Eliminate it? Or ‘Live With’ Covid-19 and what follows?

Is China Responsible for Covid-19, or Scapegoat?

So far around 75% of countries who have lived with Covid19, most often not by choice, and around 25% of countries have lived in the shadow of Covid-19, but through elimination, mostly without Covid-19.

Vaccinations may allow living with Covid-19 to be more palatable, but they also provide an opportunity for more countries to eliminate Covid-19.

This raises a huge question of global significance: does humanity prefer to live with Covid-19, or use immunity through vaccinations as an opportunity to eliminate the virus.

What is ‘Living with Covid-19’?

Opening up when there will still be spread: Giving up on reaching herd immunity.

More and more the phase “we have to learn to live with Covid-19” seems to appear. The suggestion is, even if cases are rising, remove Covid-19 restrictions, and allow the virus to spread as a result. Since ‘herd immunity‘ is when there are sufficient people immune that a virus will not spread, this means removing restrictions without achieving herd immunity. This means giving up, or simply not waiting to achieve herd immunity through vaccinations.

Vaccines have promised the possibility of herd immunity through vaccinations, but given herd immunity is when cases do not rise even when restrictions are removed, this is a call to not for herd immunity. Why? There are 3 possible reasons:

  1. Everyone wanting a vaccine has been vaccinated, so it is considered fair to expose the unvaccinated.
  2. It has been decided herd immunity is impossible, but as with the common cold, the disease is not sufficiently severe to justify eradication.
  3. Even if herd immunity is possible, it has been determined that with the most at risk now vaccinated, it is an acceptable risk and lower cost to achieve herd immunity through exposing the rest of the population to the disease.

The UK seems to be choosing option 3, while Israel, even with a high level of vaccinations is reimposing restrictions as with their high level of vaccinations, cases are again rising.

Which path should a country choose? Or is Option 4: “Only remove all restrictions when the virus will no longer spread”, still an option? With herd immunity, even if a person from outside starts a cluster, that cluster would die out by itself because the spread factor has dropped below one. It seems no country is there yet.

Asymptomatic Spread: Will the waves just keep coming?

Theoretical practical flattened curve (blue bar is duration of flattening).

Early in the pandemic I wrote about the much misunderstood and misrepresented ‘best practice for pandemics’ referred to as ‘flattening the curve‘. In theory there would be only two waves: One with restrictions in place, and another after restrictions are relaxed.

Yet with Covid-19 many countries have seen more waves. Is this a sign that herd immunity is impossible with Covid-19, or just that we have not reached required vaccination levels?

It is possible that with Covid-19, as being vaccinated reduces rather than eliminates the risk of spread, that herd immunity becomes impossible. The graph of worldwide cases has at least three peaks, but these were largely driven by peaks in the the US (Jan 2021), India (April 2021) and a current rise that must turn into a peak driven by many countries together, rather than the whole world having three peaks together.

More disturbingly the US, Israel, and Japan are all heading for their 5th peak, the UK its 4th. Many other countries have also had a sequence of peaks that would be expected from an outbreak managed using a ‘stop-go’ containment plan of continually deliberately letting cases rise in order to achieve herd immunity by infection. Instead of this being by design, all these countries again rising cases again now as a result of more infectious strains of the virus. Herd immunity is proving elusive, likely because with Covid-19, vaccination is may not create sufficient immunity for herd immunity.

The Case for elimination, and against living with Covid-19:

Blaming China won’t stop outbreaks like Covid-19, and we can expect more pandemics.

It is popular to blame China for Covid-19. Trump even pointedly called it the ‘China virus’. However, perhaps blaming China is a way to avoid admitting that 21st century society is a hot bed for pandemics.

Really it, the evidence shows pandemics are becoming more frequent, and the most likely source of Covid-19, our 21st century society of almost 8 billion extremely mobile humans crowded onto one finite planet, it not going away and statistically will soon add another pandemic. It we don’t get ride of this one, we could soon have two to deal with at once. Should we just live with an ever increasing number of pandemic level viruses circulating?

