A common refrain from those in favour of looser lockdown restrictions is that Covid-19 affects those who would likely die soon anyway. The implication is that we need to accept these deaths for the sake of the economy.
The people arguing this have clearly not given any thought to those with cancer. New Zealanders of all ages are undergoing gruelling treatment in the hope that they have many years ahead of them.
They are vulnerable now, but many will make a full recovery. It is absolutely the nation's responsibility to allow them this chance. As we edge towards level 3, we must not lose sight of what we did this for.
At our Domain Lodge in Auckland we house people who are having cancer treatment that is not available in their local communities. They have severely compromised immune systems.
Domain Lodge is usually a bustling and friendly place, lit up by its volunteers and staff and the families and patients staying with us. Now it is eerily silent. When we moved into level 4 and put in place protocols to protect our guests, I felt nervous of what was ahead.
But I can only imagine the fear that must have been felt by many of our patients upon hearing that a severe respiratory illness with no cure was spreading around the country. Those fears will have been further stoked upon hearing some commentators suggesting that we've overreacted to Covid-19 because it is "only" dangerous to those with underlying health conditions.
To those commentators, I say, put your yourself in the shoes of one of our patients. Imagine being thought of as an unfortunate statistic, the price that must be paid to retain "business as usual". I'll be forever thankful that the Government didn't feel that way about any of its citizens.
In supporting the lockdown restrictions, the Cancer Society is neither immune from nor ignorant to the economic pain it has caused. We rely on fundraising to run our charity. We are currently planning our Daffodil Day appeal – this August marks the 30th anniversary of what has become an iconic event.
Ordinarily, Daffodil Day involves organising teams of volunteers to stand outside shopping centres up and down the country asking for your support to continue our work. Now, like many, we are having to rethink our approach.
No matter what alert level we are at come August, Daffodil Day will look very different to the 29 years that preceded it. The work of the Cancer Society hasn't changed nor, I hope, has the support from all New Zealanders.
Cancer doesn't stop for Covid-19 so neither can our essential services to our patients. One positive is that in tough times we are forced to innovate and think outside the square. For many businesses and organisations, the weeks ahead will be about survival – and the Cancer Society needs to survive so those we care for have the best chance of doing the same.
We will adapt – we already have. Our psychologists and nurses are working from home, providing support and counselling online for people who have undergone or are undergoing a significant trauma in their lives.
Many of our patients are afraid that after the tough physical and mental battle against cancer another "big C" will strike them down when they are at their weakest. We are providing strategies and practical advice to help them cope.
The short sharp shock of level 4 should soon be over, but level 3 will be no party. I am a long way from being able to throw open the doors to Domain Lodge again. As we take the next steps as a country, venturing back to some of what we have missed, I ask that we don't waver in our ambition to protect those who deserve every chance of a long life.
• Andrew Young is chief executive of the Cancer Society Auckland Northland.