COVID-19 DIARY – AROUND THE GROUNDS – PART II

Coronavirus: South Africa Covid-19 deaths 'to soar' in coming months - BBC  News

 

August 2

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. 

Deaths have been averaging 5,200 a day in July, up from an average of 4,600 a day in June.

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.

Case in point a grave new second wave in South Korea is how they defined 17 new daily cases. In Great Britain getting down a 1,000 a day was enough to make plans to re-open pubs, hairdressers, and cinemas. As well as holidaying around the country and looking at creating travel bubbles to Spain and Italy!

As much as I go on about Ballbag and what has tragically occurred in America the fact is per capita, Great Britain has suffered a far greater loss of life. 

There were stricter lockdowns being applied in the north of England too.

“We’re now seeing a warning light on the dashboard. Our assessment is that we should now squeeze the brake pedal in order to keep the virus under control,” Johnson told the public. 

Better late than never. 

On a hot summer day though, the public decided laying out on a beach with thousands of others was the call of the day just like similar Australian dickheads have done here on numerous beaches.

A pebble beach in south England is adorned with sunbathers and umbrellas.

In India there 55,079 cases reported in in one day, the country had had over 1,6 million cases.

779 deaths took the national total to 35,747.

This was on the eve of a night curfew in place since March being lifted.  Yoga institutes and gyms were scheduled to open on the 5th of August. 

Interstate restrictions were also gone and New Delhi hotels that had served as quarantine facilities could now re-open.

Subways, cinemas, swimming pools, parks, bars, theatres were set to remain closed for the moment until the end of the month.

All these restrictions eased as the country recorded its largest surge in cases. 

It was accepted too that the numbers were probably far higher but due to limited testing the larger picture would never be known for certain. 

India had been through hell, was a respite on the horizon?

God I hoped so.

In Florida there was a fourth straight day of record new deaths.

One person died from COVID-19 in the United States every minute.

COVID-19 continues resurgence across US through July as mask mandates begin  in hardest-hit states - ABC News

In South Africa the number of confirmed cases reached 482,169 and the number of deaths 7,812.

It was over half the numbers across the African continent and the fifth highest national total in the world.

As richer nations bought up ventilators and PPE, South Africa had started manufacturing ventilators of their own with an aim to produce 20,000. 

In Spain there 1,229 new daily cases, the highest since restrictions were eased on the 21st of June. It was the third day in a row of 1,000+ new daily cases. A second wave had come to Spain. 

There had 282,641 COVID-19 cases in Spain and 28,441 Spaniards had died.

On the 2nd of August the World Health Organisation reported globally there had been 17,678,033 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 268,879. 

There had been 675,845 deaths with a daily increase of 6,103.

-Lloyd Marken

COVID-19 DIARY – NIGHT FALLS AND CURFEWS ENSUE

Australia imposes curfew in 2nd-biggest metropolis

July 31

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.

August 2

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.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-08-02/victoria-coronavirus-restrictions-imposed-death-toll-cases-rise/12515914

The World Health Organisation reported on the 2nd of August globally there had been 17,678,181 cases with a daily increase of 268,718.

There had been 675,850 deaths with a daily increase of 6,106.

On Australia there had been 17,282 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 377. There had been 200 deaths with a daily increase of four.

In Canada there had been 116,312 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 513. There had been 8,935 with a daily increase of six.

In the United Kingdom there had been 303,956 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 771. The number of deaths 41,202 with a daily increase of 13.

In India there had been 1,750,723 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 54,735. There had been 37,364 deaths with a daily increase of 853.

In the United States of America there had been 4,523,888 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 67,499. There had been 152,630 deaths with a daily increase 1,365.

-Lloyd Marken

COVID-19 DIARY – COVID PAYMENTS SET TO REDUCE AS CASES CONTINUE TO RISE

Almost 600 COVID-19 cases at Victoria aged care homes - HealthTimes

 

July 20

Monday and another week began in earnest. I was very busy and stressed about my secondment but was enjoying the work.

