When we flattened the curve and then crushed Covid, the world cheered.
Countries had tinkered with partial lockdowns, others dithered while waiting to see whether the virus might run its course and dissipate. Some even chose to let the virus have at it, in the belief populations would develop natural immunity.
Now we know continued transmission encourages Covid to mutate. Strains that develop stronger characteristics overtake the previous iterations and surge more. And it's back, stronger and faster than before.
Yesterday, the cluster begun by a Delta case carried from Sydney increased by 21 new positive results to a total of 51 cases.
The curve will rise for some time yet. We know that. Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said yesterday: "We will see more cases, in part because of the extraordinary uptake of testing. There will be more cases."
Sure, our vaccination roll-out has dawdled and we are vulnerable. But we were even less vaccinated the previous times we clamped the clusters. Rates of vaccination must be stepped up but we need to buy ourselves more time.
As for how long the lockdown lasts, there is little point in placing bets. The Government will wait to see all of the data and information from this weekend before Cabinet meets on Monday. Health advisers will be wanting the spread "ring-fenced" before they recommend coming down alert levels.
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Prime Minister Ardern says "we've been here before". The messages are the same: stay at home and reduce physical contact with others; if you have to go out, wear a mask and contact trace; wash your hands; if you are identified as a contact and/or develop symptoms, go get tested; and be kind to each other.
Yes, we have been here before, but this time it is different. Delta is an even greater threat, so much more easily transmitted. The need to follow the guidelines of the health experts is even greater.
C'mon you great New Zealanders, the world needs you to show the way again.