It’s not about the virus

I can’t imagine that there is anybody left, anywhere in the world, who still believes zero COVID by lockdown, mass testing, contact tracing and so forth is possible.

Consequently, this latest action from the Chinese Communist Party cannot have anything to do with a pandemic response. It’s not about the virus. It’s much more likely to be about maintaining power and crushing dissent. The virus is just the excuse.

How multiple decrements and standard deviations affect Australia’s senior citizens

The ABS most recent publication on Australian mortality experience was released towards the end of May, with the rather noteworthy key point that for the first two months of 2022, all cause mortality is up over 20% compared to normal, Figure 1.

When it comes to vital statistics of mortality, departures of this magnitude are rare, indeed. This represents about two standard deviations (more on that below) over the baseline, which was measured over the seven calendar years to 2021 inclusive. So, I obtained the full set of data from the ABS website to review the results in more detail, given the data are broken down by state, age group, cause of death and by both sexes.

Figure 1. (Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics )
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20% increase in mortality?

I haven’t yet read the report properly. No doubt many statisticians, demographers and actuaries will be doing so now. It feels to my old actuarial bones that a 20% increase in mortality, relative to trend, is notable. That’s a big deviation. Worth reading in full.

Ukraine

The Russian invasion of Ukraine remains an act of barbarism. It’s a disaster for many, if not most, of the Ukrainians. It’s also a disaster for the Russian people.

A swift capitulation may have been what Putin expected. It didn’t happen. Putin’s reasons for the invasion have been well telegraphed for at least 20 years and so it’s not really a surprise. The surprise is all on the upside if you are in favour of western civilisation, the nation state and energy independence.

There is a struggle underway for global hegemony. Klaus Schwab, Jinping and Putin wanted to be in charge. Unfortunately for that trio, Putin will fall first, Jinping will retreat to ponder and Schwab will die soon enough unfulfilled. He won’t be missed in this quarter.

Putin has shown: the nation state matters. It is still a thing. Culture and history matters. He has also shown that energy matters. Hence the scramble in Europe to fire up coal fired generators that they previously shut down.

Putin has also shown how hard it is to invade. Jinping won’t have missed the lesson.

Putin is almost out of gas. Ukraine will be supported by the West in rebuilding. Russia will be a Chinese vassal. The fourth turning looks likely to turn out well for everyone outside Ukraine, Russia and China.

Update: as at late July, it seems that Ukraine can’t win and Russia is about to achieve what she set out do to.