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Don’t give up New Zealand: omicron, vaccination protection, and why it’s the wrong time to ‘let it rip’

Written By: - Date published: 11:32 am, February 27th, 2022 - 109 comments
Categories: covid-19, long covid, vaccines - Tags:

It’s time to stop the ‘omicron is mild so may as well let it rip’ narratives. The government’s current pandemic response is clearly to slow spread and protect the health care systems (not just hospitals but places like aged care facilities, and general access to health care).

But it’s also to protect humans. It’s not inevitable to get omicron (or delta). In countries that have had widespread covid, there are still many people who haven’t had the illness. This matters because any variant of covid can cause hospitalisation, death, or long covid. Long covid is the thing we are not talking about but the risks is still high. The gist from my previous post, it’s a numbers game,

The more people we have infected, the more risk of health care system overload and deaths in the short term, and the more likelihood of increasing numbers of post-viral chronically ill people in our families and communities and systems over the coming months and years.

It also matters because it protects vulnerable people who are most at risk from hospitalisation or death.

Ashley Bloomfield at the announcement of move to Phase three on Thursday (RNZ),

… act as if you have Covid, and look to protect others around you

On omicron and vaccination,

“You are far less likely to end up in hospital if you get Covid-19 if you’ve had a booster.”

He says modelling of the low-transmission scenario assumes high booster uptake. Bloomfield says two new studies confirm the vaccine protects against getting infected in the first place and protect against severe illness.

“One of the studies, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows that compared with being unvaccinated the odds of contracting Omicron after receiving three doses dropped by 67 percent – two thirds – and for Delta the risk declined by a stunning 93 percent.”

“So a highly-boosted population here will serve us all well.”

In other words, a highly boosted population protects individuals from contracting covid and limits spread. This is how we do public health.

Bloomfield from the video,

Boosters, the Minister has mentioned… our modelling of the low transmission scenario… assumes high rates of booster uptake. At the moment, nearly 70% of eligible people have done so, we need to increase that.

(starts 15m 20s)

Another point Bloomfield makes is that up to 30% of people with covid are asymptomatic, hence we should be acting as if we have covid in relation to other people. Those particularly at risk are elderly, people with chronic health conditions, and those not vaccinated or boosted (for whatever reason). Now is not the time to visit elderly relatives, and please tell those around you if you have symptoms or have been in higher risk situations. Not all at risk people wear it on their sleeves.

All of which is to say: what we do next matters.

This is the knife edge for New Zealand: do we lapse into neoliberal “I’m ok Jack”, and not worry about others? Or do we step up and act collectively to protect us all?

We have agency here: vaccination/boosting, well fitted masks, hygiene and social distancing, scanning, appropriate self isolation are all things that help us all.

 

109 comments on “Don’t give up New Zealand: omicron, vaccination protection, and why it’s the wrong time to ‘let it rip’ ”

  1. Reality 1

    Thank you Weka for a very timely reminder that we should be still be so careful and life cannot be back to normal for a while yet.

    And difficult as that is for everyone, think for a moment of the people in the Ukraine and what their daily life has become.

  2. Anne 2

    …do we lapse into neoliberal “I’m ok Jack”, and not worry about others? Or do we step up and act collectively to protect us all?

    I like to think the vast majority of Kiwis are well versed in the importance of the current measures at this point. We will step up and act collectively for the sake of everyone – even those who are apposed to the measures on somewhat spurious grounds.

    Thanks for the post weka. We are an argumentative lot over the minutia, but we all agree where it counts.

  3. lprent 3

    So far I haven't noticed too much of a drop into "let it rip" around the streets on Auckland apart from the foolish protesting nutbars* and some of our more self-entitled affluent citizens who probably vote Act. Masks around the shops is pretty much universal and the spacing isn't too bad. The Ponsonby cafes seem more deserted than last week.

    For various reasons, I've not only been around home this week, but also out in Mangere through to Otahuhu. But it is pretty much the same everywhere.

    The supermarkets are starting to stock out again. Todays midday shop had to compete with a massive restocking of some banks of nearly empty shelves.

    Hardly surprising with people facing a isolation based on contacts. Including one of my partners nieces. Fortunately she has had the paediatric vaccine dose so it is unlikely to to be a problem for her. I made sure we were stocked up for a stay at home isolation.

    • * hey it is lawful to protest – it is also lawful for me to call deranged silly people 'nutbars'. It is my opinion, and being able to do it is what actual freedom looks like. Unlike a Russian government who arrest peace protesters for protesting about ‘peace-keeping’ mission and silences independent media outlets if they publish anything except the gormless crap that is on RT (that is really disgusting propaganda)
  4. Jenny how to get there 4

    My Step son and his wife are having a baby. She is 4 months along and is very ill. She had her positive test on Friday. Her symptoms on Saturday, diarrhea, vomiting, headaches, extreme tiredness.
    Today she described her symptoms as getting worse, with chest pains.

    She is double vaxxed.

    This virus is no laughing matter.

    Be careful out there.

    Just before his wife's positive test for covid, my step son paid us a very brief visit. He wore his mask the whole time.

    They do work.

    We are feeling fine.

    Since his wife's diagnosis my step son got tested as well, the result which came today is also positive. He tells us he has zero symptoms and is perfectly well. But will not be able to go to work. And has to self isolate.

    I will keep you all updated.

    • weka 4.1

      hoping she gets through this ok Jenny, that's a doubly stressful situation.

      • Jenny how to get there 4.1.1

        broken heart

      • Jenny how to get there 4.1.2

        Our pregnant daughter in-law is making a slow recovery. Which is a relief. However, it is not all good news. Our 12 year old grandson who lives with us, tested positive for covid three days ago after coming back from school feeling ill, with a sore throat head ache.

