No, It’s Not Surrender. But We Are Dicing With Death.
After a month of nattering about Auckland’s Covid outbreak, I really wanted to write about something else. Really. But the truly moronic media response to New Zealand’s Coronavirus Strategy is a sight to behold. Apparently, as per both domestic and international commentators, we have “abandoned Elimination and surrendered to the inevitable.”
It’s not true, at least in any meaningful sense – for reasons I will go into shortly. For now, New Zealand has changed its Tactics, not its Strategy – the active suppression measures to keep Coronavirus down are still very much in place, and there is no interest in “giving up” New South Wales or British style. We would still dearly like to see this outbreak mopped up, and abandoning the public health system to the tender mercies of the virus cannot be on the agenda. The problem is that the Government appears to be lazily drifting into dangerous waters, to a degree where we might be literally Dicing with Death, making it far too easy for the Lord Haw Haws and Tokyo Roses in the death-cult media to declare Victory for the Virus.
(Speaking of which, my raw anger at the New Zealand media’s wall-to-wall narrative cannot be understated. Day in day out, they have played the role of propagandists of death, framing every aspect of the response in terms of business desires, rather than human life. Articles are written about the necessity of reconnecting with the world, and about the superiority of Australia, but never about the potential collapse of the Health System. So screw them all).
New Zealand’s fundamental problem is this: Level 4 lockdown succeeded in crushing the initial outbreak in its tracks. As of today, there were a mere 24 cases. It’s just the remaining cases are associated with Auckland’s criminal underworld, who (for obvious reasons) do not obey lockdown regulations or even tell the truth to contact tracers. These are the people who have kept this outbreak rumbling along for so long – it is not a matter of an invincible virus.
The question then becomes – how to deal with this? The Government’s response has been to lower Level 3 restrictions on Auckland, and pushing vaccines wherever possible (though it has been dragging its feet on vaccine mandates for some reason). This is what I mean by Dicing with Death… it is all very well to decide that the remaining cases won’t respond to alert levels, so we might as well give the compliant more freedom, but the danger is that the public takes this as a signal to relax too much. Which might potentially cause Auckland’s cases to explode, Sydney and Melbourne style. And if Auckland explodes, it is only a matter of time before it starts spreading into the rest of the country. I’d like to imagine that the Government would use the Cook Strait to keep it out of the South Island, but I am not getting my hopes up there.
So it’s not Surrender I’m worried about. Not yet. It’s still actually possible (maybe even plausible) that this outbreak potters along with ten to forty daily cases, until vaccination and a shortage of available muppets causes the disease to die out around Christmas. It’s that terrible, uneasy feeling that the Government is drifting and unenergetic, at a time when the media is actively chipping away the social licence for active measures.
(Vaccine mandates. Vaccine Passports. Tight restrictions on all travel in and out of Auckland, and under no circumstances open the international border, regardless of how much the privileged elites whinge. We can still do this, people).