Today Auckland finds itself back in lockdown. There’s anxiety in the community, panic buying again, and questions as to how this happened and who is to blame.
The anxiety is to be expected, and is a normal reaction to things beyond our control. But rather than get hysterical about this situation let’s take a deep breath and get on with trying to minimise the effects.
First up, we have been warned that this could happen. It has happened overseas and was probably inevitable. We won’t know immediately how the virus got into the community again but chances are it came via the border.
The government has acted decisively and hopefully the restrictions will be short lived.
So who is to blame?
Isn’t it obvious? The culprit is a sub-microscopic infectious agent called Covid-19. It is part of the Orthocoronavirinae family of viruses, and like all viruses, has adapted very well to infecting other creatures.
Current scientific consensus is that viruses have been around since life first appeared on Earth over 3 billion years ago. And some theories link viruses to the continuing evolution of life on this planet. Human beings have been around for less than 100,000 years.
So viruses have had billions of years to perfect their reproductive ability, and they do that by forcing other creatures to do that for them. Viruses mutate constantly to stay one step ahead of our immune system and they take advantage of our high mobility and social natures – we travel a lot and we mostly live together in dense cities.
They also take advantage of the fact that we don’t always behave as we should. Take a look at the United States where some people declare they won’t wear a mask in public because it infringes their freedom.
An infectious agent does not respect borders, or laws, or good intentions. It will ruthlessly exploit any weakness in our systems and none of those systems are infallible.
Before we seek to blame the government or others, remember that human beings are not perfect and keeping the virus out of the community requires a degree of trust and for all of us to play our part, and put aside our self-interest.
Despite the warnings and messages from the government, people have broken out of and indeed into quarantine centres. I have to acknowledge I have become complacent since lockdown ended in May. Taking note of my own movements and visitations to places and with people have been haphazard. How many others in this country can say the same?
Here in New Zealand we have done very well with Covid-19, but viruses are tricky little buggers that exploit any avenue to find hosts.
So, let’s get back to our homes, wash our hands, stiffen our lips for a while, and get this situation back under control!!