Author Topic: New Zealand (And Covid)  (Read 1453 times)

  • Offline zpyder

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New Zealand (And Covid)
on: November 27, 2021, 06:48:43 AM
So, after Nexus's thread, it became obvious that there's a bit of a knowledge gap in terms of perceptions of whats happening over there and here, and I thought it'd be interesting to continue the discussion without hijacking his thread further.

I also thought it might be interesting for you all to see my view of NZ, almost 5 years into living here. Originally I was going to put that in this thread, but the covid stuff has taken up too much time so I'll do a different thread in a bit, once I've tidied the house up a bit :D

Covid stuff
When it all kicked off 2 years ago, the country pretty much locked itself away from the world from the get go. With our low population density and easy-ish to manage borders, it wasn't too difficult to keep Covid out. With the initial wave we had a few infections that turned into clusters, but those were well contained with almost a Blitz like mentality. That first lockdown lasted about a month or so, but everyone got behind it and we got through it. The first lockdown was also pretty much the only time that I have seen the opposition party actually support Labour (in power) on something (it only lasted about 2 weeks before they were back at it). The country got/gets daily 1pm briefings of cases, vaccine status etc. Most kiwis either listen or watch it, or get the summary on the news pages a little later in the day.

We then had a pretty cruisy 18 months. Life went on almost as normal, just without the overseas tourists. For a country where a massive amount of income is from tourism, that hit the economy fairly hard, but the kiwis have a can-do attitude and it seems that a lot of places found ways to keep going. Our success was also a bit of a curse, as we found ourselves at the bottom of the list for various supplies. Working in a laboratory, we found supplies of things that would be day-to-day consumables for us like gloves, masks, syringes, pipette tips etc, not being in stock, and not being in stock anywhere in the country. With the gloves we were told that the manufacturers literally weren't shipping to NZ as they were prioritising worse hit countries. Some goods that I ordered at the start of Covid took 18 months to arrive, and even then only in partially fulfilled shipments. My work was involved in sampling of wastewater to detect covid. It's an amazing piece of science that works very well in the context of a country where covid isn't common. I imagine in time once it spreads it will be less valuable.

We also had a very late start to vaccinations. I'm not sure if the pharma companies were also prioritising other countries, but we were about a year behind the UK to start.

Towards the end of the 18 months we started to get a lot of calls from different industries, and the opposition party, to reopen the borders. We were in a false sense of security.

Then Delta came.

It started with the odd case in the managed isolation. And then a case in Auckland. To start with everyone was pretty confident that we had stamped it out before, we could do it again. Rather than locking the whole country down, they shut off Auckland. It's got 1/4 of the countries population, but was fairly easy to block the ways in and out. Each day we had a couple new cases, for the first week or so we were in single figures. Then up to 20. 2 weeks in I think we got a couple around 50. And then a case occurred in the region next to auckland. Everyone got uneasy. The hard lockdowns weren't helping, and we were still pretty low on the vaccination rates. There was a massive drive and most of the country rushed to get the jabs when they were eligible.

And now we're roughly up to current times. We're at about 200 cases a day, and are starting to get the occasional death notification. The government is moving away from lockdowns to a traffic-light system, which is kind of like lockdowns but more regional and not quite as restrictive at the highest levels. Given the relatively low cases still, we have the lab capacity and contact tracing capacity that most cases can still be traced back to existing cases, and those unlinked ones are genome sequenced to determine if they at least are part of existing clusters even if we don't know the link.

Almost 90% of the country is fully vaccinated, which means the other 10% are hesitant or anti-vax. The government has recently passed several mandates requiring vaccination for certain professions (teaching, healthcare, police etc) and more to come. My wife is/was a teacher and knows a few science teachers who are protesting the mandate and/or have lost their jobs due to refusing the vaccine. They ask for compassion and empathy but I fail to find any, it's a shame that they are having to leave professions they've been in for years, but if they loved their children as much as they said they'd either take the vaccine or accept being an unvaccinated teacher puts the children at risk, and find a new job.

Overall the country can be split into a few different camps. A very small but incredibly vocal anti-vax/anti-lockdown minority. I hope/think many of them might change their tune if/when they encounter covid directly. Then it's probably equally split between the rest with people who are getting quite complacent, people who are just waiting for the poop to hit the fan, and people who are still incredibly paranoid and freak out at each new area that has a case, thinking that they can keep avoiding it...

  • Offline Serious

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Re: New Zealand (And Covid)
Reply #1 on: November 27, 2021, 12:35:28 PM
There is yet another variant going through Africa, several countries including the UK have severely restricted access to people leaving Africa.

Although knowing Britain it's going to be as covid proof as a teabag is waterproof again.

  • Offline neXus

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Re: New Zealand (And Covid)
Reply #2 on: November 29, 2021, 04:14:32 AM
And NZ has come up with one of the most complicated status systems for the lockdowns etc.
Different levels with sub levels and different region parameters based on where cases are, lol.


