January 2022 Archive

New Zealand does not yet have Omicron circulating in the community. While the rest of the world is boiling over with lysis and recombination (Cell death and transmission plus mutation).
This is a the result of a combination of luck, strict border measures and being surrounded by ocean.
The only thing you can predict is that when Omicron does get into New Zealand. Someone will die with it. And there will be much gnashing of teeth and chest beating and politicians will count their allies. And maybe call in a few favors to stay in or out of the press. And we must not have that. Ever! See, this is not about health outcomes after all this time. This is about political opportunism. This is what happens when an unprepared governing party is caught on the hop by an ever evolving virus. Kiwi Jaime Ridge who was caught out in LA and unable to return to New Zealand called the Government, “Muppets”, in a cute youthful way.
If so, the opposition is comprised of the Fraggles and the Doozers: (National and Act) who been caught out too with a dearth of trusted advisors. Computational scientists and exponential modelers are probably fairly thin on the ground and most of the talent has been hoovered up by Labour. And that is why all political parties are now singing from the same song sheet. It reminds me of shoals of fish. Except for a few principled individuals. They are easy to spot. Even when Parliament is in recess they are working for the dispossessed and in need. Their play is more about where is the system failing people than point scoring or: “Look at Me”. Such as National’s Erica Stanford.
Those scientists and politicians in the limelight aren’t helping by trilling over and over: “Get jabbed”. Those who haven’t, won’t.” There are still those who feel uncomfortable with what they see as unnecessary medical procedures. And won’t shift. Even if these people have no hard and fast scientific argument against vaccination. But when the heck was every citizen expected to defend their views and personal physiology with knowledge requiring a Masters in Biological Sciences? Now, scarily it seems individuals are demanded to go one step further and exhibit their loyalty to Vax constantly, or be excluded and de-platformed. More about that later.
Thoroughly gaslit by now, the unvaccinated may be less scared of the actual virial entity than the specter of social control and ideological forces underpinning the mass vaccination campaign. I get it. I went into my pharmacy the other day and there was a line up of people waiting to get jabbed by my pharmacists. All these pharmacists are familiar and I know all by name. But it was so surreal watching the mass vax action unfold with everyone moving like automatons. I felt like I’d stepped into the Twilight Zone.
And although vaccinated, I would put personal freedom and the right to choose for my body over whatever the majority of the population has decided is sane or reasonable. Basically. You can think I’m mad but if I live within my values I’m good. Mmmmkay?
My conscience still bothers me a lot. Its a tough gig.
Something goes up on YouTube that gives the 10% unvaccinated a tendril of hope that there is a voice to unite them. Dr Robert Malone on Joe Rogan. Then it goes down. News abounds about curfews for the unwaxed around the world. Utter madness.
Re Dr Malone’s concept of “Mass formation psychosis”? I’m not a fan of boxed debunking of accepted medical practices. But I can tell you exactly why Malone pulled the disunited and cynical crowd. They are the kind of folks who might take what works and discard the rest and are brutalized by cruelty towards the unvaxed for having a different set of values. Mass Formation Psychosis is absolutely a thing and there is another word for it:
Culture.
The cultural divide of ‘pro vax’ vs ‘anti vax’ has got to be the biggest Cultural worldwide explosion since the Beatles! ‘Blame’ culture on steroids. All built around keeping safe.
But New Zealand is safe because the only play in town is having the drawbridge up and it got emphatically pulled up two years ago. On the 18th March 2020, Kiwis were encouraged informally to get home now. I say informally because the only way they might know would be to be apprised of the interviews of the New Zealand media with Foreign Minister Winston Peters. On the 24th March 2020 an official edict was issued for foreign nationals to Shelter in Place.
New Zealanders Overseas Encouraged to Shelter In Place

