Today is Sunday, April 5th. Today is Sunday, but I head off to the store soon after 9 am hoping to buy some bread. Overnight we all put our clocks back one hour, to mark the end of Daylight Saving. It is a fine, sunny day.

At the store there is a queue to get in, and someone monitoring entry, however I don’t have to wait long. There is some Vogel bread, which I buy along with a Sunday newspaper. A week ago I sent an email asking for the Sunday paper to be delivered, but I’ve received no reply yet. The heading on the front page of the paper reads “Kill or Cure?” This sees incredibly short-sighted to me.

At the 1 pm briefing we learn that there are 89 new cases of Covid 19, bringing the total to 1039, well over 1,000. This is the highest total for a day. However more tests are being done, and there is a cluster of at least 10 cases in a Christchurch Rest Home. The Prime Minister says that we have 3,000 fewer cases than could have been expected at this point, and we’re still not halfway through the 4-week lockdown. So, despite the pain, this process is surely worthwhile. After all, in the absence of a cure or a treatment or a vaccine, strict isolation (two metres distance determines our existence), seems to be the best strategy. While it’s hard not to see my children and grandchildren, it is still fine and warm here, and we are doing all right. The thing NZ could be doing is isolating those who test positive for Covid 19, and carrying out more testing, which they are planning to do.

Up until now, I have not been afraid for myself. I am more wary now, realising there are no funerals allowed at present, and no takeaways available. Who would look after me?

When the lockdown is relaxed, I think I will be very wary about venturing outside my “bubble”.

The figures from overseas are very disturbing, with the US clearly leading the charge of high numbers infected and high numbers of deaths, and general chaos as to what the rules are in different states, how to  get tested, and the provision of adequate equipment and PPE. In short, each state is on its own, really, and ones which don’t have effective governors may have great difficulty in managing this crisis. And crisis it surely is; in addition to the threat of illness, we all assume we’ll be able to buy good food, but its supply relies on numbers of people who grow and process and manufacture these items, and their own health and attention to detail and strict hygiene practices.

One has to assume that in the US, the federal government simply doesn’t care about lives being lost, since so little is being done to alleviate this increasingly dire situation.  This shocking, unbelievable, truth has taken a while to sink in, while dealing with an ever-worsening situation of isolation, illness and death. No one is equipped to deal with this – loss and fear of loss.

Americans talk about the shock of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, where the government was shown to be incompetent, and the huge shock of 9/11, in trying to find terminology to compare this situation. The death rate of this pandemic has already far exceeded that of 9/11, and the president has advised them to expect more deaths. The pro-life party is not pro-life now.

In the UK things aren’t much better, with a death rate that is almost 10% of infected cases. With Brexit, much of the argument was about “taking back control”. Well, they’ve certainly made a right mess of controlling this situation.

One expects that medical care in the UK and the US will be competent, thoughtful, kind, and compassionate, and it is shown to be so. It is indeed tragic that such wonderful medical folk cannot get the right protective gear and support that they need during this difficult time.

This morning my sister-in-law rang from Australia. She is caring for her elderly mother-in-law, while dealing with loss of her husband and two of her three sons living overseas. I think she is doing an amazing job caring for her Mum.

Tomorrow I will venture to Johnsonville to pick up a prescription.

When the lock down is lifted, I look forward to going to a library, and buying new books to read.

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