Random Analytica

Random thoughts, charts, infographics & analysis. Not in that order

24. Mefloquine Dispatches: Sausage rolls and the Red Cross, 1st July 1997

This story actually starts in late February 2019.

I had been doing memory recall exercises for some weeks at this point.

The process consumes me. I’m not really ready for this type of Rapid Exposure. As I sit with my psychologist we do the work and then he spends time ‘bringing me down’. When I do it on my own I go for hours. I’m a student who thinks he is a professor.

I’m merging into an old pattern which I am starting to recognise. It’s my roller-coaster. Every six to nine months. For more than two decades.

The memory work has been fruitful. I’ve remembered taking the mefloquine which was the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) at the time. Is that enough to prove I was given mefloquine?

One of the boys gives me a doctor in the United States who I can talk to. I approach him with the evidence I have. He advises that it isn’t enough. I have no notation of mefloquine on my medical records. In fact he noted that I was cleared for doxycycline.

I’m devastated. It doesn’t matter what I can remember or what the SOP was at the time, without some sort of concrete evidence I know I’ll have a hard time proving my exposure.

I do more memory work. I should be resting. I look terrible. I feel awful. I’m not sleeping.

I get a memory.

Sausage rolls! I’m sitting in a clinical room across from a nurse who is taking notes. I’m at the Red Cross giving blood. The nurse gets excited about my blood because I had been given an anti-malarial without travelling (which is very unusual). I was there for hours too because I remember getting sausage rolls. In 1997 that was a big deal. Normal blood donations usually meant jatz biscuits with some cheese, not the luxury of sausage rolls!

At this stage I still cannot remember what I was given but despair has turned to elation.

Reality kicks in. What did I tell the nurses back in 1997? If I told them what medications I had taken did they note it? Do the notes still exist? How the hell do I access decades old records from the Red Cross?

I make a call to the Red Cross. They explained the process. I email the paperwork on the 5th March.

A doctor from the Red Cross returns my call on the 14th March. The news is confirmation of the worst. I was given mefloquine by the Army in March 1997.

I remember screaming into the sand in front of my kids when I heard the news. It was pure RAGE. We had taken the day off to enjoy a swim at a local creek. I had to collect myself before I thanked the doctor. I am so angry I gave my eldest son my phone. It takes me hours to calm down.

* Red Cross records from 1997

I finally calm down.

The evidence was compelling. Not only had I been given mefloquine in 1997 the Army had failed to note it.

Thank goodness for sausage rolls and the Red Cross!

If you or someone you know needs help, please phone Lifeline on 131 114, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or Open Arms on 1800 011 046.

Mefloquine Dispatches: An Index

From February 2019 to February 2020 as my amnesia started to lift I took the time to write down some of my memories and experiences as a series of short stories.

It might end up as a book, it might not.

In the meantime here is an index in order of when they were written.

  1. Mefloquine Dispatches: The First Asylum, 1997 (the story is at the end)
  2. Mefloquine Dispatches: My Daughter, 2016
  3. Mefloquine Dispatches: Raven, 1990s
  4. Mefloquine Dispatches: Harley Quinn, 1997
  5. Mefloquine Dispatches: @NAB, 20th March 2019
  6. Mefloquine Dispatches: @WHO, 8th August 1989
  7. Mefloquine Dispatches: Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos, 11th March 2006
  8. Mefloquine Dispatches: Dr Pepper 2.2. 2011 & 1992
  9. Mefloquine Dispatches: The Joker, 1997 & 2019
  10. Mefloquine Dispatches: Acceptance, 2019
  11. Mefloquine Dispatches: Full Bloom, 2012
  12. Mefloquine Dispatches: The Claremont Serial Killings, April 1997
  13. Mefloquine Dispatches: The Commonwealth Department of Veterans Affairs, 2000
  14. Mefloquine Dispatches: SGADF, 26th September 2019
  15. Mefloquine Dispatches: Suicide Prevention, early 1990
  16. Mefloquine Dispatches: Caravaggio, October 2012
  17. Mefloquine Dispatches: RQ19/03024 #RightToKnow, 21st November 2019
  18. Mefloquine Dispatches: Royal Commission, 2020
  19. Mefloquine Dispatches: Lord Dannatt, 28th November 2019
  20. Mefloquine Dispatches: 1800 MEFLOQUINE, 10th May 2019
  21. Mefloquine Dispatches: Mindfulness, 5th December 2019
  22. Mefloquine Dispatches: Mil Mi-24, 27th March 1997
  23. Mefloquine Dispatches: Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee, 28th February 2020
  24. Mefloquine Dispatches: Sausage rolls and the Red Cross, 1st July 1997

Random Analytica: Australia COVID-19 cases by day

Here is a look at the total Australian cases by day since the 100th case was recorded on the 10th March 2020.

As at 6.00am on the 9th April 2020, there have been 6,052 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, including 50-deaths. The Case Fatality Rate (CFR) based on those numbers is 0.83%.

200409_Chart_CasesByDay_Australia

Key Dates:

28th March: Travel restrictions imposed. All travellers entering Australia must undergo 14-days of isolation.
16th March: Social distancing measures adopted across all States and Territories.
13th March: Tom Hanks and Peter Dutton confirmed as having COVID-19. Measures to prevent spread tightened including social distancing measures.
18th February: Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) launched.

Table: Total Cases by State

200409_Table_TotalCases_Australia

Random Analytica: Jakarta (Indonesia) COVID-19 cases by day

Jakarta is emerging as another COVID-19 pandemic hotspot. Unfortunately the data is really problematic to find prior to the 19th March. What is officially available is limited due to a lack of testing capability (among other issues). As an example the data available had Jakarta cases totalling 77 (to the 18th March), then a big jump of 133-cases (19th March) then hardly any cases with just five. This very low amount occurred on the 20th March which was also hari Jumat/Friday.

