Shot, bro!

Today is Thursday September 16th, 2021. Kia ora.

Today there are 13 new cases of Covid 19, all of them in Auckland. All but one of them are linked to known cases. There are 5 new cases in MIQ. There are 19 people in hospital and four of these are in the ICU. By contrast, today I learnt that one in five hundred Americans has died of Covid 19.

In the morning I had a singing session on zoom, and then I went to visit a friend. I came home early, because two of my grandchildren came to visit after school.  They played with the dolls’ house, and then did some lovely drawings. Another son brought us some delicious leek and potato soup for dinner. We finished up with Sticky Date Pudding (from our local supermarket), and ice cream.

It’s now Friday. Today someone was supposed to come and do some cleaning. I wasn’t having a great day, but I got up, changed the sheets and towels as I normally do, emptied the rubbish, and then checked my roster online. I was quite discombobulated to learn that rather than having someone I knew come at 2 pm, someone whom I’d never met was scheduled to come at 12 noon. It was now 11:30 am. Well, it was a no-show, as it turned out. Nobody came. One really doesn’t want someone different coming every time – one wants the same person, after one has shown them where everything is. So that’s a bit annoying.  I had been asked if they could come on Saturday. I’d said no to this.  So here we go again. Last week I cancelled the “cares”, and then someone turned up unexpectedly. Really, some communication would be helpful – a text, call, or email, perhaps. They’re impossible to get hold of by phone. Today a friend invited me for lunch, but I declined because I had someone coming from Access. It turns out I could have gone, after all.

Today (Friday) there are 13 new cases of Covid 19 in the community, all of them in Auckland. It’s taking a frustrating amount of time to eliminate this strain: I’m sure they would have preferred the number of new cases to be in single figures, by now. I used to check the Australian figures after 11 am each morning, but I don’t any more now: they’re scarily predictably awful.

There is another worrying aspect to these figures. A truck driver, who left Auckland to deliver goods in the Bay of Plenty area and south of Auckland, has tested positive for Covid 19. It’s quite cold today, after a run of fine, sunny days.

There has been another dreadful tragedy here. Last night, police found three little girls dead in a house in Timaru. The mother, injured, was still alive, and was seen being helped into a police van. The father, an orthopaedic surgeon at Timaru Hospital, is distraught, as are relatives of the family. It’s very sad. The family had come from South Africa, and had just spent 14 days in MIQ before moving to a rental property in Timaru. Tonight there are photos of them online – they all look beautiful. The couple had just celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary. It seems very sad indeed, after the terrorist knife attack in Auckland recently. The mother has now been charged with the three homicides.

It’s now Saturday, September 18th. Newspapers are giving yesterday’s total as 11 new cases of Covid 19. Perhaps there are two in MIQ which were included?

Today there are 20 new cases, but only one of them is unlinked, i.e. not a family member or a close contact of an existing cases. So I guess that’s both encouraging, and disappointing. This variant is certainly nothing if not tenuous.

This afternoon we went shopping at one of my favourite supermarkets, New World in Thorndon. I have to say that I quite like being at level 2 (minus the masks, which I find quite annoying). The store wasn’t crazily busy. I felt quite safe there. I bought salads (including a roast vegetable salad), preserved fruit, coffee beans, bread, pizza bread, and some doughnuts – just the essentials, really! Raspberries aren’t back yet, unfortunately. I’ll just be so grateful when they can pack my shopping again. Many shoppers insist on packing their purchases at the checkout counter: this can be very selfish, as it holds up other buyers. You can put everything back in the trolley, and pack them outside, where there’s plenty of room, and it’s under cover, too.

Recently we watched the first episode of the new series, Scenes from a Marriage, based on the film by Ingmar Bergman. Like Mare of Easttown, or Line of Duty, a new episode is only released each week.  I’ve also watched the first episode of Halifax: Retribution on TV On Demand.  I read a very interesting article on Edward Said in the LRB.

It’s now Sunday September 19th. This morning I zoomed into a lovely church service, delivered by the congregation of St Anne’s, in Newtown. I also watched on Youtube the service at St Matthew’s in the City in Auckland.

Today there are 24 new cases of Covid 19, all in Auckland. That is quite devastating news, and does not bode well for a much-anticipated move to level 3 on Tuesday.

It’s now Monday September 20th. We await today’s news with great anticipation.  In the morning, there’s a power outage, from before 8 am. There was no warning. I rang Contact Energy, and got through to a recorded message saying that there was an outage in Johnsonville and Churton Park, and it should be fixed by 11:15 am.  Our hot water doesn’t work; even though we have an Infinity hot water system running on gas, because the electricity is out, this is too (it has an on-off switch). I will have to go into the city to have my first coffee. I was going to town, anyway!

