On the TV1 News on Saturday, the leading story was – you guessed it – all about a ‘deadly’ new strain of COVID, originally named the Nu strain, but now named Omicron (an anagram of ‘moronic’, which seems totally appropriate). The presenter told us in breathless style how this is more contagious and more deadly than Delta… not that she, or anyone else knows that for a fact as yet. All viruses mutate. That is their nature and most of the mutations, in general, are weaker than the last. Bits fall off. It happens. And it is probably happening now.

All I could think of was – oh no! Here we go again. More panic, more lockdowns, more of normal life cancelled. Is this going to ruin Christmas for most western countries? Again? Is this going to stop the painfully slow programme that we have now embarked upon to finally open New Zealand up to the rest of the world?

Boris Johnson has ordered the return of face masks in a country that has had no restrictions since July. But it is all such a waste of time. The cat is already out of the bag: the new variant has already spread to Europe, and now possibly Australia. No need for us to panic though; our borders have been firmly shut for the best part of two years and at the moment everyone coming into the country still has to undergo testing and quarantine, although this system is due for abandonment soon. Will the government use Omicron to reverse that decision? Quite possibly, they are moronic enough to do so.

Stop the world. I really, really want to get off.

This pandemic has made a mockery of both modellers and public health experts. First, we were told to wash our hands, wash our hands, wash our hands… until they figured out that the Covid virus, like most others, is airborne. We were told that masks were useless, but now have to wear them every time we venture out of the house, even to the ridiculous extent of wearing them when entering a restaurant but taking them off once seated.

The great Shaun Hendy told us we would lose 30,000 people which would have been a higher rate per capita than anywhere else in the world. That was absolute rubbish but it was very effective for scaring the populace. Then there were lockdowns. Yes, lockdowns have helped to slow the spread of the virus but, unless everyone is locked down forever, all that lockdowns do is postpone the inevitable. Ask the people of South Auckland how that is working out for them.

The doctor who diagnosed the Omicron strain has identified it as mild, with symptoms ranging from sore muscles and maybe a bit of a cough, but nothing very terrible.

But we’re vaccinated, aren’t we? Most of us are anyway. It is just a variant. Surely most of the population is protected? Well, not if you listened to the TV1 News. You would have thought they were announcing the return of the Spanish ‘Flu, which killed 50 million people, and also had variants, such is the fear that they were so desperate to promote.

The thing that gets me most is the madness from people whom I used to think of as sane and smart. A very good friend was talking about workplace vaccine policy and admitted that she didn’t want to be in the same room as someone who was not vaccinated… even though she may have sat next to them perfectly happily for the last 5 years. I asked her when exactly did the situation change, seeing that, throughout the whole of last year, we had no vaccines and didn’t think twice about sitting next to an unvaccinated person. Why have they suddenly become unclean when they were not unclean before?

The whole sentiment on the TV1 News was that of panic and there was a strong implication that the government was not doing enough to deal with the latest crisis. Journalists overseas are asking why governments are not ‘doing more’ and, no doubt, our journalists will start asking the same question. The only question journalists never seem to ask is – at what point do we return to a normal level of risk appetite and get our lives back on track?

They don’t ask that question because there is no panic in it. No panic means no clickbait… and we can’t have that, can we?

Protect yourselves in whatever way you see fit. If you believe in lockdowns, lock yourself down. If you believe in vaccination, you have probably already been vaccinated. Then take a deep breath and get on with your life. This is no way to live. There is too much at stake for us all to go into panic mode every time there is a new variant.

We need to start living our lives again. We need the health system to stop worrying about being ‘overwhelmed’ when it has never been overwhelmed to date. We need kids to return to school and stay there. We need to think about mental health, the economy, local business and the truly important things about life. We need to get back to ‘normal’. Otherwise, the government and the panic merchants in the media win… and that would be truly moronic.

Can We Please Return to Normal?


Ex-pat from the north of England, living in NZ since the 1980s, I consider myself a Kiwi through and through, but sometimes, particularly at the moment with Brexit, I hear the call from home. I believe...