One would expect a Microbiologist to comment about microscopic life forms and processes. It is a little less expected when the advice is of a psychological nature. However, it is good to be reminded that one should not panic when confronted with challenges in our life.
"Don’t Panic" was of course the advice Lance Corporal Jones so frequently provided to Captain Mainwaring when a crisis arose, as it often did in the seaside resort of Walmington-on-Sea. It was, after all, being confronted by Mr Hitler and his formidable army.
As one would expect from a leader of the Home Guard, Captain Mainwaring was never influenced by the panic-stricken Jones. Nor was he persuaded by Private Frazer who would all too often unhelpfully predict their fate: "We're doomed. Doomed".
I am, of course, referring to Dad's Army, a BBC sitcom about the British Home Guard during the Second World War. It was broadcast from 1968 to 1977, and still appears today on the channels that no one much watches because everyone has seen the programmes countless times before.
Comparing a fictional TV series set in the context of a world war against an invading army may be seen by some as trivialising what is a real threat against an aggressive virus. However, there does seem to be a Dad's Army element to the manner in which New Zealand has responded to the pandemic and a Home Guard feel about the way our government has managed the Delta variant.
The vaccine roll-out has been woefully slow and anecdotally has been poorly handled, anecdotally because the official line would have us believe otherwise. We were told vaccines would arrive by the end of September, then it was the middle of October, and now it will be the end of October, maybe, but it could be November. Last year masks were ineffective, now they are essential. Last week, only Maori could go fishing and white baiting under level 4, now everyone can and we are told, always could, apparently. The MIQ system remains inequitable, and frontline staff most at risk have not yet been vaccinated.
Dr Wiles is telling us not to panic. The anti-vaccination people are saying we're doomed. The PM says she is the sole source of truth. Fortunately, it all worked out well for the Home Guard from Walmington-on-Sea. How it all works out in our battle against the virus remains to be seen, but it is certainly testing Captain Ardern and her Home Guard.