Covid: The Return

If that sounds like a sad sequel to a bad B movie be assured that that is what it feels like. After 24 days of no new cases, a week of no active cases and an end to restrictions, we were all silently hoping our covid story was over. The words elimination and eradication were bandied around, although anyone in any official capacity whatsoever refused to say them out loud, probably for fear of being quoted in the media and then being forced to backtrack if another case was detected. And it has been.

If there were reports of a movement in the earth’s atmosphere earlier this week it was because a team of five million all exhaled a large sigh of disappointment. Despite that we were warned, we all hoped it wouldn’t be so, that here, in our little far-flung islands, we would lead the world in declaring that we were free of the oppression of this tiny little bit of bacteria. Of course we were foolish to think it (someone used the word stupid but I think that is too strong – there’s nothing stupid in hoping) and, secretly, I think we all knew it wasn’t over. Even the PM, when announcing the end of restrictions within the country, said that there would be more cases. But forgive us if, for the first time since this journey began, we didn’t really listen to her.

It’s not all doom and gloom, the new cases all coming from overseas (and I’m not getting involved in the controversy surrounding the first two – if you don’t already know and are really interested you can check news sites). But it’s a reminder that we can’t be complacent, that this thing is still out there, that we are not back to the normal we knew before. Considering these new cases didn’t fly alone to NZ, and that they had contact with various officials on their arrival, it is to be expected that there may be more (the number of people to be contact-traced from the initial cases, who travelled together, is 320). We just have to continue our vigilance and hygiene practices and keep a note of where we’ve been. And hope that our second wave doesn’t lead to the restrictions we have just escaped being re-imposed.

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