How Lucky We Were…

Today is Wednesday August 25th, 2021. Kia ora, kia kaha.

This morning there’s no new Covid 19 news. We await the 1 pm briefing – presumably there’ll be one. In Auckland, more locations of interest have been added to the already excruciatingly long list: more supermarkets, an Event Cinema Complex in St Lukes in Auckland, a cosmetic store, and more bus trips. It seems if you did anything kind of normal in the days preceding lockdown, i.e. shopped, went to church, a movie, took a bus, exercised, and so on, you’re potentially at risk. Meanwhile the NZ police are busy trying to enforce the lockdown, and check rule-breakers. The Jet Park Hotel isolation facility for Covid 19 sufferers is now full and some diagnosed people are waiting to be transported to a new isolation facility, which is being set up in Auckland.  MIQ admissions have been paused, a wise move, although I wonder what’s happening to evacuees from Afghanistan; presumably they have to isolate for 14 days on arrival. An MIQ staffer in Greenlane’s Novotel has been diagnosed positive. People are urgently getting vaccinated, although the efficacy of vaccines is being  questioned.  It does seem, that while you may still be infected, and infectious, you won’t get as ill, and you’re far less likely to die, if you’ve been vaccinated.  My appointment for my second jab was cancelled, but evidently the vaccination site at a church in Khandallah is taking walk-ins, so I’ll have a go there this afternoon.

Scott Morrison’s statement that New Zealand cannot remain in its cave, or some such, is being condemned here in New Zealand; in fact, the AMA (Australian Medical Association) has condemned his statement that NSW will come out of lockdown when the vaccination rate has reached 70% (of those eligible, one wonders?)  The virus is still prevalent in Australia: in Victoria, new cases are down to 45 today. The other states are still cagy about their numbers. In Sydney, a young mother has died, and her husband is fighting Covid 19. I presume someone else is taking care of their children. It’s terrible to lose one’s mother, when you’re still a child.  References in the media to New Zealand as being a “socialist hermit kingdom” aren’t helpful either. We are not in any way like North Korea. “Socialist” is not a rude word.

This afternoon I learn that Australia has almost 1,000 new cases; NSW has 919 cases, and two deaths. That’s the worst they’re had so far. It makes Prime Minister Morrison’s statement even more ridiculous. ACT has nine new cases.

To be honest, I’m finding this lockdown really frustrating, and I fear others are too. It’s hard to accept, and it seems harder than it did last year, when it was warmer, raspberries were available, and tomatoes were cheaper!  It seems so silly to be bored and tired and hungry all the time, but that’s the way I am, and I find it very frustrating not to be able to go to simple things like Tai Chi and singing. I fear for my older son here, who has two primary-school children. They miss school and sport, and their friends, of course.  We can’t have them here, and during last year’s lockdown we gave them all kinds of games and puzzles.  We’ve now given away most things that interest them; we need to keep a few things here for when they come over. Of course I could read more, and paint, and do jigsaw puzzles….I write,  instead, about what’s happening. It helps me to write about it. People in Auckland are trying to go boating, and island hopping; police have set up checkpoints to the far North to prevent people driving far beyond Auckland. As Prime Minister Ardern says, don’t do anything risky, i.e. don’t risk getting into trouble on the water, or your car breaking down in some remote location.  Last year we were forbidden from going more than two kilometres from home; this year, it seems a bit less restrictive, but you’re still supposed to stay home, only leaving to buy essential supplies and to exercise.

In this morning’s paper, the Lower Hutt council has helpfully published what you can and can’t do, in other words, what council facilities are still open (e.g. parks are open but playgrounds are closed). The Wellington City Council has not done this. There is a spiel in this morning’s newspaper about how dysfunctional they are.  I have a further beef about the media’s tendency to describe things as being “heart breaking” and “a real shambles”, in other words, to exaggerate. To find really heart-breaking stories, one could read Dickens or Thackeray, when there was little in the way of social mobility, or a social safety net. Little Dorrit spent much of her youth in a Debtor’s Prison. I don’t doubt that these situations are very sad for people, but they don’t necessarily affect a whole lot of others, and it’s usually nobody’s fault; in other words, stuff happens.

At 1 pm we learn the latest news: there are 62 new cases in the community; one pf these is in Wellington, and one in Warkworth. The rest are all in Auckland, so none in the Coromandel, and none in the South Island. Poor Auckland! But the rest of the country will be heaving a sigh of relief.  There are now 12 people in hospital, including 11 from the current cluster of community cases. There are six sub-clusters. At this stage there are 58 cases are associated with the Mangere Assembly of God church. The list of locations of interest has increased.  Prime Minister hopes again to eliminate Covid 19, and, indeed, why wouldn’t she?  You can’t control this (look at Australia). In this country, no level of community cases is acceptable. That’s all we are told, for now. It’s evident that this epidemic hasn’t peaked yet, but we hope is does soon.

This afternoon we went to Khandallah, where I hoped to get my second vaccine jab, and do some shopping. It was fine and sunny, and Johnsonville was deserted: there was no one at any of the bus stops, and the only buses we saw were NIS (Not in Service).  There was a long queue for vaccines in Khandallah, and although it was moving quite quickly, it was quite long and I decided not to join it. The queue was made up of people none of whom looked to be over 45. I posted a letter, and went shopping at New World Khandallah. I had to join the queue to get in: they’ve put up an awning to protect those in the queue. There’s also a QR code outside the store, a security guard at the entrance, and the entrance has been divided into separate routes for entry and exit. I did some shopping (wine, coffee beans, more fruit, more sausages and something for afternoon tea), but the delicatessen is closed, and there are many gaps on the shelves; I can’t get an apple turnover or a cheese scone either.  But it’s fine and sunny and everyone’s very pleasant. It was nice to get out. I didn’t get my jab.

JD is due to have his second jab at Johnsonville tomorrow morning. I am wondering whether to join him. I find it very frustrating to have to keep waiting. I have a zoom call for Thursday morning singing, so there are things happening tomorrow.

Late news tells me that of the current outbreak, 66 children and teens have been infected, and a student at Otahuhu College has been diagnosed positive for Covid 19. As far as I know, Otahuhu College wasn’t on the list of locations of interest. This is the 10th college to be added to the list. It is getting really hard to keep track of all these locations, and I fear this outbreak hasn’t peaked yet.

I didn’t mention yesterday that in US news, there was supposed to be a report from the Cyber Ninjas firm that carried out the Arizona (fr)audit. Although this has been much delayed, three people from the Cyber Ninjas firm have been diagnosed with Covid 19, and some of them are really quite sick.

That’s it for now. Ngā mihi.

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