brazilian stain was prevalent or that the March had not been the height of Britain’s most devastating COVID wave.

In fact other Cambridge researchers from the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication prepared models with higher infection rates that still showed the risk was higher of catching COVID than taking the vaccine.

Friday the UK government was still planning to have all of Briish adults vaccinated by the end of July.

For the family of 59 year old British man Neil Astles who had passed away from a blood clot within hours of receiving an AstaZeneca jab this was all too real and yet still his sister Dr Alison Astles urged people to get vaccinated. 

Covid: Canada authorises Pfizer vaccine for children aged 12 to 15 - BBC  News

With a significant change to the number of Australians who would get the AstraZeneca jab an additional 20 million doses of the Pfizer jab were secured by the Australian government.
That meant there would be 40 million doses of Pfizer delivered by December and 51 million doses of Novavax jab arriving from July onwards once it was approved and 25 million doses under the COVAX scheme.
That was something like 169 million vaccine doses for a country that had a population of 25 million.
There have only been one million Pfizer vaccines delivered to Australia so far.
There was no doubt that the roll out of the vaccine in Australia had suffered a significant setback. How this would play out remained to be seen.
One more thing Friday night it was reported that Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh had passed away. I know a lot of people will have opinions about the Royal Family. I did admire Prince Phillip for his service in World War II and for his sense of service to his wife and family. You can read into that what you will.
When your wife after a lifetime of marriage says you have been her strength and stay throughout all those years – you know you will have done something right.
Vale Sweet Prince.
-Lloyd Marken
ONE YEAR EARLIER: April 07, 2020 
April 09, 2020.

COVID-19 DIARY – EASTER 2021

April 02

Good Friday.

I was not sure how long it would take for me to get my tests. I had in the past gotten tested first thing in the morning and received a result twelve hours later late in the morning via text but testing numbers were much higher currently.

As it was, at 4:01pm I received a text from Queensland Health advising “Your test for COVID-19 from 02/04/2021 was NEGATIVE.”

I was never really expecting anything else but it was a relief of course.

To me you didn’t wear a mask to protect yourself – you wore it to protect others.

You didn’t get tested because you were paranoid of getting the virus but of passing it on to others.

You didn’t isolate out of fear for your safety but out of concern for the safety of others.

That is why I got tested and that is why I was not going to see anyone over the Easter weekend.

The negative result though did give Karen freedom to go out if she needed to as per health guidelines.

There were no new commmunity cases reported the morning of Good Friday.

April 04

Easter Sunday I was very fortunate, my parents drove over from the other side of town and delivered Karen and I hotboxes of the family Easter lunch. I expected it to be left outside our place but my Dad walked it to our door. We met both wearing masks and I took the box off him.

It was very kind and very delicious.

In the news there was talk of the new Brazilian strain which was taking off in places as far away as Canada.

The median age of patients The strain was up to 150 per cent more infectious than the original COVID as opposed to the U.K. strain was up to 70 per cent more infectious.

The P1 could be the variant that is the big troublemaker for the next surge,” U.S. Epidemilogist Eric Fiegl-Ding said.

The average age of people hospitalised in Brazil last year was 65 – now doctors estimates is now around 37.

Here was an earlier report from Australian Broadcasting Corporation on the 23rd of January.

April 06

Tuesday I worked from home, during the day I called the Prince Charles Hospital and was assured that the Fever Clinic would be open when I left after work that night.

So you can imagine my surprise when I arrived to this.

It was now just after 5pm as I scrambled for another nearby site after work to get tested. If the Prince Charles had correctly informed me that they would be closed then I would have made other arrangements.

I fortunately found a nearby Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology at my local medical centre that was closing at 6pm.

I arrived to a nearly closed centre just in time and the nurse kindly performed the test for me and someone else it appeared.

I received a slightly different text from SNP than the one Queensland Health sends.

At 2:37pm the next day advising ” RESULT: COVID-19 virus NOT DETECTED.”

In the news Tuesday night there was talk a new TransTasman Bubble that had long been touted by the Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Now it was happening.

I wondered given our recent snap lockdowns what the upside was for New Zealand and while it was not being discussed openly I had to imagine there had to be an economic factor here.

Either way this would be good news for many on both sides of the Tasman sea and one that caused anxiety for others but it was happening either way.

On the 6th of April, 2021 the World Health Organisation reported there had been 131,531,981 confirmed cases globally with a daily increase of 453,834.

There had been 2,859,469 deaths worldwide with a daily increase of 6,819.

In New Zealand there had been 2,168 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 17. There had been 26 deaths.

In Papua New Guinea there had been 7,406 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 368. There had been 67 deaths with a daily increase of six.

In Australia there had been 29,357 confirmed cases with a daily increase of nine. There had been 909 deaths.

In Ireland there had been 238,466 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 318. There had been 4,718 deaths. Their recent surge over Christmas well over for now.

In Canada there had been 1,008,106 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 6,448. Just the day before the country had reached more than 1 million cases with 1,001,658. There had been 23,075 deaths with a daily increase of 25.

In the United Kingdom there had been 4,356,334 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 2237. There had been 126,862 deaths with a daily increase of 26.

In India there had been 12,686,049 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 96,982! There had been 165,547 with a daily increase of 446.

Brazil hits 82,000 Covid deaths in April, new monthly record

In Brazil there had been 12,984,956 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 31,359. There had been 331433 deaths with a daily increase of 1,240. As mentioned in a previous post, on March 27th the country had reported their highest number of new daily cases with 100,158. The country recorded its highest daily number of deaths on the 10th of April with 4,249.

In the United States of America  30,413,124 with a daily increase of 41,108. There had been 551,769 deaths with a daily increase of 378.

I was back at work, able to go back out in the community, having been able to get tested.

In a few weeks I would a meal with my family having missed them at Easter and even earlier catch up with friends.

Other people had a much worse Easter and no such lovely events in the weeks ahead. I am very lucky.

-Lloyd Marken

ONE YEAR EARLIER: April 02, 2020. 

Captain Brett Crozier relieved of his command of the COVID stricken U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt marched down the gangplank to the cheers of his 5,000 crew who knew he had put their lives first by urging an evacuation of the ship while it was docked in Guam. 

April 04, 2020.

A year earlier the World Health Organisation reported the number of cases in the world had crossed one million with 1,056,157 cases.

April 06, 2020.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is admitted to hospital with COVID-19.

There were 743 active cases in Queensland recorded a year ago. There were now 70 active cases a year later to the day.

COVID-19 DIARY – EASTER IS GOOD TO GO IN QUEENSLAND BUT NOT FOR ME

20210401_171437
                             The entrance to the new COVID Fever Clinic. Copyright Lloyd Marken.

April 01

The first of April was the third day of a three day snap lockdown in the Greater Brisbane region.

It was Thursday and the next day was Good Friday.

The populace waited to have it confirmed that the lockdown would end today.

The number of venues listed from contract tracing had grown significantly.

There was an arguement to be made that had a lockdown be called in the wake of the first case with the PA doctor on the 12th of March that the Byron Bay Bluesfest would have been able to go ahead. That less cases would’ve ended out in the community and travelled as far as Gladstone and Toowoomba.

But case numbers were low as testing numbers had jumped, contract tracing had been ongoing during the lockdown, previous snap lockdowns had seen similar dispersal of the virus far and wide and but ultimately succeeded in their outcome of being a circuit breaker for the disease. There was some anxiety that the lockdown would not end today but if numbers were low this mornign precedent suggested it was likely the Premier would announce it would end.

As you would expect I was working from home.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Pallaszczuk announced in the morning that there were nine new cases in hotel quarantine and only one new case of community transmission and therefore the lockdown would end early at midday today.

I understand a lot of families in Greater Brisbane have made plans and the last thing we want to see are accidents on our roads at 5:00pm this afternoon and into the evening,” advised Premier Pallaszcuk.

Easter is good to go,” she said.

As before following the snap lockdown there would be a period of continued restrictions to remain in place until April 15 like mask wearing when indoors and unable to socially distant.

Cafes and restaurants could have patrons dine in but they had to be seated and there was no dancing to be had.

There was a person per 2 square metre rule for businesses and churches to adhere to.

Household gatherings were limited to 30 people.

There would be no visitors allowed at prisons, hospitals, aged care and disability services for the next two weeks.

We are not out of the woods yet. I’m asking Queenslanders, all Queenslanders, for the next two weeks if we all do the right thing, we can get through this together,” the Premier said.

Thirty four thousand, seven hundred and eleven tests had been carried out in the past 24 hours also giving confidence to authorities.

The amount of testing … has been astronomical,” Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young said.

The two PA clusters now had a total of 20 cases linked to them including the new community case that morning who had been at the Byron Bay Hen’s party.

The Queensland Premier had requested an extension to the end of April in reducing the number of returned travellers returning through the state.

There were 82 active cases in hospital and 68 were returned travellers.

“That’s a real risk for us. I think we are the highest rate in the country at the moment with the most number of active cases in hospital,” said the Queensland Premier.

In Queensland there had been 1,386 cases of COVID, six deaths, 2,042714 tests conducted and currently 38 active cases.

As it got near to the end of my working day an e-mail was sent out at work.

Near where I work is the Toowong village shopping centre where I get my morning coffee from Stellarossa Toowong. Sometimes I pass through the newsagency on my way there.

Nextra in Toowong, Brisbane, QLD, Newsagents - TrueLocal

That newsagent had been listed on the Queensland Health website as a “casual contact” venue for Tuesday the 16th of March between 9:30 to 10am.

I backtracked through my notes.

Had I been working from home in the office on that day?

No I had been in the office.

I usually get a coffee around 9am to 10am.

There had been a meeting that morning.

Was it unlikely that I had been there before 10am.

Yes.

Was it unlikely that I had passed through the newsagency that day given I did not regularly do it on a daily basis.

Yes.

But was it possible….

Yes it was possible and therefore what I did next was a no brainer for me.

I finished work at 4:30pm and headed to the Prince Charles Hospital Fever Clinic to get tested having just read the e-mail maybe fifteen minutes prior to logging off.

Queensland Health broke venues from contract tracing into two types, one was close contacts and the second was casual contacts.

If you had been to a Close Contact site at the specified time then you needed to get tested immediately and quarantine until you get a negative result.

For those people even once you received a negative test you were to “complete the contact tracing self-assessment” and “stay quarantined even if you get a negative test until 14 days have passed since you were last there. It can take 14 days before you may show symptoms or test positive.”

There were over 1,700 people who would remain in quarantine as a result of this in Queensland over Easter.

For casual contacts.

“If you have been to any of the below locations at the relevant times you should:

Longtime readers will recall this is not the first time I sought out a COVID test or my first visit to the COVID-19 Fever Clinic at the Prince Charles Hospital.

On the 25th of February I was at The Prince Charles for something else and a nurse had been suspicous of the fact that we were wearing masks.

When I went and got tested for COVID for the first time on the 25th of May, 2020 I strolled throught the hospital to find myself out the back of an education centre.

We queued outside the building, there was a waiting room with chairs with masks to put on if you don’t already have one.

Then another room to go over paperwork.

Then another room to wait and then another room where the test was done.

I asked how deep the swab went and the nurse was very gentle. Perhaps coincidentally.

I returned twice to the place and followed a similar process in June 2020. That time one of the tests was distinctly uncomfortable.

On the 16th of December, 2020 with symptoms I returned to the Prince Charles Hospital to get tested and found the Fever Clinic had been moved. I had to walk through the Emergency Department to enter a long corridor where I found the clinic and got tested.

Now on the 1st of April I drove far from the main hospital to the other end of the campus grounds.

I saw a line of people on chairs in an undercover area outside a building. At the front of it I was checked in by a nurse, I was of course wearing a mask but was instructed to put on a surgical mask and wash my hands. The surgical mask had a blue plastic brim at the top of it where it would be positioned near the nose. It was as flimsy as masks you could buy in pharmacies.

I sat on a chair and waited for my test. I was told I would be called on my mobile. This practice I believe was in place to maybe allow waiting testees to leave and come back so as to keep numbers low at the site during peak testing. There were a few of us seated and waiting but perhaps not as many as there would be during the day or in particular in recent days.

I was there for close to ninety minutes.

A little over an hour before I got called and answered, a little later I was ushered in and got tested.

In December the nose swab was out but was told this time it was back. I felt they were thorugh but it was not painful. I wandered off into the night.

I was due to see my parents that Sunday for Easter and there was a good chance I would return a negative test by then and be free to attend to them.

But I though about my parents on a hospital bed, maybe a ventilator, fighting for their lives.

I had just seem them two weeks earlier.

There had been plenty of cases of people who became ill with COVID past the incubation period of 14 days while in isolation.

I was not prepared to take that risk.

I called them and advised I would not be seeing them and then I called work to arrange working from home.

I had a scheduled medical appointment the following Friday and people would be getting their flu shots at work on Thursday.

