Oz for Dummies: Week 45, 2021

(November 7–13) Pandemic normality in NSW and Vic — where else? / Anti-viral pills to the rescue / Learning by experience / Another day another plan / An “accelerant” or more COP26 blablabla?

/ Pandemic normality in NSW and Vic — where else?

While the OzRagers debate how to “Unlock Fortress Australia”, a sense of normality has settled in New South Wales and Victoria although new case numbers throughout the week remained stubbornly in the four digits in the latter. Active cases in Vic are now more than five times the active cases in NSW. These high numbers do not however translate into more hospitalizations/ICU stays which over the last month or so have drifted down, giving the VIC health system a much needed reprieve. Numbers in NSW are stellar all around: Vaccination rates for those 16 and older in the 90s, with more than 80% (70%) of 12–15 year olds having having received their (second) first dose. And testing remains high. Staggering numbers that are also reflected in the number of hospitalizations now being less than the number of daily new cases. Hospitalizations requiring ICU are down to literally a couple of dozens.

/ Anti-viral pills to the rescue

There is still confusion about what the available vaccines do, even among those that really should know better. Yes, “vaccinated people can still carry it & pass it on” — that’s hardly news. In fact, the peak viral load for the unvaccinated and vaccinated seems the same. But … (this is from a recent editorial in the JAMA Network):

/ Learning by experience

German soccer star Kimmich has so far refused vaccination against COVID-19. Allegedly because he is concerned about the unknown long-term consequences of vaccination. Clearly a decision made with incomplete information (i.e., apparently not factoring the long-term consequences of getting infected.)

/ Another day another plan

All week long, referring to then yet-to-published research, Morrison has practiced his “can-do capitalism” narrative according to which the policy settings can stay — “The plan is based on our existing policies” — what they are because there is no role for government interventions (other than the kind of crony capitalism that the LNP routinely engages in). Which, once again, demonstrates Morrison’s shocking incompetence, or maybe willfull ignorance. It is governments who have to impose a price on bads and it is governments who have to stop subsidies for bads. It’s elementary.

/ An “accelerant” or more blablabla?

Meanwhile in Glasgow, China and the USA presented a joint statement about the need to slow down climate change, with predictably little tangible detail and enforceable commitments. While some saw in it “an accelerant” of the move to net-zero emissions, others remain sceptical and the final COP26 declaration provides little evidence for hope.

EconProf: I post occasionally on whatever tickles my fancy: Science, evidence production, the Econ tribe, Oz politics, etc. Y’all r entitled to my opinions …