Too Many Deaths

Today is Sunday July 31st, 2022. Kia ora!

It’s yet another grey day. Today it’s raining again; it rained a lot during the night. This morning I listen to the opening episodes of The Commune, the podcast about Bert Potter’s Centrepoint commune. It’s shocking, but not really surprising – an extreme extension of the feelings many people had about defying convention, living communally, amid dissatisfaction with the “nuclear family”, and traditions of religion or sexual mores. There was also the supposed need to let go of “hang ups”. The freedom afforded by effective contraception (with all its downfalls), and women’s liberation, extends into sexual freedom, where ideas of commitment, or propriety were thrown aside. Some conventions, I do believe, were stifling and annoying, and we threw many of them aside. Now people do have conventional weddings (after living together for several years, buying a house, and having set up house together), and parties.  Although, having said that, parents of the bride no longer put on a wedding for their daughter (expecting the groom’s family to pay part of the cost), but they organise wedding themselves (then expecting parents to pay, nonetheless, despite having little if any say in the arrangements). Funerals are less conventional. Are they for the living, the offspring or the dead? Not trusting my whanau, and wishing to make things easier for them, I have set out my own instructions. I know how difficult this can be, especially when there are lots of people to be taken into account. I now need to change my instructions, but that’s by the by.  Listening to this podcast, I can see how ideas of “freedom” were extended into “free love” (at what cost?) and a peculiar kind of selfishness.

This morning I zoom into a church service, again without video.  The sound is very poor, but the sermon is about storing up wealth in this world, to the detriment of one’s soul. There don’t seem to be many people there, and those whom I see are masked.  I can’t hear the hymns, so can’t join in.

There are 4238 new community cases of Covid-19, the Ministry of Health says. There are 806 people in hospital with Covid, including 12 in intensive care. There are now 1502 deaths that have been confirmed as either directly attributed to Covid, or with Covid as a contributing factor. An average 19 additional deaths have been attributed to Covid each day over the past seven days to Saturday.

So that’s that, for now. There are fewer new cases (reportedly), but more people in hospital.  The number of deaths is not announced yet.

The total 806 Covid-19 cases in hospital are in Northland: 18; Waitematā: 88; Counties Manukau: 51; Auckland: 139; Waikato: 96; Bay of Plenty: 31; Lakes: 17; Hawke’s Bay: 39; MidCentral: 52; Whanganui: 14; Taranaki: 20; Tairāwhiti: 2; Wairarapa: 6; Capital & Coast/Hutt: 36; Nelson Marlborough: 18; Canterbury/West Coast: 120; South Canterbury: 16; and Southern: 43. The average patient age is 65.  One wonders how many of those hospitalised have been vaccinated. We’re not told that information.

It’s now Monday August 1st.

This morning it’s very cold, and there’s a heavy frost. There’s condensation inside, of course, in spite of heaters being left on overnight.  It’s fine and sunny, too, but still very cold.

Last night we watched The Post on Eden. I hadn’t realised it was directed by Stephen Spielberg.  It took a while to get interesting – really, who cares about Tricia Nixon’s wedding? But eventually it did, as it represented a kind conflict between the paper’s ownership and the journalists – over publishing the Pentagon Papers.  The Post, of course, is The Washington Post, which competes with that other famous American newspaper, The New York Times. This is a kind of prequel to another famous move, All the President’s Men. This movie ends with the burglary at Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate building. Ultimately, it’s about the freedom of the press, something to be treasured, if annoying at times. It was a good movie.

The previous night we watched Gifted, a remarkably fine movie about a gifted girl being raised by her uncle, after her conflicted mother had taken her own life. The movie centred around a custody battle where the girl’s grandmother wanted her to have different educational opportunities.  The movie is about the conflict between offering a genuinely gifted child advanced educational opportunities, and teaching her other values that might make her a more rounded personality, better fitted to cope with life’s swings and roundabouts. Does understanding matter more than intelligence?  I thought about my own sons, some of whom are seriously intelligent, and ultimately I’m glad that they’ve turned out to be wonderful human beings, despite having gone to school locally. I still believe the best school for your child should be the one down the road, and if it ain’t, then one should get involved and make it so – and not just best for one’s own child, but best for all the children attending it. They all should have great opportunities arising from their education. Two of my sons applied for, and received scholarships to do PhD’s at overseas universities.