I rationalised a subsequent test the following tuesday and isolating before then would bring us up to three weeks since the possibility of having been to the newsagency on the 16th of March so that is what I would do.

Below was taken from the Queensland Health website from the 2nd of April just to give you an idea of how easily a potential spread can occur even if a place where there are so few initial cases out in the community.

-Lloyd Marken

CLOSE CONTACTS

Date Place Suburb Arrival time Departure time
Saturday 20 March Shinobi Ramen Noodle shop
Westfield Carindale Shopping Centre
Carindale 12pm 2.16pm
Saturday 20 March Black Hops Brewery East Brisbane 12pm 2pm
Sunday 21 March Mamma’s Italian Restaurant
69 Redcliffe Parade
Redcliffe 12.30pm 3.10pm
Saturday 20 March Green Beacon brewing Co. Teneriffe 2pm 3.12pm
Saturday 20 March Eatons Hill Hotel Eatons Hill 3.44pm 5.30pm
Monday 22 March PCYC Pine Rivers Bray Park 7.16am 8.10am
Monday 22 March KCF Training (gym) New Birtinya 9.15am 11.30am
Monday 22 March Plus Fitness New Minyama 2.30pm 3.30pm
Tuesday 23 March Plus Fitness New Minyama 7.30am 8.30am
Tuesday 23 March Hamilton Hotel Updated Hamilton 2.20pm 5.23pm
Wednesday 24 March Oliver’s Real food – Dine in Patrons New Maryborough West 11.50am 12.09pm
Friday 26 March FitStop Gym
6/338 Lytton Road
Morningside 6.50am 8am
Friday 26 March Spinnaker Park Café
222 Alf O’Rourke Drive
Callemondah 10.22am 11.23am
Friday 26 March Auckland House
60 Flinders Parade
Gladstone Central 7.23pm 9.30pm
Saturday 27 March Auckland House
60 Flinders Parade
Gladstone Central 7.33am 8.20am
Saturday 27 March Savour Café
Merthyr Village Shopping Centre
New Farm 10.30am 12.10pm
Monday 29 March Premium Pilates & Fitness Coorparoo 9.25am 10.30am

CLOSE CONTACTS INTERSTATE LOCATIONS TO BE REFERRED TO ON THE NSW HEALTH WEBSITE

  • Byron Bay – Friday 26 March to Sunday 28 March
  • Suffolk Park – Friday 26 March to Sunday 28 March
  • Ewingsdale – Sunday 28 March
  • Ballina – Sunday 28 March
  • East Ballina – Sunday 28 March
  • Lennox Head – Sunday 28 March

HISTORICAL CASUAL CONTACTS – OLDER THAN 14 DAYS 

Date Place Suburb Arrival time Departure time
Tuesday 9 – Tuesday 23 March Princess Alexandra Hospital
5D Outpatients Department (Sexual Health Clinic, Infectious Disease Clinic, Immunology A Clinic)New
Woolloongabba 8.00pm
Tuesday 9 March
11.59pm
Tuesday 23 March
Tuesday 9 – Tuesday 23 March Princess Alexandra Hospital Ward 5D New Woolloongabba 8.00pm
Tuesday 9 March
11.59pm
Tuesday 23 March
Wednesday 10 March Plus Fitness Everton Park 1.15pm 2.15pm
Wednesday 10 March Woolworths Everton Park 2.30pm 2.40pm
Thursday 11 March Plus Fitness Everton Park 3.30pm 5.00pm
Friday 12 March Plus Fitness Everton Park 3.30pm 5.00pm
Saturday 13 March Woolworths and Specsavers
Brookside Shopping Centre
Mitchelton 4.00pm 5.00pm
Sunday 14 March Plus Fitness Everton Park 8.30am 10.00am
Monday 15 March Plus Fitness Everton Park 9.00am 10.30am
Tuesday 16 March Plus Fitness Everton Park 4.30pm 5.30pm
Wednesday 17 March Woolworths Everton Park 2.30pm 3.00pm
Wednesday 17 March Studio Pilates Grange 4.30pm 5.15pm

CASUAL CONTACTS

Date Place Suburb Arrival time Departure time
Tuesday 16 March Body Plus Physio Caboolture 08.30am 08.50am
Tuesday 16 March Nextra Toowong Village Toowong 9:30am 10:00am
Tuesday 16 March Silky Oakes Strathpine 12pm 12.05pm
Tuesday 16 March Price Line Pharmacy Albany Creek 12.30pm 12.40pm
Tuesday 16 March Grill’d Eatons Hill 1pm 1.30pm
Tuesday 16 March Meat at Billy’s Ashgrove 2:30pm 2:45pm
Wednesday 17 March Tafe Southbank 8am 4.30pm
Wednesday 17 March Woolworths Everton Park Everton Park 1.39pm 2.13pm
Thursday 18 March Plus Fitness New Everton Park 8.00am 9.30am
Thursday 18 March Milton Fruit Bowl Milton 9:00am 9:20am
Thursday 18 March World Gym North Lakes 9.15am 9.45am
Thursday 18 March Basil and Vine Burpengary 10am 10.15am
Thursday 18 March Giant Chemist
Pacific Fair Shopping Centre New
Broadbeach 1.45pm 2pm
Thursday 18 March Electric Chair Barber Shop Everton Park 3.15pm 4.14pm
Thursday 18 March Studio Pilates New Grange 4.30pm 5.15pm
Friday 19 March Plus Fitness New Everton Park 7.30am 9am
Friday 19 March Lawnton Country Markets Bakery Lawnton 6.11am 6.26am
Friday 19 March Plus Fitness Everton Park 7.30am 9am
Friday 19 March Woolworths Paddington 10am 10:15am
Friday 19 March Bakers Delight Paddington 10:15am 10:30am
Friday 19 March Westfield North Lakes 11.20am 11.50am
Friday 19 March Little Red Dumpling Carseldine 12.10pm 1.16pm
Friday 19 March Studio Pilates New Grange 12.15pm 1pm
Friday 19 March Woolworths Carseldine 1.10pm 1.20pm
Friday 19 March Chemist Warehouse New Windsor 2pm 2.20pm
Friday 19 March TB’s Wine and Beer Rosalie 2:30pm 2:45pm
Friday 19 March Newstead Brewing Co. Newstead 3.54pm 5.29pm
Friday 19 March Aldi Bald Hills 5.10pm 5.18pm
Friday 19 March Super Cheap Auto Bald Hills 5.30pm 5.33pm
Friday 19 March Reef Seafood & Sushi Brisbane Newstead 5.37pm 6.35pm
Friday 19 March The Standard Market Company, Gasworks Plaza
76 Skyring Tce
Newstead 6.35pm 6.45pm
Friday 19 March Public Toilet, Gasworks Plaza
(located to the right of the escalator from the car park)
Newstead 6.46pm 6.47pm
Saturday 20 March Plus Fitness 24/7 Gym Everton Park Everton Park 7.40am 8.34am
Saturday 20 March Coles Everton Park
Everton Plaza Shopping Centre
Everton Park 8.39am 8.44am
Saturday 20 March Neighbourhood Market Co. Everton Park 8.45am 8.55am
Saturday 20 March Westfield Carindale Shopping Centre – any part of the shopping centre Carindale 12pm 2.16pm
Saturday 20 March Black Hops Brewery East Brisbane 2pm 3pm
Saturday 20 March The Bavarian Eagle Street Pier Brisbane City 2.15pm 4pm
Saturday 20 March Market Organics (store only)
190 Enoggera Road
Newmarket 2.45pm 3pm
Saturday 20 March Riverland Brisbane Brisbane City 4.10pm 6.32pm
Saturday 20 March Viscosity Fortitude Valley 6.42pm 7.31pm
Saturday 20 March XCargo Fortitude Valley 7.35pm 9.32pm
Saturday 20 March Baskins-Robbins
2/489 South Pine Road
Everton Park 9.20pm 9.25pm
Sunday 21 March The Standard Market Company, Gasworks Plaza
76 Skyring Tce
Newstead 9.50am 10.20am
Sunday 21 March Presents of Mind Paddington 10:15am 10:30am
Sunday 21 March Genki Mart
3/24 South Pine Road
Alderley 10.30am 10.46am
Sunday 21 March Subway
Strathpine Plaza Shopping Centre
Strathpine 12.50pm 1pm
Sunday 21 March Burrito Bar Everton Park Everton Park 3.24pm 3.33pm
Sunday 21 March Liquorland, Dolphins Central Shopping Centre
Ashmole Road and Klingner Road
Kippa-Ring 4 .40pm 4.50pm
Monday 22 March Bunnings Rothwell
Cnr Anzac Avenue and Bremner Road
Rothwell 7 .14am 7.27am
Monday 22 March Café L’avenue Carseldine 8.51am 8.58am
Monday 22 March Ashgrove Fresh Fruit Shop Ashgrove 9:20am 9:30am
Monday 22 March Zambrero Aspley 12.05pm 12.34pm
Monday 22 March Jacobs Bakery Aspley 12.40pm 12.48pm
Monday 22 March Bunnings Stafford
450 Stafford Road
Stafford 12.40pm 12.50pm
Monday 22 March Bunnings Lawnton 3.15pm 3.30pm
Monday 22 March Strathpine Plaza Shopping Centre Strathpine 3.43pm 3.49pm
Monday 22 March Woolworths Mountain Creek New Mountain Creek 4.15pm 4.40pm
Tuesday 23 March Redcliffe Train Line – Kippa-Ring to Lawnton Kippa Ring to Lawnton 7.00am 8.00am
Tuesday 23 March Café L’avenue Carseldine 8am 8.29am
Tuesday 23 March Woolworths Paddington 9:10am 9:25am
Tuesday 23 March Westfield
(Dymocks and Woolworths)
North Lakes 11am 12pm
Tuesday 23 March Nutrition Warehouse New Maroochydore 11.15am 11.30am
Tuesday 23 March Brightwater Medical Centre at
Brightwater Shopping Centre New
Mountain Creek 12pm 12.45pm
Tuesday 23 March Sushi Train Carseldine 12pm 12.45pm
Tuesday 23 March Zambrero Lawnton 12.51pm 12.55pm
Tuesday 23 March QML Pathology at
Brightwater Shopping Centre New
Mountain Creek 1pm 1.15pm
Tuesday 23 March Lawnton Fruit Market Lawnton 1.57pm 2.05pm
Tuesday 23 March Redcliffe Train Line – Lawnton to Kippa-Ring Lawnton to Kippa Ring 2.00pm 3.00pm
Tuesday 23 March Rosalie Gourmet Market Deli Rosalie 2:30pm 2:45pm
Tuesday 23 March Poolwerx Strathpine Strathpine 3.15pm 3.27pm
Tuesday 23 March Nellas Gourmet Tucker Lawnton 3.37pm 3.47pm
Tuesday 23 March Woolworths Strathpine 4pm 4.30pm
Tuesday 23 March Dan Murphy’s Strathpine 7.26pm 7.36pm
Wednesday 24 March Tafe Southbank 8am 4.30pm
Wednesday 24 March IGA Milton 9:05am 9:15am
Wednesday 24 March Milton Fruit Bowl Milton 9:20am 9:30am
Wednesday 24 March Redcliffe Train Line – Lawnton to Kippa-Ring Lawnton to Kippa Ring 2.30pm 3.30pm
Wednesday 24 March Lawnton Country Markets Lawnton 2.36pm 2.43pm
Wednesday 24 March Coles Everton Park
Everton Plaza Shopping Centre
Everton Park 3.24pm 3.33pm
Wednesday 24 March Uroko Sushi on Train Everton Park 7.19pm 7.33pm
Thursday 25 March Café L’avenue Carseldine 8am 8.29am
Thursday 25 March Aldi Stafford, Stafford City Shopping Centre
400 Stafford Road
Stafford 8.30am 8.45am
Thursday 25 March World Gym North Lakes 8.45am 9.45am
Thursday 25 March Meats at Billy’s Ashgrove 9:10am 9:20am
Thursday 25 March Officeworks Rothwell 12pm 12.30pm
Thursday 25 March Café L’avenue Carseldine 12.34pm 1.34pm
Thursday 25 March Gin Gin Public Toilet (male) opposite Gin Gin Bakery Gin Gin 1.25pm 1.26pm
Thursday 25 March Gin Gin Bakery
41 Mulgrave St
Gin Gin 1.26pm 1.33pm
Thursday 25 March Westfield North Lakes 2pm 3pm
Thursday 25 March Miriam Vale Road Star Roadhouse – male toilet Miriam Vale 2.35pm 2.45pm
Thursday 25 March Nundah Respiratory Clinic
1270 Sandgate Road
Nundah 11.15am 11.40am
Thursday 25 March Oliver’s Real Food – Take away patrons Updated Maryborough West 11.50am 12.09pm
Thursday 25 March Cold Rock Ice Creamery Raby Bay 3.50pm 4pm
Thursday 25 March Woolworths Cleveland Cleveland 4.00pm 4.40pm
Thursday 25 March Redcliffe Train Line – Lawnton to Kippa-Ring Lawnton to Kippa Ring 5.45pm 6.45pm
Thursday 25 March BWS – Lawnton Drive
820 Gympie Road
Lawnton 6.15pm 6.30pm
Thursday 25 March Hanwoori Korean BBQ Restaurant Brisbane City 6.30pm 7.30pm
Thursday 25 March Wintergarden carpark Brisbane City 6.19pm 7.50pm
Thursday 25 March Ceres Pizza Café Strathpine 7.00pm 7.58pm
Friday 26 March World Gym North Lakes 10am 10.30am
Friday 26 March Nurse Station café (Patrons) South Brisbane 10.15am 10.30am
Friday 26 March SPAR Carina Megafresh Carina 11.30am 11.45am
Friday 26 March Coles, Stockland Gladstone Gladstone Central 12.09pm 12.33pm
Friday 26 March Woolworths Coorparoo Coorparoo 12.55pm 1.30pm
Friday 26 March Niche & Co Café Tugun 1.40pm 1.55pm
Friday 26 March Chempro Chemist Tugun 1.55pm 2.10pm
Friday 26 March Redcliffe Train Line – Lawnton to Kippa-Ring Lawnton to Kippa Ring 2.30pm 3.30pm
Friday 26 March Woolworths Kippa-Ring
272 Anzac Avenue
Kippa-Ring 3pm 3.20pm
Friday 26 March Stockland Gladstone (including BWS) Gladstone 4.46pm 5.00pm
Saturday 27 March IGA Redcliffe Redcliffe 12.50pm 12.55pm
Saturday 27 March Sunlit Asian Supermarket
Westfield Garden City
Upper Mount Gravatt 2.30pm 2.45pm
Saturday 27 March Domino’s Pizza Greenslopes 3.30pm 3.40pm
Sunday 28 March 7-Eleven Mackenzie 1.30am 1.40am
Sunday 28 March 52 Espresso Nobby Beach 6.15am 6.45am
Sunday 28 March LeanChef Kitchn Surfers Paradise (Chevron Island) 10am 10.30am
Sunday 28 March Stable Coffee Kitchen Tugun 10.27am 10.48am
Sunday 28 March HOTA Markets Bundall 10.45am 11.30am
Sunday 28 March Surf Life Saving Competition Tugun Beach 12.30pm 2pm
Sunday 28 March Epic Escape Room Southport 1.45pm 5.20pm
Sunday 28 March Kirra Surf Shop
6/8 Creek Street
Coolangatta 2.35pm 3.05pm
Sunday 28 March Southport Park Shopping Centre Southport 3pm 4pm
Sunday 28 March Woolworths Southport Park 3.14pm 3.35pm
Sunday 28 March Tugun Supermarket Tugun 5.20pm 5.30pm
Monday 29 March Rafiki Café Mermaid Beach 6.45am 6.50am

