Squiz Today / 19 January 2022

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 18 January

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Squiz Today Podcast

Fitting into the way you do your day. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“She wouldn’t allow me at all to teach maths or do phonics, unless I dressed up as her teacher and put on her teacher’s voice.”

Said Aussie actress Cate Blanchett on the lengths she went to in 2020 to homeschool her 7yo daughter Edith during COVID lockdowns. When your mum’s an Oscar winner, we say fair call…

Hospitals under severe pressure from COVID


A statewide “Code Brown” has been called at Victorian hospitals after a record number of COVID admissions and staff in isolation. The colour coding system is normally used for short but intense crises like train crashes or bushfires, and it allows hospitals to call their workers back from leave to deal with severe staff shortages. “The next month could be the most challenging period our healthcare workers will ever face,” said Tom Symondson, the head of Victoria’s peak body for public hospitals.


Have you heard of Omicron? Officials say the wave of infections has probably peaked, but high case numbers mean record hospital admissions, with more to come in the coming weeks. The Victorian Government has predicted that 2,500 people will be in hospital during the worst of the crisis, and yesterday 4,067 of the state’s public healthcare workers couldn’t go to work because they’d been exposed to/infected with COVID. The Code Brown typically lasts a day or 2, but this time it will be in place for a month to 6 weeks. And it’s not just a Victorian issue – the surge in cases from the Omicron strain is weighing on nearly every state and territory health system. For their part, the Federal Government has activated the private hospitals agreement which means 57,000 nurses and other staff will be made available to assist the public sector.


Dunno, but Omicron isn’t done yet. Authorities are urging people to get their booster shots after 70,000 bookings weren’t filled during the past week. And on rapid tests, they are starting to arrive, and millions more will be here next week and into February. But shortages persist and the Pharmacy Guild is launching a website next week to help people find a RAT-stocked chemist after witnessing what it called “market failure”. Guild president Trent Twomey said social media and alternative websites were “causing more harm than good”, prompting them to launch their own page.


Squiz the Rest

The search for Charlise continues

Nine-year-old Charlise Mutten was visiting her mother and partner in Mount Wilson – a village located in the Blue Mountains region of NSW. She was last seen last Thursday arvo and was reported missing on Friday morning. It’s rugged terrain and yesterday’s search was hampered by poor weather and reduced crew numbers after a COVID outbreak. And with 5 days elapsing since Charlise’s disappearance, volunteers were told that she would be “extremely lethargic” if she were found. Criminologist Dr Xanthe Mallett says there is “every hope” the Queensland schoolgirl will be found alive, but the chances of finding her alive are falling each day. Charlise’s mother, who was hospitalised late last week, may provide a “critical” piece of the puzzle. Investigators have declined to say whether they have been able to interview her. And they haven’t elaborated on the homicide squad’s involvement in investigating the case.

Australian News

Tonga Govt says country hit by disaster

The Tongan Government has released its first update about the serious situation it’s facing following Saturday’s massive undersea volcanic eruption and tsunami. It’s been hit by major communications disruptions, so in a statement the Government said:

  • 3 people have died, two locals and British woman Angela Glover who was swept away in the tsunami.
  • Dozens of homes on the main island of Tongatapu were damaged, and
  • Evacuations from the worst-hit islands are underway with many – if not all – homes destroyed by tsunami waves.

The communications crisis on the ground means one lone official has been channelling information to the World Health Organisation using a satellite phone. The first images of Tonga were released yesterday from surveillance flights showing the landscape covered in thick ash. It’s causing aid delivery delays, with the capital’s airport expected to clear its runways by next week. And Tonga will remain offline for a while – its undersea communications cable is not expected to be repaired for a couple of weeks.

