(Not) Moronic

Today is Thursday December 2nd, 2021. Kia ora!

Last night I heard more disturbing news about the movement of the omicron variant of Covid 19. There is now a case in Japan. There is a case in California. There are apparently several cases in London: it seems they just don’t really care too much. An Israeli doctor has been diagnosed with Covid 19, and claims he caught it at a medical conference – in the UK. It seems more than ever that while two South African doctors first raised the alarm about this concerning new variant, which they’d diagnosed, it was already doing the rounds in Europe. It has now been diagnosed in West Africa and the Gulf (where’s that, exactly?) This morning I read that California has diagnosed its first case. Dr John Campbell claims there are now 222 cases in the UK.

In response, many countries have rushed to put in place stricter border protections, enforcing greater quarantine and testing for travellers from South African countries. They are seeking to make vaccination compulsory. So far, Covid 19/omicron has presented as a disease with mild symptoms, leading to the hope that while it may be very infectious, it may be a mild disease. Still, no one really knows.  While there is a certain fatalism amongst many, most of us would definitely prefer not to get it, or risk exposing our family and friends, especially people like my daughter, and my grandchildren. It seems that tweaking the vaccines will take a while: Moderna says it can’t do a clinical trial until March 2022.

 In New Zealand, two schools in Nelson (an Intermediate and a primary school) have closed, after someone being diagnosed positive with Covid 19/delta. Friends of mine are planning a trip to Motueka, going via the ferry.  Another friend has cancelled her family’s proposed holiday in Rotorua.  At least in new Zealand, everywhere is beautiful, and wherever you are, there’s somewhere nice to go. My cousins are planning to spend a few days in Nelson next week – it is a special anniversary for them.

In Wellington, there are two locations of interest, both in Kilbirnie.  Evidently a guest who stayed at the Brentwood Hotel later tested positive, and this person had also been to Farmers Department Store in Kilbirnie.

It’s been a busy day for me. I had singing this morning, and then a covid 19 test so we can visit our daughter at Hohepa. In the afternoon, I met with a dear friend.  All our arrangements for Christmas and January have defaulted to staying close to home – around Wellington – around family and friends. That way we don’t have to cancel anything. 

In Africa, the omicron variant of Covid 19 is fuelling an exponential rise in cases, reports the UK’s Guardian.

In New Zealand, at 1 pm it was reported that there were 172 new community cases of Covid 19, including ten in the Nelson area.

The Rhythm and Vines gathering has been postponed till Easter next year.

There are three cases in New Plymouth, and a school has been closed.

It’s now Friday December 3rd. Today New Zealand moves to the traffic light Covid 19 system, and consequently the rules change, depending on whether you’re in a Red, Amber or Green designated area. So far, every area is either Red or Orange. In Wellington, we are Orange, and so is Hawkes Bay, but Taupo, Wairoa and Auckland are red, as are many other North Island areas. More significantly, vaccine passes are now required to be shown at many places, or service can be denied.    This is tricky for some people. I had tried to load my vaccine pass on my mobile phone, without success. Yesterday I was successful. My husband has a printed pass. So we’re both good to go. Sadly, my daughter and her friends don’t have their vaccine passports yet. They’ve all been vaccinated – I think they were in group 2, and there was some behaviour modification to get over fear of needles and general reluctance, but, of course, they don’t have the technology smarts to tackle downloading their own passes. We’re dependent on others to do this. This discrimination also begs the question, that if you find somewhere that will serve you without seeing your vaccine pass, does that mean they’re lax about vaccinations – of staff or customers? In that case, do you wish to or feel comfortable about eating there?

In the US, there have been 5 cases of omicron detected in New York State. One person (now in Minnesota) claims he picked up the infection at an Animé conference in New York. Omicron is very prevalent, but we don’t yet really know how dangerous it is.  Many people are appalled that on the animal channel, a commentator compared Dr Anthony Fauci to Dr Josef Mengele.  In other news, Americans (and others) are reeling from the news (not a surprise, really) that Trump had tested positive for Covid 19 before his first presidential debate with Joe Biden, potentially endangering the presidential candidate.  Tim Miller has written an article for the Bulwark claiming just this, that the former guy was trying to kill Joe Biden. Then there was the event in the Rose Garden to honour Amy Coney Barrett – the event to honour the pro-life Supreme Court Judge was a super-spreader event, where several people caught Covid 19.  We don’t know if anyone died, but several people were certainly ill, some extremely so – former Governor Chris Christie was in Intensive Care. Some journalists and secret service folk became ill. How does this work?

It is now one week since we first heard about Covid 19/omicron.  At least we heard about it on Friday, but on Saturday I realised that it had the potential to be a very serious issue.  One week!  This has changed everything.  Before this, many places thought that Covid 19 was behind them, and people could do “normal” things again, providing they were fully vaccinated (and boosted, in some cases); sadly, no. In Many places, Covid 19/delta continues to cause problems. In New Zealand, I think we can be proud again to have restricted its development and effects. But there is a feeling that here we go again, this time on steroids.

Today there were 92 new community cases of Covid 19.  That’s a welcome lower figure than we’ve had for the last few days. As previously, most are in Auckland – 80 – where several schools and pre-school centres have been hit hard. Meantime, Auckland opens up again under the traffic light system – after being in lockdown for 107 days – for ages.  The rest of the community cases are across six regions:  2 in Waikato, 1 in Northland, 5 in Bay of Plenty, I in Lakes (that’s Taupo), 1 in Nelson, and 2 in Taranaki.  People must get around, as the case totals when given out don’t always match up with the news previously released.  There are 79 in hospital, and 9 in Intensive Care.  On the West Coast of New Zealand, a wedding has had to be postponed: the stag party was held in Nelson, and a close contact has tested positive, and there are consequent numbers of people isolating.  This raises all kinds of questions about the activities at the stag party, but one can only sympathise with the intricacies of delaying a big event like a wedding – including travel.

There is evidence of Covid 19 detected in wastewater in Gisborne and Matamata.

That’s it for now. Ngā mihi.

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