        I myself have since developed minor symptoms, runny nose, sore throat, headache, occasional sneezing and coughing. Nothing major.

        We have been isolating at home, none of us have not left the house for any reason for three days. Except this morning when we went for the recommended three day RAT test at the local medical clinic.

        All three of us piled in the family car and drove to the medical centre carpark and waited until we were tested as we sat in our car.

        Weirdly despite all the adults in the family all experiencing some slight symptoms all our RAT tests came back negative. We are all fully vaccinated.

        The nurse who did our tests, said that we are getting a lot of this. She said that the fully vaccinated, even if they have symptoms, are not producing enough of the proteins for the RAT test to pick up on.

        Wow! This is just amazing. Imagine how sick we might have been without the vaccine.

        Good on the government.

        Only one gripe: We heard today that another friend of ours who is pregnant with twins has been ill and has tested positive for the virus She caught it off her school age son who goes to the same school as our grandson. And now that whole family is having to isolate as well.

        I know of one other family that caught the virus the same way.

        Maybe the government needs to lock down the schools. At least the primary schools, and at least in South Auckland.

        • weka 4.1.2.1

          I've been wondering about the timing of testing as well, and if that makes a difference to the RAT results. This was useful, it says

          • Test 2 – 4 days after potential exposure
          • If testing to protect others, test closer to the exposure
          • Test before leaving self-isolation

          https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/01/22/science/charting-omicron-infection.html

          Good to hear you are doing ok. The biggest take away for me from the last week is to not rush back to being busy, and definitely don't do exercise that raises the heart rate. There is theorising that this increases risk of long covid. Will see if I can find the link.

          • weka 4.1.2.1.1

            haven't had a good read of the reference in the thread yet.

          • Jenny how to get there 4.1.2.1.2

            My symptoms have eased to slight headache.

            Thank goodness for vaccination.

            Everyone else well, grandson seems fine though tired, as is everyone.

            All on the way to full recovery. Good tip about not raising heart rate. Thanks.

    • Molly 4.2

      All the best to the family, Jenny.

      Such a stressful time, especially coming during what is usually a celebration of new life.

    • Patricia Bremner 4.3

      All the very best Jenny. Would you let them know what the covid ward specialist told Grant (Gold Coast) Ten minutes activity 2 hours rest Huge fluids with pinch of salt and sugar in one lot daily for electrolytes unless you have sachets. Critical for getting well Robyn was hospitalised 4 days. She is fine at 75 Grant is till in recovery mode at 54. All good wishes to you and your family at this worrying time.

      • Jenny how to get there 4.3.1

        Thank you Patricia, And thanks for the kind and sensible advice.
        I will pass it on.

    • lach kearse 4.4

      sounds like D n Vs then if thats as far as it goes what is the drama?!. Respiratory support is something else all together and wish that on no one..But as for people managing at home and ill and not needing admission ,,,,get over yourselves

      • Jenny how to get there 4.4.1

        Your callous lack of concern for others is noted.

        Get over yourselves yourself.

  5. SPC 5

    For mine this is two paced.

    The young and public fronting workforce are going to get infected this autumn and get natural immunity. Those public fronting workers who have health problems – and keeping this out of old age care homes and hospitals will be the main concern.

    The work from homies (without children) and the oldies will socially distant and wait for the Omicron specific vaccine (hopefully by winter).

    • weka 5.1

      what do you mean by natural immunity? Afaik, people who have had covid can get it again. There does seems to be some protection from vaccination and having covid, but it seems to me like the science isn't there yet on defining exactly what kind of protection is gained from an active infection. Would be interested in any reading you have.

      • Rosemary McDonald 5.1.1

        Natural immunity…its a thing. (Always has been.)

        https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35149106/

        Risk of hospitalizations and deaths was also reduced in SARS-CoV-2 reinfections versus primary infections. Observational studies indicate that natural immunity may offer equal or greater protection against SARS-CoV-2 infections compared to individuals receiving two doses of an mRNA vaccine, but data are not fully consistent. The combination of a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection and a respective vaccination, termed hybrid immunity, seems to confer the greatest protection against SARS-CoV-2 infections, but several knowledge gaps remain regarding this issue. Natural immunity should be considered for public health policy regarding SARS-CoV-2.

        https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2200133

        Overall, in a national database study in Qatar, we found that the effectiveness of previous infection in preventing reinfection with the alpha, beta, and delta variants of SARS-CoV-2 was robust (at approximately 90%), findings that confirmed earlier estimates.1-3 Such protection against reinfection with the omicron variant was lower (approximately 60%) but still considerable. In addition, the protection of previous infection against hospitalization or death caused by reinfection appeared to be robust, regardless of variant.

        Nod to John Campbell…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMsAJzwKwVY

        • Psycho Milt 5.1.1.1

          How's your natural immunity against other coronaviruses eg the common cold going? Natural immunity has exactly the same problem as vaccinations: it doesn't last all that long against a rapidly-evolving virus.

          • SPC 5.1.1.1.1

            In the case of Omicron – people who are vaccinated are not protected from being infected and passing it onto others, after infection they are.

            • weka 5.1.1.1.1.1

              According to Bloomfield, people who are vaccinated are protected from being infected with omicron (partially), and this also lowers transmission. It's in the post.

              • SPC

                The rate of such protection from infection and transfer to others is so much lower than with earlier variants – which is why Omicron spread fast in nations already heavily vaxxed (as it will and is here too).

                Which is why, as with OE, the Omicron phase only ends with natural immunity via infection (and more so via BA2 than BA1).

