Jacinda cautiously kept the country in Red as Auckland and Wellington pass their Omicron peak and everyone was grumpy.
‘How dare Jacinda keep protecting us from a novel virus’, we grumbled on social media, ‘It’s just like Nazi German’ someone you don’t know well chimes in on your comment and you wonder how many fuckwits you’ve accidentally friended on Facebook.
As we jump to over 400 dead, the borders are thrown open, mandates relaxed, smug antivaxxers predict public hangings and Covid hypochondriacs scream that everyone unmasked is an unkind genocidal murderer of the immunocompromised.
Oh and Dr Bloomfield resigned.
There are of course Winners and Losers.
New Zealand: The success so far of our Covid response is remarkable and this will be considered one of the great public health responses. Labour saved us from as many as 3000 extra deaths over 2 years, that’s amazing social policy. Our collective action saved us all.
Public Health: Our Covid response deserves respect and praise.
Hyper Tourism: With restrictions being removed, hyper tourism is back with freedom campers shitting all over our country side and bus loads of tourists causing infrastructure stress all so a business (that is probably exploiting a backpacker for staff) can sell those tourists Red Bull and V.
Migrant worker exploitation: With restrictions being removed NZ can get back to exploiting migrant workers, undermining local wages and creating more stress on the rental market! Yay!
International Student language scams: With restrictions being removed the International Student language scams will be back pushing up rentals, pretending to create a pathway to residency and rorting the system. Yippee!
Dr Ashley Bloomfield: Few public servants have become household names like Bloomfield. His calm performances, his stable grip of communication and immediate recall of vast tracks of real time information marks him as one of the greatest public servants ever and his results speak for themselves
Ashley was part of a public health response that history will hold up as exemplary.
Sure there were mistakes.
Sure there was a challenge to the State where Health trumped all else and many other departments were rubbed up the wring way.
Yes the DHBs were useless in their community outreach and one wonders how a Māori Health Authority could have performed differently, but overall, he did a remarkable job.
The most extraordinary part of his performance was the jaw dropping bile and toxic hate rage that was vomited up upon him every day.
I’m not talking valid criticism or clever social media burns, I’m talking insane asylum sewer level radioactive invective that once read can’t ever be cleaned away.
The vile shit thrown at him for saving our collective lives is bordering on outright lunacy.
He represented our best, the toxic outrage represents our worst.
David Seymour slagging Blomfield: Whatever points Seymour was making over extending Red he squandered with his classless slagging off of Bloomfield. Look, you might disagree with Ashley but you can’t doubt his intentions or results. Doing so just looked petty.
Double vaxxed boosted Kiwis: All those Kiwis who have done as they were asked, who got double vaccinated and boosted and did all the QR bullshit scanning and masks and etc etc etc etc etc etc, still can’t get their lives back.
Hospo: They don’t want Orange because they are straining at capacity right now, they want Orange so that the Covid freaked out public will start to come back out again. Unfortunately the cost of living crisis is also blunting people’s disposable income so expect a lot of Hospo industry to go belly up with lots of tourism companies.
Men: Men are dying at far greater numbers than women.
Female Journalists at Stuff: With Men dying at far greater numbers than women, how do the Female Journalists at Stuff manage to make it all about them again?
Smug Qanon antivaxxers: Insufferably predicted Bloomfield will be arrested at the solstice by Sovereign Citizen Druids and Clarke Gayford has an electronic ankle bracelet!
Homeless: Watch our kindness evaporate towards the homeless now we need their motel rooms for cheap tourists. The homelessness crisis that has been hidden in Motel rooms is about to explode now restrictions and mandates are off.
Renters: Now the borders are open, international students, desperate migrant workers and tourists will flood the market pushing up rentals, stressing public transport and causing more inflation. Yay, renters get fucked again!
The Economy: We are in so much danger economically now it’s just a matter of time which black swan triggers the meltdown. Brace for impact.
I don’t care, stay away from me
I never want social distancing to end. Ever!
Some of you people are terrible and I want as much distance from you as possible!
Beyond the immediacy of the mandates, there are so many problems mutating as rapidly as the virus itself – INCLUDING the virus mutating!
CHINA ECONOMIC CRUNCH: China’s continued zero tolerance towards Covid infection continues to shut down Ports and supply chains causing immense bottlenecks which are causing intense economic pain. This is going to be felt by NZ most actually because we are so economically dependent upon China. If China’s economy contracts, so will ours.
COVID MUTATES INTO SOMETHING FAR WORSE: To date the virus has been able to spend all its evolutionary energy on mutating to be as spreadable as possible because we have had no immunity to a novel virus, but as vaccination rates and people catching it grows, the virus starts spending more evolutionary power on bypassing our immunity. This could result in a new pandemic with higher mortality rates. With 80% of the planet not vaccinated, that is an enormous reservoir for Covid to mutate in.
PSYCHOLOGICAL DAMAGE: We are not even close to understanding the true magnitude of a universal unique event that has caused intense social dislocation. From the Qanon conspiracy radicalisation to basic depression and isolation, we will see domestic violence soar, violent crime rise and people shut themselves away at home which in turn will impact hospitality and retail. Think of the psychological damage as radioactive fall out that will stain our culture for decades.
FLARE UPS: We are simply assuming that the current rate of Covid will stay static when it can easily flare up and over run our hospital system at any time we let our guard down.
I think masks, social distancing and a culture of social hesitancy will become the norm for the remainder of 2022 combined with the psychological fall out and the economic damage.
And that’s the best case scenario.
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