In the news there was some talk about a proposal that Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaczszuk put forward for the border processing to move south into northern NSW to alleviate wait times and to help those who lived in the border communities such as Coolangatta. She claimed she had suggested this back in March.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian had a straight forward response.

I’m happy to consider all options except I do not believe at any stage we should move the border. If anything, the border should be moved north. There is zero infection in northern NSW at this stage,” she said.

So that was that.

There were a couple of a cluster of cases in New South Wales.

 

In Victoria there were 275 confirmed cases overnight and it was announced that masks were going to become mandatory come Thursday. Students across the state were going back to learning from home.

 

 

Federally there were announcements made about changes to welfare.

There are 3.5 million people on Jobkeeper which is a $1,500 payment for workers who are employed but who are not getting any hours from their employer due to the economic shutdown.

After September, Jobkeeper which worked out to $1,500 a fortnight would go down to $1,200 and then on the 4th of January, 2021 $1,000 a fortnight. It would also switch to a two tier system.

Then there are 1.3 million on Jobseeker which was the old Newstart allowance for people looking for work. When COVID and a sharp rise in unemployment occurred there was $550 supplement added to the Jobseeker allowance. That would be reduced to $250 per fortnight in October and continue until March 2021.

The government was hoping that as time went on more and more would be at work as these payments decreased. The debt was increasing and there was certainly reform needed around Jobkeeper.

Yet for those who would struggle to survive with less money this gave them some certainty about what was coming and increased uncertainty about how they would get by.

 

 

July 21

A woman out and about garnered a little bit of media interest when she was found walking outside of her local area. But she had a very simple explanation.

KAREN FROM BRIGHTON ‘CALLS IN’:

Don’t miss a moment of Kennedy Molloy and subscribe to the Catch Up podcast on the Triple M app! Download it on iTunes or Google Play.

 

July 22

In Queensland on Wednesday, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk did not rule out further border restrictions even as she called on people to visit the state if they were not coming from one of the declared hotspots.

I am absolutely determined to keep Queenslanders safe,” she said.

If we have to declare further hotspots we will declare further hotspots and if there is an outbreak of community transmission in NSW like we have seen in Victoria we will not hesitate to take quick and swift action.

Facing an election in October, businesses particularly tourism ones were hurting and she wanted to show her support including scrapping of fees for those who run whale watching tours. This would equate to about $6,000 for each operator.

In Victoria there was a growing need to be considered.

40 aged care homes in the state had at least one positive COVID-19 case and over 200 cases were linked to aged care facilities.

Anybody familiar with what had happened at Newmarch House in New South Wales knew this was of particular concern.

The lessons from Newmarch were clear to some.

Professor Marylouise McLaws, an infection control expert at the University of New South Wales and an adviser to the World Health Organisation noted in an article published by The Guardian that infection control was very difficult in aged care homes.

“Unless you have dedicated bathrooms – and not every aged care facility does – and unless you have highly trained staff in infection control, which you don’t have in aged care, then it is very difficult to ensure that any shared area is kept clean all the time,” she said.

This bore out with the fact that residents at Newmarch were isolated in their rooms and COVID free for weeks before becoming ill with it.

Newmarch sent 16% of infected patients to hospital and 19 residents died. 

Also in New South Wales the Dorothy Henderson Lodge sent 80% of patients to hospital and six of their residents died.

Professor McLaws and Professor Joseph Ibrahim (Head of the Health, Law and Ageing Research Unit at the Department of Forensic Medicine at Monash University believed generally speaking patients should be moved to hospitals to avoid infecting residents. Aged care staff just are not trained in infection control the same ways. McLaws pointed out they don’t have pressured rooms, Hepa filters and designated areas to store PPE. Ibrahim also said their capacity for waste is not the same.

How much would their advice be heeded.

How many people were at risk if they were not listened to.

In Victoria there were 484 new cases, the largest in a single day since the pandemic began.

 

July 23

In Victoria 403 cases were reported overnight with five deaths taking the state’s death toll to 49.

There were 201 Victorians in hospital with COVID and 40 in Intensive Care Unit including four children. Victoria Health Minister Jenny Mikakos advised 20% of Victoria’s COVID patients were under 50.

