Today is Tuesday March 31. Today is lovely and sunny, with a gentle breeze. Last night I went to sleep on hearing that Dominic Cummings was displaying some symptoms of Covd19, and so was self-isolating.
This morning’s paper, in contrast to yesterday’s, has a rather grumpy tone. Evidently people went to Oriental Bay to enjoy the sunshine, enough of them to cause concern. The city’s motto, Absolutely Positively Wellington, now has a bitter tone, as no one wants to test positive for the virus. WOW has been cancelled for this year. It takes place at the end of September, and has become a huge tourist drawcard, so some are disappointed. Preparation gets underway now, so it’s best cancelled now. There is also talk of lifting the restrictions of the loclkdown, which, indeed, are arduous, However the figures today are “good”: 58 new cases, bringing the total to 647. Of these, 12 are in hospital, and 2 in Intensive Care. NZ is now doing over 1700 tests per day. This is a significant reduction in the number of new cases (on 25 March it was 50), so perhaps the pain is worthwhile. Most of these newly diagnosed cases have a link with overseas travel, or with someone else who has the disease.
I go for a walk in the sunshine. I call at the store, where all the bread has gone. There are still lots of shoppers at the store. As there is no bread, I leave without buying anything. I will have to go earlier tomorrow. We still have bread at home, but about now I would usually buy some more. We have been asked to save online delivery for health workers and the over 70’s.
In Australia, there are new rules, Gatherings of only two are permitted, and Kiwis will receive unemployment benefits.
Overseas, things continue to be drastic – dreadful numbers of new infections, and of deaths, against a tide of weary and inadequately protected health workers. The emphasis is on slowing the rate of increase of these figures, so that they double not every day but perhaps every four days. Added to this there is huge confusion about the requirements, with some states telling their citizens to shelter in place, with educational facilities closed, and in other places state governors countermanding mayoral and medical requests to reduce human contact. In the US, the rate of increase is greatest in the world, bearing in mind that the figures are perhaps not all counted the same ways. The pain for some is extreme and it is intensifying.
It seems this situation requires strong leadership, both in tracking the data, and ensuring that help and equipment are available where required.
Then there’s the sad story of Liberty University, reopened by Jerry Falwell Jr, where students were encouraged to return, where several students have symptoms of Covid19, and one has tested positive.
In Hungary Prime Minister Orban has declared he will govern by decree, while in the US and UK governments are contemplating more authoritarian approaches. I guess one would accept restrictions provided there was a good reason for them, and there was a time limit. In short, limiting democratic freedoms is never a good idea, except in extreme circumstances.
As well as stories about reduction of civil rights, there is a story in the Guardian about Monsanto, who evidently knew they were doing damage to farms.
Other odd facts:
- Placido Domingo is in hospital for Covid19
- The violinist Anne Sophie Mutter has been diagnosed positive
- A temporary hospital is being set up in Central Park in New York
- Some patients are getting worse in hospital, or certainly not improving as quickly as expected
- There may be lasting damage caused to the lungs by Covid19
- The lockdown is not a holiday, it is a medical emergency. People shouldn’t go to parks or put themselves in danger, but rather stay close to home.
What a strange new world and ever-changing world we now inhabit. NZ largely goes unnoticed in the wider scheme of things. Perhaps that’s a good thing. We wouldn’t want to become the bolthole for the world. Stay safe, stay home, and let’s hope the internet and power service is maintained.