Grim Reality

Today is Thursday, March 26, day one of a four week lockdown in New Zealand. Already it feels as though we have been in lockdown for some time. I just watched a video on the Guardian website of Jacinda Ardern speaking to the nation, after putting her daughter to bed, ad apologising for not wearing her work clothes. We are so proud of her. It’s good to have a Prime Minister we can be proud of.

Jacinda has won us over by asking each of us to pretend we have covid19, and don’t want to pass it on. Social distancing has really caught on here. We went for a walk this afternoon, and everyone cheerfully gives everyone else a wide berth.

At the supermarket, they’ve separated the entrance and exit, and limited the number of shoppers to 75. Today there is plenty of bread, so I buy some more. There are still plenty of fruits and vegetables, too.

During our walk we note that there are teddy bears in a window of almost every house, so we find some and put them in the office window, too. This is a NZ campaign to inspire children not to be afraid.

I woke during the night dreaming of more dire covid19 situations, but soon I convinced myself it was a bad dream and went back to sleep, after registering JD’s telling me that Prince Charles had tested positive, as had the medical director for the movie Contagion. I hope nothing happens to Prince William.

It is now two full weeks since our youngest son arrived from the UK. Back then, I decided not to go to my usual activities for 14 days. Now, we are in lockdown, and they have all been put on hold. Some activities are now going ahead using Zoom. That will be fun to explore. As yet, I have not been inspired to play and sing, but there is likely to be plenty of time.

Already, I am so over this, and it’s only just formally begun! Talk about stages of grief! Yesterday, I was uplifted, but having gone shopping early (around 10 am) for bread, I was then at a loose end for the rest of the day. Today I am a bit frustrated, especially when others (namely, Australia and the US) do not take this situation seriously. Today the number of diagnosed cases in NZ has shot up to 283, including 78 new cases today.  We have been warned that the number of cases may increase before it dies down. I think most of us are prepared to do whatever it takes, to bring it under control.

Sadly, someone who worked for Hohepa as a contractor, tested positive for Covid19. Presumably this was someone from an agency. This brings the danger very close indeed. We are none of us immune.

There are some big anomalies out there. In Australia, numbers for weddings and baptisms have been greatly reduced, but evidently you can have ten people at a funeral! In NZ, even last week, most funerals were private, family services, with a memorial service to be arranged at a later date, when it would be considered safe to have it.

India has announced a lockdown for three weeks. While this is a very brave move, Prime Minister Modi apparently said If you can’t go back for 21 days, the country will go back 21 years! 

The death toll in Spain is alarming, but in Italy, which has suffered so badly, it is still bad but not growing, suggesting they are over the worst of this viral epidemic.

The UK seems to be policing its lockdown, and furthermore, they’ve developed a faster way of producing ventilators. This sound very ingenious! One is reminded of their “finest hour”, and all that. Many medical people and others have offered to help nurse the sick, as needed. This is encouraging.

They are also developing an antibodies test. The reasoning is that if you produce antibodies to Covid19, you’ve probably had it, or been exposed to it, and are no longer infectious, or likely to contract it.

The US continues to cause enormous concern. The stimulus bill is decried as favouring rich businesses and failing to assist those who desperately need help. The richest, greatest country on earth (to use their phraseology) cannot get it together to provide testing, protective medical equipment, or ventilators. The pro-life party seems to regard many lives as expendable. The President, who claims his country wasn’t made to be shut down, recently declared a national emergency to build a wall to keep people out, stating that America was closed.

On the other hand, there are wonderful stories of American improvisation and desire to help others, in terms of counties providing testing, local authorities issuing stay in place orders, building field hospitals, and medical students graduating early so that they can look after patients in Intensive Care Units. Some State Governors have been inspiring in this situation: Jay Inslee of Washington and Andrew Cuomo of New York come to mind.

Rigorous testing (whether you have symptoms or not) and isolation seem to be key to identifying who has the disease, but this is very unlikely to happen. It is now being recognised in some areas as important.

Here in Wellington it has been a warm, sunny day, although there’s quite a strong northerly wind. It is very quiet. There is little traffic noise. I saw one empty bus go by, although aeroplanes keep flying overhead. Just who has so much essential travel, one wonders?

Tomorrow is Friday. I would maybe catch up with a son and grandson at the new library in Johnsonville; we might have our art group; my cleaner might come. None of that will happen. But I will go for a walk, and write my blog.

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