Sydney is much sicker than Berejiklian’s making out

Thankfully we still have some independent press. The Saturday Paper:

The rate of Covid-19 hospitalisations in New South Wales is being reported at one-third of the real figure, with the actual numbers being masked by a decision to only report those who end up in medical facilities, and not the thousands receiving care under the state’s “hospital in the home” arrangements.

On Tuesday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the “most recent figure I have for the rate of hospitalisation was 5.5 per cent in terms of cases converting to hospitalisation”. The real figure, however, is about 15 per cent, according to medical experts and a briefing provided to national cabinet.

On Thursday, the state reported almost 1000 people with Covid-19 were in hospital and 160 of those were receiving the most complex form of healthcare in intensive care units.

But that figure leaves out almost 1700 people who are receiving hospital-grade care for coronavirus in their own homes in NSW. Most of those are being monitored by staff from the swamped Westmead Hospital in the state’s Western Sydney Local Health District. Under these arrangements, patients who would otherwise be on the hospital ward are instead given oxygen and other support at home with scheduled visits from hospital staff.

At least eight people in the state have died at home since the Delta outbreak began. Some, who were being given home care, deteriorated so quickly from mild illness to death that there was no time for even an ambulance to be called. The coroner is investigating these deaths.

The Saturday Paper has also been provided access to the nation’s Critical Health Resource Information System (CHRIS), which provides real-time data on the use of intensive care beds in every state and territory hospital network. On Thursday, 80 per cent or 689 of the 855 staffed ICU beds in NSW were full. Of these, 170 – or one-quarter of the occupied beds – are being used to treat Covid-19 patients. The situation in Victoria is worse. More than 90 per cent of ICU beds are full there. Hospitals are struggling to encourage nurses who worked in last year’s outbreak to help again.

The CHRIS platform, developed last year in response to Covid-19, is the same platform used to prepare briefings for national cabinet. In just three weeks the number of staffed ICU beds in NSW has actually fallen by nine.

In advice prepared for national cabinet, hospital demand in all states and territories was forecast using a “transition ratio” from active Covid-19 case to hospitalisation. In the document, obtained by The Saturday Paper, political leaders were told this ratio was calculated by dividing the number of individuals requiring hospitalisation by the number of active cases in the week before. By this method, the hospitalisation ratio is 0.16 or 16 per cent.

Garvan Institute of Medical Research executive director Professor Christopher Goodnow told staff in a private briefing that “hospitalisation is tracking around 15 per cent in the current NSW outbreak”.

These figures are important because health system workers who have spoken with The Saturday Paper believe clinical care is already being compromised in the NSW outbreak and may have already caused the death of people who might otherwise have been saved.

This has triggered a mad scramble to repair the lies of Gladys Berejiklian:

More than one in 10 people in NSW with COVID-19 now end up in hospital, although health authorities warn the figure is likely higher given the lag between infection and becoming sick enough to need hospitalisation.

As Sydney braces for case numbers to spike in the coming weeks, the latest NSW Health figures for the Delta outbreak, released on the weekend, show the hospitalisation rate of people with COVID-19 is 11 per cent.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian will this week release modelling which she says will show “what is foreshadowed to be a peak in cases but also the peak hospitalisation, the peak in intensive care”.

Ms Berejiklian last week said the state’s hospitalisation rate was 5.5 per cent, although the previous NSW Health COVID-19 report, in the period up to August 14, had the figure at 12 per cent when cases numbers were lower.

The Premier’s office was asked to clarify the source of Ms Berejiklian’s 5.5 per cent hospitalisation rate, but a spokeswoman said: “Please feel free to ask any further questions at tomorrow’s press conference”.

NSW Health’s latest surveillance report says, “because there can be a delay between a person becoming ill with COVID-19 and subsequently requiring a hospitalisation, and because cases in the current outbreak have a median of 11 days between onset and death, hospitalisations and deaths are under-reported”.

As it happens, over the years I have received hospital treatment twice for the same illness. Once in the hospital and once via “hospital in the home”. There was little difference. I was just as sick on both occasions and received much the same care. The decision about who goes where is based upon a triage process so it is probably fair to say that those treated at home are less unwell. But they are still sick enough to be “hospitalised” in the treatment sense, and in terms of using up resources. They should be included in the numbers.

