About timothyrhaslett

After 30 years in academia, with a Ph.D. in non-linear dynamics and systems modelling and a Masters degree in English literature, I'm keen to broaden my writing audience. I am interested in becoming part of an informed community of commentary on matters of public interest. For me this will include politics (mainly Australian), films, books and the general cant, hypocrisy and stupidity that seems to infest public life.

We have close to 80% first dose and we nearly 50% fully vaccinated.

This graphic is also saying the eligible population is 20.6 million.

That will require 41.2m vaccine doses.

We can assume that the 10 million doses that arrived in February this year were all used up.

This is the schedule that the government and Pfizer have agreed will be the arrival of Pfizer doses in Australia. It’s so total of 37m.

We don’t know how many people have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca but the numbers will have been increasing and 300,000 doses of Moderna have arrived in late September.

it will take 1.5 million doses to get the eligible population up to 80% first dose.

That will mean that there will be 50% fully vaccinated and 80% with first dose.

This will require 30% to get their second dose to get to 80 %.

That’s 6m people, well within the 12m Pfizer doses that will arrive in November and December.

That will leave 6m Pfizer doses in addition to Moderna in 2021 which may put Australia well over its targets. Good news for everyone.

One of New Zealand’s great Rugby players, Waka Nathan has died.

I remember watching him play when I was at school in the 1960s. He played for Otahuhu, Auckland, and the All Blacks with fellow All Black, Mac Herewini. In those days, he was a breakaway or loose forward. One of the really great players of his time.

He was a member of the All Blacks tour of Britain in 1963-64, despite having a broken jaw, where he scored 11 tries in 15 matches and earned the nickname Le Panthère Noir – The Black Panther – from the French. The NZ Herald.

in one period, he played 14 games for the All Blacks for 14 straight wins. In those days, there were fewer games than in modern times. Players like Meads and Nathan would only play 30 international tests In their career.

Waka Nathan in action for the All Blacks during the 1962 tour of Australia. Photo / NZ Herald

Inevitably, comparisons are made between the teams of the 1960s and the teams of the modern era. The picture above shows Nathan is not as strongly built as modern players.

If he was standing next to Richie McCaw, they would be about the same size, but McCaw would be 20 kg heavier. If Waka’s teammate, the legendary Colin Meads was standing next to Brodie Retallick, Meads would be slightly shorter, but Retallick would be 20 kg heavier.

The game has changed also. It’s much faster and there is greater continuity as a result of the ball staying in play much longer. The players need to be much fitter and much stronger. They are also full-time, well-paid and professional. Colin Mead was a farmer with his brother Stan who locked with him in the All Blacks. They played rugby on over the weekends.

Waka Nathan. Photo / Brett Phibbs

The NZ Herald Reports a famous incident

Nathan is well remembered for scoring a last-minute try against Canterbury to set up his teammate Mike Cormack to convert the try and retain the Ranfurly Shield in a game that finished 19-18 in 1960.

I was at that game. What the NZ Herald does not report was that Waka had given away a free kick straight in front of the posts to put Canterbury ahead 18 -14. In those days, you got three points for try and two for a conversion. Auckland needed a converted try in the dying minutes of the game to retain the Ranfurly shield.

I remember seeing Waka standing, defiant and glaring at the Canterbury kicker. it didn’t work.

After the game, in an interview with the press, Waka said, (words to this effect) “I knew I had to do something about this, otherwise we were going to lose the shield.”

The Ranfurly Shield was the only game in town, so this was a big deal.

The Ranfurly Shield was the major rugby competition in New Zealand between the provinces.

The province that held the shield, had to defend it every time it played, but you only got an opportunity to win the Ranfurly Shield when you played the province that held it. The opportunity came around rarely.

In the 1960s, Auckland, my side and the side Waka played for, Auckland held the shield for a record 26 matches between 1960 and 1960.

Losing the shield on this particular day was the worst possible thing that could occur in a rugby-playing teenage boy’s life.

By some miracle, the Gods of Rugby smiled on Wake Nathan that day and he entered rugby immortality, well, he was forgiven for conceding a penalty in front of the posts in the final minutes of shield defence.

Schools are going back. Can parents expect teachers to be fully vaccinated? Can parents expect parents to be fully vaccinated before they can send their children to school?

There are going to be some interesting questions arising with the return of children and preschoolers to schools and daycare.

These settings will be breeding grounds for coronavirus. The levels of interaction between school children and preschoolers will be exceptionally high.

There are no vaccines yet approved for this age group.

The Minister of Education James Merlino has already indicated that all teachers will be need to be fully vaccinated by the beginning of November. We shouldn’t expect it to be plain sailing

Nurses have no difficulty with the concept of mandatory vaccination.They see the results of unvaccinated people everyday in their working life. For them it’s a no-brainer.

