A poem by Lewis Carroll, or another name for the Vaxathon

Today is Thursday October 14th, 2021. Kia ora!

I didn’t write yesterday.  I am finding all this incredibly depressing and boring. I can’t do much, and I don’t wish to increase my exposure.  Yesterday I ventured into the Johnsonville Shopping Centre to pick up a prescription. It’s incredibly annoying to find that the one item I really wanted is missing.  I looked up Manage My Health, and I can’t order it! This application is useful, but also incredibly frustrating. I think they’ve loaded a backup which has overwritten more recent prescriptions.

It has been cold and wet here, after some very warm, almost summery days. I actually quite like the cold! I never thought I would say that, but it hasn’t been really cold this past winter, and with my new heater I can keep my bedroom quite comfortably warm.  I find the heat really enervating; I find the see-saw temperature changes, sometimes within the same day really frustrating. Just pick a temperature and stick to it!

It must be a southerly wind, because planes just keep flying overhead, to land at Wellington Airport.  It seems they go past every few minutes. Air NZ must be doing quite well domestically.

In Australia, people can’t come home because the flights are very expensive. In New Zealand, Kiwis can’t come home because they can’t get a place in MIQ.

I used to travel into town, taking refuge to sit down in the library; it was very annoying when the Wellington Central Library closed abruptly in 2019.  It  had everything: elevators, escalators, rest rooms, a rather nice, roomy café, easy chairs, and lots of quiet spaces. There is a nice pop-up library, Te Awe, in Brandon St, but since we are at level 2 the Brandon St entrance is closed, and visits are limited to 30 minutes!  That’s nothing!  One can’t really stay in a café if there’s a queue for tables. Many places have closed, there’s a limited number of cafés where one can sit for a while. At Te Awe, you can sit in the library if the café is full, or alternatively, you can decamp to the café if your 30 minutes are up! The café does not seem to have a time limit, although most cafés are closing earlier than previously.

Many stores have closed in town. There really isn’t much to do there, other than hang out at Unity Books (where there are armchairs!), libraries and cafés. There’s only so much coffee one can drink.

Things are being cancelled, including some popular music festivals. Auckland’s Christmas in the Park has been cancelled this year (some would be relieved – it’s not a religious ceremony, celebrating the Saviour’s birth).  Cancel, cancel, cancel. Fear, fear, fear. Boredom reigns supreme.  You can only do so much reading, so many puzzles, in a day. We’ve finished watching The Newsroom on Neon, sadly. (Note: there’s another series, thank goodness).

Yesterday there were 55 (fifty-five) new community cases of Covid 19, mostly in Auckland, with two in the Waikato.  A teacher at an early childhood centre has tested positive for the virus.  There seem to have been only three children in her “pod”, and so the exposure has been limited.  It’s still an alarming number of new cases.

Northland and parts of the Waikato are to remain at level 3 until midnight on Monday, October 18. Auckland remains at level 3, although some say they should go back to level 4. Even at level 4, you can still have quite a wide circle of contacts.

Predictions are dire, that this Covid 19/delta spread will see bigger numbers in Auckland (say 200 a day, according to one modeller), and spread throughout the country.  It seems sex-workers travelled from Auckland to Blenheim, despite the limitations – this would not be allowed under level 3 or level 4. They aren’t cooperating with police. What is it with sex workers? These two have now been arrested. They did not have valid travel permits.

Rapid antigen tests are now allowed, for some core businesses. Some people are against vaccine mandates; actually, you don’t have to be vaccinated, but you may lose your job and not be allowed to go to many places if you haven’t been vaccinated. The government is producing vaccine status documentation, which you can apply for.

The Ministry of Health is planning for coping with more sick people.

It does seem to me that planning for disaster is fraught with risk, and depends very much on the identification of possible risks, and quantifying their likelihood, and potential impact; and most importantly, what happens afterwards; i.e. how long can that fall-back/interim position be sustained? When I was a project manager, the Risk Register was one of the first documents to be produced for any project. It’s really important to at least identify risks and their potential impact, and mitigation.

Having said that, there’s all kinds of gripes about not preparing adequately for the pandemic. Many people are trying to plan for the present and future impacts of climate change, and encountering much resistance. How do you plan for the delta wave of coronavirus, given New Zealand’s limited exposure, and (now rapidly) growing vaccination rate?

I think you meet it with a mixture of restrictions, given vaccination rates, compliance with the rules, and cooperation with police; you also take into account wastewater testing, and how many new cases are contacts or family members of existing cases.