While I’m on the subject, any anti-vaxxers reading might want to familiarise themselves with the process of triage because if it comes down to a choice between you and a vaccinated soul for a ventilator then you’re going to miss out.

Still more Berejilian lies are exposed this morning:

…there’s some debate over exactly when we’ll see that “peak in cases”, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian insisting October will be the worst month, while a health expert claims we’ll be suffering for far longer.

Follow below for today’s top updates. Just make sure you keep refreshing the page for the latest news.

Professor in epidemiology and public health specialist at the University of Melbourne Tony Blakely has told ABC News Breakfast NSW will hit 3000 cases a day – or “possibly more” – before we reach the peak.

“It’s going at about 5 per cent per day increase and that should plateau off. So as the vaccine coverage goes up, that increase will plateau out,” he said.

The stretch to Canberra. Peter Hartcher describes another:

The Morrison government belatedly is delivering adequate vaccine supplies to a country where most of the population is suffering under stay-at-home orders. And, while an unabashed Prime Minister waits to be congratulated by a grateful people, he’s taken on a huckster’s hubris.

Every day now, he demands the premiers prepare to dismantle the protective measures they’ve put in place. “Get out of the cave,” he urges. His Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, has taken to threatening that he’ll withhold support payments from naughty states. The Attorney-General, Michaelia Cash, has warned that Western Australia’s border closure might be vulnerable to a High Court challenge.

…Of course, where Australia is in “the cave”, it’s because premiers have been seeking to protect citizens in the face of vaccine shortages. And foremost among people’s “liberties and freedoms” is the right to live. It drives the premiers crazy to hear Morrison campaigning against them.

Morrison sees advantage in championing “opening up” and “freedom”. He’s anticipating the day when enough of the population has been vaccinated that stay-at-home orders can be lifted and closed state borders opened. He wants to cement himself in the public mind as the great liberator, and Labor as officious nannies and maddening control freaks.

It is important to generate a sense of hope in a time of great anxiety. But the Prime Minister is also peddling an unreality. The expectations he’s setting up for a glorious and unrestrained freedom are unrealistically rosy.

Today, the outbreaks in the two most populous states are still growing by the hour. People are dying in increasing numbers, in spite of curfews and strict lockdowns.

The lockdowns are effective: “The number of cases would be doubling every two days if they had no restrictions, but instead it’s doubling every 10 to 11 days,” says virologist Brendan Crabb, chief executive of the Burnet Institute.

Doherty modeling insists upon lockdowns 30% of the time if contact tracing is working well, which it isn’t, so the lockdown proportion of response rises commensurately, or the cases do.

Finally, there is Mu:

The World Health Organization (WHO) has added another coronavirus variant to its list to monitor. It’s called the mu variant and has been designated a variant of interest (VOI). What this means is that mu has genetic differences to the other known variants and is causing infections in multiple countries, so therefore might present a particular threat to public health.

It’s possible that mu’s genetic changes might make it more transmissible, allow it to cause more severe disease and render it more able to escape the immune response driven by vaccines or infection with previous variants. This in turn might leave it less susceptible to treatments.

Note the word might. A VOI is not a variant of concern (VOC), which is a variant that has been proven to acquire one of those characteristics, making it more dangerous and so more consequential. Mu is being monitored closely to see if it should be re-designated as a VOC. We have to hope not.

Read more: What’s the Mu variant? And will we keep seeing more concerning variants?

There are four other VOIs being watched by the WHO – eta, iota, kappa and lambda – but none of these have been reclassified as a VOC. That might be the case with mu as well, but we have to await further data.

What makes mu particularly interesting (and concerning) is that it has what the WHO calls a “constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape”. In other words, it has the hallmarks of being able to get around existing vaccine protection.

Where is it spreading?

Mu was first seen in Colombia in January 2021, when it was given the designation B1621. It has since been detected in 40 countries, but is thought to currently be responsible for only 0.1% of infections globally.

Mu has been much more prevalent in Colombia than anywhere else. When looking at coronavirus samples that have been genetically sequenced, 39% of those analysed in Colombia have been mu – though no mu samples have been recorded there in the past four weeks.

