Dan O'Heirity

The Chinese Virus Situation in Australia Becomes Ever More Absurd

Anyone reading my posts will know that I live in Australia. According to my preferred data source – which is updated in real time for the number of new cases and fatalities each day with the data being reset at GMT+0 – Australia recorded 180 new cases two days ago bring the total number of confirmed cases to 9,980. Yesterday there were 270 new cases bring the total number of cases to 20,250. Today there have been 237 new cases bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 10,487. These numbers are, of course, relatively low but the point is that Australia was selling the story that it had won the battle against the virus. Then there was an outbreak in Melbourne, Victoria. According to this live data source from the Victorian government, there have been 238 new cases in Victoria in the last 24 hours. The point is that the virus in Australia is, for now at least, pretty much contained to Victoria.

In this context of a few hundred new Chinese virus cases we find a melodramatic reporter who seems utterly determined to overdramatize the Chinese virus situation in Australia with a writing style that can only be referred to as affected and somewhat objectionable. Just look at this passage.

Ich bin ein Melburnian. Or something like that. In the wake of Victoria’s woes with coronavirus – with their second wave starting to look like a screamer off Cape Otway on a windy July day – of course, the Prime Minister was right to evoke John F. Kennedy’s famous line “Ich bin ein Berliner“, saying “We are all Melburnians now”.

Honestly, the passage just makes me cringe with embarrassment particularly as the writer continues with a sensationalizing overtone to ask the question whether the State of Victoria has made mistakes in trying to “quell the plague”. The plague. Really. I should probably mention that there is a point to the story which is that the fortitude currently being shown by Victorians can serve as an inspiration to the rest of Australia. Personally I might have mentioned the United Kingdom or Spain or Italy or Germany or the United States or any number of any other countries around world where the Chinese virus situation has been so catastrophic that people really have had to show immense fortitude and courage. Buy hey, this is Australia, a country which tends to look inwards.

What Type of Mask Should Australian’s Be Wearing to Be Safe in Public

You’d think that this would be a pretty straightforward question to answer by now but the fact is that advice on this front is regularly updated. That said, I know the answer to the question because I did a lot of research early on in the pandemic, particularly in terms of looking at mask manufacturing that was happening in China that did not conform to either CE European Standards or FDA standards. Two points about these N95 certified masks. First, reputable news source in Australia advise that N95 masks are not recommended for use by the public. However, if you visit this site you will clear see that an N95 mask offers the highest level of protection. The advice to the public that they do not need N95 masks is therefore likely driven by a strategy to ensure that sufficient supplies of N95 masks for e.g. healthcare workers.

The other point is that if you visit eBay Australia – a large ecommerce site you will find hundreds of sellers of the slightly differently named KN95 masks. Guess where the term KN95 mask is used. Yep, China. So it seems almost certain that what we have on eBay is either Chinese sellers who have imported KN95 masks from China or Australian sellers who have done the same thing. There is a long and sorry history of Chinese manufactured masks not meeting the required standards. The reason for this is that thousands of mask production factories appeared almost over night with the advent of the Covid-19 virus. These factories produced masks that did not meet either CE European Standards or FDA standards. Basically, if you’re buying a KN95 mask from eBay that is not CE and / or FDA approved then you’re probably getting a Chinese manufactured sub-standard mask.

If you’re not going to opt for a certified N95 mask, then you’re other options are a cloth mask or a surgical mask. I’ve looked around and the general advice seems to be that the surgical masks will do a better job than cloth masks in protecting against particles from coughs and sneezes. That said, the real question is whether or not your likely to be exposed to people coughing and sneezing all over you. In Victoria we can currently only leave the house for 4 reasons and I leave for only two reasons, to go shopping and to exercise. I am never at risk when shopping because I never allow anyone to get close enough to me to cough or sneeze over me. People are even further away from me when I exercise and so it is not an issue. So, I’m going to go for a cloth mask that meets the standards for cloth masks outlined in this article. I’m also going to purchase my supply of cloth masks from an Australian manufacturer because, quite frankly, I wouldn’t trust a Chinese manufacturer. This is a perfectly rational position given China’s history of producing sub-standard products.

The Trouble With Social Media is That Inordinately Stupid People Have a Place to Express Their Opinions

There was an admittedly brief story today based on a photograph of a garage housing a Mercedes Benz along with copious quantities of toilet paper. The image was posted on social media and, of course, unthinking and opinionated individuals gave vent to their feelings on the matter with one person referring to the “hoarder” as a “wanker”. To be fair, some of the other comments are a bit more reasonable. If you walked into my garage you’d find sufficient supplies of water to last me for a year. If you checked out my home you’d also find sufficient food supplies, dried milk, personal hygiene products, and medical supplies to last me for a year. This is not hoarding. It is the most rational response to the near certainty that the world will experience a pandemic far worse than the Chinese pandemic. Consider that scenario with something like Ebola, which thankfully, did not become a pandemic, but had a 50% fatality rate. Granted I have not fully thought through my survival plan. What to do with looters for example and in the longer term, what would the world actually look like should I have managed to survive for the year that my stocks would last.

First Published July 15th, 2020

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