Episode 264 – Victorian Lockdown and Nursing Homes

We look at the Victorian lockdown and proposals for protecting the vulnerable in nursing homes.

If you are sick of Covid talk you can fast forward to the 38:44 mark.

Feedback from Episode 263

Waz annoyed and frustrated a few people.

From Craig

You did a valiant job on the Covid discussion in the last podcast in the face of the challenges of the Beer Sponsor and 12th Man. You were spot on as far as I was concerned. At least for me, banging my head against a wall while listening to the podcast made a difference to yelling at the TV while The Drum is on.

From Robbie

Oh my god Waz (Woz?) is infuriating. I usually listen to IFVG as I head to sleep at night and I can spread out the episode over a week, but tonight he’s woken me up and made me want to yell at my phone!

From Paul

Hi Trevor,

Just wondering if you need another beer sponsor?  I’d be happy to buy you a beer, but the BWS in The Gap seems to only accept an order if you can pick up in half an hour.  I’m not sure if I can give your name, and I don’t have your phone number, to confirm when I place the order.  Any thoughts on the best way to get beer to you?

The reason I offer is to replace Waz, who is honestly the worst guest I’ve had to put up with on your show.  He doesn’t listen to contrary evidence, but only the research that proves his own opinions.  He has no idea of logical reasoning or argument.  He, like the Twelfth Man, seem to be incapable of conceding a point.  The two of them are major reasons why I would stop listening to your show and the only reason I do is because of Scott and your persistence in trying to make rational, intelligent arguments.

Let me know if you want someone capable of following a logical thought to its conclusion and I’ll join via Zoom.

But either way I’ll still get some beer to you.

All the best,


From Bronwyn

I can only say that I am very glad that Waz is not in charge of Australia’s coronavirus strategy. I simply cannot understand why he persists in arguing for the Swedish approach when their per capita death rate is one of the highest in the world, which would equate to about 15,000 deaths in Australia (cf. 189 deaths as of today). Plus their economy has tanked, so there isn’t even an economic argument in favour of their approach. As far as performance indicators go, no one could argue with any credibility that these are good outcomes.

And as for allowing the virus to go through the population while supposedly protecting the ‘most vulnerable’, you’re completely ignoring the increasing body of evidence indicating that those who survive a COVID infection often have ongoing problems, some of which are quite serious, and which we don’t yet know enough about. It’s not the flu and I certainly don’t want to catch it.

I also disagree that the media are driving coronavirus strategy, at least not in Victoria. While there have clearly been some mistakes, the strategy we are following is (and has always been) based on the best epidemiological advice available. I commend Premier Andrews for holding the line on this, even though it’s making him less popular. The reasons why we are still not getting on top of things are complex, but the most important factor which is driving the infection rate appears to be the large numbers of people who are unable to work from home and who go to work while infected. I can’t see a solution to this other than implementing a NZ style elimination strategy, which would effectively close the economy down for a month or so.

So I’m afraid that I had to turn this episode off rather than listen to any more of this garbage, because it just makes me angry. My reaction is possibly due to the fact that I live in Melbourne. We thought our numbers were going down until today, when we had more than 700 new cases and 13 deaths. Our efforts to get the virus under control don’t seem to be working, so life has become scary here. But more fundamentally, discussing your opinion is one thing; arguing from a position of ignorance based on a complete misinterpretation of the data is quite another.

My Response

This podcast is about argument and debate. Scott and I agreed too much. Boring.

Waz had some strange ideas but much of what he said was repeated by Gigi Foster on Q&A.

He was right about New York. Up to a point.

I guess there is a line to tread between on the one hand hearing opposing views (and showing how to have a civil debate) and on the other hand giving too much air-time to irreconcilable differences.

The Victorian Lockdown

All those in favour, say Aye

Essential Report 28 July 2020

25 Years Jail for Dan Andrews

From The Guardian

Labor has labelled comments by the federal Liberal MP Craig Kelly “offensive” and “irresponsible” after he questioned whether Daniel Andrews could be criminally liable for blocking the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19.

