War and Peace

Today is Sunday April 26th. Kia ora katoa! Kia kaha!

I called this entry War and Peace because we are at war with a common but unseen enemmy, the coronavirus. And peace really refers to the absence of war. We hope that at some time in the future there will be a vaccine for the coronavirus, and it will not pose such a threat to our lives, families, friendships, and general well being.

Yesterday was Anzac Day. We went for a walk in the afternoon, and saw poppies in people’s windows. The weather has been very kind: it continues to be fine most days and not too cold; sometimes it is windy, but really the weather is no problem. We seem to have settled into this quieter, more relaxed way of life. Once more, I am relieved to be under 70 years of age, not to be looking after young children, and to be in a relatively settled situation. I do miss some different foodstuffs, but I can cope.

On Saturday morning I wake up to learn that Trump recommends UV light (there may be something in this, but externally, not internally), and injecting disinfectant into one’s body. One doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. This is the “leader of the free world”? It’s tragic, that he should speak so. Many have rushed to say don’t do this, it’s a really dangerous suggestion.  Dr John advises you shouldn’t take anything unless it’s recommended by your doctor.

Meanwhile there is a really alarming news story about young men infected with Covid 19 having strokes, arising from having blood clots in the brain. One surgeon spoke about how he would normally remove the clot, following a scan showing where it was, but found it went on to form other clots. This really is Alien (the movie) type stuff. These patients did not have risk factors for stroke. This shows how severe the virus can be, and what huge damage it can cause. We knew about blood-clotting problems, and organ failure, but strokes?  These can cause a long recovery and recuperation, as well as significant permanent damage such as paralysis and chronic fatigue. Stroke is a thief.

It seems that the more we know about this virus, the less certainty we have; we risk running down rabbit holes of misinformation. The WHO warns that people can be reinfected; so how safe is testing? Testing for antibodies has not been as effective as hoped; there seems to be no effective treatment, and a vaccine is several months away (although a new flu vaccine is put out each year, so how does that work?) There seem to be different strains of this virus, some more deadly than others.  They all seem to be extremely infectious.

Another anecdote: a woman eating in a restaurant infected nine other diners. She wasn’t eating with them. Air-conditioning, widely prevalent now, on cruise ships and American homes, is thought to play a part in spreading infection.

Chris Cuomo’s son has now tested positive for Covid 19. But tests are still difficult to get in many if not most US states. Yet tests have been sent from the US to Iceland! No problem.

At the end of Saturday the US has 925,758 confirmed cases of Covid 19, and 52,217 deaths.

On Saturday, New Zealand has 5 new cases of Covid 19, and 9 on Sunday.  No further deaths have been recorded.  The total remains 18. There are 7 cases in hospital, and one in Intensive Care. It seems we are on the right track, and we are relieved that this is so.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Winston Peter, suggests that New Zealand and Australia share a trans-Tasman bubble with regard to travel.

Overseas, in Europe’s worst affected countries, Italy, Spain and France, the numbers or deaths each day, although still appalling, have been dropping. In Europe governments are looking to relax their lockdowns, and the world looks on with great interest. In the UK, however, there are officially 148,000 cases of Covid 19, and there have been over 20.000 deaths in hospitals.  They still don’t have the level of testing that was promised.

In the US, there are now (11 pm Sunday April 26) 959k cases of Covid 19, and there have been 54,161 deaths.  And the person in charge just doesn’t seem to care. I’m sure the fake news media would be prepared to print any sign of regret, remorse, or apology. One struggles to understand this approach. It is beyond comprehension.

On a different note, last night we watched “Their Finest” on Māori Television. What a fine film it is! I had seen it before, but was pleased to see it again, with a fine cast including Gemma Arterton, Bill Nighy, and Sam Clafin.   During the film, Bill Nighy sings a very beautiful song. It has a strong script too, in spite of a rather weak premise. As a period piece, it does a great job.

Tonight we watched “Labyrinth of Lies”, again on Māori Television. A very thought-provoking film. At the end, the Kaddish is said at Osweicim (Auschwitz). The kaddish is the Jewish mourning prayer.

That’s it for now. Nga mihi nui

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