Just get the jolly Vaccine!

Just get the vaccine, why don’t you? Then the rest of us can get on with booking our booster shots. Supply doesn’t seem to be a problem at the moment.

It is now Thursday October 28th, 2021. Kia ora.

This morning I heard there are 2 new cases of Covid 19 in Christchurch. One of them had flown from Auckland (why? I wonder), and was unvaccinated. The other case is their household contact. There is also a new case in Otorohanga.

The NZ Herald has a not-so helpful headline: How will our ICUs cope now delta is free? Well, it’s not free. A snap lockdown is being considered for Christchurch; Auckland and the Waikato remain at level 3, and the rest of New Zealand is at level 2. Someone was just asking why the South Island still has restrictions?  I guess we know now. The words used are so important. 

This morning I had singing, and this time we all sang together – sopranos, altos and men. It was so nice to sing together again. We did not have morning tea. It was fine, and we had doors open to the outside. We sang Joni Mitchell’s beautiful “Circle Game”, and I always think, when we sing it, of the carousel I gave one of my granddaughters one Christmas. “The painted ponies go up and down”.  We finished with the beautiful “Hine e hine”. What a treat. We are all nervous as to what the future holds, for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren. Each session is precious.

Today there are 89 new community cases of Covid 19: two in Christchurch, 4 in Waikato and the rest (83) in Auckland.  OF the two cases in Christchurch, the one that flew from Auckland had permission to fly home, and had not been vaccinated. They had had a negative Covid 19 test before flying south. The other case in Christchurch is their only other household contact.  Accordingly, Christchurch will remain at level 2.  One of the persons infected is a truck-driver, who may have been infected for several days without knowing it. Neither person was vaccinated. Evidently they were loth to scan locations where they’d been, too.

The Hon. Chris Hipkins fronted a press conference today, where he was asked by a female journalist if he felt guilty about not keeping the people of Christchurch safe!  Well, really, would someone ask Judith Collins that question? He reiterated that vaccination is a key to safety. I would say perceptions of safety, but it seems that it’s certainly key to fewer hospitalisations and deaths.

He also announced that MIQ stays are to be halved from next month for vaccinated arrivals from overseas, who have had a negative Covid 19 test before leaving. They’re expected to isolate for a further week before they’re good to go. That should free up more MIQ rooms, but presently they’re being used for Covid 19 cases to isolate, where it is unsuitable for them to do so at home.

There is great widespread anger at current developments. As usual, the government should have acted earlier/more decisively/been harsher/been less harsh. Everyone should be vaccinated/it’s an infringement of their rights to force vaccination on them. No one is forcing vaccines on anyone, but you may finder it much harder to work or go places if you have not been vaccinated. I expect that the government, like the rest of us, just wish this would all go away, and we could look forward to a new reality where things aren’t scarce, we can come and go as we wish, house and rent prices are reasonable, and mental health isn’t such a big issue; there’s also child poverty and climate change. Well. there has to be something, always, but it would be nice to think that New Zealand’s on the right track (for most of us!).

People I spoke to this morning are scared, apprehensive, philosophical, and happy to be together again. Next week, we can have morning tea, as long as we get our own drink separately, and then take it outside..  For all of us, our thoughts are for our precious children and grandchildren, as well as ourselves – we need to stay strong and cheerful for them, as well as ourselves.

In the US, things seem to get a little crazier.  The lawyer John Eastman, who wrote a legal memo for Trump to declare himself the winner of the 2020 presidential election, and then denied it, was caught on video being interviewed by Lauren Windsor saying he had written it (despite earlier denying it), and that Mike Pence was the blockage to Trump’s electoral win.  An article in Rolling Stone Magazine claimed that several leading Republicans were instrumental in planning the January 6 insurrection. The US Congress has voted to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the congressional committee formed to investigate the January 6 insurrection; we all await a further response from the Department of Justice, and specifically Attorney-General Merrick Garland, to see what will happen next.

Meantime, Trump has endorsed the leader of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro. In Brazil people are begging for him to be impeached, for his reckless handling of the coronavirus outbreak there. Trump claimed at one of his recent rallies that he was impeached twice, “and I got worse” he bragged. For once, he spoke the truth.

