NSW RECORDS ITS YOUNGEST FATALITY
Liverpool man Aude Alaskar, 27, has died after contracting COVID-19 — making him NSW’s youngest fatality, Guardian Australia reports. He was married three months ago, news.com.au adds. His cousin described Alaskar, who was a keen soccer player, as a “very fit guy”. Another relative told 9News he had mild symptoms until Tuesday, when he began coughing, vomiting and then collapsed. In extending her condolences, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says her state has probably not reached its “peak” in this outbreak, the SMH reports, while CHO Kerry Chant confirmed Alaskar deteriorated suddenly. He was not vaccinated.
In the US, physicians across the country say the patients in their hospitals are not like the patients they saw last year, The New York Times reports — they’re “younger, sicker, quicker”. Some US experts said it’s down to a vaccine age discrepancy — less than half of those aged 18-39 are vaccinated, compared to more than 80% of Americans aged 65 to 74. And being vaccinated can make all the difference in the severity of a COVID-19 infection: a doctor has shared two x-rays that show the stark difference.
As the phases of Australia’s roadmap tick over (hopefully) in November, one thing will become more clear — the vaccinated and the unvaccinated will be treated differently by the law, too. The inoculated could eventually be exempt from restrictions, and fly sooner, and without quarantine. ABC asks this morning: is that even legal?
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THE LONG AND THE SHORT OF IT
The Brisbane Times says Queensland’s lockdown will almost certainly be extended beyond Sunday unless cases suddenly plummet, as 17 new infections were recorded yesterday. It comes as police search for a 24-year-old woman who allegedly broke out of hotel quarantine on the Gold Coast, The Australian ($) says. She was at the Sofitel in Broadbeach when she allegedly forced her way through a glass door and disappeared.
The state’s outbreak went from zero cases to 63 in less than a week, Deputy Premier Steven Miles said yesterday. But he congratulated his state for setting a testing record on Tuesday — 51,479 swabs. How the outbreak started is still baffling authorities — two men who arrived from overseas on June 29 were the first to test positive, but CHO Jeannette Young says she doesn’t know how it jumped to the school girl, and may never know.
Elsewhere, South Australia’s restrictions will ease somewhat on Thursday, despite the state recording a local case, news.com.au says. The man, who is aged in his 20s, was linked to the Modbury cluster, which stands at 22 cases.
In NSW, the state faces an uphill battle with their vaccination efforts, the SMH says. They will have to vaccinate 69,000 people a day — among the state’s highest daily rates — to reach the six million doses needed to ease lockdown in August.
GREEN LIGHT EXTINGUISHED
Melbourne’s leaf enthusiasts (no, not general plant enthusiasts — the illicit kind) may be waking up to some disappointing news this morning, as The Age reports. The Victorian government has interfered with the findings of an inquiry into legalising cannabis for personal use. The inquiry gathered evidence from Australian and international health and legal experts, who overwhelmingly were in favour of decriminalisation and allowing people to grow a couple of plants.
It would have been similar to the laws in the ACT, where people can possess cannabis and grow it in very small amounts. A year on, cannabis offences in the ACT are down by 90%. Plus, “people who need to access treatment are better able to do so while the taxpayer is saving money. It’s a win-win,” Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT chief executive Devin Bowles told ABC.
But that didn’t stop three Victorian Labor MPs on the committee — Thien Kieu, Sheena Watt, and Kaushaliya Vaghela — intervening at the last minute, watering down the findings to conclude that the government should investigate the impacts of legalising cannabis — though that makes it unclear what the purpose of the year-long inquiry was. Among the axed recommendations was that people with a minor cannabis conviction should have it removed from their criminal record, which would have improved the prospects of many Victorians.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE
Is there a bigger hero in Australia right now than Nagmeldin ‘Peter’ Bol? The incredible 27-year-old runner had Australians on the edge of their seats as he sprinted his way through the 800m final at the Tokyo Games. It was the first time an Aussie had made it into the final since Ralph Doubell’s victory in Mexico City back all the way back in ’68. Bol’s lead was thwarted at the eleventh hour by Kenya’s Emmanuel Kipkurui Korir, and he placed fourth by a whisker of a second — making it the highest placed track event finish by an Australian man since Darren Clark came fourth in the 400 metres in Seoul, in 1988 — some 33 years ago, as ABC reports.
Bol told reporters that he’d be “lying if I said I’m pretty happy right now”. But he went on to say “I think today I didn’t know if I was going to win but I knew one thing for certain, that the whole of Australia was watching and that carried me on. I loved that part about it. I’m grateful to Australia, I’m thankful to everyone in Australia. We’re human at the end of the day. We inspired the whole nation. That’s the goal”. What a guy. Bol went on to say that “someone said, ‘do you feel a lot of pressure with the whole nation behind you?’ and I said ‘no, I feel a lot of strength’”.
Next stop: Paris 2024 — and we’ll all be ready to cheer you on again, Peter.
Hoping you achieve something — small or great — today too.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Now is not the time to buy outdoor furniture. There will be time before summer to get sun lounges. We just urge everyone … for five more days to do the right thing and next week you can buy all the sun lounges that you need.
In a very on-brand move by the Sunshine State, the deputy premier has told people to please stop shopping for sun lounges considering they’re supposed to be in a serious and strict lockdown. CHO Jeannette Young suggested people “click and collect” instead.
