Today is Wednesday January 26th, 2022. Kia ora!
It’s been quite a busy day today, with several appointments. It was a granddaughter’s birthday, there was a zoom meeting, and we were due to take a friend to the Rita Angus exhibition at Te Papa. I could have cancelled this latter one, but thought we should go to Te Papa while the going’s good. How wonderful Angus’s paintings are! It’s a joy to see them again. The exhibition is very well curated.
At my zoom meeting, we discussed among other things wearing masks for singing, and whether to abandon term one. Heavy matters, indeed! My hymn-singing is due to restart next week, wearing masks for singing. Maybe.
I heard the latest Covid 19 numbers before we went out this afternoon. It’s announced that there is a new omicron case in Taranaki, and then that there are 15 new cases of Covid 19/omicron, included in today’s total of 23 community cases of Covid 19. There are 6 people in hospital, and none of these are in Intensive care. It seems we are doing well with the delta outbreak – it’s almost over, and yet omicron numbers are rising fast.
I miss Dr Verrall’s three-part plan. I’ll have to catch up with it. It seems that the government has commandeered deliveries of Rapid Antigen Tests that were supposed to go to private businesses, so that they could test their staff regularly. Just normal grizzles, really. The big news is that some Omicron-infected people attended a music festival in Hamilton, the 51 hour Soundsplash festival. It’s reported that a number of covid-positive people attended the festival – which was held last weekend, presumably before New Zealand became status Red nationwide, limiting the numbers at mass events. A number? We don’t yet know how many. It’s reported that some unvaccinated young people may have entered illegally by climbing over fences.
It’s now Thursday January 27th.
I turn on my computer and find that Prime Minister Ardern and the Hon. Chris Hipkins are addressing the media in Lower Hutt. The questions are quite aggressive. The PM urges people to get a booster shot of the vaccine. This morning a hotel in Queenstown (the St Moritz) is a location of interest. Minister Hipkins says that schools will reopen no matter what. I know that one of my sons with a child at kindergarten has chosen to keep the child at home, given the risk of someone – or a close contact of someone there – may contract Covid 19, and thus force everyone connected into a period of isolation. They are not keeping children in pods, as the Americans were doing. In the US, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is to retire (he’s only 83). The news report doesn’t say when, but presumably President Biden will get to appoint his replacement.
Today there are 45 new community cases of Covid 19, and there are around 90 cases of omicron in New Zealand. There are only 5 people in hospital, including one in Intensive Care. Evidently 5 people who attended the Soundsplash Festival have been diagnosed with Covid 19, and one of them is confirmed to have omicron. I’m thinking it’s not too bad, until I learn from the NZ Herald that there are 8 new Covid 19 cases in Hawkes Bay. I had just been saying to JD that we’d better go up there sooner rather than later; this might change that, however. A second suspected case in Taranaki has been confirmed to have omicron. There are two new cases in Nelson. It’s problematic that we don’t know right away if a positive diagnosis turns out to be omicron. There are four new cases of Covid 19 in Christchurch. The NZ Herald reports 34 new omicron cases. There are 51 new cases at the border. The eight new cases in Hawkes Bay are expected to be the delta variant, and are linked to an existing Hawkes Bay cluster. Omicron is now in Queenstown, it’s reported.
Last night we watched some episodes of Fires on Neon. This is a series about the bush fires in Australia at the end of 2019, just before the Covid 19 pandemic arrived. It’s very well done, and a very moving series. The night before we watched an episode of The Gilded Age, which I found quite disappointing; ridiculous dresses, and I don’t particularly like Cynthia Nixon as an actress. I just have too much memory of her as the poet Emily Dickinson. I remember thinking, when I watched that, how some Americans just have too much money and are too entitled and should go away and get a decent job and have a more normal life. That’s my not-so entitled view!
It’s now Friday January 28th.
