#aldi

Most reliable indicator of fear surrounding COVID-19 is not what you think

Our trip to the Aldi supermarket in the affluent suburb of Mosman in Sydney, Australia last Saturday revealed one immutable truth. That even the elderly have absolutely no concerns about social distancing when fighting over limited supplies of Lacura face creams that were on the ‘special buys’ list. We think this is probably the most accurate indicator of “fear” surrounding COVID-19 – absolutely none. We’ve seen more crowded Japanese subway carriages at peak hour.

Forget hand sanitiser, masks and respecting social distance. Just push, jostle, elbow, bustle and fight to the death to lay one’s hands on a $19 moisturizer. It felt like toilet paper rationing all over again.

Forgive the preamble.

We have analysed the latest COVID-19 deaths as a percentage of state populations across America and Australia to get a feel for the reality and check whether media hysteria is unfounded.

New York State was the worst of all, representing 3x the national average. 10 of the top 17 states with rates above the national average were Democrat controlled (blue columns).

In aggregate, c.121,000 have died under Democrat-controlled states and 78,400 under Republican-controlled states (red columns) as at Sept 21, 2020 according to CDC data.

We also note that Victoria, a state in Australia, has a death rate that still remains extremely low on a relative basis (despite being 10x the rest of the country combined) yet has some of the harshest lockdown laws.

Comparing Victoria to US states that imposed no lockdowns at all, the numbers don’t justify a draconian curfew. Utah has a population about half that of Victoria and a death toll from COVID at 50% of Victoria, despite no lockdown imposed at all. One could make a case for population density but why does NSW have 1/10th the death toll with similar demographics and a relatively open economy?

Note that all US states that had no lockdown had death tolls at least half the national average. Every single one is Republican-controlled.

In America, 99.94% of the country has no succumbed to coronavirus. In Victoria, 99.99% of the state population hasn’t died from it. In Australia 99.997% of citizens have managed to survive.

The data is self explanatory. US deaths are at 1/3rd the levels at the peak but the media can’t stray from the narrative that the risks of a new wave are around the corner. No. The virus remains contagious but not that virulent. Someone mentioned an election soon…

We shall be updating more data in coming days. Suffice to say, economies should be reopened and special attention paid to protecting more vulnerable members of society (who clearly weren’t at Aldi Mosman).

Truth in advertising

Truth in advertising. Gillette would do well to learn from it. Aldi got a bad review from a customer and instead of the normal ‘sweep it under the carpet‘ attitude of big corporates it faced its own shortcomings with a promise to lift its game. Perhaps if Gillette came out and said “we’re sorry for overstepping the mark on toxic masculinity. Here are all the great things men do” then its sales wouldn’t be thumped so badly.

Another win for virtue signaling with zero impact

It really makes CM laugh. While we can feel all cozy about saving the planet by cutting plastic bag use, had anyone thought of the word “substitution”? That people often “reused” their free plastic shopping bags to dispose of rubbish by their desks or the bedroom. Now they need to go to aisle 9 to buy more “single use” plastic garbage bags to dispose of household waste…so reality is consumption of plastic bags has probably fallen by near as makes no difference zero.

In 2006 the UK Environment Agency did a study on the effectiveness of alternative packaging solutions to HDPE (conventional plastic bags) in terms of lowering environmental impact. It said,

The paper, LDPE, non-woven PP and cotton bags should be reused at least 3, 4, 11 and 131 times respectively to ensure that they have lower [impact] than conventional HDPE carrier bags that are not reused.”

So if conventional biodegradable plastic shopping bags are used to throw out garbage that means 6, 8, 22 and 262 days.

While we’re at it, do people realize that the majority of take away wax-lined coffee cups aren’t recycled even though you can feel good about yourself when disposing of it in the right bin? How many people elect to have their brew poured into a ceramic cup? Look next time – hardly any! The cost to recycle the 500 billion (and rising) coffee cups consumed annually is so astronomical (it is hard to separate the wax that stops the cup disintegrating because of the energy intensity involved to do so) that over 90% end up in landfill. No one talks about that 300 million tons of virgin paper used to make these cups! How many of us give it one thought when we need a shot of caffeine? Right?! Although Starbucks is trialing a 5p latte levy for those that elect to use a paper cup.

All this ban has done has inconvenience people. 60% of mismanaged plastic waste was from East Asia (i.e. China), 11% from South Asia; 9% from sub-Saharan Africa; 8% from MENA; 7% from LatAm; 3% from Europe and 0.9% from North America. Australia doesn’t even get a mention. Our impact is zero. So why the obsession to self flagellate?

Single use plastic bags- 80% cut to common sense

Queue the virtue signaling. The National Retail Association (NRA) claims there has been an 80% drop in the use of “single use” plastic bags in the past three months since it was introduced across supermarkets in Australia. The irony is that this claim is not backed up by the increased sales of plastic bags from “aisle 7” so consumers can dispose of household rubbish. All they did was substitute bags, not cut down on the total use. Spuriously quiet on that front!

Who cares when one can shout out their empty environmentalism that aren’t backed by facts?

Putting the substitution argument to one side, not one group has told us what the “correct level of plastic use” actually is. Perhaps we should ban takeaway outlets for the obscene short term use of plastic trays and cutlery!

In 2006 the UK Environment Agency did a study on the effectiveness of alternative packaging solutions to HDPE (conventional plastic bags) in terms of lowering environmental impact. It said,

The paper, LDPE, non-woven PP and cotton bags should be reused at least 3, 4, 11 and 131 times respectively to ensure that they have lower [impact] than conventional HDPE carrier bags that are not reused.”

So if conventional biodegradable plastic shopping bags are used to throw out garbage that means 6, 8, 22 and 262 days.

While we’re at it, do people realize that the majority of take away wax-lined coffee cups aren’t recycled even though you can feel good about yourself when disposing of it in the right bin? How many people elect to have their brew poured into a ceramic cup? Look next time – hardly any! The cost to recycle the 500 billion (and rising) coffee cups consumed annually is so astronomical (it is hard to separate the wax that stops the cup disintegrating because of the energy intensity involved to do so) that over 90% end up in landfill. No one talks about that 300 million tons of virgin paper used to make these cups! How many of us give it one thought when we need a shot of caffeine? Right?! Although Starbucks is trialing a 5p latte levy for those that elect to use a paper cup.

All this ban has done has inconvenience people. 60% of mismanaged plastic waste was from East Asia (i.e. China), 11% from South Asia; 9% from sub-Saharan Africa; 8% from MENA; 7% from LatAm; 3% from Europe and 0.9% from North America. Australia doesn’t even get a mention. Our impact is zero.

So much like the “save the planet” renewables movement in Australia with regards to electricity generation. Our efforts to push for less reliable sources of power which will cause higher prices will create zero impact in lowering world temperatures by 2100.

So our cutting of plastic bags will likely have zero impact on plastic waste unless we get the environmental vandals of China, SE Asia and Africa to lift up their socks. Why do we self-flagellate when we’re not the problem? Do we honestly think China cares what Woolies do inside supermarkets?

Why does the mass media not ask simple questions instead of regurgitate incomplete stats?