No Relief Yet

Today is Friday August 27th, 2021. Kia ora.

It is really boring, just getting through the daily drudgery. On the one hand, we’re thankful for various mercies; on the other hand, it is seriously boring and dull.

This morning there is no new news about the Covid 19/Delta community cluster in New Zealand, but there is news of a dreadful series of explosions at Kabul airport. Isis J have claimed responsibility.  60 Afghans were killed, and 13 US military (later confirmed as 14, one having died from his injuries).  This, although expected, was a dreadful occurrence. Indeed, if it was expected, what exactly were various forces engaged in evacuation supposed to do? Stop getting people out? Or just be very afraid? There are questions about just how much control the Taliban does have over Afghanistan, since Isis is evidently a sworn enemy of theirs.

President Biden again addressed the nation about this, Again he spoke about his son Beau, who had served in Kosovo as well as Afghanistan. Evidently he had just come home when he was diagnosed with brain cancer, of which he later died. Biden spoke in a heartfelt manner about the enormous grief of this. I hope he’s gone up in terms of general regard;  it seems that the evacuation, which looks extremely messy, was ill-planned, and the US President has to take some responsibility for that.

Here in NZ, my cleaner came today. He sent a text explaining that he’s rostered to come, and asking would I still like him to come. Yes please, I reply, and rush around tidying up and trying to put more gifts and painting materials away. The house badly needs vacuuming, seeing last Friday’s call was cancelled by Access. Sadly, this is his last visit. He’s leaving Access, and going to work for Idea Services. I congratulate him, of course, but this is really disappointing news. He’s a very good cleaner; he’s efficient, and does a good job. It seems Access weren’t giving him enough hours. Some people are too busy, and others can’t get enough work! I will have to get used to somebody else. I hope that’s not too much of a challenge.

It turns out he had a birthday party for 40 on Saturday August 14, the night of our party. Like ours, it went really well, but was then overshadowed by the news the following Tuesday afternoon that one community case of Covid 18 had been identified in New Zealand, and consequently the entire country was going into a Level 4 lockdown from midnight that night. Whoa!  We both had worries about our guests, some of whom had travelled to be with us, but so far everyone is all right, despite a couple of sore throats and two negative Covid tests.

In the midst of all this, we get the news that there are 70 new community cases today, all of them in Auckland. Earlier we had heard that a pupil at Advance Pacific, a secondary (charter?) school in Otahuhu, had tested positive. It has to be a charter school, with a name like that – or did the Labour Government ban charter schools? I can’t remember.

There are no new cases in Wellington, or indeed in Coromandel, or Christchurch, or anywhere but in Auckland there are now 19 people in hospital, including one in Intensive Care, but stable, and not on a ventilator.   Testing and vaccinations continue.

At 3 pm there is a press conference, with Prime Minister Ardern and Dr Bloomfield. The news is that New Zealand will stay at level 4 until midnight on Tuesday (that will be a full two weeks at Level 4), and after that much of New Zealand (i.e., south of Auckland) will go to level 3. Auckland and the Far North are to stay at level 4, probably for a few weeks longer (for at least two weeks); the area includes the North because a rest home at Warkworth is a source of infection and a location of interest.  The schools will stay closed, for now.  That’s hard for everyone. Police are reviewing Auckland boundaries for level 4/level 3 differentiation; you can’t move across barriers without formal authorisation. At level 3 you can have takeaways, but the pickup has to be contact-less. Level 4 with KFC sounds about right. The size of gatherings in one’s home, of for weddings or funerals or tangihanga will be announced.  

In the late afternoon we went out again. One of my grandson’s birthday presents arrived by courier (contactless delivery!), and we went to deliver it to his porch – it wouldn’t fit in the letterbox. His mother thanked us, and said she will give it to him tomorrow. It’s not exactly an essential item, but is very welcome, none the less. Our weather has turned from fine, sunny days to wet ones.  I went to the New World supermarket in Newlands. People were mostly very well behaved – only one dude seemed unaware of the one-way system.  Many shelves are still empty, and there was almost no bread at all. I ended up getting a Freya’s loaf of rye bread (which I quite like), I couldn’t get any Vogel’s or Mohlenberg, or my favourite vanilla ice cream. Still, we got out of the house for a bit. I hope we can have fish and chips with my grandson again soon.

This afternoon I put teddies in the window again. They look vary mournful this time around.

I have to say, boring as this is, I am so grateful that Prime Minister Ardern is being very cautious this time around. The experts are being conservative, and I think the government is making wise decisions, even if right-wing folk (like the animal channel’s Tucker Carlson) are throwing shade at them. China and Taiwan have stamped out Covid 19/Delta, showing it can be done. China shut down one district after one positive case being identified. I read last night that NSW had gone in 62 days from one positive case of Covid 19 to over 10,000 – that’s in just two months.  That is scary progress, at a rate you cannot control; you can only control your effort to stop it spreading further – by lockdowns.

It has been raining gently all day. Tonight we watched “Get on up” on Maori television, starring the late Chad Boseman as James Brown. We also watched parts of The Chair on Netflix staring Sandra Oh, but although she does quite a good job, it’s very formulaic. Last Friday evening we watched What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, starring Johnny Depp and Leonardo Di Caprio. I found it very affecting.

Since the 3 pm announcement in New Zealand, the media have been obsessed with the projected move of everywhere south of Auckland to Covid Level 3 next Tuesday night. What will we be able to do?  Very little more, I suspect, although we will be able to get takeaways again. Again, having missed them so badly, I now think yeah nah whatever…who really needs them? I’ve kind of gotten used to not having them.  As long as I can buy coffee beans, and bread, I’m all right, really. I can now say this, somewhat more secure in the knowledge that in Wellington there have been no new cases for the past two days, and, indeed, no community cases In New Zealand apart from in Auckland.  The other thing the media is slightly obsessed with is a potential shortage of vaccines. I guess they need to print papers and deliver programmes, refresh websites, but really, it can be very annoying at times.

I was very tired yesterday, and I have a slightly sore left arm, but other than that, I have virtually no side effects from my second vaccine jab. I did have a sore right shoulder this morning, but that’s gone away. So that’s good. There’s no news tonight of new cases. 

That’s it for now. Ngā mihi.

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