World News

Boris was warned about lockdown parties

Pressure on UK PM Boris Johnson to resign is growing after his former close adviser claimed he was warned about holding parties during lockdowns at the start of the pandemic. Dominic Cummings was with Johnson when the prime ministership was just a twinkle in Johnson’s Brexit campaigning eye, and was working for him when he attended a Downing St drinks party in May 2020. News of his attendance leaked to the media and Johnson apologised to Parliament last week. But Cummings disagrees. “He knew he was at a drinks party ‘cos he was told it was a drinks party, and it was actually a drinks party,” he wrote in his blog. Cummings has been relentlessly negative about Johnson since he was forced out in late 2020, and hasn’t been backwards in coming forward on his former boss’s shortcomings. Overnight, Johnson “categorically” denied he was warned that a drinks party in the No 10 garden risked breaking lockdown rules. “I would have remembered that,” he said. 

World News

Not feeling it this January

The new year mojo is dead on arrival… Consumer confidence has plunged to its worst January result in 30 years. Experienced hands will remember 1992 was a time of high unemployment – so we’re feeling as good about the economy as we were back then… That’s the findings of an ANZ-Roy Morgan survey, which attributes the fall in sentiment to the rise of Omicron and supply chain issues which have resulted in shortages of stuff at the shops. And as people isolate, spending on travel and hospitality has been slashed, and we’ve been more inclined to eat at home than dine out. To put some numbers to the feelz, ANZ says spending slipped 27% in the first half of January compared to the pre-Christmas period. “We don’t think the economy is as weak as this data might suggest,” says ANZ economist David Plank. “But the result highlights that concerns about COVID have the potential to significantly impact the economy if they linger.”

Business & Finance

Stosur claims a terrific win

When we say “we hope you get what you deserve” – usually under our breath so no one hears – it’s not meant as a wish for good things… But Queensland tennis star Sam Stosur got what she deserved – in a good way – when she rocked it at the Aussie Open yesterday, beating American Robin Anderson in 3 sets in her first-round match. The 37yo is an Aussie tennis legend. She was the world #1 doubles player in 2006 and claimed the singles title at the 2011 US Open. And after a 23-year-long tennis career, Stosur announced last month she would retire after this tournament. Stosur says the knowledge that she could be playing her last singles match made things “easier”. She will now play Russian 10th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the 2nd round tomorrow – and she’ll be a winner whatever happens. It was a mostly good day for the Aussies, with wildcard Maddison Inglis claimed a surprise victory over US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez, Nick Kyrgios had a comfortable 3-sets win over American Liam Broady, Alex de Minaur needed 4 sets to beat Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti but Alexei Popyrin lost to Arthur Rinderknech in 5.


Apropos of Nothing

First, there was the mouse plague… Now, experts are warning residents on Australia’s east coast to brace themselves for an “extensive influx” of cockroaches thanks to steamy La Niña conditions. And sorry Sydneysiders, you’ll be facing the worst of it…

Australia’s favourite culinary legend Adam Liaw has offered some sage advice to home cooks: you don’t need to top and tail your bean sprouts. We have so many questions…

Keen-eyed Adelaideans may have noticed the sudden appearance of giant googly eyes around the city. After appearing on Dan Murphy and Colonel Sanders last week, the latest target is Colonel William Light. Googly eyes = always funny… 

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

6.30am (AEDT) – Netball – Quad Series – Australia v England – London

From 11.00am (AEDT) – Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne – broadcast on Nine. Watch out for Ash Barty at 12.15pm, Rafael Nadal at 1.30pm, Aleksandar Vukic at 4.50pm, Naomi Osaka at 7.00pm, and John Millman at 8.15pm

National Popcorn Day – US

A birthday for Dolly Parton (1946)

Anniversary of:
• Triple J broadcasting for the first time (1975)
• birthdays of rocker Janis Joplin (1943) and rapper Mac Miller (1992)
• the death of former Aussie cricketer David Hookes (2004). His untimely death led to national discussions on violence and organ donation
• champion cyclist Lance Armstrong admitting to doping in all seven of his Tour de France victories (2013)

Squiz the Day

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