“This incorrect interpretation of the concept was cited by alt-right media figures to undermine the high-profile accounts of the Texas teenager who was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school in 2015, the parents of a US army captain killed during the Iraq War who criticised Trump in a 2016 Democratic Convention speech, and to dispute that British terrorist Usman Khan could ever be rehabilitated.
“Even then-frontrunner for the 2016 Republican nomination Ben Carson said that no Muslim should be allowed to be the president because of taqiyya. So the argument that Islamic faith allows Muslims to lie to non-Muslims for any reason isn’t a small aside from one of Australia’s most eminent barristers in a marathon trial. It’s also an anti-Muslim meme that’s been used to stoke hatred and fear of a faith that, perhaps, could play a part in determining the outcome of a high stakes legal battle over Roberts-Smith’s reputation.”
“Albanese also asked Morrison about a now oft-repeated claim of Morrison’s that the notorious phrase ‘not a race’ was only used by Morrison — at the instigation of health secretary Brendan Murphy, he insists — in relation to the approval process for vaccines, when Morrison clearly used it in relation to a question about the slow pace of the vaccine rollout on March 31. Morrison stuck resolutely to the lie.
“That’s come on top of Morrison bizarrely claiming Berejiklian never raised the issue of additional vaccines for NSW in national cabinet when she said she had ‘argued my little heart out’ on the issue and been rejected — with Frewen fingered as having spoken to her with ‘derision’, an outrageous insult to a democratically elected leader by a bureaucrat and a military man to boot — sufficient that, if true, the general should have been sacked on the spot and kicked out of the meeting.”
“So Morrison’s approach to preparing Australians for a whiplash from zero COVID to maybe scores of deaths a day as an accepted policy outcome is cheap nationalism. What next? A revived ‘C’mon Aussie C’mon’ ad campaign? Fighting a war — did you like the Churchill-esque ‘joined in this battle’? — in an Australian way with Australian results with Australians getting on the path without doubt, having faith in Australians unlike that unAustralian Albanese who dares suggest people might act on the basis of self-interest … etc etc etc.
“This is a serious public health crisis, to state the obvious. What we don’t have is a serious leader who’s up to the job. Damaged goods, incapable of striking the right note, uncomprehending of how to lead, Morrison can only dip into a now fairly tattered bag of spin and slogans. Oi oi oi.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Stolen generation members to receive $378.6m in payouts under redress scheme (Guardian Australia)
As hikers vanish, these mountains hold tight to their mysteries (The New York Times)
When You’re Diagnosed with Autism — by TikTok (Quillette)
Under fire and alone, Cuomo fights for his political life (The New York Times)
‘Call police’: Jordan Thompson held back by chair umpire over non-call (The Australian) ($)
Panic spreading as bitcoin price goes up and down (news.com.au)
Left’s anti-Zionism is just the oldest hatred in disguise — Alan Tudge (The Australian) ($): “The Queensland Labor conference this year passed a resolution condemning the ‘ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians’, a clear sign the Corbynite faction is growing in strength within the ALP. At a time when the left is at pains to find discrimination and hurt feelings everywhere, why is there a double standard when it comes to action against Jews?
“There is now a draft international definition of anti-Semitism that includes the most egregious actions such as calling for the killing of Jews, but also more subtle examples such as drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis or holding all Jews responsible for the actions of Israel. The Greens and Labor Party would do well to study and formally adopt this definition and call out those actions when they see them as a way of combating some of the vile conduct that is creeping in.”
Scott Morrison wants to shift the conversation on vaccines and COVID-19. How far will he go? — David Speers (ABC): “That’s not to suggest Anthony Albanese’s proposal is perfect or without its own political motivation. At every step of this pandemic from wage subsidies to vaccine deals and purpose-built quarantine facilities, the Opposition Leader has tried to keep one step ahead and portray the Prime Minister as slow-moving and cheap. The new plan for $300 payments was an attempt to stay ahead of the game, even if he has jumped very early.
“For months Labor has been arguing the vaccine roll-out problem is one of supply. Now Albanese is suddenly arguing demand is the issue. The queues outside vaccination hubs suggest that’s not the case. There are millions who would love to get a jab if they could. Down the track there may be a need to give more people a push if Australia is struggling to reach the 80% target but right now the idea of cash payments seems premature.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Former deputy prime minister John Anderson will deliver a keynote speech to the National Landcare Conference held online.
The Grattan Institute’s William Mackey and Anika Stobart will host a webinar on modelling the spread of COVID-19.
Former MP Chris Pyne in conversation with Deputy Labor Leader Richard Marles about the latter’s new book, Tides that Bind, exploring Australia’s relationship with the Pacific.
The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory will host a preview of the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards.
It’s day one of the Darwin Festival, which runs for the next 18 days at Festival Park, with outdoor concerts, workshops, theatre, dance music, comedy, cabaret, film and visual arts.
Nobel prize winner Peter Doherty discusses his new book, An Insider’s Plague Year which explores the role of medical research and public health policy during a pandemic, at The Wheeler Centre.
Robert Gott joins J.P. Pomare in launching the latter’s latest psychological thriller, The Last Guests, at The Collective.
The Sustainable Development Awards will host a panel on the intersection of different social and environmental issues at the Ezone Learning Studio.