                The good news is that three doses seems to result in a fairly resilient B and T cell immune response to the coronavirus.

                • Incognito

                  The faster spread of Omicron is not due to one single factor. Waning immunity to all variants, whether from vaccination or exposure to the virus, relaxing and lowering the stringency of regulations and measures, winter conditions in the Northern hemisphere, and complacency of populations at large have also contributed to faster intra- and inter-border spread of Omicron.

                  The first community case of Omicron in NZ arrived on 16 December and apparently spread the virus in the community in late December after a botch up with self-isolation rules or something rather. We successfully held off the virus until 24 January when the whole country went into Phase 1 of Red.

            • Psycho Milt 5.1.1.1.1.2

              Cool story bro.

          • Rosemary McDonald 5.1.1.1.2

            Hows my natural immunity going? I can't remember the last time I had a drown- in- your- own- snot- and- cough- your- lungs- out cold or flu…so my natural immunity is good…or I'm due for a humdinger.

            Since I'm part of the control group, it'll be interesting to see how our friend Omicron affects me.

          • RedLogix 5.1.1.1.3

            How's your natural immunity against other coronaviruses eg the common cold going?

            Probably quite well. The common cold is usually a mild illness because your immune system has indeed already seen something very similar before. About half of all colds are caused by a rhinovirus, but because these all mutate so quickly we never gain a full protection against them. But there is sufficient cross-reactivity in the innate immune system to the general class of virus to prevent a catastrophic illness.

            By contrast immuno-compromised people who have a very weak immune system are entirely vulnerable to the common cold, and it can likely cause severe illness or even death.

            • Robert Guyton 5.1.1.1.3.1

              Why is it, I wonder, that tetanus "shots" are offered to someone who has stood on a rusty nail?

              Surely the tetanus, if present on the nail, has already entered your system?

              I've long wondered this, (and potentially, will be embarrassed by the simplicity of the answer, if it eventuates 🙂

          • georgecom 5.1.1.1.4

            yup, catching omicron on top of either a vaccine (even a single dose like Janssen or Cansino) or a previous covid infection acts like a booster jab. It increases the covid repelling antibodies in our system. As you say, over time such antibodies wane. A further vaccine jab or covid infection increases them again. A vaccination or previous infection creates 'memory cells', what medical folk refer to as B and T cells, which do not stop the initial reinfection but quickly turn on the bodies immune system to battle the infection and lessen the effects, eg keep you out of hospital, keep you out of a coffin. Apologies if that's something you already know.

          • mauī 5.1.1.1.5

            Looks like when you close borders and have lockdowns, this has negative effects on natural immunity too.

            New Zealand children falling ill in high numbers due to Covid ‘immunity debt’ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/08/new-zealand-children-falling-ill-in-high-numbers-due-to-covid-immunity-debt

            • joe90 5.1.1.1.5.1

              4.47% of UK 5-11 year olds have been infected with Covid.

              At that rate we'd have more than 15,000 infected 5-9 year olds.

              What would you rather, a handful of RSV cases or thousands of kids sick with Covid?

              • Poission

                In this event 11% (since of august) have had(or have) covid, of which are 7 % of hospitilised cases are 9 or under.

                Projections in an optimistic scenario,are for around 400000 ttl cases and would suggest 44000 cases in this demographic,and 3000 hospital cases.

        • georgecom 5.1.1.2

          whats your point Rosemary? Are you saying the body develops some immunity from the covid virus after infection.

          If so, that is correct. The process of getting immunity that way is a real risk however, plenty of people around the globe who suffered from either choosing that course of action or having no alternative such as a vaccine. Lots of dead bodies is graves, lots of people suffering horrendous experiences in hospital, lots of people suffering the ongoing after effects. Any person who thinks their body will be able to bat away covid like it's a minor cold are either over confident or deluded. Some will, but a minority. Most will suffer at best a pretty rough week or 2 of illness, others will be far less fortunate.

          If you are meaning the boost to immunity catching the likes of omicron post vaccination then yes, point made. Omicron is like a booster shot for those who have had 2 jabs. Similar for those who are convalescent covid, the likes of omicron will boost the virus induced immunity they developed.

          Personally if I am to face omicron, I want 2 or preferably 3 jabs under my belt. I am not looking forward to contracting the bastard, neither do I greatly fear it. If or when it comes around it will come around.

          • Rosemary McDonald 5.1.1.2.1

            Are you saying the body develops some immunity from the covid virus after infection.

            Yes. Of course it does.

            Any person who thinks their body will be able to bat away covid like it's a minor cold are either over confident or deluded. Some will, but a minority. Most will suffer at best a pretty rough week or 2 of illness, others will be far less fortunate.

            Even in the over-80s group, very significantly more people will have mild or moderate COVID-19 than severe COVID-19.

            https://patient.info/news-and-features/coronavirus-what-are-asymptomatic-and-mild-covid-19

            • georgecom 5.1.1.2.1.1

              bit of a prick of a way to get immunity though Rosemary, versus a pretty simple process of being vaccinated. Yes, some people are unable to get the pfizer or astrazeneca vaccines for health reasons. I imagine many would run a risk getting the likes of a Novavax or other type vaccines or even the inactivated vaccines like sinopharm or covaxin, but I am not a medical expert so that's only a guess. they are in a heck of a situation.

              fortunately for the unvaccinated omicron is a less deadly variant than other strains, but good luck to anyone who just thinks it will be a mild cold. It might be, but will very likely be worse and possibly quite a bit worse. sort of like driving on the open road without wearing your seatbelt, or crossing a motorway by foot when there is a pedestrian over bridge 50 feet away.

