covid, Australia, vaccines

Life will go back to normal once we get vaccinated, right?: Before we get into whether vaccines succeeded in bringing the world to normalcy or merely postponed it, let me congratulate you on your new financial position. I don't remember making one either if you don't. The Telegraph, on the other hand, has a storey on our situation:

Bolton Wanderers, a League One football club, is now partially owned by taxpayers, thanks to the conversion of a £5 million pandemic loan into shares.

The latest update from the British Business Bank on the £1.1bn Future Fund, a Covid support initiative, listed club owner Football Ventures (Whites) Ltd as one of 108 companies that turned emergency loans into shares rather than repaying them.

Under the arrangement, which ended a year ago, a total of 1,190 companies received convertible loans from the British Business Bank, with 265 enterprises providing shares to the taxpayer in an exchange.

Congratulations, Bolton is now ranked… Oh, well, never mind.

What did Milton Friedman say about the government deciding who wins and who loses?

Anyway…

Do you recall how immunizations allowed life to return to normal? How did immunizations help us get through this crisis? How might vaccines alleviate Covid's instability in 2020… 2021?

Vaccines, it seemed to me, are likely to reduce Covid deaths. But let me ask you a different question: have the vaccines improved or exacerbated the economic upheaval caused by the pandemic?

Perhaps if governments had simply said, “Get vaccinated if you wish, and then we'll reopen the economy,” vaccines would have made a significant difference. However, given the government's uncanny ability to muck things up, I believe immunizations have become a cause of the disorder rather than a solution to it.

The number of examples is lengthy, but it is their combined power that stands out. Still, I should provide you with some examples…

The first is a personal one. Where I am, Omicron is booming. So I can't go out for a late-night drink, which I never do…

But, let's just say, my daughter's second birthday celebration was under-attended. My personal position, on the other hand, is a little exaggerated.

The Great Resignation had a significant impact. NHS personnel are being forced out or throwing in the towel, which isn't going to help clear the 6 million-patient backlog.

They are, nevertheless, the fortunate ones. In Wisconsin, a court barred seven healthcare employees from quitting their jobs because of staff shortages! That is similar to the situation widely recognised as slavery…

Bloomberg describes how “vaccination macht free” became “papers please!” and caused havoc in North American supermarkets:

New regulations requiring truckers to show proof of immunisation when crossing the Canada-US border are reducing shipping capacity and raising the cost of transporting everything from broccoli to tomatoes.

covid

The cost of transporting goods from California and Arizona to Canada increased by 25% last week […]

And a distributor was cited as stating, “It's the consumer who pays for this.”

This is only one example of the supply chain turmoil that the world is experiencing. This, in turn, is causing a lot of the inflation we're experiencing. Ports are still jammed, lorries are stalled, and Brexit concerns are becoming a reality… According to the BBC, Covid checks:

If coronavirus border checks are not reduced by Easter, an increase in travel to Europe might result in huge lines at Dover, a ferry boss has warned.

Chris Parker, director of capacity and passenger performance at ferry operator DFDS, predicted an increase in demand in 2022.

However, he stated that if this occurs, present Covid tests “just would not operate.”

You can repeat that…

According to author and analyst Jim Rickards, vaccination problems are also to blame for the 5G flight cancellation mess. The 5G rollout risked interfering with altimeters, but the problem is easily solved. So, why hasn't it been resolved? Rickards asserts the following:

Avionics engineers who can repair altimeters congregate in Wichita, Kansas, just like developers congregate in Silicon Valley. Many are guys in their forties and fifties. Their immunisation rates are less than 50%, compared to a national norm of more than 70%. Because they work on both military and civilian avionics, many are federal contractors. Unvaccinated federal contractors must be fired or otherwise removed from their jobs, according to Biden's vax regulations. As a result, engineers are being fired, quitting, or establishing their own enterprises without receiving federal contracts.

As a result, there is a serious supply chain bottleneck in the recalibration of radar altimeters to avoid interference from 5G C-band broadcasts.

Another issue is that the immunizations do not prevent cases, resulting in staff shortages while people remain ill. According to Bloomberg, “up to 50% of workers on sick leave in some industries: unions” in Australia.