A man in his 50s was also one of the ones who had passed away.

Premier Daniel Andrews as a result said, “One of the terrible tragedies today is a man in his 50s — this is not just something that affects people that are frail-aged. That would be reason enough to do what we’re doing, but it would be wrong to assume that young people are somehow immune to this.

Premier Andrews advised there 3,630 active cases in Victoria.

Premier Andrews also advised that 9/10 people who were confirmed cases were continuing to move around the community after developing symptoms. Over half of people who got tested did not immediately self-isolate after waiting to get their results.

He also announced a $300 payment that could be claimed by casuals or those with insecure work who needed to self-isolate.

Minister Mikakos said the data showed a quarter of infections from the start of July are young people in their 20s and people over 60 only represented 6%.

Premier Andrews said “If you want this to be over, if you want to get to the other side of it and find that COVID normal — and be able to go and have a beer, or go and have a meal with a friend and be able to move around the community much more freely than you can now — you’ve got to follow the rules.

On the 23rd of July the World Health Organisation reported globally there had been 15,019,293 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 248,393.

There had been 614,311 deaths with a daily increase of 7,035.

In Australia there had been 12,896 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 468. There had been 128 deaths with a daily increase of two.

In Canada there had been 111,697 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 573. There had been 8,862 with a daily increase of four.

In United Kingdom there had been 297,663 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 751. There had been 41,047 deaths with a daily increase of 17.

Having reached over one million cases on July 17, in India on the 23rd of July there had been 1,238,635 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 45,720. There had been 29,861 Indians die with a daily increase of 1,129.

In the United States of America there had been 3,868,453 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 62,929. There had been 141,479 deaths with a daily increase of 1,042.

-Lloyd Marken

 

 

COVID-19 DIARY – I ACED THE TEST

How and When Children Should Return to Sports During COVID-19

 

July 19

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.

-Lloyd Marken

 

 

 

 

COVID-19 DIARY – WHAT’S GOING ON?

 

July 17

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.

Homeland Security Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli advised NPR, “The one instance I’m familiar with, they were, believed they had identified someone who had assaulted officers or … the federal building there, the courthouse. Upon questioning, they determined they did not have the right person and that person was released.

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.

Anonymous security forcing citizens into cars is mark of ...

From the NPR piece, the interim executive director Jann Carson of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon was quoted from a written statement.

What is happening now in Portland should concern everyone in the United States. Usually when we see people in unmarked cars forcibly grab someone off the street, we call it kidnapping. The actions of the militarized federal officers are flat-out unconstitutional and will not go unanswered.

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.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said “We do not need or want their help. The best thing they can do is stay inside their building, or leave Portland altogether.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown went further saying, “This political theater from President Trump has nothing to do with public safety. The president is failing to lead this nation. Now he is deploying federal officers to patrol the streets of Portland in a blatant abuse of power by the federal government.

On the 17th of July the World Health Organisation reported globally there had been 13,622,208 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 237,981.

There had been 585,757 deaths with a daily increase of 5,685.

In Australia there had been 10,810 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 315. There had been 113 deaths with a daily increase of two.

In Canada there had been 108,829 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 343. There had been 8,810 deaths with a daily increase of 12.

In the United Kingdom there had been 293,940 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 772. There had been 40,949 deaths with a daily increase of 40.

In India they broke past one million cases in the country with 1,003,832 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 34,956. There had been 25,602 deaths with a daily increase of 687.

In the United States of America there have been 3,472,659 with a daily increase of 67,165. The had been 136,753 deaths with a daily increase of 946.

-Lloyd Marken

 

COVID-19 DIARY – WE STAND AT A CROSSROADS

Coronavirus Australia: Crossroads Hotel pub cluster revealed as ...

 

July 12

The Curve on the ABC highlighted how quickly case numbers shot up in Victoria and highlighted the concern that it could repeat in NSW with recent case outbreaks in that state.

In America there was a record number of new daily cases.

On the 3rd of July daily cases broke 50,000 in a day. The number was 54,271.