              • fire

                Risk from Novavax? Do some study mate. This is safe vaccine built on technology that has been for decades. It also gives a broad immune response. Stop spreading false information.

                Israel were so pro Pfizer and mRNA and they just recently placed enough Novavax order to vaccinate their entire population. One have to ask themselves why a country that has given 4 shots are now switching away from it? There are numerous studies done in Israel on both the ineffectiveness of mRNA and increasing risks with repeated usage. Lots of studies are being published on the long term effects. Keep yourself up to date. It'll help you and your family as well.

                • Georgecom

                  Dude read what I actually wrote. Those unable to get Pfizer or AZ might also have a bad reaction to either the likes of a Novavax or soberana or abdala or longcom zhifi etc which are all based on the same technology or on a dead virus vaccine like covaxin, the sinopharms, sinovac, qazvac etc.

                  Those vaccines have all proven to be pretty safe however if someone cannot take Pfizer of AZ for some health reason I imagine those other vaccines might pose risk for them as well. I am not a medical expert as said. A reaction to some element in Pfizer however would mean someone needs to find an alternative that does not contain that element.

                  I would be happy myself with taking any of the vaccines mentioned above

        • SPC 5.1.1.3

          John Campbell backing up on natural immunity.

      • Belladonna 5.1.2

        Research showing 'super immunity' results from a combination of Covid + immunization (in either order)

        https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/01/220125112524.htm

        Not saying this is a reason to try to catch Omicron. But that there is the possibility of high levels of immunity as a result, if you do catch it.

    • Patricia Bremner 5.2

      Get B1 you can still get B2 so not straight forward.

  6. Treetop 6

    Does anyone know if you have asymptomatic Covid and you get a booster jab if this is a problem?

    A Covid test would be required to establish being infected.

    And

    If you are symptomatic with Covid are you advised to not get boosted?

    I do realise that you need to isolate and wait until you are well to get a booster if symptomatic. But a person would probably not bother getting a booster.

    • Patricia Bremner 6.1

      Email your Dr with that Q or ring the help line Cheers.

      • Treetop 6.1.1

        It is any day for me to get Covid as it will probably come via the grand children from two schools. One of the schools will not state if they have students with Covid. I am assuming every single school will have cases.

        • Belladonna 6.1.1.1

          Almost certainly cases at school. However, even Henderson Intermediate (which has shut down for 2 weeks – because Covid case in nearly every class) has said there is little or no evidence that it's being spread at school. The kids are catching it at home and bringing it to school.

          At the time, Esera told the Herald the virus was "oozing" into the school from the community but so far it did not appear anyone had caught it at school.

          https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/covid-19-omicron-outbreak-henderson-intermediate-closes-for-2-weeks-with-a-covid-case-in-almost-every-class/JEB2Z5T7MMYEN4MVA56QEKPYYY/

          You'd have to be living like a hermit – no contact with anyone outside the household, except kids going to school – for that to be the primary risk.

          • Treetop 6.1.1.1.1

            Thank you for this. Some colleges have 1500 or more students and some primary schools have 750 or more students. I do the school pick up 1 – 2 days a week.

            I do think that under the health Act a school should say if they have cases, but not to name the student or class they are in. Probably it is a board of trustee decision. I live a minute walk away from a school.

  7. AB 7

    The gulf between the irrationality of the protesters and the reality of the virus should be enough to keep the majority of people properly cautious. That means ignoring the nonsense spewing from the protesters' ideological twins in National/ACT and their media enablers.

    That said, I do think Omicron (after the peak) is the right time to wind down formal restrictions. But in a watchful manner, not recklessly driven by ideological and linguistic confusion about the nature of freedom.

    • weka 7.1

      it's the liberals and general public talking about let it rip that bothers me. Can't do much about the protestor's believes, but other people can change their thinking and approach.

    • Patricia Bremner 7.2

      yes

    • Treetop 7.3

      What measures a country took during a wave of Covid will be analysed in the future.

      Something which does not make sense in NZ is that children under 5 are not eligible to be vaccinated and that ECE staff were not able to access RATs but rest home workers could. Always ECE gets a slap in the face when it comes to the difficult job they have to do, poor wages, high ratios of children to staff, a lot of overseas owners who are more interested in profit than the education of preschoolers and care of babies/toodlers.

  8. Whispering Kate 8

    There are mysteries concerning this virus still to be explained. How is it that some people just do not catch this virus. My son in law in the UK tested positive with covid. He is 65 and has a stent fitted for his heart. He suffered from the symptoms of a bad head cold only. My daughter is 47 and fit and well with no underlying conditions. She shared the house and the bed with her man throughout his bout but didn't catch it at all. Had tests that were negative which is really great. But why do some folk have a constitution that shrugs off illnesses.

    My man is the same, whenever my feeble chest lays me low he soldiers on caring for me throughout the barking like a walrus at night and puffing on ventolin and keeping him awake. Is it a gene they possess? Would that it could be harvested for the greater good and put into a vaccine.

    • felix 8.1

      Isn't that the case with most viruses though? Some catch them easily, some catch them and are mostly unaffected, and some don't catch them at all. Not sure that's a mystery specific to this one.

    • georgecom 8.2

      probably decades of "man flu" has given your man immunity laugh

      something women do not have the advantage of

    • Treetop 8.3

      Even people with risk factors can escape severe illness and those with no risk factors can have a severe bout.

      Covid is such a bastard to predict and avoiding it is unobtainable.

  9. Molly 9

    I'm trying to find the JAMA article, not linked to in the RNZ article AFAIK.

