This isn’t normal

Does anyone else remember the government telling us that we had to get vaccinated so we could enjoy a normal summer and that when 90% of those eligible were vaccinated we would be able to enjoy a normal summer?

If my recall is correct, this was yet another promise from this government on which they failed to deliver.

Northland is still marooned in red and the rest of us are stuck in orange with requirements and restrictions which are anything but normal.

We’re also facing increasingly dire warnings about the impact of the Omicron variant, and last night learned of a secret government report stoking fears of what might happen:

The Government is bracing itself for an Omicron outbreak that will swamp the country’s health system and elude the precautionary measures which have prevented coronavirus transmission so far, according to a document leaked to Māori Television.

The classified Across Government Situation Report reveals advisers’ fears of panic buying of food, protective masks and medication should Omicron eventually spread and says home-made face coverings are “unlikely to be effective”.

“Facial coverings made from cloth materials are not sufficient in preventing or reducing infection of Omicron,” the document prepared for the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet says. . . 

In light of that, we ought to have good access to N95 or P2 masks but they are very, very scarce..

I couldn’t find any in Oamaru on Tuesday. I did find KN95 masks in a pharmacy but they are self-certified and therefore not always as effective as they say they are and sales were restricted to one pack of 5 per customer.

I was able to buy some P2 masks online tonight but the outlet from which I ordered them is now saying they’re sold out and won’t have more in stock until the end of March.

Lanaco still has P2 masks in stock and has a video which discusses their effectiveness.

The government has been telling us how good they’ve been at protecting us, but the report says that could make us more vulnerable:

The report says given many haven’t been exposed to previous waves of Covid-19 like Delta, New Zealand could be harder hit than the US and Europe, which are now battling their own Omicron outbreaks.

“Most will not have any protective immunity benefits that may arise from prior infection,” it says. . . 

We do have a high vaccination rate and Lindsay Mitchell shows the statistics on that are clear:

Yes, the fully-vaccinated can still end up in hospital. In fact there are more vaccinated than unvaccinated people in hospital.  But the important numbers are shown in the rates.

The unvaccinated are 6.93 times more likely to be hospitalised and 17.5 times more likely to be admitted to ICU.

That is only part of the story:

Of course it doesn’t stop there. Efficacy against illness severity is only one aspect. Next vaccine safety, vaccine effect on virus transmissibility, vaccine efficacy versus other treatments, etc etc. need consideration. . . 

We don’t know the long term effects of vaccines but I have heard enough from friends overseas who have either had the disease or have seen what it can do to people they know, and from health professionals I trust to decide the short term risk from Covid-19 is the greater one.

But my trust doesn’t extend to the government and its competence.

That leaves me with with several questions. Chief among them are why, isn’t the government better prepared for Omicron when it has seen what’s happened overseas; why has it ignored reports it has commissioned that exhort it to be better prepared and why does it not already have a plan for dealing with the inevitable community transmission?

Jason Walls says we need a plan now:

. . . What we need is a plan. What we’ve got so far is anything but. 

When asked on Monday when a plan would be unveiled, Jacinda Ardern told reporters: “In the coming weeks”. 

MIQ officials should be commended for keeping Omicron at bay for so long. But even the most optimistic in Ardern’s Cabinet can’t seriously expect the virus to remain caged for “weeks”. 

It’s critical Kiwis know the plan before the first community case is discovered.   

Ardern and her Covid Minister, Chris Hipkins, have both said a new community outbreak would be dealt with under the traffic light system and further lockdowns have been ruled out.   

But beyond that – and some vague comments about wider mask usage – how the Government plans to combat the virus’ inevitable spread remains a question mark. 

This is despite Omicron making global headlines months ago, and first arriving in MIQ in mid-December.   

“In the coming weeks” is simply not good enough – we need a plan now, not when the next outbreak has already started.   . . 

This incompetence is beginning to look like normal for the government and that’s why normal won’t be normal for the rest of us for a lot longer than the rest of summer.

3 Responses to This isn’t normal

  1. pdm1946 says:

    `………………….why, isn’t the government better prepared for Omicron when it has seen what’s happened overseas?

    HP what a silly question – they all had to take the obligatory, union required, at least 4 week holiday over Christmas. Was there even a duty Cabinet Member other than `Chippy’ who so obviously got railroaded into a job none of the others would touch.

    Now a second question – what is the most useless thing I carry in my wallet?

    My vaccine passport – the only outfits asking to see it in Hawkes Bay seem to be Funeral Parlours in Hastings and then not always. I have been to two libraries and regularly visiting a patient at the local Hospital in the last few weeks and not asked for it.


  2. Gravedodger says:

    Meanwhile the internationally lauded administration that we are told still enjoys, mysteriously, popular support, will meet today to decide the economic future of Northland but will require another 24 hours to massage the message before a podium reveal designed for maximum political advantage.
    So few understand the voters are being Used in the most negative connotation of that one little word.


  3. adamsmith1922 says:

    Reblogged this on The Inquiring Mind.


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