New Zealand has been in the midst of another intense, draconian lockdown for the past seven weeks after discovering that their supposed “zero COVID” status had given way to several cases on the island nation. With a universal healthcare system that -like every other socialist policy – is not equipped or flexible enough to deal with a constantly evolving health crisis, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern decided the only option was to basically imprison New Zealanders in their homes until COVID had disappeared.
The policy was not only unpopular, it was chaotic. New Zealanders complained about unclear rules for those trying to return home from international travel, rules for “essential” travel around the country and a confused vaccine rollout that is still experiencing delays despite their “customers” being basically a captive audience at this point.
Now comes news that Ardern is backing away from the “COVID Zero” ideas that have thus far driven her policy. The Prime Minister says the surge of the Delta variant has shifted the goal and it is no longer realistic to expect to eliminate the virus completely.
“In fact, for this outbreak it’s clear that long periods of heavy restrictions have not got us to zero cases.”
New Zealand is abandoning its "Covid zero" goal of eliminating the coronavirus. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern acknowledged an end to the strategy seven weeks into a lockdown that has failed to halt an outbreak of the Delta variant. https://t.co/NmMx4PsmJz pic.twitter.com/dM2OPxLsk9
— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 4, 2021
The entire notion that a nation of any size can make a microscopic virus go away if they just made people hide for long enough was ridiculous from the beginning. It was arrogant for New Zealanders to prematurely celebrate “zero COVID” after their first round of harsh lockdowns. The same people who wear masks to ride bikes or walk all alone in the open air should have imagined that viruses find ways to travel round the world, but as we’ve seen, the smartest people in the room aren’t running the show anywhere these days.
Ardern and her political coalition have cost her nation in ways that will not totally be understood for decades – mental health consequences, economic depression, educational losses…the list goes on and on. Turning victims into criminals for the audacity of contracting a virus they can’t see can only end in disaster.
It’s not over for New Zealanders. Their administration says they will begin easing restrictions when at least 90% of the eligible population has been vaccinated. So far only about half of the population has been vaccinated against COVID.
As of this date New Zealand has recorded about 4300 COVID cases with 27 deaths attributed to COVID. New Zealand has a population of about 5.1 million people.