    Have come across this one, recently published:

    Association Between 3 Doses of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine and Symptomatic Infection Caused by the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron and Delta Variants

    which looks like it may be the one as it was published on Jan 21, 2022.

    A JAMA article that discusses the findings can be found here.

    "“One of the studies, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows that compared with being unvaccinated the odds of contracting Omicron after receiving three doses dropped by 67 percent – two thirds – and for Delta the risk declined by a stunning 93 percent.”"

    As far as I can tell, it doesn't report non-infection, it reports asymptomatic numbers and percentages.

    Is there another that claims infection is protected against?

    • weka 9.1

      from memory AB said the studies had come out recently, like the past week? I had trouble finding them too, have a bunch of tabs open, will have a look at them later.

      • Molly 9.1.1

        Thanks, just trying to drill down to where this information reported is coming from. I wish the articles would put in links.

      • Rosemary McDonald 9.1.2

        Bill Gates has something to say about Omicron and vaccines….been doing the rounds for a few days now. He makes his point very early on…blink and you'll miss it.

        • Muttonbird 9.1.2.1

          A vaccine which has killed nearly 500 Queenslanders since early January. Now, even I would balk at that rate of 'vaccine harm'.

        • weka 9.1.2.2

          what was interesting?

          • Rosemary McDonald 9.1.2.2.1

            "Sadly," says Bill, " the virus itself, particularly the variant called Omicron, is a type of vaccine in that it creates both b cell and t cell immunity…"

            (I edited out the usual umms and errrs)

            Bill's bit starts around 7 mins.

            • Psycho Milt 9.1.2.2.1.1

              It's "a type of vaccine" that carries a death/long-term-illness risk that's orders of magnitude higher than those actual vaccines you won't take because you think they're too risky.

        • georgecom 9.1.2.3

          nope, it's not a vaccine, it's a virus and one that can cause real damage to people. those who recover have a degree of immunity, like getting a vaccine does.

  10. Tiger Mountain 10

    Thanks for that WEKA. Good precis. The PM waved the white flag to business a few weeks back, and there has certainly been two years of unrelenting pressure from that quarter–and volatility with what the virus is doing, but that does not mean the rest of us have to join the Labour Caucus view.

    There is a sector of New Zealanders that will be limiting contacts for some time and whinging SME operators will not be able to blame Govt. lockdowns for that, though they will likely try to regardless.

    Mask wearing is at a good level in most retail settings in the North. Met with a real estate agent on weekend and we wore masks and I noticed all photos in his company material had people wearing masks, tick.

    Good vibes gone for me with Whangārei Hare Krishnas (trading as Food for Life) who I have bought bread and Somosas off for years–their head chef has been at Wellington occupation helping serve hundreds of meals per day. And…the Whangārei farmers market on Sat. my partner reports had people taking off their masks after passing security. About one third only mask wearing and she felt intimidated by several unmasked people, in a well spaced crowd, bumping up against her unnecessarily.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 10.1

      …but that does not mean the rest of us have to join the Labour Caucus view.

      yes "Up to" 50% of NZers will be infected with Omicron. I'm taking precautions (masking, physical distancing, limiting time spent in crowded indoor settings, washing hands, vaccination, etc.) to avoid infection and illness as this mindless virus divides the country.

      Covid-19: Up to half of NZ population could become infected with Omicron – Modeller [24 January 2022]

      "It's certainly possible that once an Omicron outbreak really gets going that we could see a significant proportion of the New Zealand population get infected – it could be up to half," he [Michael Plank] said.

      That could take about four months from when cases started to rise exponentially, with a potential peak after eight weeks, and more people infected on the way down.

      But he stressed the figure of 50 percent was not set in stone.

      There was a lot of uncertainly about how the virus behaved because it had only been on the world scene for about eight weeks – and public health measures could have a big impact on the outcome, he said.

      "The actions we take now and over the coming weeks could reduce the number of people who get infected and it could be a significantly lower proportion," he said.

      Very grateful to all the Kiwis putting themselves at increased risk to maintain essential services during the current surge of Omicron cases – best of luck everyone.

      Unite against
      COVID-19
      https://covid19.govt.nz

      Know what you need to do in Phase 3
      The expected increase in cases means most of us will need to self-manage COVID-19. Be prepared to self-isolate. Red traffic light settings remain in place.

    • Jenny how to get there 10.2

      Mandates work, (the anti-mandate mob prove it).

      Lifestyle changes, ie masks, distancing, work. It is these life style changes that initially confounded the modelers in the early stage of the Omicron infection where rates of infection were not climbing as fast as they had predicted.

      https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2021.768852/full

      The anti mandate protests, all the photos I have seen not one protester wearing a mask.

      And not surprising, passers-by report being intimidated and harrassed for wearing a mask. So what must the level of intimidation against mask wearing be inside the protest camp?

      The 'Freedom Convoy' protesters say they are against mandates but in practice, they have a mandate of their own against mask wearing, enforced with social pressure and yes intimidation, that sees this anti-mask mandate strictly adhered to universally by all the protesters inside their mini-society.

      Winston Peters could have shown some leadership here in breaking the protesters anti-mask mandate, but instead he succumbed to it. An example like that could have given some of the protesters intimidated by the mob the courage to don masks..

      So much for freedom. Freedom of choice inside this protest camp is limited to bowing down to the demands of the majority of the mob.

      Eternal shame on Winston Peters for bowing down to it.

      This is not leadership.

  11. weka 11

    please repost this in the protest thread and I will delete this one. It's off topic.