A Colombian woman wearing a facemask

Mu initially spread in Colombia, though infections now appear to have subsided. Sebastian Barros/Shutterstock

In contrast, 13% of samples analysed in Ecuador have been mu, with the variant making up 9% of the samples sequenced in the last four weeks, while in Chile just under 40% of sequenced samples have turned out to be mu over the last month. This suggests that the virus is no longer circulating in Colombia, but is being transmitted in other nearby South American countries.

So far, 45 cases have been identified in the UK through genetic analysis, and it looks like they came from overseas. However, as not all COVID-19 cases end up being sequenced to see which variant they are, it’s possible that mu’s prevalence in the UK could be higher.

How dangerous is it?

The key questions are whether mu is more transmissible than the currently dominant variant, delta, and whether it can cause more severe disease.

Mu has a mutation called P681H, first reported in the alpha variant, that is potentially responsible for faster transmission. However, this study is still in preprint, meaning its findings have yet to be formally reviewed by other scientists. We can’t be sure of P681H’s effects on the virus’s behaviour just yet.

Mu also has the mutations E484K and K417N, which are associated with being able to evade antibodies against the coronavirus – the evidence on this is more concrete. These mutations also occur in the beta variant, and so it’s possible that mu might behave like beta, which some vaccines are less effective against.

Mu also has other mutations – including R346K and Y144T – whose consequences are unknown, hence the need for further analysis.

Read more: South African health experts have identified a new lineage of SARS-CoV-2: what’s known so far

But can mu actually evade pre-existing immunity? As yet there’s only limited information on this, with a study from a lab in Rome showing that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was less effective against mu compared to other variants when tested in a lab-based experiment. Despite this, the study still considered the protection offered against mu by the vaccine to be robust. Really, we don’t yet know whether mu’s mutations will translate into increased infection and disease.

Striking reports on mu have been appearing, though. In late July, a news station in Florida reported that 10% of samples sequenced at the University of Miami were mu. In early August, Reuters reported that seven fully vaccinated residents of a nursing home in Belgium had died from an outbreak of mu. However, these are limited snapshots of the variant’s behaviour.

What happens next?

Mu is the first new variant to be added to the WHO’s list since June.

When a variant is designated of interest, the WHO carries out a comparative analysis of the characteristics of the new variant, assessing how it compares to others that are also being monitored by asking its member states to gather information on the variant’s incidence and effects. This is currently underway, and means that Public Health England is keeping a close eye on it.

The designation of mu as a VOI reflects the widespread concern over the possibility of new variants emerging that might prove problematic. The more transmissible delta variant taking hold in many countries, especially among the unvaccinated, shows how quickly and significantly viral variants can change the course of the pandemic.

In Kenya, only 1.5% of people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Daniel Irungu/EPA-EFE

Every time the virus reproduces inside someone there’s a chance of it mutating and a new variant emerging. This is a numbers game. It’s a random process, a bit like rolling dice. The more you roll, the greater the chance of new variants appearing. The main way to stop variants is global vaccination.

The emergence of mu reminds us of how important that goal remains. Many people, especially in developing countries, remain unvaccinated. We must get vaccines to these countries as quickly as possible, both to help the people there who are vulnerable but also to stop new variants from emerging. Otherwise, our exit from the pandemic will be set back, possibly for months on end.

The problem with perpetual lying amid an actual crisis is that the latter is always outflanking the former. Closed states are going to remain closed. Bernard Keane:

Imagine you’re Mark McGowan and you tell West Australians “I know we’re COVID-free and our economy is doing well, but I’ve agreed to a national plan developed in Canberra and I’m going to let infected people from the east fly and drive into WA and I know a lot of West Australians will get sick, and many will die as a result, but it’s for the good of the federation and because people in Sydney want to come for a holiday.”

His premiership would last about five minutes beyond any such announcement, notwithstanding any pious op-eds in support in the AFR from business leaders and economists.

How do we know? Consider the case of maladroit Attorney-General Michaelia “Chuckles” Cash this week. With the government, News Corp and the AFR, and much of the press gallery going full bore on the “stick to the national plan” Canberra view, Cash — ironically, from WA — emerged to declare that the High Court would reverse itself and find against the WA government if it kept borders closed once vaccinations reach 70% or 80%.

