What we really should be celebrating at Level 1

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In the rush to celebrate moving to Level 1, I think it’s important to remember why we should be celebrating.

We should be celebrating because history was watching.

China will tell the world that their authoritarian brutality was powerful enough to stop this virus. That their system of mass civil rights abuse was the only one up to the challenge.

China’s terrible efficiency and pride would have sent a shiver down the spine of the future.

The UK, torn to shreds by the battle of Brexit, elected a toff clown whose incompetence has seen a public health nightmare, while in America, Trump’s egregious inadequacy has seen over 100000 dead, 40million unemployed and race riots breaking out in over 430 cities.

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So far China’s response to a virus which either originated in their poorly regulated wet markets or escaped accidentally from a lab, will hauntingly be the only success story to echo through the annals of history.

And then there was us dear brothers and sisters.

Then there was wee New Zealand, who was led by a young leader whose grace under pressure gave hope to a nation and who used kindness as the value.

In a liberal progressive democracy you can’t enforce your will by force, China can do that, but liberal progressive values that respect personal civil liberties can not turn the full power of the state against its own people.

We listened to the science and we lived up to the challenge. We became a well informed citizenship listening to our trusted experts and agreeing universally to curtail our personal civil liberties in solidarity for the greater good.

We did that without welding doors shut like they did in China. NZ became the best example of democratic values in how to deal with strife and woe.

History was watching and we stood tall to the challenge. It won’t be China who can claim state violence led to the only victory against Covid19, our collective example will modestly stand on its own two feet on the mantle of time.

Well done whanau, kia kaha NZ. We should all be proud this week and remember that empowerment for the months and years ahead where our kindness will consistently be tested, because moving to Level 1 is the battle, the pandemic war is still being fought.

Rejoice today so we are ready for tomorrow.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. For heavens sake, New Zealand was in the most advantageous position in the entire world when it came to controlling the virus.

    New Zealand is a rich country, China is by gdp per capita 1/5th as wealthy

    Taiwan and Hong Kong under far more challenging circumstances (particularly Hong Kong), have had far fewer cases, and far fewer deaths than New Zealand – and without the need for full lockdown

    And how was New Zealand’s lockdown any less draconian than China’s?

  2. Dr Ashley Bloomfield is a very very lucky man. He’s worked tirelessly since day one of Covid-19 and is a candidate for New Zealander of the year…BUT,

    It could however have been carnage at the hands of the good doctor as NZ and he especially, have made a series of catastrophic blunders along the way.

    Blunders:

    1) Having an “expectation” that people will self isolate when arriving in NZ was an absolute farce. The very people most likely to bring in the virus to NZ were given either a limp noodle test at the border or no test at all, just a pamphlet. We were led to believe people despite feeling healthy would stay in their hotel room for 14 days after paying huge sums of money for a once in a lifetime holiday. This was as dangerously naive as it gets. Far worse than allowing a stranger to drive off with your car with an “expectation” he would return and pay for it at a later time. Enforced self isolation should have been in from day 1. It only came into being when they were humiliated into action when reality arrived.

    2) Dr Bloomfield was only interested in “expert advice” from the WHO. From day 1, he was adamant that only those showing symptoms of Covid-19 should be tested as they are the only ones that could spread the virus. Back in early February, UK health professionals were adamant that asymptomatic carriers of Covid-19 were a huge issue. People who had the virus were blissfully unaware they even had it yet were walking around spreading it to others. Dr Bloomfield was made aware of this but did absolutely nothing. We then had people attending functions such as the Bluff wedding etc etc etc who had no idea what was unfolding right under their noses. Same applies with our health professionals who also receive their advice from the Directer General of our Ministry of Health, Dr Bloomfield. We saw a situation where many people were not tested or their samples not processed at labs due to the strict and limited criteria Dr Bloomfield had set in regard testing. Only very late in the NZ pandemic did Dr Bloomfield request widespread testing to ascertain community spread. Asymptomatic carriers are said to account for around 50-78% of all those that contract the virus. To say he dodged a bullet there would be a massive understatement.

    3) We were told that there was ample supply of PPE gear and testing kits. The reality was far from this. Doctors requested 30-50 kits etc and were only given 5 due to supply issues.