UNESCO welcomes the release of the latest expert report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) which establishes the links between biodiversity loss and the increase in pandemic risk factors. This scientific report highlights that the current COVID-19 crisis, which it has its origins in microbes carried by animals, and the previous global health pandemics all have one thing in common:  their emergence is entirely driven by human activities.

Unesco: 29/10/2020

Analysis of the origin of the virus does suggest China was the origin, but that given that no one blamed the 1918 flu on the USA, nor did they blame 2009 ‘swine flu’ pandemic on the USA, even though both appear to have began in the USA, blaming China just because that is where the first case occurred would seem a double standard.

Plus, the worst outbreak in Australia during 2020 clearly was imported from the US, and variants though to have originated in the UK, South Africa, Brazil and particularly India have taken over now as the source of concern. So why should we blame China?

We don’t blame the county where a virus starts because it could have happened anywhere.

Or could it have happened anywhere? Isn’t there a suggesting China is the ‘bad guy’ with this outbreak?

In reality. No. There is a slight chance bad management by China made the outbreak worse, and even a minute and highly unlikely chance accidentally released a virus that was already in nature and able to cause a pandemic, but even these unlikely scenarios do not change the underlying source: nature.

And it is not just my analysis, here is a review by the Sydney University scientist who was first in the world to isolate the virus: Leading biologists publish review of SARS-CoV-2 origin evidence – The University of Sydney

China gets blamed because it is good for social media, and good for politics, even in China!

Social media is gets engagement and thus revenue through outrage, and blaming China creates outrage against China, and outrage against those who blame China. Politically, leaders get better approval when there is an ‘enemy’, and blaming China allows American leaders to appear strong against China, and having the world blame China allows Chinese leaders to position China as being oppressed by the west and generate increased nationalism. Perhaps politically it is Chinese leaders who benefit most from China being blamed.

But none of this changes the reality, that there is a reason people where waring of just such a pandemic, and they were even movies about the scenario just before it happened: human society has created the breeding ground for pandemics.

And if we ‘live’ with this pandemic causing virus, we cannot be at all sure it will remain the only one we are living with at once.

Living with Covid-19 is not like living with another influenza: Its far, far worse.

Earlier this month, the Australian government announced a four-phase plan to return us to something resembling normality. Under this plan, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, we will eventually treat COVID-19 “like the flu”.

The hope is vaccines will allow us to live with some transmission without many people getting seriously ill or dying.

But death and hospitalisation aren’t the only outcomes of COVID-19 we need to prevent. New research shows even young people can be left with chronic health problems after infection.

COVID-19 will always be a very different disease to the flu. We should aim to stamp it out like measles, not let it spread.

Dr Zoë Hyde: Epidemiologist, University of Western Australia.

I suggest reading the full article by Dr Zoë Hyde entitled: No, we can’t treat COVID-19 like the flu. We have to consider the lasting health problems it causes. In fact, since it is under creative commons, republish the article.

While there are politicians who suggest that, once the population is sufficiently vaccinated, Covid-19 could become “like the flu”, this is unrealistic claim is typically by those politicians have found the pandemic has improved their chances or re-election, and not something an actual expert would say.

The UK has not reached target levels of vaccination, but when considering most of the unvaccinated in the UK are in age groups of greatest socialisation and least likely to have shown symptoms if infected, the percentage of the population who are likely to have immunity is likely to be close to the maximum percentage that would be achieved by population alone. Despite this, many warn of the consequences of deciding to ‘live with’ Covid-19.

Without elimination, we are ramping up the virus incubator: a completely batty idea.

The most common source of pandemics are viruses that evolve in bats. So many viruses evolve in bats because bats have live with a lot of viruses. Humans living with Covid-19, means another population living with a dangerous virus, and therefore another factory to produce new viruses. The total number of bats in the world is unknown, but even if it does exceed the number of humans, human contact between humans is far higher than human contact with bats. Plus, a vaccinated population living with a virus is like a challenge to evolution “solve the problem of how to thrive in vaccinated hosts”.

