Truth and Lies

A Beautiful Red Rose ...For one so beautiful as my wife.....I love ...

Kia ora katoa! Kia kaha!

Today is Thursday April 23rd.

This morning I wake at 8:30 am. JD is still asleep. It has been a good night. This morning the news is different. We have all moved on. The galloping pace of the news parallels the extreme speed with which the Coronavirus moves within a community, country, the world, if strict distancing measures aren’t applied.

While the truth is getting it boots on, lies have “gone viral”. While they’re being rebutted, which takes time, more lies are circling the planet.

This morning I learn the following:

  • Several children have tested positive for Covid 19 in a Japanese preschool;
  • There is no apparent news from the UK;
  • The US Senate has passed another recovery bill, and is insisting that Congress be physically present in Washington to vote on it, despite the potential danger too their health;
  • A study on the use of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, widely touted by the US President and Fox News, highlights its dangers, and lack of proven efficacy. Evidently this drug can cause long term damage in patients.
  • On the economic front the price of oil has risen, although it remains dangerously low. 
  • Economic reporter Richard Quest has been diagnosed positive for Covid 19.
  • Autopsies carried out for two deaths in Santa Clara, in California, in February tested positive for Covid 19, showing that the virus was active in the US earlier than thought. No one knows quite what to make of this news.

There is no news yet about the Governor of Georgia’s decision to reopen lots of businesses, despite mounting opposition.  But the head of the CDC has warned that a further round of Covid 19, plus the regular flu, could pose huge difficulties for the US.

Perhaps the most alarming news is that some patients have difficulty with blood clots after Covid 19, making them extra difficult to treat. This is in addition to lung damage and organ failure.

This morning, we have a singing session on Zoom. This is a success, although Zoom has its challenges and idiosyncrasies. I use my laptop this time rather than my phone, and that seems to work better. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, the sun emerges, and I have to move my computer.  I need to use headphones, but I can mute myself.  My voice is quite rusty, despite singing in the shower, but it’s nice to use it for singing again.

We sing Po Kare Kare Ana, I Walk the Line, Country Roads, and try a new song – Six Ribbons.  It is a beautiful song, and sounds familiar. We will do this every Thursday morning. Some wonder if we will ever meet again as we used to, but I think that if New Zealand continues to monitor its borders effectively, we should be safe, and feel safe. There is to be more community testing carried out here. In a hotspot, a negative test doesn’t mean much, since one could be infected the next day. But where the virus has effectively been stamped out, we can feel more secure, for now.

Immediately after our singing session, I learn the shocking news, first on CNN, that a senior person, Dr Rick Bright,  in charge of a laboratory developing a vaccine for coronavirus has been removed from a key position.  He claims this is because he spoke publicly in doubting the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine.

Then we learn that the head of the CDC is being asked to publicly deny (at the White House briefing) what he said to the Washington Post. He says that the paper quoted him correctly, in saying that he feared the coming of a second outbreak of Covid 19, in addition to influenza. He refuses to slam WAPO, in spite of being put under huge pressure to do so.

Dr Fauci is at the briefing, and apparently Trump has spoken to the Governor of G.eorgia, cautioning him against reopening businesses too soon, but not explicitly ordering him not to. Evidently Lindsey Graham also expressed dismay, although who takes any notice of him anymore?  Governor Cuomo says diplomatically, “We can’t be stupid”.

Then we have the 1 pm briefing, fronted by Jacinda Ardern and Dr Ashley Bloomfield. What a relief it is not to be lied to. One may not agree with all their positions (although it’s increasingly hard not to), but one is confident that they’re both telling the truth, based on facts and advice they have received. If they don’t know something, they will say so. If one of the journalists asks them about an unfavourable instance, they will ask for direct evidence, and promise to follow it up. They both seem open and honest. I think that this, plus the fact that NZ seems to be winning this war, encourages support for them both by Kiwis and by many overseas.

We learn at the 1 pm briefing that there are 3 new cases of Covid 19 (two confirmed and one probable), and there have been two more deaths, both older people with existing health conditions. 6,480 tests were done yesterday. I learnt today from Manage My Health that one can get tested in the carpark at the Johnsonville Medical Centre, on referral from a nurse or doctor. Of the current cases of Covid 19, 8 are in hospital and one in Intensive Care. There remain 16 clusters of cases in New Zealand. Genome testing has been used to determine the likely source of cases of infection.  This is promising and will be ongoing.

The Prime Minister thanked Civil Defence, spoke about plans for Anzac Day, and said that current restrictions on hunting would be lifted under level 3.

The news from overseas continues to be alarming. But whereas death rates, although still alarming, seem to be settling in the UK, Italy, Spain and France, in the US they are skyrocketing. This morning, the US had one quarter of the world’s Covid 19 cases, and one-third of its deaths. Tonight the figures are as follows: 855,250 confirmed cases, and 47,974 deaths. That total has been climbing all day.  How can this be acceptable? Where is strong leadership?

How can this nation be in this situation?  While many of us have criticised the US, with good reason, over the years, it has many wonderful features as well: the warmth and kindness of many American people, the wonderful museums, the amazing sights to be seen across such a large country; and yet, I fear we are witnessing the death of its hegemony; American exceptionalism and authority are dwindling, if they remain at all. The fearful inequality is something to be wondered at indeed. And yet, and yet…their elected politicians make you scratch your head in wonder.

On a happier note, at singing this morning we enjoyed learning a new song, Six Ribbons by Jon English:

If I were a minstrel, I’d sing you six love songs,
To tell all the world, of the love that we share
If I were a merchant, I’d bring you six diamonds,
With six blood red roses, for my love to wear
But I am a simple man, a poor common farmer,
So take these six ribbons, to tie back your hair

Yellow and brown, blue as the sky,
Red as my blood, blue as your eye

If I were a nobleman, I’d bring you six carriages
With six snow white horses, to take you anywhere
If I were the emperor (yellow and brown),
I’d build you six palaces (blue as the sky),
With six hundred servants (red as my blood)
For comforting fare (green as your eyes)
But I am a simple man, a poor common farmer,
So take these six ribbons, to tie back your hair

I have also been thinking about Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony, the Pathetique. It’s sombre beauty seems very apt at present.

That’s it for now. Tomorrow I shall (probably) do this all over again.

Nga Nihi

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