Where did this epidemic of cocky confidence come from? Media, politicians, business people, so many commentators so certain they know what the Government should do. And so determined to shout at us about it.
It's not that we shouldn't hear from everyone. A great plurality of voices should be a good thing. But so much of the commentary, in mainstream media and social media alike, is pitched in just one register: Anger.
The need to be a Covid blowhard. It's an infectious disease all on its own. Even Winston Peters has caught it.
I've got a new theory about Judith Collins, relevant to this. She's worked out that despite what people usually say, being Leader of the Opposition is not the worst job in politics. She's noticed that right now, being Prime Minister is.
So while she wants to keep charge of her party, she's sabotaging any chance she might become PM at the next election, because the job's a stress magnet beyond belief.
I'm not a fan of everything Jacinda Ardern has done during this crisis. But so what? I don't expect any politician to get it right all the time, I don't know nearly as much as she knows and I can't foretell the future any better than she can.
Quite often, I don't know when she gets it right. I believe that's true for most of us.
Back when Covid first struck, Ardern declared that a health-first response was also the best way to shore up economic resilience. What started as a brave hope became empirical fact. She was right, although there was a lot of blowhard shouting at her about it, not just in the early days but forever after.
And she was consistent, which turned out to be a rare skill in Covid times, among politicians here and everywhere else. Ardern stayed the course, as she put it, and so did we.
A commitment to protecting the vulnerable was at the heart of it. That's been especially true in South Auckland, where poverty and other factors already make the communities living there more susceptible to illness than many others.
We can be proud of the way we accepted lockdowns as a way to minimise the harm. We can be less proud of what Covid has exposed about health services among the poor, or the way the vaccination programme took so long to shed its middle-class Pākehā framework. But that has changed and is continuing to change.
Then Delta arrived and it all got more complicated.
The cliche is that you can measure a society by the extent it looks after its most vulnerable. Usually, that's taken to mean children, the elderly, the sick, the disabled and the very poor.
But other groups have joined the ranks of the vulnerable. People stranded in desperate straits overseas or on the wrong side of the Auckland border. People not getting the medical care they need for non-Covid conditions. Businesses dying because they need real-life customers, or migrant workers, or access to markets.
Health workers are also among the vulnerable, along with supermarket workers, teachers and others doing essential, public-facing work.
Lockdowns and closed borders are saving lives and giving us the chance to become a vaccinated population that won't be destroyed by Covid. But they are also plunging people into misery.
How do you balance that, and how do you manage the complexities involved?
If you're the PM, you know that adding more MIQ is easy to say but hard to do, for many reasons.
You know vaccine mandates will be accepted by most but you don't know what the resistance will be. As Covid minister Chris Hipkins said yesterday in relation to schoolchildren, vaccine mandates shouldn't be used to prevent unvaccinated people from accessing services they really need.
You know lower lockdown levels will help businesses but you don't know the cost to others. The modellers give you numbers, but they don't know. Nobody does. You have to guess and you have to be cautious.
One thing we do know: Maintaining public confidence is the first and therefore most important prerequisite of good governance.
This is not something Ardern invented. Sir John Key knew it very well. His confidence made the country confident, however much that infuriated his opponents, and on the back of that many people prospered.
But Key operated in peacetime. Ardern is in charge during a kind of health-inflicted wartime. For her, public confidence requires her to understand the social licence. Knowing how willing we are to accept tough measures for the common good. Doing what she can, if necessary, to make us accept more.
Working out how to be compassionate without undermining public safety. It's beyond belief that anyone thinks it can be easy.
Ardern took Auckland to level 3 despite the advice of several epidemiologists. Was that a mistake? Possibly. But the shouty critics had already done their damage: Public confidence was ebbing. It's not wrong for the Government to take steps to get that back.
It was definitely not a mistake for Ardern to spend a few days last week in the East Coast and Bay of Plenty.
She was there for the vax drive. She sat with a girl who was scared of the needle and helped her through it. That was excellent. Winning over the vaccine hesitant is the most critical thing we need right now and doing it with friendliness and support is the best. I hope the vax campaign PR makes the most of it.
It's also fine with me that the person doing the worst job in politics appeared to use the experience as a mental health moment. There's so much stuff still to come. Supply chains are collapsing all over the world. Delta will probably not be the worst we'll see of Covid. International visitors will not be hurrying back to see us. Many businesses will not survive.
And record droughts and floods have also plagued us these past two years. More terrible weather events are surely on their way.
But right now there's a clamour for the Government to produce a plan. Is that reasonable?
Anyone asking for dates is not paying any attention at all. Anyone expecting a "road map", which tells us that when we get to this intersection we'll be able to take that road: That's fraught with risk too. We don't even know what's around the next corner.
I'm not saying it's wrong to want to get shouty. We all have to find ways to make ourselves feel better. Ardern probably has a room where she goes to scream and hit things. I kind of hope so.
But she's kept a lid on it in public, which is a little something we could all learn from. The demeanour of every single vax staffer is pretty special too, have you noticed?
And the PM has given us picnics. That was brilliant.
People scoffed, of course. Such a trivial response!
But lockdown pressure needed relief. The picnic option is relatively safe, it's fun and everyone can do it. The blossom is out, the grass is green, the evenings are warmer and longer and all the parks and beaches have filled up with little clumps of people, dotted all over, sharing the pleasure.
When this is behind us, or even if it never is, let's keep the springtime picnics going. What a great way to celebrate being Aucklanders together.
Because that is the goal. Strengthen the ties that bind. Constantly reinforce the social licence: We will be lost beyond salvation without it. Maybe, one day, even some of the shouty people will understand.