It’s annoying to see reports that Covid cases are on the rise again – although I guess we shouldn’t be surprised.
Open border equals case numbers up. That’s basic maths. But I think there’s a certain degree of PTSD for us seeing those headlines. Yesterday’s headline by the way if you missed it, was that “Covid infections jump by 1500 in 24 hour period.” The PTSD creeps in particularly for those of us who had Covid quite badly.
I know for people who didn’t have it, or people like my husband who had the mildest dose imaginable, eye roll eye roll eye roll… it’s a non-event. But we do not need the alarming reports do we? Or do we? Are we still vigilant? Does anyone still care? The people at the coal face care. I felt for the poor Pharmacist in Picton the other day who said he had passengers coming in from the docked cruise ship Ovation of the Seas, which had 129 people on board with Covid. The passengers coming in were showing cough and cold symptoms he said, they were also not wearing masks. Despite the fact he had a sign up asking them to wear them, and had masks available for free at the counter. His main issue was the fact that he was over 65 with a heart condition – so at a higher risk, but also, that he was the only pharmacist there, so if he went down with Covid, the pharmacy would be without a pharmacist.
It’s a fine line – which even he acknowledged, great for small towns like theirs to have so many guests around spending up large, but not great if those guests weren’t respecting the rules. I’m not sure who that’s on? The cruise liner for not being clear enough with the rules? Or the tourists themselves for flouting them?
A Covid-19 Modeller told one news outlet that ‘the risk of Covid spread in a small town like Picton was significant during the days the ship was docked, but that transmission rates would depend on the town's mitigation factors.’ How can the town mitigate things if tourists are going to flout the rules though? Surely a mitigating factor is providing free masks and asking people to use them like this Pharmacist was doing? And if tourists don’t use the masks, what more can you do? The modeller claims good ventilation is key... “and good air cleaning”. But I’m not sure how feasible that is in a small shop in a small town? The risks, she admits, are higher in smaller towns obviously, than in bigger more spread out cities.
But with new strains of the virus appearing all the time, I just wonder how much we can dodge it, given it’s a while ago now since most of us were vaccinated, and not necessarily vaxxed for all the new strains. My son, whose been travelling all over Europe, managed to dodge Covid, got to London, no Covid, went back to Prague to catch up with mates recently.. got Covid. Round two for him. Despite being fully vaxxed and taking all the necessary precautions, and having had it before, I guess when you’re around so many different places with so many different people, it’s still a gamble.
So although I don’t want to read or hear about Covid cases on the rise again, I also want to make sure as few of us as possible get it a second time round.
Kate Hawkesby is a political broadcaster on Newstalk ZB - her articles can be seen HERE.
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