  12. PsyclingLeft.Always 12

    I'm kinda fit (very physical job…and I bike a lot) but Ima wary of the covid….AND the omicron. Had real bad pneumonia a while back. If the covid be like that ? People should be aware. No thanks. And I'll still be mask/hand wash/safe distance etc

    • georgecom 12.1

      ay, practise the basics to put some limits on spread and pressure off hospitals. wear a mask, hand hygiene, get vaccinated, social distance, stay home if feeling unwell.

      I am a bit skeptical now about the merits of using the ashley app now when visiting a business, and I am thinking very shortly the value of quarantining people from overseas has limited value, in the current omicron situation anyway.

  13. PsyclingLeft.Always 13

    Senior Sergeant Anthony Bond said the majority of students had complied with Red setting restrictions and were aware of the risks of partying in a time of Omicron.

    "A small few hadn’t quite realised there’s a global pandemic going on, but they were the minority," Snr Sgt Bond said.

    https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/campus/o-week-non-compliers-%E2%80%98-minority%E2%80%99

    Well there WAS Reece…….although his drink ,drink ! party, party ! Changed…to Isolate, Isolate !. Kinda put me in mind of Reece from TV series Malcom in the Middle….(if seen you might know : )

  14. Ad 14

    +100

    Like the tone of it.

  15. Siobhan 15

    Unfortunately NZ has squandered the benefit of vaccinations by having too short an interval between the initial 2 shots, it should have been 12 weeks, which I only managed with some manipulation of the system ..and now speeding up the boosters, which should be at a 6 months gap only for our most vulnerable, more like 8 months for the rest of us..

    ..so we now have a population with not only less than optimum protection, but also, more importantly, is declining with every week…and we are heading into winter and the flu season, which could well be a doozy this year…

    ..personally if the spread continues at this pace, I hope to catch covid sooner rather than latter, for better or for worse ..and I don't say that lightly, I have my own health vulnerability, and so have been diligently riding too and from work every day (40km a day) for the last 2 months ..which is another point ..why has the Labour government not taken a lead in preparing the population health wise for our looming Winter of Discontent?

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-11-26/boosters-prevent-covid-better-after-six-month-wait-doctors-say

    • weka 15.1

      because they're burned out and overloaded?

      The time frame between delta and omicron is what messed with the vax timeframes. Can't really blame that on Labour.

      • Just Saying 15.1.1

        If the expectation of wise, mature leadership is too high a bar for those with power, clearly we need new leadership.

        • observer 15.1.1.1

          I wouldn't define "wise, mature leadership" as "replacing the advice from medical experts with a decision led by political expediency".

          Personally I wouldn't have a clue what the optimal first/second/boost gap should be, and I'm pretty sure that goes for all MPs except perhaps Ayesha Verrall.

          Better that they listen rather than put on a show of Strong Leadership for political theatre.

          • Siobhan 15.1.1.1.1

            I would argue that Labour have in fact gone for "a show of Strong Leadership for political theatre" rather than the actual evolving science..science is not of one voice..there are a range of voices/opinion/evidence..and some voices are very good at telling governments what they want to hear…though to be fair..this has been the problem world wide, and ofcourse not only with this issue..

        • weka 15.1.1.2

          If the expectation of wise, mature leadership is too high a bar for those with power, clearly we need new leadership.

          Really? Of those available, who do you think would do a better job? Stress impacts on everyone, and the MPs and MoH bods haven't had a break in over 2 years. They've been in constant emergency planning mode and now they're dealing with a crisis that was always going to be out of control and about damage limitation.

          • Just Saying 15.1.1.2.1

            Weka,

            I don't have an alternative lined up and I don't have an obligation to, in criticising the government.

            Ostracising parts of the community, most especially in a crisis in which we are biologically wired to feel intense fear and anger, and aggress against supposed contagion dangers, while at the same time, ostracism itself is a hard-wired survival threat. To promote this, to leverage this is both dangerous and disgraceful.

            If you want to find evidence of the danger you don't have to look far:

            filth, scum, Nazis, parasites, infected, shit, …………destroy, break, rid, remove, eliminate.

            It’s all right here

            • Incognito 15.1.1.2.1.1

              I don't have an alternative lined up and I don't have an obligation to, in criticising the government.

              What an odd thing to say.

              How can we, the voters, tell the political candidates what we want and how/when we want it if we don’t even know ourselves? Should they be mind-readers or fortune tellers?

              Do you tell your children off for doing something incorrectly or wrong without showing or telling them the correct or right way? Isn’t one of the cornerstones of education and society at large to aim for desired outcomes and focussing on positive examples rather than focussing on the negatives, bad outcomes, and failures, be it real or perceived?

              The cliché learning from failure means to not repeat it, but it doesn’t automatically follow what you should do next instead. Another cliché is that we get the government we deserve – it is a collective responsibility, because democracy, as I know it, is a collective endeavour.

      • Siobhan 15.1.2

        I get the timing was a challenge..but I still think that with our fortress mentality and mandates, we were, in fact, in a position to time the vaccines for maximum effectiveness, rather than panic stations. We have these vaccines at the expense of poor nations..at the very least we should use them well.

  16. PsyclingLeft.Always 16

    A top heart specialist is warning we face a "tsunami" of long Covid after the Omicron outbreak subsides, with a tidal wave of heart disease and strokes, along with a myriad of other debilitating symptoms.

    https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/cardiologist-warns-tidal-wave-heart-disease-linked-long-covid

    But hey, what would Cardiologist Professor Harvey White know ? I would say a damn sight more than the selfish idiots advising NOT to get vaccinated……

  17. Just Saying 17

    Are you suggesting that I can't criticise the government, its, in my opinion, failure of wise and mature leadership, with specified reasons, unless I have an alternative government to 'offer'?