…And how did that play out in the west? Liberal WA backbenchers lined up to give Cash a kicking. Former Liberal premier Colin Barnett went public to criticise her. Cash, Morrison and Josh Frydenberg were forced to rule out repeating Porter’s error of supporting another Palmer challenge. “I have repeatedly commended Premier McGowan for his handling of the pandemic in Western Australia,” Cash added pleadingly. That is, when political push comes to shove, the Canberra perspective isn’t one the government will stick with.

Imagine going to an election on a platform of forcing West Australians to get infected. Or Tasmanians. Or South Australians. Or Queenslanders.

We aren’t asked to imagine it for SA or TAS because they have Coalition governments.

And, the truth will out:

The federal employment minister Stuart Robert told David Speers on ABC’s Insiders that “anything could change [this] week” and “there will always be continued modelling and further work”. He made the comments when asked about the country’s strained health system — a strain which will intensify if modelling is right and cases surge in the reopening, as reports. To make his point, Robert explained to Speers that his planned Insiders show next week could change between now and then.

All of this broken trust is destroying the faith of individuals and families in government and how they should respond to the spreading virus. This will lead to a badly hampered reopening process as decisions made by private individuals to lock down fill the trust void.

In short, there’s a form of toxic Ricardian equivalence at work that is going to hold the recovery back in 2022.

Houses and Holes
Latest posts by Houses and Holes (see all)


  1. So, COVID-Merdejiklian manifests also as a mental condition with symptoms that include compulsive dishonesty and criminal depravity?

  2. Things are starting to look bad for the Feds

    Perrotet is keeping away from the limelight

    And now we have all News organs going net neutral by 2050 in all their mastheads from mid Oct. Because advertisers forced them to, crazy

    • Perrottet was one of the noisy “live with covid” supporters who should share the blame for the careless approach in NSW to overseas arrivals during May and June 2021. Not at all suprising that he is hiding at the bottom of a fox hole at the moment so he can emerge with ‘clean hands’ once Gladys is judged too politically damaged.

      The last interview I heard him give was over a month ago with Fran Kelly and that was a truck crash.

    • Yep, ScoMo and Friends are idiots beyond belief. Have they honestly not noticed the immense popularity of governments in QLD and WA?

  3. I was speaking to an older physician who has been working in hospitals around Australia since the 70s.

    If you can believe it – the narrative in NSW Health in the late 70s / early 80s was that there “were too many hospital beds”. Regional hospitals had bed counts halve. Even places like RPA had a whole 5 story wing demolished. Those beds have never been replaced.

    Recently (like in the last 5 years) Sydney ICU was 100% across every hospital in the region. The call went out as they needed a bed and had to send a patient somewhere. Only capacity around Australia? Townsville!!

    As shocking as that is NSW is apparently in the best shape nationally. Pray for SA and WA if Covid gets there as their hospitals are woefully under resourced. Whyalla (SA) has about the same population as Burnie (Tas) and has about 25% of the resourcing. Now, lucky its only a 30 minute fly to Adelaide as they have no specialists and many medicos refuse to locum there given the malpractice risks due to the low staffing.

    Western Australia apparently has an even worse system than SA. This is one of the reasons McGowan is closing the borders. Their hospital system cannot actually cope without Covid – they are ramping patients (when patients stay in ambulances in parking bay outside hospital) regularly in a business as usual context. Try adding 20% or more volumes from Covid.

    This sh*t storm has been decades in the making. From a health system that was the envy of the world in the 70s we have let it whither at the same time as pump priming the population.

    She’ll be right mate. We hope.

    • Diogenes the CynicMEMBER

      The WA health crisis has been front and centre in our local rag for months if not years. The locals are well aware that if COVID comes here we are truly up the creek. We also have substantial high risk indigenous communities with poor vaccination rates.

    • Jumping jack flash

      Regional hospitals have been starved of funds for decades. This is no surprise that there is a massive game of catch-up being played now. “Home hospital” is obviously an attempt to do this. Home-based mental health care has been running for a long time as well, due to virtually no funding or extra capacity for that either over the same time period.

      Several of my friends have retrained as nurses over the past 10 years and all of them had incredible difficulty finding jobs in regional centres. There were simply no jobs available in the hospitals, even considering natural attrition and an insanely growing population. All governments over this time at every level have failed and have a lot to answer for. Nobody is speaking up about it.

      The privatisation agenda started by Howard (arguably to “repay” doctors for fixing his unemployment “crisis” left by Hawke/Keating) was the worst thing to happen to our once world-class public health system which is currently in tatters and unable to cope with even a modest amount of extra cases.

