Back to the Zoom

Covid 19 testing

Today is Thursday June 24th. Kia ora.

Day one, Level 2. No new cases of Covid 19 were detected today in Wellington, according to the 1 pm briefing (Dr Bloomfield and Minister Hipkins).  That’s out of 7,000 tests, at that point.  That’s good news.  I recall there was a woman who did MIQ in Auckland, had tested negative for Covid 10, then tested positive after her release.  She had visited several spots, but no one became infected, not even her husband. Nonetheless, the Auckland area was locked down for a week at level 3.

We know that some people are much more infectious than others, and in the pre-Covid phase, the asymptomatic 2 -3 days prior, you can be extremely infectious. Of course, this person may not have been very infectious, but someone he infected could infect many others. It’s scary to think not only of the many places he went (where there were crowds of other people, such as Te Papa or Wellington Airport), but of all those people, unaware, being potential spreaders themselves. It seems the Ministry of Health knew about this situation on the Tuesday evening, but did not release the news until Wednesday morning, just before 9 am, when many were not in a position to modify their activities, change their plans, close their premises, or make meaningful decisions. The Ministry of Health has its own quite good reasons, of course, and there is a time delay of at least two hours between Sydney and New Zealand.

Nevertheless, I guess many of us feel a bit cheated. The dude had had his first vaccination jab, but according to Dr John Campbell, you’re not really protected until you’ve had the second jab.  Once again, this situation does not seem very well managed. I dislike Minister Hipkins (having previously thought well of him), and Dr Bloomfield seems sometimes to side with business leaders who would wish to keep everything open. Mind you, Auckland was at Level 3 for a week, and no community cases were recorded during that time, so perhaps the people in charge are choosing to err on the less-cautious side this time. In Wellington, many of us have not been vaccinated yet, so this situation is quite frustrating. I remember a similar time early in the pandemic last year, when a cruise ship dislodged its passengers in Wellington, having told them their cruise was over, and they were free to go. That was just so annoying! What had Wellington done to deserve that? Soon afterwards, Prime Minister Ardern closed the borders – a welcome move. I don’t recall anyone saying it was a bad decision. With this current situation, it’s really not of our making, and unavoidable under present rules. You don’t have to quarantine when coming from Australia; no MIQ rules were broken, there were no supposedly risky situations. It just happened, showing again how vulnerable we are. Complacency has been blamed, but there were arguments for and against the Trans-Tasman travel bubble, with many arguing that we can’t stay locked up for ever. I don’t think we are complacent here. Rather, we’re grateful, but a little anxious about getting vaccinated, owing to the delays.

We spoke to my son in the UK last night, and I remember again what limitations he and his wife have had to endure, and how fortunate we are here, to be able to go about our lives, without (much) fear. The UK have managed the pandemic pretty badly, but my daughter-in-law has had both her vaccine jabs, and my son has had his first. They are off to a wedding next weekend (with no singing or dancing).

People are saying we will just have to live with Covid 19.  That’s in addition to all the things we were (and still are) afraid of getting!  And many of us suffering with coughs and hay fever and saying No, it’s not Covid (although of course it might be). I think it always makes sense to wash your hands (between the fingers, too); to carry hand sanitiser; to cover your mouth when you cough or yawn, and always to have a mask handy. Wearing glovers can offer added protection.  If you’re paying for something, and they don’t have pay Wave, you can use the corner of your card to key in your pin number, thus only touching your own card, not the terminal pad. Of course, nothing’s fool proof, but taking steps to reduce risk of exposure makes good sense. Who used the terminal before you? When did they last wash their hands? What have they touched in the meantime?

This morning I walked to our local supermarket. It’s much warmer today, and sunny, although there’s a bit of a breeze.  In the store, I only saw two people wearing masks, and they both worked there – one in the butchery, the other on a checkout terminalr. None of the other staff that I saw were wearing masks. They have reinstituted the level 2 protocol of controlling entry and exit through separate doors, and limiting the number of shoppers in the store. Thankfully, the nice young man who served me also packed my goods. I hate packing my own stuff. I could by everything I wanted to – there were no shortages.

I assume that wastewater testing is still going on, and this could well be informative. Dr Campbell wondered – given there is a variant of the Delta variant, just how many variants there are?  It’s been pointed out again that none of us are safe until we’re all safe – that being vaccinated protests us all against new variants becoming prevalent.  There’s a pause on quarantine-free travel from New South Wales. Some of my cousins are there right now – I suspect their travel plans have been significantly interfered with. We haven’t been advised yet whether the Australian dude has the Delta variant of Covid 19. We haven’t been told that he doesn’t have it, so I suspect that he does. This afternoon I messaged by GP to see if I could get priority for the vaccine, but no, I am not high enough priority. Just wait your turn. I just checked the stuff website, which confirms that it’s too soon to tell how many cases, and serious infection may be. The Bondi cluster in Sydney (where this person worked), carries the Delta variant, so he’s suspected of having that too.  New South Wales recorded 11 new cases today, bringing the Bondi cluster to 51 plus 11? I can’t find the exact number. There are 3 new cases in Queensland and 2 in Melbourne.  I don’t think we should beat ourselves up here, just take normal precautions, and don’t stress.

My local church service is to go ahead on Sunday but morning tea will not be served afterwards, and we’re encouraged to wear a mask if we wish. The service will also be streamed online. A dance class I sometimes attend will be via Zoom. In my world, people are taking sensible precautions, for the most part.

In the US, the craziness continues. Over 600,000 people have died from coronavirus. Despite valiant efforts, far fewer people have been vaccinated than could have been. There is quite a bit of what they are calling “vaccine hesitancy”.  They seen to have decided to live with it, and everything that wasn’t opened already is opening up again, for better or worse. Covid 19 is moving through Asian countries again, and is still rampant in South America, but at least if people are vaccinated they don’t seem to get quite as ill and the death rate is lower. Widespread vaccination did not come in time for India or Nepal.  We remain a bit apprehensive, here.

We are almost at the end of June, half way through 2021, and Covid 19 is still having a huge effect on our lives. We’ve been grateful for small mercies, but the boredom is intense.  To relieve it, we have been watching Motherland on Neon. Another marvellous British show. They really do make excellent comedy, police and drama shows. Thanks! We also watched the second series of The Bay, and enjoyed that. Tomorrow is another day. Ngā mihi.

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