We can only hope the same applies in education.

A more interesting question arises in the case of the parents children returning to school. Will it be acceptable for unvaccinated parents to send their children to schools or preschools?

Will the children of fully vaccinated parents have the right to insist that their children be in fully vaccinated classrooms? And that children of unvaccinated parents should be in “unvaccinated classrooms”?

Would such a position lead to segregation in the playground?

These are hard questions.

We will soon have to weigh the relative rights of the vaccinated and unvaccinated, particularly in the classrooms.

Given the troubled history of the Collins class submarine and now the French Naval group, it’s surprising Australia is still trying to build submarines.

The history of the building of the Collins Class was a disaster with problems with the combat system, excessive noise, and engine breakdowns were recurring and appeared across the entire class.

It took nearly 20 years after the boats came into service, before more 2 of the fleet was operational at any one time.

A Collins Class submarine

And no one seem terribly worried about that for nearly 20 years. Now suddenly national security and submarines are on the front pages.

This is because Scott Morrison has ditched the French Naval Group which was building the replacement for the Collins class in favour of a nuclear powered option the UK and US governments will be sharing and which will also be built in Australia.

No consideration has been given to the fact that Australia doesn’t have the industrial infrastructure to build nuclear powered submarines. it’s a minor point.

But we shouldn’t delude ourselves. Here’s a list of the top ten submarines in the world

  • Nr.1 Seawolf class (USA) … 
  • Nr.2 Virginia class (USA) … 
  • Nr.3 Astute class (United Kingdom) … 
  • Nr.4 Graney class (Russia) … 
  • Nr.5 Sierra II class (Russia) … 
  • Nr.6 Improved Los Angeles class (USA) … 
  • Nr.7 Akula class (Russia) … 
  • Nr.8 Soryu class (Japan)
  • Nr.9 Ohio class (USA)
  • Nr.10 Oscar II class (Russia)

It will be interesting to see if the Americans or the British give the Australians any of their top ranked submarines.

There’s been considerable tension between Australian government and the naval group over quality issues, local content, all the normal suspects and enough for the Australian government to pull the plug.

The French government is understandably outraged. No doubt they will find some way of retaliating.

But Morrison thinks he is clearly ahead on points in terms of local politics. He has put submarines (and coincidentally himself) on the front page of newspapers

He looks as if he is making Australia a safer place by building some locally-built, nuclear-powered submarines that will be ready by 2040.

Which is absolute nonsense. The Collins class will remain in operation until well into the late 2030s.

So what’s the difference between what we’ve got and what were going to get.

The Collins class is a diesel electric submarine and the new one will be nuclear powered which means essentially it’s much more difficult to detect. Neither of these submarine classes will be carrying nuclear weapons.

The main role of the submarine is to engage the other submarines and other surface vessels. It has an important but minor role in naval warfare.

A nuclear-armed submarine can launch missiles against land-based targets. They are the ones that we should be worried about.

How many people in Australia have actually been vaccinated?

Here is the progress report.

Are we now waiting for 72% of the eligible adult population to get a second dose of vaccine?

When you look at the figures that’s the first impression. But it’s probably wrong.

That’s 11.5 million people. The numbers important because there are only 10 million Pfizer vaccines arriving in November and December.

October will be a lean month for vaccines in Australia

But is that is what the figures really mean?

Surely the first dose group must include the fully vaccinated group. They can’t be separate because together the make up more than 100% of the population.

Or do we take a fully vaccinated group out of the eligible population and then calculate the first dose group.

Eligible Population16000000
Fully vaccinated (47%)7520000
Unvaccinated8480000
First Shot (72%)6105600

And there will be enough Pfizer are arriving in November and December to meet that demand.

It will be done in November and December, so don’t hold your breath on going to the Melbourne Cup.

We have lost some superstars and international rugby risks being as interesting as watching the grass grow

The All Blacks won again but wasn’t particularly exciting, particularly Australia’s defeat of South Africa which must have been particularly galling for the Springboks.

The All Blacks would have been pleased with the depth of talent in their squad by playing their third combination and bringing significant changes off the bench in the second half. 

Australians have now beaten the South Africans twice and the ABs have accounted for them reasonably easily. So does being a very exciting competition.

Nonetheless Rugby has got to be more exciting since when I was a kid when there were endless scrums and rucks and players kept catching the ball into touch. Test matches would often be won or lost 6-3.

Watching the games is becoming increasingly obvious that the difference between Rugby league and Rugby Union is becoming increasingly small. Particularly where the defence is structured

This is no bad thing for Rugby Union. Rule changes over the last decades have made a game faster and more attractive. In particular the ball comes free after the tackle much more quickly and the potential for attacking rugby is much greater.

