A Real Disconnect: The Responses of Two Countries to the COVID-19 Pandemic

New Zealand has had 10 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the last 3 weeks, and 1 new case in the last week. We have 27 active cases. Over 97% cases have recovered.

Our Government announced today that they are relaxing restrictions around gatherings, going from 10 maximum to 100 maximum, from Friday.

Even more astonishing, we may downgrade to Alert Level 1 — pretty much “normal life” — by the end of June.

On the other hand, Air New Zealand announced they have extended their delay of reopening their Chicago, Houston, and San Francisco routes from 30 June 2020 to 31 August 2020 due to the continuing outbreak in the USA. There are still flights to and from Los Angeles but mostly to keep freight flowing. Our Government is advising Kiwis not to travel to the USA due to the pandemic.

I was upset because it made it crystal clear our trip to the States (already booked) will not be going ahead in 2020. We were quite sure it wasn’t but hearing “it’s not” is very final.

And there’s such a disconnect between a quite safe, post-lockdown life in New Zealand and the pandemic rampaging through the States, with some Federal sources claiming a mere month or less will lapse between the end of the first wave and the start of the second, possibly far more devastating, wave.

Seeing crowds gathering in several places around the United States during Memorial Day weekend, flouting social distancing or any sort of protection during this pandemic, in light of the 100,000 people dead and 1.68 million infected as of today, is astronomically ignorant and dangerous. This could easily explode into a major second wave much like what happened during the Spanish Flu pandemic back in 1918.

100,000 dead. That’s mind boggling.

More than that? 200,000? 300,000? 1 million?

That scares the daylights out of me.

What strange days we live in.