On the official numbers.

As at the 11th April 2020, there have been 1,949 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the city of Jakarta, Indonesia, including 159-deaths. The Case Fatality Rate (CFR) based on those numbers is 8.16%.

200411_Chart_JakartaCasesByDay

Here is a look at the official numbers for COVID-19 deaths in Jakarta.

200411_Chart_JakartaDeathsByDay

** Special thanks to Anne Barker (ABC) for her assistance and Pak Agus Wibowo for his data tweets.

Key Dates:

10th April: Australia’s ambassador is withdrawn due to COVID-19.
31st March: Indonesia implements a ban on foreign visitors.
23rd March: Via the ABC. Coronavirus COVID-19 death rate in Indonesia is the highest in the world. Experts say it’s because reported case numbers are too low.
6th March: Indonesia restricts visitors from Iran, Italy & South Korea.

Random Analytica: Sunshine Coast (AUS) COVID-19 cases by day

Here is a look at the Sunshine Coast cases by day since the first known case which presented on the 25th February 2020. Of note, the first Australian case presented exactly one month previously!

As at 12.00pm on the 30th March 2020, there have been 71 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia, including 1-death. The Case Fatality Rate (CFR) based on those numbers is 1.41%.

200330_Chart_SCCasesByDay

Key Dates:

13th – 15th March: The Mooloolaba Triathlon is run. At least one competitor tested positive for COVID-19 the following week.
14th – 19th March: Sails Restaurant, Noosa cluster.
16th March: Queensland Health reports a death of a 77-year old woman on the Sunshine Coast.
24th March: Queensland Health consolidates the COVID-19 data into a single table rather than report details of each case.
29th March: The Chief Health Officer of Queensland issues the Home Confinement Direction which directs citizens to stay at home unless undertaking essential activities (i.e. shopping or seeking medical attention).
30th March: Queensland schools to be student-free but will remain open for the children of essential workers.

Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service map

SunshineCoast

Random Analytica: NSW COVID-19 cases by age (to 25th March 2020)

NSW COVID-19 cases hit 1,029 today. I was interested enough to have a quick look into the NSW Health’s excellent web-page. Although they supply a lot of data and charts I couldn’t see a ‘bee hive’ graphic or the age pyramid. Given NSW has just topped 1,000 cases I thought it might be worthwhile doing the chart on their behalf.

My big take-outs from looking at the chart is the uniformity of cases from ages 20 – 29 to 60 – 69 for both men and women. That’s your core working age cohort. That’s when most people travel for work and pleasure. Looks like this disease will predominately target workers in its first wave.

Second takeout. There are just two children aged 0 -9 yet eleven people aged 90 or more. Children obviously less likely to present with COVID-19. I’ll let better minds than mine figure that one out.

Chart below: NSW Age Pyramid of NSW COVID-19 cases to the 25th March 2020 (n = 1,029).

200325_Chart_NSWxAge

Source: NSW Health

200325_Screenshot_NSWHealth

Random Analytica: Australian Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases by calendar week

The daily COVID-19 numbers are escalating quickly. If you think the daily numbers are worrisome take a step back and consider the weekly new case numbers.

In the past week the new cases increased almost five-fold.

Chart below: Australian cases by week. My chart time period commences from Monday 20th January 2020 with the first confirmed COVID-19 presentation on the 25th January.

200324_Table_AUSStatesWkNo

Random Analytica: Australian Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases by day (to the end March 2020)

Here is a look at the Australian cases by day since the first known case which presented on the 25th January 2020.

As at 6.30am on the 31st March 2020, there have been 4,359 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, including 18-deaths. The Case Fatality Rate (CFR) based on those numbers is 0.41%.

200331_Chart_AUSCasesByDay_FINAL

Via the Australian Department of Health. Coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert. Notes with a table detailing cases by location:

As at 6:30am on 31 March 2020, there have been 4,359 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia. There have been 266 new cases since 6:30am yesterday.

Of the 4,359 confirmed cases in Australia, 18 have died from COVID-19. More than 230,000 tests have been conducted across Australia.

200331_Table_AUSStatesCaseNo_FINAL

* Note that under National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System reporting requirements, cases are reported based on their Australian jurisdiction of residence rather than where they were detected. For example, a case reported previously in the NT in a NSW resident is counted in the national figures as a NSW case.

** Includes Diamond Princess repatriation cases: QLD (3), SA (1), VIC (4), WA (2, including 1 death)

23. Mefloquine Dispatches: Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee, 28th February 2020

In my correspondence to the Australian Senate I requested the following:

  • You would like to know the status of the comprehensive health assessments announced by the minister on 15 March 2019;
  • You would like all the personnel involved in Operation BARITONE to receive a comprehensive health assessment and you would like to receive a response from the minister to this request;
  • You would like the committee to investigate the status of the Mefloquine help line;
  • You would like to know why DVA have not accepted your Mefloquine exposure given the letter you received from Defence.

This is what I received.

200228_iLetter_AUSSenate_Pg1of2200228_iLetter_AUSSenate_Pg2of2

We are making some progress but there is still more mountains to climb.

If you or someone you know needs help, please phone Lifeline on 131 114, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or Open Arms on 1800 011 046.

Random Analytica: Early days of the Wuhan Coronavirus

I’m in the process of building a timeline infographic that tracks the progress of the still to be named Wuhan Coronavirus. It’s early days and I’ve a bit to research but here is a preview of where we are at with the virus in the early hours of the 21st January 2020.

200121_Infographic_WuhanCoronaVirus

Sources:

FluTrackers.com. 2019-nCov Confirmed Case List by Country and Province – Total = 222 (as of 8am ET)