Groundhog Day

Today is Sunday, March 29. I went to sleep with the news that Germany has 6,000 cases of Covid 19. I slept fitfully but we had a Zoom chat with out overseas children and grandchildren. They all look well. Later we had another Zoom chat with a local family. So everyone is well, if incredibly frustrated. However we agreed that saving human lives is the most important objective in all this. At this stage, the thing more terrifying than the lockdown would be lifting the lockdown.

It is cold and wet today, but the store is quite busy. Social distancing is being maintained. There is no Vogel bread apart from a fruit loaf, which I buy. When I check out, I try to use my payWave credit card, but end up having to sign the docket with their pen, exactly what I was hoping to avoid. At least I was wearing gloves.

My son from the UK suggested I apply for online shopping. That is probably a good idea, although I like to see what I’m buying (as most of us do).   After the call, I applied to get the Sunday newspaper delivered, having claimed in the past that it was good exercise for one or both of us to walk up to the store and get it. Having emailed the Dom Post, I was sent an automatic reply advising me how busy they are and they’re unable to respond right away. I have also arranged for the NZ Listener to be delivered.

I read somewhere that while many things have been cancelled, love has not. For Christians, for whom Easter is the most solemn time of the year, and some sacrifice on our part seems fitting. It’s not a “beautiful” time, rather a holy time and a time of remembering and being awed. The Church where I used to sing hymns has put most of their weekly sessions on Zoom. That is awesome.

Another thing: this virus doesn’t follow the rules! It doesn’t have a set timetable. We can’t say that this will be over at a certain date. The “rules” of biology dictate its course and timeline. But with the rate of infections being diagnosed, and then deaths growing so very fast, the planners are being kept very busy trying to keep up. I think the present target is to slow this growth rate, but many are saying it has to get worse before it gets better. In the UK, only 50% of patients in Intensive Care recover.  Someone in the UK thought it would be a win to have only 20,000 deaths. What? That’s a huge tragedy, times 20,000. These people die alone, without their grieving loved ones beside them to hold their hand and say goodbye. They have already had 1,000 deaths there. In Queens, New York, there are reports of people dying in the ED while waiting for a bed.  Many of these American hospitals describe the situation as being in a war zone, and while they may be unused to this, they are surely used to the effects of gun violence. Any human death is a tragedy. And we shouldn’t discount the suffering of those diagnosed with the disease. While some only have mild symptoms, others feel truly terrible; it takes at least two weeks to get over it, and you’re the equivalent of a modern-day leper.

Here in NZ the situation is heartening, in some respects. There are only 63 new cases today, although, sadly, one patient has died. But there are fewer new cases than yesterday. The Prime Minister is both encouraging and realistic. She is praised by a former National Prime Minister, Sir John Key.

Another saying: this horse has bolted. Dr Fauci was quoted as saying the virus is not, as it were, under control.

It seems so ironic that at first we had a handful of cases; increasing restrictions became more and more severe, as we wondered how we could manage without movies, shopping, exercise classes, and the things that made our former lives worth living. I would say at least I can still do x, y and z. Now we are in lock down, and worry about the daily increase in cases, the numbers critically ill or needing ventilators, and the daily deaths. All these numbers seem to be increasing as medical staff struggle to keep up.   We are all suspects.

We look forward to a corner – another corner – being turned. It’s like the olden days, when one got on with one’s embroidery. At least we have the internet to connect us! Tomorrow I’ll go for a walk, and , according to the forecast, it will be warmer here.

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