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Covid-19 Omicron Outbreak: John Tamihere – this Covid hangover isn’t going away until we find someone else to scapegoat.

Kahu

Put away the Covid kits – we’re over it. Photo / NZME

OPINION

Without a doubt you and I are over Covid. We’re sick of talking about it, hearing ‘experts’ give their opinion on it and letting him take the blame for everything that’s wrong.

This is being generously facilitated by the media, who continue to update us daily with case numbers, deaths and patients in the ICU. We are concerned with the numbers but strive for the light at the end of the tunnel. This Covid hangover will not go away until we all find something else to use as a scapegoat besides the Ukraine war and Covid.

People’s mental health is suffering and they are taking their frustration out on themselves, on each other, on society and of course on the Labor government, which is declining in popularity.

I am confident that dr. Ashley Bloomfield will be on the Queen’s Honors List next year because he’s basically doing his job. Without a doubt the first few months of 2020 were alarming, we were uncertain, we needed a hero and he became that. However, once we took off our rose-colored glasses, we saw the flaws in the way he blocked RATs and saliva tests last year, as well as his inability to share patient data for vaccination purposes. Indeed, they chose lower population numbers on which to base vaccine success results.

dr  Ashley Bloomfield will be on the Queen's Roll of Honor next year because he's basically doing his job.  Photo / NZME
dr Ashley Bloomfield will be on the Queen’s Roll of Honor next year because he’s basically doing his job. Photo / NZME

What Covid has brought to all of us has been heightened forms of fear and tension from all these so-called experts who can’t wait to give their opinions. But what? They don’t tell us anything that we don’t know. We are educated, well connected and able to compare global best practices. In other words, we’re not all stupid.

We don’t need to hear any more from Covid because we’re literally over it. The problem has been solved. We now know that the healthcare system will not buckle and collapse this winter. We still have five weeks of winter left, then we’ll be in spring on September 1st. We have seven weeks until September 22nd which is Daylight Saving Time. Bring it on! The two and a half year blockade in bubble wrap meant we were about to be inundated.

There is no doubt that the flu season in this country, as in other countries, is cyclical with the rise and fall of winter. We now know that our Covid positive numbers are falling and there are several reasons for this. It could be that we just don’t play the game by uploading our test results due to Covid fatigue. And the need for intensive care unit beds is the first determinant of any litmus test of whether the healthcare system is functioning. Not only does it work, it can also provide gains. We are also a heavily vaccinated country. So all measures on all algorithms shows that the great nation of Aotearoa has overcome Covid.

What I want to know is why are we lagging behind our Australian neighbors who are getting on with life and in many cases if you test positive it’s business as usual. Our Prime Minister has received terrible advice from her senior civil service during this pandemic. What it shows you is how great the gap is between politicians who set policies and bureaucrats who voluntarily or not carry them out.

John Tamihere, CEO of Te Whānau o Waipareira.  Photo / NZME
John Tamihere, CEO of Te Whānau o Waipareira. Photo / NZME

The next question is, are there other variants that are as virulent as Covid-19 was when it first emerged? The answer to this question is: no. What I find more frustrating is what we don’t know. From the death rates, we don’t know how many of them were unvaccinated. And we don’t know how many people who died with Covid actually died from Covid. These are very
important numbers that the system does not want us to know. Greater transparency will loosen officials’ control over the narrative. The same narrative that makes us worried and afraid.

Covid has run its course. Here at Te Whānau o Waipareira we will welcome back those displaced by vaccination regulations. We understand why these mandates were applied at the time, but our doors are open to these employees when there are vacancies. This is part of bridging the gap back to those parts of the community that were deeply affected, more so than others.

As a rule, we Kiwis always believed in our system and we can’t do it anymore. We are waking up to a lot of what is really going on, like the price gouging in the construction and food sectors. What we all need and want is absolute clarity that will help us with our current mindset and give us back some confidence in our system of leadership and accountability.

John Tamihere is a former Minister of Labor and Chief Executive of Whānau Ora and the Urban Māori organization Te Whānau o Waipareira in West Auckland.

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