No Minister

“It is too early to say”

Zhou Enlai’s famous quote, made during Nixon’s groundbreaking visit to China in 1972, in response to a question about French revolts, was actually not referring to the French Revolution of 1789 but the revolts of 1968.

I was reminded of this while watching the following scenes of people fleeing Paris just the other day before the commencement of a new curfew and lockdown process in response to a second wave of Chinese Lung Rot cases and deaths.

The reason is contained in this graph.

That chart is more than a month old and things have not improved since then for France, or the rest of Europe for that matter. Well – with one notable exception:

Sweden is also experiencing the expected increase in cases, but thanks to their previously despised herd immunity strategy these new cases are not translating into deaths, which is why Sweden is not hitting the panic button and locking themselves into their homes. It’s also why this chart is so painful to look at.

The real tell will come in early January 2021 when the final figures for all deaths in Sweden are confirmed and the excess deaths are seen. If that number is low or statistically insignificant then we’ll know that the Swedish people who died from Chinese Sinus AIDS were the people who would have died from influenza and pneumonia, diseases so similar to Covid-19 that the CDC in the USA has, from the start, tracked daily deaths as “PIC” (Pneumonia, Influenza, Covid-19), knowing how hard it is for post-mortem analysis to confirm the culprit.

Still, even the Europeans must be grateful they’re not run like the US Democrat states of New York and New Jersey.

Incidently, the Zhou link contains probably the best explanation of the reason for the common misinterpretation of Zhou’s comment on France, and also perhaps the perfect explanation for the lockdowns.

“I cannot explain the confusion about Zhou’s comment except in terms of the extent to which it conveniently bolstered a stereotype (as usual with all stereotypes, partly perceptive) about Chinese statesmen as far-sighted individuals who think in longer terms than their Western counterparts,” Freeman said in a follow-up email. “It was what people wanted to hear and believe, so it took” hold.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 31, 2020 at 10:01 am

17 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Reblogged this on Utopia, you are standing in it!.

    Jim Rose

    October 31, 2020 at 11:58 am

  2. Tom, the facts would appear to be against you. “Herd immunity” has a very specific meaning in medical science, and not the one you think it is. Humans do not magically acquire immunity from diseases. The immunity comes from vaccination.

    Which of these illnesses have heard immunity?

    Chicken Pox
    Seasonal Influenza

    And which of them have a vaccine?

    Meanwhile, outside your echo chamber”

    “Sweden has hit another new coronavirus infection record and hit a “critical juncture” according to the country’s chief epidemiologist.

    Dr Anders Tegnell warned that pursuing herd immunity isn’t ethical or justifiable after the country’s COVID-19 cases ballooned by 70 per cent in a week.

    The country, known for its light touch approach to the virus, recorded its highest ever number of infections for a second day in a row.”


    October 31, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    • We have one commentator here who provides little more than links with no commentary.

      “Sweden has hit another new coronavirus infection record and hit a “critical juncture” according to the country’s chief epidemiologist.

      But providing quotes without a link is just as bad because it allows you to cherry-pick, Gustavo. Here’s the Australian news item from which you quoted and it also has Tegnell saying the following:

      “We do have more new infections than we did in the summer and we’re taking it very seriously,” Dr Tegnell said.
      “But the curve is rising less steeply than elsewhere. So far the increase has not resulted in more people needing to be admitted to hospitals. All in all, we’re fairly satisfied.”

      The article itself takes a dishonest view of Tignell’s stand on herd immunity, painting this comment as a reversal of his previous stand when it is not. Months ago he specifically made the point that:

      In an interview with French broadcaster France24, Dr. Anders Tegnell said herd immunity was “definitely not” a goal.

      Even in your article he made the point that… “There has up to now been no infectious disease whose transmission was fully halted by herd immunity without a vaccine,”.

      Or as Wiki has it:

      [herd immunity] a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, whether through vaccination or previous infections, thereby reducing the likelihood of infection for individuals who lack immunity.

