Mexico overtook the UK as the country with the third highest death toll behind Brazil and the U.S. That was 46,668 Mexican deaths to 46,119 British deaths in a country that had twice the population of Great Britain. In Mexico there were over 424,000 cases reported.
There was a record new number of daily global cases with 292,527 confirmed.
Nearly 40 countries have reported record single-day increases in coronavirus infections over the past week, around double the number that did so the previous week.
In the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson retracted on lifting restrictions for casinos, bowling alleys and skating rinks. They were due to re-open on Saturday and he took them off the table for another two weeks.
Personally I think the U.K. has been fairly extraordinary with the measures they have put in place with other countries go harder and earlier with lower numbers.
In Australia there was new daily record of new cases in the country with 721 reported by teh World Health Organisation.
I haven’t covered all the famous people who passed in 2020 like Kenny Rogers, Olivia de Harvilland, Dame Vera Lynn, but I feel compelled to mention the passing of Regis Philbin most famous for The Regis and Kelly Morning Show in America and hosting the game show Who Wants to Be A Millionaire but for whom I knew because he was a regular guest on The Late Show with David Letterman.
Regis one night a few years back talked about being in the Navy and two tough veterans asked him what he wanted to do with his life. He said work in entertainment but… and they didn’t want to hear about it so Regis went out and lived his dream. I always liked that moment, it came at the right time in my life.
Secondly is the passing of Senator John Lewis, his good fight continues in America and around the world today and so there was comfort and sorrow to be found in his passing. Mostly there was inspiration to be taken.
I thank them both.
Meanwhile things were developing in Victoria on Friday.
Sunday August the 2nd was another moment for me when I watched a political leader have to front up to the cameras and by extension the world, history and convey what was happening and what was needed.
There is a lot of criticism of Premier Daniel Andrews in his own state. Not just from the usual attack dogs like Sky News Australia who seem to every day find a new thing to attack him for whether it contradicts previous criticisms or not.
There is talk for example that port deals with China have been the wrong call. That the department of health in Victoria has been gutted by a failure to spend money where it is needed and for long term planning.
The chief criticism comes though from using private security firms, often cheap ones to provide security in hotel quarantine which led to an outbreak of cases which has larger implications for what has followed in Victoria.
That bears investigation and may very well bear criticism.
Yet from my vantage it often seems Andrews has been embattled, made the tough calls or held together in a storm. One week they’re calling for him to sacked because there are so many cases and the next that power has gone to his head because he wants to maintain a state of emergency to fast track measures as less cases are reported but there are still way more than any other state. He gets criticised for not reacting fast enough and then for not having a road map out of lockdown when cases are still too high.
Maybe that’s fair, everything needs to be held accountable but I’m getting a little sick of tired of media having weekly amnesia when it comes to dealing with this thing. One week we need to shut down. The next we need to open up because whale watchers aren’t getting enough tourists.
Here’s the facts the minute there was an outbreak in the southern state that meant a death sentence for a certain amount of aged care residents. That is death, that is what we are trying to avoid and what even the best decisions will not curtail death completely.
So yes the situation is constantly changing and a rise in unemployment means a rise in suicide and domestic violence.
We need to take care of each other but part of that are accepting measures need to be put in place and maintained until numbers drastically go down.
Anything less is reckless.
Anyway Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Sunday the 2nd of August a curfew in Victoria. This would begin the most extensive and toughest restrictions ever enforced in Australia in the age of COVID.
There were 671 new cases in Victoria that day alone and 6,322 active cases in the state, 385 of those were hospitalised and 38 cases – people! were in Intensive care.
Out of the 6,322 active cases, 1,083 were linked to aged care.
760 cases had no known source which was of great concern to the Premier and his health authorities.
“Those mysteries, that community transmission, is in many respects our biggest challenge and the reason why we need to move to a different set of rules,” Premier Andrews said.
After six weeks at stage 3 lockdowns Melbourne would move to stage 4, regional Victoria would move to stage 3.
A curfew would be in place from 8pm to 5am where you could only leave your home for work or to care for someone.
Only one person from a household could go shopping per day and within five kilometres of home. Daily exercise could only be done within five kilometres of home too.
There was a ban on weddings with the only exception being compassionate grounds.
Funerals could be attended by ten people.
Wednesday and school children would be back to remote learning in the state.
There were going to be further information conveyed the next day but reducing people at work and maybe a slow down of industries.
Like press briefings given by Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier in the year, the gravity of what Andrews was saying could not be ignored. I was moved and I admit I was a little moved for him. Unlike other world leaders, I have never doubted that all the Australian ones with all their flaws, mishaps and different political persuasions have been doing their best and I don’t envy them.
