Shellharbour Mayor furious at NSW Premier for extending Greater Sydney lockdown to region

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-07-28/lockdown-extended-by-a-month-for-wollongong-shellharbour/100329270

ABC Illawarra / By Ainslie Drewitt-Smith

  • Shellharbour, Wollongong and the Wollondilly Shire are included the state’s extended lockdown 
  • Mayor Marianne Saliba is slamming the decision as “utter stupidity”
  • A local businesswoman says extended financial support does little to soften the blow

Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba has criticised as “rubbish” Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s decision to include the Illawarra community in New South Wales’ extended lockdown.  

Key points:

  • Shellharbour, Wollongong and the Wollondilly Shire are included the state’s extended lockdown 
  • Mayor Marianne Saliba is slamming the decision as “utter stupidity”
  • A local businesswoman says extended financial support does little to soften the blow

Stay-home orders will now be in place across Shellharbour, Wollongong and the Wollondilly Shire until August 28, after the state recorded 177 new locally acquired cases of the Delta variant.

Among the new cases is a person from Wollongong, whose source of infection remains under investigation.

It takes cases numbers in Wollongong to 10, while Shellharbour has been free of the virus since early in June, when a person from Sydney infected with COVID-19 attended a baby store in the city.  

“It’s absolutely rubbish, complete and absolute rubbish [that] we’re being included in this lockdown,” Cr Saliba said.

“We had zero cases 30 days ago, we’ve had zero all the way through [the lockdown] and we still have zero.

“This government has continued to stuff this process up from Day One. It’s utter stupidity,” she said.

Blow for business

Her disappointment has been echoed by local businesswoman, Melissa Gorgievski, who owns hairdressing salons in Shellharbour and Wollongong.

“I was shocked. It’s not great for small businesses to battle through another four weeks,” she said.

“We thought we would be able to open one of our salons and [we] hung on to a bit of hope for that. But that’s gone now.”

On Wednesday, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet announced additional financial support for businesses impacted by the lockdown.

That included an increase of the annual turnover eligibility threshold from $50 million to $250 million.

Maximum weekly payments businesses could receive would also be boosted, from $10,000 to $100,000.

Ms Gorgievski said the changes did little to soften the blow for her business because it faced another month without trading.

“It doesn’t look they’re bringing any more to the table for small businesses. So, that’s disappointing,” she said.

Five women and a man stand in front of a hair salon
Melissa Gorgievski (third from right) says she is disappointed her salons at Wollongong and Shellharbour will have to remain closed for another month.(Supplied: Melissa Gorgievski)

Individuals who lose work would also be eligible for increased assistance from the federal government.  

Those who lose 20 hours or more of work in one week can now receive $750 a week, while employees who lose between 8 to 20 hours will be offered $450.

Construction resumes

A two-week pause on construction will end in the Illawarra from 12:01am on Saturday, with workers allowed to return to unoccupied sites in all but listed Sydney suburbs.

Tradies, including cleaners, can also resume work under the changes, so long as they don’t have contact with residents.

“I jumped for joy,” local cleaner, Terry Darby said.

“I’ve been stressed, worried about how I’m going to pay my rent, how I’m going to pay my bills.”

“It will depend on the clients but, maybe, they can go off for a walk while I clean their house for them,” she said.

an empty housing estate construction site
Construction work will be allowed to resume on Saturday in Wollongong, Shellharbour and Wollondilly, at sites where the are no residents. (ABC News: Brendan Esposito)

Families with children at school will have to continue home-learning for the next four weeks, but students in year 12 will be allowed to return to the classroom on August 16.  

Rapid antigen testing for those students is also being considered by the New South Wales government, to mitigate outbreaks.

Among the changes announced on Wednesday, a ‘singles bubble’ was introduced, with people living on their own now allowed to nominate a sole family member or a friend they can visit for companionship.

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Pfizer says 2021 COVID-19 vaccine sales to top $33.5 bln, sees need for boosters

Interesting Information!

