I believe a lockdown was inevitable and the only radical option to prevent 80 000 New Zealanders dying within months.
This matters not just for the immediacy of our public health or the looming Greater Depression, but because our values as a Democracy are being tested.
Authoritarian regimes rely on large standing armies harshly enforcing the will of the state to survive crises, in a democracy the good will of fellow citizens bonds a unity that works in solidarity.
That good will can only be maintained by an honest appraisal of where we are, and to that end we must start being honest with New Zealanders over the length of this lockdown so that they are prepared and open eyed to the challenge in front of us.
Preventing 80 000 deaths over the economy by shutting down the nation is not only a priority of immediacy, you can’t seriously expect a shell shocked community in grief to work as a society let alone an economy after a loss of life that large.
That’s not to downplay the economic apocalypse about to hit us, but that’s a monster fought right after we’ve saved as many lives as we can.
4 weeks lockdown is not going to be enough and we need to start admitting that so citizens are prepared.
We can’t seriously shut down the nation and the economic damage that causes without being 100% sure the bloody virus has been smothered, because if we have to go back into lockdown because we came out of quarantine too soon, the initial sacrifice is wasted.
Incubation time of the virus is 14 days, but there are cases where it has been 19 days and 27 days, so we went into lockdown on Wednesday 25th meaning the majority of infections will appear by April 8th in the second week of the 4 week lockdown, but we need to KNOW the damned virus has been completely eradicated, so that takes us out to April 21st for the last possible incubation date and we would need at least 2 weeks of no new infections to know the sacrifice had been worth it.
So it’s far more likely that we are talking a 6 week minimum lockdown, not 4 weeks, and that’s based on people not spreading the virus during the first 3 weeks of lockdown!
The Government must be prepared to extend rent freezes, wage subsidy and business aid throughout the extended lockdown to keep people from panicking as the reality sinks in.
To this end, Jacinda can be thankful for Trump.
The appalling manner in which he has mishandled the outbreak with a naked incompetence that is excruciating to witness will be our back drop to extending the lockdown.
The full blown pandemic that we are about to see erupt in America will give Jacinda every justification for extending the lockdown and NZers watching in horror as the corpses in America mount will beg her for harsher penalties to anyone caught breaching curfew.
We now have a Pandemic Police State which represents the largest transfer of civil rights to the State we’ve seen outside war or heavy handed responses to Industrial action.
As I go about the limited parameters of my life over the next 4 weeks (which will really be 6 weeks, which will probably be 8 weeks, which might have to be 12 weeks) and I pass Police & Military on my streets, I will nod respectfully as they cruise past in acknowledgement of the role they are playing in enforcing the absolute necessity of this moment.
But sweet Jesus, the millisecond we are in the clear of this plague, the moment when this oppressive obscenity of State intrusion into our lives in such a profound and needfully draconian manner has passed, this Parliament must restore our collective freedoms unblemished and protected.
This moment of universal experience that is a pandemic isn’t just testing us individually, it is testing the very fabric of our society.
Currently, the brutality of Chinese authoritarianism and its ability via its enormous military might to enforce its will has tamed infection rates, liberal progressive democracies however rely on the collective good will of its citizenship to do what is right.
Our value as a Democracy is being tested and history is watching us.
It is our obligation not only as New Zealanders to protect one another by compliance, it is our sacred duty to the very principles and collective values of our democracy that demands the same valour our forebears have showed.
The restoration of our Democracy with our collective civil liberties in tact and a Government focused on healing and rebuilding in the wake of this pestilence must be our lesson to history.
On the day our Government restores our collective civil rights we will know we have answered this challenge and the sacrifice was worthy of our whakapapa and mana.
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TDB Team 2020.