      What Sweden has managed to achieve is similar or better rates of infection and death than other European nations without anything like their levels of lockdown, something that control freaks find deeply disturbing and which must therefore be attacked constantly, including stupid headlines like “Sweden hits grim coronavirus record” (shades of the phrase “Grim Milestone” that featured in every news broadcast at the height of the Iraq war). As Tignell said months ago:

      “In the end, we will see how much difference it will make to have a […] strategy that’s more sustainable that you can keep in place for a long time instead of the strategy that means that you lockdown, open and lockdown over and over again.”

      Tom Hunter

      October 31, 2020 at 4:16 pm

  3. Are you seriously trying to sell the approaches of the USA (new cases increasing rapidly now winter’s approaching, now up to 90,000 per day) and Sweden (same, new cases increasing steeply and currently around 3300 per day) in a country that has zero community transmission and a total of 25 deaths from Covid-19? Good luck with that.

    Psycho Milt

    October 31, 2020 at 2:52 pm

    • Sweden’s chief epidemiologist himself has said that every country is having different responses to Covid. What works for an already severely isolated nation like NZ will not work for one in the heart of Europe.

      Aside from that, the fact is that the severe lockdowns in France and Germany have merely led to a second wave of infections, deaths, and lockdowns. Sweden meanwhile continues on as it has from the beginning; keeping an eye on things but not over-reacting to the expected second wave of infections, especially since these are not translating into hospitalisations or deaths as they are in those nations.

      As far as the US is concerned the chart simply demonstrates that there was no “USA approach” but, as one would expect in a Federal nation, up to 50 different approaches for non-isolated states, with the responses of NY and NJ clearly being far worse than the rest of the nation.

      Tom Hunter

      October 31, 2020 at 3:17 pm

    • Everything I’ve seen about Covid-19 responses says that where people have trust in the competence of their government and public service AND that trust is justified by actual competence, people follow the rules their governments impose and the pandemic is well handled. NZ, Australia and Sweden are examples of this.

      Where people lack trust in the competence of their government and public service, they tend to be lax about the rules and the pandemic isn’t well handled. Spain, Italy and France are examples of this.

      Where the government flagrantly models incompetence and corruption and actively undermines its public service, people ignore mitigation measures and the result is a horrendous mess with lots of fatalities. The UK, USA and Brazil are examples of this.

      Re the USA, I notice that the blowhard in chief has spent four years confusing the office of PotUS with Louis IX (“L’etat, c’est moi”), but when there’s a complete failure of federal governance his apologists pretend the federal government is powerless to do anything at a national level. If it weren’t for the hundreds of thousands of dead bodies, it would be comical.

      Psycho Milt

      October 31, 2020 at 6:04 pm

    • but when there’s a complete failure of federal governance his apologists pretend the federal government is powerless to do anything at a national level.

      A “complete” failure is just the usual ludicrous hyperbole of critics who either cannot or will not suggest anything different in detail. Biden’s plan for example almost perfectly mirrors what Trump has done – except for shutting down flights from China early, which all leading Democrats condemned before they went into the Chinatowns of SF and NYC, encouraging crowds to come along and demonstrate that it was all just xenophobia. Luckily the net doesn’t forget, not even Twitter.

      The US government setup is quite clear about what the Federal government can and cannot do re the states, who largely run their own public healthcare, education and other government bureaucracies as they see fit, and do so with a possessive eye. Funnily enough this was best shown when Trump mused some months ago about placing a quarantine around the states of NY and NJ to protect the rest of the nation, since it was obvious even then they were out of control. He was quickly reminded by every Democrat lawyer, activist, journalist and politician that he did not have the power to do this and that he should keep his nose out of such things, the loudest screams coming from NY Governor Cuomo and NJ Governor Murphy, just after they’d said he’d helped them in every way possible.

      The biggest failure in US government on this issue has been at the state and municipal level, particularly those areas controlled by Democrats. That’s an unpalatable fact for them to swallow but while trying to shift the blame for their failures on to Trump may be good election propaganda it is not convincing to anyone who understands the Federal nature of their system.