The Most Revolutionary Act

Pfizer's Projected $3B Drug: Name Will Shock You

July 28 (Reuters) – Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) on Wednesday raised its 2021 sales forecast for its COVID-19 vaccine by 29% to $33.5 billion, and said it believes people will need a third dose of the shot developed with German partner BioNTech to keep protection against the virus high.

The company said it could apply for an emergency use authorization (EUA) for a booster dose as early as August.

Data showed that a third dose generated virus-neutralizing antibodies more than 5 times higher in younger people and more than 11 times higher in older people than from two doses against the more easily transmissible Delta variant of the virus.

“All in all, I think a third dose would strongly improve protection against infection, mild moderate disease, and reduce the spread of the virus,” Chief Scientific Officer Mikael Dolsten said on a call to discuss quarterly…

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I was asked by a young mother, “what it feels like to be single?”

Grounded Soul

https://unsplash.com/photos/M0oVPGsWk1E?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditShareLink

What is the best age in human life? Have you heard the saying, ‘life begins at 40?’ I don’t know the sense of it. Does it mean that the first three decades are just a waste of time? That’s going to be a pile of massive rubbish then! Anyway, I’ll find it out soon. What about the 20s? Usually, most of us have already graduated from school at this stage. We have also found a decent job. Some of us were trying to save money to buy a dream car, to invest in a house, or to travel the whole world. At this point, we are starting to enjoy our freedom. No more school, less parental restriction and we handle our lives in our own ways. Oh! Also, people usually find their life partners in their mid-20s when everyone is already stable and ready to build a new cycle…

View original post 953 more words

Update about Diary on Coronavirus

I just read a comment here:

https://oosterman.wordpress.com/2021/07/17/no-end-of-covid/#comment-82836

Gerard writes:

“Here is a website giving you the death rate per capita.
As I understand it the Delta virus is very good at spreading. The latest outbreak seems to indicate that within family groupings almost all members of a family become infected from just one contact.”
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

I replied as follows:

Thank you, Gerard, for the link to the Worldometers Website. There is such a huge amount of information on this website that I could click onto it for hours.
My understanding about the Delta variant of the virus is the same as yours: It is very good at spreading!
And my understanding why this is so, is that this virus is airborn and stays in the air we breathe. So to get fresh air, seems to me to be of the utmost importance. So why do we quarantine people in badly ventilated buildings? And why do a lot of people do their shopping in poorly ventilated buildings? It is beyond me, why so called ‘experts’ do not talk about it more. Just with vaccinations we cannot get on top of the virus. This is how it seems to me. For how long shall this hackling about the ‘cost’ (well ventilated buildings cost money”) for how long shall this hackling go on? Because it costs money, they don’t even want to talk about it. All these vaccinations, do they not cost money too? Someone has to pay for these. And big Pharma is in big, big business! Eventual we do need a good vaccine, this is true. But good vaccines need an awful lot of research as I understand it. But nobody wants us to talk about this. Fair enough, it is an emergency now. What we need is sunshine and fresh air, right?

Diary: I keep thinking about Indoor Air-Flow

In February 2021 The Conversation wrote: “Catching COVID from surfaces is very unlikely. So perhaps we can ease up on the disinfecting.”

https://theconversation.com/catching-covid-from-surfaces-is-very-unlikely-so-perhaps-we-can-ease-up-on-the-disinfecting-155359

And then in May, The Conversation wrote: “The pressure is on for Australia to accept the coronavirus really can spread in the air we breathe.”

https://theconversation.com/the-pressure-is-on-for-australia-to-accept-the-coronavirus-really-can-spread-in-the-air-we-breathe-160641

I ask myself, Is there any acknowledgement in Australia that this is the case?

In this Conversation article it says: “The role of airborne transmission has been denied for so long partly because expert groups that advise government have not included engineers, aerosol scientists, occupational hygienists and multidisciplinary environmental health experts.

And then they explain the difference between aerosols and droplets.