LOW RISK CONTACTS

A low risk contact requires you to monitor for symptoms but not immediately quarantine or even get tested. If a symptom occurs then you get tested and ioslate at home until you receive a negative test.

Place Suburb Arrival time Departure time
Tuesday 23 March Outside Westpac –  Peninsula Fair Shopping Centre
272 Anzac Avenue
Kippa-Ring 3pm 3.30pm

COVID-19 DIARY – GAME OVER – END OF THE FOURTH QUARTER

Byron Bay Area - Accommodation, Maps, Attractions & Events

March 31

Wednesday and there was one new case in hotel quarantine in Queensland and only two new community cases and both were linked to recent cases.

The Blues Festival was cancelled in Bryon Bay for the second year running.

A PA nurse and her housemate but she never had contact to a returned traveller from India that she was linked to. This prompted further questions about how the disease might be spreading in the environment of the hospital.

The nurse had gone to hens party in Byron Bay over the weekend with ten people and an eleventh – a male entertainer. The entertainer and six of the ten guests had now tested positive.

The nurse had not worked directly with a returned traveller with COVID that her infection was linked to after genomic testing.

We just need to work out how she got it on that ward. There is most likely some environmental contamination or some aerosolisation of the virus when the person was admitted. So that’s why that ward has been closed. No-one is going in or out of that ward,” advised Dr Jeanette Young.

The nurse had been given the first dose of the vaccine on March 19.

The Health Minister Yvette D’Ath got a COVID testing following having a sore throat.

A 20 year old man tested positive in Byron Bay.

Music festival to go ahead in NSW town on alert for COVID-19 - NewsFinale

More than 33,000 people get tested including Health Minister Yvette D’Ath after having a sore throat.

The Premier indicated if the numbers were similar tomorrow there was a good chance the lockdown would end on Thursday evening.

The fact we do not have any unlinked community transmission in the south-east or in our state is absolutely encouraging. Fingers crossed all will be looking good for Easter. If we see very good testing rates across Queensland and we don’t see any unlinked community transmission, the signs for Easter are looking positive.,” the Premier said.

One hundred and fourteen residents and staff at TriCare Mermaid Beach aged care residency on the Gold Coast had been tested and all returned negative results advised federal health minister Greg Hunt. This was following news that a contractor had done work at the facility and later tested positive.

Cases as far travelled as Bryon Bay, Gold Coast, Toowoomba and Gladstone. Two patients with COVID in the Gold Coast University Hospital, one in Toowoomba hospital and one in Bundaberg hospital.

Since the pandemic had started there had been 1,571 cases in Queensland, seven deaths and 2,485,240 tests had been carried out.

There were now 20 active cases in the state.

For the government the indications were if the numbers held the three day lockdown would be enough.

In January Prime Minister Scott Morrison had put forward the goal of having four million vaccinations carried out by the end of March.

On the eve of reaching that timeframe there was bound to be talk of the fact that the target had not been reached – not even close at 670,349 doses admnistered.

There were not even 4 million doses in the country yet which may be the crucial issue. There had been 3.8 million doses ordered to arrive during this timeframe and instead only 700,000 had. We were up to just under 50,000 doses a day.

It was looking highly unlikely an earlier stated goal of everyone receiving their first dose by the end of October would transpire.

Agricultural Minister David Littleproud put some of the problems at the state level when being interviewed on Channel 9 News.

We have made it very clear to them, have confidence in the supply chain — we have plenty coming through, you cannot leave them in the rack, you’ve got to put them in people’s arms,” he argued.

“They have done three-fifths of bugger all.”

ABC The Drum - @ABCthedrum Twitter Analytics - Trendsmap

This started a war of words between state and federal leaders of all political persuasions.

“Queensland is releasing its vaccine numbers every day. We do not see that from the federal government. If the states are releasing their figures every day I think it’s only fair, fair and reasonable, that the federal government releases their figures every day. We need to have guaranteed supply and we need to have guaranteed times of delivery,” said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Queensland had completed 89% of 1A vaccinations for frontline workers.

Pfizer vaccines were being used there which required a second dose to be given three weeks later.

We do have to make sure that if we give the first dose that we can give the second dose. Although the Commonwealth has done their best to try and assure us that we would get those second doses, at the same time we’re getting information that supply is not progressing as we had hoped,” advised Dr Young.

For a change New South Wales and Queensland Premier were of a similar opinion.

What is extremely unfair is that when we are given 24 or 48 hours notice about how many new doses we’re getting. As you can appreciate, disseminating that within 24 hours or 48 hours is a difficult task. I want to put the facts on the table because it’s so important for us to not only vaccinate as many people as soon as possible, but also to make the vaccine available through multiple channels,” said New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the report was misleading. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Damian Shaw

There is no point in delivering something to us a day ago or two day ago and saying you haven’t rolled them out. I am as angry as I have ever been in this 15 months of war against this virus, said New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard.

“Let’s get this really, really clear: The NSW government was asked to roll out 300,000 vaccinations to the groups in 1A and 1B. Of that we have done 100,000,” he said.

“The Federal Government was asked and is responsible for 5.5 million people and they have rolled out 50,000. I think the figures speak for themselves.”

“It’s a big job, we’re all doing it, the states and territories are doing it for their frontline workers, we’re doing it through the GP rollout,” advised Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1z8BdDqsOM

A year on from when the pandemic started to sweep the west. Back then we put into actions and waited to see how the first quarter would play out with our health care systems, our supplies, our economies, our way of live and our loved ones.

There have now been four such quarters. A full game if you and game two in the series had kicked off.

Where will this all end and on many people’s mind is maybe how and when?

How many people will die, lose their jobs and businesses, lose their health and when will this threat be out of our lives completely or at least greatly diminished.

We got the vaccine, this year will reveal if that is a game changer and a temporary or ongoing one. They say doctors live in the future, maybe they know.

I know that I do not.

But I remain grateful for all the good fortune I have been a recipient of, I look to do what little I can to help the less fortunate and to take solace in friends, families, some moments of joy and the idea that deeds however small matter. That if we can help each other and think of each other we will have the means to get through this.

It is not over but the first match in the series is.

As we close it, here is a little update.

On the 31st of March, 2021 the World Health Organisation reported 127,905,155 confirmed cases globally with a daily increase of 526,819.

There had been 2,798,278 deaths worldwide with a daily increase of 9,047.

Region March 2021

WHO Continents end of March

WHO Continents 2 end of March21

Australia end of march 2021.jpg

In Australia there had been 29,296 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 18. There had been 909 deaths.

China end of March21

In the People’s Republic of China where the virus had originated in Wuhan it was reported there had been 102,734 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 19. There had been 4,851 deaths.

Canada end of march 2021.jpg

In Canada there had been 971,715 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 6,311. There had been 22,900 deaths with a daily increase of 20. WIth over four million vaccinations Canada was starting to see an uptick in case numbers.

Iran end of March21

In Iran one of the first countries hit hard by the virus had suffered greatly in subsequent waves over the past year and another wave was coming. There had been 1,875,234 confirmed cases with a daily increase 10,250. There had been 62,569 deaths with a daily increase of 91.

6-12 end of march 2021.jpg

Poland end of March21

In Poland there had been 2,321,717 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 32,891. There had been 53,045 deaths with a daily increase of 653. The next day they reported 35,253 new cases, their highest recorded daily increase of cases. A week later on April 8 956 deaths were reported in one day, the highest daily record of new deaths due to the virus.

Colombia end of March 2021

In Colombia there had been 2,389,779 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 7,049. There had been 63,079 deaths with a daily increase of 124. The population of Colombia was 50 million.

Germany end of March 2021

In Germany there had been 2,808,873 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 17,051. There had been 76,342 deaths with a daily increase of 249.

Spain end of March 2021

In Spain there had been 3,282,047 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 7,202. There had been 76,424 deaths with a daily increase of 76. Spain was one of only nine countries that had reported more than 3 million cases at this point.

Turkey end of March 2021

In Turkey there had been 3,277,880 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 37,303. There had been 31,385 deaths with a daily increase of 155. As you can see above, cases were dramatically on the rise in the country.

Italy end of March 2021

In Italy there had been 3,561,012 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 16,055. There had been 108,879 deaths with a daily increase of 529.

Top 6 end of march 2021.jpg

UK end of march 2021.jpg

In the United Kingdom there had been 4,338,385 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 3,995. Thre had been a dramatic fall in new daily cases but only in the context of the recent devastating wave. In March last year when the virus shook the world, Britain reported 4,262 new daily cases on the 1st of April, 2020 for example. There had been 126,670 deaths with a daily increase of 55. Great Britain was one of only six countries that had reported more than four million cases.

Russia end of March 2021

In Russia there had been 4,545,095 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 8,275. There had been no let up in the daily death rates in the the country. There had been 98,850 deaths with a daily increase of 408.

France end of March 2021

In France there had been 4,510,870 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 29,575. There had been 94,763. deaths with a daily increase of 361. On the 5th of April there would be 66,794 new daily cases. Only one day recorded a higher increase in daily cases in the country and that was 86,794 on the 8th of November 2020.

India end of march 2021.jpg

In India there had been 12,149,335 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 53,480. There had been 162,468 deaths with a daily increase of 354. I am writing this on the 7th of May and the dramatic rise of cases has played out in a tragic way. It had already started here. India, Brazil and the United States of America are the only three countries that have reported more than 10 million cases in the world.

Brazil end of March 2021

In Brazil there had been 12,573,615 with a daily increase of 38,927. There had been 313,866 deaths with a daily increase of 1,660. On March 27th the country had reported their highest number of new daily cases with 100,158. The country recorded its highest daily number of deaths on the 10th of April with 4,249.