    Serious, dangerous, failure of leadership should does necessitate change, imo, change of behaviour or change of leadership. Your comment is a bit like saying 'could you be a better prime minister'? And no, I'm not suited to that kind of job, but I don't have to in order enact my responsibility to participate in the democratic process. As a Citizen.

    One thing I do believe is that there are people in NZ who have the requisite abilities, and who would do better than this. If this government doesn't up its game, hopefully some will come forward. There is nothing like creating a vacuum…..

    BTW, I notice you did not respond to the major substance of my criticism.

    edit, I don’t know why my replies sometimes turn into comments further down the page.
    Apologies, this was intended to reply to incognito 14.11211

    • Incognito 17.1

      <sigh>

      A teacher can mark a student’s work with “must do better” because the teacher can do better and has demonstrated this in class and he/she knows what they expect from the pupil and, in turn, the student knows or would know what’s expected from them.

      Rather than seeing it as a failure of leadership I’d like to view it as managing expectations (voter demands and candidate promises, if you like) and communications, which is a learning curve for all and works both ways [see what I did there?].

      Criticism is not complete and thus much less effective if it does not at least offer an alternative constructive suggestion, option, or opinion, without which it easily ends up being just finger-pointing and silly blame-gaming.

      Democracy is government of the people, by the people, and for the people [Abraham Lincoln]. It seems that for some this is interpreted as: of the 5 million Kiwis, by the 120 MPs or by the even smaller club called Cabinet or just by the PM, for the well-off people. So, the ideal of democracy is skewed in practice into some ‘dysmorphic’ version, almost a caricature. My premise is that this is not inevitable and that we can change it, if we want.

      If you’re not open to this view then I don’t see any point in engaging with you on politics on this forum, as you are just another lazy armchair-critic of which there are a dime in a dozen – you’d do your nom de plume justice.

      • Just Saying 17.1.1

        If you’re not open to this view then I don’t see any point in engaging with you on politics on this forum, as you are just another lazy armchair-critic of which there are a dime in a dozen – you’d do your nom de plume justice.

        Armchair critic, wow.

        You think this might be fun for me? I'm here because I care, I'm worried and I'm left.

        Do you think only cheerleaders are truly left?

        I feel quite lost, this idea is so far from the truth. I don't like this at all. This isn't a sport, it is real people, real world, real life.

        Last night, I was feeling particularly intensely affected by a comment Felix made, since I always respected his opinion. Emotion got in the way, I wasn't sure of his meaning and I asked him to clarify. Now I'm paraphrasing myself. I asked if he thought that those who disagreed with the mandates were toxic to the left, should push off and good riddance.

        The reason I write this is to own that I feel limbically hijacked at times by the content of this debate. It involves two powerful human survival mechanisms. I reread his comment several times but still couldn't understand who he was talking about That's what I was trying to communicate in my comment. This is not a run of the mill political situation. Its a tinderbox just begging for a match.

        What I want from leaders is calming and not inflaming what I see as a dangerous situation. I wasn't trying to insult TS, its writers and commenters. I was saying 'can you see?'

        • Incognito 17.1.1.1

          I can see what you’re saying, I think. If you want to have a discussion with felix then by all means go for it (and good luck). I just responded to one part of your comment that I believe to be a foundational issue in general. There are many critics on this forum, from the Left and from the Right, and they generally fall short in contributing solutions. I’ll leave it there because I don’t want to aggravate you any further. However, I’m disappointed that you couldn’t be clearer about “people in NZ who have the requisite abilities, and who would do better than this”, which was quite a tantalising statement.

          To be crystal clear, I was not thinking that you were trying to insult TS, its writers and commenters.

    • weka 17.2

      One thing I do believe is that there are people in NZ who have the requisite abilities, and who would do better than this.

      Who?

  18. Just Saying 18

    No-one putting their names forward now. But as I said, there is a vacuum created by the actions of this government. Vacuums create a force field.

    I don't have any secret insider knowledge. This is just my own perspective.

    I feel frustrated that the main concern in my comments continues to be ignored while what to me is less important is discussed. It feels like diversion

    • McFlock 18.1

      Vacuums create a force field.

      Well, no they don't.

      Look, if your main concern is that the weird coagulation of the wilfully unvaccinated, the anti-mask, the pro-covid, the far right, the sovereign citizen-derivatives, and of all the other kooks and weirdos is being marginalised, mocked, and generally ignored, my response is "that seems to be the best option to take".

      There's no compromise or mutual objective between the vast majority of people who are rightfully concerned about the impact covid might have on them or society in general, and that fringe crowd.

      How does one find common ground between "as many people as possible need to be vaccinated" and "do whatever you want"? Between "lower the odds oftransmission and symptomatic infection as much as you can" with actively trying to spread the disease? And that's before one factors in the "hang 'em high" crowd.

      The government is still polling well. There's no vacuum. Just some fringe jobbies lashing out because the rest of the country is being sensible.

  19. Just Saying 19

    My actual main point:

    Ostracising parts of the community, most especially in a crisis in which we are biologically wired to feel intense fear and anger, and aggress against supposed contagion dangers, while at the same time, ostracism itself is a hard-wired survival threat. To promote this, to leverage this is both dangerous and disgraceful.

    If you want to find evidence of the danger you don't have to look far:

    filth, scum, Nazis, parasites, infected, shit, …………destroy, break, rid, remove, eliminate.

    It’s all right here

    • Anne 19.1

      "filth, scum, Nazis, parasites, infected, shit, …………destroy, break, rid, remove, eliminate."