On July 6 the daily record was broken again with 57,186.

Then on July 10 the record broke 60,000 in a day. The number was 64,630.

On July 12 there 66,542 confirmed new cases in the United States of America.

 

July 13

A dozen ADF members went into isolation at RAAF Base Wagga Wagga after it was reported there was an outbreak of cases from the Crossroads pub located in Sydney. The base is where recruits receive training to become serving members and move on to employment training and careers in the RAAF. The dozen members had been in the pub between 03JUL2020 to 10JUL2020.

July 14

In the United States of America there was no good news.

Deaths related to COVID-19 had increased by 46% in one week according to Reuters. 5,000 people mostly from Texas, Arizona and Missippi. California and Florida were also seeing an increase in deaths.

There was also 21 per cent increase in case numbers with over 400,000 reported the same week.

Case numbers were only falling on a weekly basis in the States of New York, Tennessee, New Jersey and Delaware.

In Texas and Arizona the call was put out for refrigerated trucks as morgues reached capacity. In the latter, intensive care units at hospitals were at 90% capacity. 100,000 people were treated in hospital on Monday in Texas.

Some experts were saying that the death toll may not be as bad as when the pandemic first hit because testing was extremely limited early on and people were behaving differently.

Let’s hope.

 

Soldier standing on the ground hands box of supplies to civilians in the back of a truck.

 

Testing in America also rose by 7.4 per cent the same week with 823,000 tests performed on July 10 alone.

Thankfully America had a leader in charge focussed on doing everything he could for his citizens.

Coming off the small numbers at his rally in Tulsa and criticism for the clearing of Lafayette park Trump came across like a deranged old man muttering into the sky, lost and alone hoping whatever he said would stick with some voter out there.

Essentially a rally without a crowd and any back-up.

Sadly the left in the media appeared very smug which I knew would just feed into his base.

Still doesn’t anyone see how desperate Trump is to feed on fears?

Referencing Biden he said he’ll defund the police, the military, they’ll get rid of the suburbs.

Get rid of the suburbs? There’s 130,000 dead Americans you fuck!

 

 

In Australia I finally made it to my gym tuesday night. Using the dumbbells at home were a distant memory and sadly I have found the secondment has zapped me of a lot of strength. All excuses I know but on Tuesday I went my gym and thursday night I went back for a session on the treadmill. How long gyms would remain open 24/7 nobody knew.

There had been breakouts in New South Wales at The Soldiers Club in Batemans Bay and the Crossroads Hotel linked to 30 cases.

 

Batemans Bay Soldiers Club COVID-19 cluster prompts business ...

 

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian commented that she was not looking to follow Victoria into lockdown.

We need to accept children need to be educated, that people need to go to work. IT would be unrealistic for us to assume we are going to see any situation where there’s zero cases. This is the nature of the pandemic – until we have a cure, we have to live with it.” she said.

She later said of Victoria’s experience, “Lockdown doesn’t guarantee… that you’re not going to have people dying.

Queensland shuts it borders to Campbelltown and Liverpool cities in Sydney. Deputy Premier Steven Miles advised that 18 Queenslanders had visited the Crossroads hotel and were in quarantine getting tested with 11 already getting a negative result. 

There were moves as well to pass legislation that anyone making a false declaration could face up to six months imprisonment, currently the maximum penalty was a $4,003 fine.

Queensland Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk told Parliament, “We are entering the most dangerous weeks of the battle so far. Our enemy is complacency.

 

Coronavirus Melbourne: Victoria records 300 new COVID-19 cases ...

 

In Victoria there was an announcement that 800 more Australian Defence Force personnel would be sent to Victoria to join the 500 already there. They would be helping in the State Control Centre and assisting Victoria police with contract tracing and enforcing public health orders.

Incidents like the breakout of cases at the Crossroads pub within the wake of Queensland opening its borders just made us feel more resigned that we were about to see a break-out here in Queensland.

-Lloyd Marken

 

COVID-19 DIARY – IT’S GOT TO BE KFC

Coronavirus fines issued after Dandenong KFC house party order, as ...