The use of hydroxychloroquine has been championed by Donald Trump, but the most reputable global studies have found it is ineffective as a treatment, and it can have severe and even deadly side effects if used inappropriately.

Kelly’s suggestion that the Victorian premier “and others” could be liable for industrial manslaughter appears to have no legal basis, is at odds with his own government’s cautious approach and ignores months of evidence that the drug is not a wonder treatment for Covid-19.

In a late-night Sunday or early-morning Monday post, Kelly posed the question: “COULD THE VICTORIAN PREMIER (and others) FACE 25 YEARS IN JAIL FOR CONTINUING TO BAN HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE?”

A Message from Samson

Play clip

New York

I’m happy to tone it down a notch but the argument remains the same.

From the NYT

In Queens, the borough with the most coronavirus cases and the fewest hospital beds per capita, hundreds of patients languished in understaffed wards, often unwatched by nurses or doctors. Some died after removing oxygen masks to go to the bathroom.

In hospitals in impoverished neighborhoods around the boroughs, some critically ill patients were put on ventilator machines lacking key settings, and others pleaded for experimental drugs, only to be told that there were none available.

It was another story at the private medical centers in Manhattan, which have billions of dollars in endowments and cater largely to wealthy people with insurance. Patients there got access to heart-lung bypass machines and specialized drugs like remdesivir, even as those in the city’s community hospitals were denied more basic treatments like continuous dialysis.

In its first four months in New York, the coronavirus tore through low-income neighborhoods, infected immigrants and essential workers unable to stay home and disproportionately killed Black and Latino people, especially those with underlying health conditions.

“If we had proper staffing and proper equipment, we could have saved much more lives,” said Dr. Alexander Andreev, a medical resident and union representative at Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, a struggling independent hospital in Brooklyn. “Out of 10 deaths, I think at least two or three could have been saved.”

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have spoken throughout the pandemic of adding hospital beds across the city, transferring patients and sending supplies and workers to community hospitals, implying that they have ensured all New Yorkers with Covid-19 receive the same quality care.

“We are one health care system,” Mr. Cuomo said on March 31. The same day, he described the coronavirus as “the great equalizer.”

In interviews, doctors scoffed at that notion, noting, among other issues, that government reinforcements were slowed by bureaucratic hurdles and mostly arrived after the peak.

At the pandemic’s peak, ambulances generally took patients to the nearest hospital — not the one with the most capacity. That contributed to crushing surges in hospitals in areas with high infection rates, overwhelming some hospitals and reducing their ability to care for patients.

In Manhattan, where many residents fled the city, hospitals also found patient release valves. Mount Sinai sent hundreds to a Central Park tent hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian sent 150 to the Hospital for Special Surgery.

In all, the census at some emergency rooms actually declined.

At Lenox Hill Hospital, a private hospital on the Upper East Side, Dr. Andrew Bauerschmidt said on April 8 — near the city’s peak in cases — that the hospital had more patients than usual, but not by much.

“Nothing dire is going on here, like the stories we’ve heard at other hospitals,” he said.

At the height of the crisis, doctors and nurses at every hospital had to care for more patients than normal. But at the safety-net hospitals, which could not deploy large numbers of specialists or students, or quickly hire workers, patient-to-staff ratios spiraled out of control.

In the emergency room, where best practices call for a maximum of four patients per nurse, the ratio hit 23 to 1 at Queens Hospital Center and 15 to 1 at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, both public hospitals, and 20 to 1 at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, an independent facility in Brooklyn, workers said.

“We could not care for the number of the patients we had,” said Feyoneisha McGrath, a nurse at Kingsbrook. “I worked 16 hours a day, and then I got in my car and cried.”

Bunnings Karen

Karen will be word of the year

I feel sorry for Karens. It reminds me of Cyril on Blankety Blanks.