      Tom Hunter

      November 1, 2020 at 6:54 am

    • “Complete failure” feels like an accurate description for a national leadership that’s undermining public health efforts and hosting superspreader events, to the extent that the White House at one point had more cases than NZ.

      The undermining of public health efforts is more significant than the superspreader events. An epidemiologist put it this way:

      Remington concedes that the rallies themselves pose a risk, but said he’s more concerned about the message Trump supporters take away from the fact they’re held at all.

      “In the grand scheme of things, the risk of these events themselves pale in comparison to what they represent philosophically – a top-down refusal to comply with public health guidance,” said Remington.

      That top-down rejection of public health guidance is the “complete failure.”

      As to the supposed correlation between Democrat-led states and Covid-19 cases, it’s a false correlation. The disease naturally hit the most populous and cosmopolitan places first and is making its way from there out to the least populous and cosmopolitan places. The most populous and cosmopolitan places tend to be the least conservative and the most isolated places the most conservative, hence the false correlation. This thing’s still in its first wave in the US and you’ll notice it’s no longer the same places that are seeing the big increases. It just dipped over the summer is all, now it’s back on the offensive again. Which reminds me – Trump’s claims that no-one will hear about Covid again after the election is another example of that “complete failure.”

      Psycho Milt

      November 2, 2020 at 6:10 am

  4. Tom,

    To use your heading “It is too early to say”, no, it is not.

    The evidence is clear and has been for many months. You are simply railing against an unpalatable truth.

    Covid is a dangerous and highly infectious disease. The mortality is way above the normal flu at least 6 timbers worse, and probably more like 10 times. No I haven’t got the links. but all the leading medical professionals in the field use these numbers.

    I know you are going to keep trying to say it is hardly little more than the sniffles. Well, I have read a lot on covid. To use judicial language, as my wife would do, “I find your arguments unconvincing.”

    Wayne Mapp

    October 31, 2020 at 5:28 pm

    • Wayne – “leading medical professionals” do not all agree with you – look up the Great Barrington Declaration. Data I have seen does not support your “6 timbers” assertion, and even if it did, it is no reason to place the entire population under house arrest, which is only a delaying tactic at best.

      I finds your arguments unconvincing, but don’t let that stop you scaremongering about a disease so dangerous that most positive tests are of people who have no symptoms


      November 5, 2020 at 5:32 pm

  5. Wayne,

    Sorry but you are the one ranting against an unpalatable truth. I understand you are frightened, a lot of poorly educated or people with an education with little maths in it are…… frightened.

    But as usual you present no hard facts to support your fears, so I will. Front page of their website as at 30 October

    World Infections 45,389,176 infections
    World deaths :1,187,176
    Death Rate : 2.6155249 % (2.6%)

    Do you understand who dies from the virus Wayne.

    Do you know Wayne that there is no nice way to die from any disease..have you seen someone die from the common flu? People do. Syphilis too.

    I suggest you spend a few days on on their China Flu section.

    By the way if you were Min of Defence under shiny pants Key, did you insist the Army use their oldest ammunition first…. just asking for an interested friend. I mean that’s statistical and mathematical too




    October 31, 2020 at 6:12 pm

  6. Seriously Rossco, I am poorly educated?

    Just because I don’t agree with you, does not make me poorly educated, unless you also think that Sir Peter Gukman, Sir David Skegg, and all the leading medical professors are also poorly educated.

    I would also point out that a 2.6 % mortality rate is considered pretty high for an infectious disease. One in 40 dies from it. In fact the mortality rate is probably not quite as high as that. More like 1.5% or so, because many countries (the Indian subcontinent, most of Africa and much of Latin America) have serious undercounting of the number of infections. Look at the testing rate in those countries, compared to the mortality rate.

    Wayne Mapp

    November 1, 2020 at 12:10 pm

  7. No Wayne I dont think you are poorly educated, and just because you dont agree with me doesn’t make you poorly educated either.

    I just think you are naïve and so are your arguments because you cant look at the stats, the graphs, and the data and change your mind.

