Today is Friday, April 3rd. Today it is hard to write. Every day is much the same. But I will persist. I slept much better last night, thankfully. In the morning, I rang the Medical Centre, after struggling to request a prescription using Manage My Health.  They advised using the Medical Centre’s online request form, which I did.

The newspaper this morning is by and large upbeat, but there is enormous distress about Bauer Media closing down. Evidently they didn’t request government wage assistance, and the closure came as a huge shock to staff, as it has to customers. Up till now, the NZ Listener kept me busy for a few hours on a Monday. I am very sorry to see it go, it’s been a NZ institution for many years.

I walked to the store this morning. It was quite busy again. Some of the staff are busy doing orders for online shopping. My previous strategy of wandering around, and if A looks good, then I go back and buy B, C and D, doesn’t work very well now.  It’s a matter of looking for empty aisles, getting the things on my list, if they’re available, getting other things that I haven’t been able to buy previously if they’re now in supply, and then the bread issue: we don’t know when, or how much, will be delivered. Packing one’s own goods is challenging, to, while trying to maintain physical distancing. “There’s no rush”, is one of my favourite sayings, but it doesn’t really apply here.

Today there was a staff member at the entrance, monitoring the number of shoppers in the store. I think that 75 is far too many, especially if staff are filling online orders.

The biggest shock is not being able to post an Easter card to my grandchildren in the US, and to my daughter in Hawkes Bay. That is such a shame. During the lockdown there are no postal services.

After packing my own goods (including eggs and other items not to be crushed), I walk home and go through the disinfection routine. It’s much simpler now that I’m using disposable gloves and a payWave card.

The 1 pm briefing tells us that NZ has 71 new cases of Covid 19, bringing the total to 868. The total of new cases has remained relatively stable over the past week, suggesting that this pain does result in some gain.  Since 26 March the number of new cases each day has ranged from 58 – 78, so it has remained steady and does not seem to be growing.

Next Monday I will have to go to the Johnsonville Shopping Centre chemist to pick up a repeat script. That will be scary, going out of my bubble!

On my walk I thought about things that children can do, now that we are back in the “olden days” (with good internet connections and electricity, of course). I thought of playing Hopscotch, and one of my daughters-in-law posted a photo of a granddaughter playing hopscotch.

I spoke to my cousin on the phone; other than that, it has been very quiet.

The news from overseas is not good. If the UK’s in a mess, the US is in a far worse mess. Today they had over 1,000 deaths in a single day. They top the world, as chaos seems to be the way things are done. Andrew Cuomo continues to provide great leadership in New York; the stories out of there are truly distressing, but this epicentre of tragedy will surely move to other hotspots. Already many people have been affected by this tragedy, with many now knowing or having someone close to them die. While this disease may be mild for some people, for others it can make them very ill indeed, for several days. The dead die without their loved ones, something that is severely distressing for them. In the absence of a cure, treatment, or vaccine, it seems best to interact with as few other people as possible, to keep away from infection.

In the US, over 6 million registered as unemployed, making 10 million formally unemployed. This must be causing such distress. When someone loses their job, their family lose health insurance through their employer; if people with to sign up for The Affordable Car Act, there is evidently great difficulty in doing so; and the cheques that were to be provided as part of the stimulus Act, are haphazard and not projected to arrive nearly soon enough. So people are having to contend with great economic uncertainty alongside fear of anyone or everyone in the family contracting Covid 19. There is also the question whether elderly folk in care should be brought home, knowing that nursing homes are bad sources of clusters of infection, and you’re supposed to be isolated anyway.

I discovered that during the lockdown in New Zealand, funerals are forbidden! You can be buried (or embalmed and kept on ice – ugh!), but no funerals are allowed. It seems so sad to me not to have a prayer of committal. I made JD agree that if either of us passes away, the other one will pray over them.

Clusters prove that the virus travels extremely easily in groups or crowds: a wedding at Bluff, another wedding in Wellington, a St Patrick’s Day celebration at Matamata, a dementia home in Napier, an girls’ school in Auckland, cruise ships and their tours, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, a funeral in Albany, Georgia, a call-centre in Seoul.

Again, it makes sense to test extensively, and then to isolate infected victims, but that is seldom done.

The aircraft-carrier Theodore Roosevelt got to disembark many of its crew, but the brave captain who spoke out evidently lost his job. An Amazon staff member who tried to speak out about unsafe conditions for staff was fired. I seem to remember a similar response when staff tried to speak out about climate change. Although I have read the rationale for these sackings, they seem to be incredibly mean and unfair.

Tomorrow is another day. It promises to be warmer than today. What shall we eat tomorrow? “Tomorrow to fresh woods, and pastures new” (Milton’s Lycidas).

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