US end of march 2021.jpg

In the United States of America they reached more than 30 million cases with 30,033,063 with a daily increase of 64,599. There had been 545,051 deaths with a daily increase of 621. No country had suffered more than America this past year and new that over 135 million vacccine doses had been dispensed was cause for celebration but the daily new case numbers there were still high.

We were about to find out what protection the vaccine would grant against new strains and a new subsequent wave when it came.

I hoped it would be promising news.

I hope the worst of this is behind us.

It would come to be that that was not the case for India and others.

But we play on.

It is all we can do.

-Lloyd Marken

ONE YEAR EARLIER: March 31, 2020

Globally we passed over 750,000 confirmed cases and reached 36,522 dead.

On a more heartening note Karen became the Teddy Bear Lady in our local neighbourhood.

COVID-19 DIARY – SEEING IT THROUGH

March 29

The lockdown on Monday Night threw a spanner in the works of my plan to reach 100 kilometres by walking on the treadmill at my gym.

So I asked Karen if she would walk with me around our local neighbourhood. I was concerned about recording the distance accurately and covering a lot of distance.

As we walked along I would decide we would go just one more street over, we won’t go here we change direction down there. We won’t stop here, we’ll go up to the petrol station.

I was concerned we were only covering five kilometres the first night but when I went back and went step by step on Google Maps we had covered much more. Karen of course already knew that.

Karen walked with me as I limped along over those two nights. I’m not sure I could have done it without her.

The first night we covered 7.6 kilometres walking for two hours and twenty minutes.

The first night we reached the end of the Kokoda Track.

March 30

Tuesday we did the first proper day of the second snap lockdown. I worked from home.

There were eight new locally acquired cases in Brisbane.

The Princess Alexandra Hospital it was announced would go into lockdown.

“In light of recent cases of COVID-19 that have been linked to the ward 5D at Princess Alexandra (PA) Hospital, a decision has been made for PA hospital to go into lockdown today,” Queensland’s Metro South Hospital and Health Service confirmed in a statement.

“As a precautionary measure, we are continuing to test all staff that have worked in ward 5D at PA Hospital between midday Friday, March 19 and 4:00pm Sunday, March 28.”

Ward 5D is the PA Hospital’s infectious diseases ward. 

Two clusters of cases involved PA staff.

One linking back to the Doctor from the PA from March 12 that led to a landscaper testing positive on on March 25th and now a nurse who possibly got it from a returned traveller from India but had not had direct contact with the patient. The nurse from the PA and her sister had recently been in Bryon Bay for a Hen’s Party.

The Health Minister advised at the time of these cases not enough health workers had received their full vaccinations.

14,589 peole got tested.

For the first time masks were mandatory across the state.

Mater Mother’s hospital sent home staff, one of the new cases had been to the maternity ward recently.

With cases having travelled as far as Bryon Bay and Gladstone and with a few new daily cases it remained to be seen if the snap lockdown would end on Thursday night on the eve of the Easter weekend.

In Toowoomba one school had shut down since many of its teachers had recently been to Brisbane and were in lockdown. There was one case of COVID in Toowoomba hospital.

This virus has not gone away, it is circulating we know in the Brisbane area, at least, so people should be taking those precautions of the COVID-safe behaviours that we’ve been saying all along — keep your physical distance, remember your cough etiquette, wash your hands often, all of these things remain important,” said Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly.

On Tuesday night Karen and I walked together again to complete my March On Campaign for the charity Soldier On which helps veterans.

I promised the walk would be shorter than the previous night but it was still 4.4 kilometres covered in 1 hour and twenty five minutes.

I got past my intended goal of 100 killometres with 103 kilometres covered during the month of March.

I would now rest up my hammy and wait for the gyms to re-open.

As we closed out the month, I absolutely couldn’t believe it but $270 had been raised by my donors which was very humbling and good news for our veterans who needed and deserved our help.

Defence Annual Report 2003-04 :: Chapter One :: Year in Review :: Operation  Anode :: Photograph 4

There were 6,268 participants in the March On campaign.

They raised $1,549,576 dollars for veterans and covered 483,060 kilometres.

Amongst them was Soldier On patron 102 year old World War II veteran Sgt Bert who walked 159 kilometres himself during the March On campaign.

Soldier On, was a not for profit charity founded in 2012 to support veterans by John Bale, Cavin Wilson and Danielle Clout. Bale had been close friends with Lieutenant Michael Fussell who was killed in Afghanistan. Three thousand veterans and their families are supported by the charity with a holistic approach to their physical and mental wounds with employment programs, health and wellbeing services, learning and participation activities.

-Lloyd Marken

ONE YEAR EARLIER: March 30, 2020

Jobkeeper is introduced in Australia and hospital ship UNSN Comfort enters New York City harbour. A field hospital is built in Central Park.

COVID-19 DIARY – SECOND SNAP LOCKDOWN IN BRISBANE

Greater Brisbane lockdown announced, masks mandatory across Queensland  after 10 new COVID-19 cases, four locally acquired - ABC News

March 29

When I arrived at work Monday morning there was a rumour going around a lockdown was about to be announced.

Sure enough that is exactly what happened, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the Greater Brisbane region (this included Ipswich, Logan, Redlands and Moreton Bay) would enter a three day lockdown starting from 5pm.

Masks were mandatory except in private residencies and vehicles.

You could only leave home for food, work, medical reasons or exercise.

Schools were closed again for children of essential workers.

Cafes and restaurants were shut but could provide take-away.

Two visitors could be allowed in a house.

I had been wondering what the trigger would be and it turned out it was very simple – numbers. Not big numbers but just enough to take action.

In January one new case out in the community had trigged the lockdown.

Now it was four following three previous ones. The PA Doctor from the 12th of March.

Not the landscaper from the 26th of March or his friend on the 27th.

But on the 29th there 10 new cases and four of them – count’em four not one! – were from community transmission.

Two were of an unknown origin and the other two were directly linked to the PA cluster including a brother of one of the earlier cases.

In her own words the Queensland Premier said, “Now what this says to us is the fact that there are now more community transmission and these people have been out and about in the community. And that is of now concern to Queensland Health and of course concern to me.

One of the cases was a man who had been in Gladstone from March 25 to March 27.

Auckland House - Gladstone Central QLD 4680, Australia

Two of the others was a nurse who worked at the Princess Alexandra Hospital and her sister. They had been in Byron Bay from March 26 to 28.

The Premier’s tone was softer in announcing this lockdown almost like she was trying to rally us for another go of it.

“I know this will mean some disruption to people’s lives but we’ve done this before and we’ve got through it over those three days in the past and if everyone does the right thing, I’m sure that we will be able to get through it again,” she said.

There seemed to be less panic buying but there was certainly evidence of it and plenty of things staples running dry on the shelves.

Eleven thousand, six hundred and twentry four tests had been carried out in the past 24 hours.

“I know in is a really big call, I know it is really tough,” said Premier Palaszczuk.

“We have Easter coming up, we have school holidays coming up but let’s do it now and let’s do it right, and let’s see if we can come through it at the other end.”

I didn’t sleep last night – so I think I am very worried,” the Premier candidly shared.

There were now 73 active cases in Queensland. 

When the first lockdown was announced on the 8th of January there had been 23 active cases in the state.

-Lloyd Marken

ONE YEAR EARLIER: March 29, 2020. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison held a late night briefing on a Sunday following a meeting of the National Cabinet. I remember being moved. He looked tired but resolute, numbers were climbing, in New York the amount of death was relentless. And I just thought we have something ahead of us, all of us and we have to do what we can.

COVID-19 DIARY – YOU BIG STUPID LUG

Brisbane, Australia, satellite image - Stock Image - E780/1259 - Science  Photo Library

March 27

I spent most of Saturday recovering from my torn hammy but it made me restless.

I watch some shows on Youtube that focus on pop culture. A lot of them covered Godzilla vs Kong which had just come out.

I also needed to get back out to the gym to complete my 100 kilometres for the March On campaign for Soldier On.

So I I left for a late night session by myself at Chermside cinemas.

I expected not many people to be there but much to my shock there were many people. Hardly near full capacity but easily over half. I limped along with my torn hammy and wondered what the hell I had gotten myself into.

I sat there slowly bubbling with shame as the film continually failed to engage me.

What the fuck was I doing there? How could I be so stupid.

On some level I believed we should be in lockdown so I was directly contradicting myself and for no good reason. I was following the health guidelines but not my own reasoning.

I hadn’t thought this through. Still it was just one case for the moment.

Afterwards I went to the gym.

However after I got back home from the gym Karen informed me there was new scare.

One new case had been reported on Saturday following 6,881 tests on Friday.

A friend of the landscaper case from yesterday.

But while that person had been waiting to get test resutls and been told to isolate the man had held a party with 25 people in attendance – apparently!

And I had just gone to the movies with a bunch of people from the local area.

I highly doubted I was at risk but it just felt dumb to have gone. The movie had been far from worth it.

Other Australian states moved to protect themselve from Queensland’s concerns.

Travellers who left with one rules for entering WA landed five hours later to find they needed to go into self quarantine.

At a Australian Football League game the previous night in Geelong supporters of the Brisbane Lions who had travelled to Victoria for the game were told to leave the stadium immediately and get tested and sef isolate by signs around the grounds.

Victorian health alert over Brisbane coronavirus case sees Lions fans told  to leave AFL clash with Geelong - ABC News

This applied throughout Victoria to all Queenslanders who had been to contract listed sites on the prescribed dates. You only had to isolate until you returned a negative test.

In the Northern Territory it was a similar situation except you had 72 hours to get tested and isolate.

In South Australia anyone from the affected LGAs had to get tested and self isolate.

New South Wales and Tasmania prohibited Queenslanders who had been to the contract listed locations from entering unless they were essential travellers. If you were already in those states you had to get tested and self isolate until you received results. 

With 71 active cases in Queensland, it was reported that hospitalisations were as high as they had been at the peak of the pandemic last year. The Queensland government wanted hotel quarantine numbers to be halved in the state.

It is also interesting to watch unbroken press conferences with our leaders.

As other state governments ramped up precautions in light of the news coming out of Brisbane, Queesnland itself did not make any changes.

Why?

Interestingly enough Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk called on the federal government to offer aid to north queensland tourism operators as Jobkeeper was coming to an end.

I wondered…

To most of us, it was obvious a lockdown would occur but what would be the trigger?

A new case out in the community for several days had previously done it but… not this time.

Now another new case with a party thrown into the mix and yet still a lockdown was not called.

March 28

On Sunday came news actually that the party well it turned out to just be four housemates. Not twenty five people. This was far from what might have been called in my day a hootenanny.

Questions were asked by journalists but nobody had any clear answers for them and nobody seemed to want to take responsibility except to say that was in the brief and a mistake must have been made.

The Premier, the Chief Health Officer or the Health Minister couldn’t help beyond that.

Mistakes happen I guess, in a way it was nice to see them not just throw some staffer or public servant under the bus but it made me sad to see yet again the narrative of news cycles quickly move on rather than just asking that questions be answered.

With over 11,000 new tests having been carried out the previous day there were three new cases in the state, two from hotel quarantine and one in the community. A brother of one of the new cases.

That night I went back to the gym and walked on the treadmill for the March On campaign for Soldier On. 

Some good news just quickly.

Without going into details, older parents of friends, family and work collegues and fellow bloggers of a certain age in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and the United States of America had at this point been vaccinated.

Not my parents yet but nonetheless this was wonderful news.

Some of these people had underlying health conditions and it was such a relief to see that they had received vaccinations. It reminded us that maybe progress was getting made.

On the 28th of March, 2021 the World Health Organisation reported there had been 126,404,770 confirmed cases gloabally with a daily increase of 594,210.

There had been 2,771,779 deaths worldwide with a daily increase of 10,358.

In Australia there had been 29,252 confirmed cases with a daily increase of twelve. There had been 909 deaths.

In Canada there had been 956,655 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 5,093. There had been 22,826 deaths with a daily increase of 36.

Today's coronavirus news: Growing list of Canadian politicians in hot water  over holiday travel; Death toll reaches 52 at Tendercare; U.S. hits 20  million mark in coronavirus cases | The Star

In the United Kingdom there had been 4,326,036 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 4,399. There had been 126,573 deaths with a daily increase of 58.

In India there had been 11,971,624 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 62,714. The next day India would reach 12 million cases with 12,039,644 and a daily increase of 68,020. There had been 161,552 deaths with a daily increase of 312.

In the United States of America there had been 29,859,706 with a daily increase of 71,187. There had been 543,003 deaths with a daily increase of 1,280.

-Lloyd Marken

ONE YEAR EARLIER: March 27,2020.

Having trialled one day working from home I would finish working in the office on Friday and head home not sure when I would return to the office. I would miss my colleagues.

That night hotel quarantine for Australians from overseas was announced.

The next day Karen worked bravely working a polling station during local council elections carried throughout our state.  