 

July 10

In Victoria there were 288 confirmed cases recorded overnight and 60 fines handed out for breaches since the lockdown came into effect.

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.

Those 16 were fined over $1,600 each.

As Victorian Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton put it, “That is $26,000 that birthday party is costing them. That is a heck of a birthday party to recall. They will remember that one for a long time.

Tales of this parties were even recounted in the New York Times.

 

 

Meanwhile in Queensland after weeks of mounting pressure the borders with other states were “opened.”

As early as June 25 when only eight days of no new cases in Queensland had occurred there was mounting pressure to open. Since restrictions were eased in early June there had been only 8 new cases and there were all imported from interstate or overseas travellers. There were two active cases on the Gold Coast with one in hospital.

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.

Up to 100 people could attend gatherings, weddings and funerals. Night clubs and casinos and food courts were to re-open. Contact sport both indoor and outdoor. Events with 10,000 people if approved as COVID Safe Event Plan. Up to 25,000 spectators at sporting events. 50 per cent capacity at concert venues, theatres or one person per four square metres. Office workers could return to work.

 

Interstate visitors pour into Queensland as borders reopen after ...

 

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.

Mexico City records thousands more deaths than usual, amid doubt ...

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.

-Lloyd Marken

 

COVID-19 DIARY – THE SECOND QUARTER

Coronavirus India news summary: Sunday 5 July 2020 - AS.com

 

July 5

It was Sunday and I was due to go back to work having had a very nice time on holidays.

In the meantime the pandemic had been with us in Australia affecting our lives since March. We were now in the second quarter, a second 3 month period of living with the virus.

Numbers in Victoria were going up, as were American southern and fly over states. As part of the West saw a bit of a respite in numbers the disease was accelerating the havoc it wreaked across the rest of the globe.

In Victoria there had been 75 cases reported the day before. There had been 2,536 cases and 20 deaths in the state. There were 543 active cases and close to a million tests had been carried out.

The number of locked down post codes had expanded from ten to twelve.

In those postcodes there are only four reasons to go out, shopping for food, medical care or caregiving, exercise and study or work if study or work cannot be done from home.

Businesses in these areas were back to having restrictions, for example cafes only doing take-away.

The World Health Organisation reported globally there had been 11,128,629 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 204,438. There had been 528,238 deaths with a daily increase of 5,191.

In Australia there had been 8,362 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 107. The number of deaths was 104.

In Canada there had been 105,091 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 319. There had been 8,663 deaths with a daily increase of 21. As July unfolded daily increases in case numbers and deaths would be consistently lower than figures from April and May. They were still too high but it was something to give hope potentially.

In the United Kingdom there had been 286,724 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 579. The number of deaths were 44,198 with a daily increase of 67.

In India there had been 673,165 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 24,850. There had been 19,268 deaths with a daily increase of 613.

In the United States of America there had been 2,776,366 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 51,933. The number of deaths 129,226 with a daily increase of 745.

I had a really nice week but that was not the experience of millions around the world. I just wanted to take a moment to remember that.

-Lloyd Marken

 

 

COVID-19 DIARY – LOCKDOWN POSTCODES

SES volunteers set up a gazebo in a street on a sunny day

 

June 29

Monday I was on holidays and so didn’t go into work.

In Victoria things were beginning to escalate.

People who were in hotel quarantine who refused to get tested were going to be kept in quarantine for another 10 days.

10 suburbs were going into lockdown in Melbourne with only four reasons for people to move in around or enter those postcodes.

Premier Andrews had also announced that some parents had refused testing for their children for the nasal swab test and so a saliva test would be available.

Ten suburbs received a testing blitz, Keilor Downs, Broadmeadows, Maidstone, Albanvale, Sunshine West, Brunswick West, Fawkner, Reservoir, Hallam and Pakenham.

There had been daily double digit increases in COVID cases for each of the previous 13 days.

There were 70 Australian Defence Force members deployed to help.

 

June 30

Premier Daniel Andrews announced ten postcodes were going into lockdown for the next month.