The other main thing is when it is in lockdown it is a LOCKDOWN.
NZ can not even get take away food like we can here when in lockdown.


vaccinations are still slow really hey, some areas are really good but still slow going.

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  • Offline Clock'd 0Ne

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Re: New Zealand (And Covid)
Reply #3 on: November 29, 2021, 04:46:13 AM
It sounds like everything over there is happening the same way just in slow motion almost. I'll be surprised if you can get levels down now, unfortunately.

I do disagree on forcing people to have vaccinations though - whatever their reason for choosing they should not have one is - its the thin end of the wedge for authoritarian infringement of our medical and basic human rights. There are other ways to deal with it and I would rather people just keep the hell away from me and wear masks, frankly; vaccinated or not you can still be a spreader/carrier. But masks and distancing are out the window now because the vaccine is considered a panacea. As long as you've got your vaccine passport to go clubbing it's okay, right? :nana:

"Mandatory vaccination can, but doesn't always increase uptake."
"There are lessons of history here where mandates have come at the expense of trust, social inclusion. So it is very delicate, but we believe it is time to have that conversation, from an individual and population-based perspective."
Dude from the WHO

Same article:
Quote
Mr Butler pointed to a study last week in the BMJ which suggested 53% of transmission was prevented by mask use.
He said only 48% of the population on the continent was using masks.
"If we see this go up, we will see a reduction in cases and deaths," he said.
"If we saw 95% universal mask use we can project we could save about 160,000 lives (in Europe)."
Last Edit: November 29, 2021, 04:48:34 AM by Clock'd 0Ne #187;

  • Offline neXus

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Re: New Zealand (And Covid)
Reply #4 on: November 29, 2021, 05:35:07 AM
It sounds like everything over there is happening the same way just in slow motion almost. I'll be surprised if you can get levels down now, unfortunately.

I do disagree on forcing people to have vaccinations though - whatever their reason for choosing they should not have one is - its the thin end of the wedge for authoritarian infringement of our medical and basic human rights. There are other ways to deal with it and I would rather people just keep the hell away from me and wear masks, frankly; vaccinated or not you can still be a spreader/carrier. But masks and distancing are out the window now because the vaccine is considered a panacea. As long as you've got your vaccine passport to go clubbing it's okay, right? :nana:

"Mandatory vaccination can, but doesn't always increase uptake."
"There are lessons of history here where mandates have come at the expense of trust, social inclusion. So it is very delicate, but we believe it is time to have that conversation, from an individual and population-based perspective."
Dude from the WHO

Same article:
Quote
Mr Butler pointed to a study last week in the BMJ which suggested 53% of transmission was prevented by mask use.
He said only 48% of the population on the continent was using masks.
"If we see this go up, we will see a reduction in cases and deaths," he said.
"If we saw 95% universal mask use we can project we could save about 160,000 lives (in Europe)."


Not quite mate, Why zpyder has made this thread.


More strict here in OZ and NZ compared to UK that is 100% for sure.
You guys basically opened up with 56% vaccination rates while both our countries are aiming for 95%.
Australia is even more complicated with its states and state governments all doing slightly different things as well.


The issue with what the UK has done is that it did not encourage people to get vaccinated enough so people stopped bothering and why so many people are still ending up in hospital and the UK's daily cases and deaths would not be accepted at all in OZ or NZ.
We have the vaccination passport as part of our wallet on IOS and currently have to show it to be able to go into shops etc.

  • Offline zpyder

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Re: New Zealand (And Covid)
Reply #5 on: November 29, 2021, 08:46:47 AM
And NZ has come up with one of the most complicated status systems for the lockdowns etc.
Different levels with sub levels and different region parameters based on where cases are, lol.


The other main thing is when it is in lockdown it is a LOCKDOWN.
NZ can not even get take away food like we can here when in lockdown.


vaccinations are still slow really hey, some areas are really good but still slow going.

Hah, we're about to change our lockdown classifications yet again. From this Friday Lockdowns are over, and we're going to a "traffic light" system. From what I understand so far, the red, orange and green will be able to be applied for different areas. Red is high alert/health system on the brink or at high risk, amber is cases are around so stay vigilant, and green is "all good bro".

The plan is all areas with vaccination rates under 90% start in red, the rest in Amber, and over time they'll hopefully drop everyone down levels. Being in Rotorua, which is essentially the Maori capital and has a masshive socio-economic divide, we have one of the lowest rates in the country so will be in "red" for a while. The rates are so low in the minorities due to all the (justified) distrust of the system from what is still relatively recent history.

The reality of the traffic lights though is essentially if you're vaccinated it doesn't really matter what level you're in, you can show your pass and do whatver you want. If you're not vaccinated, there are greater restrictions on where you can go.