Today there are 71 (seventy-one) new community cases of Covid 19. That’s the most yet. That’s quite depressing. Covid 19 has been detected in wastewater systems for Raglan and Te Awamutu.  The Hon. Grant Robertson blames gatherings in homes (in defiance of level 3 or 4 rules) for the higher numbers. He says it’s an Auckland-wide problem.  Of these, a number of cases were unlinked at the time of reporting.  It’s a huge worry. Thank goodness my  grandchildren here are back at school next Monday (after the holidays) – Covid permitting.

Last night I couldn’t get to sleep, and I listened to several podcasts, all very interesting: one was of Chris Hayes speaking to Mike Duncan, who was in Paris with his wife and two young children last year when we were all in lock down. He was amazed to see Laura Ingraham on Fox News blaming the Democrats for using the pandemic to get back at Trump! And here he was, locked down in Paris, and Paris isn’t quite so wonderful when you’re locked down, allowed out for one hour each day, with young children. I also listened to English podcasts, a refreshing change, not to have American accents, and now they’ve got over Brexit.  I listened to one about the Jeremy Thorpe scandal, and another about someone who faked his own death. For the latter, I listened to two parts, and am eagerly awaiting release of the third. The British presenters are so well-spoken, and have such an irreverent sense of humour and a fine sense of irony.

This afternoon I walked up to the local store.  It’s now fine and sunny outside with a bit of a breeze, after being cold and wet this morning. The store was well-stocked, with few people there. I did find myself getting extremely tired, but I made it home.

It’s now Friday, October 15th. There is a huge sense of doom around today. A second wastewater sample in the Waikato town of Te Awamutu has detected Covid 19. That indicates that there are probably undetected community cases of Covid 19 around there. This outbreak is quite scary, now; we don’t know how big it will be, or where it will go next. 

We await the 1 pm briefing with great interest.

In Australia, the new case numbers for NSW are down, and up for Victoria; but NSW are still recording a significant number of deaths.

The New Zealand Herald warns that the North Shore cluster in Auckland reaches a “record high”.

Today there are 65 new community cases of Covid 19, all of them in Auckland. As at 1 pm, 31 were unlinked. There’s no press conference today, just a statement from the Ministry of Health. Prime Minister Ardern is in Taranaki, which evidently has a poor vaccination rate to date.

On Saturday, “Super Saturday”, there was a huge vaccination drive – a “Vaxathon”, where over 130,00 people had a jab. This was a huge success, reaching just over its target of 130,000 injections.  My husband had the television on for a while to watch the Vaxathon on TV, but was disappointed to find that there seemed to be more advertisements than performances. Still, the day was fine and warm, and it was a big success. Hopefully it will make a big difference in terms of our vulnerability to Covid 19/delta.  I ventured out to a Tai Chi group meeting, which I enjoyed, although I did not know many of the forms. I was not alone in that – this had some serious practitioners there.

On Saturday there were 41 new community cases of Covid 19.

It’s now Sunday October 17th. This morning I went to church (in person) again. It was nice to be there, although they haven’t separated the pews as I thought they would have, ruling every second row out of use. Several people – perhaps 8 – zoomed in. I enjoyed singing in a (distanced) group again. Today it’s cold and wet again, or rather, drizzly.

Today there are 51 new community cases of Covid 19, 47 in Auckland and 4 in the Waikato. We’re used to big numbers, now – at least it’s around 50.

The voices of doom and gloom and predictions of hundreds of new cases in Auckland have, so far, not come true. That’s not to say they won’t, of course, but it’s heartening that people responded so well to the call to get vaccinated.

In overseas news, there have been bow and arrow killings in Norway, a suicide bomb in a mosque in Afghanistan killed many people, a British conservative MP was fatally stabbed in a church at a constituents’ meeting, and several children drowned in a river in Indonesia. In the US, Senator Joe Manchin has upended President Joe Biden’s climate agenda, right before the Cop 26 climate meeting in Glasgow. That all seems desperately sad. But amid ongoing threats of violence against American democracy in various ways, the saddest thing to me seems to be the latest requirement when teaching about the Holocaust – to provide “other perspectives”.  What other perspectives can there possibly be – how is genocide permitted under any circumstances? How is theft allowed? This dreadful, shameful event should be taught for what it was – the systematic killing of millions of people, never mind that they were forced to operate at a distinct disadvantage, herded into ghettos, deprived of the power and use of the law, and then, after being starved, robbed, deprived of health care and dehumanized, carried off by train in random “aktions” to concentration camps and to their likely death. I am old enough that the Great Depression of the 1930’s, followed by the Second World War, left a marked impression on my parents, and therefore on me. I’m horrified to find that they haven’t made such an impression on others.

That’s it for now. I have several activities to look forward to in the coming week, as some things get underway again for Term 4. Ngā mihi.

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