Covid now 6 times more infectious & global pandemic is getting worse – the case for Fortress Aotearoa


The Covid Virus has mutated and is now 6 times more infectious…

Covid 19 coronavirus: Mutant strain ‘six times’ more infectious, scientists say

The worst fears of epidemiologists have been realised: Covid-19 has mutated, and the strain now dominating the world is up to six times more infectious.

New research published in the science journal Cell cites laboratory research as identifying small changes in the proteins that protrude from the surface of the Covid-19 virus. These changes, which have evolved during the past six months, enhance its abilities to jump between humans – but have not increased or reduced its symptoms.

…moving forward we need to appreciate there can be no new ‘normal’. The virus can re-emerge at any time and a heavy handed trace-track-quarantine infrastructure must be in place until a vaccine is available, and I say that acknowledging that there is no certainty of a vaccine nor how we would even manage to roll out what would be the largest mass medication program the planet has ever seen.

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For New Zealand that means the borders must remain shut amputating migrant workers, international students and the tourism industry.

The economic depression this pandemic causes is the second wave of this tsunami after the loss of lives. the Government has protected us from the first, it now must focus on the latter and that will demand a Labour Party brave enough to challenge the sleeping dogs of the neoliberal debate that almost destroyed the Party in the 1980s.

The foundations of the 35 year neoliberal experiment in NZ have been exposed an found to  be cracked to their core, with the climate crisis demanding a radical change, this pandemic is the perfect time to challenge the religious orthodoxy of free market dogma.

Our moat has saved us and our tyranny of distance is our protection. Why the hell would we put at risk our Covid free status so the exploitation of international students, migrant workers and unsustainable hyper tourism can occur again? Why would any of us give up the sudden easing of the gridlock we’ve all suffered under because of hyper tourism? Why allow the Landlords to put their foot back on our throats by allowing International Students and Migrant workers to desperately queue for our rental homes?

Here are some thoughts I have had as to how we keep the country afloat until a vaccine is found (3 years-5 years away).

The new Artistic State – 200 000 Artists:

We used to have an artists benefit, time to bring it back until there’s a vaccine. $490 a week for making art. You would have to bring Art to apply for it and monthly you would need to show what art you’ve made, be it poetry, short stories, painting, music, dancing let’s bring a tsunami of artists into our culture. We know the never ending growth model isn’t sustainable, wouldn’t 200 000 artists be the kind of counter to that zero sum game?

The Artisan economy – tax penalties and tax amnesty:

Allow for domestic manufacturing and design. Allow people to become artisans in the product they are selling. Lower tax penalties and provide a tax amnesty as entrepreneurs get out of their current business model and take the risks to build something new. Glass blowing, Flax weaving, Jewellery, farmers markets – things that will need to get manufactured here because plastic junk in a 2$ shop isn’t sustainable.

Boutique Tourism:

We urgently need to consider a boutique tourism model rather than  hyper tourism. Wealthy tourists who can afford 14 days in mandatory quarantine will pay any price to holiday somewhere there is no plague. We urgently need Government to invest in quarantine venues now.

Free Public Transport:

this would be the single largest reduction we could give poor people while incentivising more Aucklanders to get out of their cars.

200 000 new State Services Jobs:

We currently have 300 000 State service workers, one of the problems of the 35 year neoliberal experiment is no one stopped to reflect on it. Maybe, as has been highlighted by Covid, we need another 200 000 state servants. That’s more teachers, nurses, general staff, seeing as the State will be one of the few employers, we need them to step up.

Amnesty for migrant workers and international students CURRENTLY HERE!

We can’t invite people here under the illusion of citizenship and exploit them and then tell them to bugger off, everyone should have amnesty.

No immigration outside returning citizens and permeant residents:

We should give amnesty to those migrant workers and international students already here, but for everyone else the border remains locked and only brings in Citizens, permanent residents and boutique tourists.

Boutique High Tech Migrant Workers:

We need to see the opportunity of large data companies wanting to move here and actively pursue that.

4 day week & Living Wage:

We have to make all state sector jobs a living wage as well as 4 day working weeks.

Universal Union Membership:

Unions have shown to be the only protection essential workers have, they have proven themselves time and time again as the only protection workers have. It is time to demand universal union membership, no ifs, not buts.

