Squiz Today / 01 May 2020
Squiz Today – Friday, 1 May
“I wasn’t particularly proud of being his Welsh teacher. It was forced upon me.”
Said university language teacher Dr Tedi Millward of being given the job of putting some authenticity into Charles’ Prince of Wales title back in 1969. Millward died this week aged 89yo. Despite being a fierce Welsh nationalist, Millward and Charles became close, as anyone who's watched the last series of The Crown could tell you…
HOPE ON THE CORONAVIRUS TREATMENT FRONT
When it comes to drugs to treat coronavirus patients, researchers have been looking at a few… Antiviral, antibiotic, antiretroviral and anti-malarial drugs are all getting the once over. And now, for the first time in the fight against COVID-19, there’s hope that scientists have found one. Remdesivir, an experimental antiviral drug originally designed to combat ebola, has cut the number of days patients take to leave hospital by almost a third in a clinical trial. America’s top infectious diseases expert Dr Anthony Fauci said the development is important “because what it has proved is that a drug can block this virus.” But scientists urged caution with more tests to be done before the drug is distributed widely to treat coronavirus.
THAT’S GREAT. WHAT ABOUT A VACCINE?
The World Health Organisation is keeping track of efforts to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, and there are 89 in development. Reports say there’s probably more. Two are in the human trial phase in Seattle and Oxford. Here in Oz, the Uni of Queensland and CSIRO are also making progress. A vaccine would allow restrictions to be lifted more safely because immunised people will be able to fight the virus if they encounter it and avoid becoming sick. The trouble is health officials have said that a coronavirus vaccine is 12-18 months away after the virus first emerged, and that’s if everything goes right. Keep in mind that the average time taken to develop a vaccine is about 10 years.
SO RESTRICTIONS ARE GOING TO BE AROUND FOR A WHILE…
Some will be. Jodie McVernon, director of epidemiology at the Doherty Institute, has said that even as the rate of new coronavirus cases slows, we're in it for the long haul. That means measures like physical distancing, lots of handwashing, and restrictions on mass gatherings will need to stay in place until effective treatments or a vaccine are found. "The real danger is this 'back to life as normal' discussion because that cannot happen for a very long time," she said. In the meantime, we’ll take the wins where we can find them. The ACT and Northern Territory are crushing it. And for many Australians, some restrictions are being lifted today and over the weekend.
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MEANWHILE, IN OTHER CORONAVIRUS NEWS…
• US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has backed Australia in our spat with China over a call for an independent inquiry into its handling of the coronavirus crisis. "Who in the world wouldn't want an investigation of how this happened to the world?" he asked. Meanwhile, Health Minister Greg Hunt and mining magnate/philanthropist Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest denied us a follow-up performance yesterday.
• April delivered the Australian stock market its best month since we were making it great in ‘88. After record hits in March, investors are impressed with big stimulus packages and our progress in flattening the curve - so impressed they are overlooking a whopping big US economic contraction.
• Woolworths yesterday announced a big jump in sales between the January and March quarter - up 10.3% compared to the same quarter last year. Coles this week announced its sales were up 13.1%. It doesn’t need saying, but the results were off the back of lockdown-wary Aussies stocking up on food and household supplies.
• Not doing so well on the retail front - KFC in New Zealand's Invercargill. "Unprecedented demand" from finger-lickin' Kiwis with a taste for dirty bird saw the city’s two stores run out of chicken after businesses reopened on Tuesday when lockdown measures were eased.
• To the numbers: there are almost 3.25 million cases globally, and more than 230,000 people have died. Just over a million people have recovered. In Oz, 92 people have died (up by two yesterday), and there have been 6,754 cases (up by 11).
COALITION EYES EDEN-MONARO
Holding back tears as he announced he could no longer represent the people of the NSW electorate of Eden-Monaro, the well-liked Labor MP Mike Kelly resigned yesterday. After 30 years in the Australian Army, Kelly has renal problems caused by severe dehydration while serving in Iraq, Somalia and East Timor. "Mike Kelly is an extraordinary Australian, and he has brought a great deal of dignity, talent, capacity and commitment to this parliament," said Labor leader Anthony Albanese. Eden-Monaro is held by Labor by a tiny 0.9% margin, and with PM Scott Morrison tracking well, the Liberals are keen to run a candidate. And local state MP and deputy premier, NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro is also thinking about giving it a shake. But they have history to overcome… No government candidate has won an opposition seat in a federal by-election in 100 years.
GOOGLE RULED A ‘PUBLISHER’
In a landmark ruling, tech giant Google has been ordered to pay $40,000 in damages to a Melbourne lawyer after the Supreme Court of Victoria decided the company was a publisher. George Defteros successfully sued Google for defamation after the search engine linked his name with articles written about his since-dropped conspiracy charge relating to his work with underworld figure Carl Williams, despite The Age removing articles from its website in late 2016. While Google argued it was not technically a publisher as its search results are automated, the court disagreed. Google said it was reviewing the decision.
VIRGIN HAS 20 SUITORS
Things are looking up for Virgin Australia, with Deloitte administrator Vaughan Strawbridge saying he was “confident” a sale could be secured by the end of June. The embattled airline - which went into voluntary administration last week with debts of $6.8 billion - has received 20 "high-quality" expressions of interest to take it on. Eight have signed non-disclosure agreements, and negotiations continue with 12 more, possibly including Andrew Forrest of ‘Awkward Press Conferences R Us’ fame.
DOGS MAKE GOOD PASSENGERS
We already know that dogs are the best, but new research conducted by Spanish carmaker Seat found that not only does having a dog in the passenger seat reduce driver stress, it’s also a great way to help lead foots take it easy behind the wheel. Now, to get them to sniff out the coronavirus...
FRIDAY LITES - THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
We first saw this tweet a couple of weeks back but can’t stop thinking about it. So many questions, like why, and how? But mostly why…
Chances are your Netflix account is getting a good workout at the moment. And if you’re looking for something… anything… new to watch, give The Last Dance a go. We knew Chicago Bulls basketballer Michael Jordan was a big deal, but this series provides the context to the scale of his achievements - and his unswerving focus on winning. Five stars, Margaret.
SQUIZ THE DAY
ABS Date Release - Producer Price Indexes, March
• 'Penny Black', the world's first adhesive postage stamp issued by Great Britain (1840)
• the Empire State Building opening in New York City (1931)
• the marriage of Elvis and Priscilla Presley (1967)
• Tony Blair being elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1997)
• Tasmania decriminalising homosexuality (1997)
UN World Tuna Day
Birthdays for Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (1972), Lily Allen (1985) and Princess Charlotte (2015)
Anniversary of the deaths of Leonardo da Vinci (1519), J Edgar Hoover (1972), fictional villain Lord Voldemort (1998) and Osama bin Laden (2011)
World Press Freedom Day
Poland’s National Day
• New Zealand proclaimed a colony independent of New South Wales (1841)
• Margaret Mitchell wins the Pulitzer Prize for "Gone With the Wind" (1937)
• Japan's post-war constitution goes into effect, granting universal suffrage, stripping Emperor Hirohito of all but symbolic power and outlawing Japan's right to make war (1947)
• the first spam email, sent by a Digital Equipment Corporation marketing representative to every ARPANET address on the US west coast (1978)
• the disappearance of Madeline McCann (2007)
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