After over 100 days of only having cases in quarantine facilities, New Zealand reported four community spread COVID cases in Auckland yesterday. Then, they reported four more probables today, all linked to that initial set of cases. Two things on that. First, a few hours after the report, a lockdown was announced and went into effect at noon on Wednesday in Auckland. Second, my God it’s so refreshing to watch competence in action. Jacinda Ardern is a top-notch leader and excellent politician — she can knock down bullshit with the best of them. Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, who is a local hero due to his central role in all but eliminating COVID in the nation, shows that he deserves a shrine or two. I must really want to see something work, somewhere, because I watched most of their initial news conference.
In addition to a pretty strict lockdown in Auckland, the rest of the country is going to “Level 2”, which is distancing, stay home if you’re sick, wear a mask if possible and no gatherings over 100 people. New Zealand is starting to distribute masks and will probably require them soon. They also have a COVID tracker app where people check in at places they visit using a QR code posted by the business. Then, if there are cases and they visited a place where you checked in, the app will notify you. Plus, they’re doing genetic testing on the strains of COVID which this family caught to try to trace it to the source. Just an all-out excellent response.
What’s the truth is stranger than fiction part of this outbreak is that one of those initially infected worked at a cold storage food plant, and there’s a possibility that the case was acquired from a shipment from overseas. That would be the first documented case of that kind of transmission that I’ve ever heard. I’ll channel my inner John Cole and tell everyone to wash your hands.
In addition to a possibly strange mode of transmission in “N Zed”, a strange COVID complication is COVID psychosis. My dad still gets his state medical journal (and reads it) and he pointed to a case report of a meat packer who suddenly began behaving very strangely and had a positive swab. That article is not online, but this man also had a seizure in hospital. Significantly, he had no other COVID symptoms and was tested as part of hospital protocol. Here’s another paper documenting a couple of cases in New York state.
The notion that we know a lot about this disease a few months in is just nonsense.