Another vaccination blitz and improving COVID trends-June 11, 2021

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Chris Tufton’s ‘COVID Conversation’ last night focused on improving COVID trends, especially much lower positivity rates, and another round of vaccination blitzes, that began last weekend and will continue for the next two weekends. Particular focus is on getting second doses given; so far, some 28,000 have had second doses.

Kick it!-June 6, 2021

It’s my first-born daughter’s birthday and this has nothing to do with her.

I was watching something the other day and a character wanted something out of a food dispenser. A young boy came along and asked what he wanted, and then proceeded to put his hand and arm up through the dispenser hole to pull out a few of the desired items.

It brought back childhood memories of trying to use these machines, often inside train stations, where they were popular in England, and being stymied when they did not give the products for which we’d paid. The tradition in England was to give the machine a good shake, to dislodge something, and if that failed, to give the machine a good thump with the fist or a kick. It worked, most times.

I’ve not used a vending machine for well over 30 years.

Things have changed. They used to just give sweets and snacks. Now, you can get electronics. In some countries, you can go to places where only vending machines are available and you can dine off their contents.

I think the connection in my my with my daughter is that, once upon a life, kids used to be why such machines were used, to give a quick satisfaction and also because little kids were thrilled by seeing how things worked. But, I never used them with my child.

Some people found many ways to bilk machines, eg with fake coins or foreign coins of lower value. I’ve known these tricks, eg the old Deutschemark was the same size and weight as an old British 5p coin, which was about 1/10 of the value. British tourists used to load up and get more bang for their pound with this little piece of fraud 🙂

Another Jamaican COVID-19 “blitz” to get second doses done-June 4, 2021

Just when the USA has allocated at least 80 million doses to the rest of the world, Jamaicans can anticipate another boost to COVID vaccination. The USA will share 75% of doses with COVAX, about 19 million can go to areas worst hit by supply constraints.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness did incredibly well with a so-called “blitz” of vaccinations back in April, when they managed to get 75,000 doses…

Another Jamaican COVID-19 “blitz” to get second doses done

Our youngest will not be living on Skid Row :)-June 2, 2021

I can’t explain why I’m more nervous about our 3rd child going off to college than about her two older sisters, now in their 30s. But, I am. Maybe, it’s just simply seeing the last of the brood leave the nest 🙂

Anyway, I’m trying to embrace what I know I have gone through before.

So, she’ll be off to college in California in August. She now has somewhere to live; she excitedly announced she’d gotten her housing assignment. She’ll share a 2-bedroom with 3 others. She’s opted for a random selection of roommates. She knows one of the girls who will be there, named on the assignment. I know she’s likely to start linking through messages and chats, and by moving-in day, they could be besties 🙂

I’m keep reassuring myself she’ll do fine; she has done so, often. But…

Jamaicans get looser COVID restrictions-June 1, 2021

PM Holness announced a broad loosening of COVID-related restrictions, notably, easing curfews till July 1:

Fuller details are below:

Quarantine rules for those fully vaccinated are reduced to 8 days from 14, from June 3.

Beaches and rivers will reopen from June 3, with limited group sizes.

Discussions are underway to revive the entertainment industry, and possibly reopen in the summer:

Jamaica, COVID trends and vaccination update-May 13, 2021

Health and wellness minister’s ‘COVID conversation’, this evening, focused on the vaccinations push, whose push has stalled pending more supplies.

He reported that 146,000 have gotten their first doses:

Over 50s can now get their vaccine doses:

Second doses are being administered, but supplies available are still not adequate, but another 60,000 doses are due to arrive in coming weeks.

The rebroadcast of the ‘conversation’ and the overall picture of COVID infection are in the thread below:

Jamaica’s education crisis-May 10, 2021

Reverend Ronald Thwaites is a former education minister and his take on where the parlous state of Jamaican education is strikes many of the right chords in a badly tuned song. Education has failed Jamaica for most of its independence and that failure is shown throughout all aspects of a society that is highly under-education, highly unproductive, poorly paid but largely paid near its real ‘worth’.

The year and more of sporadic education for most children isn’t going to be recovered quickly and looks likely to be a permanent loss.

Jamaica’s education system has many things wrong with it, from its vision, through its methods, through the nature of inputs (children from too many homes where parents cannot help prepare and support them in education, including ensuring they are well-fed and well-rested; teachers too focused on matters other than best teaching practices).

I have no magic wand, and I am not a good example of how children can succeed in a highly dysfunctional system. But, all the talk about the importance of our human capital is hot air when one sees what passes for school life for many Jamaican children. The output is often not ‘fit for purpose’ at more than some basic levels–only 40% graduate high school with any qualification. You can’t make a progressive society and economy with such bad material.

Central bank digital currencies-May 8, 2021

I’m not a fan of cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin. But, as a former central banker, I ought to take note of plans by central banks to introduce digital currencies, not least because they would have the distinct advantage over cryptocurrencies of being regarded as legal tender. So, I better start reading up on them as some of my favourite central banks are amongst the over 85% of such institutions that start to dip their toes into the water.

New COVID restrictions in Jamaica through end-June 2-May 5, 2021

PM Andrew Holness announced new restrictions for the period throuhg June 2, covering the Memorial Day holiday in late May:

While most restritions are unchanged, schools will go back to in-person for certain examinees from May 10.

Also, the travel ban from the UK has been lifted, while a ban has been placed on travel from Trinidad & Tobago.

Many are against renewed visitors from the UK not least because of the UK variant, and despite the UK making good progress with vaccinations, but are mindful that a previous surge had possible origins in the resumption of travel from the UK.

COVID vaccine hesitancy in the USA as herd immunity seems unlikely-May 3, 2021

It’s more than ironic that as more vaccines have been rolled out, and major developed countries grabbed the bulk of those, we find they are now the major problem to overcoming COVID. They’ve done well to get 1st vaccines to the bulk of their populations in some cases, and must now get the job done of giving 2nd doses. Here’s where they are hitting a wall of ‘vaccination hesitancy’. The USA has now about 30% of it population fully vaccinated against COVID. Daily vaccinations are declining from about 3 million to 2.5 million. The ‘hesitancy’ map for that is interesting for its apparent clustering:

CDC also has an interactive map:

Wyoming has been flagged as having the worst cast of hesitancy, about 32%:

So, the risk facing the USA now is that, even with its fast roll-out, the sought for ‘herd immunity’ is now less likely. The needed rate was about 70%, but with variants spreading, a number nearer 80% seems needed.

We heard that CVS and Walgreen’s have wasted more vaccines that most states combined.

Meanwhile, those of us in the rest of the world are just desperate to get a substantial stock of vaccines, and are imploring the USA to let us have some of the 60 million AstraZeneca doses they’ve so far said they’ll offer other countries, once it receives federal approval.