But so also is the need for rocksolid defence and players who can tackle well.

But watching the games and the strength of the defence, particularly the All Black defence, I’m struck by the fact that there are no players in the southern hemisphere teams equal to these particular champions.

Tana Umunga

Ma’a Nonu
Sonny Bill Williams

Significantly, all played at inside centre. All were big, especially SBW, fast and had a particular talent for breaking the defence. Williams in particular have a rare talent for unloading the ball.

There is no one in the current Southern Hemisphere teams was this talent. It’s a pity.

Perhaps is able to emulate their style of play because strength of the opposition defence.

Watching the All Black attack is very much based not upon a spearhead like one of these three, but upon any one of 15 making a small break and then having three or four players in immediate support. No opposition team yet has found a defensive pattern that is able to counter this attacking pattern which often comes after a number of successive phases of play.

It’s also based on another fundamental of All Black selection: every player has to be able to run and handle like a back. No player personifies is better than hooker Dane Coles has scored a number of tries after receiving the ball while standing on the wing.

Is anyone old enough to remember the Auckland back row forward Albie Prior? A man before his time, he was playing this style of football in the early 1960s and was generally mocked and ridiculed for it.

We have lost some superstars and international rugby risks being as interesting as watching the grass grow

The All Blacks won again but wasn’t particularly exciting, particularly Australia’s defeat of South Africa which must have been particularly galling for the Springboks.

The All Blacks would have been pleased with the depth of talent in their squad by playing their third combination and bringing significant changes off the bench in the second half. 

Australians have now beaten the South Africans twice and the ABs have accounted for them reasonably easily. So does being a very exciting competition.

Nonetheless Rugby has got to be more exciting since when I was a kid when there were endless scrums and rucks and players kept catching the ball into touch. Test matches would often be won or lost 6-3.

Watching the games is becoming increasingly obvious that the difference between Rugby league and Rugby Union is becoming increasingly small. Particularly where the defence is structured

This is no bad thing for Rugby Union. Rule changes over the last decades have made a game faster and more attractive. In particular the ball comes free after the tackle much more quickly and the potential for attacking rugby is much greater.

But so also is the need for rocksolid defence and players who can tackle well.

But watching the games and the strength of the defence, particularly the All Black defence, I’m struck by the fact that there are no players in the southern hemisphere teams equal to these particular champions.

Sonny Bill Williams
Ma’a Nonu
Tana Umunga

Significantly, all played at inside centre. All were big, especially SBW, fast and had a particular talent for breaking the defence. Williams in particular have a rare talent for unloading the ball.

There is no one in the current Southern Hemisphere teams was this talent. It’s a pity.

Perhaps is able to emulate their style of play because strength of the opposition defence.

Watching the All Black attack is very much based not upon a spearhead like one of these three, but upon any one of 15 making a small break and then having three or four players in immediate support. No opposition team yet has found a defensive pattern that is able to counter this attacking pattern which often comes after a number of successive phases of play.

It’s also based on another fundamental of All Black selection: every player has to be able to run and handle like a back. No player personifies is better than hooker Dane Coles has scored a number of tries after receiving the ball while standing on the wing.

Is anyone old enough to remember the Auckland back row forward Albie Prior? A man before his time, he was playing this style of football in the early 1960s and was generally mocked and ridiculed for it.

This is what a roadmap out of lockdown may need to look like

There are going to be some hard and unpleasant choices that will need to be made.

One of the most difficult will be the level of vaccination for reopening the economy. Like it or not, the 80% of the adult population would appear to be the benchmark. It’s highly risky but with a massive vaccination drive based on the arrival of Moderna, it may work.

Ironically, there will also be some sacrifice of Civil Liberties that will come with the identifying of people who are fully vaccinated.

The irony rests in the fact that the fully vaccinated will have access to a greater range of services and freedoms than the unvaccinated.

Identification of vaccination status can be done through an iPhone, credit card or through some physical identification, like a driving license.

The advantages of a credit card is that it will allow people to make purchases for cinemas, large sporting events, airline and train tickets online. Any situations which lead to people being in relatively crowded situations, vaccination status becomes an issue.

The logistics of these forms of identification (as well as the civil liberties issues) are significant. But we are going to be living in a very different world and some of our cherished beliefs are going to be held up and examined.

The first of these will be whether people who decide not to be vaccinated can continue enjoy the same freedoms and privileges as those who do. The answer to that is not going to be black-and-white but rather more nuanced.

This is what it may look like.

