How lucky we are!

How lucky are we! Or are we?

Ten million coronavirus cases worldwide as of yesterday and 503,000 deaths and we have got away with 1500 cases and 22 deaths. And there are only 22 people in active quarantine.

We sit pretty, but the coronavirus has slammed the globe and is not done with it yet. There is a lot happening out there beyond our borders which is disheartening.

Victoria is bringing back stay-at-home restrictions in ten infection hotspots.

China, South Korea, and Japan regularly damp down flare-ups; Indonesia's infections are increasing, and India is the fourth worst-affected country in the world for confirmed cases with about 550,000.

South America, South-East Asia and North America are doing worse, while Africa's infection numbers are rising. Europe is the sole region to get its case numbers down but who knows whether the European Union's re-openings to some of the world (including New Zealand) will damage its hard-won progress.

A dangerous new surge in the southern US was predictable because some states re-opened while infection rates were still high, their testing levels inadequate, and mask-wearing spurned. And by you-know-who!

 New Zealand is one of the lucky countries granted access to Europe – but are we blessed? Only time will tell.

Yesterday marks six months since the World Health Organisation was first told of a cluster of unusual cases of pneumonia in China. It was the start of a period in all our lives that was unheard of. The pandemic swept us up - our lives and jobs and economies. For the first time, the globe was acting like one.

New Zealand's success in keeping coronavirus at bay has meant the outbreak has been more an issue of keeping the economy afloat and borders tight. Most other countries, such as the US and Brazil, have had to deal with significant death rates and lack of resources to fight the pandemic.

Lack of PPE, lack of ventilators, lack of hospital beds. We only watched this from afar, on TV from the comfort of our living rooms. But we can commiserate.

Watching the head of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on TV last night was scary. He said the pandemic was nowhere near over. "Most people remain susceptible," he said, "the worst is yet to come".

Here in New Zealand, we think we are immune, that we have things under control. We have been applauded for our handling of the virus and has this gone to our heads? What if there's more to come? After all, the last couple of weeks frightened us, with those sneaky coronavirus cases coming in from overseas. Only a scattering, but isn't that how it starts?

As slowly as the last 182 days have passed, it's still early days for the coronavirus says Ghebreyesus. And realistically New Zealand is a long way from letting down its defences. Lift the drawbridges. Stop the leaks. Let's stay on top of this.

Read edition 981 of the Wānaka Sun here.



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