With Auckland approaching two months in lockdown tomorrow, the city's residents are in unknown territory for pandemic stress.
It is not just the lockdown length already chalked up, but the time stretching ahead and other uncertainties.
The first nationwide lockdown in 2020 lasted seven weeks from alert level 4 on March 25 to level 3 on April 27 and the drop to level 2 on May 13. It was a new experience but it was one built around certainties.
Covid-19 was a clear and present danger, spreading around the world, filling up hospitals and mortuaries, confining people to their homes. New Zealand's first case had been reported at the end of February.
The goal was straightforward and easily accepted by the public - to get rid of all coronavirus infections here and live within the protective bubble of closed borders - and it was achieved. People could see the numbers dropping and then flatlining at zero.
By the time Delta brought to life the predictable nightmare scenario of an outbreak in the country's largest city while vaccination rates were low, the situation had changed.
New Zealand had been through smaller outbreaks in August and September last year, in February this year and there had been a Delta close shave in June at Wellington. In between there had been long periods of what passed for normal life in a pandemic.
When Delta struck in mid-August there was both fatigue and complacency about Covid-19 after a drawn-out vaccination rollout that was a long way from being concluded; a fragile transtasman travel bubble and MIQ system; an economy that appeared to have weathered the storm; and a coronavirus impact that was minor by international standards.
Fear of Delta, the far more transmissible variant of the original virus, drove demand for the vaccine up for a while, but that dropped away as level 4 did the job of subduing clusters.
This time there were far fewer neighbourly gestures of goodwill such as care bears and colourful messages scrawled in chalk, and more assessments made based on whether masks were being worn or not.
And Delta, while snuffed out in some areas of the city, has not been extinguished in others. The decision to ease some restrictions, made under political and business pressure, may have played a part in daily cases creeping up.
Instead of a tidy turn towards reopening after the rollout was completed, which polls show the majority of Kiwis wanted, we are racing to stay ahead of the virus with vaccination.
No one who has closely followed what has happened overseas with Delta and vaccination rollouts would be surprised that elimination is now - at least in Auckland - more a suppression strategy combined with scrambling test-and-tracing to keep case numbers down.
Most countries attempting a gradual transition to reopening have employed a mixture of restrictions, vaccination incentives, mandates, testing and other health measures such as mask-wearing.
That is the more nuanced and less-controlled route New Zealand is on. Unlike other countries, we still have a good chance of achieving high levels of vaccination while keeping virus levels relatively low.
Yet for many Kiwis this has been an unsteadying shift akin to standing too close to a cliff edge. It is an ongoing drama series where the outcome is unknown and twists could occur.
The best way to influence the outcome for the better is encouraging people to get vaccinated, being Covid cautious, and following the lockdown rules.