      I've heard all of that coming from the protesters. They have even called for the execution of Jacinda Ardern. Pretty grim stuff. Just imagine how Jacinda must be feeling, knowing she is effectively the target of a possible assassination. The SIS is concerned about the level of potential terrorist activity coming from a minority of the protest movement. We should be too.

      The prime minister and her government are not responsible for this situation. Everything they have done thus far is to save lives and in that they are one of the most successful governments in the world. Instead of laying the blame at their feet, you should turn your attention to the real culprits, the extremists and white supremacists – so enabled by Donald Trump – spreading their evil doctrines around the world.

      • Just Saying 19.1.1

        For goodness sake, she is a prime minister whose authoritarian actions cancelled democracy and created dangerous division. Not responsibly as as an initial measure but a long time past that. She is an adult with armed protection who signed-up for a serious job. Isn't the Mummy-of-a-nation-of-children number wearing a bit thin?

        She's not a relative or friend – she is a politician. When the working class rises its time for the lucky to pay attention. There is important knowledge held by the downtrodden in any society, a sixth sense, borne of experience. Robert Hare, world authority on dangerous people says 'if you want to know who is dangerous within an organisation – ask the janitor'.

        I'm not talking about individuals in paraphrasing Hare. I'm suggesting that this can also be true in dangerous governmental power-grabs like this situation. Some people felt the hair on the back of their necks rise from the very beginning of the media campaign. I just about fell off my chair.

        This is supposed to be a democracy.

        It strikes me as strange that only protestor conspiracy theories get tarred with the conspiracy label. But then Prime Minister Adern did set the tone of not listening to the deplorable rabble, so it should be no surprise that the nonsense is all that is amplified. Even misrepresenting clearly stated concerns is fair game in the media. I've lost count of items claiming the protest was anti-vaccination.

        And when Adern discovered that her publicly stated claim of being sprayed with acid by protestors was actually her receiving a bit of police tear gas spray, why the hell couldn't she behave with integrity and publicly apologise?

        You'd think she was deliberately fomenting division.

        • Anne 19.1.1.1

          I didn't read past the first sentence. You're completely off the planet! She's dealing with an effing pandemic. She's done a fantastic job and so have the Health Ministry and you get your knickers in a twist over some fictional totalitarian fantasy. They have saved thousands of lives. Does it not occur to you that is of paramount importance? Or don't you care? The mandates are going in the very near future. As soon as the omicron numbers start to trend downward (hopefully by the end of this month ) your fanciful dream of an authoritarian state will have disappeared into the ether.

          Has someone been filling your head with crap or have you been filling your own head with crap?

        • UncookedSelachimorpha 19.1.1.2

          "For goodness sake, she is a prime minister whose authoritarian actions cancelled democracy and created dangerous division."

          I don't remember any elections being cancelled. We aren't that divided; most people just wore a mask and got vaccinated.

          "This is supposed to be a democracy."

          That's why we recently had elections. And will again in a year or so.

          Your definition of democracy seems to be "me and a minority getting our own way, regardless of what other people voted for"

          I also think Ardern could have spoken with the rabble more….but I drove past the Picton toddler camp yesterday – the ridiculous garbage on their signs, be difficult to talk with them.

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Education Ministers from across the Pacific gather in Aotearoa
    Education Ministers from across the Pacific will gather in Tāmaki Makaurau this week to share their collective knowledge and strategic vision, for the benefit of ākonga across the region. New Zealand Education Minister Jan Tinetti will host the inaugural Conference of Pacific Education Ministers (CPEM) for three days from today, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • State Highway 5 reopens between Napier and Taupō following Cyclone Gabrielle
    A vital transport link for communities and local businesses has been restored following Cyclone Gabrielle with the reopening of State Highway 5 (SH5) between Napier and Taupō, Associate Minister of Transport Kiri Allan says. SH5 reopened to all traffic between 7am and 7pm from today, with closure points at SH2 (Kaimata ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Special Lotto draw raises $11.7 million for Cyclone Gabrielle recovery
    Internal Affairs Minister Barbara Edmonds has thanked generous New Zealanders who took part in the special Lotto draw for communities affected by Cyclone Gabrielle. Held on Saturday night, the draw raised $11.7 million with half of all ticket sales going towards recovery efforts. “In a time of need, New Zealanders ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government delivers a $3 million funding boost for Building Financial Capability services
    The Government has announced funding of $3 million for providers to help people, and whānau access community-based Building Financial Capability services. “Demand for Financial Capability Services is growing as people face cost of living pressures. Those pressures are increasing further in areas affected by flooding and Cyclone Gabrielle,” Minister for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Education New Zealand | Manapou ki te Ao – new Chair and member
    Minister of Education, Hon Jan Tinetti, has announced appointments to the Board of Education New Zealand | Manapou ki te Ao. Tracey Bridges is joining the Board as the new Chair and Dr Therese Arseneau will be a new member. Current members Dr Linda Sissons CNZM and Daniel Wilson have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Scholarships honouring Ngarimu VC and the 28th (Māori) Battalion announced
    Fifteen ākonga Māori from across Aotearoa have been awarded the prestigious Ngarimu VC and 28th (Māori) Battalion Memorial Scholarships and Awards for 2023, Associate Education Minister and Ngarimu Board Chair, Kelvin Davis announced today.  The recipients include doctoral, masters’ and undergraduate students. Three vocational training students and five wharekura students, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Appointment of Judge of the Court of Appeal and Judge of the High Court
    High Court Judge Jillian Maree Mallon has been appointed a Judge of the Court of Appeal, and District Court Judge Andrew John Becroft QSO has been appointed a Judge of the High Court, Attorney‑General David Parker announced today. Justice Mallon graduated from Otago University in 1988 with an LLB (Hons), and with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago

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