I had a very strong coffee and a boysenberry Danish pastry, in preference to a cheese scone.  I got my watch fixed, and posted some articles.  While I waited for my watch, I enjoyed another long black coffee and a very spicy cheese scone at Pie and Pickle. I then tried to use the restroom at Arapaki, only to find it barred off. I went to another restroom, upstairs at the Grand Arcade, and it was empty, and furthermore, it had paper towels.

I then went to Queensgate in Lower Hutt and went to Farmers there. I checked out bed linen, but there were no good specials there. I remembered the challenge of finding the right sizing for sheets and pillowslips, and gave up on that. Then I checked out the women’s clothing, but couldn’t find anything that really appealed, so I left Queensgate, and caught a bus back to Wellington. Boring as, really.

I caught a bus home. While doing so, I finished reading another edition of the LRB. I read about nerve agents, like Novichok, and discovered that the US had passed such drugs to Saddam Hussein in the Iraq/Iran conflict. No wonder the US had unfinished business in Iraq, and needed to attack it in 2003. I also read an article about the Aswan Dam in Egypt, and the dam that’s being built in Ethiopia – a source of conflict – now and in the future.

It was announced at 1 pm that there were 22 new community cases: 19 in Auckland, and three in Waikato (as announced earlier).

Eventually it’s time for the 4 pm press conference, fronted by Prime Minister Ardern and Dr Bloomfield. The much-anticipated result is pretty much as expected. Auckland is to go to level 3, but people are to stay in their bubbles; older people over 65 are to stay at home; but at least you can get takeaways, in a non-contact way. The schools remain closed, except for children of essential workers. The level 3 restrictions will be in place for two weeks. In the Waikato, in the area north of Hamilton (where three people have tested positive, being part of the whanau of the remand prisoner from Mt Eden Correctional Facility), is to come under a special order; in effect, they will be at level 4.  The rest of the country is to stay at level 2, but you can have gatherings of up to 100 people indoors. I pick that many churches will now be able to hold services in person under this rule. It seems that most new cases are close contacts or family of existing cases, but there all still mystery cases that come up; for example, how did the prisoner contract Covid 19? And there is some mystery about his journey home from Auckland.  Still, Aucklanders will be able to get takeaways now. That has got to be a huge relief to families, and to many small business owners.

Predictably, the restrictions don’t go far enough for Dr Michael Baker, but I think this is probably a wise move. They are still pretty limiting. Another couple has “broken the rules” and got around the Auckland boundary restrictions; this, says the PM, is a further reason for allowing some relaxation.

On Tuesday I zoomed into a Bible Study group; then I met my cousin on town for lunch. I wanted to have mushrooms on toast, but was sold instead a very nice omelette with mushrooms, cheese, and lots of spinach.  On Tuesday there were 14 new community cases of coronavirus, including members of three gangs who have tested positive.  Auckland is due to go to level 3 at midnight on Tuesday.

It’s now Wednesday September 22nd.  There is all kinds of disquiet about the government’s seeming to abandon the Covid 19 elimination strategy, that they’d been focusing on; Judith Collins is all but gone as National Party leader; vaccine rates are still not as high as hoped; I guess people are just angry that Covid 19 rates haven’t fallen faster; confused about what safety means now; and I imagination councils are hastily rewriting the rules about what can happen in council-operated facilities, such as libraries, parks and community centres, now that at level 2 you can have 100 (up from 50) people indoors. I guess that some churches will be meeting in person this coming Sunday.  Meanwhile, I quite like level 2, with its added layer of caution, and not having so many people around. The masks are a huge nuisance, though. I cannot find a way to wear one without my glasses fogging up, so I don’t wear them much of the time. Predictably, people are frustrated with the new MIQ system. We are fortunate to have it, and that it works so well. remember there was a very scary time when we didn’t have it, or the regular testing and monitoring that followed? It has protected us well, even if it’s very frustrating that my son can’t come home for Christmas. This is like war, and we’ve only been at it for almost two years. Think how long the two world wars went on for.

Today it’s raining, and cooler again. We await the 1 pm news, announcing the latest Covid 19 numbers.  In Australia, in Victoria in particular, there have been huge protests against restrictions on tradies. I think everyone is angry, but governments are doing their best, one assumes, to manage the threats posed by delta – a scary new version of what we’ve been dealing with. There is some good news on the horizon, though: Pfizer has approved lower-dose 3vaccines for children aged 5 – 11. That could be a game-changer.  Ngā mihi.

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