Tomorrow Cabinet faces probably the toughest decision they‘ve had to make since the country entered a lockdown in August. Does Auckland stay at Alert Level 4, or move to Level 3?
I’ve spoken to a lot of people over the week and for those in Auckland, this week - week 5, was the week people just gave up.
They’ve given up on home schooling (if they’re persevering they’ve at least given up pretending working from home is a breeze), they’ve given up getting dressed up for their Wear a Wig zoom meeting, they’ve given up trying to keep some semblance of order in the house.
Day 32 and Lockdown Fatigue has well and truly descended on Auckland.
It’s no surprise. 18 months into this pandemic and we all know it’s perfectly common to feel exhausted, flat, as if we are languishing, impatient, lonely, and lack motivation.
So how much should lockdown fatigue play in the government’s decision tomorrow? University of Auckland professor and Covid modelling expert Shaun Hendy mentioned on Friday that lockdown fatigue may necessitate an alert level shift in Auckland next week. Cabinet’s challenge will be balancing the risk of further transmissions at a lower level against the consequences of Auckland remaining in a level 4 lockdown.
There isn’t an Aucklander out there that doesn’t want to move to Level 3 on Tuesday night. But the only thing worse than staying in Level 4 this Wednesday would be moving to Level 3 and yo-yoing a week or two later back to Level 4 because of an increase in community transmission. It would be devastating.
Aside from a few outliers who think it’s okay to go to Taupo, Wanaka, Mt Ruapehu or for a quick Macca’s run over the border, most of us are following the rules (whether we like them or not) and getting vaccinated and tested if need be.
We’re done our best for our families and communities until now. But the government needs us all to continue to hold it together until our vaccination rate is higher, so in the interests of minimising dissent and maximising compliance I think they do need to weigh our fatigue in their decision.
But not before we consider issues like how many cases of concern are not linked to people known to have the virus, and the economic cost to people’s lives.
It’s been an incredibly rough ride for small and medium sized business, and industries such as hospitality and tourism. Too many business owners have spent the last month calculating whether this lockdown will be the end of their businesses.
So yes, I’m kind of counting on going to level 3 this week. Not so much for me, but for all those doing their best to keep businesses alive and people employed.