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Positives and negatives

September 6 2021 by Paul Taylor

Positives and negatives

What a difference a month makes. Back in early August, we were beginning to look to 2022 and the phased reopening of the borders, the talk was of regenerative tourism, and, despite the trans-Tasman bubble closing a couple of weeks before, the ski season was in full swing.

Then, on the same day as a huge snowstorm hit the skifields and we were all looking forward to powder days, the dreaded words ‘community case’ began to filter through. Back to the 1pm press conferences, the deliberately harsh buzz of the Covid-19 phone alert, lockdown, bubbles, masks, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, R numbers, wage subsidies, zoom meetings, sanitized shopping trolleys, taped off playgrounds, and, over the weekend, another Covid death.

With this, the Auckland terror attack, ominous worldwide flooding, Afghanistan, and the dozens of other alarming issues we doomscroll through on our phones each day, it’s easy to feel beaten down, negative and believe we are living through Revelations itself. Death. Check. Pestilence. Check.

But, in comparison to the last lockdown, we’re in a better place, aren’t we? Last time around, we were in Alert Level 3 or 4 nationwide for 50 days. Covid was everywhere in the country, including care homes, we were disinfecting groceries on our doorsteps, the world economy was in freefall, we were told vaccines would be at least 18 months away, if they came at all, and the ‘leader of the free world’ was talking about ingesting bleach. 

If you need a greater comparison to feel some positivity, look through history. Imagine living through the early 20th century, with apocalyptic world wars, an estimated 80 million dead, including about 45 million civilians. Or the 14th century, when The Black Death killed up to 200 million. Once you caught it, your family would have to abandon you. You’d be left in your hovel, lancing black ooze from boils the size of chicken eggs in your groin.

And there at least appears to be an endgame now. Once everyone has had the opportunity to be double jabbed, hopefully the risk is mitigated to the point the scales tilt in favour of freedom, opening the borders, getting on with life and building back the town’s businesses. Even lockdown itself had its positives. More family time, obviously, although as I write this the kids, five and seven, are squawking at each other like angry seagulls over who gets to use a Lego car windscreen. Daily walks again, a few runs, mountain biking (to your ability!), the epic silence of no cars or planes, and, most of all, the rapid escalation in vaccinations, which jumped from 2.5 million doses given, to 3.8 million over the three weeks.

There are reasons to be positive, even when everything seems to be going to hell.

Paul Taylor, Journalist
Queenstown Media Group

- Paul Taylor