We were due to go to some birthday party camp thing this weekend. The person who's birthday it is is an ex-teacher who lost her job due to refusing the vaccine. As a result I doubt we will go as they won't be able to use the vaccine passport system and so will be limited to either 25 or 50 guests.

  • Offline zpyder

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Re: New Zealand (And Covid)
Reply #6 on: November 29, 2021, 09:02:52 AM
It sounds like everything over there is happening the same way just in slow motion almost. I'll be surprised if you can get levels down now, unfortunately.

I do disagree on forcing people to have vaccinations though - whatever their reason for choosing they should not have one is - its the thin end of the wedge for authoritarian infringement of our medical and basic human rights. There are other ways to deal with it and I would rather people just keep the hell away from me and wear masks, frankly; vaccinated or not you can still be a spreader/carrier. But masks and distancing are out the window now because the vaccine is considered a panacea. As long as you've got your vaccine passport to go clubbing it's okay, right? :nana:

Yes, it really does feel sometimes like an element of Deja Vu, everything happening here we've seen before in the news overseas.

I honestly think the biggest component to NZ's success to date hasn't been the government response, or the vaccine, it's been population density. 1million people covering an area half the size of the UK? There's a reason why 9/10 cases have been in auckland, as thats pretty much the only place you might bump shoulders with someone going about your day to day life.

I'm very conflicted on the vaccine mandate. I sympathise with people who have genuine concern over the perceived risks of the vaccine, but I have no empathy for people refusing out of the principal of it being forced on them. Regarding human rights, the european convention on human rights makes things a bit interesting as depending on interpretation vaccine mandates (and certificates) are justified and contradictory to the convention at the same time, the following is from amnesty international:

Quote
Article 2 – right to life
We all have the right to life, and not be killed by another person.
The state must protect people’s lives by enforcing the law, protecting those in danger, and safeguard against accidental deaths.

I'd argue that part of that safeguarding would be trying to get as many people vaccinated as possible, and failure to do so would be a failure to meet Art. 2.


Quote
Article 3 – prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment
Nobody, under any circumstances, can torture or abuse anyone else. We should never be treated in ways that cause us serious physical or mental suffering.

However, I'd also argue that forcing people to present their vaccination status and preventing them from certain things would fall under the inhuman and degrading treatment bracket.

Quote
Article 8 – right to respect privacy and family life
Respect for private life protects our personal freedoms, including respect for our sexuality, the right not to be placed under unlawful surveillance, or for us not to have personal information spread about us against our will.

This one is middle of the fence. As medical status is private, but you can choose not to provide it, except that means you can;t go and do the things you might want to do.

If/when someone brings a big enough case to the EHRC, I imagine the judges would end up siding on the where the balance of harm ended up. If 10 000 people felt degraded by their treatment, was that justified if there was evidence that the processes saved more than 10 000 people?

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  • Offline Clock'd 0Ne

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Re: New Zealand (And Covid)
Reply #7 on: November 29, 2021, 09:24:01 AM
It's a very grey area indeed.

If the vaccine was a proven stunning success I can imagine everyone would be swarming to have it, but the nature of it is that it at the moment to many people it is simply an extension of control, big pharma and corporate/government cronies receiving backhanders to capitalise on a global pandemic (boosters for life and all that). I don't think for those people they will ever be convinced it is necessary or in their interests. There's so much disinformation around from all angles, I forget who said it now but "flood the zone with sh*t" is entirely how the world operates now so I am not surprised so many are concerned about taking it, especially after the scares with blood clots, etc.

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Re: New Zealand (And Covid)
Reply #8 on: November 29, 2021, 13:25:11 PM
It's a very grey area indeed.

If the vaccine was a proven stunning success I can imagine everyone would be swarming to have it, but the nature of it is that it at the moment to many people it is simply an extension of control, big pharma and corporate/government cronies receiving backhanders to capitalise on a global pandemic (boosters for life and all that). I don't think for those people they will ever be convinced it is necessary or in their interests. There's so much disinformation around from all angles, I forget who said it now but "flood the zone with sh*t" is entirely how the world operates now so I am not surprised so many are concerned about taking it, especially after the scares with blood clots, etc.

To a very large extent it is a stunning success, millions of people vaccinated with far fewer deaths than there would have been otherwise.

You then have the trolls and greedy people trying to make a profit from dissing off the vaccines. Over 5.2 million dead from covid yet they concentrate on a few dozen deaths from vaccine issues. Twenty years ago when the internet was just starting this was not a problem with few people on line. The idea of 'free speech' from the governments means they are not being prosecuted for their actions, effectively encouraging people to suicide. The authorities just don't know how to react and in many cases those spouting the misinformation have no idea what the law actually is on the subject.

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Re: New Zealand (And Covid)
Reply #9 on: November 29, 2021, 20:17:40 PM
If greed  makes the "western world" be vaccinated but not poor countries, the virus gets a good playing ground to mutate, if most of the globe gets vaccine t would have a better effect.

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