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As Dublin heads into further restrictions, framing the pandemic… September 17, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Got to love the framing for the latest news that further restrictions are likely in Dublin – at least the framing in the IT. The story that announces that on mobile and on the front page of the IT has a photograph of a closed pub. That this is was a near inevitability, that restrictions would increase given the virulence of the pandemic and the manner in which it has been allowed to spread seems to escape them. As do the implications for a return to anything close to what once was known as normality.

How bad is the situation in Dublin? Very bad.

Public health experts are today expected to recommend new restrictions for Dublin to limit the spread of coronavirus, as fears grow that infections are heading out of control.

Last night, public health experts expressed a high degree of alarm at the current rate of infection, with one saying he was “more concerned than at any point in time since late April”.

The National Public Health Expert Team (NPHET) will meet today to decide its advice to Government, which is likely to be conveyed this evening.

And tellingly:

“If the numbers continue as they have been, this is only going one way,” said a Government source.

Some senior figures in Government were highly critical of the failure to take heed of NPHET’s advice last week and restrict travel from Dublin. A letter from acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn to the Government last Thursday warning that Dublin was a “disease reservoir” was only published yesterday.

But it would take someone unable to read media, understand statistics and numbers, not to realise that this was what was happening, and not for the last week, or two, but for months now.

Needless to say though, as the report continues, some folk in government know the real problem:

There were also recriminations in Government yesterday following the launch of the Living with Covid roadmap, which was beset by confusion.

And it’s not just Dublin:

…incidences were growing at broadly the same rate across the whole country.

Dr Glynn told the briefing the situation has deteriorated nationally over the past week. “Along with Dublin we have seen particularly concerning trends in Louth, Waterford and Donegal. It is now absolutely essential that people action public health advice and act as if they or those close to them are potentially infectious.”

Speaking of framing RTÉ has a headline that:

‘Quite typical’ to see rise in Covid-19 cases after rules are relaxed – WHO

But you have to read the piece to see the meaning of that statement.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Dr Margaret Harris said unfortunately we have seen across Europe that people did not get the message that you need to continue with the change in habits to suppress the virus.

She said private gatherings are one of the worst scenarios where people go back to close physical contacts and being in crowded settings.

She said they are asking everyone to understand that stopping the transmission of Covid-19 is in their hands, and warned that if too many people get ill then hospitals become overwhelmed very quickly.

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1. CL - September 17, 2020

More than 6 months after the first Covid 19 case in Ireland the virus is now surging exponentially,-a clear failure of government policy.

“In the Government’s plan they have set no targets on testing or tracing. No targets on how many tests should be carried out. No targets on end to end turnaround time. No specifics. A failure to stay ahead of the virus is a failure to get the basics right. Testing is the bedrock.” – David Cullinane, TD, Sinn Fein, (Twitter)

“Meanwhile, it can be revealed Higher Education Minister Simon Harris sought assurances at the last Cabinet meeting that the Government will act sooner on public health advice than it did on Nphet recommendations on Dublin.
“Harris asked for an assurance that if Nphet made a recommendation it would be made quickly so we don’t have a situation like the last week,” a source said.
“We have lost five days in the fight against the virus because they didn’t move and he’s really not happy about it,” the source added.
The source said it is “inexcusable not to act” on public health advice and insisted “speed trumps perfection” when it come to fighting the virus.”….

A senior Cabinet member defended the delay in reacting to the advice by noting that the rise in cases has yet to lead to a significant increase in hospitalisations or deaths.

“Yes, there is an increase but bear in mind during an average flu season there are hundreds of deaths and we don’t get into lockdown,” the source said…..
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/dublin-to-be-cut-off-from-rest-of-country-for-next-three-weeks-as-concerning-trends-emerge-in-three-other-counties-39538525.html

So the government is now finally acting with a sense of urgency:

“Nphet is due to meet at 10am today to discuss the increasing number of new coronavirus cases in Dublin and elsewhere in the country.

The expert health group’s recommendations will then be reviewed by the newly formed Covid-19 Oversight Group chaired by Department of the Taoiseach secretary general Martin Fraser.

Mr Fraser and Nphet’s recommendations will then be forwarded to the Cabinet Committee on Covid-19 which will meet tomorrow morning.

An online Cabinet meeting may be organised later in the afternoon if a decision is taken to introduce new rules for the capital before the weekend.” (Independent)

The R0 number is estimated to be between 1.3 and 1.7; this means exponential growth.

Dan O’Brien is on RTE saying the virus is not growing exponentially. O’Brien, one of Ireland’s many leading economists, also believes that neoliberalism does not exist.

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2. WorldbyStorm - September 17, 2020

How can he believe that to be the case? Truly blind to reality.