1) Retail, Pubs, Hairdressers etc

All shops, hotels, restaurants, gyms, hairdressers will need to advertise their vaccination status. Some will decide to have staff fully vaccinated and require their customers to be fully vaccinated also. Others will choose not to require that of staff or customers.

Everyone will be able to make a choice at the door. Vaccination status will advertised at the point of entry. If you enter illegally, your phone could sound a warning and then be disabled or your credit card could be disabled.

If you are fully vaccinated, you can go into an unvaccinated venue if you wish, but not the other way around.

It could work quite well. All vaccinated people go out together, sit together and stay well . All the unvaccinated people go up together and sit together and get sick. Darwin at work.

2) Cinemas, Theatres Sporting Events

All of these will require patrons book online and to do this they need to have fully vaccinated status on their credit cards. Non-vaccinated patrons can view the events on television.

3) Gymnasiums and swimming pools

Each local government authority will make the decision on whether their swimming pools and gymnasiums will have staff who are fully vaccinated and whether the clientele will need to demonstrate vaccination status to be able to use the facilities. This information will need to be public.

Private gymnasiums and swimming pools can make these decisions according to the way they see their market.

4) Schools

All schools will reopen when national criteria are met.

All teachers and auxiliary staff will be fully vaccinated and wear masks at all times.

All pupils over the age of 16 will be fully vaccinated.

Parents will need to drop their children off at the gate.

I’m sure I haven’t covered everything.

Please leave a comment.

The All Blacks go into the second International against Argentina with the C team.

They played the B team against Argentina last weekend and won 39 -0 which qualifies as a fairly major thumping. There is probably nobody in the All Black camp who would say the team played particularly well.

But the All Blacks are playing the long game and they know there are a lot of games to be played yet so they need to circulate the players and give them time on the field. So here is the team for Saturday.

Not to say there aren’t some big names there. Joe Moody, all the Barretts, Savea, Ioane, McKenzie, Perenara. So there’s a bit of luxury in resting some other big names with the game against South Africa coming up.

And there will be some young blokes keen to prove themselves.

If this team can come anywhere near matching the performance of last week, the coaching staff will be very pleased.

As experienced coaches know, at the end of a long campaign and a season of injuries, you are only as good as the team you can put on the field.

Dummies Guide to a modelling a Covid-19 Rollout: Part 2.

The first stage of the model showed a population of 5 million receiving a two-dose vaccine over two years with priority going to administering the first dose. 

The model showed that after two years, 4.65 million people were vaccinated and 340,000 remained unvaccinated. The vaccination uptake was 20% of the unvaccinated population receiving their first jab each month and becoming available for the second within two months.

The second iteration of the model shows an outbreak of Covid-19 in the first month of the rollout. It sent shockwaves through the population and the vaccination rate roses from 20% to 50%.

The graph on the right shows the progress without shock. It takes two years before the population reaches 4.6m vaccinated people. That is 92% and most people would be happy that with that outcome, even if it did take two years.

The right-hand graph shows the impact of a Covid outbreak, which shakes the population out of its complacency. First, notice the early jump in the population with one jab (blue line). This results in a rapid fall in the unvaccinated population and a rapid rise in the population with two jabs.

The residual vaccinated population in the left-hand graph is almost certainly more realistic. However, experience in Australia shows that vaccination rates are increasing as a result of Covid infections and lockdowns.

Then everything goes pear-shaped.

Early clinical information about the government’s preferred vaccine indicates risks of blood clotting in certain age groups. The chances are low, but several countries, which have secure supplies of other vaccines, call a halt to the administration of the only vaccine the Australian government has access to.

Health Authorities recommend that the vaccine should not be used for people under 60 until new advice is received on the risks of blood clotting. The take-up rate of the vaccine drops from 30% to 5%. Worldwide demand means no new vaccine supply will be available within 12 months.

Projections indicate that the rollout will be stalled for the next 24 months, with only those prepared to accept the low risk of blood clotting being vaccinated. 

After 24 months, modelling suggests that roughly half the population will be fully vaccinated if the health authorities do not clear the current vaccine.

After 12 months, the government is able to secure supplies of a new vaccine, which does not have the associated clotting risks. Once that becomes available, vaccine hesitancy appears to have been overcome.

The impact of the population with one jab can now be seen. As first movers, they were influential in getting people vaccinated, but the news of the problems with blood clotting slowed vaccination rates. When a new vaccine arrived shortly after 16 months, vaccination rates jumped again.

Under all scenarios in this model, the population is vaccinated within two years.

There are some assumptions in this model that may not be true in the real world. These can be simulated in the model.

It is possible to model scenarios where there are supply shortages and logistics problems.

The big elephant in the room is what will happen while it takes two years to reach 80% vaccination.