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Everything posted by lewelma

  1. 2 days now of no community spread in NZ. All cases from yesterday and today were in households of positive cases, where all household members were isolated and never in the community. Auckland's lockdown has been extended for 7 days to ensure full elimination.
  2. They are making it as simple as possible for people. They post the locations of interest online and the TV news programs run the list (which reminds me of listening to the radio in the morning to hear if my school was closed for snow LOL). Then, if you were in any of the locations during the time noted, you call Healthline. They assess if you are a close or very close contact and give you the legal instructions for testing and isolation. It is under a Health Order by the Director General of Public Health, so it is a legal requirement to do what they say.
  3. They changed the system with delta. Basically the close contacts are now very close contacts and the casual plus contacts are now close contacts. They did this to bring more people into the legal testing and isolation requirements. So my understanding is that this is the new terminology they are using in their daily standups: People who are identified as Very Close Contacts may live, work or have been in the same place at the same time as someone who is infectious with COVID-19 e.g. they have may travelled on a plane or attend the same school as someone who is a positive COVID-19 case. Close Contacts have been in the same place (Location of Interest) at the same time, near someone infectious with COVID-19. ----- So there were 38,000 people who have been in the locations of interest, but they said yesterday that they weren't getting it. You need more direct exposure, like sitting next to a positive case. Some of these places of interest, however, were huge. Like a 100 person lecture hall, they put all 100 people on the close contact list, even if they were across the room. They spread the net wide to make sure they got Every. Single,.Case. The goal is elimination, not suppression.
  4. Interesting bit of detail that has come out today. Apparently 16% of all close contacts only test positive on day 12. I was surprised that it was so high. But given that statistic, they are expecting 50 more cases from the known household exposure events. One more bit of data, apparently there has not been a single positive case from the 'close contact' list. This was the very very wide net the spread which included 38,000 people. All of our cases have come from the 'very close contact' list. So contagious, but not crazy so.
  5. 25 years ago, our upstairs friend/neighbor was moving state, and came to us with a massive bag of pot that he couldn't take across state lines. Did we want it? Well, we were not the smoking type, but we were so stunned, that we said sure. It was like a pound of weed. It was a huge bag. We figured that we would pass it on to someone else who would really appreciate it. Well, within 2 months, my dh was transferred to NZ, and now we were in the same situation that our friend had been, but we didn't have the guts to offer it to anyone. We were just too chicken. So.... What to do?!?! Where to put it?!?!? We were in an old apartment building that had fireplaces that no longer worked (closed chimneys) which we kept candles in. But the flu still opened. So we opened it, stuffed it up, and closed it quickly before the bag fell out. I assume that someone in the last 25 years has opened that flu, and I bet they were very surprised. 🙂
  6. Fair. The stringency index for NZ has 3 humps that are 2/3rds height, which happened when only Auckland was in lockdown and the rest of the country was completely free (as in 40K person events still happening without masks). I just thought it was an interesting graph. 🙂 But I think that the biggest difference is just that NZ came second with its delta outbreak, so could learn from Australia's successes and failures. No government knows what will work until they try it, so being second was a massive advantage.
  7. Here in NZ, marriage often happens as a celebration of 20+ years of being partners. It happens in general *after* the children have left the home. The public health care, social/separation policies, and the secular nature of society means that there is no incentive and no benefits to marriage. It is just not a cultural norm here any more. Even the prime minister of NZ who has just had a baby is not married to her long term partner.