There would only be with only four reasons for people to leave their homes, for work or school, for caregiving, exercise or to get food or essentials.

In these hotspots gatherings will be limited to family or two people, cafes and restaurants were back to take-away only and gyms, swimming pools, cinemas, playgrounds and community activities were over.

These suburbs were back in lockdown while the rest of the country enjoyed a different way of life.

Hotel quarantines or people returning from overseas were no longer going to be coming into Melbourne.

 

COVID-19 DIARY – SURGING AHEAD

 

Calls to nominate departing CMO Brendan Murphy for Australian of ...

 

It’s been few weeks since I wrote my blog, I had over a dozen posts scheduled for the entire month of July and that covered right up until what was then up to date events of the 21st of June.

Then I went on holidays and started a secondment and four weeks have gone by in the wink of an eye and I am back playing catch-up. This time I wonder, particularly given the secondment if I will catch up.

I never planned for this site to regurgitate the news or to be political but it has always been personal and it has been fascinating to write about things from the perspective of a few days after the events.

COVID is going to be with us for at least a year or two in a very consuming way.

Do I really want to write about all of that?

I guess I do so I will just have to try. Thank you all for reading.

 

June 26

Friday.

I had worked in the office all week. With leave planned for the following week, the numbers continued to rise in Victoria.

The Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy and the Prime Minister strode up to the microphones on the 26th of June for what would be the last time. They were wearing scarves in support of Australia and New Zealand’s successful bid from the night previous to host the Netball World Cup. Their jovial mood reflected some relief in what they had shared together.

It was now over three months since COVID cases had really taken off in Australia and while developments in Victoria were of concern they did not prove to give people pause.

There had been 63 cases in the state in the previous 48 hours. Out of 30 cases from the previous 24 hours, five were travellers quarantining in hotels, seven were linked to clusters already identified, five from routine testing and a final 13 were still being investigated. 

Professor Murphy was moving on to Secretary of General Health, a promotion delayed due to the crisis. His position having unexpectedly elevated into a more public role had not suited the reserved Doctor but his consistent demeanor throughout had been of some comfort and would be missed.

Bracing for surge, PM announces billions in health measures

 

COVID-19 case numbers were taking off in the third world and this was not lost on the Prime Minister.

On, obviously, a more serious note, there are a million new cases being reported of COVID-19 around the world every week. We are seeing the virus take hold in places like South America now at a level difficult to imagine and we are anticipating similar types of scenarios in Africa and other parts of the world as the virus makes its way. The challenge being faced globally only gets more complicated, more complex, more difficult. And against that backdrop, Australia’s performance is remarkable, and that is a tribute to all who are involved.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison sought to assure Australians that outbreaks were to be expected and that the government was prepared to respond and that while the outbreak was currently in Victoria that it could easily be somewhere else in another instance and that we had to show solidarity.

And what this should say to Australians should be a message of confidence. There will be outbreaks. What matters is the response. There will be outbreaks and what matters is that we continue to build our capability to deal with those outbreaks. As you see the response on the ground, that is a reassurance to Australians all around the country that we can deal with this, and we will continue to deal with this.”

The outgoing Chief Medical Officer also had a few things to say.

So as the PM has said, this virus is accelerating around the world. We are in a very fortunate island, but we will remain at risk of importation of cases for the foreseeable future. Every day in Australia we have cases in hotel quarantine, mostly in New South Wales and Victoria, because they’re taking the lion’s share of that hotel quarantine hotel. Hotel quarantine is never going to be 100 percent perfect and importation our borders, whilst we have done so well with borders, we can’t be absolutely sure that there won’t be more and continuing imports of cases. We also, as we’ve said, can’t be sure that there isn’t small amounts of virus circulating in parts of the country. So the outbreaks, mini outbreak, we’ve seen in Victoria is what we predicted.”

