Why I don’t watch the 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Covid press conferences anymore
OPINION: Somewhere between 43 BC and 17 AD, the poet Publius Ovidius Naso coined the phrase “the grass is always greener on the other side”.
In 2021, New Zealand is a classic example of this expression. You only have to visit us to experience it, that is, of course, if you are lucky enough to participate in our MIQ lottery system and win a place in the one of our five-star accommodations with breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
When you sit in that hotel room for 14 days and turn on your TV you will hear that we have over 100 community cases every day but we are locking you down for not having covid in the community. At this point, you should call the hotel reception and order your next meal yourself.
It is time for the World Health Organization to produce a universal standard for managing Covid; failure to do so allows many world leaders to hold press conferences with the line “our Covid response is world leader”, but the irony is that no one really knows what defines “world leader”.
* As Covid lingers in the community, questions remain…
* Covid-19: why does the number of cases continue to increase despite confinements and vaccination rates?
* Covid-19: How far is Auckland from the 90% fully vaccinated target
* Covid-19: 129 new cases in Delta community outbreak, highest number yet
* Covid-19: Northland vaccination rates ‘low’, Maori communities urged to get bitten
Is there a top university in the world where these world leaders get their global covid management degree?
In the aftermath of Covid, will the total number of deaths be the only determining factor of who was a world leader in the management of Covid? In the race to become a world leader, New Zealand is forgetting something crucial – the carnage it leaves behind disguised as Covid management.
The cost of preventing a disease should not exceed the disease itself. It’s like saving a driver in a car accident by maneuvering the car over innocent pedestrians. It’s the classic New Zealand way of dealing with Covid.
If there was a metric index that measured the most compliant population at all alert levels, I’m optimistic that New Zealand will top the charts, but not anymore. The reason we as a team of five million aren’t as compliant as we were at the start of the pandemic isn’t because of a major shift in our ideology or our understanding of Covid, it’s is more on you, Prime Minister.
When the leader of the nation holds a press conference, a collective team aspiration of five million echoes every 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. with the hope that value-added information will reach us, but we are disappointed .
Human behavior is such that if hope and aspiration is your tool as a leader to play with the people and expect them to play by the rules, then you play by that too, but here’s the timeline of your continued failure to convey the hope you have given to the people.
It all started with: follow all alert level restrictions and reclaim your freedoms.
Then it was “get vaccinated and be free”, then it was “all eligible population must be vaccinated”, followed by “we all have to wait 90% of a single dose”, and later ” we all have to wait for the 90% double dose”, and now “we all have to wait for the 90% fully vaccinated DHBs”.
I bet Prime Minister none of us will have a problem with the end goal, we are all behind you in achieving this colossal task; My only concern is why didn’t our kind Prime Minister, who also happens to be a beacon of transparency, give the people the end goal from the start?
If 90% of every DHB vaccination was the goal and the rest today surely wasn’t the goal you set for yourself last week, the cabinet knew that, but you chose to keep that for the moment. team of five million.
With all due respect, Mr Prime Minister, I stopped watching your press conferences, not because I no longer love you as a leader, you are a wonderful human being, but the truth is It’s not that all wonderful humans can also be capable prime ministers.
Can you remember two press conferences from the last four weeks and highlight the new information you added to our lives? And I’m not just talking about the change in traffic light alert levels activity, I mean what new value-added accurate information with timelines and dates do I have now that I didn’t have ago four weeks ?
- We still don’t know when gyms, libraries, cafes and restaurants will open.
- We still don’t know when we will be able to meet their parents with dementia in a retirement home.
- We still don’t know when we will be able to travel abroad.
- We are still unsure when our overseas loved ones will be able to return home as there are no MIQ places available.
- We still don’t know when we will get the vaccination passports.
- We still don’t know what the MIQ is for when you have over 100 Covid cases in the community.
The truth is, we still don’t know anything after watching all of your press conferences. I wonder if you ever reflect on those press conferences and shared any valuable new information. I’m not saying this out of lack of empathy or ignorance, but in my humble opinion, it’s an informed question.
Can you explain to the 70% of fully vaccinated people in the country why are they still locked down? If you claim that you are saving people’s lives, then do you guarantee that with a 90% vaccination rate, we will not have any Covid-related deaths in the country?
I understand that realistically you can’t do that, just like you can’t save people’s lives, you’re not a messiah, you’re a prime minister of a country elected to run the country not out of fear of Covid, but out of nation health care competence.
Your goal shouldn’t be to say things like “thousands of people are going to die”, but rather to use this time to strengthen our health care so that thousands of people don’t die.
Here is my free suggestion: New Zealand is the most beautiful democracy funding all kinds of referendums, from changing the flag design to legalizing cannabis, let’s hold a referendum on how many people want you to save their lives thanks to these confinements?
If the majority population votes for a lockdown, so be it, if not, on what basis do you impose these lockdowns and cover it up saying it’s for the greater good. If confinement is good for us, then let’s decide by referendum.
- Jilesh Desai is Director of Productions and Promotions and presenter at Auckland-based Indian radio station Radio Tarana