A month ago New Zealand was delivered the news no one wanted to hear. After 102 days of no new Covid-19 cases in the community, suddenly four members of a South Auckland family had tested positive.
Within weeks the cluster earmarked as the Auckland August cluster had swollen to become the single largest connected group of Covid-19 victims in our country with 159 men, women and children testing positive.
Despite drastic measures to halt travel in and out of the Auckland region, and severe personal movement and gathering restrictions, the tally surpassed the earlier Bluff wedding and Marist College clusters that had stopped at 98 and 96 respectively.
Then last week the fast-growing city-wide cluster that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warned would have a long tail took a deadly turn, claiming the lives of two men in 24 hours.
They were distinguished physician, author and former Cook Islands prime minister Dr Joe Williams and Americold cool store team leader and father of four Alan Te Hiko.
Both men had battled for their lives in intensive care units at Middlemore and Auckland City hospitals. They both succumbed to the infection on Friday.
They became the 23rd and 24th victims of the virus since it came to our shores in February, turning this year on its head.
Te Hiko, aged in his 50s, is the youngest person to die from coronavirus in New Zealand.
When Williams was first admitted to hospital just days after Auckland moved to alert level 3 health authorities said the 82-year-old had been treating people at his Mt Wellington practice, located near the Americold cold store, right up to when he fell ill.
Unlike the earlier March outbreak this second wave has seen the Pasifika community fall victim to what Ardern has frequently dubbed a "tricky virus" in large numbers.
Ministry of Health figures show 62 per cent of those in the Auckland August cluster are Pacific people. A further 21 per cent are Māori.
And for the first time the number of youth and children suffering from the virus outstrip those in older age groups, making up almost a third of all positive cases.
To date 17 children under 9 and 34 aged between 10 and 19 have Covid-19.
Over the past month hospitals have treated a handful of patients needing ward and intensive care. At its height 11 people were treated in hospital on August 28 across Auckland and Waikato.
Compounding the cluster's spread is the infection through churches - at least five different congregations affecting hundreds of families across south and central Auckland.
Households connected to the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship have suffered the highest toll, with 33 people falling ill to date. Since the outbreak emerged the Health Ministry has dubbed it a mini cluster, with confirmed genomic and suspected epidemiological links to the Auckland outbreak.
With hundreds gathering for a wedding and three services earlier this month health officials appealed on August 27 for anyone who had been in any of the gatherings to watch for symptoms.
New cases linked to the church are still emerging.
Today a household contact of a confirmed case connected to the sub-cluster tested positive. Yesterday there were four cases linked to the central Auckland congregation.
They were all females, including a primary-age child, two women in their 20s and one aged 60-69 years.
The sprawling city-wide cluster has also affected Auckland schools, with two positive cases at Mt Albert Grammar.
Just days out before the region's alert level was to step down a notch, every student and teacher at the large central Auckland high school were asked to get a test before classes recommenced.
Other schools including Glamorgan School on the North Shore, Avondale College, Southern Cross Campus and Taeaofou I Puaseisei Preschool in Mangere East have all had a pupil test positive. Tests have returned negative from classmates and teachers.
A class of 30 pupils at Otahuhu Primary were forced to self-isolate for two weeks after a parent spent time in the class the day before Auckland's mini-lockdown on August 12.
A month on, where the first person became sick still remains a mystery.
The earliest known case in the current wave has been pinpointed to a worker at an Americold cool store in Mt Wellington who fell ill on July 31.
The person had not travelled overseas or had knowingly been in contact with a Covid-positive person.
Genomic tests suggested the strain originated in the UK or Australia.
Despite additional testing of all border workers and swabs from cool store surfaces, the origin still has not been found.
Last week the director general of health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, said they had not yet given up on finding the cause of the new strain sweeping through Auckland and the Waikato paper mill township of Tokoroa.
Since August 11 when a finance company on Dominion Rd and a cool store in Mt Wellington were identified as workplaces of concern, 3,224 people have been identified as close contacts of cases. Of those 3,199 have been contacted and put into self-isolation.
There are now 1425 cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand from both imported and community spread.
Half the Covid deaths remain linked to the Rosewood rest home cluster in Christchurch where 12 residents died.
While new cases are expected to continue to arrive in New Zealand from returnees, a combination of managed isolation and compulsory testing on day 12 is being lauded as successful keeping potential community transmission in check at the border.