  8. Summary from the guardian today on the NZ response. My impression is that we are very lucky to have 1) a government that is listening to the scientists, and 2) a government that can convince its people to agree to its policies. 3) the Pacifica Assembly of God community that is working hard to control the biggest cluster (half of the outbreak). https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/11/against-all-odds-how-new-zealand-is-bending-the-delta-curve
  9. My guess is that the long tail is going to be long, as in 2 months long. As for our lockdown, Level 4 lockdown means you cannot go to work, schools are closed, and essential workers include food and medical. Everything else is closed. Hopefully, on Monday, they will feel like things are under control enough for Auckland that they will begin the reopen to start Wednesday. This would allow tradies to go to work, and restaurant take aways. But not much else. Schools still closed, all people still working from home. The rest of NZ is out of lockdown, so it is pretty hard on Auckland. I've found the graphing site on stringency index comparing NZ to Australia to USA. We go harder, but for a shorter period of time.Then we have full freedoms. Our level 4 lockdown is supposed to be one of the strictest in the world. https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/covid-stringency-index?tab=chart&country=AUS~NZL~USA
  10. These are my course descriptions for 9 to 12. Yes, I included all the resources we used. However, my son was applying to elite universities and for scholarships, so this is likely overkill for most schools. Where he used an online school to help with writing, I listed it as a blended course because we did way way more on our own. I also listed any official exams he took that related to the course. This boy was a massive reader, so I just chose to list it all, and put books into the years that they best fit even if they were read in a different year. I simply said in my transcript that "courses were listed in the year that the majority of the work was completed". And sorry the formatting got mucked up when I copied it in..... 19th-Century American and British Literature. (1 credit) This course covered American and British literature from the 19th century, with a focus on Gothic literature of the Victorian period including the differing approaches to gruesome, psychological, and supernatural horror. Course goals included familiarity with poetic and literary elements, the informal fallacies, and genres and themes. The course also focused on how to critically analyze essays with various patterns of development including narration, description, analogy, cause and effect, definition, and comparison essays. The course had a strong composition component focusing on analytical and persuasive essays. Textbooks: Supernatural Horror in Literature, by Howard Lovecraft The Art of Argument: an Introduction to the Informal Fallacies, by Aaron Larsen Common threads: Core Readings by Method and Theme, by Ellen Repetto Literary analysis provided by introductions to each Penguin Classic edition Texts: Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley Dracula, by Bram Stoker Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte The Picture of Dorian Grey, by Oscar Wilde The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexane Dumas Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens Moby Dick, by Herman Melville The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain Late Victorian Gothic Tales, by various authors Selected short stories, by Edgar Allan Poe All short stories, by Howard Lovecraft Selected poems, by Emily Dickinson 20th-Century American and British Literature. (Blended course: Te Kura & self-study, 1 credit) This course covered American and British literature of the 20th Century with a focus on postmodern literature and its literary response to historical events and previous movements such as modernism. This course also analyzed rhetorical devices in academic writing using They Say, I Say, with a focus on how to integrate an argument within the larger context of what others have written. This course had a strong composition component focusing on response, expository, and research papers. The composition instruction was provided through Te Kura and satisfied the New Zealand 11th-grade English requirement. NCEA Level 2 exams and assessments: 14 NZ credits achieved with excellence Textbooks: They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, by Gerald Graff The Lively Art of Writing, by Lucile Payne Literary analysis provided by introductions to each Penguin Classic edition Texts: 1984, by George Orwell Titus Groan, by Mervyn Peake Catch 22, by Joseph Heller Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien Cold Comfort Farm, by Stella Gibbons Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, by John le Carré Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell House of Leaves, by Mark Danielewski The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton Solaris, by Stanislaw Lem Science Fiction Hall of Fame, edited by Silverberg Selected short stories, by F. Scott Fitzgerald Selected short stories, by Ernest Hemingway Russian Literature. (Blended course: Te Kura and self-study, 1 credit) This course covered seminal Russian literature with the goal of identifying themes, ideas, and cultural contexts. Discussions focused on philosophical concepts such as free will, nihilism, and Freudian psychology, as well as dealing with questions such as the nature of historical evidence and the degree to which objectivity is possible. The course also contained a unit focused on the critical reading of classic and modern essays and the how each author built a persuasive argument. This course had a strong composition component including