Debt Cancellation from the state:

The beneficiaries locked into debt or the working poor getting fines then can’t pay, or getting loans from State agencies you can’t pay back – that all needs to stop right now.

Enormous increase in prisoner housing for prisoners leaving prison with wrap around services: 

The biggest problem for prisoners is that there is usually no housing for them on release and there isn’t anywhere near enough support when they are first released. We need better housing and better wrap around support services.

GST off fruit and vegetables: 

Just do it already and give poor people some space to breathe.

Free condoms and contraception:

In every Family Planning clinic, high school, local Doctors and Universities.

Free sanitary pads and tampons:

These should be free in every school, uni, doctors or Family Planning Clinic. They should also be free at every workplace.

Lower the voting age to 16:

For God’s sake, they are the ones facing the worst parts of climate change! Alongside a civics course – allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote and watch how quickly Politicians start listening.

Inheritance Tax:

Have to pay for all of this somehow and a 30% inheritance tax is the way to go.

Financial Transaction Tax: 

Need to punish the fast money traders and tax .01 cent on every financial transaction.

State Houses:

Build em, let communities grow roots and allow these people to buy the house themselves from the Government via their welfare payment.

30 000 new State Houses built by a new Ministry of Works Department that can build State Houses.

We allow State Houses for Life so those people can grow deep roots into their community and enjoy stability.

The desperation Landlords use is created by the homeless and the over crowded state housing, if we remove that demand from the bottom the market will have to treat tenants respectfully rather than exploit them.

This election could produce the most progressive Government NZ has ever seen, the time for ideas and how we can reimagine ourselves is crucial work and we have a short period of time to influence.

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  1. A CGT on ‘investment’ properties of at least 50%. Why is this Taboo!? probably because so many are into this get rich by capital gain socially destructive VICE. And the pollies are afraid of the backlash.

  2. I forgot to mention covid19 is a bioweapon.
    How does the coronavirus attack the human body? Scientists reveal the deadly illness kills off lung cells and can cause the immune system to go ‘haywire’

    Pictured: How Covid-19 causes infected human cells to sprout tentacles loaded with viral venom to help it spread around the body in a process scientists call ‘sinister’

    • jay11: “I forgot to mention covid19 is a bioweapon.”

      What do you mean by this?

      The Daily Mail? The Daily Hate, as someone in the UK characterised it some years ago. Not sure how good its reporters’ scientific credentials are. Haven’t yet read either article, but I will do later.

  3. Nine years ago I wrote ‘most of the things people currently take for granted will disappear by 2020’.

    Sorry. I was one year out in my forecast.

    By 2021.

    The good news is, people around here are starting to get it.

    The bad news is, all political parties are still promoting some form of BAU.

    Methinks the shit will really hit the fan about October, when the vast majority will have lost most of their delusions about any kind of return to the gross aberration that postWW2 society amounted to.

    If we are lucky we will be facing life akin to the 1920s (without the roaring). If we are less lucky we will be facing life akin to the 1820s. If we are really unlucky, we will be facing life akin to the Great Depression plus the Second World War times ten plus abrupt climate change that will render many fields of human enterprise unviable.

    No political party is prepared to go public on that kind of reality -planetary meltdown, economic meltdown, financial meltdown, loss of control by central banks and their enablers, maybe even major military conflict- of course. That would ‘scare the horses’ and horrify the international bankers.

    Whatever speculation we might make about the next few years, we can be sure the bubbles that have kept hope in the system alive will burst very soon.

    ‘The extent of the crisis will become much more clear in the next two months to the majority. The result will be civil unrest in the summer, likely followed by extreme poverty levels in the winter. No measure of “reopening” is going to do much to stop the avalanche that has already been started.’T

  4. The enormous and almost unfettered immigration into NZ (and other western democracies) has done more than any other one thing to depress wages and extend the life of the so called neoliberal experiment. Since The Clark government sign the FTA with China, ALL parties have failed NZ by flooding the supply side of labour into NZ to drive wages down and keep the mirage of growth rumbling along. Amongst the worst offenders are the Greens who profess to care for the poor and underemployed yet advocate for increased immigration. This COVID disaster must allow space to discuss this without being shut down as racist or xenophobic – if our politicians truely cared about lifting wages to a living standard (like the 50’s and 60’s) the fastest way to achieve this would be reduce the over supply of labour and invest in training those who have been lucky to be born here.

