Andrew Dickens: Today marks day one of the most critical battle yet

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Mon, 31 Aug 2020, 1:56PM
Counties Manukau Police hand our face masks at the Manukau Bus Station in Monday morning. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Andrew Dickens: Today marks day one of the most critical battle yet

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Mon, 31 Aug 2020, 1:56PM

So here we are again at yet another crossroad on our Covid path.  A six-month journey that so far that feels more like a year.  A period of time that is but a blip in the timeline of a virus or a pandemic. 

There always the common perception that tasks grow easier as time goes on.  Not in this one.  This is the hardest part of the battle so far.  The coming weeks will test us as we have never been tested so far and in my opinion, we come into the test underdone. 

Whatever the real story is behind the official social media call for half of Auckland to get tested this weekend, I believe it’s indicative of underlying tension that many of us are unaware of. 

I believe that the Ministry would have liked to have tested half of Auckland.  I bet that’s where the messaging first came from.  I believe they would have extended the heightened alert levels.  I believe the Ministry and Ashley believe that this is a risky call and the chances of failure and a situation like Melbourne are not inconsiderable.  

In this whole process, I have not believed the myth that the Ministry of Health under Ashley Bloomfield has enjoyed a tension-free relationship with the Government under Jacinda Ardern. 

They are not some united team, bonded at the hip, imploring the team of 5 million to crack on.   

The government are politicians and politicians are attuned to public sentiment.  Throughout the Covid battle, the government has mitigated the health professionals desires.  

If Ashley was in sole charge, we would have gone down earlier, we would have gone down harder, we would have gone down longer. 

But the politicians realise there is a limit to the public’s patience.  And we are at that limit. The well expected bottoming out of the economy is here.  The wage subsidy ending. The people whose businesses and jobs have been hanging on by their fingertips are losing grip. 

Egged on by a constant level of exaggerated of criticism and comment that says everything’s a shambles, or a disaster, or a science experiment, or a conspiracy, the country has had enough and we are prepared to take the risks and the government knows it. 

But are we really? To avoid a Melbourne we are going to have to take a level of personal responsibility that we have never done so far.  We are going to have to social distance, we are going to have to mask up in crowds, we’re going to have to use the Covid app.  We’re going to have to accept some personal hassle to prevent a much greater imposition. 

But crowds at beaches and the running battles I have witnessed at supermarkets when people are asked to register do not bode well. 

The news that members of a church in the middle of the outbreak had been holding secret prayer meetings is even more concerning.  What on earth were they praying for?  If it was an end to the pandemic then their prayers failed at an epic level. 

Mistakes by the Government have created a small but vocal group of opponents who believe the whole approach is wrong.  And all it takes is a small group to become infected and six months of work flies out the window. 

Today is the first day of the most critical battle yet.  Let’s hope we’re up for it. 

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