Multiple videos surfaced online across the weekend of anti-maskers arguing with retail staff and police at Bunnings, Australia Post and shopping centres and claiming it was their human right not to wear a face covering.

One piece of footage showed a woman being arrested and handcuffed by police in a car park so they could confirm her identity to issue a fine.

At least 70 Victorians have been fined for failing to wear a face covering since the restriction came into force on July 22.

From Wikipedia

Karen is a pejorative term used in the United States and other English-speaking countries for a woman perceived as entitled or demanding beyond the scope of what is appropriate or necessary. A common stereotype is that of a white woman who uses her privilege to demand her own way at the expense of others. Depictions also include demanding to “speak to the manager”, anti-vaccination beliefs, being racist, or sporting a particular bob cut hairstyle. As of 2020, the term was increasingly being used as a general-purpose term of disapproval for middle-aged white women.

The exact origins of the term are unknown.[1] The term may have originated on Black Twitter as a meme used to describe white women who “tattle on Black kids’ lemonade stands“.[2] It has also been described as originating with Black women but having been coopted by white men.[2][3][4] University of Virginia media researcher Meredith Clark has said that the idea of a white woman in the vicinity of whom Blacks need to be careful because she won’t hesitate to use her “privilege” at the expense of others “has always been there; it just hasn’t always been so specific to one person’s name. Karen has gone by different names. Back in the ’90s, when “Baby Got Back” came out, it was Becky.”[2] Karen Grigsby Bates agrees, saying, “Karens are part of a lineage of entitled white women going back a couple centuries in this country” and “Karen is part of a continuum…before there were Karens and Beckys, there was Miss Ann.”[5] According to Clark, Miss Ann was a Jim Crow-era “cheeky, in-group shorthand amongst Black people” for white people who used their privilege as a weapon.[5]

According to Grigsby Bates, the concept of a Karen, as Black people used the term, became clear to whites when Saturday Night Live did a Black Jeopardy sketch with Chadwick Boseman playing as his Black Panther character T’Challa. Grigsby Bates said, “And T’Challa is getting all his answers wrong in Jeopardy because the game is based on Black American idioms, which he doesn’t get at all because, duh, he’s from Wakanda. But at the last minute, he’s asked about someone named Karen bringing her potato salad to his cookout.” T’Challa gets the last question right, telling Karen, “Aw, hell no, Karen. Keep your bland-ass potato salad to yourself”; Clark “says this moment and a few others like it is when the nation kind of got it, too.”[5]

Another use of the term as an internet meme dates to an anonymous Reddit user, Fuck_You_Karen, who posted rants denigrating his ex-wife, Karen, whom he alleged had taken both his children and his house during divorce proceedings. The posts led to the 2017 creation of the subreddit r/FuckYouKaren, to both compile a narrative and share memes about the posts. Since Fuck_You_Karen deleted his account, the subreddit refocused on memes about the stereotype in general rather than a specific woman.[6][7] Other uses of Karen as a joke punchline include Dane Cook‘s 2005 sketch “The Friend Nobody Likes” on his album Retaliation,[7] and a 2016 Internet meme regarding a woman in an ad for the Nintendo Switch console who exhibits antisocial behavior and is given the nickname “antisocial Karen.”

Google is now making it easier to find Black-owned businesses

From The Verge

Google is launching a new tool that allows businesses to identify themselves as Black-owned through the company’s Maps and Search listings. The new feature is part of the company’s pledge announced last month to support the Black community with “initiatives and product ideas that support long-term solutions.”

When searching for a business through Google.com or Google Maps, you’ll now be able to see a new badge to represent Black-owned businesses — it’s a black heart over an orange three-striped background, like the one you can see in these images. They need to claim their business on Google and verify they own it by mail, phone or email before they can apply for the badge; it’s not clear how or whether Google can actually tell if they’re Black-owned. In 2018, Google introduced similar badges for businesses to display if they were either “Women-Led” and/or friendly to members of the LGBTQ+ community.