But how do you account for the misery that has caused in the Ledger of Human Suffering since March 2020 otherwise known as Ground ZeroCovid?
The cost of no tolerance for Covid is high. Businesses fail. There is money in health being spent to keep Covid at bay that is not keeping operating theatres going at optimum throughput. Elective surgeries are deferred and health screenings delayed.
The media seems to have little to offer in the way of holding either the Government or the opposition to accountability unless they are willing to piss Ardern or the cabinet off. That is the litmus test. Going somewhere different. People and economic systems reach the limits of tolerance. You  can only meaningfully reliably gather and rely on data in a closed system to adhere to Scientific Method. But people and economic systems are not by their nature Closed Systems.
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over in a system that is made of human parts and hearts that yearn to be connected. For growth and for warmth. For youthfulness and healing. But Labour wants to keep doing the same thing over and over. To keep Brand Ardern going like a stubborn pack mule. The economy and the New Zealand culture cannot keep taking on the strains of being separated from the outside world forever. Businesses are going over and inflation is rampant but as I’m not an economist or a statistician I can’t comment. But people unable to thrive are leaving and a surfeit of New Zealand citizens are unable to easily enter the border, contravening the spirit of the nation’s Bill of Rights (1990) If not the law which will be tested later in January by the group Grounded Kiwis representing the rights of expatriate Kiwis.
A purported 1/5 of New Zealand’s population residing outside the borders at some point in 2020 was not guaranteed easy passage inwards. Safe. Yes. Your patience (two years and counting) is required) But Easy? Hell NO!
Not all of them wanted in at once. A good portion have travelled back via MIQ facilities. The Government’s response has been that they (Labour) are doing a good job. I don’t believe it. A good job would be to weight equally the health requirements of all citizens inside and outside the borders. This is what us hardy Kiwis forget. Humans aren’t automatons pulling a wage and putting food on the table and tithing to church and the unions. TAB & a jug at the pub Nation. Though it suits the politicians that we fall into this liver spotted wallpaper of a life. Once downtrodden (as a result of too little money in the household kitty and this as a casualty of little education and inflation) we tend not to question authority.
We need to remind the leaders we have mental health needs too. The Prime Minister neglects to focus on the ties of family and mental heath and this extends to Kiwis beyond the border. You can’t ignore the health of offshore or onshore Kiwis without affecting the mental health of the other group. Poor mental health can be just as deadly as physical ailments. A border solution needs to balance compassion with pragmatism.
Bring up that Ledger of Human Suffering. Think of all the birthdays, births, deaths, cancers that develop and spread and husbands and wives kept apart in that population of one million.
But close the leather bound ledger. Slide it across the desk to the Labour Ministers of the New Zealand Government, (Grant Robertson, Chris Hipkins, Andrew Little) because all that suffering matters naught. Compared to the handful of Covid deaths and the tens of thousands of Covid deaths that were imminent since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
Yes. Like dominos. Bound to happen. Makes sense doesn’t it? Omicron is as scary as a cold on steroids but will overwhelm the health system and Maori. Makes sense.
It’s as though there is a sense of inevitability about a wave of Omicron devastation but this need not happen if the breakouts are ring-fenced and well managed?
Why are music festivals still happening? Because infection can be well managed now the bedrock is down and they give Labour a win directly within Arden’s jurisdiction. She is the Associate Minister for Arts. Covid turned up at the festivals that went ahead (the deadlier Delta version)
In Sydney it’s reported over fifty percent of cases that turn up at hospitals are Delta. So any music festival still has the potential to be a super-spreader event. This is conveniently ignored while Brian Tamaki drags the pox wherever he goes.
Instead of freaking out about Covid give it to locals to manage.
The best example of Covid control occurred in my hometown of Eltham, Taranaki which had an outbreak of Covid. It even mentions my former marching team! Stuff reports In a good example of regional response:
Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said the iwi had copied the model of Te Whānau o Waipareira and were able to respond “really fast and understand really, really quickly if we have Covid in our community.”

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/ldr/457869/covid-19-iwi-swing-into-action-after-positive-test-in-taranaki

In any case. The balance of scientific evidence is on the side of vaccinating communities: Yale recently came out with a study showing that vaccinations are your best defense against both infection and mutating stains:

5 Things to Know About The Delta Variant

And if they are fully vaccinated. Why are travelers being kept for up to twenty days in MIQ uninfected? A slow transition into prepared communities desperate for tourism and equipped to vaccinate and test and welcome home weary travelers is better  than what New Zealand has now. A pile on of Fear. And say what you will about any of the political parties. Any one of them could be leading. Quite frankly it seems to be the workers. the public servants, the PR agencies, the TV channels, the MIQ and the Armed forces putting in the hard yards.
The Prime Minister couldn’t have chosen a better time to get married. And I commend her on going on honeymoon first so she appears in the best light to overseas media come the Omicron outbreak.
I am after-all a proud Kiwi. If all anyone around here knows about New Zealand is that we have bugger all Covid. “You’ve done sooo well keeping Covid out of New Zealand. You must be sooo proud”! 🙂 I’ll take credit.
Over the Winter Break, I looked at the phylogeny tree of the Nebraska outbreak that showed a shorter incubation period of omicron. My Professor who got his doctorate at Berkeley had this to say:
“As far as the incubation time, I wouldn’t be surprised if what we’re seeing is evolutionary pressure towards higher transmissibility and more rapid incubation (since variants that can’t do that are having a harder time finding viable hosts to continue their “lineage” due to us approaching herd immunity through vaccination) and lesser severity (since killing your host also makes you unable to survive).  I think it might be a “chicken vs. egg” question as to whether we’re seeing more mutations because the virus’ life cycle is being compressed vs. the mutations leading to that more rapid incubation cycle; tough to know for sure, but I’d lean toward the former.”

Ie: 1. Virus spawns more frequently in a shorter lifespan (more offspring leading to more recombination events) as for Natural selection to occur more offspring must survive than are reproduced.
2. A mutation has occurred that has been favored and passed through the population which has favored transmission and decreased incubation period.
Hard to say. Hard to say. Probably the former and that is why MIQ has an abundance of omicron cases at the border. It’s due to the forces of Natural Selection. And codon substitutions at the S1 spike protein. (Mutations)
But it’s not due to lack of effort on the part of your neighbor vaccinated, skeptical, offshore or quarantining. Keep holding your Government to account as a pandemic needs to be actively managed. Saying “We’ve done well”, but keeping mute or muzzling every sector of the population that disagrees or could show the Government in poor light with shush money while stirring the pot around the Pile on of Fear is causing irreparable economic and societal damage to Aotearoa New Zealand. All the best in your navigation around the vax issue.
Love love.
M

PS Where is Luxon. After coming back and taking the helm has he gone travelling? Like Uncle Gobo?

Uncle  Gobo

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