  5. So you are suggesting we go back to the Glide Time era of state workers keeping their seat warm and rising through the ranks by not causing any ripples by calling out waste of money or time . There would be no need for inheritance tax as we would all just be surviving as what is the point of being innovative and work hard to get ahead . It does not seem like much fun to me .

    • Money is not the only incentive used in many communities. It may be a matter of learning another set of values that a changed community accepts. Dog eat dog is so wasteful.

  6. Re: State Houses – These need to be “Green”.
    And, amazingly the Greens have now begun the move in that direction! (Finally!)
    Here is the link: Green Party Wants Solar Panels for State Homes

    As part of the plan, the Greens want to upgrade all 63,000 social and community homes with solar panels and back-up batteries, to save on power bills and enable them to share clean energy with their neighbours.

    The grants would be delivered in partnership with existing solar companies and not-for-profit energy organisations.

    The party policy stated the rooftops of state homes were an untapped opportunity to create free electricity from the sun. They could become virtual power plants, sharing clean energy, saving households thousands of dollars each year.

    The plan also includes a Government grant to halve the price of installing solar in privately-owned homes, and offer grants and low-interest loans for businesses to transition. More at the link

    Now if they would only include rainwater tanks for backup, and NZ wool for insulation..

    • Green houses are built with minimum or heating needed utilising the sun to heat up- thermal mass.
      Earth houses have been used for many thousands of years and require no cement
      A recent aberration is houses built with bales of selected straw.
      A thatched roof was a standard method of keeping house dry and helped cooling in Summer while the thermal mass held heat for the night.

      Some of these methods are currently being used and while cheaper than conventional housing they are much kinder to the environment.
      Tanks for water storage now days tend to be plastic so older methods could be used such as wooden tanks or covered communal ponds clay pugged with sheep’s feet.

      Firewood will probably be an essential resource to have locally and it will need to be carefully managed.

      Solar panels pretty much assume some BAU will be on the cards and batteries are another assumption. Some ingenuity may be needed in this area but no electricity over some areas may be a reality.,
      Loss of the internet will be very restricting as to exchange of ideas and communication but we have been there before.
      The shape of communities will likely change.

  7. This is as good starting program as far as it goes.
    But it needs to point towards a post-capitalist society.
    State houses should be state houses and not able to be privately owned. This stops the rot that private ownership is the way to run an equitable society.
    An inheritance tax to pay for it will be evaded.
    Wealth should be redistributed at source so that inheritance is a non-issue.
    Income should be taxed equitably on a progressive scale.
    A Land Tax is necessary to target the unproductive appropriation of land values arising from white settler colonisation and ending an economy that is based on land speculation.
    On top of this we need a transitional program for a sustainable post-capitalist society where we collectively own the means of production.
    This has to happen in order for us to survive climate change.
    Transitional demands preparing the way for post-capitalist society would include:
    Stop subsidising private industry!
    Stop justifying it to create jobs where workers make all the profits!
    The money already used to bail out private companies should be converted to equity and these companies administered by their employees so they convert to carbon free.
    New sustainable industries must be set up and run by their employees.
    Public works for a green clean economy will create full employment.
    All failing multinationals like Rio Tinto should be nationalised without compensation. Kiwis workers have been making its profits and paying for its losses for years.
    All the Australian/US owned banks NZ assets should be nationalised without compensation and their assets held by the Reserve Bank.
    This would mean that most farmers would have no-interest loans and mortgages.
    Where Maori claims on private land exist, private owners would be induced to release their title.
    This would create a transitional mixed society where the state would steer the economy and nationalise all private companies that are not sustainable into state ownership.
    Ownership by the capitalist state would be still operating within a local and global capitalist market that is largely hostile to a carbon free economy, but one that is now ‘corrected’ and ‘insulated’ from destruction on the basis of popular democratic decisions on how the economy must be run.
    This transitional economy would grow in influence by opening up to similar countries that agree to participate such as the South Pacific islands states that are already covid free.
    The success of this transition would create the conditions for socialisation of the means of production in the future under a workers’ government and workers’ state.
    As a transitional program, this is necessary for our survival. It is unlikely that it would be put into effect short of a social revolution.
    The only way to see what is possible, is to do what is necessary!