    • It was cheaper to run hospitals in the 1960’s and 1970’s because women were not allowed to be lawyers, bankers, etc. so they were willing to work as nurses, teachers or secretaries (the only jobs available to them) for an unconscionably low rate of pay. When this situation ended, the government was too cheap to pay them a fair rate, so instead they cut the number of nurses, and, consequently, the number of hospital beds.

      • Just about everyone in Australia is overpaid, including nurses.. except for two attributes.. the cost of child-care and the cost of housing.

        If both of the above were reasonable, we’d all be able to have a great quality of life on far less pay. Perhaps with slightly fewer gadgets and Mercedes Benz motorcars. And note.. the price of the two factors above, and just about everything in the economy are an outcome of political decisions from both stripes.

  4. Arthur Schopenhauer

    Keep calling it out David.

    The LNP mismanagement of the Pandemic has hobbled the economy for at least another 12 months. Better economic managers? Merde!

  5. Compared to Italy, Britain, New York or Sweden, NSW is doing an absolutely fantastic job. The vast majority of in-home care people have mild symptoms. The tiny number of them who have died is minuscule compared to any other country, and almost all of them were offered a place in hospital and declined the offer. Additionally, the number of “cases” is being under-reported far more than the hospitalisations. For every person who tests positive, there are 5 or 10 others who feel mild symptoms but choose to just rest in their own home for a couple of weeks without bothering to get a test.

  6. “…and not the thousands not receiving care under the state’s “you’re on your own” arrangements.”

  7. The very obvious response to this is how come 99% of the world doesn’t agree with you?

    You want indefinite lockdowns for a virus that for under 16’s is deemed less harmful than a near harmless vaccine in the UK?

    Sweden’s hospitals no problem even with zero vaccine? India had a sh!tstorm for a month then done?

    • Not locked down here in WA mate. GB screwed the east coast up and you’re probably going to stay locked down until you get enough vaccinated because your hospitals cant cope with the load.

      Sweden was an epic mess and only the Swedish right wing government propaganda disagrees with that. The reason their hospitals were fine was because the government chose not to treat the sickest infected people. So thousands simply died at home.

      • Not locked down here in QLD either. WA is one of the v few places that could survive locked down but eventually when the public sees the rest of Australia open they will want that.
        Sweden is ecstatic with its response.

        • Sweden has a population of around 10 million and they’ve had around 13,000 Covid deaths so far. We have a population of 25 million and have had around 1000 covid deaths. I rest my case.

        • One trick ponyMEMBER

          Agree. QLD and WA residents will change their tune pretty quickly IMO – will want to live with it not long after observing other states living with it. Especially as more and more QLD/WA residents get vaccinated and an increasing majority feels less vulnerable.

          • Of course we will open up but, we need to hit our vaccination target first. Doing it arse about was never a good idea.

          • What a load of bullshido that is. WA has to only hold off 6 mths max to get its vaxx level up and can then open up, meanwhile idiots espouse the neoliberal / libertarian retard bs that it’s either open up RIGHT FKING NOW or NEVER!

      • If the survival rate of an intubated patient is ~10%, I would suggest to you that Sweden’s approach of letting such people pass (and in fact their survival rate in such a case does not reduce much from 10%, and may even be HIGHER!), to concentrate on others where the survival rate can be much more significantly improved was a sensible one.

    • House prices are +20% and big business hoovered up loads of stimulus to help boost profits, dividends and executive bonuses. He didn’t do it properly, he did it perfectly.

      • Jumping jack flash

        House prices, yes. I agree that was perfect.
        But rising house prices don’t translate into general economic growth, as was proven in/after 2015. The “wealth effect” was successfully debunked when everything was in a total mess all over the world by 2019.

  8. The continued emphasis from the press and Gov on vaccines is alarming. I want to know what progress is being made on treatments.

    • Jumping jack flash

      Treatments? That’d be the vaccine, right? You too can “beat the virus” in 3 easy steps:

      1. Get Vaccines!
      2. Cured forever, except of course for needing endless boosters forever after.
      3. Enjoy freedom…except of course there is no difference at all to the situation save perception and reporting.

      Mission accomplished! Hopefully there is a banner and a brass band when we hit the magical 70% mark. Or is it 80% now? Its hard to keep up.

