Moving forward to a new “COVID normal” and tackling the dinosaur in the room.

It’s encouraging to see discussion about moving forward to some sort of new “COVID normal” taking pace.
Yesterday Dr Bryan Betty from the College of GPs made a strong case for a change in direction in dealing with COVID when speaking on Radio New Zealand’s Checkpoint 

“For the last two years we’ve dealt with Covid in the sense of Delta, which is a very dangerous disease, we’ve had an elimination strategy … and I think it’s built up quite a fear or anxiety in the community about Covid. 

“However, in the last four to five weeks, the situation has changed dramatically with Omicron, which is not Delta – it’s much more like a common cold, flu-like illness. And I think we need to move into a space very rapidly of thinking we’re going to live with this and get back to some sort of normality.”

We need to be de-escalating this down to get into a position where most of us are just going to have a mild to moderate illness, that we’re going to get through like any respiratory illness in winter, and we need to be moving on, and perhaps the way we’re approaching it at the moment is causing more problems than good, and we may have reached a pivot point with that.”

One way to lessen the climate of anxiety and fear was to acknowledge that for most people Omicron would be manageable and look at reducing isolation requirements, he said.

“Yes, some people will end up in hospital, we know that’s the case, but this is just part of the normal viral illness that we’ve now got living with us at this point and we need to take a step back. 

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Dr Betty makes the point that other health issues for vulnerable people need to come to the fore

Dr Betty said he was also concerned that Covid-19 was putting a freeze on things like healthcare programmes, including childhood immunisation rates, which he said had fallen to 76 percent.

“I’m really worried about measles or whooping cough showing itself up again. And these are actually dangerous conditions that I believe could have the potential to start to be with us again because Covid is dominating our discourse at this point.”

Stuff has also produced a good backgrounders on the changed world of the Omicron variant and whether our vaccine mandate restrictions are “fit for purpose” here.

Most critically the country must force the government to deal with that other national health emergency – the lack of warm, dry affordable homes which has moved from crisis to catastrophe according to the excellent Salvation Army report this week.
This is now more of a “dinosaur in the room” than an elephant and it’s eating the futures of tens of thousands of children in our lowest income families.


  1. Absolutely agree Mr Minto.
    When the doctors are telling us to ease the mandates we should be listening.
    Likewise the collateral damage restrictions are doing and the monstrosity of run away living costs in New Zealand.

  2. The last Stuff article I read was knuckledragger Joe Bennett ranting and rejoicing about someone defacing an artwork in Russia because they somehow deserved it. I don’t get my health advice from anyone at Stuff for the same reason; they are captured by the establishment, they disseminate propaganda and their reporting and/or opinion is unsophisticated. For expert health analysis I look to people like Dr Sam Bailey or for non expert covid commentary and updates I plug into channels like Jimmy Dore. They lay out the facts for the good of society, actual truth tellers not information middle men asking what’s in it for them like those who spin the narrative and distort the facts using the big lie, mindless repetition, smearing, expertism, phony consensus, make believe etc.

    • ethan, just because someone confirms your worldview that doesn’t make it ‘truth’ it just makes it comforting for you personally. Confirmation is affirmation is dopamine not ‘truth’, we ALL face this disability and it is a ‘disability’ as it makes us supremely confident in our ignorance

      • Great to see the Zionist trolls from the Israeli Defence Force pushing their hopeless Apartheid position at any opportunity.

  3. Ae. This tone-deaf, populist caretaker government is non-compos mentis.

    They came into government with ‘only’ 5 Crises to deal with. Housing, Homelessness, Poverty, Health and Education. But now, we can add Terrorism, Social Upheaval, Economic and Political Crises! All of these Crises have continued unabated.

    If we’re talking about some kind of return to ‘normal’, this is it I’m afraid.
    If we take into account a global perspective, these issues are worldwide, global challenges and I don’t see it ending well this decade.

    When you have globally;
    Social Upheaval in almost every Western Country.
    Economic Turmoil in almost every Westernised Country.
    A Worldwide Major Health Pandemic
    An Environmental Armageddon
    And, failing Governments and the worst Political leadership in history and they governments are collapsing in almost every Western Country with War constantly knocking on the door.