    • The Govt should own all land.
      Kirk looked at this and the writings of Henry George.
      There are many benefits for all.

  8. Excellent article Martyn Bradbury;

    We look forward to see you discussing this new evidence of the Covid 19 being mutated into a more deadly virus as we alll though this would happen as Virus’s always try to ‘habitat more easy hosts’.

    So we are really in trouble and this comes at the same time as global scientists also release more
    danger ahead here; – “The World Meteorological Organisation says there’s a growing chance that global temperatures will break the 1.5C threshold over the next five years, compared to pre-industrial levels”.

    See full article (Below) released two days ago on the BBC news.

    The World Meteorological Organisation says there’s a growing chance that global temperatures will break the 1.5C threshold over the next five years, compared to pre-industrial levels.
    It says there’s a 20% possibility the critical mark will be broken in any one year before 2024.
    But the assessment says there’s a 70% chance it will be broken in one or more months in those five years.
    Scientists say that keeping below 1.5C will avoid the worst climate impacts.

    The target was agreed by world leaders in the 2015 Paris climate accord accord.
    They committed to pursue efforts to try to keep the world from warming by more than 1.5C this century.
    This new assessment, carried out by the UK’s Met Office for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), says there’s a growing chance that this level will be breached.
    Researchers say that the Earth’s average annual temperature is already more than 1C higher than it was in the 1850s – and will probably stay around this level over the next five years.

    Some parts of the world will feel this rising heat more than others, with the scientists saying that the Arctic will probably warm by twice the global average this year.
    They also predict that over the coming five years there will be more storms over western Europe thanks to rising sea levels.
    “The WMO has repeatedly stressed that the industrial and economic slowdown from Covid-19 is not a substitute for sustained and co-ordinated climate action,” said Prof Petteri Taalas, the WMO’s secretary general.
    “Due to the very long lifetime of CO2 in the atmosphere, the impact of the drop in emissions this year is not expected to lead to a reduction of CO2 atmospheric concentrations which are driving global temperature increases.

    “Whilst Covid-19 has caused a severe international health and economic crisis, failure to tackle climate change may threaten human well-being, ecosystems and economies for centuries. Governments should use the opportunity to embrace climate action as part of recovery programmes and ensure that we grow back better,” he said.
    If the 1.5C threshold is broken in one of the coming years, the experts stress it won’t mean the targets are invalid.
    However it will, once again, underline the urgency of significant emissions cuts to prevent a long-term move to this more dangerous, warmer world.

    See full article (Below) released two days ago on the BBC news.

    • ” 2 C CROSSED
      It’s time to stop denying how precarious
      the situation is. It was already more than
      1.5C above pre-industrial when the Paris
      Agreement was reached. Meanwhile, we
      have also crossed 2C. The temperature
      rise looks set to rapidly drive humans

      and eventually most if not all species on
      Earth into extinction. Yet, our politicians still refuse to act! ”
      The Paris Agreement is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, dealing with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance, signed in 2016

  9. On the matter of the virulence of the coronavirus and extraordinary difficulty humans have in dealing with it, it now seems that immunity is very short-lived. That implies faith in a vaccine should be tempered with a good dose of reality, i.e. there may well never be a vaccine for the currently out-of-control-in-most-of-the-world coronavirus, and even if there is, it may well be superceded by rapid mutation of the virus.

    ‘Immunity to Covid-19 could be lost in months, UK study suggests

    Exclusive: King’s College London team found steep drops in patients’ antibody levels three months after infection’

  10. On the matter of ‘the case for Fortress Aotearoa’ and ‘We won’t return to normality because normality was the problem’, I first used the analogy of the Titanic in the year 2000, when I commenced writing my first book highlighting the ‘terrifying truth about the global economy’. I likened our predicament to being on board the Titanic, headed at full speed towards the iceberg, with the steering firmly locked in position and the captain determined to not change course or reduce speed.

    Well, we hit the iceberg in 2008, (arguably in 2001) and since then the ship’s pumps have been working hard to keep the Titanic afloat.

    It was around 2014 that I realised the futility of trying to alert the captain, crew and passengers to the need have lifejackets and to launch lifeboats: they all firmly believed the ship was unsinkable, and there was no need for lifejackets or lifeboats. Even as water was entering the hull, they remained firmly locked into denial of reality and believed the watertight bulkheads would prevent sinking.

