Sir Robert Jones – With the public’s broad support, in the face of the Covid threat, the government closed down New Zealand, imposing a dictatorial control regime to an extent unprecedented in our history.
That said, every measure they took copied to the letter what was being done abroad, albeit to little criticism from a panic-ridden populace. I was a critic, claiming we were fortunate on a number of counts and need not have aped other nations to such an extent. I stand by that with one qualification.
What we knew about the virus victims at the halfway stage justified such criticism. However, with the passing of time a clearer picture has emerged. Without doubt the most at risk were nursing home patients who worldwide, went over like ninepins. So too in New Zealand, 19 of our 22 deaths came from nursing homes and with an average age of over 90.
These were people in the main who’s mind and memories had gone and were demented. Their existence was a horror story. Most folk over 50 are familiar with that awful scenario with a friend or relative and know the relief when news of their demise occurs.
But in sheer numbers we now know the biggest toll has been the obese which has accounted for 50% of deaths in Britain and America, mostly with their poor and conspicuously with black folk. New Zealand has an obesity issue with Islanders and Maoris in particular. Had we done nothing they’d have likely gone over in droves.
Throughout the past 6 months the world has been subjected to a huge variety of “expert” opinions. New Zealand has been no exception. Numerous hitherto unknown academics, specialising in plagues, epidemics, viruses and such-like have emerged.
When I commented on this to a senior government figure he replied darkly, “that’s precisely why we need university reform.” I agree, but that’s another issue.
World-wide there’s been massive variations of expert opinion disputing the proper approach and the critical trade-off with the economic consequences. Nobel prize winners and other experts have ranged from a virtually do nothing strategy to imposing a Dark Ages monastic lifestyle on everyone.