“What we planned for. When I took to the National Cabinet the plan for reopening, removing restrictions, we assured National Cabinet that the likelihood of outbreaks was high and that we were ready to respond to them. And that is exactly what the Victorian health authorities are doing right now. They have a huge team, they’re contact tracing over a thousand people. They’re testing extraordinary numbers of people. And that’s a way to bring a localised outbreak under control, to go to where the problem is, engage with the population test, isolate, quarantine, standard public health response.

There was also a change in policy with returning citizens and permanent resident going into hotel quarantine advised Professor Brendan Murphy.

We are going to start testing people on entry to quarantine and testing people before they leave quarantine to see whether a testing regimen might help in the future to modify that quarantine in certain circumstances. But at the moment, even though we know it’s a burden on our returning citizens and permanent residents, it’s something that the great majority are very happy to put up with because they know it’s protecting their fellow Australians from the importation of this virus.

The Prime Minister also spoke on our behalf in thanking Professor Murphy for his work.

Outside of that, this is the Chief Medical Officer’s last briefing is the Chief Medical Officer. He’s been in the living rooms of Australians now for many months. And I know, Brendan, you have been a person of great assurance to Australians with your calm way of explaining what are often very complex things. You’ve given Australians, I think, a great peace of mind. Brendan is taking up the role of Secretary of the Department of Health, which we delayed because of the seriousness of this issue and his keenness to continue on in that role and until he was in a position to now hand it over to Dr Kelly. And so I want to thank you very much, not just for the way you’ve reached out to Australians, Professor Murphy, but the outstanding leadership you’ve shown across the AHPPC, the medical expert panel, and the unfailing advice that you’ve provided to me and to my ministers and to my Cabinet. And so we thank you very much.

 

The ABC’s excellent program Four Corners did an episode on nursing home Newmarch house in Sydney which that week which I watched that weekend.

The program was saddening in how we had failed to take care of our elderly in these vulnerable nursing homes.

As residents got COVID-19 they were all isolated in their rooms and not allowed visitors. Staffing was an issue and despite measures put in place the virus spread through the home.

The level of care suffered in the home as well which meant often the last days of the residents were lonely and full of ill health regardless of COVID itself.

In the aftermath the Anglicare Sydney’s Chief Executive Grant Millard, which runs Newmarch house, conceded more should have been done even NSW Health were not looking to take aged care residents into hospitals automatically.

“Look, if I had the time again, I would be insisting people who are COVID-positive go to hospital,” Mr Millard told ABC Radio.

“In hindsight, that would have been my preference.”

In the end 19 residents died in Newmarch house, the last on the 2nd of May. Her name was Alice Bacon and she was the 100th Australian to die from COVID-19. Two of those 19 residents who died after recovering from COVID-19 are not counted towards the national tally.

Alice Bacon’s daughter Mary Watson told Four Corners, “I don’t believe for a minute that the infection in the residents or in the staff occurred from that one person initially. There had to be cross-infection across the way. They didn’t want it anywhere out of there. They wanted whatever was going to happen to stay at Newmarch and be contained and not have it any spread anywhere else in the community.

There is a little bit of shame in me for not really having cared too much about those poor souls dying in nursing homes or their families cut off from and worried about them.

 

On the 26th of June the World Health Organisation reported there had been in Australia 7,558 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 37. There had been 104 deaths with a daily increase of one.

In Canada there had been 102,242 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 279. There had been 8,484 deaths with a daily increase of 30.

In the United Kingdom there had been 307,984 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 1,118. There had been 43,230 deaths with a daily increase of 149.

In India there had been 490,401 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 17,296. There had been 15,301 deaths with a daily increase of 407.

In Russia there had been 620,794 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 6,800. There had been 8,781 deaths with a daily increase of 176. Hmmm…..???

In Brazil there had been 1,188,631 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 42,725. There had been 53,830 deaths with a daily increase of 1,185.

In the United States of America as case numbers declined in the states first and worst hit by the pandemic numbers began to surge in the south and mid-west. California got no respite either. There had been 2,367,064 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 37,061. There had been 121,645 deaths with a daily increase of 690.

Numbers were on the rise in South America, Africa and South East Asia as Europe began to see a decline.

For what it is worth, stay safe everyone.

-Lloyd Marken