COVID cases continue to improve

Victoria has recorded 1510 new locally acquired COVID cases and four deaths:

By contrast, NSW has recorded 282 locally acquired cases and one death:

The next chart plots daily cases across both jurisdictions:

Active cases are shown below:

Victoria’s positive test rate remains high at 2.71%, according to COVIDBaseAU:

However, in good news, Victoria’s Reff has fallen below 1.0 to 0.92:

By comparison, NSW’s positive test rate was just 0.40%:

However, NSW’s Reff has risen to 0.90%:

Steady as she goes.

Unconventional Economist


  1. The Economist had an article saying the real worldwide death toll is about 16 million people so far, maybe even over 19 million.

  2. Tassie TomMEMBER

    It’s all very strange that cases continue to fall despite re-openings. There could be a number of reasons – I’m not sure if all or any of these reasons are correct. These may be:

    – There hasn’t been enough time since the re-openings for new cases to snowball and become diagnosed.
    – The vaccination rates are now high enough that vaccination is providing herd immunity.
    – The lockdowns were ineffective after all, as opening up hasn’t changed anything.

    While this is good news (so far), one of the best ways to protect oneself against future Covid appears to be to catch Covid (only 13,000 Britons are known to have caught Covid twice out of 9 million cases). The ideal strategy may be to 1) get vaccinated, then 2) catch Covid (but not get sick from it because you’re vaccinated), and then you are likely to be very protected against future infection and illness.

    As it is, very few Australians have had Covid, and so when vaccine-induced immunity wanes (which it will to a greater or lesser extent, hopefully a “lesser” extent), then Australia is primed for severe outbreaks in the next couple of years. Good luck achieving 90% “booster” rates!

    • I suspect it’s bit of all the above, and I agree lasting immunity may involve catching it when protected by vaccines.

    • Government policies follow case numbers – tighten when numbers are going up, relax when numbers are going down.
      Case numbers don’t follow government policies

      So the wave comes in – and you can’t stop it
      And then the wave goes out – and you can’t stop that either

      We were not able to explain the variation of deaths/million in different regions in the world by social isolation, herein analyzed as differences in staying at home, compared to baseline. In the restrictive and global comparisons, only 3% and 1.6% of the comparisons were significantly different, respectively. These findings are in accordance with those found by Klein et al.46 These authors explain why lockdown was the least probable cause for Sweden’s high death rate from COVID-1946. Likewise, Chaudry et al. made a country-level exploratory analysis, using a variety of socioeconomic and health-related characteristics, similar to what we have done here, and reported that full lockdowns and wide-spread testing were not associated with COVID-19 mortality per million people47. Different from Chaudry et al., in our dataset, after 25 epidemiological weeks, (counting from the 9th epidemiological week onwards in 2020) we included regions and countries with a “plateau” and a downslope phase in their epidemiological curves. Our findings are in accordance with the dataset of daily confirmed COVID-19 deaths/million in the UK. Pubs, restaurants, and barbershops were open in Ireland on June 29th and masks were not mandatory48; after more than 2 months, no spike was observed; indeed, death rates kept falling49. Peru has been considered to be the most strict lockdown country in the world30, nevertheless, by September 20th, it had the highest number of deaths/million50. Of note, differences were also observed between regions that were considered to be COVID-19 controlled, e.g., Sweden versus Macedonia. Possible explanations for these significant differences may be related to the magnitude of deaths in these countries. After October 2020, when our study was published in a preprint server for Health Sciences, new articles were published with similar results51,52,53,54.

      In conclusion, using this methodology and current data, in ~ 98% of the comparisons using 87 different regions of the world we found no evidence that the number of deaths/million is reduced by staying at home.

      • Tassie TomMEMBER

        Isn’t that interesting?

        I’m sure that Victoria wouldn’t have eliminated the virus last year if it wasn’t for the lockdowns. Or would they have? Still, this delta thing is spread airborne like measles and is different.

        I’d love to see a comparison of rising/ falling case numbers and mask wearing.

        • Very interesting.

          Stay-at-home orders may have been the worst thing for this, and may have helped drive up total cases. In Sydney these last 2 months, we have seen whole families infected – both parents, all the kids, any grandparents …

          • ^This. Data was clear to see, when staying at home led to whole family infections. Be interesting to compare against home size as well. Explains the UK well when their homes are like postage stamps.

        • Lots of vested interests with masks.

          Many mask studies were supported by manufacturers. Guess what they find.

          WHO likes masks because they are possible in all countries.

          Governments and employers like masks as this transfers the responsibility (to avoid infection) onto the individual. If the science said that the virus was airborne and masks don’t help much, then governments and employers would have to do something else.
          That has been one of the key reasons it took so long for authorities to accept airborne spread (rather than just aerosol). Once it was airborne, the next question was “So what now?” What now was inevitably expensive and difficult.

          Danish study was not that convincing. but there are other studies that claimed masks helpful.

          • This article is a blast from the past – SARS v1.0

            Farce mask: it’s safe for only 20 minutes (SMH, 2003)

            Retailers who cash in on community fears about SARS by exaggerating the health benefits of surgical masks could face fines of up to $110,000.

            NSW Fair Trading Minister Reba Meagher yesterday warned that distributors and traders could be prosecuted if it was suggested the masks offered unrealistic levels of protection from the disease.

            “I’m sure everyone would agree that it is un-Australian to profiteer from people’s fears and anxieties,” Ms Meagher said.

            “There appears to be some debate about whether surgical masks are able to minimise the effects of SARS.”

            Ms Meagher said her department would investigate any complaints about false mask claims which concerned the public.

            “Penalties can range from fines of up to $22,000 for an individual or $110,000 for a corporation,” she said.

            Health authorities have warned that surgical masks may not be an effective protection against the virus.

            “Those masks are only effective so long as they are dry,” said Professor Yvonne Cossart of the Department of Infectious Diseases at the University of Sydney.

            “As soon as they become saturated with the moisture in your breath they stop doing their job and pass on the droplets.”

            Professor Cossart said that could take as little as 15 or 20 minutes, after which the mask would need to be changed. But those warnings haven’t stopped people snapping up the masks, with retailers reporting they are having trouble keeping up with demand.

            John Bell from the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, who owns a pharmacy in Woollahra, Sydney, said mask supplies were running low.

            “At the moment we don’t have any because we haven’t been able to get any in the last few days,” MrBell said. “In the early stages it was unbelievable; we’d get people coming in all the time.”

            Mr Bell agreed with Professor Cossart’s assessment regarding the effectiveness of the masks.

            “I think they’re of marginal benefit,” he said. “In a way they give some comfort to people who think they’re doing as much as they can do to prevent the infection.”

          • I wonder how many Australian businesses have done a damn thing about their air conditioning or recirculated air systems?
            I would say not a single one, far easier to force employees to perform mask wearing rituals. Here was me thinking we progressed beyond the middle ages.

        • The actions taken in 2020 by definition led to the ‘delta’ variant. It is natural selection in the sense that if you try to hide from the original strain, by definition you select for something that is able to transmit more stealthly via reduced/delayed symptoms etc. Dont ask a politican to understand this concept though.

          • Tassie TomMEMBER

            Especially don’t ask the Pentecostal Evangelist politicians to understand it. They don’t believe in evolution.