    I asked you a straight forward question about the army, you shot yourself in the foot by not answering. 🙂

    The Head of Epidemiology at Oxford University
    The Head of Epidemiology at Edinburgh University
    The Head of Epidemiology at Stanford University
    5000 doctors + world wide have made public statements
    Virologists at our state hospitals do not support your position
    Donald Trump does not support your position
    Death by age group does not support your position.
    Death by all causes over 25 year period in Sweden does not support you position. (just search Sweden death rate)
    Death by all causes in the US does not support your position, see below
    Wearing a face mask does not support your position.

    One of the reasons your beloved National Party made a complete tits of themselves as they didn’t do the basic research and take a position diametrically opposed to the socialists and their covenant of fear. At least they would have had one policy that was different…….haha

    USA (MAGA)
    2017 Deaths of all cause 2,813,503
    2018 Deaths of all cause 2,839,205
    2019 Deaths of all cause 2,855,000
    2020 Deaths of all cause 2,838,000 (based on 236,000 deaths per month

    And to Finish
    ” Do you know that one of the great problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas?

    Who said that in 1990?????

    Good Luck with your research but you should have studied her…. but she has plenty of ideas for you to pass onto your mates in the Labour Party oooops ..who actually market themselves as the National Party, a party totally and utterly devoid of original thought and who no longer know what they stand for.

    I enjoyed yours and Vets ( ohhh shit hope I’m not wrong there) analysis of the defeat as it totally missed the mark. Refer above paragraph


    November 1, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    • nice one, Rossco.

      5000 doctors + world wide have made public statements that beer tastes better than water.

      Donald Trump does not support your position, which makes Wayne far more likely to be correct.

      Wearing a face mask does not support your position, Rossco. Just look at Japan’s numbers.

      USA Deaths per 1000 was 9.5 in 1970, then began quite a dip until an upward tick at the height of the AIDS epidemic, tended down again after 1988, but now have climbed back to 8.8. Facts, eh, how do they work?

      And quoting Margaret Fucking Thatcher – I guess 1990 was about the time you stopped evaluating evidence. And I bet you don’t know it was Thatcher who began the “Global Warming Scam”.

      Gustavo Frink

      November 1, 2020 at 7:02 pm

  8. Roosco … one suspects Wayne Mapp didn’t respond to your question about ammunition was because it was a stupid question. Clearly you don’t understand the difference between governance and command because the inference from your question is that the Minister should be micro-managing his portfolio and interfering is what are quite rightly operational (command) matters. A dangerous trait but completely understandable from someone who thinks Trump walks on water. Hint … NZ enjoys an entirely different system of government and thank God for that.

    The Veteran

    November 1, 2020 at 7:47 pm

  9. Vet, nope, it wasn’t a stupid question, clearly.

    On one level it was a simple question about efficient and effective use of tax payer resources. Surely as a taxpayer you would agree? No argument there because that is the role of the minister.

    Wayne may have formulated his question to the Chief of Defence Force as follows: Dear Sir /Madam, what policies has your ministry implemented to assure that our stocks of ammunition of all types are managed in an effective and efficient manner such that old ammunition is used first.”

    Possible answer “Fuck off, we dont,,never have had any, and never will. We grab the first box on top of the pile and it goes bang!

    The point I was trying to make is that an intelligent service would use mathematical and statistical analysis combined with stock management systems perhaps based on bar codes to ensure that NZ Defence Forces scarce resources are being used in a sensible and cost effective way.

    Just like the same methods have been applied to modern medicine since it dawned on the modern world and indicate Covid 19 is nothing more than the flu.

    I simply used NZD as an example that Wayne might relate to.


    November 1, 2020 at 8:28 pm

  10. Rossco,

    To answer your question “No”. As Minister I trusted those in command to act logically on such matters. As The Veteran notes, Ministers are not supposed to micromanage, especially on matters that are clearly within the domain of the professionals of the NZDF.

    I didn’t answer it, because I couldn’t imagine you considered it a serious question.

    Wayne Mapp

    November 2, 2020 at 5:44 am

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: