How many more of these level 4 lockdowns do you want to go through?
Before you answer that, know that this is probably not a short lockdown for many of us.Aucklanders at the very least will be confined to our homes for four weeks – maybe “even longer” – according to the Government’s top Covid modeller, Rodney Jones.Other towns and cities might get off lighter if they dodge a case.And that’s not the entire lockdown from start to finish by the way.That’s just the level 4 bit, he says.Then comes level 3 and level 2. So if he’s right, we’re stuck at home still the end of September at least.
Few of us would argue with the logic of going into level 4 this time. Delta is here, it’s more infectious, we’ve seen what happened in NSW when the lockdown wasn’t fast enough.And importantly, most of us haven’t had a jab yet.
But what happens after we’ve all had a chance to get our jabs?How many more lockdowns would you like to do after that?
It’ll come as a surprise to many that your jab won’t stop another level 4.Even if we get to very high jab rates, the Government plans to keep using level 4 lockdowns.
On radio this week, senior Government minister Stuart Nash revealed that even if we were at an 80 per cent jab rate, we’d still be in level 4 right now.That’s because the Government plans to stick to the elimination strategy even after the borders are wedged open early next year.
Experts like the Naked Scientist Chris Smith say elimination is unsustainable once the borders are open.Covid will slip through if you allow travellers to skip MIQ, even if they’re double jabbed.The PM, experts say, is wrong to compare Covid to measles.The reason we can keep eliminating measles is because the MMR jab prevents infection in 99 per cent of people.The Covid jab is far less effective.They’re just not comparable.
So every time Covid slips in, we’re into lockdown.
Perpetual Guardian founder Andrew Barnes – who wrote a brilliant piece on how normal life in the UK now is – predicts NZ will be in and out of lockdowns all of next year and perhaps only learn to live with Covid in 2023.
Frankly, that horrifies me.Because what it means is there is no light at the end of the tunnel.For as far as we can see into the future, we will be sent home for weeks on end.
Public appetite for that will wane.For many it’ll wane by the end of this seven-day lockdown period.For others, it’ll really wane if we’re still stuck at home by the end of September.
Which means support for the elimination strategy will start to drop off, too.For many of us, the jab has been a mental milestone.Realising it changes little may be a huge disappointment.
The truth is we can’t maintain zero-Covid forever.We all know that.We’re only delaying the inevitable by carrying on with it.
At some point we will have to open the borders again to the world.Pretending there is a choice not to do that is a fallacy.There simply is no other option.We must rejoin the world if we want to be part of it.
If we don’t, we will become paupers.We’ve already lost the Lord of the Rings TV show to the UK in part because our border restrictions make filming too hard.It should be a wake-up call that rugby bosses are now considering taking the Rugby Championship to Europe as well.The days of us being Covid-certain are over.The UK and Europe are Covid-certain.They are living with it, and we’re living under the threat of level 4 bringing everything to a screeching halt.
So at some point Covid will come into New Zealand.We will be jabbed, there will be outbreaks, some people will die, some won’t even know they’re crook, most people will get a touch of something then get better.That will happen.We don’t get to choose if it happens, we only get to choose when it happens.
So, knowing that every lockdown only delays the inevitable, ask yourself how many more level 4s you’re happy to do before you’ve had enough.
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