Posts Tagged ‘Dr Siouxsie Wiles’

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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Life in Lock Down: Day 3

29 March 2020 27 comments



Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations


March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago.

Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, pat and fed my companion animal. Finished off Day 2 blogpost in time to watch Newshub Nation. Listened to Dr Sandhya Ramanathan describe the extraordinary lengths to carefully decontaminate before and after leaving her hospital,  followed by further decon-protocols at her home.

It made the precautions we are taking for our clients seem so utterly amateurish. But considering my employers (a nationwide NGO) have no Pandemic Policy in place that I’m aware off, we’ve used our initiative and common sense.

Political commentators Neale Jones and Matthew Hooton were both singing from the same “song sheet”. There’s nothing quite like an amoral, apolitical, non-sentient deadly virus to focus the mind.

As I begin this blogpost, it was raining  heavily. Normally not a weather situation I’d be happy with, but today and for the next three weeks, it is a blessing from Nature. It may help keep people off the streets, parks, beaches, etc, and (except for short walks in their immediate area) stay at home;



I won’t be driving around today to observe what others are doing. Which restricts my reporting, but if I’m to follow my own demands of others – I stay home. Aside from short walks along my own road, observing strict two metre rule, staying home means staying home.

Which made some of the emails/txts read out by Kim Hill all that much difficult to stomach. Idiots were justifying why the rules did not apply to them and why, as surfers and mountain bikers, they were more expert at judging risk than all the medical professions in the world.

As at today, the number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand has jumped by eightythree cases and now stands at 451.

But these thrill seeking morons on surf boards and mountain bikes seem to think they are bullet proof? Or virus proof?

I can only surmise these surfers and bikers have had a few to many knocks to their soft skulls.

Spent the day…

Breakfast (coffee, toast with tomato and toast with fresh, ripe fig).


Shower. Coffee.


Watched “Newshub Nation“. Sent “tweet” to “Nation” producers; “Anyone else thanking the gods that production of masks is a local NZ industry and not “exported” to overseas manufacturers… like China?



Brunch. Coffee.




Finish Day 2 of “Living under the Lock Down“.






Watched Seth Myers on Youtube calling out Trump for his lack of action on the virus epidemic hitting the US. Evidently, Trump’s approval ratings now stands at 49 to 60%, of  Americans saying he’s doing a “good job“. Wait till the body count starts to mount up, and footage of body bags fills the evening television news. Footage like that killed public support for American involvement in the Vietnam War.






Listened to Ministry of Health press conference. Covid19 cases now up to 451. Two are in ICU. John Ombler, the All of Government Controller, was blunt when he called out spectacularly moronic behaviour from some people;

“I have heard today that some people were playing touch rugby and frisbee in parks, that’s just stupid. People need to stop doing that sort of thing. COVID can transfer on a frisbee from one person to another. With touch rugby, it is quite obvious. Please, don’t do it. Don’t be stupid.”



Email to my organisation regarding possible ‘re-jigging’ of our rosters and number of clients we attend to. (The fewer clients, the smaller our ‘bubble’.)




Afternoon tea


Twitter. A bit of laundry washing.


4.30PM: Did I just see what I think I saw out my window? Guy drives up in white canopied hilux ute. Ute has a company logo on the side relating to an early childhood company;



Guy goes inside a house, by himself. Comes out about ten minutes later with two children (around 8 to 10 years old?). Woman comes with them. Was she providing a child care service? Were they a separated couple? Whichever the case, it appears that two children are moving between two adults, as well as both having adult-to-adult contact.

I sincerely hope they constitute one “bubble”. What is the likelihood?





Late afternoon tea


Watched 6PM TV1 News. Shouted myself to a bowl of (sugar free) chocolate ice cream.


7PM: Went for walk around my block. Weather was autumnal, overcast, chilly, but had stopped raining. Must have seen five other human beings in my walk. One followed the two metre distance perfectly, giving me a wide circle; gave him a wave, cheery smile, and a big “Thank You!”

I usually pick up plastic detritus along the way; bottles, tops, coffee cup lids, straws, lollypop sticks, etc. Tonight I touched nothing. Not worth the risk.

The Kiwirail Park’n’Ride carpark was utterly empty. Not even one vehicle;



Came home, put on Julee Cruise CD for some soft-but-dark background music. When the world feels like it’s falling apart (due in no short part to the human tendency for self-destructive dumbness), you want an appropriate soundtrack. Either Ms Cruise or Smashing Pumpkins’ “The Beginning Is The End Is The Beginning“.

9PM(ish): Phoned my partner. We don’t live together and because I work in the community, with a larger-than-desirable-“bubble”, we have decided to isolate from each other. She has her “bubble”, I have mine. If I catch covid19 – which is more likely than her getting it – I won’t be able to infect her. So for one month, we chat over the phone but nothing more.

I work in the community and am at higher risk than most others. We are foregoing contact to mitigate risk to her.  All these things, we do because it is necessary.

So people will excuse me and understand why when I see others casually disregarding keeping to a “bubble”; not observing the two-metre protocol;  enjoying themselves with frisbees, surfing, boating, and other thoughtless behaviour… I am more than a wee bit miffed. Their’s is the sharp end of self-entitlement.

Watched some America news channel news clips on You Tube. The slow disintergration of the United States is like a driving past a vast car pile-up on the motor-way; grimly fascinating. You don’t want to watch the carnage… but you can’t help yourself, wondering what is next.

With my companion cat on my lap, time for a brief check on Twitter. Received lovely compliment re Day 2 of my Lock Down diary. Sent back reply.

And then… This;



Simon Bridges just can’t f*****g help himself, can he?!?

I responded;

Come on,Mr Bridges,really?!There are umpteen sources of news. Closing nonessential ones -even if distasteful- may save lives If you have concerns,do what adults do: talk to each other. Its what youre paid to do Ive stopped using the nationalnotfittogovern. You stop politicking

Time for bed.  Maybe read another chapter of SS-GB, an alternative Earth history novel by Len Deighton. Then lights out and see what tomorrow brings. TVNZ’s Q+A is on at 9AM, then…?


For those people who do not understand the manner in which contagion spreads, Dr Siouxsie Wiles, microbiologist sums it up in simple terms;

“Because people can spread the virus for a few days before they have any symptoms, each person who contracts the virus can unwittingly pass it on to several of their whānau, friends and colleagues. Then each one of them can unwittingly pass it on to several of their whānau, friends and colleagues. This means that if, left unchecked, the number of cases grows exponentially. This is what we are seeing in so many countries overseas. Spinoff cartoonist Toby Morris’s illustration of that concept has circled the globe in recent days.” – Siouxsie Wiles, 26 March 2020

And for those simple souls who still don’t get it, illustrator Toby Morris has drawn a pretty picture with crayons;






Newshub Nation:  I don’t want to be a hero, I want to live

Twitter: JackyNinjaKitty – “Stay at Home” – 28 March 2020

RNZ: Coronavirus – 83 new cases in New Zealand, two patients in intensive care

NPR:  Trump’s Approval Hits New High, But A Rally-Around-The-Flag Effect Is Small

US History:  The Vietnam War

Mediaworks/Newshub:  Coronavirus – Infected being abused online, Kiwis ignoring rules by playing sport

Twitter: Simon Bridges – closure community papers – 28 March 2020

The Spinoff:  Siouxsie Wiles & Toby Morris – You’re waking up in lockdown New Zealand. Here’s how it works

Previous related blogposts

The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus

Life in Lock Down: Day 1

Life in Lock Down: Day 2





Acknowledgement: Slane


This blogpost was published on The Daily Blog on 29 March 2020.


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