This Too Shall Pass

Today is Wednesday, April 1. April Fools Day. I wake early to find out that Chris Cuomo has tested positive for Covid19. I am reminded of T S Eliot’s line: “April is the cruellest month”, and I learn that more Americans have now died off Covid19 than died on 9/11.  I then go back to sleep until 8:30 am.

I walk to the shop early (for me) hoping to get some Vogel bread. I have twigged that I can use plastic gloves (of which I have a good supply) for shopping, and discard them afterwards. I have now got this quite well organised, with gloves, payWave, and using shopping bags to hold the trolley.

I make a beeline for the bread. There is none. I ask how early you have to be to get bread. The nice person explains that they don’t know when the bread will come in, or what will be delivered. The bread hasn’t yet been delivered today. I hang about waiting for it, and eventually I am successful in getting some. Prices are down for raspberries, avocado and broccoli. Dishwashing liquid is very scarce.

Walking home, there are lots of people out. We cross the road to avoid each other, giving a cheerful greeting. It is quite mild with a slight breeze and fine but not sunny. There is someone delivering DX mail using a motorbike. That helps to explain the noise of motorbikes. There are cars driving alarmingly fast on our street, and still a large number parked at the shopping centre. Still, I suppose if people aren’t working in town and eating out, or eating takeaways, then they need to shop for food. The store seems busier now than it used to!

It occurs to me that religious folk who defy warnings are not really using science and logic. After all, the Lord gave them a brain, and a conscience. Why not use it?  This virus is extremely infectious. Therefore, the recommendation is to keep one’s distance. As someone said, many things have been cancelled, but not love. That includes divine love.

This morning’s paper is more upbeat. I realise that newspapers tend to sensationalise, thinking that sells papers, but we really need straight information right now. People have been flocking to Makara Beach, and the locals are upset. It’s a windy, stony beach, one for battlers.  People in the East Cape and the Far North have set up road blocks too. One can understand that reaction.

There are discussions about just what “essential” means. The banks are offering help. Landlords are offering help. There is government assistance. I am sure there is fine print and some sad stories, but it seems people are better looked after here than on many countries overseas.

There is medical cooperation here too, with planning to use private hospitals (some of which have closed) for current and critical care, while leaving public hospitals for Covid19 patients. After all, life goes on, and people will still have critical medical needs.

Today’s briefing is encouraging: 61 new cases, bringing the total to 708.  Of these, 14 are in hospita1, and 2 are stable in Intensive Care. While there are some clusters of cases in New Zealand, these are being managed, and movements of those infected are being tracked. It seems to be a widely held view that testing is really important. This is acknowledged by our PM, and the guidelines for testing have been relaxed.

The overseas news is dreadful. The US President said that if they keep deaths to 100,000, he will have done “a very good job”. This statement is widely reported with astonishment.

Several things stay in my mind from today:

  • The aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt with 5 1/2 thousand sailors on board, in very confined surroundings, and more than 100 infections, was not allowed to return to safety and disembark its staff.
  • A red flashing beacon on top of the Empire State Building. The sound of sirens is a distressing background to most podcasts.
  • I listened to a personal story of a healthy man ill with Covid19, being nursed at his home; how very ill he was, yet not meeting the criteria for hospitalisation; the fears of his wife for him, her daughter, and herself, and the constant struggle to care for him and maintain isolation.

These are testing times, indeed, the lack of tests being a significant part of the problem. I used to say to my children “This too shall pass”. And it will.

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