Passing our second week in seclusion, reaching the end of the incubation period of Covid-19, it was hard to contain the excitement. The Prime Minister was "cautiously optimistic" we had turned the corner. Epidemiologist David Skegg said New Zealand was the only Western country now in a position to eliminate the virus.
When he said that, a cloud briefly crossed the sun of my returning optimism. Should we be careful what we wish for? What would it be like to be the only Western country without the virus?
It would be like Fortress NZ. That was a term we used to use for our economy before we opened it to the world. But restrictions on the movement of people into and out of the country would be even tighter than they were then.
It might be more like our border controls against M. bovis in cows or Psa in kiwifruit. We can do this. Down here in the ocean, far from anywhere, we have proved we can keep out diseases the rest of the world lives with.
Now we're proving it with human beings. Professors of epidemiology are visibly elated at the results of the economic shutdown so far. After 14 days, the upper end of the incubation period, our daily increase in recorded cases was slowing and nearly half the cases were still being traced through contact with overseas travellers.
They had to be traced, not many were coming into health clinics with symptoms. Far from being overwhelmed, the nation's hospitals were reported to be half empty in some places having postponed elective surgery. Their intensive care units, still awaiting the feared flood of Covid-19 patients, had just four.
Out in the community, general practices were seeing so few patients they had become as worried as any shutdown business about their cash-flow. When we went for the flu jab at a big consolidated practice last week, the normally busy waiting area had just one other patient in it. You have to wonder how much unnecessary medical attention the country subsidises in normal times.
No matter, life is definitely looking up, this Easter weekend. The end of the incubation period means everyone who was infected before the lockdown either is or has been sick by now or they're not going to get sick. Since they were infectious whether they got sick or not, it's possible some people caught the virus just before the 14-day period passed and those people will remain infectious for up to another two weeks. So we are staying in lockdown for the full month just to make sure.
A month sounds fine. It gives us an end in sight. It's not definite, the Prime Minister cautions, the lockdown could still be extended. But it is a lot more definite than it looked last week. Nothing is more important to people with a business or job in jeopardy than to be given an end in sight.
In the depths of uncertainty last week Sir John Key was asked by Mike Hosking how long he thought the lockdown would last. Key said, "Can you see us still sitting at home in three months? I think the world's more creative than that."
He thought it would be easier to shut down an economy than restart one but would not suggest how we exit. He knew the question at the front of worried minds was when, not how.
That was then. Now, with an earlier end in sight, business voices are asking the Government how it plans to lift the lockdown. Jacinda Ardern thinks it more important to "double down" on quarantine enforcement so that cases continue falling over the next two weeks.
All returning air passengers will go into supervised managed isolation. Police roadblocks will turn are turning back all unauthorised Easter travel. Defiant surfers and swimmers could be in real trouble this weekend. All this is a price worth paying if it permits a return to normal life can begin in another two weeks.
The return may be planned to happen in careful stages but it will probably happen in response to anomalies, as has begun to happen this week for online sales from butchers and bakers.
But the Government has set the terms of our release very high. Other Western countries in lockdown against Covid-19 call their goal "suppression" of the disease. We're aiming for "eradication".
The difference might not matter if a vaccine is found. But right now the world sounds closer to developing a blood test for antibodies that would tell whether somebody had survived the virus.
If survival means immunity, as it usually does, devices could provide a medical passport at the prick of a finger. Eradication might leave very few of us with that passport and living in a permanent sanctuary. Is that a place we want to be?