I told you a few months ago that my home state of Queensland, Australia, was the make-or-break case for whether vaccines would allow us to reopen our economy and “live with Covid.”

The state of Western Australia, ironically, was the one to render its decision. After observing what transpired in Queensland, it cancelled its own border reopening. Then, in any case, Western Australia discovered a local Covid outbreak.

According to the Australian Financial Review Western Australia's reopening reversal will most likely be in vain and will have to be reversed as well:

Adrian Esterman, an epidemiologist at the University of South Australia, said it was difficult to tell how far omicron has gone in Western Australia.

“They already have community cases, so it's possible that this takes off, border or no border,” he added.

But here's the interesting part, according to the epidemiologist:

“If you don't want to be in the same predicament as NSW and Victoria, with health systems collapsing around their ears due to overburdening,” he continued, “you need as many people as possible with their [second] shot.”

In fact, I modified the quote. At the conclusion, it says “booster shot,” not “second shot.” But in Israel, they're on their third, while simultaneously dominating the table in Covid cases…

Another issue is a lack of testing, which is causing havoc in a variety of locations despite widespread vaccines.

Despite vaccines, testing? Hmm.

There was a school testing drama in the United Kingdom.

Following the havoc that testing requirements produced in Australia, state governments were forced to scale them down, and finally, abandon them entirely.

According to News.com.au, “Pharmacies throughout the country have gone to social media to advise consumers they have no quick antigen testing, despite six million Australians becoming eligible for free kits on Monday,” in a classic lesson in economics.

What was free today is no longer free… Monday.

The headline of the Australian Financial Review was quickly altered from “Health advise on rapid antigen tests led to a dead end” to this:

Living with COVID does not imply being incompetent.

Every country is dealing with omicron, but there's no excuse for Australian governments failing to order enough quick antigen tests, resulting in too many crippled enterprises during a difficult season.

Vaccines were meant to have freed enterprises by now, I believe.

The new Covid isolation regulations are being extended to 24 hours in fully vaccinated New Zealand… I'm talking about days. A lawyer was reported in the New Zealand Herald as saying, “Businesses will struggle to cover 24-day leave for isolation of Covid contacts.”

Meanwhile, in Australia, a union objected to their employees being instructed to come to work despite the fact that they had Covid…

Instead of blaming the unvaccinated, the vaccinated will rebel against the remaining restraints at some point.

Perhaps this is why, when vaccines failed to reopen some economies and the government established a shambles of mandates, isolation periods, and testing, politicians are proposing remedies to the issues they created.

And, you've got to hand it to them: they're getting inventive.

According to ABC7, the Americans have my favourite:

In a test programme, the federal government is going forward with a plan to allow adolescents to drive heavy rigs from state to state.

Currently, truckers must be at least 21 years old to cross state lines, but an apprenticeship programme mandated by Congress to help alleviate supply chain backlogs would allow 18-to-20-year-old truckers to travel outside their home states.

But why is there a truck driver shortage in the first place? Pay? Problems with licencing? Brexit? Getting vaccinated is a legal obligation in North America.

The Australian version of the tale, as usual, is funnier, with the Independent reporting:

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's idea to allow children to operate forklifts amid a labour crisis in Covid-affected supply chains has sparked outrage, forcing the administration to back down.

What about child labour? Are things really that awful in Australia?

According to Business News Australia, they're even worse. The hermit kingdom's borders will be thrown open!

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stated today that there is no “shadow workforce” available to meet Australia's labour shortages caused by COVID infections and isolation, but international students and backpackers appear to be the next best thing.

The Prime Minister has promised visa discounts for all of these generations over the next two to four months, as well as a marketing campaign to persuade visitors to come to Australia on working holidays.

“Right now, there are about 23,500 backpackers with visas to come to Australia, and my advice to them is to come on down,” he stated.

Even Western Australia, which is not open to Australians, will admit international students!

So there you have it, the solutions are in, and the crisis may be ended shortly. Thank God for politicians….

 

Nick Hubble
Editor, Fortune & Freedom

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