Home > Global, Social Issues > Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 5 & 6

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 5 & 6



22 August: Day 5 of living in lock-down…

Day’s beginning.

Current covid19 cases: 51

Cases in ICU: –

Number of deaths: –

Another day spent at home.

Morning; breakfast of low-sugar muesli and watch the eternally-young, but deceptively-capable Jack Tame on Q+A. First interviews Chris Hipkins who makes comments almost suggesting we will have to “live with covid19” at some time. The comments set of a flurry of media and social media speculation.

Jack Tame suggests we might’ve offered a “premium” to pharmaceutical companies to acquire their vaccines. Chris Hipkins replies that government has never offered a premium to jump the queue.

Rightly so. The suggestion is repellent. I would want no part of it.

And on a practical level, we’d be outbid every time by countries wealthier than us. In a “rule of the jungle”, Aotearoa New Zealand would lose every time.

Tampa survivor  and refugee from Afghanistan, Abbas Nazari, is interviewed. Mr Nazari is incredibly personable and articulate. There is something incredibly compelling about his insights. I can’t help but wonder if, in an Alternative Universe, he might’ve been a natural leader in his country of birth.

He is Afghanistan’s deepest loss and Aotearoa’s gain.

After Q+A I don’t go out. No groceries are needed (I don’t do the toilet paper hoarding thing) and there’s plenty to do around the house.

Listening to RNZ as I catch up on things I’ve been planning to do; assemble shelving for memorabilia displays; repairing items in my “breakages box” that I’ve been meaning to get around to for a while; strip bed; laundry; give cat cuddles; vacuum; change kitty-litter; dusting… the day fills with tasks I’ve no excuses to not do.

In the early evening; dinner; phone my work colleagues regarding rostered shifts and maintaining work ‘bubbles’. My throat has developed a minor soreness that becomes more noticeable as I’m chatting with my colleague. The soreness subsides later that night. Troubling…

I watch “One Land Bridge“, noting the weirdness that is so redolent of David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks“.

I chat with my partner on the phone and we share our weekend experiences. We have separate ‘bubbles’ because of my community work and extended ‘bubble’ that goes with it.

I’m feeling unusually tired and go to bed after chatting with my partner. Work tomorrow and I start early for a long day.

By Day’s End.

Current covid19 cases: 72

Cases in ICU: –

Number of deaths: –


23 August: Day 6 of living in lock-down…

Day’s beginning.

Current covid19 cases: 72

Cases in ICU: –

Number of deaths: –

I wake up feeling like crap. Fuzzy headed and lethargic. I have breakfast, shower, and prepare for work. I wait for the unwellness to subside.

Driving down along SH2, known informally as the “River Road”, I park my car by the roadside. Nearby, there are workers on two massive diggers with flashing yellow “alert” lights in the middle of the river and pushed-up mounds of rock.

I still don’t feel better. I phone the covid line (0800 358 5453). It’s not much help, I can’t get through. I phone the Healthline (0800 611 116) and I’m answered promptly. I relate my symptoms to the person on the line; she takes down my details; advises me a nurse will get back to me shortly. I thank her.

I hang up. My attention is drawn back to the men on the diggers. Should they be operating during a Level 4 lockdown? How is river works essential?

The number of commercial vehicles on the River Road is noticeable. If Delta spreads, businesses that continue to operate may likely be spreaders of this virus. Their occupants appear to travel widely throughout the Wellington region.

I take several photos with my smartphone.

First, an all-but-deserted SH2 River Road. There are no more than half a dozen vehicle on the road at any one time:



The two diggers, atop mounds of re-arranged river rock:




Do I carry on to work? Should I even be on the road?

I start my car and head south along SH2. The SH58 interchange comes into view and I make an immediate decision; head up the interchange on-ramp; veer right around the the roundabout and head back north. I’m going home. I shouldn’t’ve left my house in the first place; my thinking is that fuzzy.

Back home I phone and advise my manager.

The nurse phones me back later. She ‘interrogates’ my symptoms. I ask if I need covid testing. She replies; not at this stage, but if my condition worsens I’m to get down to a testing station. She advises rest, plenty of fluids, and paracetamol if I have it. I thank her for her help.

I take the paracetamol tablets, noting I need to buy more. Sleep.

A little later, waking, my head is clearer than before. Still a bit fuzzy, but not as bad as before. I phone Greater Wellington Regional Council, intrigued at the riverwork I’ve been witnessing on Friday and today. The receptionist take my details, and promises someone will call me back.

True to their work, “M.B.” phones me back from GWRC.

M.B. advises that the river work has been designated as “essential” and that it is permitted activity. He says the shifting of rock is necessary to “defend” river banks that’ve been scoured out by torrential flow after recent heavy rains. Riverbank walkways are threatened with collapse if left un-remediated.

M.B. explains the work was stalled last week because of more heavy rain – hence why work men were not on scene until last Friday.

M.B. reassures me that the workers are in their own “work bubble” and not interacting with the public.  Similar work is also being carried out further south at Pōmare, where river bank scouring has exposed (or threatening to expose) gas pipes. (Question: who builds gas pipes so close to a river?!) “Essential work” is also planned for Moonshine Park, along the river bank. Another riverbank walkway is also threatened.

I thank M.B. for returning my call and offering answers to my questions.

I’m still a bit fuzzy-headed and don’t question M.B. any further.

However, if river works are “essential work”, other businesses may reasonably question why they are missing out and not deemed “essential” as well.

Let’s hope M.B. is reflecting an accurate picture and the workers are keeping to a strict work bubble. A collapsed walkway can be repaired. Lives damaged by Delta Covid, not so easily.

Later in the night, I’m feeling better. If this was nothing more than a head cold, it was the first one since August last year.

But not surprising. The flutracker website has reported a recent upsurge in flulike symptoms:



A reminder that covid19 isn’t the only virus floating around, waiting to ‘hitch a ride’ in our warm breeding grounds that we call our bodies.

By Day’s End.

Current covid19 cases: 107

Cases in ICU: –

Number of deaths: –

So ended the fifth and sixth days of our journey to beat this thing.







RNZ: Covid-19 update – 21 new community cases in New Zealand today

RNZ: Covid-19 lockdown day 5 – How it unfolded

TVNZ: Q+A – Aucklanders told to prepare for more time in lockdown

TVNZ: Q+A – Tampa survivor on why New Zealand must again open doors to Afghanistan refugees

Flutracker: Weekly Interim Report New Zealand

RNZ: Live – Covid-19 updates on day 6 of lockdown

Twitter: Richard Hills – Ardern won’t regret helping save thousands of lives

Recommended Reading

The Guardian: The Covid crisis suits rightwing media personalities as they monetise fear


Wikipedia: COVID-19 pandemic death rates by country

Other blogs

The Standard: Matt King caught blowing anti vaccination dog whistle

Previous related blogposts    

Team 5 million vs Covid: Aotearoa on Three Strikes

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 1

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 2

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 3

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 4 – Caretaker Leader Collins, another rare mis-step




Acknowledgement: Rod Emmerson


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