The sudden lockdown of the Far North on Tuesday night emphasises the gravity of the situation.
Authorities were still working out yesterday how a couple north of Kaitaia became infected with Covid-19 without coming into contact or being at a location of interest linked to previous community cases in Northland. The pair were in Kaingaroa, near Taipa in Doubtless Bay.
The clear implication is the virus is loose and among spreaders yet to be identified.
Far North District mayor John Carter said locals had expected cases to eventuate but acknowledged people were scared.
Northland is one of several regions where vaccination efforts have crawled, despite the hard work of health officials and community leaders. As of yesterday, the region was less than 40 per cent double-vaccinated.
Northland, particularly the Far North, and the East Coast as well as Whanganui have the poorest take-up of the vaccine and are most vulnerable. These are the regions the Auckland lockdown has been attempting to protect.
On the overall low vaccination rate in the region, Carter said it was important to remember a lot of the population were young who were the last demographic to be invited to receive the vaccine. But efforts are now being made to get vaccinations out. The same goes for Māori, Carter said.
An example of the fear rippling around is the blockading of a Far North resort after locals became concerned it had been visited by a Covid-positive case. The manager says it was a Facebook rumour and guests were turned away as a result.
It is a sad that a proportion will act on allegations tapped out anonymously on a keyboard and posted online without any attempts at verification.
It is a tragedy that so many people have apparently been duped by the malevolent rantings of conspiracy theorists. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern encountered this outside a vaccination clinic in Kawakawa where she was heckled by an expat American.
Yesterday, about 250 protesters mustered in Whanganui to spout the same; messages mostly invented from bubbles of privilege by people who care not what happens to those who are misled by them.
It has already been established that the Pied Pipers of the misinformation tune are "white and well-to-do" - physicians that have embraced pseudoscience; a bodybuilder; a "wellness" blogger: a religious zealot; and, most notably, Robert F Kennedy Jr, the nephew of John F Kennedy. Their twisted mistruths are then picked up by "influencers" who know how well "liked" and "forwarded" such posts will be.
Te Tai Tokerau border control founder Hone Harawira told Three's AM Show the unvaccinated are the "poor and the destitute".
It's understandable to be frustrated by their actions, or lack of, but they are victims of a social media circus which peddles falsehoods for personal profit and fame. It is a sad situation that too many mistrust official advice and guidelines. For these people to be piped to infection would be a calamity.
Covid will not stay in these communities, it will rally and unleash.