Even living with Covid-19 in just 2021 poses a threat of creating ‘variant factories‘.

The chance of future pandemics will be far higher if we are living with dangerous viruses in the not just the bat population, but also the human population.

Living with Covid-19 the virus may mean a partially brain damaged population.

Being vaccinated means statistically means exposure to the virus in the vast majority of cases will not result in symptoms, however this does not mean zero copies of the virus, and does not ensure a person will not test positive or suffer ‘long covid’.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in the UK are soaring, with the latest daily figure for 9 July showing at 35,707 cases. Leading scientists and clinicians are saying the government’s plan to ease lockdown on 19 July is both “dangerous” and “unethical”. But Johnson is sticking to his plan, which is herd immunity in all but name. Meanwhile, recent studies reveal that damage to brain tissue could be yet another consequence of long Covid.

Boris Johnson toys with herd immunity despite evidence linking long Covid to brain damage.

I do not believe the above article is suggesting Boris Johnson has brain damage as a result of his well know case of Covid-19, but there is the suggestion that opening up the UK is somewhat irrational. Then again, while only a small percentage of the electorate would have brain damage after 1 year of Covid-19, it is unknown how high that percentage would be after 10 or 20 years of a population living with Coivd-19. Apart from jokes about how a brain damaged population may help some political candidates, there is a serious side to the dangers of a long term experiment exposing the population to a dangerous virus, year after year, even if respiratory symptoms are known to be in almost all cases at the worst very mild in vaccinated people, when other affects are not yet known.

Children, currently not even vaccinated, could be subjected year after year for their entire lifetime.

Economic Cost of Living with Covid-19.

Start with the economic cost of influenza, which in the US alone in 2014 was estimated at more than $87 billion dollars annually. Then add the cost of ‘long covid’, vaccinating the entire population repeatedly, and trying to prevent outbreaks from vaccine resistant strains. Even in the best possible scenario, living with Covid-19 would be extremely costly, and the costs would continue year after year, while if Covid-19 is eliminated, annual costs would also be eliminated.

The ‘Flu’ is not that great to live with either, why would be want another worse version?

The Influenza virus mutates so frequently that it is more difficult to vaccinate against than Covid-19. With vaccines, we can lower the illness and mortality levels from Covid-19 to be comparable to those with influenza. But this is not like for like, this is that after vaccinating the entire population, we still have what is quite a big problem. Influenza and not something we want to live with either, and researchers are working to try find way to eradicate influenza, not add another problem just as bad.

It would be far better to ask “can we also eradicate influenza”, than “it is ok to have another one”.

The case for living with Covid-19, and against elimination.

Economic Cost of Elimination.

The main argument against elimination is that it requires the use of lockdowns, and these reduce economic activity. While living with the disease comes at cost to society and has an economic cost, a disease can even generate economic activity, while lockdowns used for elimination also eliminate economic activity and increase the enemy of economic activity: unpaid work.

Similarly, during lockdown during a pandemic, even if the same number of meals are eaten during the lockdown, if none of the meals are purchased at a restaurant, the result is a disaster for the economy.

On the other hand, if a pandemic makes retired people ill, there is increased economic activity through the medical services. If some die, then there is economic activity for the funeral system, although this is better there are no limits on people attending.

Economic Activity vs Wealth Production.

Note also that while a long pandemic may cause economic hardship for many, the wealthiest 5% of society tend to get wealthy during a pandemic. There are some very wealthy people with big marketing budgets who will lose wealth if Covid-19 is eliminated.

The combined worth of Australian billionaires was assessed to be 52.4% higher this week than at the same time last December.

By comparison, billionaires in the US and UK recorded an increase of about 25% over the same period, the Bloomberg index shows.

