The government has made the call that medics and people have been asking for, New Zealand is locking down. I am 100% sure that I am not the only person who felt like they were kicked in the emotional guts this afternoon, however much they may have been requesting and wanting New Zealand to move to ‘Level 4’.
I went for a mountain bike this morning (very carefully as I have no interest in visiting a medical facility at present) because:
- there are almost no people in the back country here (I saw one hunter in the distance);
- biking resets my brain to something approximating normality (although it took over an hour of very hard cycling to steer my brain away from thoughts rapidly circling the COVID-19 drain);
- exercise raises one’s immune system (interesting research around this – a while back it was thought that hard exercise reduced immunity because immunity-related cells in the blood were lower afterwards, but now it has been found that, post-exercise, those cells are headed off to sites of actual or likely infection – go white blood cells!);
- I take comfort in knowing that the land will remain and engaging with its beauty.
What happens next? At the prosaic level, I theorise that our garden will be immaculate and our freezers will be very full of the remaining fruit that is falling from the trees. Some furniture might appear out of our shed (but I must not cut my fingers off). The three of us here (Mum/Ann, Chris and me) will probably get sick of the sight of each other and have to move off to respective corners of the property, while being thankful there are 6 hectares of corners to retreat to, we are much luckier than others.
At a country level, we can all watch the numbers. This is my current ‘favourite’ graph because it shows how countries are tracking in terms of infection rates, giving an idea of how well management mechanisms are working. https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/covid-confirmed-cases-since-100th-case I have pasted today’s image below – the day New Zealand hit the 100 cases so we get to be on the graph.
The days-since-100-confirmed-cases is not a graph that one would be competing to be on, or where a country might be proud of high achievements. A gold star achievement is a flat line – the flatter your line, the slower the rate of infection in your country, the less likely for your country’s medical system to be overwhelmed through infection. There are all sorts of provisos around the information in this graph – your country has to be testing sufficient numbers of people to be capturing a reasonable picture of confirmed COVID-19 cases, your country has to be reporting those numbers accurately and the graph provider has to be collecting them appropriately, just for a start. Over the next four weeks we will get to see how New Zealand’s line tracks relative to the lines of others. We know where we don’t want to be – that’s where Italy currently sits, or the trajectory being followed by much of the rest of Europe and the USA. Can we emulate South Korea but flatten out sooner?
For those reading, my thoughts are with my family, my friends, my country and the world. I am thinking of those of you who are in the at-risk categories. I am thinking of those of you who are in the essential services, particularly the medical professions. I am thinking of those of you whose family is disseminated across New Zealand and the planet. We are all embarking into the unknown together (but with a 2m separation).