The Prime Minister told us all that you should believe no one but them as the source of truth in this disaster. That would be fine if they were actually telling us the truth. I’ll give two examples.
On Sunday we were told that 56 people have recovered from COVID-19. Six days ago Dr Ashley Bloomfield, the Director-General of Health defined what “recovered” means:
Bloomfield said recoveries were classified as people who have overcome their symptoms, and been symptom-free for 14 days.Stuff
Interesting, so how many cases did New Zealand have 14 days before Sunday? The answer is 8 confirmed cases. How can there be 56 recovered people when there were only 8 confirmed cases 14 days previously?
I fully expect them to now come up with some cockamamie explanation that doesn’t come close to how either WHO or other countries classify “recovered”. It appears that the MoH has changed the definition to an even worse measure; recovery meaning 24 hrs without a temperature above 38 and major symptoms. In the US, in order to be declared recovered, it requires two separate and consecutive negative tests. It would seem our definition is somewhat whimsical and not based on science. Basically, if you look like you are “recovered”, you are, irrespective of whether or not you’ve tested negative. It could be we are letting “recovered” people loose into the community who are not in fact recovered. Who knows how many people they will subsequently infect because we aren’t actually following sensible guidelines for accurately defining what “recovered” means.
Then there is the curious case of the first unfortunate New Zealand victim of the pandemic. On Sunday Ashley Bloomfield told us that the first person had died, and also told us that they had underlying health issues. The Ministry of Health issued a press statement to that effect:
Sadly, New Zealand had its first death linked to COVID-19 on the West Coast early this morning.
The death was in a woman in her seventies who had initially been admitted four days ago with what was thought to be influenza complicated by a underlying chronic health condition.Ministry of Health
And yet, just a day later, relatives tell us a different story:
Anne Guenole died in Grey Base Hospital, Greymouth on Sunday morning. The Ministry of Health said Guenole, in her 70s, had initially been diagnosed with influenza that was complicated by an underlying health condition, but returned a positive test for Covid-19 on Saturday morning. The 21 staff who treated her are self-isolating.
[…] The family was unaware of any significant health conditions.
“She was a very private person, she didn’t give a lot away. A lot of old-school people, they don’t let you know when they’re unwell, she just didn’t put much out there, kept her aches and pains to herself.”Stuff
The first person to die from coronavirus in New Zealand initially thought she had a head cold, her family says.
Anne Guenole died in Grey Base Hospital, Greymouth on Sunday morning. The Ministry of Health earlier said Guenole had initially been diagnosed with influenza that was complicated by an underlying health condition, but returned a positive test for Covid-19 on Saturday morning. The 21 staff who treated her are self-isolating.
Guenole’s daughter said on Sunday evening her mother was “a beautiful, kind and caring woman, who was very much loved”.
Another family member, who declined to be named, told Stuff on Monday, the active 74-year-old mowed her own lawn and chopped wood but fell ill on Saturday, March 21.
Before that she had been going about her business shopping, talking to her neighbours and had a visit to the chiropractor.
“She went to the supermarket. She normally shops at Countdown. At that stage the train was still running so a tourist might have gone to the supermarket we just don’t know,” he said.
Family members visited her on Saturday March 21, when she became ill. “She thought she had a head cold,” he said.Stuff
A bad back is hardly an underlying health condition.
So what is the real story? Underlying health conditions or not?
We are a long way away from being able to rely on the information that is being, mostly, spoon-fed to an unquestioning media who seem unable to ask even simple questions like those raised above. Instead, we are getting daily Facebook updates from the Prime Minister that are all about feelz and lack substance. The media seem more interested in the potty habits of Neve than actually holding the woman fronting everything to account. We are in a health and economic crisis and this ninny of a Prime Minister has time to talk about potty training?
Has anyone seen or heard from the Health Minister? What about the Police Minister and the Civil Defence Minister? They are the three ministers in the hot seat and yet we are seeing or hearing nothing from them.
Why hasn’t the Government appointed a minister to oversee all of this as John Key did after Christchurch?
While they tell us that they are the only source of truth, it would appear that they are actually running around like the proverbial headless chooks. I suppose though that there will be one saving grace. With the Prime Minister fronting everything, she will be the only one we can blame when it all goes pear-shaped.