COVID-19 DIARY – PA LINK

Brisbane COVID-19 community transmission case puts city on alert after man  visits multiple public venues while infectious - ABC News

March 26

Friday.

One new case in the Brisbane community got us thinking around the office we might be in for another lockdown in the next few days.

A young landscaper, the man had developed symptoms on Monday and tested positive yesterday.

He had been out in the community for at least five days.

Based on precdent it was becoming highly likely a lockdown was imminent and the Chief Health Officer did not rule it out at the day’s press conference.

Restrictions already in place since last Friday to have no visitors at aged care and disability facilities, hospitals and prisons were due to continue until at least the following Monday.

We need to make sure we are socially distancing and where we can’t, to wear a mask. If you are in that vulnerable cohort, maybe stay at home for the next three days until we understand exactly what is happening here,” advised the Queensland Premier.

Queensland's latest COVID-19 case linked to Princess Alexandra Hospital  cluster

A list of contract tracing sites were also announced including those at the Carindale Shopping Centre on the southside of twon as well as a host of shops on the northside of town like Newmarket, Everton Park, Alderley, Stafford as far away as Redcliffe.

As what was becoming habit I texted people if I knew any of these places were areas they regularly or semi regularly attended.

Outdoors we know is really low risk, so let’s go out and really enjoy the outdoors this weekend,advised Dr Jeanette Young.

What the fuck?

“[But] most importantly of all, everyone, please stay home if you’re sick, as this gentleman did who’s tested positive. Come forward and get tested so we know what’s going on so we can contact trace,” she added.

We were up to 69 active cases in the state including six in hotel quarantine with three of them from Papua New Guinea.

7,584 tests had been carried out in the past twenty four hours.

Genomic testing later revealed that day that the landscaper’s case was linked to the Princess Alexander doctor’s case and of the B117 ‘UK’ strain.

Brisbane hospital locked down after doctor tests positive for COVID-19 -  ABC News

Anyone identified as a close contact will be contacted by the Public Health Unit and required to quarantine. The detail from the genomic testing is getting faster and better — we know that the gentleman who tested positive on late Thursday night was highly contagious. We therefore cannot afford to be complacent — if you have any COVID symptoms at all, please come forward and get tested,” requested Dr Jeanette Young.

Yet we didn’t go into lockdown.

I didn’t dwell on this though as my torn hammy quickly took up my thoughts.

Hamstring GIFs | Tenor

Can I just make some observations? People are not social distancing, Please, we are still in the midst of a pandemic. Now is not the time to break our social distancing, our good hand hygiene and the handshakes,” advised Premier Palaszczuk.

In the larger context of what has transpired across the world this rings very true.

Case numbers didn’t dip in European countries earlier this year that hadn’t carried out lockdowns.

The UK that didn’t rush out of lockdown and has been more gradual and did.

In the States with a massive vaccine roll out case numbers have still been remarkably high with 50,000 new cases a day regularly.

Texas hits 1 million Covid-19 cases, the most in the nation

In India and Brazil no lockdown and look.

That does not provide all the answers and I don’t claim to be an expert. For example the Indian government moved quickly into a far ranging and significant lockdown when case numbers were still relatively low last year and still sufferred greatly with 10 million cases and thousands of deaths.

No wonder there was a relucatance on the part of some Indians to go into lockdown again.

However a lockdown could hardly supress spread in slums where one bathroom is shared by eighty people.

So no I don’t pretend to have answers but I always go back to the basics. It’s something we can do and if it has a chance of helping its better than looking for ways to not to do it.

Ignoring the risk doesn’t seem to have helped very often – in fact quite the opposite.

Papua New Guinea only has about 500 doctors for 9 million people. Now it's  dealing with a Covid outbreak - CNN

In Port Moresby, Papua New Guiea the capital’s hospitals was beyond capacity. Temporary field hospitals were being set up.

Australia and Papua New Guinea have a long history together. For most Australians the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels came to mind. Natives who acted as porter and guides for the Australians on the Kokoda track during World War II. Now could Australia be the angels who supported PNG in their time of crisis?

The Unnoticed Death of Our last Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel - Tasmanian Times

Australia sent 8,000 vaccines to Port Moresby along with medical equipment that included testing equipment but it was believed this would not be enough.

There were already many Australians there on the ground doing what they could alongside the local Papua New Guinea health care heroes.

The PNG government closed schools and restricted travel but housebound lockdowns were not possible in such a country for all.

I think it would be too ambitious to say we can stop this plague at this point in time. The tipping point was probably four weeks ago,” advised Matthew Cannon, CEO of St John Ambulance PNG.

As the spread throughout PNG continued, it prompted the Queensland government to fast track vaccinations through the Torres Strait.

Fear PNG spread may spawn new virus mutations

Dr Mangu Kendino, an Emergency Department doctor, advised 10 per cent of hospital staff had caught COVID and that was just in the past month.

We only have 450 maybe 500 doctors here in Papau New Guinea. That’s one doctor to 17,000 people, you compare that to New South Wales that has a similar population of eight million and that’s 24,500 doctors at least,” explained Matthew Cannon, CEO of St John Ambulance PNG.

Testing capacity was minimal and took up to ten days to get results – far too long.

These health care workers are now the frontline for COVID 2 and if they’re getting infected and passing it onto their families and other patients and if they get sick there is no one to replace them.” told Dr Alison Brown of Australian Doctors International.

Would it crash the health care system… I can’t say for certain. But has it stretched us thin – yes. And are we struggling? Yes,” said Dr Kendino.

On the 26th of March 2021, the World Health Organisation reported in Papua New Guinea there had been 4,965 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 305. There had been 39 deaths.

-Lloyd Marken

ONE YEAR EARLIER: March 26, 2020.

In India Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered the country into a 21 day lockdown forcing everybody to isolate at home. The World Health Organisation reported in India there were 649 cases with a daily increase of 43. The number of dead in the country were 13 with a daily increase of three.

COVID-19 DIARY – MARCH ON

Meet Australia's own fund-raising legend walker - CONTACT magazine

March 01 – March 28

You may recall previously a post on the charity Soldier On and their patron 101 year old Sgt Bert Le-Merton who had raised $107,191 for the charity by walking 96kms around his local Sydney neighbourhood.

He reached that last September.

Last check he was at 419 kilometres. 

Founded in 2012, Soldier On supports 3,000 veterans and their families with a holistic approach to their physical and mental wounds with employment programs, health and wellbeing services, learning and participation activities.

In March they ran a campaign called March On, calling on people to cover 96kms throughout the month to raise funds for the charity.

Having recently dialled back my gym attendance I saw this as a good opportunity to get back in shape and raise funds for our veterans.

I knew I could probably cover about 3-4kms on a treadmill in half an hour. This meant I would have to regularly attend the gym to get to 96kms by the end of the month.

So on the first of March I went and got on the treadmill.

I played on repeat Bill Conti’s Going The Distance theme from the film Rocky. At different points in the music I would move from a walk to a jog to a faster job and back again and repeat for 30 minutes before cooling down for five minutes.

The treadmill told me I covered 4.04 kilometres that night and burned 255 calories in those first 35minutes.

Soldier On : Home

As you get older it becomes mandatory to stretch before you exercise and I made sure I stretched but being out of shape I found my body resistant.

I jogged on Monday the 1st, Wednesday the third and by Thursday my shoulder was in a lot of pain.

From jogging.

I rubbed deep heat throughout the day and pushed myself to go back that night on the fourth.

The whole 96 kilometres loomed over me, I couldn’t afford to miss too many days.

Friday the shoulder continued to bug me but it hurt less.

I went Friday night the fifth and Saturday and Sunday and Monday right through to Thursday.

An unbroken eight day stretch and the shoulder got better, I got fitter too.

I stopped listening to Going the Distance and just listened to regular podcasts from The Ringer while shifting speeds at different timed intervals.

The RAN in the Gulf - Two Years On | Royal Australian Navy

Day 10 I was on track with 33 kilometres done so I upped the distance to cover to 100 kilometres.

I never repeated that eight day stretch.

I missed the Thursday 11th of March as I was attending Triple X and needed to write my review after.

I jogged the 12th and 13th but not the 14th. No excuses.

I had a session on the 15th and got to 51kms right on schedule but did not jog the sixteenth.

From there I had a five day unbroken streak from the 17th to the 21st.

On the 18th of March I covered 4.51 kilometres in 36 minutes. Four kilmoetres in 31minutes before starting the cool down late. 299 calories burnt, an average pace of 7.5kms/per hour. The scales put me at 109.3kgs and a BMI of 33.7.

At this point I had been jogging consistently for three weeks.

On the 17th of March I finally got under 110 kgs on the scale for the first time in forever. I started wearing ties at work and swapped out my suspenders for a belt. It made me look like I had gained weight rather than lost it but I knew that belt couldnt’ have been worn comfortably earlier without the hard work so i enjoyed it.

Friday the 19th of March I got to my lowest weight during the month with 109.1kgs and BMI of 33.7.

I was starting to increase the speeds a little to burn a little fat, to cover a little bit more distance but not too much.

Why Do People Walk The Kokoda Trail | Adventure Excellence

Ninety six kilometres was chosen because it was the length of the Kokoda Track and as you went along in your goal different milestones told you how far you had travelled.

Menari 34.8kms. Templeton’s Crossing at 63kms. Eora Creek.72kms.

Templeton’s Crossing is named after Captain Sam Templeton Commander of B Company in the famed 39th Battalion. He was also affectionately known as Uncle Sam by some of the men.

Jack Wilkinson, a fellow soldier, noted the following in his diary in 1942:

“…Two long hills to climb.  Missed out on tea as I was with last of the troops.  Had a job to get some of them to make it..

‘Uncle Sam’ came back and helped me about half way up the last hill.  I was carrying four rifles and three packs and had doubts about making it myself. 

But ‘Uncle Sam’ insisted on carrying all my gear as well as that of others. “

Captain Templeton went Missing in Action during the Kokoda campaign. He never returned home. Another casaulty of war.

625 Australians died during the Kokoda Track campaign. The battle saved Australia from invasion.

Virtual War Memorial | Samuel Victor TEMPLETON

I reached Templeton’s Crossing on the 21st of March at the end of the five day streak. I was covering consistently 4.4 to 4.5 kilometres now in the same time frame where I had covered a little over 4 on the first night.

I had worked through the initial pain for getting back into exercise. I was now leaner, more fit and faster.

I had to complete seven sessions in the next ten days to reach my goal.

But on Monday the 22nd my left leg was bothering me with soreness. I decided to rest it.

Tuesday the 22nd I came back and did my best session but the left leg was still bothering me.

4.47 kilometres in 35 minutes to score an average pace of 7.7 kilometres per hour and burn 309 calories. I had jogged one minute longer by mistake on the 18th to reach 4.51kilometres.

I went and saw Two Man Tarantino on Wednesday the 24th and rested it again.

Thursday the 25th I raised in conversation with a colleague about maybe just walking the rest of the campaign but I had set myself a goal and really wanted to see it through.

Thursday I worked through the pain and jogged but made sure I didn’t push myself. I was back down to 4.32kms, 290 calories, 7.4kph but was grateful to see the scales tip at 109.3kgs having recently chowed down on the Brisbane Powerhouse Snackbar Menu Pizzas.

RAMSI chapter ends in Australia's Pacific story - Devpolicy Blog from the  Development Policy Centre

Friday morning I felt pretty good.

I was getting lunch at a burger joint when my legs got caught in between two chairs.

My body reflexively pulled up to get out of it and I felt my RIGHT leg explode and i let out a yelp.

I limped out with my lunch and back to work.

No matter how gently I walked, the back of my right leg will regularly send this tearing sensation to my brain and I would be unable to take another step for a brief second.

I was in pain.

Having never been an athlete i had no reference for what was happening.

This was more than a pulled muscle.

I struggled back to work but found only standing gave me releif. Sitting down the back of the leg became sore from the pressure and walking constantly agitated it.

I asked a very kind colleague to drive me back to my car and I’ve got to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to drive it. I pushed the chair back a little which made the leg rest more horizontally than usual and that seemed to not agitate it.

I went to bed with some deep heat and tried to rest it up.

Pilots from 75 Squadron RAAF are welcomed back to Al Udeid airbase by Group  Captain William ... | Australian War Memorial

My dream of jogging the whole month was over.

I had 19 kilometres to go in five days and no way I would be able to jog in the next five days.

I was not even sure if I would be able to complete the 100 kilometres.

I was so disappointed.

Because during that month many kind donors some of which remained anonymous had given money for our veterans in the belief that I would reach my goal.

I went back to the gym on Saturday and walked on the treadmill for 50 minutes and covered 4.37kilometres. This would keep me on track to get to 100kms by the end of the month but it was going to be close.

The next night I went back and found the leg was doing okay so I stepped up the walking pace and covered 4.70kms.

As I walked those two nights my leg would seize up but I found I was able to keep going.