    Around 9 months ago, when the US repo market ‘blew up’ the pumps were set to a higher speed. And since the coronavirus started to really bite (around 2 months ago) the pumps have been set on full speed. But they are losing the battle.

    And so now, as the Titanic starts to seriously list and passengers on the lower decks start to drown (being Third Class), I find it fascinating that the Titanic analogy is becoming widely used.

    …’The glancing blow that ruptured the Titanic’s hull over a distance of roughly 250 feet (out of a full length of 882 feet) and admitted water into six of her compartments sealed her fate.
    Considerable hullabaloo attended the attempt in the summer of 1996 to raise a piece of the hull from the debris field, but far more interesting was the ultrasound investigation of the area of the bow damaged by the iceberg. These images revealed six small tears or openings affecting the first six compartments. Just as we had surmised in 1986, the great gash was a myth and the actual openings into the ship seem to have been the result of rivets popping and hull plates separating.
    This offers a very powerful analogy to the fatal damage inflicted on our financial system by an apparently “glancing blow” with the pandemic shutdown. Just as the Titanic was mortally wounded not by great tears in its hull but by the buckling of steel hull plates, so the U.S. (and thus global) financial system is sinking from similarly “glancing” blows.

    The actual damage could have been contained–do you sense another analogy about to surface?– had the fifth watertight bulwark–shall we call it “the bulwark against systemic failure”?– extended a few decks higher. But inexplicably, this watertight barrier did not extend as high as the other watertight bulkheads.

    Though the water gushing through a three-foot gash in the forward engine room was held back by the ship’s great pumps, as the bow sank lower then water seeped over the fifth watertight bulkhead and gushed into the boiler room, extinguishing the fires that powered the pumps.
    This generated a feedback loop: the higher the water rose, the more boilers were extinguished and the less power was available to the pumps.

    And so against all “rational odds,” the ship’s apparently minor structural design flaw led to its inevitable loss as the mighty pumps lost their battle against the rising water.
    To all the “experts,” the risk of collision with an iceberg were considered low, while the risk of catastrophic damage were considered essentially zero. Hmm, does that remind you of our financial system circa September 2019, just as the great U.S. economy’s hull was buckling?

    Now we have the Great Pumps of Federal Reserve money-printing and Stimulus, which in a close analogy are pumping trillions of dollars into the sinking U.S. economy. But just as the engines of the Titanic lost power as the water extinguished the boilers supplying steam to the engines, so the stimulus is only keeping the rising water temporarily at bay– it is not actually saving the “engines” of the economy from sputtering.

    And what are those engines?

    1. Debt, which must increase to fuel spending, income and thus taxes

    2. Rising assets, which provide the basis for ever-more borrowing

    3. Government borrowing, which enables government spending to keep rising without regard to actual tax revenues or the health of those being taxed

    4. Rising employment as vast borrowing and spending creates new jobs

    The ice-cold water is splashing into each of these engines. As assets fall then there is simply no foundation (collateral) to support more borrowing. As debt is paid down rather than expanded, then spending falls. As spending falls, so do revenues, profits and employment, all of which crimp tax revenues.

    The last engine is government borrowing. To those still standing on the sloping deck, cheering the “good news” of Big Tech’s meteoric ascent to the heavens of bubble overvaluation, this seems like the engine which can never be extinguished. Through thick and thin the Federal government and the state and local governments (via muni bonds) have been able to borrow and spend stupendous sums seemingly without consequence.

    The demise of this last great engine will surprise as many as the sinking of the Titanic did, but it is as inevitable as the sinking of the great ship. The pumps can only hold the water back for a while, but the Stimulus magic will expire sooner than anyone imagines.

    As the government scrambles to find buyers for endless trillions in new U.S. bonds (and trillions more in new corporate debt, new mortgages, new consumer debt, student loans, new muni debt, etc.) then interest rates will rise and the great engine of ever-greater debt will hiss and sigh as the water rises and then go silent and cold.’…

    Full article here:

    The Zero Hedge link has a nice cartoon.

    • It has been suggested by fairly recent research that the titanic went to sea with an out of control fire in a coal bunker and that added to the rupture of the hull and loss of bulkheads.
      Which all fits your analogy well.

      Billionaires to the lifeboats first of course like parasitic fleas leaving a dying host.

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