It’s a week after Easter and we’re all still dutifully wearing our plague masks to the shops. I bet I’m not the only one who thinks it’s over-the-top ridiculous. I’m not sure what triggers the announcement that ‘the pandemic is over’ – you know, like ‘the war is over’, with much dancing in the streets and that. It’s all a little less obvious, isn’t it? Viruses don’t surrender or sign peace treaties. And even if they did, I expect we’d still be told not to dance in the streets, you know, for just in case. Because the Powers That Be have become a little too fond of the authority to shut us all down. (Maybe that’s me being cynical.)
Meanwhile, the vaccine roll-out here in Australia hasn’t been a shining light in anybody’s CV – both at State and Federal level. The media-induced panic over the AstraZeneca vaccine isn’t helping. It’s now not recommended for those under fifty years of age because of the tiny risk of blood clots. And I do mean tiny.
“Based on the figures announced on Wednesday by the UK medicines regulator, if 10 million imaginary people were given the AZ vaccine you might expect to see 40 of these clots – with about 10 clots having fatal consequences.” [source]
I heard somebody talking about this on the radio. She said (paraphrased) that for those over fifty the risk of dying from covid-19 was greater than the risk of developing blood clots, while for those under fifty, the tiny risk of blood clots was greater than the risk of covid-19. Which makes sense to me. Still, a risk of 4:1,000,000 sounds like pretty good odds.
This morning, of course, just about the only thing on the News was the death of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, just a couple of months shy of his hundredth birthday. It’s a shame he didn’t make his ton. His wife could have handed him the telegram. There was much more to him than ‘just’ the Queen’s consort and Peter urges you all to read a little about the man’s fascinating history. I’m sure you’ll find things you didn’t know, such as he stayed in the Royal Navy as captain of a frigate after his marriage to Elizabeth until she became queen. [source] Condolences to the Queen and her family at his loss. Harry is reported to be coming back for the funeral. That should be interesting.
Here in Queensland Autumn has settled in and we’re experiencing coolish nights and calm, warmish days.
In contrast, Western Australia is about to be hammered by two cyclones – Odette and Seroja, which are interacting. This very rare event is called a Fujiwhara Effect, where the two cyclones effectively orbit one another. [source] It’s expected that Odette will lose strength to Seroja and that most of the impact will be north of Perth. But cyclones are notoriously unpredictable and they occasionally stray a long way south.
Way back in 1978 I was living in Bunbury, well south of Perth, when the edges of category 3 Cyclone Alby hit the region in early April. While towns in the tropics are built to withstand cyclones, that’s not true in the south and the damage was substantial.
“Five people died as a result of the destructive effects of Alby. Widespread damage caused by wind, dust, fire and the sea was estimated to cost the community about $50,000,000. In terms of damage it is estimated that Alby was the most devastating storm on record to affect the southwestern areas of Western Australia.” [source]
Best wishes to family and friends over in the West. And let’s all hope some rain falls over the catchments.