Paul’s Smart White Milk

From bandt.com

Indigenous rights activist Dr Stephen Hagan is calling for Pauls’s French parent company Lactalis to replace the ‘Smarter White’ label because it’s offensive to Aboriginals.

The label has been used to sell low-fat milk since 2002. It is the same activist who called the Coon Cheese to be scrapped over its racist name.

“Aboriginal people are saying that there’s an inference that it’s for smart, white people, not for smart, black people,” Hagan told Daily Mail Australia.

“There’s a lot of Aboriginal people who take offence, who don’t drink that milk because of the interference that it’s ‘smarter white’.”

Hagan said lots of Aboriginals had raised the issue with him.

“I recall having conversations with people who don’t buy that because of the connotation ‘white people are smart’,” he said.

“A lot of people have raised it with me: they asked the question about the Smarter White milk – ‘Why couldn’t it just be Smarter Milk? Why does it need to put the ‘white’ in there?

“If enough people want to bring it to my attention, I’m happy to write a letter to the owners of Pauls and say, ‘Look, will you consider changing the name?’.”

Lactalis declined to comment on the issue.

Pauls’s French owner Lactalis declined to comment.

Meanwhile, Alice Springs town councillor Jacinta said the call to rename the milk brand was “utter nonsense”.

“I don’t know a single Indigenous Australian who is offended at all by milk being called ‘Smarter White.”

Hagan was ultimately successful in his plea to have Coon Cheese renamed, with parent company Saputo promising to examine “this situation very thoroughly” and make a decision on the cheese brand’s name in the coming weeks.

AFL stands down a “journalist”

Foxfooty.com.au has confirmed Mitch Cleary was stood down indefinitely after he shared the public post made by Cotchin about her visit to a Gold Coast spa, which breached the league’s quarantine hub rules.

Cotchin had been named on radio by Nine journalist Caroline Wilson during the week before Cleary shared the image. He later deleted his tweet.

AFL reporter Tom Browne agreed, suggesting the league’s insistence its media body is independent is foolish after its decision.

“The AFL has got to balance decisions with a range of stakeholders … that’s fine,” he said.

“But don’t say you’ve got an independent website if you stand down the journalist for printing the name of the person who went on Instagram, a public page itself.”

Israel Falou stands while team-mates take a knee

Israel Folau has courted more controversy by refusing to join teammates and opponents in taking a knee to acknowledge the Black Lives Matter movement in the return of the English Super League.

Qld Politics

Maybe Palace Chook is smarter than we thought?

Good luck and patience.

From The Guardian

Queensland Liberal National MPs have been actively discouraged from engaging with voluntary assisted dying campaigners or holding community forums on proposed new laws, prompting concerns the party could shelve reform efforts if it wins government.

There is a growing sense among Labor MPs that the party’s progressive social policies can solidify its position in Queensland, particularly in urban areas, while the LNP’s positions have been guided by its increasingly conservative and Christian membership.

Some LNP moderates have told Guardian Australia they were worried about the consequences of a recent policy announcement that the party would review aspects of the state’s historic abortion decriminalisation laws.

One former MP said that while he supported the detail of the LNP’s plan – which would review gestation limits, counselling arrangements and protections against coercion – it was “utter madness to think talking about abortion before an election is a remotely good idea”.

“There’s a reason we only hold four seats in Brisbane, and it’s reinforced every time we have a debate about social policy like same-sex marriage and abortion,” he said.

Political commentator Paul Williams, from Griffith University, said the LNP announcement on abortion appeared to be “ideologically parochial” rather than smart politics.

“What is not understandable is why a party that has been in opposition for so long, and is staring down the barrel of defeat yet again, would be so parochial they would make policy based on their own convictions that doesn’t appeal to [urban] constituents.

“They’re handing Labor a rod to beat them over the head with.”

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