On the second night I did seize up at one point quite a bit and my right leg went down. Fortunately I grabbed the handles, shot my left leg to the side off the treadmill and was able to drag my right leg up and keep going.

I haven’t seen a physio but it appears that I tore my hammy.

Why was I doing this you may ask?

There were 6,268 participants in the March On campaign.

They raised $1,549,576 dollars for veterans and covered 483,060 kilometres.

Soldier On on Twitter: "August 15 1975, Sergeant Bert Le-Merton was in  Borneo receiving news that the war was over. 75 years later, he will  #MarchOn as he begins his 96km journey

One of them was 102 year old World War II veteran Sgt Bert who walked 159 kilometres in March.

“If I can do it, you can too… so get up off your saddle and March On with me to support our veterans.” said Sgt Bert.

Another was a young veteran named Holly who had been diagnosed with complex PTSD and received help from Soldier On.

“Soldier On provided a safe space for me during some of my darkest times. I am forever grateful for the support I received following my diagnosis of complex-PTSD. Without Soldier On, I’m not sure if I would be here today.” Holly said.

These were words that galvanised me through the month when I felt lazy or tired.

Maybe ego was involved, I was pushing myself and seeing results and admitting to injury would derail all of that. I like to think of myself of someone who rarely sets goals but often sees them through.

But mostly i just wanted to say I did it for all of the people who were supporting our veterans

And for the veterans themselves.

Two people I served with briefly in the Reserves both did March On. One of them had been in the Regs and gone to East TImor.

Two friends I had at school had served.

One was a signaller in the Army and served in the Solomon Islands.

Another went into the RAAF and did two tours of Iraq.

They seem fine but they know as I do that many of our veterans are not fine.

Since 1999: 46 AUST soldiers killed on active service. 239 returned  soldiers have taken their lives. - Michael Smith News

They’re comitting suicide at an alarming rate and Soldier On is helping them as are many of other worthy charities.

For Holly, for Sgt Bert, for Captain Sam Templeton, for all of our veterans I wanted to see this through.

-Lloyd Marken

COVID-19 DIARY – TWO MAN TARANTINO REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

Scenestr 6

March 24

While the British people solemly remembered all that they had lost I paradoxically on the other side of the world I found myself returning to the Brisbane Powerhouse for the first time since March 13, 2020 when I had attended the Brisbane Comedy Festival as the first restrictions were announced in Australia. No more than 500 people at a venue starting Monday the 16th of february.

Now here I was back on the 25th of March, 2021 at the Brisbane Powerhouse.

Interestingly enough I was there to review the show Two Man Tarantino for Scenestr magazine. I had previously reviewed the show back in 2018 for the Wonderland Festival so I was setting myself an interesting challenge.

The show seemed even better this time around to me and you can read my review here –Two Man Tarantino Review @ Brisbane Powerhouse (scenestr.com.au)

Again there was no mask wearing and the theatre was packed as per current health guidelines.

Karen and I also enjoyed our beloved Snack Bar Menu pizza after the show.

In such moments you can’t help but feel that something has been regained if only briefly after having been absent for so long.

But the virus never rests. It is always out there waiting to strike.

-Lloyd Marken

COVID-19 DIARY – REMEMBERING THE MANY AND THE FEW

COVID-19: Queen reflects on 'grief' of pandemic as country falls silent to  mark one year since lockdown | UK News | Sky News

March 22

I saw my GP on Monday the 22nd of March. As we discussing a few recent things to do with my health she mentioned my COVID vaccination.

I advised I was too young but she told me I would come under 1B for an underlying health condition. I asked if she was sure and she was.

I guess I had thought about it but often saw it as something to come down the line.

She told me to keep checking the website, no vaccines were availble at my medical centre yet but they would be soon as part of the 1B roll out.

UK lights up in remembrance of lives lost on anniversary of first lockdown  | Leigh Journal

March 23

I checked with my specialist who treated me for the underlying health condition which was well under control and he gave me the green light for to get the COVID vaccination.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that the third wave currently going through Europe would come to the UK.

I’ve talked to our (European) friends repeatedly over the period – we’re all facing the same pandemic, we all have the same problems.” the Prime  Minister said.

If there is one thing that is worth stressing is that on the continent right now you can see sadly there is a third wave under way. People in this country should be under no illusions that previous experience has taught us that when a wave hits our friends, it washes up on our shores as well. I expect that we will feel those effects in due course.

That’s why we’re getting on with our vaccination programme as fast as we can but a vaccination campaign and developing vaccines, rolling them out – these are international projects and they require international co-operation.” said Johnson and I wholeheartedly agree.

Recently case numbers were on the rise and restrictions were coming into place across the continent. Recently several nations had suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Now the President of the European Commission had floated the idea of blocking drugs being exported to the UK which had vaccinated much more of their population.

Throughout most of 2020 the UK had been per capita one of the highest case number and deaths nationally across the globe.

I’m reassured by talking to EU partners over the last few months that they don’t want to see blockades, I think that’s very important.” the UK Prime Minister advised.

London Ambulance Service joined a minute's silence to remember those who  lost their lives during the pandemic - Harrow Online

March 24

In Britain they paused on the anniversary of their first lockdown and remembered 126,000 of their fellow countrymen and women ahd had passed away in the past year.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson who lesser measures at a slower pace than Australia and New Zealand and even many other European nations allowed, “There are probably many things that we wished that we’d known and probably many things that we’d done differently at the time.

Cautiously but irreversibly, step by step, jab by jab – this country is on the path to reclaiming our freedom,” said the Prime Minister.

Looking at the assembled nurses and ambos and doctors standing in reflection and remembrance of those who were lost.

How many of those deaths had they personally witnessed?

How many lives had they saved?

Had they seen any colleagues fall?

These were our heroes of a battle that still raged on and here they were still standing.

For us.

March 25

The first 800,000 of the locally made AstraZeneca jabs rolled out from CSL. The hope was to produce a million jabs and distribute them per week. This came in the wake of the short suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Europe having ended a week earlier.

It has to be said it was a great sight to see, the CSL plant was ready to run red hot in getting as many vaccines as possible produced and out in the community or wherever it was needed given a recent break out of cases in Papua New Guinea.

A lot of hard work had already been done to reach this point.

In India cases were on the rise and discovery of new mutant strains. There was a pause of Indian produced AstraZeneca vaccine which could cause problems of getting vaccines to Great Britain and Brazil and countries that would be served through the COVAX scheme.

India itself was looking to ramp up its vaccination scheme with people over 45 to get the jab next month.

-Lloyd Marken

ONE YEAR EARLIER: March 22, 2020. 

Following a National Cabinet meeting with state Premiers the Prime Minister announced all indoor entertainment, sporting and religious venues were to be shut from midday the next day. This included pubs, clubs and restaurants and cinemas.

With an expected rise in unemployment dole payments were going to be doubled.

The World Health Organisation reported on March 22 that Australia had 1,098 cases with a daily increase of 17. The death toll was seven.

COVID-19 DIARY – UNDER THE MICROSCOPE

Global Covid report: Belgium facing new lockdown as Germany takes in  patients | Belgium | The Guardian

March 14

In New South Wales a hotel quarantine worker at the Sofitel Hotel tested positive to COVID.

What was noteworthy about the case is the man had already been vaccinated.

Although let’s unpack that a little.

The security guard received his first Pfizer jab on the 2nd of March.

When he tested after most recent shifts March 5th and 6th going into the early hours of the 7th he tested negative after those shifts.

When he returned to work on the Saturday he tested positive.

That’s one jab of Pfizer less than a week earlier when he most likely became infected and the Pfizer jabs works on a basis of two jabs three weeks apart with full effectiveness reached a week after the second jab.

[This is] obviously good news, but you should be aware the antibody reaction required from vaccination doesn’t get confirmed or doesn’t achieve its maximum [until] some time after the first and second vaccination,” noted New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard.

Add to this is the simple fact that medicos are advising particularly with the new strains, vaccinations don’t stop you from getting COVID they stop you from hopefully coming down with a severe case with it.

As we have said all along, vaccination helps but it does not necessarily stop you getting the virus,” Hazzard said.

COVID NSW: No new cases linked to Sofitel Wentworth hotel quarantine |  Daily Telegraph

While we are still learning how the vaccines impacted transmission, what we would hope for … is if you are vaccinated, you probably don’t have such a high viral load, you are protected against severe illness. Your viral load may well be lower and, therefore, it will potentially stop you transmitting it to the same degree. But a lot of this work is still being looked at and the science is being worked through as we literally speak.,” advised New South Wales Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant.

[The vaccine is] very effective, but not 100 per cent effective” against mild and moderate disease, but it was almost 100 per cent effective against severe disease, hospitalisation and death,” said Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly.

It’s why the measures we have in place will have a part to play in our daily lives for many a while yet.

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison receiving his second shot advised, “You should still try to observe the COVID-safe behaviours — I’m wearing a mask today.

One hundred and thirty hotel quarantine workers who worked the same shift with the guard on Friday March 12th going into Saturday morning were getting tested and isolating.

Contract tracing was underway for the locations the guard had hit in between his negative and postive test results.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported there had been 136,000 people go through the 14 day hotel quarantine since March 2020.

There had been 5,048 cases in New South Wales during the pandemic.

This case ended a 65 day streak of no new locally acquired cases.

Queensland COVID outbreak sparks health officials to change vaccination  policy | 7NEWS.com.au

March 16

Speaking of second shots of Pfizer.

Tuesday in Queensland nurse Zoe Park the first receipent of a Pfizer jab in Queensland received her second shot three weeks later along with several other health care workers.

Channel 9 News Australia reported 22,000 of 37,000 health care workers that came under the 1A grouping had received their first shot.

New South Wales had vaccinated 37,000 in the same time period.

Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath advised the state government was on track to complete 1A vaccinations in a fortnight.

Good news given the PA case.

Four hundred close contacts had been identified from that case and were getting tested. About 58% had come back negative.

Tensions between state and federal government consultation were raised.

Last week I was told these trays weren’t going to be delivered but it’s arrived in the last hour. So its changing daily,” D;Ath advised.

There were no answers yet on what caused the outbreak at the Hotel Grand Chancellor.

To our north there was growing concern of rising COVID numbers in Papua New Guinea.

Five hundred recent tests in the country had returned 250 positive results. Of 36 active cases of COVID in Queensland – 18 could be linked back to Papua New Guinea.

The Australian government moved to provide support to their neighbour with $500 million dollars worth of foreign aid.

On the 16th of March, 2021 the World Health Organisation reported there had been 2,351 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 82. There had been 26 deaths.

Having only days earlier seen the first AstraZeneca vaccinations take place in Australia, European nations were suspending the roll out of the vaccine.

Italy, Germany and France, Cyprus and Slovenia along suspended its use pending assessment from the European Medicines Agency which were meeting on Thursday.

Spain had suspended use for two weeks.

Earlier Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Austria, Latvia, Sweden, Romania and Bulgaria had stopped using it too.

The side effects cited included blood clots, there had been deaths following vaccinations.

The language of the national leaders struck a tone of precaution but indicated they expected the measure was temporary.

Hospitals in Paris were almost beyond capacity, Italy was in lockdown and there was already a supply issue of getting enough vaccines across Europe that suspending the use of AstraZeneca excaberated.

“As of today, there is no evidence that the incidents are caused by the vaccine and it is important that vaccination campaigns continue so that we can save lives and stem severe disease from the virus,” WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier said.

The European Medicines Agency reported as of March 10, 30 cases of blood clotting had been reported from 5 million Astra Zeneca vaccinations across 30 European countries.

Blood clots can occur naturally and are not uncommon. More than 11 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca have now been administered across the UK, and the number of blood clots reported after having the vaccine is not greater than the number that would have occurred naturally in the vaccinated population.” said Dr Phil Bryan who was head of vaccine safety at the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

AstraZeneca itself reported out of 17 million vaccinations, 15 events of deep vein thrombosis and 22 evetns of pulomonary embolism.

Germany: Clashes erupt as parliament votes on COVID rules | Coronavirus  pandemic News | Al Jazeera

March 18

Professor Anthony Harnden who was deputy chair of the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) had some strong words regarding the suspension of AstraZeneca.

You cannot stop and start vaccination programs without losing some public confidence,” he told the ABC.

There will be many, many people in Europe, [who] feel now that the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is second best … which is patently untrue. I have no doubt that Europeans have died because of some of these decisions. They have large portions of their vulnerable elderly population unprotected because of an incorrect decision that they made about delaying the AstraZeneca dose in the elderly population. It’s going to affect us all, ultimately, if we have a huge amount of transmission and infection within Europe.,” he said.

There were significant national politics at play here.

Britain had recently left the European Union.

Case numbers were down in the UK while rising on the continent with the dominant strain now being… you guessed it – the UK strain.