The Labor frontbencher Andrew Leigh said the figures “remind us of the importance of tackling inequality, which is significantly higher in Australia than it was a generation ago”.

“Those increases are remarkable,” the shadow assistant minister for Treasury and charities told Guardian Australia.

“Any of your readers would be punching the air if they had enjoyed a 20% increase in their wealth, and they would be double fist-pumping the air if they had a 50% increase, and yet that’s the story for the typical Australian billionaire.”

Australia’s billionaires became 50% richer during pandemic: Guardian (msn alt link)

Elimination is too hard.

Approximately 25% of the countries in the world have managed to eliminate the spread of Covid-19. Given that means it has been circulating in 75% of countries, then Covid-19 outbreaks keep happening in starting in the countries that have elimination, and each time these countries need to eliminate Covid-19 all over again.

It has been proven to be possible over and over again to eliminate Covid-19. The problem in keeping it eliminated is that the majority of countries are not yet even trying, so international travellers continue to re-introduce the virus.

Australia mid 2021: A Case study in elimination.

I will update this as the story unfold, but as previous described in July 2021: Vaccines or not, its not over yet, Australia has recently had an a new outbreak of the delta variant of Covid-19. Eliminating the delta virus, in a population with only less than 9% level of vaccination, in a country where a greater percentage of the population living in cities than in the USA or UK, will be a challenge. However if this can be managed, than most other countries should be able to also managed elimination, at least once vaccination rates are higher.

This outbreak started in a country previously free of local transmission of the virus, from a single case of infection of a driver transporting international flight crews to their hotels in Sydney. One of more flight crew passengers must have passed the infection of the delta strain through to the driver.

In the fully open city of Sydney, the driver visiting shopping centres and other venues before having symptoms and getting tested. This triggered an outbreak predominantly in the eastern suburbs of Sydney which after two weeks of ‘whack a mole’ resulted in a lockdown for Sydney. ‘Whack a mole’ because by the time the outbreak in the Eastern Suburbs appeared was under control, there was a new outbreak in the South Western suburbs of Sydney. Following the first case being detected on June 17th, there was a delay of 9 days until the first lockdown began, possibly to first allow the school term to complete. Initially the lockdown was to last 2 weeks and end before school returned, but this was extended due to that ‘whack a mole’ effect seeing cases rise in the second location even during the light lockdown.

Then 3 infected removalists travelled to Melbourne and were part of spreading the virus to Australia’s second largest city, before travelling to a third state capital, Adelaide. Before the spread to Melbourne was detected, the worst had already happened, and infected person had infected others at a crowded football match.

Now on July 16th, over 8 million Australians, in the cities of Sydney and Melbourne are in lockdown.

Conclusion.

To be added.

July 2021: Vaccines or Not, Its Not Over Yet.

  • June/July 2021: Covid-19 may seem to be under control- but we are not there yet.
  • The World Picture: Snapshots Of Instability.
    • India: First Impact Site of Delta, and a dramatic recovery?
    • UK: Reopening, seriously?
    • US: A mystery to the decline in cases?
    • Israel: 80% immunity and still not enough!
    • Japan: A problem Olympics.
  • So Where Are We Now? Vaccines don’t mean it is over!
    • Vaccination Levels by Country.
    • Pandemic Severity By Country: July 2021.
    • Vaccination can even make things worse?
  • Alternative Strategies: Should we just live with the virus?
Continue reading “July 2021: Vaccines or Not, Its Not Over Yet.”

Australia in the Pandemic: Eye of the storm?

This is a snapshot of the pandemic as of March 2021, looking at what life is like in Sydney Australia, and looking out at the world.

The most recent case of a person infected in NSW , the state with Sydney as its capital, outside of quarantine was on March 17th and was a person working with arrivals in quarantine. In this case, the person infected was asymptomatic, and was the first case in 50 days. The general picture in NSW, and Australia in general, is that cases of Covid-19 are very rare right now. Is this the end of the pandemic, or the calm before the storm?

