Thursday, May 28, 2020

Australia 'has BEATEN coronavirus': Top health official says a second wave of COVID-19 is unlikely as transmission rates plunge to nearly zero - with just 30 patients in hospital nationwide

The chance of a second wave of COVID-19 in Australia this year is unlikely, according to one of the country's top health officials, as transmission rates fall to nearly zero.

New South Wales chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant told state politicians the ban on international travel and the state's grasp of social distancing meant it was well placed to stem further outbreaks of the virus and prevent a second wave.

There is just one coronavirus patient in intensive care across the state - and only five nationwide as of Tuesday. A total of 30 COVID-19 patients remain in hospital across the country.

In the private briefing, Dr Chant conceded NSW's ability to prevent a second wave would rely on widespread adherence to social distancing rules.

It comes as the state looks to June 1 for the next stage of restriction easing - with beauty salons and nail bars set to re-open and regional travel permitted.

'The policy for how to deal with a second wave is that we'll evaluate it at the time,'  an MP close to the meeting told The Australian.

'[Dr Chant's] message was: It's very possible to contain all this ­because we don't have the inter­nationals coming in, and we have good social distancing and hygiene­ practices.'

There were only two new cases of COVID-19 in NSW recorded in the 24 hours to Monday.

There are 7,133 cases of the coronavirus nationally since the outbreak began, but just 478 of those are still active. 

Six million people have downloaded the government's coronavirus tracking app less than a month after its launch, helping authorities trace contacts of any diagnosed cases. 

It follows Premier Daniel Andrews announcing the new 'COVID normal' in Victoria ahead of the loosening of restrictions on June 1.

People in the state will kick off winter being able to enjoy meals with friends at home, attend weddings, swim at pools or even get tattoos, as long as there's no more than 20 people. 

The number will also mark the number of people allowed at weddings, while up to 50 people will be able to attend funerals.

'The rules that accompany that opening up will be with us for a long time,' Mr Andrews told reporters.

'This is a COVID normal, this is not a return to business a usual.'

Victoria's reopening will see 20 people allowed to visit libraries and other community facilities, entertainment and cultural venues, as well as beauty and personal care services.

The start of the coldest season will also include a lifeline for the tourism industry as overnight stays in hotels will be permitted.

Campgrounds will be open for those eager to pitch their tents, but not their communal facilities like kitchens or bathrooms.



Conservatives, save the economy by fighting liberal lies online

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages and the economic fallout of the widespread lockdowns continues to harm the livelihoods of millions of people, the November elections are rapidly approaching. In just six months, Republicans will attempt to retake the House of Representatives, retain their majority in the Senate, and ensure that President Trump serves an additional four years in the White House.

This uncertainty has greatly affected the political landscape. In recent months, left-wing groups such as MoveOn and Indivisible have utilized the grassroots playbook of the Tea Party movement following the election of President Barack Obama in 2008. In their attempt to rally their supporters, liberals absurdly claim the lives lost due to COVID-19 and the unprecedented economic suffering are a manifestation of conservative, free market policies.

Such statements are riddled with factual inaccuracies and outright falsehoods. However, they have successfully energized the Democratic base.

For instance, Democratic incumbents in the “dirty 30” congressional districts, districts that voted for Trump in 2016 and elected a Democrat to the House in 2018, have outraised their Republican challengers by a ratio of 6-to-1. Additionally, groups such as MoveOn have experienced a dramatic growth in funding and an expansion of their activist base.

At a time when more than one-third of adults are increasing their time on social media, conservatives must use the digital sphere to cut through leftist falsehoods. To combat the fabrications of liberal activists, it is imperative to communicate a message of liberty.

Free market grassroots activists are fighting against left-wing disinformation. They are as engaged as ever and will be critical to victory. Through recruiting thousands of new activists and expanding its online presence, FreedomWorks and allied free market groups within the Save Our Country Coalition are emphasizing the importance of individual liberty and free enterprise in solving this crisis. Economic conservatives should take note. The GOP will need to look outside its typical base and make the winning argument to anyone who values a healthy economy.

The underlying message in countering the liberal narrative must be that free enterprise, which has done more to advance human prosperity than any economic system in history, will allow the economy to come roaring back. It is not Trump or Republicans that have fomented financial collapse but Democrats, who maintain that an indefinite national shutdown is the only solution. To emerge from this crisis stronger than we entered it, we must unleash the free market and lift draconian restrictions on individual freedom.

