Why is this happening?

Today is Saturday November 13th, 2021. Kia ora.

This was a quiet day, recovering from Friday, and knowing Sunday would be a busy one. There were 175 new cases of Covid-19 in the community today. 159 of the cases were in Auckland, eight in Waikato, five in Taranaki, two in Northland and one in Taupo. Later I learned that there were 4 cases in Taupo, one of whom had been in the Wairarapa. There were also suggestions that a sex parlour was involved.

There were more protests today. In Auckland and Wellington, there were plans to cause traffic “gridlock”. These plans may have been foiled by the bad weather, including heavy rain. Phil Goff, Mayor of Auckland, called the protest behaviour “stupid”. In Christchurch, there was a march on foot. It’s suspected that the Destiny Church is behind this unrest, but I suspect that others have been involved too.  These protests command media attention, but I expect that amongst the confusion, many continue to support Prime Minister Ardern and her Labour Government.

We have been watching a series called The Borgias on Netflix.  I don’t really enjoy it, but there isn’t much to watch at present. There was a rather good film of Great Expectations on Maori Television, but I couldn’t bear to watch that again.

It’s now Sunday November 15th. I went to church in the morning – always a treat. My friend Malcom played the organ and we sang “Immortal, invisible”. After that, things were pretty busy. We had a late lunch at Urban Eatery in Tawa (they didn’t close till 4:30 pm). I had a very nice vegetarian quiche with spinach, courgette, mushrooms and tomatoes, and my second coffee for the day. I brought my passionfruit doughnut home to share later.

This morning I learnt there were four new cases of Covid 19 in what was called Tararua and the Lakes districts.  This included someone who went to the Emergency Department at Rotorua Hospital, and was found to have Covid 19. So Covid 19/delta is inching ever closer, and we’re warned that it’s coming to Wellington, but actually it was here, back in August – and then died out.

The official briefing at 1 pm (more like 1:40 pm most days) tells there are 207  community cases – the highest daily total yet. Sadly, there has been a death, at North Shore Hospital, of a woman in her 90’s who lived at the Edmonton Retirement Home in Henderson. Evidently she had other health conditions, and it was not suitable for her to be on a ventilator. Of the new cases, two are in Rotorua, and consequently 12 police are isolating), two in Tararua, seven in Waikato, and two in Northland. The rest are all in Auckland. 90 people are in hospital.

Locations of interest have been published in the Wairarapa and Tararua, which includes Woodville.

It’s now Monday November 15th. There weren’t any horror stories last night, but this morning I learnt that journalist Duncan Garner thinks he has Covid 19. Today there are 173 new community cases of Covid 19, again with most in Auckland but there are cases in 7 in Waikato, 2 in Northland and one in the Rotorua Lakes District. including one in Masterton (a first for Masterton, and probably the furthest south so far). There are 90 patients in hospital, and 7 of these are in Intensive Care.

This morning I went to Tai Chi. There are two more classes scheduled this year, and they want to have a shared meal at the last class, and reconvene on Monday January 31, 2022 (Monday February 7th is a Public Holiday for Waitangi Day). I don’t feel comfortable about this, so I won’t stay. At my singing session on Thursdays we are addressing the same problem. My feeling is that if you have catered food, it all comes from an inspected premises, there will be rules around food preparation, there are annual inspections, and you know where the food has come from. I think it’s all a matter of what one feels comfortable with.

At 4 pm there’s a press conference with Prime Minister Ardern and Dr Bloomfield. I am pleased to know that you can book booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine from November 29, providing it is 6 months since your second jab. Waikato will move to level 2 from midnight on Thursday. Auckland’s situation is to be reviewed by Cabinet on Wednesday. From today, anyone involved in education must have had their first dose of vaccine. Health workers are to follow.

Monday was a bad day for me. I was very tired. We had pizza for dinner, followed by a trumpet for pudding. For some reason, I was really hungry.

t’s now Tuesday, November 16. I spent time with one of my sons and a granddaughter this morning. We went to Te Awe in town, and had a lovely time. She is almost two and quite active. Fortunately, the Brandon St door was closed – that can be a relief! She was quite delightful and made lots of friends.

In the afternoon I saw an orthoptist.  They were ultra-careful about Covid 19, and where to sit, and I had to keep my mask on, but they did not have pay-wave!  I paid by credit card, but because it’s a chip card, I had to key in my PIN number. I much prefer pay-wave, or using a mag-stripe card where you can use the card to press the key-pad, and not touch it. Never mind. Afterwards we struggled to find a café that was still open to have a late lunch.

Today there are 222 community cases of Covid 19. That’s the biggest number yet. Today’s total was released close to 1 pm. There has been a further death – a man in his 70’s in Auckland City Hospital.  Of the new cases, 197 are in Auckland, 20 are in Waikato, one is in Northland, two are in Wairarapa, and two are in the Lakes District Health Board area. Duncan Garner has been diagnosed positive, as has a teacher at Auckland’s Baradene College. So this is not good.  While I respect the unvaccinated, I would not want anyone unvaccinated to be teaching my grandchildren or caring for my daughter. A poll released today shows that 74% of those polled support the vaccine mandates, i.e. that you cannot continue to work in health or education without being vaccinated. Despite the protests, a significant majority support vaccination.

