Kia Ora Katoa! Kia Kaha!
Today is Thursday, April 9th. Last night I woke at 1 am with a great sense of dread. It seemed very real, but I figured it must have been a dream. I next woke at 5:40 am, a far more respectable hour. I struggled to get internet reception on my phone, for quite a while, then it settled down.
This morning the newspaper was quite wet, in spite of being wrapped in a plastic bag, so I had to let it dry out before reading it. Then JD reminded me that the stores are all closed tomorrow, so we went food shopping (I hadn’t planned to do this).
This morning we watched a video of “Dancing Dads” that appeared on TV One’s Seven Sharp. It was great fun, and the winner was from Invercargill! Good on him.
At the store we waited in the queue for quite a while. At that stage it was quite cold and windy outside. Then we were told that only one of us could shop (that would be me – JD had worn a warm jacket!), and that we couldn’t take shopping bags inside the store. That puts paid to my infection-reducing strategy of using one of my shopping bags to hold the trolley. While we were waiting in the queue, JD applied disinfectant to the trolley handle and surrounding area. You are supposed to leave your shopping bags in the car, and pack them there, but we walk to the store, so that creates a bit of a problem. Perhaps in future I can put my shopping bags in a pocket. I still think disposable gloves are a good idea.
At the store, some people came really close, while some aisles were deserted. It’s tricky when you go first for bread to see what’s there, and bread is at the back of the store. Then you want to go back and buy fruit and vegetables. It’s very useful to have a list.
The 1 pm briefing was really heartening. Today there are only 29 new cases of Covid 19, bringing the total to 1239. We are now almost halfway through the lockdown. This is the lowest number of new cases since March 22. There seems to be a collective sense of relief, that despite the pain, we are all making a difference. It helps that things are quite cut-and-dried: you can’t do anything, or go anywhere, so you don’t. It has quite a levelling effect, taking me back to my childhood, when New Zealand was a more egalitarian society. Of course, there were rich people then, but there wasn’t the level of child poverty and homelessness or huge differences that there are today. Of course not everything was great, by any means, but there were advantages.
At the briefing, the Prime Minister sad that NZ could have 10,000 cases of Covid 19 by now, had her government not acted decisively the way it did. She emphasised that she is concerned for our health and happiness, and our livelihood. Dr Bloomfield stressed that if anyone needs help, or their needs aren’t being met, there are numbers to call and help will be provided. As noted, there is a safety net with the government providing a wage subsidy already. In future the focus will be on borders, contact tracing (use of technology to track phone contacts is being investigated here), and testing. In future, any new arrivals from overseas will be quarantined in government-mandated accommodation (generally hotels) for two weeks before being permitted to re-join their families. The country will move to level 3 (currently at level 4) after this, but the government will not determine this till the 4 weeks are almost up, wishing to use data and modelling in their decision-making.
I find it interesting that the NZ Government can put people up in hotels, at its expense, whereas San Francisco cannot house the homeless in its now empty hotels, in spite of California having a democratic, proactive governor.
I have not written about overseas data today. It seems, however, that countries have much more success at caring for the sick and dying if they are prepared to undergo some painful distancing in order to reduce the numbers of the sick and dying. Otherwise, there is multiple evidence that things get right out of control, with the numbers of the sick and dying increasing far faster than anyone can manage. You are going to suffer some pain, either way. But there are significant benefits, too.
We heard from our son and his wife in the UK, and they are doing all right, despite the lockdown there and consequent inconvenience. I am so pleased that they are out of London. We rang our daughter in Hawkes Bay and she is doing fine.
Today I wanted to share a piece of music, and a poem. The music is Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor. I had this tune in my head, and eventually figured out what it was. It’s a sad piece, but emotionally appropriate for this sad time.
The poem is one of my favourites. It is by George Herbert (1583-1633), one of the Metaphysical poets. It’s simple, yet it lifts one’s spirits.
Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright,
The bridal of the earth and sky;
The dew shall weep thy fall to-night,
For thou must die.
Sweet rose, whose hue angry and brave
Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye;
Thy root is ever in its grave,
And thou must die.
Sweet spring, full of sweet days and roses,
A box where sweets compacted lie;
My music shows ye have your closes,
And all must die.
Only a sweet and virtuous soul,
Like season’d timber, never gives;
But though the whole world turn to coal,
Then chiefly lives.
That’s all for now. Talk again soon!