The news is not good today. It seems that the Soundsplash music festival was a super-spreader event; today there are 15 confirmed omicron cases, bringing the omicron total in New Zealand to 105. There are also 105 community cases in all, so that’s up quite a bit. It seems that festival organisers were very careful, but once in there, some festival goers lost their inhibitions, as people tend to do if they’ve had too much to drink or taken drugs. A teenager has reported that of her 30 odd group of friends, around 1/3 have so far tested positive for Covid 19. There is an ever-widening number of locations of interest; a fourth wedding has now been implicated in the omicron outbreak. A Polo event in Tauranga has been implicated. Only four people are in hospital at present. It’s reported that today’s new community cases are in Auckland, Waikato, Tairawhiti, Bay of Plenty, Lakes, Hawke’s Bay, MidCentral, Nelson Tasman and Canterbury. One case in Northland and one in Bay of Plenty would officially be added to tomorrow’s case numbers. There’s a new unlinked case in Palmerston North. The two new Hawkes Bay cases aren’t linked to the Hawkes Bay cluster, but one of them did attend the Soundsplash festival. Who knew there were so many music festivals? Apparently Wellington’s Round the Bays Run, which was due to be held in February, has been cancelled.
It’s now Saturday January 29th.
This morning we are to go to a birthday party for one of our granddaughters. It’s in a lovely park, and it’s fine a warm – a beautiful day, and not too muggy. There is an awning over the picnic bench. No one is wearing masks, bur it’s outdoor and very civilised. Before we went, the NZ Herald reported that a pupil at Hastings’ Lindisfarne College has tested positive for omicron, having attended the Soundsplash music festival. That is scary, but the report later seems to have been pulled (It was in Stuff, too, and seems to be true).
I wanted to go to the Nada Bakery in Tawa; they’re wisely operating from a truck, so no one enters the shop now. We had to show vaccine passes, as well as scanning in. We bought filled rolls and a doughnut. They have really good doughnuts there.
After we get home, we wait for the 1 pm Covid 19 report. When it comes, there are 97 new cases, and 7 people in hospital (none in Intensive Care). 39 omicron cases have now been linked to the Soundsplash festival outside Hamilton (at Mystery Creek). Everyone who attended the event is encouraged to get tested, and to tell the testers that they were at the festival. Two of four community cases in Canterbury have been confirmed as omicron. It’s reported that there are active cases being treated as Omicron in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, MidCentral, Canterbury, Tairāwhiti and Nelson-Tasman.
Meanwhile, it’s reported that the virus had been detected in wastewater samples taken on January 26-27 from the Northland townships of Kerikeri, Paihia and Rawene, the rural south Auckland town of Pukekohe and the Manawatū town of Dannevirke. There were also continued detections from samples taken over the same days in Ahipara, Kawakawa Bay, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, Te Maunga (Mt Maunganui), Te Puke, Te Awamutu, Porirua, Moa Point in Wellington, and Motueka. 58 new cases have been reported at the border. The NZ Herald reports the locations of the new cases as follows: Northland (1), Auckland (61), Waikato (14), Tairawhiti (3), Bay of Plenty (8), Lakes (7), Hawke’s Bay (3).
What was really scary, though, was getting an alert on my phone – whenever I went to the Stuff website. The alert was in Red, and was a Bluetooth one, warning me that, dating from Thursday 20th January, 6 days ago (sic), I was a close contact of someone who’d tested positive for Covid 19. I have Bluetooth enabled on my phone, but not connected. Well, January 20th is more that 6 days ago, it’s more like 9-10 days. I looked up by Covid diary, and the only exposure I had that day was a visit to the local supermarket at 2:36 pm – a location safer in theory than many others. I was quite alarmed, though; should I inform my family? Have a test? I have no symptoms, and I think I’d have some by now if I had Covid 19. I rang the local medical centre to see about getting tested before we go to Hawkes Bay, but they’ve closed for the day. I think about what planned activities I’ll have to cancel…JD eventually persuades me it’s just an example of a warning. There are no locations of interest in Wellington – I check the MOH website, and there are no new cases in Wellington, but I was suitably rattled for a while there. Meanwhile, several infections are linked to a child care centre in Tauranga. A café in Paeroa is a location of interest. This thing is everywhere! I think we should go to Napier next week – sooner rather than later, if they’ll have us. We might have to take our own refreshments! Thank goodness it’s fine and warm.
That’s it for now. Ngā mihi.