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Good morning! A press release leaked an hour before Queensland's Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk delivered her supposedly all-important, in-person speech to win over IOC voters revealed that Brisbane's Olympic bid was in fact already a done deal. That should come as no surprise – Brisbane was the only remaining bidder!

The Premier was then subsequently belittled live on international TV by gold medal winning arsehole and Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates, who insisted she attend the opening ceremony despite her prior pledge to "fly straight back home to hotel quarantine". Note that not even former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, nor the CEO of major sponsor Toyota, Akio Toyoda, will be in attendance due to the "state of emergency and virus restrictions over Tokyo".

Not a great look for the Premier in the middle of a pandemic, with 65% of Australians in lockdown and tens of thousands stuck overseas. Given the situation, surely a video link would have sufficed?


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Note: Brent oil, gold bullion and iron ore prices are the second futures contract.

The US S&P500 gained 0.2% overnight despite worse than expected weekly jobless claims, with 419,000 Americans filing for unemployment, well above the estimate of 350,000. However, existing home sales rose 1.4% in June from the prior month and the median existing home price in the US hit a record high, up a staggering 23.4% from June 2020.

Locally, the ASX200 followed the leader by rallying another 1.06% to a new record high, with mining and energy particularly strong, adding 2.2% and 2.5% respectively. Notably, BHP gained 3.05% after striking a deal with Tesla to supply it with some "of the [world's] most sustainable and lowest carbon emission nickel", a key battery ingredient.

False confidence: The National Australia Bank's quarterly business survey reported that business conditions hit a record high in the June quarter. However, the survey is quite lagged – it was conducted between 18 May to 10 June – so missed all of the recent lockdown carnage other than Melbourne's 2-week lockdown.

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A couple of days ago we included a link in the Wrap Up explaining why, as countries start moving from lockdowns to reopenings, misreporting about vaccine efficacy will become more prevalent.

As the colloquialism goes, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.

A hypothetical: In a group of 20 adults with an 80% rate of vaccination, if four adults get sick – two vaccinated, two unvaccinated – it might be tempting to claim something along the lines of "50% of new cases were vaccinated – see, the vaccine doesn't work!". While the stat would be technically correct, that's only because the wrong denominator was used.

Picture showing that 50% of new cases were vaccinated.
In this scenario, 50% of those who got sick were vaccinated. @LucyStats/Twitter

The correct way to analyse such data is to "look at the rates among the vaccinated and unvaccinated separately, and then compare them". In the above scenario, only two in eighteen vaccinated people got sick (11%), while 100% of those unvaccinated fell ill.

Picture showing only 11% of vaccinated got sick, versus 100% of unvaccinated.
In the same scenario, only 11% of those vaccinated got sick along with 100% of those unvaccinated. @LucyStats/Twitter

Why this matters: The UK has reopened its economy, with a headline last week reading "Almost half of UK COVID infections are in people who are at least partly vaccinated, study suggests". That makes sense, because in the UK almost 90% of the adult population has received at least a first dose, with around 66% fully vaccinated. In fact, it's essentially what we showed in the hypothetical above – a very small share of vaccinated people are catching COVID-19 compared to the much larger share of unvaccinated people.

A more meaningful statistic then becomes not how many vaccinated people catch COVID-19, but how many are being hospitalised or killed by it. And it's so far, so good on that front, with deaths failing to follow rising case numbers in this wave, unlike in 2.5% vaccinated South Africa, for instance:

Two charts comparing the UK and South Africa's third waves.
Vaccines seem to work. FT/Twitter

The Wrap Up

  • ⚽ Australia's U23 men's football team – the 'Olyroos' – scored a 2-0 upset victory over Argentina in their opening match of the Olympics.
  • 💉 Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey and the UAE will phase out usage of China's Sinovac vaccine in favour more effective vaccines, such as Pfizer-BioNTech.
  • ⛓️ A couple are facing up to 20 years in prison for causing a deadly wildfire in California last September after using a smoke bomb at a gender-reveal party.
  • 🌊 The flooding in central China has intensified, with at least 25 dead and 200,000 displaced.
  • 😷 Speaking of floods, according to the NSW Health Minister, that state is "awash with AstraZeneca", but they're unable to administer enough of it "because of messaging that's come out from both the advisory body and then translated by the federal government over the last few months".
  • 😔 Two more Australians died from rare blood clots associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, bringing the total to 5 deaths from 6.1 million doses administered (0.00008%).
  • ❤️ Dating apps such as Bumble will allow users to badge their profiles to indicate whether they're vaccinated from COVID-19 or not.
  • 🥝 Think ScoMo's vaccine ordering was bad? We'll raise you one Ardern – "The [NZ] Government's first purchase order of the Pfizer vaccine comprised just 54,600 doses, and was made in late January."
  • 🗼 The director of the Tokyo Olympics' opening ceremony was fired yesterday "over a joke he made about the Holocaust as part of his comedy act in the 1990s".
  • 🙇 ScoMo finally said "sorry" that "we haven't been able to achieve the [vaccine rollout] marks that we hoped for at the beginning of this year".
  • 🥐 France officially rolled out its vaccination 'health pass', required for all events or places catering to more than 50 people. It will likely also be required at restaurants, cafes and shopping centres in August.
  • 🧙‍♂️ An ancient undersea volcano that resembles the Eye of Sauron was discovered 280 kilometres southeast of Christmas Island.
  • 🏉 Australia and New Zealand withdrew from the 2021 Rugby League World Cup, due to be held in England from 23 October, citing "safety concerns".