Certain poorer European countries were going to need to use AstraZeneca while a country like Italy for example was mostly vaccinating with Pfizer.

Even so the vaccine rollout in Europe had been going slower than in the UK.

In Britain 39 out of every 100 people had been vaccinated compared to 11 out of every 100 in France, Germany and Italy.

For example Italy had been averaging 200,000 vaccinations per day before the suspension, it needed to double that to get to 80 per cent of its population vaccinated by September this year.

While Pfizer/BioNTech was a Belgium-American collaboration. The Oxford-AstraZeneca jab was a British-Swiss collaboration.

East Europe hit with new COVID-19 wave as Polish, Bulgarian leaders test  positive - Global Times

March 19

The European Medicines Agency report came out and its four main findings were the benefits of getting a vaccine far outweighed the risk of side effects, there is no associated increased risk between the jab and blood clots, no problem with batches or manufacturing but the vaccine may be associated with very rare cases of blood clots.

Following this out of the 13 countries that suspended the use of AstraZeneca, Italy, France and Germany advised they would resume its use.

Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands said they would start using it again next week.

Poland had never stopped.

The Oxford jab is safe and the Pfizer jab is safe. The thing that isn’t safe is catching COVID, which is why it’s so important that we all get our jabs as soon as our turn comes,” Great Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson advised in a press conference where he announced he would get vaccinated tomorrow at the very hospital where he had been treated for COVID-19.

March 20

France and the UK’s Prime Ministers and Slovenia’s President rolled up their sleeves for the AstraZeneca jab to help in restoring confidence in the vaccine following the suspension of its use in Europe.

France was back in lockdown.

Bulgaria had resumed AstraZeneca vaccination, out of a population of seven million only 355,000 of its people had been vaccinated – the lowest number in the European Union.

Places like Hungary and Bosnia were also going into lockdown as case numbers surged. The former had one of the highest vaccination rates in Europe.

On the 20th of March the World Health Organisation reported there had been 122,039,807 confirmed cases globally with a daily incrase of 552,244.

There had been 2,697,760 deaths worldwide with a daily increase of 10,509.

In Iceland there had been 6,097 confirmed cases with a daily increase of six. There had been 29 deaths.

In Australia there had been 29,183 with a daily increase of 17. There had been 909 deaths.

In Cyprus there had been 41,475 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 364. There had been 241 deaths.

In Ireland there had been 229,306 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 510. There had been 4,576 deaths with a daily increase of ten.

In Latvia there had been 96,524 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 622. There had been 1,811 deaths with a daily increase of ten.

In Denmark there had been 221,455 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 638. There had been 2,397 deaths.

In Slovenia there had been 204,534 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 941. There had been 4,276 deaths with a daily increase of ten.

In Norway there had been 84,553 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 1,034. There had been 648 deaths.

Bosnian returnees face delays, confusion over COVID-19 quarantine |  Coronavirus pandemic News | Al Jazeera

In Bosnia and Herzegovina there had been 151,337 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 1,446. There had been 5,773 deaths with a dialy increase of 44.

In Austria there had been 504,693 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 3,306. There had been 8,795 deaths with a daily increase of 25.

In Canada there had been 922,848 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 3,609. There had been 22,590 deaths with a daily increase of 36.

In Bulgaria there had been 299,939 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 4,162. There had been 11,932 deaths with a daily increase of 115.

Coronavirus Manchester: How life will change under Tier 3 lockdown - Sound  Health and Lasting Wealth

In the United Kingdom there had been 4,284,547 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 5,458. THere had been 126,026 deaths with a daily increase of 100.

In Romania there had been 886,752 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 5,593. THere had been 22,020 deaths with a daily increase of 143.

In Sweden there had been 744,171 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 5,740. There had been 13,387 deaths with a daily increase of 18.

In the Netherlands there had been 1,186,425 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 7,355. There had been 16,238 deaths with a daily increase of 45.

In Hungary there had been 560,971 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 11,132. There had been 18,068 deaths with a daily increase of 227.

In Germany there had been 2,645,783 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 16,033. There had been 74,565 deaths with a daily increase of 207.

In Italy there had been 3,332,418 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 25,707. There had been 104,241 deaths with a daily increase of 386.

France Covid-19: Paris compulsory face-mask rule comes into force - BBC News

In France there had been 4,146,171 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 35,066. There had been 91,429 deaths with a daily increase of 267.

In India there had been 11,555,284 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 40,953. There had been 159,558 deaths with a daily increase of 188.

In the United States of America there had been 29,376,388 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 58,826. There had been 534,484 deaths with a daily increase of 1,513.

Most of Europe was not only experiencing surging case numbers but as bad as any their country had ever seen this past winter.

-Lloyd Marken

ONE YEAR EARLIER: March 19, 2020.

Italy overtook China with the most recorded deaths from COVID with 41,035 confirmed cases and a daily increase of 5,322. The death toll was 3,407 with a daily increase of 429.

In Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison annonced there all foreign travellers would be banned from entering the country.

Tasmania became the first Australian state to close its borders.

The Ruby Princess crusie ship disembarked 2,700 passengers in Sydney.

COVID-19 DIARY – A YEAR INTO IT

20200313_210011At the Brisbane Comedy Festival, March 13 2020. Copyright Lloyd Marken

March 13

For me it always come back to Friday the 13th of March.

As we entered 2021 there were lots of anniversary milestones.

The first reported case in America, in the UK, in Australia, when restrictions came into place for air travel.

Monday the 16th of March was actually when new restrictions came into place in Australia but it is Friday the 13th that holds the most significance for me when the restrictions were announced.

That whole week things had been brewing.

Schools shut down in France, only food stores and pharmacies were allowed to be open in Italy, the stockmarket crashed, government ministers across the world were testing positive for the virus and the World Health Organisation was declaring a global pandemic.

We knew we were building to something but Friday the ripchord was pulled.

The Formula 1 in Melbourne was cancelled, the Prime Minister announced there would be no mass gatherings of 500 people or more come Monday. How quaint that now seems.

Formula One's Australian Grand Prix cancelled amid coronavirus fears |  Formula One | The Guardian

I went to the Brisbane Comedy Festival that night and met up with some friends to review Dave Hughes doing his stand-up show for Scenestr magazine. There was a sense of one last hurrah before leaping into the unknown.

We didn’t know what was to come but we knew it was coming.

Nothing was going to be the same for a while. What would become the new normal? The sooner we found out the sooner the whole population could become comfortable with it.

There was an uncertainty in the air but also a resolve.

Now that things were happening we just knew we had to get on board with it and reassuringly most people’s thoughts turned to others and how to help them.

Whether it was fundraising for Meals on Wheels America,

The Salvation Army here in Australia,

charities that help Australian veterans like Mates4Mates, Soldier On with patron 101 year old Sgt Bert who is a genuine Rat of Tobruk, and veterans’ families Legacy,

or The International Association for Human Values as they provided food to daily wage earners who had lost their jobs in India,

or the Endeavour Foundation who help people with disabilities,

or Medecins Sans Frontieres as they provided medical aid across the world for COVID or disaster relief,

or the charity Headspace that provides mental health support for young people,

or the After School All Stars Program for school children in America that pivoted during COVID to provide food during lockdowns,

or the GoFundMe page BuyThemACoffee organised by Kaylie Smith who raised over $80,000 dollars to provide free coffees for nursing staff across the country,

or a little initiative in support of a small cafe in Toowong called StellaRossa that saw 200 coffee vouchers delivered to hospital staff at the nearby The Wesley Hospital,

or The London Ambulance Service Charitable Fund

– the legacy and example of Captain Tom Moore lived on in many acts far and wide.

Money isn’t everything either, whether it was a phone call, a skype, some flowers or a gift, or where possible a visit.

People looked out for each other and buoyed each other’s spirits.

I know I owe a great deal to many calls to my parents and to the humour and kindness of my dear friends and wife.

Recently a work colleague tracked down a Lego kit from the 1980s, created a package to house it with some kind words on it and handed it over to me.

I think it is one of the best gifts I have ever received.

I don’t like to think about what it might have cost him but the most important thing to me is the thought that went into it and the reason he gave it to me is truly humbling.

I posted my first post about COVID-19 back on the 22nd of April covering events starting the 3rd of March. I eventually caught up with current events and with each post scheduled two days apart I had a whole month of posts scheduled throughout July at the end of June.

Then I went on my secondment and subsequently fell behind.

I’m still playing catch-up.

This will be the 148th post in a row on this topic.

The COVID-19 Diary changed my blog, made it more personal which I need to be vigilant about not doing too much of.

I have written about other things but always in the context of this COVID year.

I probably imagined that I would write about it for at least a year or two but not necessarily at this length.

20200606_150919 Copyright Lloyd Marken.

During June in the wake of Black Lives Matters and receding COVID numbers I wondered what I would write about next.

I felt more removed from events happening around the world – rather than writing about what was happening to me I was merely curating news.

Then the outbreak from hotel quarantines happened in Victoria and it seems there has always been something ever since including lockdowns and scares in Brisbane.

Also I became aware of the need to write about nice things happening like my holidays, secondments and weddings.

20200703_094616

The Polish Place. Copyright Lloyd Marken.

Subsequent waves were devastating countries like the U.S. and U.K. and Brazil and now places like India. Just as that first wave was in China all that time ago.

With fellow bloggers and family in those countries they have never been far from my mind as I wrote about the situation in Australia which by comparison made me feel very fortunate.

It seemed a tall order to have our scientists come up with a vaccine in twelve months back at the beginning but they did.

20210214_191802

Copyright Lloyd Marken

Being a year on makes you wonder where we will be a year from now.

Hopefully better off.

Hopefully there will be less diary entries.

Hopefully.

I do strongly suspect I will still be writing about COVID to some extent for some time to come.

Last year I saw my family in early March for birthday catch-ups.

I didn’t see my parents again in person for roughly three months. Then not again until November,

Then Christmas.

Then around New Years.

Then March again for the birthdays a year on.

That was nice.

Awesome Time Lapse Video Of Planet Earth Taken On The ...

On the 13th of March of 2020 the World Health Organisation reported there had been 138,347 confirmed cases globally with a daily increase of 9,432.

There had been 5,087 deaths worldwide with a daily increase of 362.

On the 13th of March, 2021 the World Health Organisation reported there had been 118,774,981 confirmed cases globally with a daily increase of 482,705.

There had been 2,637,553 deaths worldwide with a daily increase of 9,548.

We felt we had beaten it': New Zealand's race to eliminate the coronavirus  again

On the 13th of March, 2020 in New Zealand there had been 5 confirmed cases with a daily increase  The first case reported in the country had been on the 28th of February, 2020. The first recorded death would be on the 29th of March, 2020.

On the 13th of March, 2021 in New Zealand there had been 2,066 confirmed cases with a daily increase of five. There had been 26 deaths.

Ladakh to Kerala, vaccine rollout begins | India News,The Indian Express

On the 13th of March, 2020 in India there had been 78 confirmed cases with a daily increase of one. The first recorded cases were five on the 30th of January, 2020. The first death due to COVID-19 was recorded on the 13th of March, 2020.

On the 13th of March, 2021 in India there had been 11,333,728 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 24,882. There had been 158,446 deaths with a daily increase of 140.

Canada: military reveals “horrific” conditions in aged care homes ...

On the 13th of March, 2020 with a daily increase of 59 cases the total number in Canada jumped to 152. The first death recorded March 11, remained the only one in the country.

On the 13th of March, 2021 in Canada there had been 899,757 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 3,018. There had been 22,371 deaths with a daily increase of 36.

A row of patient transport vans are parked outside the Epping Gardens aged care home.

On the 13th of March, 2020 there had been 189 cases of COVID-19 in Australia with 49 of those cases reported that day alone. There had been three deaths in my country at that point.

On the 13th of March, 2021 in Australia there had been 29,102 confirmed cases with a daily increase of twelve. There had been 909 deaths.

What to know about social distancing strategies amid coronavirus ...

On the 13th of March, 2020 there were 802 cases in total reported in the United Kingdom. Over a quarter of those had just been reported that day – 208. There were two new deaths leading to a total of 10.

On the 13th of March, 2021 in the United Kingdom there had been 4,247,068 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 5,759. There had been 125,343 deaths with a daily increase of 175.

New York City Mass Graves On Island Are Increasing Because Of ...

On the 13th of March, 2020 in the United States of America there were 277 new cases with a total of 1,264 overall. There were 36 dead, 7 from that day alone.

In the United States of America there had been 29,000,561 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 60,312. There had been 527,068 deaths with a daily increase of 1,570.

Coronavirus digest: France reports over 50,000 cases in single day | News |  DW | 25.10.2020

In France on the 13th of March, 2020 the World Health Organisation reported an increase from 2,281 to 3,640 in the country. There was a daily increase of 31 dead in the country taking the total of 79.