expository, analytical, and narrative essays with a focus on audience and purpose. The composition instruction was provided through Te Kura in preparation for NCEA Level 3 credits in 12th grade. Textbooks: The Hedgehog and the Fox, by Isaiah Berlin The Art of Reading, by The Great Courses and Timothy Spurgin Literary analysis provided by introductions to each Penguin Classic edition Texts: The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov Selected short stories, by Nikolai Gogol Selected short stories, by Anton Chekhov World Literature – NCEA Level 3. (Blended course: Te Kura and self-study, 1 credit) This course focused on World Literature and featured representative works from various genres and periods. It examined how conventions and themes vary throughout the history of the novel, drama, and poetry; and how historical, literary, and personal contexts influenced each author. The course also compared and contrasted various productions of the same Shakespearean play to identify and appreciate different dramatic interpretations. This course had a strong composition component including analytical and expository essays, oral presentations, and a research paper. The composition instruction was provided through Te Kura and satisfied the New Zealand 12th grade English requirement. NCEA Level 3 exams and assessments: 6 NZ credits achieved with excellence. 4 NZ credits in progress Textbooks: Perrine’s Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense, by Thomas Arp Literary analysis provided by introductions to each Penguin Classic edition. Texts: Candide, by Voltaire Faust, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck The Stranger, by Albert Camus The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway Slaughterhouse 5, by Kurt Vonnegut Labyrinth, by Jorge Luis Borges 100 years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, by Italio Calvino Film adaptations: The Tempest, by William Shakespeare Hamlet, by William Shakespeare 12th Night, by William Shakespeare Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare A Midsummer Night’s dream, by William Shakespeare As You Like It, by William Shakespeare Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare Henry V, by William Shakespeare Othello, by William Shakespeare
  11. They have said that there will be ups and downs here in the tail, and that these higher numbers were due to the day 5 and day 12 tests that were required from past locations of interest (5 and 12 days ago obviously). However, most of the people were identified a long time ago as close contacts and required to isolate until after a negative result from the day 12 test, so were not wandering around in the community. But keep in mind that Auckland is at level 4 lockdown, so even if some of these positive cases were in the community, they would have limited interaction with people (grocery store, chemist, medical care, and that's it) and all of them masked as is now required by law. No press conference today or tomorrow, so we will know more on Monday when they will also decide on Auckland's fate. .
  12. I feel kind of yucky posting this given what Aus is experiencing, but NZ is down to 11 cases today with 10 already in MIQ because they were household contacts, and only 1 positive person who was in the community. All waste water is clear, and testing numbers are high. We appear to be in the long tail. They are still tracking 38000 contacts who are being contacted daily by the now 1700 contact tracers. Very close contacts are either in MIQ or having all food/supplies delivered by government services so they don't have to leave their home. It looks like they've actually conquered this outbreak. I'm very impressed. We have had 860 cases, and they are down to 1 in the community. Just Wow.
  13. Down to 12 today (9 were household contacts), and we just scored 250,000 doses from Spain.
  14. As a population dynamics modeller in my past life, I can tell you that the modelling of this situation is incredibly complex, and I am not even sure that the math has been created to deal with it. The problem is that the data is a time series, so there is a time delay on all causes. But the bigger problem is the patchiness in time and space in how the virus spreads. Patchy in time because people's behaviour changes based on weather, advice, personal risk decisions, and patch in space due to both the rural/urban divide, and even more serious from the point of view of the modeller is the patchiness of human interaction, where the virus can spread through your friend group quite quickly, but then stall because your friend group has limited interaction with other groups. This is overlaid with the immigration/emmigration of the virus between groups in space and time. And of course the data *collected* does not have enough sensitivity of all these variables to actually represent the true situation. Huge numbers of cases are not documented, and the patchiness in space and time would vary depending on both the macro and micro culture of your geographical area and your social group. Basically, it is unmodel-able. Which is why you see models/explanations that are crap, because that is the best they can do.
  15. So press conference today said that of the 20 cases yesterday, 16 were household contacts (8 from one family) and already isolating, and 4 had been in the community. But because Auckland is at level 4 lockdown, they had to be wearing masks, and there was no where to go but the grocery store. So the government is really hammering this thing down fast given that the total is 840 cases and we are only on day 19. It also appears that they have secured more vaccine to patch the 2 week gap. They are going door to door in some regions. They won't name a figure, but some health commentators are saying 85-90% is the likely goal.
