Flat White

What second wave?

22 October 2020

5:00 AM

22 October 2020

5:00 AM

I have a bee in my bonnet about the universal description of Victoria’s Wuhan virus travails as a ‘second wave’. 

Victoria did not have a second wave, a term which, used correctly, refers to a resurgence of the virus once first response restrictions are eased and normal life begins to resume. A second wave starts with community transmission from previously undetected cases. Andrews and his ship of fools comprehensively mismanaged the first wave by letting the virus escape from a known at-risk group of people – a group of people who were part of the first wave. Hotel quarantine of returning travellers was a critical part of the first wave response. A semantic point? Possibly, but Andrews has based his whole defence on semantics.

In PR terms (Andrews’ KPI), managing a second wave – however incompetently – reads far better than presiding over the extension the first one. In his press conference last Friday, Andrews referred to the second wave outbreaks in Europe, their massive extent and their potential, going into the northern winter, to reap havoc that would make Victoria’s deaths pale into insignificance. He was clearly wishing to draw a favourable comparison.

His fig leaf defence — already emerging in embryonic form at that conference — and devised with a view to posterity, is that a second wave was inevitable and his measures have contained it much more effectively than European governments are now managing theirs.  This deceit is already bearing fruit with their ABC’s Dr Norman Swann tweeting I am not aware of any place in the world that has done a second wave as well as Victoria” and, in Tuesday’s Australian, John Ferguson, no less, opining that Whatever might be said about the process — and there is much to criticise — Sutton has still helped engineer a stunning turnaround in Australia’s second coronavirus wave. 

So Andrews’ strategy seems to be working.  But ultimately, its effectiveness depends on the Coates enquiry faithfully following the script he wrote for them and confirming the nonsensical ‘creeping assumption’ finding. Thanks to Peta Credlin that may not go as smoothly as he would like but I wouldn’t put money on slippery Dan somehow failing to slither out from under. Clearly, many of his constituents, and many commentors, have bought so far into his spin that they have nowhere else to go. Andrews is constructing a false equivalence between the second wave outbreaks in Europe, which are causing renewed disruption in those countries affected, and his handling of Victoria’s putative second wave which has seen him claim credit for getting the daily case numbers down from a high of 730 to just two at the time of writing. No mention, of course, of the fact that it was his ineptitude that caused the 730 in the first place. Or of the nigh on 820 deaths on his watch. 

Here I offer statistical proof that Victoria has not suffered a ‘second wave. Below are the daily case and daily death numbers for France, United Kingdom and Italy. What they show is that the death rate from this second wave is miniscule compared to the first wave, possibly because of a combination of better treatment, the most vulnerable having already succumbed and a possible mutation of the virus. You will seldom, if ever, hear this from the MSM. 

For example, in Tuesday’s Australian, Imogen Reid reported: The coronavirus death toll in the UK rose by 241 on Tuesday, the highest daily increase since the first wave of the pandemic.To add some context to this story, during its first wave the highest daily death count in the UK was 1,116 on 21 April. On that day, they reported 4,000 new cases. This new death tally of 241 comes on the back of 21,330 new cases on that one day. Make no mistake, they want you scared. (To be fair,  I must note that elsewhere in the paper, Reid does have a story about the lower fatality rate in Europe.) 


This suggests that the demand for new lockdowns is nothing more than hysteria, as has been emphasised by, for example, WHO and the signatories of Great Barrington Declaration or the 500 Victorian doctors who have written to Andrews and, apparently, have not even had their letter acknowledged.    

Attached, also is the same pair of graphs from Australia, that you will see instantly do not mimic those of Europe. In Victoria, deaths went up in the supposed ‘second wave’. Andrews, at his press conference on Sunday, stressed that his management of what he routinely terms ‘this global pandemic’ (to remind you that it’s not his fault and that ‘we’re all in this together’) will allow Victorians to ease into some undefined ‘Covid normal’ by the time of our summer, while the feckless Europeans are sentenced to some sort of Covid winter of discontent. The fact is that the Europeans, in easing restrictions after the first wave, did exactly what Andrews is promising to do sometime in the never-never. He claims he’s not seeking elimination. That would be impossible, he concedes. But it sure looks like it from here. What will he do, I wonder, if, in two week’s time, Victoria gets an outbreak of say 10 new cases the sort of event that NSW is handling in its stride and without strangling its economy or suffocating its citizens. 

France 

United Kingdom 

 

Italy

Australia 

In his 18 October statement, Andrews said: 

As a state – millions strong – we are defeating this virus.  Other places around the world have not been so successful.  Back in August, and at our peak, we reported 725 daily cases.  At the same time the UK recorded 891. Today, as Victoria records two new cases, the UK hit 16,171.  And as we continue to ease our restrictions – they are being forced to increase theirs.  We are seeing states and cities, not so different from our own, overwhelmed by their second wave.  Doctors and nurses being asked to decide which of their patients are most worthy of their care. 

This diatribe, specious nonsense for the most part, concludes with an outright lie. With only 67 deaths in the UK on 18th Oct, no-one is being asked to make life and death choices. 

To put Victoria’s contribution into perspective consider the following. On 22 June Australia had recorded 7500 cases of Wuhan flu which occasioned the deaths of 102 people – a death rate of 0.014. As of 18 October, Australia had recorded 27,400 cases and 904 deaths. Since 22 June, almost the entirety of the Australian caseload has been attributable to Victoria i.e roughly 20,000 cases and 802 deaths – a death rate of 0.04.    

If we look at, say, France, as a comparison.  Their second wave commenced on about 2 August.  Up to that time they had recorded roughly 190,000 cases and 30,000 deaths at a rate of 0.157. As at 18 October, they had recorded an additional 700,000 odd cases and 3,477 additional deaths – a rate of 0.005. 

If, on the public health front, what matters most is deaths, Andrews should draw no comfort from comparing his ‘second wave’ to that of European countries.  

   

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