False Positive

Today is Monday August 17th. Kia ora katoa.

The last three mornings have been very cold, but each day the sun shines for a while before it becomes cloudy and cold again. Yesterday’s newspaper seems more reasoned.  While New Zealanders are upset at finding community transmission of Covid 19 after over 100 days, people generally seem accepting of restrictions, and resigned to them. Is there a bit of overkill/underkill? Probably yes, I guess it’s a bit like advertising: you don’t know just what works, so if resources permit you employ a scatter gun approach to advertise your product; or in the case of coronavirus, exercise extreme caution, by taking measures to limit infection.

The note in Sunday morning’s newspaper is one of acceptance. New Zealanders seem philosophical about the latest community outbreak of Covid 19. There are uplifting stories of New Zealanders who have had their business fail, or who have been made redundant, finding some other paid work, not what they wanted to do, but they’re coping. Some of the offshoots of the tourist industry, such as cafes, are now finding things really hard. It is interesting to read their stories. We need to remember than any successful business is created to address a recognised need. If that need no longer exists, there probably needs to be some adaptation, to address another need, and perhaps some expectation management too. We tend to loathe change, unless it’s seen as change for the better.

On Sunday, there were 13 new cases of Covid 19, including one in managed isolation – a child. The rest are all in Auckland, and all part of the “community cluster”. Three people are in hospital. It is good that diagnoses have not been made south of Auckland, although of course that may come.

On Monday there are 9 new cases, all from the Auckland cluster. There are 5 people in hospital. Testing is being carried out on people involved with managed quarantine of arrivals from overseas. It was remarked yesterday that this outbreak was hitting Maori and Pacifika folk; one hopes that they won’t be severely affected. It has been noted that to date, ethnic groups have not been hard hit here by the coronavirus, although elderly people have been.

By and large, there seems to be more reasonableness today. New Zealanders are pretty well behaved.  While we are alarmed at these new numbers, they are still very low by international standards.

Today I caught buses into the CBD. I wore a mask, as requested by Metlink, although not everyone did. But there were definitely more masks around. I went to Unity Books, and had lunch at one of my favourite cafés. It was very quiet there, although more people came in after me. You could only sit at every second table. But this is not nearly as scary as back in March, when new cases of Covid 19 were being diagnosed every day; new clusters kept springing up, and there seemed to be repeated instances of communion cups being shared, and cruise ships visiting. It was a relief when not only were the borders shut down, but arrivals from overseas were held in managed quarantine for 14 days. This “relapse” is scary, but not nearly as scary as it was back then, when the coronavirus seemed out of control here, and infections were being diagnosed all over the country.

There is still probably some over-reaction here: the hall where I practise Tai Chi is closed till the end of August, but a class will be held on the lawn outside (for those of us brave enough to try this!). Wednesday’s hymn singing is cancelled; and Thursday’s singing hangs in the balance, for now. The wage subsidy will be extended. Jacinda Ardern has chosen to put the election off for one month; it will now be held on 17 October. This is probably a wise decision, as it will allow for campaigning. In every election I have voted in, I have never had to queue. How fortunate we are that elections are held in a civil manner in this country.

Later this afternoon we went to Petone, to Schrödinger’s’ Books, as recommended by the lady from Unity for buying Asterix books. What a lovely and amazing shop! We bought books for our grandchildren. What a joy a good bookshop is, and how nice to find this one.

Overseas it is still Sunday in the Northern Hemisphere, so things are fairly quiet. A very strange conundrum occurs to me: In America, people are enraged at limiting their lifestyle (their “freedoms”) for the coronavirus, yet they accept an inordinate number of deaths: over 173,000 at present.  In the state of Georgia, someone dies every 20 minutes. How is this acceptable?  Surely you would take any action you could to limit this terrible toll of sickness and death?  It’s not just you who is affected; it’s your neighbour, as well, and your network. New Zealanders, on the other hand, are by and large very obedient, very compliant, and obey official directives to take caution, register their movements, wash and sanitise their hands, and maintain some distancing (although someone coughed near me today without making any effort to cover their mouth). By and large, we have not had to learn about our loved ones suffering and dying, for which we are very grateful. Most people recognise that you can’t have a healthy economy without a healthy patient, and a confident patient.

That’s it for now. Nga mihi. Ka kite ano.

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