    4) Weekend testing. NZ was lied to about this. We were told the low weekend testing was due to less activity with people being out and about at that time. I called bullshit on it immediately. In my part of Auckland, weekends were the same if not busier than weekdays right through the lockdown. Family and friends around NZ confirmed this was their experience also. I had family involvement in some of the testing stations. Nurses from all around NZ including Plunket nurses were hired to man the testing stations. Most of these nurses only work weekdays. At the very time we were looking at dropping from level 4 to 3, there was a large drop in testing numbers due to a weekend. Once again, NZ dodged another bullet here.

    5) It should have been a no brainer to have the mandatory use of face masks in all public places. Face masks won’t necessarily prevent you getting the virus but it does significantly reduce the way a carrier can spread the virus. Dr Bloomfield received his expert advice on face masks again from the WHO. They said they were ineffective. Now, the WHO have done a complete U Turn on facemasks. Once again, NZ dodged another big bullet.

    Contact tracing was also another issue exposing big holes in our defence that were only remedied late in the piece.

    Both NZ and Australia were extremely fortunate in the numbers lost to Covid-19. Lockdowns were extremely helpful but I feel the weather and Vitamin D are also huge factors. Both countries had just come out of long hot summers. Lot’s of Vitamin D was produced.

    We know that the United States was very badly hit and they were experiencing winter and a harsh winter in many places. As we know, black skin is much slower at producing vitamin D than white skin. Black communities have been especially hard hit by Covid-19.

    Thank you Dr Bloomfield for your tireless efforts….but go and buy several lotto tickets.

    • JF

      I have a few issues with your rather long comment (particularly your disparagement of the WHO), but yes; luck as well as good management got us where we are today. A particular issue with the fragmented health system was the distribution of influenza vaccine (as well as the PPE you mention), which led to queues and even traffic jams around Dunedin during the higher PALs..

      Also, you may be onto something as regards vitamin D, I remember reading this last month and have been taking supplements myself since. If nothing else, it makes me feel like I have some agency, and the placebo effect may be helpful; even if the science is unsettled:

      https://www.thelancet.com/journals/landia/article/PIIS2213-8587(20)30183-2/fulltext

    • Thank you for explaining matters in ‘less than the utterly biased’ manor that the propaganda media have.
      People/politicians feel the need to rewrite history to make themselves look better than they truly are, and honest facts like the above are vitally important. Thank you for your efforts. n.b. We are all imperfect, so let’s not put ourselves on a pedestal.
      Yes he dodged a fair few bullets.
      We were ‘lucky enough’ and should remember that before we gloat too much to/at other countries, who didn’t have such a low density of population and were not an island.
      Yes Jacinda did a good job, but LUCK was the most important factor by a LONG shot.
      n.b….I love the quote from Gary Player, when he was the first overseas player to win a USA golf major and asked by a (annoyed?) USA journalist, did he think he was lucky to have won…… I find the harder I practice, the luckier I get

    • Jacindafan;

      I agree with your critique of possible blunders Jacinda may have encountered especially Bloomfield ignoring the face marks as WHO has now amended their protocol recently to use ‘face masks’ when entering level 1 as with more people in close contact makes spreading the virus far easier.

      But I warned them back on 20th January to be CAUTIOUS; – Sadly Bloomfield didn’t go to shutting down the borders at that time since the virus was rampant and spreading already then.
      https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO2001/S00041/ceac-calls-for-ministry-of-health-to-be-cautious.htm
      I still worry at the testing because we should be using the gold standard “Serology test now by the famous Switzerland company ‘Roche’ which has a already accepted by FDA as the most accurate test for anyone who has already been infected by Covid 19 but still has the antibodies.
      SEE HERE. https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/GE2004/S00220/ceac-govt-must-increase-mass-testing-for-all-citizens-now.htm

      Yes Ashley Bloomfield is so far very very lucky here. We hope is luck keeps going for all our health and well being. .

  3. I feel a tremendous sense of relief we have reached level one, although we know we can’t be complacent. Jacinda is earning lots of admiration for leading us to where we are. However, it’s healthy to see Jacindafan not joining in Bomber’s adulation, pointing to the clumsy aspects of the path we took.

    For me the heroes are the scientists. Not the few idiots like Grant Schofield and friends, who wanted us to follow Sweden, but the clever scientists. Otago Uni produced a few of those, in particular epidemiologist Prof.Michael Baker who spoke out forcefully and often about what should be done. The govt listened. Baker is now encouraging us to keep wearing masks. Good advice that we should follow as an important precautionary measure.

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