In he US, the political violence and threats of violence are truly terrifying. Steve Bannon surrenders to the FBI.  The former guy told Jonathan Karl that he didn’t care about the threats to hang Mike Pence, his Vice President; the former guy’s followers erected a noose; the threats were very real. And shocking. Alex Jones has to pay parents of victims of the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. That’s almost 9 years ago! The judge has summed up in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. Will he be acquitted? Who knows.

On Wednesday I had an early start with hymn singing at 9:15am. It was lovely, as always. After that I had morning tea and caught a bus into town.  I managed to buy a book for my grandson that he has already! I really should keep a list of the presents. One thinks one will always remember, but it rapidly becomes a blur. I’m hoping to change the book.

On Wednesday there were 194 new community cases of Covid 19. There was a new case in Christchurch, and it was reported that three children of a woman who tested positive were taken into MIQ there. Evidently a gang party – a patching ceremony in the Wairarapa – is thought to have caused more infections.

It’s now Thursday November 18th.  This morning I had my larger singing group. It was lovely, as always, although the distancing is hard. We are planning to have a catered light lunch at the final session for the year. We’re permitted to do this, but catering is preferred, rather than “bring a plate” of food to share. In my view, that’s a safer approach.  In terms of my daughter’s birthday and Christmas, that’s up in the air as we monitor the situation.

Today there are 167 new cases, and there’ve been two deaths (two elderly people in Auckland). There are 85 people in hospital, including 6 in Intensive Care. Of the new cases, 142 are in Auckland, 17 are in Waikato, five are in Northland, one is in Bay of Plenty DHB, one is in Lakes DHB, and one is in Canterbury. Before lunch it was reported that there was a case in Palmerston North (in the suburb of Ashurst – now I didn’t know Ashurst was a suburb of Palmy); and that Covid 19 had been detected in Wellington’s waste water.  Evidently there’s two cases in Woodville (in the Tararua district). Now it’s been reported that there’s a case in Levin, and one in Tauranga. There’s evidently a case in Thames. There’s a second case in Christchurch. We are having ongoing discussions with Hohepa about what it may be appropriate to do later this year.

There’s a traffic light system due to be introduced here later in November. I’ve been trying to get to grips with what this means, but I can’t see that it has much, if any, direct bearing on me.  It seems to matter most to event organisers, how many folk they can have, indoors or outdoors, and whether people must be vaccinated. It seems you can download a vaccine passport or verification on your mobile phone, but I haven’t gone there yet. The Auckland borders are to open from December 15th, but there are rules around that too. Will that make it less safe for the rest of us? Who knows. Let them go to their summer homes in the Coromandel for Christmas and New Year,

It seems that in many places you need to be vaccinated to be able to do things, or go anywhere. In Austria, the unvaccinated have to be in lockdown, and are only allowed to leave the house to buy food, I’ve heard.

This morning the Dompost published three corrections. It’s good to see they’re being held accountable: it’s very frustrating when they get things wrong, especially as one’s often reminded of how many stories one’s read online recently, and asked for money. I already subscribe for daily delivery, and the costs just went up, again. It’s very annoying when I’ve supported the daily newspaper for much of my life.  A recent story claimed that we face a bad season of flu and Covid 19. Well, excuse me, but the flu tends to be prevalent in the winter here, not the summer. That just doesn’t make sense.

Talking of corrections, I listened to the TRMS podcast yesterday, and some items I’m sure I’ve heard before: the sizable crowd in Dallas waiting on the “grassy knoll” for the resurrection of John F Kennedy (jnr), and the person who voted in his dead wife’s name  (sadly, she’d died of breast cancer); he then lied about this, calling it fraudulent behaviour, when he in fact had caused the fraud. Consequently the law caught up with him, and he was prosecuted. I felt sure this was an old story, but then there was some bizarre new information about Gina Haskel, Trump’s Head of the CIA, needing to be rescued out of Germany. The situation around the 2020 US Presidential Election, and the former guy’s determination to hang onto power, just gets worse and worse, with the revelations from Jonathan Karl’s book, and other revelations. I know many in the US are concerned about this, but, hey, we in the rest of the world are too! We’re all affected by whoever’s in charge there; we’re all deeply affected. Covid, climate change, the Constitution – they’re all vitally important. If Trump gets re-elected and withdraws from the Paris Climate Accord again, as seems ever more possible, what hope can there be for any of us?  It’s all very well for Peter Thiel to have a beautiful bolt-hole in Wanaka; we’re all vitally dependant on what happens in our neighbour Australia, in China, in the Pacific, and everywhere else. The world is a small place when it comes to dealing with climate change, international alliances, and environmental issues. No matter how much money you have, we all have to breathe.

I’ve been listening to another  podcast in The Rest is History series, this one about the oil crisis in 1973-74, which led to the Three-Day Week in Britain – ironically, when we made out first trip overseas, arriving and taking off from London’s Heathrow Airport.  I found this very illuminating, but was rather surprised that they didn’t mention the terrorism at that very scary time, when an airliner was blown up at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport, the Red Brigades were at large, Italy was about to elect a communist government, and so on and so on. We almost cancelled our trip – thank goodness we didn’t.

In many countries, Covid 19 is still causing degrees of chaos. We are by no means free of this scourge just yet. Still, where in the world would you rather be? There’s still much to be thankful for.  That’s it for now. Ngā mihi.

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