Today’s Covid 19 report continues a trend, of fewer new community cases, at 5,312, but still quite a lot of deaths – 28. There are 759 people in hospital, and 16 of them in intensive Care. Some of the infections are re-infections.

Four of these death were from Auckland region, three were from Waikato, two were from Bay of Plenty, two were from Lakes, one was from Tairāwhiti, three were from Hawke’s Bay, three were from Taranaki, two were from Wellington region, two were from Nelson Marlborough, four were from Canterbury, one was from South Canterbury, one was from the Southern region. Two of the deaths reported today were aged in their 50s, three were in their 60s, four were in their 70s, nine were in their 80s and 10 were aged over 90. Twelve were women and 16 were men.

The location of the cases in hospital is Northland (13), Waitematā (86), Counties Manukau (79), Auckland (79), Waikato (102), Bay of Plenty (29), Lakes (15) Hawke’s Bay (34), MidCentral (49), Whanganui (11), Taranaki (22), Tairāwhiti (three), Wairarapa (five), Capital & Coast (25), Hutt (seven), Nelson Marlborough (19), Canterbury (124), West Coast (one), South Canterbury (17) and the Southern region (39).

The weekly rolling average of Covid-19 hospitalisations is 799, while this time last week it was 768. The average age of the cases in hospital with Covid is 65.

Of the 5312 community cases reported today, 269 had recently returned from overseas.

So that’s that – not too much change there. At least this disease isn’t killing children, and I guess we must be thankful for vaccinations and boosters. New Zealand’s borders have fully reopened today allowing anyone from around the world to enter.

It’s now Tuesday August 2nd.

Last night we watched a documentary about Dior; while I admire Dior, I didn’t find this nearly as exciting as the one on Alexander McQueen, which was shown the previous Monday.

Today we went out for lunch. We went to a very nice restaurant in Days’ Bay – we had been there before but it had a different name then. Anyway, it was very nice, and exciting to go out again.  It was quite roomy – I got brave and had an Aperol Spritz cocktail (Prosecco, Aperol and Soda), and a smoked salmon salad – with lentils, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes, as well as lettuce leaves and two dressings.  JD had waffles, and a glass of chardonnay. We shared a dessert: dark chocolate mousse with cherry compȏte and honey fig ice cream with our coffees.  Meantime, we watched the ever-changing weather across the harbour to Somes Island; we watched the ferry depart, and then return. I did not faint, or fall over, but I am pretty tired afterwards.

Today’s Covid 10 report is mixed: numbers of new community cases are up from yesterday at 7,113, which was a Monday; there are slightly fewer people in hospital, but there’ve been 33 further deaths. Yesterday there were 28.

On the deaths being reported today, four were from the Auckland region, two were from Waikato, two were from Bay of Plenty, one was from Lakes, five were from Hawke’s Bay, one was from Taranaki, two were from MidCentral, two were from Nelson Marlborough, five were from Canterbury, three were from South Canterbury and six were from Southern. Two were in their 60s, five were in their 70s, 12 were in their 80s and 14 were aged over 90. Of these people, 15 were women and 18 were men.

There were now a total of 1563 deaths confirmed as attributable to Covid-19, either as the underlying cause of death or as a contributing factor, the ministry said.

The seven-day rolling average in total deaths attributable to Covid-19 is now 22. 

It was also reported that there were 738 people in hospital with the virus, including 15 in ICU.

The locations of the hospitalisations were in Northland: 16; Waitematā: 77; Counties Manukau: 76; Auckland: 91; Waikato: 109; Bay of Plenty: 22; Lakes: 11; Hawke’s Bay: 38; MidCentral: 44; Whanganui: 9; Taranaki: 21; Tairawhiti: 2; Wairarapa: 5; Capital & Coast/Hutt: 32; Nelson Marlborough: 19; Canterbury/West Coast: 117; South Canterbury: 16 and Southern: 33.

The seven-day rolling average of community case numbers today is 6683 – last Tuesday, it was 8335. There were also 275 new Covid-19 cases at the border. So we’re still in deep trouble, I think.

It’s now Wednesday August 3rd.

The Ministry of Health is reporting 6440 new Covid-19 cases in the community today, and 704 hospitalisations including 11 in ICU. 28 deaths. Nothing much happened today.

It’s now Thursday August 4th.

I showered, dressed and walked up to the store and back today.  That was weird – I have that dislocating feeling like after one’s had a baby – everything has changed, and one sees the world in a whole new light, while doing very mundane things. I bought some croissants, coffee beans, Havarti cheese slices, and pasta and sauce. They have no rhubarb and no raspberries.

So what’s been happening? In the UK, Liz Truss (aka Doris is to replace Boris Johnson) and Richie Rich Rishi Sunak are slogging it out, making outrageous promises of  tax cuts, and seemingly blind to the circumstances around them. But then, they’re both appealing to a very small audience of elderly rich white men.

In the US, the conservative state of Kansas in a referendum voted that the state shouldn’t impose abortion restrictions: it was a very strangely worded referendum, and I suspect some anti-abortionists were confused by the question. Anyway, I gather they had a turnout of over 50%, in the hot sun, and this outcome is seen as a victory for pro-choice folk and the Democrats. In primary elections held across several states, Trump-endorsed election deniers won many of their state primaries, although of course that doesn’t mean they’ll win office in the actual elections. The odious Eric Greitens (who advocated RINO hunting with a gun), lost his primary, thankfully. The odious Kari Lake narrowly won hers in Arizona.Beyond that, I’m not overly interested.  Charlie Sykes of the Bulwark was amazed to be asked by a Scandinavian reporter about these elections. He marveled that people outside America are so knowledgeable about US politics. Well. Yes, we are; it has a huge effect on our lives here or wherever. Would the war in Ukraine still be going on if Trump had won the Presidential election and/or been inaugurated again?

Nancy Pelosi, US House Speaker, has made brief visit to Taiwan. The Chinese premier Xi has overreacted. Was it a good idea to go there? Who knows.  It’s one of those issues where you could argue both sides. One should show support for Taiwan whatever pressure China exerts; on the other hand, one shouldn’t rark them up. Well, the West tried very hard not to annoy Putin, and look where that got us – a dreadful war in Ukraine.

Talking of the war in Ukraine, some prisoners of war were killed by the Russians in another confusing, yet dreadful incident. The war grinds on; a ship carrying grain has got away; it’s said that the Russians are not coping well with a large number of casualties and fierce resistance from the Ukrainian forces. But there’s no denying it’s a hard slog.

Today’s Covid 19 report is mixed again, with fewer infections, but a large number of deaths at 45. Who is dying from this, I wonder?  There seems to be an ever-widening gap between the general population where new case numbers are going down, and the number of deaths is horrific. I know emotive terms are overused in the media, but there must be a bot of a cleanout going on.  I still get symptoms which come and go – sore chest, difficulty  breathing, head ache, muscle aches and nausea, and difficulty sleeping.  I gather these are not unusual.

The Ministry of Health is reporting 6440 new Covid-19 cases in the community today, and 704 hospitalisations including 11 in ICU. It has reported 45 deaths. I read later that it wasn’t so many deaths, I couldn’t find the original report.  It’s still too many, whatever the number is.

It’s now Friday August 5th.

Someone from Access came this morning to do some cleaning. I nearly cancelled, having had a truly awful night beforehand, but I didn’t, and managed to change the sheets and bedlinen, clean the sink, and do some general tidying up. It was good to see her again, but I was exhausted afterwards.

The Covid 19 report showed numbers declining, but there were still 19 deaths.

That’s it for now. I still get a bit headachy, short of breath, and am tired, although I can’t sleep. Slava Ukraini! Ngā mihi.


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