In November last year the Conversation published an article with this heading:

Many of our buildings are poorly ventilated, and that adds to COVID risks.

https://theconversation.com/many-of-our-buildings-are-poorly-ventilated-and-that-adds-to-covid-risks-149830

It says: “Poor ventilation raises the risks of super-spreader events. The risk of catching COVID-19 indoors is 18.7 times higher than in the open air, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Why has indoor airflow not been a bigger part of the conversation?

Airflow inside buildings and other enclosed areas like public transport has received less attention than other prevention strategies, in part because of debate within medical and scientific circles about the role of aerosols in the transmission of the virus, with some experts focusing on bigger droplet particles as being more important in transmission.

Here another interesting point about the airflow in buildings:

“Airflow inside buildings and other enclosed areas like public transport has received less attention than other prevention strategies, in part because of debate within medical and scientific circles about the role of aerosols in the transmission of the virus, with some experts focusing on bigger droplet particles as being more important in transmission.

But in recent weeks, the World Health Organization, the American Centers for Disease Control, the European Commission and Canada have acknowledged airborne aerosol transmission has a significant role in the spread of coronavirus. . . .”

Here another expert opinion:

“All major buildings where people congregate should be assessed for ventilation, according to Professor Mary Louise McLaws, an expert in epidemiology, hospital infection and disease control and a member of the WHO’s expert panel on COVID-19.

She said confined spaces need ventilation rates of 3 litres of air per second per person.

“It’s [the ventilation message] not getting nearly enough traction because it costs money,” she said.

“It will cost money for every single building to go back and ensure it can do 3 litres per person per second and that is an enormous undertaking.

“They can do it in a hospital and some of the older-style hospitals are now being required to improve their airflow: they’re becoming woke to the importance of this.”

The Victorian Health Department’s Building Authority has commissioned engineering assessments of the HVAC systems within wards dedicated to suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients at 20 hospital sites over the coming weeks.

Some countries are already taking substantial action, with Germany recently investing 500 million euros to improve ventilation systems in public buildings.”

The above was already said in November last year! Now we have July, that is some eight months later. And what has Australia done in the meantime, I would like to know.

For instance, can anybody tell me, how much Australia is spending right now to improve ventilation systems in public buildings?

Does Australia even discuss this issue?

Good, improvements like this cost money. But wouldn’t this be money spent the right way?

Does anyone know, how much government spends on vaccinations? Yes, I agree, vaccinations are necessary. But it seems to me to improve ventilation systems in public buildings is absolutely essential, no matter how much it costs!

The COVID problem experts say must be accepted – and corrected

The risk of breathing in COVID-19 is 20 times higher indoors than out, doctors reveal.

Will BrodieJournalist June 8, 2021

. . . . . .

The expert advice is that super-spread events – where five people or more are infected – can be prevented, because 97 per cent of them happen indoors.

Many measures are simple and cheap: regular ‘airing out’ of rooms; resetting ventilation systems; checking wall vents are not blocked, and opening windows. Limiting activities such as shouting, singing and exercising indoors is also advised as is increasing humidity with humidifiers as the virus thrives on dry air.

Asst. Prof. Hegarty says vaccines alone will not end the pandemic.

“We now understand that risk of transmission is predominantly indoors and very specific to certain buildings and indoor air conditions.

“These conditions are preventable, and this knowledge is key to stopping infections and to opening buildings at low risk.”

The pressure is on for Australia to accept the coronavirus really can spread in the air we breathe

The Conversation, May 13, 2021

https://theconversation.com/the-pressure-is-on-for-australia-to-accept-the-coronavirus-really-can-spread-in-the-air-we-breathe-160641

. . . . .

Catching COVID from surfaces is very unlikely. So perhaps we can ease up on the disinfecting

What does the evidence say?

SARS-CoV-2 is a respiratory virus that multiplies in the respiratory tract. So it is spread by the respiratory route — via breathing, speaking, singing, coughing or sneezing.

Two other coronaviruses — the ones that cause MERS (Middle Eastern respiratory sydrome) and SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) — are also spread this way. Both are accepted as being airborne.

In fact, experimental studies show SARS-CoV-2 is as airborne as these other coronaviruses, if not more so, and can be found in the air 16 hours after being aerosolised.