Continue reading “Australia in the Pandemic: Eye of the storm?”

Vaccines, yes, some stories are too good to be true.

I have been following Covid-19 since January 2020 I felt the world too complacent, through to today March 17 2021, when I now fear there may be too much faith in vaccines. Israel has been at the forefront of vaccination, and should provide an early indicator of what to expect. So today I thought I would check on the latest from Israel. What I found sounded almost unbelievable good! Until I realised, yes, it should not be believed. The data is presented in a very misleading way.

Continue reading “Vaccines, yes, some stories are too good to be true.”

Vaccines: Another Covid-19 Mistake, plus > 5,000 deaths

It is already January 20 here, but in the US, it is still very early in the morning, and the inauguration of President Biden awaits. So does the release of Covid-19 statistics for the day, and although numbers may be delayed until tomorrow, the US will likely record a tragic daily record of over 5,000 deaths in a day for the first time. Worldwide, over 2 million deaths. Why? Partly due to mistakes, and yet another looks set to occur with vaccines.

Continue reading “Vaccines: Another Covid-19 Mistake, plus > 5,000 deaths”

Covid-19 in 2021: Threat of Dangerous Assumptions.

2020 is regarded by many as ‘anus horribilis’. Enter 2021 and the hope for better, however dangerous assumptions, including that with a vaccines and a new year all will be fine, create a very real threat that 2021 may be no better than 2020.

We come into 2021 armed with vaccines, but with Covid-19 case levels higher than ever. Much has been learnt since I first wrote back in January 2020 how the then unnamed new coronavirus would very likely take the world on a wild ride.

Continue reading “Covid-19 in 2021: Threat of Dangerous Assumptions.”

Sport and the Precarious Australian Open

Current Australia is one of places in the world where you are least likely to become infected with Covid-19.

Keeping it that way, is extremely difficult when a significant percentage of international arrivals can bring the virus into a country only enduring cursory changes to lifestyle in the face of the pandemic. The fragile freedom from Covid-19 is only maintained by extreme vigilance at the borders, and aggressive action when infections do break through.

There is a Christmas gathering of perhaps 8 people I am scheduled to attend in area outside of the lockdown, but even that event is now threated as a result of less so far 30 local transmission cases in country of 25 million. This is because in the last few days, cases of virus within the community of Sydney, a city of 5 million people, have risen from zero, to numbers of less than 20 infections per day. In response, a large percentage of the city has entered compulsory lockdown, and the rest of the city is on voluntary lockdown.

Further, there is now bad news from Great Britain, which could offset any reductions in viral spread from a vaccine, and make current lockdown measures ineffective, is that there is a strain of Covid-19 which is even more infectious. It is a very precarious time.

It must be said that the Australian Open, scheduled to take place just over one month from now is looking quite precarious! Perhaps the only viable solution is actually even more tennis in Australia?

Continue reading “Sport and the Precarious Australian Open”

Covid-19 Vaccine Myths

There are many many myths about vaccines. Ranging from they are all part of some conspiracy, through to they are a miracle solution to Covid-19. Myths that place too much faith in vaccines can cause ‘Covid-19 complacency’, which could make things even worse in 2021 than even 2020.

This post focuses on myths that place too much faith in vaccines.

  • Vaccinated People won’t may need to quarantine
  • Myth: Vaccines Inherently Prevent Spread
  • Myth: Vaccines freely available ends the pandemic
  • Myth: UK was first to approve a vaccine
Continue reading “Covid-19 Vaccine Myths”

Biden vs Trump: A World Changing US Election?

The US has an election this November, with the possibility of the winner being decided by the US congress, and not by the election itself. I am even going to suggest this is the most likely of all outcomes. How this is even possible, as well as how each outcome would change the world is discussed below.

Continue reading “Biden vs Trump: A World Changing US Election?”

China Virus, or USA Virus?

No, I am not saying we anyone should be calling Sars-Cov2 the US virus. What I am saying, is that there is a real risk unless there is some caution, some people could start pointing the finger at the US, for new outbreaks of Covid-19 as time progresses. Consider, the US is currently the largest source the virus worldwide, and there are now outbreaks outside the US that arise due to arrivals from the US. Could blaming the pandemic on mismanagement backfire?

  • Is it fair to call it the China Virus?
  • Testing: Does it matter?
  • Who could call it the ‘America Virus’?
    • Enemies, not Allies

Is it fair to call it the China Virus?

Where did it start?

I have an entire exploration of ‘Where did it start?“. Neither the Wuhan wet market, nor even necessarily anywhere in Wuhan is certain to be the original source of the virus, but there is little doubt the virus first person known to be infected was someone in China. Further, regardless of origin of the first infected person, the first outbreak of size was definitely in China.

Donald Trump has been consistent in referring to the virus as “the China Virus”, and has been very emphatic about negatively association between virus and country of origin. A problem with assigning blame to the country with the first known cases arises when considering the Spanish Flu of 1918. No, it did not start in Spain, and while again there is no proof of actual origin, working on the basis of the first known infection, this would point to Haskell County, Kansas.

Where and When DID Covid-19 start? 1918
China: Deserving of blame?

In the early stages of the outbreak, there was mismanagement by China. However, evidence suggests the outbreak had already spread to France, Italy and Spain prior to the first identified cases in China, and perhaps even already spread to the USA. That doesn’t mean mismanagement by China didn’t make the outbreak worse, but it does mean there would still have been an outbreak, as there was spread even before any ‘questionable’ management of the outbreak by Chinese authorities.

More worryingly, the accusation is not just innocent mistakes being made by China, the accusation is that China put government image above concerns over national and eventually global health outcomes.

Testing: Does it matter?

What is the new issue with testing in the US?

The CDC has just announced a new, widely condemned, policy on testing. Condemnation relates to the policy having an appearance of risking additional infections, in order to appease political pressure to reduce reporting of the actual number of infections.

The accusation is that change of policy will result in people with a significant chance of having been infected, being advised to not bother being tested.

Why Bother With Testing Anyway?

There are three main reasons for testing:

  1. testing allows early detection of potential illness allowing best practice in managing infections
  2. testing can identify asymptomatic people who should isolate in order to protect against the spread of infection
  3. testing provides authorities with data on the degree of spread, enabling informed policy decisions

The new US policy fails on all three counts.

Firstly, not testing people identified as exposed to the virus until symptomatic may result in some who do later develop symptoms receiving delayed medical care, requiring getting tested and waiting for results while already unwell.

Secondly, and this is the main point, asymptomatic people will continue the spread. If the new policy required all exposed people to quarantine, making testing not unnecessary to prevent asymptomatic spread, then it would be fine. However there is no self isolation recommendation.

Thirdly, data on the outbreak will be masked, and there is even the appearance that this is deliberate.

When Italy had low testing rates, no one complained!

At the peak of the outbreak in northern Italy, testing was almost non-existent. In practice few, apart from those requiring admission to hospital, were tested. While at least the new US policy suggests those with symptoms be tested even when they do not require hospitalisation. However, there were some special circumstances that reduced the value of testing:

  • detecting infection was only useful for those requiring emergency hospital treatment, as medical resources were so overwhelmed that care could not even be given to all who would die otherwise
  • everyone was already in quarantine, meaning asymptomatic cases were already isolated and thus there was already protection from further infections
  • policy was already at the highest alert level, with data already indicating every possible preventative measure was required

In Italy at that Are things in the US really comparable to Italy at that time?

In the State of Victoria, Australia, testing rates are falling too!

Australia has been doing relative well in dealing with Covid-19 (approx. 20 deaths per million vs of 500 deaths per million in the US), and even in Melbourne, Australia, they seem unconcerned about falling testing rates. Firstly, note that testing rates in Australia are higher than in the US. Secondly, while there may be some degree of screw-up, there is no policy to hide data behind any drop in testing in Melbourne. Thirdly, and perhaps most significantly, even though cases are still lower than almost anywhere in the US, Melbourne is lockdown to further reduce cases, which means everyone is already in isolation, so the need to identify asymptomatic people is reduced.

Testing: The US as an opaque regime.

The main difference between any other problem with testing in a western democracy, is the guideline to reduce testing in the US has the appearance as being driven by a desire to become less transparent. The appearance is that of a nation hiding the levels of infection from both the outside world and the nation itself. If there is fault with China and Covid-19, it is that in the early stages of the pandemic China took steps to hide what was happening, and as a result put more lives at risk. We still do not trust data coming out of China, but the US is a risk of moving into that exact same pattern.

Testing certainly does matter in terms of transparency on the state of the outbreak.

Who could call it the ‘USA Virus’?

Enemies, not Allies.

The obvious answer is the enemies of the USA. Fortunately, some of the countries experiencing a link between Covid-19 and the US at this time are strong US allies. The concern, is that if such experiences themselves continue, then enemies of the US which governments looks for reasons to criticise the US may be provided with ammunition.

Australia: The US vs China as a source of Covid-19.

Australia had an initial wave, generally assumed to be mostly as a result of spread from the outbreak of Covid-19 China. From the graph show here, it can be seen deaths plateaued during April, and did not increase significantly until the end of June. The initial outbreak had been contained, and second climb in the number of death came as a result infection from an international arrival getting through quarantine and into the wider community. What is not discussed is where did the virus arrive from this second time? Logically, the first phase of the outbreak would have originated in China. It takes at least a month following the virus arriving to have an outbreak, and people arriving infected with the virus in early March would most likely have come from China as that is where the cases were.

The second phase, resulting in the most deaths in Australia, most likely originated in the USA. In late June or Early July, by far the country with the most infected people was the USA, and there we far more arrivals to Australia from the USA than from other countries with high case numbers.

Australia is one of the strongest allies of the USA, following the US into every conflict since the second world war, and with a very pro-USA government, and there is also the suggestion that cases should never have escaped quarantine in Australia. There will be no ‘finger pointing’ but the direct origin of the virus resulting in most deaths in Australia in most certainly the USA, not China. If China had managed the initial outbreak better, there may have been no pandemic. If the US had managed the outbreak in the US better, most Australians how have died from the virus may still be alive.

New Zealand?

The second spike in New Zealand looks insignificant on the graph, but it was only reduced to that level through an immediate lockdown. It was still sufficiently significant that Trump declared things in New Zealand as ‘terrible’, and something the US must avoid. It is true that this new outbreak reached as many as 14 infections per day, and the US would not want that! (Although day there were 14 infections detected, only 10 of those infections happened in New Zealand). It is now clear that some, if not all, of the virus that entered New Zealand this time to cause that ‘terrible’ situation, came from the US.

For a country that had previously been able to allow crowds at sporting matches, and very much had allowed pre-covid19 behaviour to return, going back into lockdown did come at a cost. New Zealand is another country where a second wave of the virus entered the country at a time when cases in China were almost non-existent, and cases in the US were at their peak. It has been revealed that genomic testing shows some new infections arrived from the US. Did all of the new virus arrive from the US? That was not released. It is not that the US should rightfully be blamed, but Trump criticising the terrible number Covid-19 cases, when so many cases detected in New Zealand are detected as carrying the virus on arrival from the US, it not helpful. If this type of event takes place in country hostile to the US, it would provide the ammunition for trying to incite anti-US sentiment.

Conclusion.

No one is now calling Covid-19 the ‘US virus’. Most likely the pandemic will end without that happening. Even though US citizens may be banned from travelling to many countries, those same countries still have their own citizens and other still arriving from the US. Every time someone from the US brings the virus with them, it highlights how the US has performed at less than ‘world leading’ levels in controlling the pandemic.

In many ways, the handling of the pandemic continues to lower the world standing of the US.

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