Firstly, Boris Johnson is in ICU, which is not a good thing -- particularly in the NHS.
We are now half way through the initial lockdown, which is designed, in New Zealand, to extinguish the infection. To date, it is working... our number of infections have plateaued, and we have lost but one person. The issues we are having are around compliance, made worse by the fact that our Minister of Health has broken the laws himself.
Health Minister David Clark has revealed that he took a trip to the beach during the alert level 4 lockdown and has offered to resign.
Clark said he drove his family 20km from his house in Dunedin to Doctor's Point Beach in Waitati for a walk during the first weekend of the lockdown in breach of the rules.
It's the second breach from the Dunedin North MP. On Thursday, April 3, he had to apologise to Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern for flouting the Government's advice to exercise locally after driving to a Dunedin mountain biking track.
The leader of the opposition is traveling further, on the assumption that he can only work from Wellington, and not from his house in Tauranga. The rest of us have to work by distance... which, yes, is difficult. This shows a lack of judgment.
And the press, finally, is starting to talk of the good things, and not be doomsters.
Perhaps you didn’t notice, but since Sunday, Fox News has dropped their habit of framing the screen with graphics showing the worldwide and nationwide totals of coronavirus cases and deaths. Perhaps some executive at the network came to the same realization I’d had for several days, namely that this Death Watch theme was . . . not helpful.
In mid-March, when Americans were first coming to grips with this pandemic — schools were closing, daily briefings, etc. — network executives got the idea that we needed these numbers constantly on our screens, to scare people and make them take “social distancing” seriously. Having accomplished that mission, however, they must have decided that their Death Watch motif was driving home-bound audiences crazy. We’re all trying our best to maintain a sense of optimism, and having these numbers omnipresent on TV news was not conducive to that effort.
The Other McCain
And the USA has freedom of religion and separation of the church and state. Which means the state can't regulate the churches, and the churches can't regulate the state. Hence some churches are staying open.
If the church stopped the politicians we would be told about it continuously. This irritates me, because our political class are the bunch breaking distancing rules, while we try to worship by zoom.
It shouldn’t escape anybody’s attention that unlike Costco and the liquor store, churches have been universally declared “non-essential businesses” for the Wu Flu Season. Me, I’ve noticed personality changes in myself as a consequence of not having ANY social contact for too long. Texting and Skype do not count as social contact.
Straight-up truth: the American GOVERNMENT has no authority whatsoever to order CHURCHES how to do their business of worshiping God. Separation of Church and State, remember? Remember it’s unacceptable for a Christian to so much as pray in public or erect a memorial cross on State property? How is it, then, that the State is ordering churches to stop congregating in the name of God on THEIR own property?
The lies get dropped so quickly when they’re no longer useful, one must train himself to notice the sudden silences.
Anyway, here’s a selection of the pastors defying quarantine orders and their motivations for doing so.
The above is well worth the read. So is this, from a retired prison chaplain.
I can already hear some objecting: "It's easy for you to say that, but what if you, personally, were part of the cost? Wouldn't you feel differently about it then?" Yes, I probably would, from my self-focused perspective, but my feelings won't change the facts. Life sometimes demands that we face up to reality. Insisting on personal privilege, safety, health, etc. is all very well, but what if the cost of those things is the destruction of the nation and society in which we live? Sooner or later, there has to come a point of decision. At what point do individual rights and privileges override the safety, security and existence of all of us as a group? Too many of us have refused to face up to that reality.
I can't help remembering the ancient custom in some rural African tribes. In times of drought and famine, the older members of the tribe were - and in some cases still are - expected to leave the village, go and lie down under a tree or bush, and starve themselves to death (or be killed and eaten by the many predators to be found on that continent). It's for the good of the others, so that scarce resources can be used to benefit those who can contribute more to the survival of the village or tribe as a whole. That's simply the way it is, and it has been for centuries, if not millennia. I'm sure the old people hate the idea, but they don't object, because they know and understand the reality of the situation. Their own parents or grandparents might have done the same before them.
In our modern First World societies, we've tended to forget the ancient reminder that "In the midst of life, we are in death". None of us is going to survive this life. Sooner or later, death will come to us. I'm amazed at how panic-stricken many people become at that simple realization, as if it were something ghastly and phobia-inducing. It happens to be inevitable, and we might as well get used to that fact. Nobody wants to die before their time - heck, most of us don't want to die even at a ripe old age! - but it's going to happen sooner or later, whether we like it or not. The coronavirus is simply one possible cause. All of our ancestors from a century or more ago lived with the daily possibility of death from this, or that, or the other loathsome disease. Medical science couldn't help them much, if at all.
Well we are facing another fortnight down here. Stay well, stay safe, and note that the virus does not care who you are.
In your charity, pray for Boris Johnson. Pray for his physical health and, if it is the Lord’s will that he is be the end of the road, for his spiritual one. God knows he needs God’s mercy. God knows we all do.
It is difficult to go to sleep knowing that tomorrow morning we might be informed that he is only breathing thanks to a ventilator and, by tomorrow evening, or in the next 36 hours, we might face a great tragedy.