Some idiot posted Friday’s podcast as today’s. This will be rectified tonight. My apologies for the error.

– The Idiot.

The error has been fixed. Thanks for your patience.

More evidence that lockdowns aren’t the best strategy

But you knew that already if you’re a regular listener.

Dr. Jayanta Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, said people are “mistaken” if they think coronavirus lockdown policies are a solution that proves safety from COVID-19, PJ Media reported.

Was Australia right to shutdown? If you ask these economists, sure we were:

Given a population of 25 million people and assuming a fatality rate of 1%, this would produce 225,000 deaths.

An assumption of a 1% fatality rate is low from the perspective of those making decisions at the onset of the pandemic, at a time when crucial and reliable data were missing.

Converting those fatalities to dollars using the Australian value of a statistical life of A$4.9m per life yields a cost of A$1.1tn.

That sure is a lot compared with what they suggest is the cost of the shutdown which they put at just $90 bn. Yeah, that seems a little light.

In the cold calculus of cost-benefit analysis, a highly pessimistic view of the economic costs of Australia’s shutdown comes to around $90bn.

It is a small price to pay compared to the statistical value of lives the shutdown should save, around A$1.1tn.

But are they right?

Sure they are. If you assume all of the 225,000 dead are young adults with at least 40 years of life ahead of them, which is how the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet assesses the value of human life in Australia and comes up with a value of $4.9 million per person.

Which is buffalo chips.

Half of the dead in Australia are in nursing homes and the 225,000 dead is nowhere near the Swedish figure extrapolated to Australia (which would increase the COVID-19 deaths from 4,000 in Sweden to around 10,000 in Australia based on population). That doesn’t even account for our differing population densities which probably reduce Australia’s rate of infection.

But assuming every single dead person was valued at $4.9 million. With 10,000 dead that comes to $49 billion. Still ‘cheaper’ than their ludicrous shutdown figure.

It’s kind of like climate change – if it’s so serious and their case so strong, why do they have to exaggerate?

Socialism kills

Not only if you’re standing at the wrong end of the gun, but also if you end up in hospital.

Evidence shows that the US healthcare system is safer for patients than the much-vaunted socialised alternative.

study by the Fraser Institute titled The Effect of Wait Times on Mortality in Canada estimated that “increases in wait times for medically necessary care in Canada between 1993 and 2009 may have resulted in between 25,456 and 63,090 (with a middle value of 44,273) additional deaths among females.” Adjusting for the difference in populations (the US has about 9 times as many people), that middle value inflates to an estimated 400,000 additional deaths among females over a 16 year period. This translates to an estimated 25,000 additional female deaths each year if the American system were to suffer from increased mortality similar to that experienced in Canada due to increases in wait times. A system that disproportionately harms women? How progressive.

Bipartisan means doing what I want

Bipartisanship usually means the public is excluded from the decisionmaking process.

This is a bad thing. politics is best when ideas are hacked out and politicians are left bruised and bloody. They also deserve to be bruised and bloody – so there’s that.

But calls for bipartisan are most often made form opposition. When they want the government to do something they don’t want.

Jim Chalmers is the latest to try this trick, this time with energy policy (what else?) And shock! They are offering to help the government do something Labor wants:

With the government flagging a program of reforms to boost growth as part of the recovery post-Covid-19, Chalmers said energy was the obvious place to start. “If they are serious about getting the economy going again, if they are serious about revisiting some of those things they’ve rejected before – remembering that the last architect of an energy policy is now the treasurer – for all those reasons I think it would be worth seeing if something is possible.”

So does this mean Labor would support a coal-fired power plant? Probably not. Bipartisanship only extends so far.

Greta is an expert … and so are these clowns

CNN decided that putting climate muppet Greta Thunberg on a CNNtownhall about COVID-19 was a wise move.

They seemed shocked there was blowback.

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper went on a tirade on Thursday night over the fact that his network was widely mocked for asking teen climate activist Greta Thunberg to weigh in on the coronavirus pandemic during a town hall.

After the town hall, Cooper unleashed on the “phony outrage” about the fact that Thunberg was featured in the COVID-19 discussion, blaming online culture, calling out newspapers for reporting on the backlash, and even launching a pointed personal attack on Donald Trump Jr.

Cooper has a point. CNN also had world-renowned epidemiologists on the show, such as Alicia Keys and Spike Lee.

Lord knows why anyone took it seriously at all.

Greta in action on CNN was bordering on child abuse.

Anderson Cooper is mighty touchy about this.

So much courage, Rory, so much virtue sigalling

Rory McIlroy won’t golf with Trump anymore because people are mean to him when he does.

According to brave Rory:

“We’re in the midst of something that’s pretty serious right now and the fact that he’s trying to politicise it and make it a campaign rally and say we’re administering the most tests in world like it is a contest – there’s something that just is terrible,” McIlroy said. “It’s not the way a leader should act. There’s a sort of diplomacy that you need to have, and I don’t think he’s showing that – especially in these times.”

Yes, it is political because he is being criticised for political purposes despite the facts.

For example, remember when New York was screaming out for ventilators? This was on 24 March:

New York Gov.Andrew Cuomo (D) begged the Trump administration on Tuesday for more ventilators, warning that the peak of the coronavirus could hit the state in 14 days.

Cuomo said the state needs at least 30,000 of the breathing machines to care for the influx of coronavirus patients that is expected to hit New York in two weeks. So far, the state has procured 7,000, but has only received 400 from the federal government.

“There is no other way for us to get these ventilators,” Cuomo said at a press conference Tuesday.

“We’ve tried everything else. The only way we can obtain these ventilators is from the federal government. Period.”

The Guardian was furious. On 28 March they wrote:

Donald Trump has again downplayed the severity of an intensifying coronavirus outbreak, telling rightwing Fox News host Sean Hannity he had “a feeling that a lot of the numbers” of ventilators estimated to be needed by overwhelmed hospitals “are just bigger than they’re going to be”.

In severe cases, the coronavirus leads to the respiratory disease known as Covid-19. Ventilators can allow such patients to breathe.

Trump told Hannity: “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You go into major hospitals sometimes, and they’ll have two ventilators. And now all of a sudden they’re saying, ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?’”

The president’s comments appeared to be in response to New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, who had called for 30,000 ventilators, explaining that state hospitals had only 4,000 in the system at the beginning of the outbreak.

Guess they were wrong, according to this report from ABC News (US) on 11 May:

By the end of 2020, the administration is expected to take delivery of nearly 200,000 new ventilators, based on the AP’s review of current federal purchasing contracts. That would more than double the estimated 160,000 ventilators hospitals across the U.S. had before the pandemic.

“We became the king of ventilators, thousands and thousands of ventilators,” Trump boasted in an April 29 speech.

But over the past month, demand for ventilators has decreased even as the U.S. death toll from the novel coronavirus has surged past 80,000. After observing unusually high death rates for coronavirus victims who were put on ventilators, many doctors are using them only as a last resort.

That’s raising the unexpected prospect that the United States could soon be awash in surplus ventilators, so much so the White House is now planning to ship thousands overseas to help boost the virus response of other nations.

You’ve no doubt heard a lot of criticism of the Trump Administration’s response to COVID-19. Guess the successes got lost in the daily grind of exaggeration and BS-peddling that keeps the media occupied.

Richard Clapton (b 1951)

A singer only has to sing one song to be great. Richard Clapton chose well.

And this could be the most Australian video clip ever produced.

Feature image: Photo by Alex Harvey ?? on Unsplash