      • Rorke's DriftMEMBER

        Why do you think the vaccine works. No peer reviewed studies. Minimum testing before release with new technology. Reports of animal trials of mrna technology stopped due to too many dying. Data from countries with large rollouts show poor effectiveness and negative effectiveness I.e. a higher % of vaccinated hospitalised people die.
        I haven’t found any evidence that shows these work.

    • We will eventually get a treatment for COVID due to vaccine becoming increasingly ineffective against new variants. AIDS took 30 years though.

  9. The fact that so many people end up home-hospitalised is a proof that every new strain is less deadly, milder symptoms and easier to spread.
    A natural selection for every virus: those strains that kill the host have less chance to propagate and the strain dies. Those that retain host alive and spread easily, particularly mutations that are abetted by a half-cocked treatment (euphemised as a vax) will have a much better chance to survive.

    The worst thing that can come from half-cocked covid treatment injections is that mob which believe they are protected become super spreaders. Oh, and that little thing wrt antibody-dependent enhancement.

    Campbell Newman nails it here: Sky News

    • Or its just a ‘smart’ way NSW Lib pollies thought they could keep the hospital numbers down so it doesn’t look as bad. Seems a much more realistic explanation to me.

      • as I said beofre it got deleted… your stuff unly adds to my assertion… and I agree with it

        this comment to be destructed in 3, 2, 1…

    • Jumping jack flash

      I don’t think you can infer that. The only thing you can really infer is that our hospital system is on its knees after a decade and a half of being starved of funds, arguably to satisfy some crazed privatisation agenda cooked up by our leaders at the time to save a few dollars paying for boomers when they all needed hip replacements.

      • As much as I agree with inferral, there is ample evidence it in not “the only thing”.
        Mild cases need not be in hospital taking up beds. Each time you had a flu and ended up in home-bed is hospitalisation at home. Davo is right there
        Hospitals are like insurance, they always balance out chances (unless politics get in the way and the number of beds are much smaller than the chances calculations)

    • Yeah, that’s rubbish. My brother is on the frontline as a Paramedic in SW Sydney. Hospital in the home patients are just as sick as the ones in hospital (excluding ICU). He spends the majority of his shifts going to those patients and checking their stats. The ones who he has decided need to go to hospital often get triaged into hospital in the home again because there are no beds available. The system is at breaking point.

      • well, my response about my brother knowing more than your brother is gone with the wind… delete button is worn out, no doubt.
        this comment delete in 3, 2, 1….

  10. I love the sock puppets in the comments here. Show them research and government figures? “Rubbish!” Yet they hang on every word of a doom filled press conference.

    Calculate your own risk of dying via covid:

    It’s the University of Oxford so clearly anti vaxx propaganda.

    Where were Arthur and his mates in 2017 when we had the worst influenza on record? Why no lockdowns?! Here’s a news media link because I know you hate science:

    • Jumping jack flash

      Mate, its a global panic and it shows no signs of abatement any time soon.

      I was talking to a friend of mine this morning and she was also saying that everyone has gone mad and in her opinion its because most people in developed nations have lost their purpose. Back in the day we would be busy doing stuff with purpose, but these days most of the things we do have no purpose at all.

      With nothing better to do we focus on and amplify, and then get into a total lather about any new thing to crop up. In this case it is the virus and everyone is losing their minds. Before that it was everyone’s sexuality, and before that it was all that politically-correct stuff. It is all totally a waste of time and effort, but it is something for people to devote their time and effort to in the absence of anything else worthwhile they might have done instead.

      Everyone really needs to step back and relax.
      Maybe get a hobby?
      Perhaps we could transform raw materials into useful items to sell to the world for profit, and take pride in doing that?
      Nah. Too hard.

      • Yep, good comment. We have become soft serving each other lattes and blathering about hypotheticals. Posting crap on the internet is a rich white persons hobby, dont see too many sub Saharan Africans crapping on about R values, too busy trying not to die from malnutrition to worry about CV-19.

    • ” I love the sock puppets in the comments here. Show them research and government figures?”
      Careful. You’ll be vaporised by all that irony reaching critical mass.

      ” Calculate your own risk of dying via covid:”
      This is why you fail to see the issue. It’s not about you.