. . . . .

So why has airborne denialism persisted for so long?

The role of airborne transmission has been denied for so long partly because expert groups that advise government have not included engineers, aerosol scientists, occupational hygienists and multidisciplinary environmental health experts.

Partly it is because the role of airborne transmission for other respiratory viruses has been denied for decades, accompanied by a long history of denial of adequate respiratory protection for health workers. For example, during the SARS outbreak in Canada in 2003, denial of protection against airborne spread for health workers in Toronto resulted in a fatal outbreak.

Even influenza is airborne, but this has been denied by infection control committees.

Read more: Here’s the proof we need. Many more health workers than we ever thought are catching COVID-19 on the job

What’s the difference between aerosols and droplets?

The distinction between aerosols and droplets is largely artificial and driven by infection control dogma, not science.

This dogma says large droplets (defined by WHO as larger than 5 micrometres across) settle to the ground and are emitted within 2 metres of an infected person. Meanwhile, fine particles under 5 micrometres across can become airborne and exist further away.

There is in fact no scientific basis for this belief. Most studies that looked at how far large droplets travelled found the horizontal distance is greater than 2 metres. And the size threshold that dictates whether droplets fall or float is actually 100 micrometres, not 5 micrometres. In other words, larger droplets travel further than what we’ve been led to believe.

. . . . .

Leading aerosol scientists explain the historical basis of these false beliefs, which go back nearly a century.

And in further evidence the droplet theory is false, we showed that even for infections believed to be spread by droplets, a N95 respirator protects better than a surgical mask. In fact airborne precautions are needed for most respiratory infections.

Why does this difference matter?

Accepting how SARS-CoV-2 spreads means we can better prevent transmission and protect people, using the right types of masks and better ventilation.

Breathing and speaking generate aerosols. So an infected person in a closed indoor space without good ventilation will generate an accumulation of aerosols over time, just like cigarette smoke accumulates.

church outbreak in Australia saw spread indoors up to 15 metres from the sick person, without any close contact.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?

Masks work, both by preventing sick people from emitting infected aerosols, and by preventing well people from getting infected. A study in Hong Kong found most transmission occurred when masks weren’t worn inside, such as at home and in restaurants.


Read more: This video shows just how easily COVID-19 could spread when people sing together


Coughing generates more aerosols

The old dogma of droplet infection includes a belief that only “aerosol generating procedures” — such as inserting a tube into someone’s throat and windpipe to help them breathe — pose a risk of airborne transmission. But research shows a coughing patient generates more aerosols than one of these procedures.

Yet we do not provide health workers treating coughing COVID-19 patients with N95 respirators under current guidelines.

At the Royal Melbourne Hospital, where many health worker infections occurred in 2020, understanding airflow in the COVID ward helped explain how health workers got infected.

Think about it. Airborne deniers tell us infection occurs after a ballistic strike by a single large droplet hitting the eye, nose or mouth. The statistical probability of this is much lower than simply breathing in accumulated, contaminated air.

The ballistic strike theory has driven an industry in plastic barriers and face shields, which offer no protection against airborne spread. In Switzerland, only hospitality workers using just a face shield got infected and those wearing masks were protected.


Read more: Many of our buildings are poorly ventilated, and that adds to COVID risks


In hotel quarantine, denial of airborne transmission stops us from fixing repeated breaches, which are likely due to airborne transmission.

We need to select quarantine venues based on adequacy of ventilation, test ventilation and mitigate areas of poor ventilation. Opening a window, drawing in fresh air or using air purifiers dramatically reduce virus in the air.


Read more: As international travellers return to Melbourne, will it be third time lucky for Victoria’s controversial hotel quarantine system?


We need to provide N95 respirators to health, aged-care and quarantine workers who are at risk of high-dose exposure, and not place them in poorly ventilated areas.

It’s time to accept the evidence and tighten protection accordingly, to keep Australia safe from SARS-CoV-2 and more dangerous variants of concern, some of which are vaccine resistant.