Archive for 15 April 2020

Life in Lock Down: Day 20



April 14: Day 20 of living in lock-down…

Today was a rotten day for four (at least) families. Four more people have succumbed to covid19. Despite recording only seventeen new cases – a cause for some celebration – knowing that families have lost loved ones to this virus dampens any notion of joyous celebration.

And I fear it will get worse.

Meanwhile there remains agitation from some quarters to lift restrictions and open up the economy. Whether it’s Matthew Hooton on RNZ’s Political Panel, or ACT’s David Seymour, or disturbingly chilling comments from senior lecturer in epidemiology at Auckland University Dr Simon Thornley on today’s [14 April]  Morning Report – there are clamouring voices who appear to take our limited success in containing the contagion as some sort of “green light” to throw caution to the winds.

Dr Thornley’s cool, calm, methodical voice belied the casual disregard he showed to the risk faced by the elderly and those with under-lying medical conditions;

“We believe that the lockdown is an over-reaction, we believe that it doesn’t match the threat posed by the virus. One of the world’s leading statisticians has said that the risk of dying of covid19 is about same as your risk of dying that year anyway.

It’s effectively like squeezing your risk into two weeks.”

Corin Dann asked what Dr Thornley’s modelling has shown on the risks of covid19, he um’d, ah’d, and replied;

“We haven’t done modelling to predict what is going to happen, but we’ve actually observed what has happened in other countries that have had less severe lock-downs…”

When Corin Dann pointed out that Dr Thornley was asking the vulnerable and the elderly in New Zealand to “shoulder a much bigger risk”, he couldn’t offer an answer. You could almost feel Dr Thornley “shrugging”.

Dr Thornley replied he was “sceptical of modelling and assumptions”. He glossed over high death rates until Corin Dann pointed out high death rates had hit certain countries hard.

Corin Dann returned to the elderly faced a greater risk of death from the virus. Dr Thornley replied that “the elderly unfortunately every flu season people die of seasonal influenza“.

So, that’s ok then. In effect, the premature death of people is acceptable as long as the number is below fatalities caused by influenza. Premature death caused by disease; automobile crashes; drug and alcohol abuse; poor safety practices in the construction, farming, and logging industries; murder…

Because influenza has a set death rate, it has become a bench-mark for Dr Thornley?

Corin Dann quite rightly pointed to influenza vaccines being available to protect the elderly and vulnerable.

Dr Thornley deftly side-stepped influenza and referred to Australia “weathering the storm” with fewer restrictions.

Australia has 6,500 covid19 cases with sixtyone deaths. Hardly a target we should be emulating.

Microbiologist, Dr Siouxsie Wiles, was not impressed  with Simon Thornley;

“To all the media listening to the 6 expert men, please ask them for the data which they say shows #COVID19 is “not the disaster we feared and prepared for”. Also please be mindful that Thornley did some spectacular cherry-picking last time he made the same claim.

It’s worth noting that the 6 experts seems to be saying that as vulnerable people would die at some point anyway, why not just let it be from Covid. My mum has a condition that makes her very vulnerable. But she’s fit & active & still leading a full life. Why should she die now?”

She quite rightly asked for the data from Dr Thornley;

Again. #COVID19 cases grow exponentially. So please Thornley, Schofield, et al. Show us your data. Because the data I’m looking at has plenty of countries digging mass graves.

But… according to Dr Mengele Thornley, mass graves are ok. As long as the number do not exceed influenza-caused deaths in any given year.  And anyway, victims of covid 19 were going to die anyway.

Much like you, reading this blogpost. Or me, writing it. And everyone else. We’re all going to die. Covid19 just does it in two weeks.

It strikes me as bizarre that – in a strange way – we are victims of our own success in dealing with this contagion. Because our elected representatives, the Ministry of Health, and legends in the  health sector  have achieved such incredible success in containing the spread of infection, somehow that has translated in the minds of some as an “over reaction”. That we should have been more relaxed. Let the disease take it’s course.

Because didn’t that work out well in China, Italy, Spain, France, and the United States?!

The irony is that these Doubting Thomas’s and Thomasinas  have the luxury to express such a view only because of our success. Had we gone the way of China, Italy, Spain, France, and the United States – the screaming would be from the other direction;


Why didn’t you go sooner and harder?!”


Typical of some New Zealanders to be so lacking in self-confidence that success somehow equates to failure.

Well, listening to our very own “Angel of Death” was a helluva way to start the morning off. And it went downhill from there…

The good news is that Hutt Gas & Plumbing were able to fix the hose on my washing machine.

The not-so-good news? The plumber (nice bloke buy the way!) had better PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) than I have in my job: full body protection suit; mask; gloves, the whole nine yards. He put the gear on outside; entered the house; replaced the munted hose; left; and removed his gear.

So to get good PPE you should be a plumber, not a worker in the Health sector.

Good to know for future reference.

Also good to know that DHBs should be sacked in future and replaced with Commissioners if they continue to withhold PPEs from frontline health workers;



Another work day. Despite getting used to the restrictions of the lock-down, there are still frustrations. Food delivery to the facility I work at did not arrive today. Three hours wasted. Supplier promised delivery tomorrow at mid-day.

Running short on ASTM level1 masks. But on the positive side, our facility has plenty of blue latex gloves.

Maybe another facility that has spare face masks but is short on gloves can contact me and we can do an exchange?  Can throw in some feijoas from my tree as well, to ‘sweeten the deal’?

Or I can take up plumbing.


Current covid19 cases: 1,366

Cases in ICU: 3 (1 critical)

Number of deaths: 9







RNZ: Nine To Noon – Political Panel

Mediaworks/Newshub:  Coronavirus – New Zealand should consider quitting lockdown early, David Seymour says

RNZ:  Coronavirus – Academics want much looser rules after lockdown

Twitter: Dr Siouxsie Wiles – Dr Thornley – 14 April 2020

Twitter: Dr Siouxsie Wiles – mass graves – 14 April 2020

Otago Daily Times:  Health workers call for urgency over protective gear shortages

Mediaworks/Newshub:  DHBs accused of charging doctors for personal protective gear amidst COVID-19 outbreak

RNZ:  DHBs accused of ‘rationing’ PPE say they’re working to distribute it

Fairfax/Stuff: Coronavirus – New national PPE distribution system introduced after faults and shortages

Newsroom:  Carers forced to wash and reuse masks

RNZ:  Four more Covid-19 deaths in New Zealand, 17 new cases

Must Read

Elemental: Hold the Line

Democracy Now:  Madrid’s Ice Rink Turned to Morgue as Spain Exceeds China in Coronavirus Deaths

Previous related blogposts

The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus

Life in Lock Down: Day 1

Life in Lock Down: Day 2

Life in Lock Down: Day 3

Life in Lock Down: Day 4

Life in Lock Down: Day 5

Life in Lock Down: Day 6

Life in Lock Down: Day 7

Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)

Life in Lock Down: Day 8

Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)

Life in Lock Down: Day 9

Life in Lock Down: Day 10

Life in Lock Down: Day 11

Life in Lock Down: Day 12

Life in Lock Down: Day 13

Life in Lock Down: Day 14

Life in Lock Down: Day 15

Life in Lock Down: Day 16 – Bad Friday

Life in Lock Down: Day 17

Life in Lock Down: Day 18

Life in Lock Down: Day 19






This blogpost was also published on The Daily Blog on 15 April 2020.


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