  16. They are pretty confident that they can eliminate delta in Auckland, but there certainly is still risk. There is also risk at the border from Auckland to the rest of NZ. Essential workers (like drivers) that have to cross the border are being required to test weekly, but there are about 3000 of them, and it only takes one. Keep in mind that this outbreak of 800+ cases was due to ONE person wandering around the city for ONE week. Clearly there were some super spreader events, but that is seriously still a LOT of spread from a single person in 7 days. So if that happens with a border worker, we could have a mess outside of Auckland pretty quickly. Our vaccination rate is majorly fast as in 10% of the population per week which they have said is the fastest seen anywhere in the world, but we are out of vaccine in 8 days unless they can get an extra shipment. The surge in interest means that they have a 2 week gap in supply. If it comes to it, they will take from the rest of the country and send everything we have to Auckland.
  17. I also think risk assessment depends on how much you want to avoid covid. My 78 year old Aunt is currently on an RV tour of the USA and wanted to swing by my parent's house for a visit. My dad said NO. My dad is healthy and has at least 20 good years left, he also needs to take care of my mom with alzeheimers, and takes this responsibility very seriously. However, my aunt is in terrible health, and likely only has 2 good years left for travelling. She is unwilling to give that up to avoid covid, because if she doesn't have fun now, she likely won't be able to ever again before she dies. So my dad with good health is way way more careful than my aunt with bad health.
  18. My sister is a teacher and she feels as you, that she already has a LOT of risk due to her job. Lots of kids in a closed space all day long. She does not want MORE risk. Your risk assessment is sound. If you were an isolated-at-home writer, and then once a month went to a 30 person indoor gathering to read poetry, that would be less exposure than daily lecturing to large groups of students in an indoor hall. It makes sense to evaluate your background risk as higher than others, which unfortunately impacts your choice of activities during your free time.
  19. And just a little bit of good news in this otherwise miserable pandemic, NZ is lifting its lockdown tomorrow with the exception of Auckland. There have been 0 cases for 14 days everywhere but Auckland. We will be at max gathering of 50 unless outside and then it is 100. And there is a mask mandate for all indoor venues except schools. Scanning in to indoor venues is now mandated rather than voluntary. All other activities are allowed with no restrictions.
  20. This is so hard, and I totally get it. My mother has alzheimers and I haven't been able to go back to see her for 2 years now, and soon to be 3. She can't seem to really talk on the phone, and by the time I see her in person again, she will be a shell of woman I love. I can't go back, because if I do, I can't get back into NZ as quarantine was full and is now closed.
  21. Down to 20. Crossing fingers.
  22. Down to 28 cases today. So something like 65, 84,87,49,48,72,49,28 for the daily numbers for the last week. Of the 49 yesterday, 50% were family members (most of whom are in MIQ or completely self isolating and having food brought to them), and 30% were known close contacts in isolation. So we are only really tracking 10 people in the community. Crossing fingers that Auckland can maintain the course. Also, for a country that has never had masks (we eliminated back before masks were a thing), my city (which has no community cases) has had about 95% mask wearing. I would say 1 in 20 or even 1 in 50 are not wearing them in the city. And this is just a 'please do' and not a mandate. So lots of compliance here. I will also have a shout out to the Pacifica community who has borne the brunt of this outbreak. The Auckland Pacifica Assembly of God Church has done an amazing job getting everyone tested and isolated. Without their help and compliance, there would be no way to beat this thing.
  23. NZ modelling says our r value is currently under 1. We will see if it is possible to control it. Crossing fingers. They are trying to secure more vaccine this month because of the massive surge in demand. But if they can't, they are going to prioritize Auckland and take from other regions. Next planned big shipment is due Oct 1, and at the current rate, we run out Sept 20.
  24. There is also a strong probability that the current outbreak is due to outside exposure (although somewhat enclosed - no walls but an Atrium roof). The case was in the quarantine hotel, and all the border workers (who are all vaccinated and wear full PPE) have tested negative. There is no one else in the country with the variant earlier than this guy -- he has to be the index case. There is a walkway near the quarantine facility atrium that the public uses. Although they have tracked down half of the people they knew used the walkway based on CCTV around the time the positive case was outside (only for a transfer between facilities so not long), there are still 3 people they cannot find. That is currently their best lead.
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