    No amount of virtue signalling can hide all this away, for any amount of time, till things come good, by some kinda magic, ay?

    The’ System’ needs to change or else the ‘Global Environment’ we live in will do it for us.

  4. Seeking to understand and establish a new “COVID normal” was the thinking required throughout 2020 until mid-2021 when covid-19 achieved peak fitness with the delta variant.

    Such thinking is now a blatant and stupid waste of taxpayers’ funds because such thinking is now redundant and 6+ months out of date after covid-19 solved the problem for us by mutating its way past its delta peak. The omicron variant is proving itself harmless with each passing day.

    And it’s still mutating thus further rendering redundant your need to move to a new “COVID normal”. There’s no rational need for this.

    Consider the obvious alternative – if viruses never reached peak fitness and continued worsening then viruses would have made the human race extinct thousands of years ago.

    The cheapest and most efficient logical option right now is to return to the original normal before covid arrived in NZ in Jan/Feb2020. And stop wasting taxpayers’ funds in pretending we have a problem which existed 6 months ago but doesn’t now exist.

  5. Excellent post, – and let not this or any other govt try to hide behind what everyone can now see except for those well paid AND elected civil servants taking up valuable space in our parliament.


    …”Most critically the country must force the government to deal with that other national health emergency – the lack of warm, dry affordable homes which has moved from crisis to catastrophe according to the excellent Salvation Army report this week”…

    I’d also throw in the B.S minimum wage of the neo liberal persuasion in a land of resources and plenty. That too, is a shocking disgrace and people are heartily sick of it.

  6. I heard the good Dr on the radio and taking the Dr advise and baring in mind what is now happening around the World it would seem we can move on from the scare tactics of the government and just revert to being careful and get on with life .

    • I don’t think you should fall into the put-down of scare tactics from the government Trevor S. Looking overseas where they tried to do BAU as soon as poss, is what is scary. This gummint has a wormhole still to old Labour and was able to cross to that old attitude of gummint taking control and save the country in their own warped way, ie paying out large subsidies to business instead of special grants to the people who would have spent it in with business in this country, in the main.

      Don’t worry government’s flash of blood to the head will soon pass especially when supposed intelligent citizens haven’t recognised the better functioning for the people and celebrated it by demanding they keep it up. You and your sheepy mates will lose our advantage toot sweet because you didn’t step up to the opportunity positively.

  7. Dr Betty’s comments seem rather irresponsible. There’s a serious risk of more covid deaths than we’ve seen yet due to the speed and transmissibility of Omicron. If we don’t make an effort to slow it down it will overwhelm the health service, the country’s Achilles heel, and the small percentage of people needing hospitalisation won’t have access to it. Complacency will result in a lot of preventable deaths.

  8. If anything he understated his case. Not only have our immunization rates fallen, but a raft of preventative medical procedures have taken a back seat because of the pandemic response. Will the postponement of colonoscopies, prostate tests, cervical smears, breast scans, skin cancer checks and even annual medicals result in a wave of otherwise preventable deaths in the next few years? A wave that is larger than anything Covid 19 could muster? What are our depression and suicide stats looking like? How many elective surgeries have been missed?
    He’s also correct about the panic the government has created. When I see fit young people driving in their own in a car or walking in a park wearing a mask then I just wonder what the government has done to their heads. Surely they can’t all be mentally deficient, but they certainly are gullible.
    While it’s fairly obvious now with the dominance of Omicron, the government is digging its own political grave with the vaccine mandate and vaccine pass. We had over 2,500 cases yesterday yet we have only one person in ICU with it. If they were smart they’d announce that the mandate would be over as soon as we’ve passed the peak of cases if the ICUs were flooded. That way the protest would end and the public could see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. Instead they trot out their pet epidemiologist to support their inflexibility in the face of a changing landscape; an epidemiologist who has been shown to be wildly exaggerating the pandemic right from the start. It was his 15 minutes of fame/infamy.

  9. It’s funny. This morning on msm. Ardern says that the protesters have made their point. But, she won’t elaborate further on what that point is. Strange?
    She is definitely feeling the pressure and digging her heels in. Not Statesman/woman like. Pretty amateurish I say when all she has to do is speak to them, kanohi ki te kanohi. Even if it’s a quick ‘dine and dash!’.

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