On the 13th of March, 2021 in France there had been 3,946,733 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 25,120. There had been 89,632 deaths with a daily increase of 290.

Coronavirus: South Korea declares highest alert as infections surge - BBC  News

On the 13th of March, 2020 in South Korea there had been 7,979 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 110. There had been 67 deaths with a daily increase of one.

On the 13th of March, 2021 in South Korea there had been 95,169 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 490. There had been 1,667 deaths with a daily increase of five.

COVID-19 and the Iranian Shadows of War | Chatham House – International  Affairs Think Tank

On the 13th of March, 2020 in Iran there had been 11,368 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 1,289. There had been 514 deaths with a daily increase of 85.

On the 13th of March, 2021 in Iran there had been 1,731,558 confirmed cases with a a daily increase of 8,088. There had been 61,069 deaths with a daily increase of 53.

Image: A man wearing a protective mask passes by the Colosseum in Rome on March 7, 2020 amid fear of Covid-19 epidemic.

In Italy the WHO reported a daily increase of 2,547 cases bringing the national total to 21,157. The death toll increased by 252 taking us to 1,268.

On the 13th of March, 2021 in Italy there had been 3,175,807 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 26,790. There had been 101,564 deaths with a daily increase of 380.

Medics work in ICU of Huoshenshan Hospital- China.org.cn

On the 13th of March, 2020 in China there had been 80,991 confirmed cases with a daily increase of eleven. There had been 3,181 deaths with a daily increase of eight.

On the 13th of March, 2021 in China there had been 102,276 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 73. There had been 4,849 deaths. That’s not fuckin true but anyway that is what was reported.

Photos: Sobering images show Brazil's mounting coronavirus death toll

I thank you for following me on this journey, for sharing it with me. It has meant a lot to me to continue writing and to have people who read and comment or offertheir own knowledge. As we continue I hope the journey gets easier and I hope you are there with me.

-Lloyd Marken

COVID-19 DIARY – CAREFUL ICARUS

Princess Alexandra Hospital | Our Digital Health Service

March 12

There tend to be moments during this pandemic when hope overtakes us.

Particularly here in Australia because case numbers have been very low.

There are these moments where the disease just does appear to be out there in the community.

At these moments governments make restrictions that seem to inspire a feeling of monumental change and hope.

In June 2020 case numbes were low as we came out of the first wave and restrictions were lowering across the board.

Sure on some level people know there have to be subsequent waves but when the threat is not present…

Calls to nominate departing CMO Brendan Murphy for Australian of ...

Then there was an outbreak in Victoria following a case coming out of hotel quarantine and the number of dead from aged care residents skyrocketed.

Almost 600 COVID-19 cases at Victoria aged care homes - HealthTimes

In early December all the state borders were open.

This had not happened in seven months and Christmas was days away and case numbers were low.

RACGP - Vaccine policy identifies priority groups – but order proves  'contentious'

Were we going to have Christmas like normal in Australia?

Sadly no.

The Avalon cluster took off in Sydney causing border restrictions to return in time for Christmas.

Image result for sydney christmas covid 19

With the vaccine rolling out in UK and US and others to come people looked to 2021 to be radically different from 2020.

Covid-19: First vaccine patient has her second jab - BBC News

But within the first week of the new year there was the attack on the U.S. Capitol, my home town went into lockdown and the death toll in the UK, US and places like Brazil and others was truly horrifying.

Viewpoint: What the Capitol riot means for US foreign policy - BBC News

Grim start to 2021 for Brazil with 200,000 Covid deaths

So standing in a full crowd without masks to go see Triple X as if everything was back to normal sent alarm bells ringing.

We’re never out of this.

Not until everybody has been vacinnated and then how are we are going to get booster jabs to the necessary people in time.

There are many challenges ahead of us but also hope to be taken from the possible – POSSIBLE! – slowing down of the virus’s evolution and what appears to be less hospitalisations and deaths than can be obtained from even our first batch vaccines against new strains even if if eradicating the disease remains a long shot.

Until then.

This thing comes in cycles and when people are ready to let their hair that kind of is when the cycle comes back around.

So it should come as no surprise that comes Friday the 12th of March this was a small scare to come out of the Princess Alexandra hospital.

A doctor working at the PA caught COVID wednesday and was out and about Thursday before testing positive Friday morning. 

This ended Queensland’s run of 59 days of no community transmission.

The PA went into a form of lockdown, only essential visitors were allowed, all staff, patients and those coming to the hospital must wear masks.

While the Emergency Department remained open, the public were encouraged to seek help elsewhere.

Non urgent outpatient booking and elective surgery was to be postponed.

I think this may serve as a timely reminder that the virus hasn’t gone away despite our excellent control in this state and this country, and that’s why we need to really get on with that vaccination program to further reduce the risks of events like this happening,” Director of Infectious Diseases at the Mater Hospital, Paul Griffin, said.

There were 40 active cases in Queensland.

Biden announces national vaccine finder website, May 1 eligibility for all  adults | Healthcare IT News

In the United States of America it was one year on from when the World Health Organisation announced a global pandemic, the NBA suspended its season and the US stockmarket plunged.

“We’ve lost family and friends, we’ve lost businesses and dreams. We’ve lost time.” President Joe Biden solemly noted.

All adult Americans would be elligible to get a vaccine no later than May 1 he promised.

The American President set a goal to have the country be in a different place by the 4th of July.

“Where we not only mark our independence as a nation but we begin to mark our independence from this virus,” he said.

I hope it comes to be so but the new variants will need to dealt with too.

Reassuringly here was a President who would not set dates for a re-opening with no scientific basis but would make goals based on real ground made.

March 13

It was reported that the PA doctor had seen two COVID patients on Wednesday with the UK strain of COVID.

That the doctor had not yet received a vaccine jab as part of the 1A rollout.

The doctor had limited interaction with the community on Thursday but five sites were named.

The Morning After Cafe at West End, Corporate Box gym at Greenslopes, Stones Corner Hotel at Stones Corner and the two low risk venues of McDonalds at Coorparoo and the after 7pm on the Thursay at the Corporate Box gym after the Doctor had left that site.

Throughout the Greater Brisbane area all aged care and disability homes and hospitals were closed to visitors

All inside those places had to wear masks – there was no mask mandate for the greater community.

In January one case of COVID-19 in the community had sparked a three day lockdown.

That case had been out in the community for more than one day and had caught public transport.

This was maybe why there was a different reaction for the moment from the state government.

Maybe there were larger considerations.

THe political capital that is expended from lockdowns, there were parts of the community that believe such actions are showboating and devastate small business. Since January, Jobkeeper was due to end March 28th and Jobseeker payments would be significantly reduced.

I do not know but as time wore on the PA case would remain relevant.

In the United States of America the COVID Relief Bill was signed into law and 100 million vaccine doses had been delivered after 52 days in office.

The Director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr Anthony Fauci was interviewed on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert who spoke of the increasing vaccine rollout and more collaboration between state governments and the federal one.

As Colbert noted there was a sense of hope in the air and Dr Anthony Fauci told him that hope was not misplaced – the main point was when.

Dr Fauci noted cases were plateuing in their decrease and he warned that the plateau was at too high a point. Public health measures he said were still required.

He also spoke about the likelihood of eradicating the virus but he hoped to strike a balance between controlling it and eliminating it.

It was an interesting interview to have with Dr Fauci a year on from the outbreak in the U.S.

He spoke of how the virus spreads in maybe half of cases from people asymptomatic or presyptomatic and that he wished had they known that a year earlier as they would have moved more agressively in shutting things down.

-Lloyd Marken

COVID-19 DIARY – ‘TRIPLE X’ REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

Scenestr 5

March 11

I was fortunate enough to be on assignment with Scenestr once again on the Thursday the 11th of March.

Since the pandemic hit Brisbane I had been to three films and one stand-up show.

Now I was going to the theatre again to see Triple X, which had its season cut short a year ago due to COVID.

It was a privilege to be there to see the show’s return that had been promised by Queensland Theatre and delivered against some unprecedented odds.

At the end of the show the lead performer and writer Glace Chase appeared to be becoming emotional.

The show itself was wonderful, detailing a love story rife with laughs and pain and yearning.

What was interesting for me having not been to the theatre in a while was the measures.

We had to sign in on a Qld Government App at the venue. The menu was slightly altered to mostly packed foods and drinks.

And yet…

Looking out over the lobby before going into the show there was a sizeable crowd and nobody was wearing a mask because the current health advice was not to.

Then when we went into the venue it was a packed house with everybody seated together with no spare seats in between.

Again completely in keeping with the health advice but being aware of what was being experienced elsewhere in this world made our current circumstances seem a little surreal.

There were 41 active cases in Queensland on the 11th of March, 2021. 

Not many at all but substantially up from 11 at the beginning of the month and even from January where when had we gone into lockdown for three days.

The highest number of active cases then had been 30 on the 15th of January.

Clearly the number of cases in hotel quarantine was increasing.

Anyway the show was wonderful and you can read my review here Triple X Review @ Queensland Theare (scenestr.com.au)

I was fortunate to have interviewed the director Paige Rattray two years earlier in the lead up to the run Hedda directed by her too. 

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Having started in 1993 they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland every month.

-Lloyd Marken

COVID-19 DIARY – ROLL OUT ROLL UP – PART VI

March 05

Friday.

In South Australia GP Caroline Phegan received the first AstraZeneca vaccine in the country. Having worked on the frontline of fighting COVID consulting in Emergency Departments and with autoimmune issues in her own health her vaccination went well and caused her a great deal of relief.

In the past 12 days, 3,000 South Australians had been vaccinated but the state government still was aiming for 12,000 in the first three weeks.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison gave a bizare update following a meeting of National Cabinet. He spoke for at least five minutes but there were few actual pieces of information in it. One was an expansion of the Howard Springs facility in the Northern Territory expanding from housing 850 to 2,000 returned travellers in quartine.

The European Union blocked a shipment of 250,000 AstraZeneca vials originally destined to be exported to Australia. That certainly upset a few people over here but the Australian government downplayed it.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton reminded that we were weeks away from having over a million doses of AstraZeneca rolled out from local production here in Australia.

The decision made by the EU was originally put forwardd from Italy.

AstraZenca itself was making delivery of 40 million doses to the continent by the end of the month – half of what it had originally promised. That kind of shortfall was projected for the second quarter of the year.

In Itally 4.8 million Italians had been vaccinated out of a population of 60 million people.

Europe had just gone through the ringer the past twelve months, political leaders could ill afford to be seen to do nothing in the lead up to next winter where deaths had to be less than they were in just this one past.

Morally they were even more obligated.

The World Health Organisation reported on the 5th of March, 2021, out of a population of over five million people, in Norway there had been 72,923 confirmed cases and 632 deaths.

In Sweden with over 10 million people it was 680,071 confirmed cases and 13,113 deaths.

Sweden's Pandemic Experiment | The New Yorker

In Portugal with a population of 10 million people too had seen 806,916 confirmed cases and 16,458 deaths.

Greece with 10.7 million people 199,496 confirmed cases and 6,632 deaths.

In Belgium with 11 and half million people , there had been 784,682 confirmed cases and 21,453 deaths.

With just under a population of 47 million, Spain had seen 3,154,712 confirmed cases and 98,974 deaths.

Making headlines as the first European country with a serious outbreak last year Italy had sufferred 2,999,119 confirmed cases and 98,974 deaths.

In Australia with a population of 25 million people there had been 29,002 confirmed cases and 909 deaths.

Additionally some European countries had had some bad experiences with the Pfizer vaccine like Norway in January where 29 elderly receipents had experienced side effects and sadly 13 had died.

For the European Union this was a no brainer however concerning it might be for us in the southern hemisphere.

The larger concern was if national politics made us lose sight of the larger need to get the whole world vaccinated.

It was easy to hold up 250,000 vials from Australia who was going to produce the same drug enmasse.

But what about withholding orders from countries that were not in our position?

March 06

Planet America covered some of the latest developments in America. Case numbers and deaths were down as vaccinations occurred at a high rate.

That was good enough for Texas Governor Greg Abbott to announce that Texas was 100 per cent open for business and the mandated mask wearing was over.

Mississipi soon followed suit.

Abbott’s actions showed the state’s power over decisions that the Federal government count not affect in the normal scheme of things. All the more reason why it was essential that the President was consistent in his message and sought to bring uniformity to the actions of all governments. Something that had desperately been need last March.

THe last thing we need is neanderthal thinking,” said President Biden leading some to give full throated defense to Neanderthals. Who you know… are extinct.

Interestingly enough Governor Abbott had taken exectuive action back on October 8 when there was a seven day average of 3,894 new cases. Now there was 6,681.

Texas had given first jabs to only 13 per cent of the states’ population – that was 48th out of the 50 states.

March 07

On the eve of rolling out AstraZeneca vaccine in