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WorldbyStorm - September 17, 2020

“Yes, there is an increase but bear in mind during an average flu season there are hundreds of deaths and we don’t get into lockdown,” the source said…..”

You’d have to wonder. That’s a comment of remarkably stupidity.

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CL - September 17, 2020

Ideologically-induced cognitive impairment.

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3. CL - September 17, 2020

” WHO regional director Hans Kluge said, “Weekly cases have now exceeded those reported when the pandemic first peaked in Europe in March…Last week, the region’s weekly tally exceeded 300,000 patients.”…

Kluge urged “an amplified collective effort by all European member states for the sake of all European member states,” as he addressed the media Thursday.
“The response to the crisis has been very effective whenever the actions were prompt and resolute but the virus has shown (itself to be) merciless whenever partisanship and disinformation prevailed,” he said.
“Where the pandemic goes from here is in our hands. We have fought it back before and we can fight it back again.”
https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/17/europe/coronavirus-europe-who-second-wave-intl/index.html

“Ryanair which is taking a case to the Irish High Court challenging the legality of the quarantine rules, said the aviation and tourism sectors “cannot afford any further delays or indecision.”
The airline has threatened to close bases in the country’s second and third largest airports, Shannon and Cork, for the winter unless restrictions are eased.”
https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2020-09-17/ireland-tightens-covid-19-travel-restrictions-angering-airlines

“Dubliners have been left in a “cruel limbo” by uncertainty around coronavirus restrictions, Mary Lou McDonald has claimed.

The Sinn Féin leader’s comments came after Paschal Donohoe, the finance minister, said there was a “strong possibility” of new restrictions in the capital in the coming days.
“People have lost confidence in your government’s handling of this emergency, not least in Dublin where you have left people hanging in a very cruel limbo,” Ms McDonald said. “People are beside themselves, people whose jobs are hanging in the balance.”
https://www.thetimes.couk/article.dubliners-left-in-cruel-limbo-by-coronavirus-confusion-says-sinn-fein-xcg5g9zc3

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4. benmadigan - September 17, 2020

With regards to Ryanair’s dilemma, they would be much better offering/insisting on the Italian 30 minute test for passengers as they wait to board. Only Covid negative passengers should be allowed on board.
Italians are using it at present to test people arriving in the country- if they are negative, off they go to wherever they had planned; if positive off they go into quarantine. The italian authorities are planning to roll it out for Departures.
Results may not be a world-beating 100%+ accurate but they are accurate enough.

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5. CL - September 18, 2020

“The big difference between the two countries is the speed and scale of the test and tracing system. Around 1.1 million swabs are being processed in Germany every week and some Irish tests are now among that number due to our limited capacity.

A big improvement in the Irish testing system is clearly needed and it should have been in far better shape more than six months after the virus hit the country. Given its continued shortcomings there is probably no option but to put Dublin into the more restrictive Level 3 this weekend with all of the hardship and social dislocation that will entail.”
https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/mixed-messages-and-one-upmanship-within-government-need-to-stop-1.4357682

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6. Pangurbán - September 18, 2020

I see David cullinane is channeling trump in his attitude to the virus.
The Republican Party becomes the publicans party

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WorldbyStorm - September 18, 2020

This?

https://www.msn.com/en-ie/news/other/dublin-lockdown-pubs-and-restaurants-not-the-problem-says-td-who-warns-restrictions-will-worsen-crisis/ar-BB19ak0w

Not great to put it mildly. Not the time to be picking at details as Dublin heads into a soft lockdown.

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CL - September 18, 2020

“How did New York get here from the nightmarish days of April? It’s no mystery: partial herd immunity might be a small factor, but mainly the state did simple, obvious things to limit virus transmission. Bars are closed; indoor dining is still banned. Above all, there’s a face-mask mandate that people generally obey.”-Krugman, NYT.

“Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Wednesday that the prohibition on indoor dining in New York City would be lifted on Sept. 30, giving a boost to the city’s recovery from the pandemic and ending its status as one of the few places in the nation with a ban.
The governor’s decision to allow restaurants to have indoor dining at 25 percent capacity will be a major milestone in the coronavirus crisis in New York City, signaling to tourists and residents that the city is slowly returning to normal….
The move carries substantial financial and health risks for New York, the one-time epicenter of the pandemic, and still home to some of the most stringent regulations regarding the disease, including a 14-day quarantine for visitors from dozens of other states…..
Under the governor’s plan, restaurants will be required to check customers’ temperatures and collect contact information for one person in each party. Diners will be required to wear face coverings when not seated, and bar service will not be allowed. Closing time will be midnight.”

“”Pubs and restaurants are not the problem. They are controlled environments.”- David Cullinane.

Problem is virus transmission cannot be controlled in a pub or restaurant because obviously one cannot wine or dine while wearing a face mask.