On a cold Victorian evening two sons Jim and Peter waited outside Epping Gardens nursing home for hours. They got to wave to their 92 year old mother Luisa Staffieri as she was loaded on an ambulance and taken to hospital. She has COVID-19.
There are 61 residents and 22 staff at Epping Gardens who have been infected.
34 residents were taken out of the home to hospital on Monday and more Tuesday.
I mean it, thank you God.
Because there is no doubt in my mind. Once there is a case at a nursing home, dispersal of residents to hospital care is the smart play and the only play.
It won’t save them all but we can’t get enough of them out and we can’t do it fast enough.
There were 87 outbreaks at aged care homes that had already claimed nine lives.
Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) training to serve overseas on peacekeeping and humanitarian missions were also going into Victoria setting up shop in nursing homes like Ebbing Homes while patient transport vans took patients to hospitals.
The Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt dubbed the AUSMATs the “SAS of the medical world.” They’re good, they have to be to do their job. Comforting words that sell print.
What we’ll need is something short of everything we’ve got to preserve as much life as possible.
It was Tuesday and I donated some money to Stand with Daily Wage Earners. Money for those who have lost work due to COVID in India and face losing a lot more. I donated to the International Association for Human Values. They’re founded by some humanitarian and spiritual leader who is big into meditation – Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shanka. They consult with the United Nations, have captains of industry on their board and are a recognised NGO with donations covered as tax deductible.
They’re distributing kits to feed a family of four for ten days at a cost of 1000 Indian Rupee.
Such a kit to feed a family of four for ten days cost me $20 in Australian dollars.
I bought two.
There was also a video posted by an Australian GP Dr Warren Lee who had contracted COVID-19 and “recovered”. A lot of people like to think about COVID as a disease that kills those with underlying health conditions and older people. The numbers back them to an extent. I think they would benefit from watching Dr Lee’s video.
The Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned COVID infections will occur in aged care facilities.
The problem was he was right, given the number in Victoria there were going to be cases in nursing homes. There already were. With that came a death sentence. If 29 aged care facilities are affected then even the most optimistic amongst us suddenly fears that can’t help but result in 29 deaths. 58? 145? 464?
More than 750 health care workers in Victoria already had COVID-19.
In America after six weeks of increasing tension and violence Ballbag or more Vice President Mike Pence spoke to Oregon Governor Kate Brown that they would start to withdraw federal troops out of Portland, Oregon.
Ballbag sat down with Fox News Chris Wallace and talked…well it is what it is.
I don’t really have the heart to add too much today about this.
It captured my attention at the time and think it should be noted here.
But you already know what I think about this piece of shit and you already know why. Another day I’ll be locked and loaded but I think today the videos speak for themselves.
I will say this.
If you don’t like Biden or Kamala Harris, hell if you don’t like the smug left wing media, if you don’t like the elites and you don’t like what is happening to your country. You miss industry, you hate identity politics.
I want you to know something.
I have a certain ideology and certain parties that line up with that more than others.
But I have not always voted for those parties.
When they failed with a policy I didn’t agree with, when they seemed to misjudge or outright show a lack of moral judgment or character. When I thought they no longer represented my view. Hell just when I did not want them to take my vote for granted.
I voted for the other party.
I voted for change, I voted for accountability, for consequences and to hopefully make things better.
Didn’t always work out but I never regretted that vote.
In November I want you to think about that.
I don’t think for a second that President Trump wanted so many Americans to die.
I really don’t.
Sometimes I wonder if he cares beyond what it will mean for him but…let’s say he did.
What occurred was unprecedented and fast. Nobody could have stopped everybody from dying – far from it.
But think about everything that happened.
Did he communicate as best he could.
Did he work with others as best he could.
Did he give you hope, did he pull everyone together through a crisis.
Do you think he did everything he possibly could have.
If you do, then okay. I find that incredible but okay.
Go vote for him, that is democracy.
And if you don’t think he did all of those things.
Then make sure you’re registered and get this fucking piece of shit out of the White House!
On the 18th of July there was a new record number of new cases in America again.
71,484 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 4,319.
On the 19th of July there was a new record again.
74,354 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 2,870.
On the 19th, there had been 138,591 American deaths with a daily increase of 917.
On the 17th of July there was a record new number of daily cases in America.
67,164 with a daily increase of 6,454.
In Portland Oregon that week, federal agents in unmarked rental mini-vans picked up protesters off the street, shoved them in the van and drove off. They turned out to be a range of federal agents like Border Protection to U.S. Marshalls.
