What the F*CK is the matter with people?

Why do we have so many idiots breaking the rules and why don’t they give a rat’s ass about the rest of us? PAT PILCHER on our Covid crisis.

 

Another day, another huge number of Covid-19 cases and more idiots flouting Level 3 restrictions and the Auckland border. While it’s easy to ignore this grim news and the daily 1pm press briefing, I’m becoming increasingly angry and ashamed of the selfish idiocy on display in Auckland.

 

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I don’t know about you, but it pisses me off that people are so unconcerned about the risk they pose to others that they’ll hold family gatherings. This is despite the logic of not merging bubbles being common knowledge over the past 12 months. The same applies to the daily news of yet more of these idiots from Auckland turning up in another part of New Zealand. Be they entitled rich kids wanting hols and lols in Q-town, gang bangers looking for gang’s “members” to service in the far north or Blenheim.

Clearly, hard questions need to be asked.

It seems to have eluded these imbeciles that they could be asymptomatic carriers of Covid. They could infect others who could become gravely ill and die, spreading the virus amongst the rest of New Zealand.

Covid-19 is no laughing matter. According to the World Health Organisation, Covid has killed 4.8 million people so far. Clearly, we are not talking about a game of tiddlywinks. Just how many of these deaths would have been avoidable if people had decided to not act like selfish dickheads?

I say this because a few months back, I attended an event in Auckland, got home, and went out to dinner with friends. I was feeling fine. The following morning, however, I ran a temperature had a sore throat and a persistent hacking cough. Later that morning, news emerged that there’d been a Covid outbreak in Auckland, and they were going into lockdown.

I was horrified.

What if I’d infected my friends? What if they got sick? What if they died? It’d be my fault. Cutting a long story short, I contacted them apologising profusely and booked a Covid test. I was given the all-clear the following day. Thank goodness.

I might have dodged a Covid-19 bullet, but my thinking around Covid was forever changed. While I still worry about getting sick at some level, the impact of my actions on others is now firmly imprinted on my mind.

Sadly, this doesn’t seem to have happened with the growing number of idiots breezing through the Auckland border with faked documentation. They don’t seem to get that their actions have consequences. Up in Northland, they’re stuck in Level 3 lockdown because some selfish idiots took a trip from Auckland to make a few bucks banging some gang members. They are refusing to co-operate with contact tracers, forcing all of Northland to enter a Level 3 lockdown. If that doesn’t epitomise being an inconsiderate asshole, I don’t know what does.

Sadly, border breaches and Level 3 rule breaches keep happening. At a recent Covid press conference, the deputy PM, Grant Robertson, admitted home gatherings are a key reason for the sizeable spike in Covid cases.

So, the big question in my mind is what should be done? How can this flood of selfishness be stopped so that long-suffering Aucklanders and the rest of us can move back to normality?

Could it be that the government is perhaps being too nice? Rule and border breakers are getting the equivalent of a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket. There’s nothing to make them think twice before they invite family and friends over for some bug sharing goodness. People scooting over the border to infect the rest of New Zealand appear similarly unconcerned and uncaring.

What if there was a campaign of public peer pressure brought to bear? What if Level 3 rule and border breakers were named and shamed in the media and at the 1pm press conference? Would earning the undying hatred of all the New Zealanders trying to do the decent thing by abiding by the rules be enough to deter these selfish imbeciles?

What if we beefed up the penalties that could be applied to those caught? The Health Act has many provisions for prosecuting rule breakers, so why are we giving them a fine they can pay off over 30 years at 0.00000001 cents a month? Surely time in jail, asset seizure and/or a hefty fine would help deter idiots from thinking there’s nothing to lose?

Then there’s the relative ease with which a bunch of hookers have managed to skip out of Auckland using faked documentation or, worse still, no documentation at all. The current system clearly isn’t working. Police at the border have no means of quickly checking paperwork, so anyone with a lick of imagination and an inkjet printer can fake up some documents and slip through. Airlines also seem to be flying people out of Auckland who clearly have no legitimate exemptions to travel with startling regularity.

Could it be that the Covid app needs to be re-worked? What if it showed travel exemption and vaccination status with a QR code that can be scanned to verify that you do indeed have the approval to travel? What about fining airlines that let people fly without legitimate travel exemptions? Airlines already get hefty fines if people arrive at international destinations with the wrong paperwork, so this idea isn’t exactly untried.

Flimsy borders aside, you’d be forgiven for thinking that border and lockdown related stupidity was confined to Joe and Joanne average. Sadly, this isn’t the case. Stuff reports that Thames Coromandel Mayor Sandra Goudie? admitted that she wasn’t vaccinated. She also admitted she is waiting for the Novavax vaccine to reach New Zealand shores as, for some unknown reason, she doesn’t want to take the Pfizer vaccine. You could argue that this is a case of her body, her choice; I’d counter that by suggesting that as a mayor, she is a role model and influences the thinking of others. This is something she was probably aware of when she was elected. While vaccinations have improved in Thames Coromandel owing to recent Covid scares, ODT numbers show Thames Coromandel is only ranked 12th in vaccination numbers by region. It also slipped two places in the rankings. Perhaps if the mayor was more supportive of vaccinations, Thames Coromandel might have more getting the jab. This would mean less of its population was potentially at risk of hospitalisation/death should they contract Covid-19.

Covid has polarised Kiwis into pro and anti-vaccine camps. International numbers highlight the importance of getting vaccinated. The venerable Healthcare journal, BMJ quotes a US Centres for Disease Control study. It found that unvaccinated Americans died at a whopping 11 times the rate of fully vaccinated Americans from Covid. The study also found that vaccinated people were a staggering 10 times less likely to need to be hospitalised and five times less likely to get infected than those who were unvaccinated. There are dozens upon dozens of studies quoting similar numbers, yet so many Kiwis seem to think they’re not at risk. Perhaps we all need to wake up and smell the Covid coffee. Maybe we need to start acting for the greater good of everyone so we can kick this virus in the nuts and go back to living normal lives.

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