It is no surprise that the pandemic has been politicized by shameless Democrats and left-wing groups. Now, supporters of small government must fight back. A compelling argument that reaches groups outside the typical GOP base will be key to securing a victory for the free market and therefore a strong economy this November.



Two Billionaires Demonstrate the Limits of Money in Elections

Two and a half weeks after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) slammed Michael Bloomberg for trying to "buy this election," the former New York City mayor left the presidential race, having spent $570 million of his own money to win 58 delegates—3 percent of the number needed to secure the Democratic nomination. Tom Steyer, the other billionaire in the race, did even worse, abandoning his campaign after spending more than $250 million and earning zero delegates.

Those spectacular failures should give pause to the politicians and activists who think money poses such a grave threat to democracy that the Constitution must be amended to authorize limits on campaign spending. Bloomberg and Steyer—who outspent former Vice President Joe Biden by factors of more than eight and nearly four, respectively—demonstrated that no amount of money can buy victory for candidates who fail to persuade voters.

Bloomberg's unprecedented ad blitz seemed to be effective at first, boosting his standing in national polls from around 3 percent in November to as high as 19 percent by early March. But when push came to shove, Democrats keen to replace President Donald Trump did not buy Bloomberg's argument that he was the man to do it.

The arrogance reflected by Bloomberg's strategy of skipping the early contests and debates, flooding the airwaves and internet with ads, and swooping in to rescue a party he had joined the year before launching his campaign probably helps explain why primary voters found him so unappealing. His disastrous performance during his first debate surely didn't help, and neither did his wooden demeanor or the generally uninspiring vibe of his TV spots, which one Democratic strategist described as "mediocre messaging at massive scale."

Steyer, a hedge fund manager who had previously spent many millions of his personal fortune to support losing Democratic candidates, saw almost no return on his investment in his own campaign. After polling at 0 percent last July, he climbed to 1 percent before dropping out in February.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that caps on campaign spending violate the First Amendment. Yet Democratic legislators are so obsessed with the supposedly corrupting impact of money in politics that they're ready to authorize such restrictions by fundamentally rewriting free speech law, as a proposed constitutional amendment—backed by every Democrat in the Senate and more than nine out of 10 Democrats in the House—would do.

Contrary to the fears underlying that illiberal initiative, voters are perfectly capable of rejecting even the most powerfully amplified messages. Just ask Bloomberg and Steyer.




And not a moment too soon: FBI director orders internal review of bureau's handling of Michael Flynn investigation (National Review)

Republican says Flynn judge may have "conflict of interest" after hiring personal attorney (Washington Examiner)

Trump announces that houses of worship are "essential," calls on governors to open them up (Fox News)

Trump threatens to move GOP convention over North Carolina's coronavirus restrictions (The Hill)

Dr. Anthony Fauci — previously a big advocate for lockdowns — now says extended stay-home orders could cause "irreparable damage" (Fox News)

Richard Grenell stepping down as ambassador to Germany following DNI stint (Fox News)

Mike Pompeo condemns China's Hong Kong law as "death knell" for freedoms (BBC)

U.S. threatens to impose sanctions on China over Hong Kong crackdown (Washington Examiner)

Thirty-five percent of patients are asymptomatic, CDC says (

U.S. plans massive coronavirus vaccine testing effort to meet year-end deadline (Reuters)

South America a new epicenter; Africa reaches 100,000 cases (Reuters)

Trump suspends travel from Brazil (CNBC)

Republicans sue to stop Governor Gavin Newsom from sending mail-in ballots to all California voters (Washington Examiner)

Federal judge rules Florida felons don't have to pay fines before registering to vote (Washington Examiner)

Mississippi church that defied coronavirus restrictions is burned to the ground (The New York Times)

Lockdowns prompt raft of lawsuits against states (USA Today)

These are the most illogical COVID restrictions still in place (The Daily Caller)

Most Americans say they would pay more for products not made in China (

Biden offshore drilling ban would kill 200,000 jobs, oil lobby says (Washington Examiner)

NASA astronauts go back to the future with capsule launch (AP)

Policy: U.S. Postal Service needs to get a grip on package pricing (Issues & Insights)


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

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