That is one way to describe it, for protestor Mark Pettibone it was a different affair. He was walking home, a van pulled up, people in camo gear and armed grabbed him and tossed him inside. They pulled his hands above his head and pulled his beanie over his head so he couldn’t see. He found himself in a building getting patted down while these men went through his stuff. He was placed in a cell where two officers came him and read his Miranda rights. They asked if he wanted to waive his rights and he told them he wanted his lawyer. 90 minutes later they set him free and found upon exiting he had been inside the federal courthouse. There was no paperwork, citation of record of his arrest given to him.
From the NPR piece, the interim executive director Jann Carson of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon was quoted from a written statement.
It did, protesting at the courthouse became a lightning rod for the community with more and stuff stirred up by federal agents arriving that they literally fortified the perimeter and every night there was violence.
Two paramedics getting a feed at a KFC at 1:30am in the morning noted an order taken by two people for 20. They advised police who went to a house in Dandenong where the licence plate of their car was registered.
Police found two people sleeping in the house and 16 hiding out the back.
On the 30th of June Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced Queensland would go ahead with re-opening on the 10th of July barring with Victoria. Coming through the border you would have had to completed an online declaration form. Anybody coming from Victoria would have to quarantine at their own expense for 14 days in a hotel assigned to them by the government. Anyone found making a false declaration on Victoria would be liable for a $4,000 fine.
Personnel would remain manning the borders, if anything there was talk there would be more personnel deployed to facilitate.
There were a slew of lowering of restrictions announced on the 30th of June while I was on holidays.
A week later nobody was really celebrating the lowering of these restrictions, there was a feeling in the air that what was happening in Victoria, would happen in Sydney and then here. The borders were re-opening but it felt like it would only be a matter of time until they would have to close again. That if business might get a boost from this, that it would help them get a little breathing room until they had to shut down again.
It felt like we were getting a little respite before things went bad again.
On the 10th of July, the World Health Organisation reported globally there had been 12,108,032 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 228,550. There had been 551,107 deaths with a daily increase of 5,579.
In Australia there had been 9,059 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 173. There had been 106 deaths.
In Canada there had been 106,434 cases with a daily increase of 267. There had been 8,737 Canadian deaths with a daily increase of 26.
In Peru there had been 312,911 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 3,633. There had been 11,133 deaths with a daily increase of 181.
In Iran there had been 250,458 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 2,079. There had been 12,305 deaths with a daily increase of 221.
In India there had been 793,802 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 26,506. There had been 21,604 deaths with a daily increase of 475.
In Spain there had been 253,745 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 705. There had been 28,413 deaths with a daily increase of three.
In France there had been 160,783 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 504. There had been 29,886 deaths with a daily increase of 13.
In Mexico there had been 275,003 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 6,995. There had been 32,796 deaths with a daily increase of 782.
In Italy there had been 242,363 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 214. There had been 34,926 deaths with a daily increase of 12.
In the United Kingdom there had been 289,674 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 693. There had been 44,602 deaths with a daily increase of 85.
In Brazil there had been 1,713,160 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 44,571. There had been 67,964 deaths with a daily increase of 1,223.
In the United States of America they passed a milestone of 3 million cases on the 10th fo July. There had been 3,038,325 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 64,630. There had been 131,884 deaths with a daily increase of 991.
Inspired by Sir Thomas Moore I decided I would donate some money to the NHS Fund. However they wanted me to set up a Paypal account and after a half hearted attempt I decided there had to be something else I could do. Their website described how they supported various charities and I went looking for them specifically and found the London Ambulance Service Charitable Funds.
Perfect I thought and this was a way I could do something to help closer to where my sister and her family lived and also pay respect to Beetley Pete who had served 22 years in the London Ambulance Service.
Yet I still thought…here we fuckin go. It’s starting and it was.
It’s weird as the days went on and we waited anxiously. No matter the news, good or bad.
Everybody I talked to seemed to agree, it’s coming.
Nobody has dodged a second wave from this thing yet and going off the Spanish Flu pandemic, there wasn’t going to be just two waves. There were going to be several.
This thing was with us and we had to be prepared for it to be with us for a long time.
So in that sense, seeing my parents, others seeing their loved ones. This was a respite for us. We were lucky to have it, some people were still waiting for such a respite, some people weren’t going to get one.
I thought about them, I thought about all the businesses and employees who would struggle to get through another slow down…I thought about a lot of people.
This respite was a privilege to cherish and something to take to heart and use as a bulwark to think of brighter days to come and the need to persevere.