        • Sorry to (partially) repost from yesterday but, your post is not a balanced assessment.
          In spite of all the lockdowns, controls, precautions and more recently vaccines, in 18 months C19 has killed over 4.5 million people globally and that estimate is considered very conservative. It is still killing around 8000 people a day globally. A bad flu year would end around 200,000 lives globally so perhaps you may want to consider the actions taken as a sensible response to a community health issue that has wider implications for the whole health system. After all, there would be around 50,000 Australian’s dead today if we had the same death rate as the US… Incidentally, Delta has killed more than previous variants. So it is not getting less deadly but, the treatments in developed economies are improving and more are vaccinated.

  11. But they are still sick enough to be “hospitalised” in the treatment sense, and in terms of using up resources. They should be included in the numbers.

    In the Western Sydney health area there were 1700 @ home covid patients, being regularly visited… How many extra resources are consumed in doing the regular checks on these people? 1 person cant visit all 1700, so is that 100 Doctor/nurses trying to visit 17 people each per day? if each visit takes 10 minutes and travel between each patient takes 10 minutes, thats a very hectic day per person and if anything goes wrong then its all bets off for the rest of the patients they would see…

  12. I presume NSW is not treating any patients with the therapeutics that delivered great success at reducing the severity of covid in other nations?

    • A couple of dog heartworm pills a day with a side serving of Chum extra chunky for added protein.

      That’ll do the job.

    • UpperWestsideMEMBER

      As a Regeneron shareholder I should pleased with the Republican party attitude of “its a hoax” followed by ” they are inserting a full IBM 390 running CICs in a microdot with the Vax”, followed by “its untested what about side affects” and then when they get Covid they happily take way more out there technology in the form of Regeneron’s monoclonal antibodies but claim it was Ivermectin, colonic irrigation or something else unproven that a kept them off interbation.
      Effing daft!

      Monoclonals seem to be $3,000 a series here in USA (but who knows what the insurers actually pay), that means Aus Govt can probably get them for $30 a series. If I was a Pollie I would fast track a review to see if the claims of reduced ICU time stackup and then do the math.

  13. kierans777MEMBER

    Hartcher’s article was well written. But I expect he’ll turn and be a “but but but LaBoR” type come the election.

    All of this broken trust is destroying the faith of individuals and families in government and how they should respond to the spreading virus.

    Which is the major reason to boot ScumMo out.

  14. People are just pissed because ICU and Home Care equivalent is in trouble because SFM and Gladys didn’t do their job.

    Regardless if they did or didn’t do their job (they didn’t), the outcome was always going to be the same….ICU overwhelmed and people dying. UK and Israel show this to be true and there is a few reasons;

    1. We force ICU staff to isolate if sick.
    2. We have underinvested for years and run ICU at or near capacity in pre-pandemic times.

    When it opens up, regardless if by accident or intention the outcomes will be the same, overloaded ICU and incremental deaths. This is us now but lets not waste this crisis to fix the political issues and make sure we are better prepared next time.

  15. NSW must have a very strange form of covid then because NZ numbers are tracking at exactly the same 5% of active cases being hospitalised. 40 out of 821, 7 of those in ICU. And despite 70% of cases being in the Pacific Island community the only death so far is a 90+ year old who “had underlying health conditions, which meant it was not clinically appropriate for her to receive ventilator or ICU care”. Trust me, if Jacinda Ardern was denying sick Pacific Islanders hospital care, the entire world would know about it!

  16. UpperWestsideMEMBER

    One of the religious based groups here in the USA setup a facility in a huge tent in Central Park across from Mt Sinai.
    We should give them a call, they have everything needed and the experience in setting it up.
    NY also setup a big overflow facility in the Javits Center and NYU graduated its doctor class a few months early to help out ( practical experience being as valuable as class time). In the end it was more than needed but you can do a lot if you are not completely bound by ossified rules ( sadly the get it done Australia of my youth is long gone).

  17. “While I’m on the subject, any anti-vaxxers reading might want to familiarise themselves with the process of triage because if it comes down to a choice between you and a vaccinated soul for a ventilator then you’re going to miss out”

    The unvaccinated 16 year old is still going to take priority over the vaccinated 75 year old, all other things being equal.

    I’d expect that to hold for the unvaccinated 20-something vs the vaccinated 60-something as well.