“Face masks are emerging as one of the most powerful weapons to fight the new coronavirus, with growing evidence that facial coverings help prevent transmission—even if an infected wearer is in close contact with others.”
https://www.wsj.com/articles/face-masks-really-do-matter-the-scientific-evidence-is-growing-11595083298

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Joe - September 18, 2020

Mary Lou and Louise O’Reilly appear to be doubling down on David Cullinane’s line.
So are SF now the ‘Open the Pubs and Restaurants’ party?
If so, it’ll be the first time in a long time that they’ve taken a risk in putting themselves out there with a controversial line such as this. Wonder how it will play for them?

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WorldbyStorm - September 18, 2020

As CL says, virus transmission can’t be controlled in a pub/restaurant. It’s odd they’re going this route. Be useful to know what the logic behind it is.

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Liberius - September 18, 2020

Given that many of the pubs & restaurants in Ireland are small businesses it isn’t much of a surprise that SF might want to appease them, dare I suggest that this is a deliberate strategy as part of their move to supplant FF, having taken much of their working class urban & rural support what remains outwith the hardcore is their petit bourgeois base, so a “Poujadist” style turn might even, presuming they can hang on to their current voter base, be what turns them into a 30%+ party.

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WorldbyStorm - September 18, 2020

Agreed Liberius. What irks me is there is a strong case to be made re workers in restauarants and pubs and helping them to get through the crisis. But that’s distinct from reopening in the teeth of the virus.

Thought this was good:

https://www.rte.ie/news/newslens/2020/0918/1166020-why-close-pubs-and-restaurants/

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Joe - September 18, 2020

And on New York. They implemented measures, the population largely followed the measures, the virus numbers went significantly down. Now they plan to carefully and cautiously re-open the restaurants and ease other restrictions. In say three months time, will their virus numbers start to rise again? And will they be looking at similar to what’s happening here and in most of the rest of Europe right now?

This virus is some fooker of a yoke.

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CL - September 18, 2020

Possibly, especially as schools reopen shortly. Some parents have chosen the remote learning option for their children, but about 600,000 children will be travelling to school, many using public transportation.

Although, he was a little slow at the beginning, NYS governor, Cuomo is now getting high marks for his management of the pandemic.
A few years ago he was attacking unions.
And…

“An ardent opponent of taxing the rich to fill budget deficits, Cuomo has instead insisted on austerity, threatening massive cuts to public schools across the state…..
extending the 20 percent cut in state aid would have been most devastating for schools serving the working class and poor—which is a particular concern for New York City schools, which represent the poorest students in the state and serve an overwhelmingly nonwhite population”
https://www.thenation.com/article/society/cuomo-school-budget-cuts/

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WorldbyStorm - September 18, 2020

You put your finger on it Joe. It’s like an economist some months ago said, unless the virus is suppressed to negligible levels every time one goes to reopen it will whack the society. That’s a truth that appears very difficult for governments to face.

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Alibaba - September 18, 2020

Good to see that expert medical evidence shows that virus transmission happens when “social settings, including bars and restaurants, drive community transmission”. I agree with a lot of comments made and also detect a desire to ‘appease’ Sinn Féin’s petit bourgeois base by its new approach. Three words spring to mind.

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CL - September 18, 2020

“Questions have been raised as to why restaurants and pubs that serve food might be closed to control outbreaks of Covid-19, when many outbreaks are in private households, and very few confirmed outbreaks have been linked to settings such as pubs and restaurants….
Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the National Public Health Emergency Team’s Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said that the idea that very few cases are connected to such social settings “is misreading and misinterpreting the data on outbreaks and clusters”.

This is where David Cullinane and others are mistaken.

The virus does not spring magically from the walls of houses, but is brought home by family members who have interacted with someone afflicted with the virus.

In an enclosed setting, such as a pub or restaurant, where patrons are not using masks, and social distancing difficult, transmission of the virus is made easy.

Liked by 1 person

7. sonofstan - September 18, 2020

The mixed messaging is at least as bad here. Leeds heading for local lockdown, but really hard to find out what that will mean. Talk of a ‘circuit breaker’, a two week return to a total, national lockdown, as in March/ April/ May, but no confirmation (or denial) for govt.

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WorldbyStorm - September 18, 2020

Am I way off beam here but doesn’t it seem like there’s been a failure of the approaches to date that they might have to revert to a total lockdown? I am much taken by a comment by one PHE person on RTE this week that there’s all manner of plans about levels of alert, but no strategy for what to do in the long term.

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sonofstan - September 18, 2020

Beginning to hear ‘it’ll be over by Christmas’ noises. Led by donkeys indeed.

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WorldbyStorm - September 18, 2020

You’d have to wonder. What is with people?

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