The New Yorker has let me read another article about Peter Thiel, by Anna Wiener.  It was interesting, but I’m thinking enough already about Peter Thiel. The less said about him, the better. I find his ideas not only selfish, but seriously weird.

It’s now Friday October 29th.  There is a new case of Covid 19 in Kawhia. A chemist in Tawa has predicted that delta will be in Wellington by November. Well it was here, in mid-August and September, nobody died, people have recovered, and so far it has not reared its ugly head again. No-one knows what will happen, including the government and their health advisors. All authorities are treading a fine line between taking wise steps to restrict contact and thus the spread of the virus, and allowing small businesses like hospitality to still operate, albeit safely, and with fewer numbers. What reassurance is there? None, really.

This morning’s newspaper published a good diagram showing how close the DHB’s are to meeting the 90% vaccination target. Wellington (Capital and Coast) is right up there, next to Auckland. It should be noted that Auckland has three DHBs.

This morning I listened to podcasts featuring Michael Moore, and Charlie Sykes talking to Tom Nichols. I haven’t been listening to Bulwark podcasts lately, I just get so cross. But with both these podcasts, everyone is angry with the Democrats. It seems that with the latest compromise, paid parental leave is likely to be scrapped. How crazy is that?  The US is truly first in many things – including many awful things. Why vote Democrat? Because they’re not Republican. But if they can’t actually deliver much in the way of benefits, which would be quite normal in most western and civilised countries.  Yet again, it looks as though many Americans will swallow Trump’s Kool-Aid, and believe his empty promises.  The Democrats hold, not without difficulty, the White House, the Congress and the Senate (tightly!)  It seems ironic that they have difficulty delivering basic benefits (parental paid leave, drinkable water, a health system that works better) to their voters and supporters.  There are just so many faults with American democracy, and then many of them don’t even value what they have!  By the way, in terms of awfulness, Michael Flynn has been comparing the much respected Dr Anthony Fauci with the Nazis’ Dr Josef Mengele. One tries to ignore the awfulness, but every now and again I am forced to take notice. The one from the televangelist pastor about God not being able to hear us pray through a mask, is still my “favourite”.  I figured once that many of us must be praying at any one time, yet I feel as though it’s my individual voice speaking to the Lord. He knows many languages, too!

I have been listening to podcasts about Australia and climate change.  The Australian government has agreed, not without difficulty, to limit methane emissions by 30% by 2030. Actually they haven’t agreed that. Their climate spokesman claims Australia is a great place to invest in “gas, hydrogen and new energy technologies” (whatever they may be). This is their commitment to the upcoming Cop26 Climate Conference in Glasgow. In trying to verify just what they have agreed, I looked up ABC News on my phone, but there’s no mention of it there. Have they no shame?  It seems really hard to get any kind of commitment out of them that will benefit our planet in good time. Meanwhile, they endure terrible fires, and floods.

There has been much discussion of Facebook’s recent exposure through a whistle blower, and the Facebook papers. Many agree that although we all knew FB’s (and other social media’s) influence was pernicious, we did not realise quite how awful it was.  The pandemic has given many people more free time, and thus more time to spend on social media., where they can soak up anti-vax propaganda, conspiracy theories, and catastrophic fears. Some have likened FB’s influence to that of tobacco, when companies making cigarettes continued marketing them and advertising their benefits, long after they knew that they are addictive and cause great physical harm.  Now, thankfully, the days of smoke-filled bars are over, and most public places don’t allow smoking.  I remember our first trip overseas in 1973, when you could specify a seat in the smoking or non-smoking section of the plane! Thankfully, that is a thing of the past, although it can be disappointing to see young people smoking.  Smoking is quite prevalent in some television series.

Today there are 125 community cases of Covid 19 – one in Northland, four in Waikato, another two in Christchurch (close contacts of existing cases), and the rest in Auckland. The new case in Kawhia is included in the Waikato number. Some folk, after being tested, drove to Auckland. What kind of madness is this? Sadly, someone in a retirement home in Henderson in Auckland has tested positive for Covid 19.

That’s it for today. Nga mihi.

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