The already unwell
As an MIQ doctor on the front line, sending patients in every week to hospital, I witness the vast majority of people have two causative factors.
One, being unvaccinated and secondly, diet and lifestyle caused diseases - the latter more important.
Covid would not be a serious illness if we didn't have a population of chronically sick people, even from a young age. It is time to stand up at the 1pm press conferences and tell people the truth that, aside from being vaccinated, to prevent serious Covid illness you need to be following the public health guidelines of eating a plant-based diet, not smoking, or drinking much, and daily exercise.
This is a massive missed opportunity to follow the science and tie the current pandemic to the chronic ill-health crisis which is crippling our health system. We also need legislation against fast and processed food as other countries have successfully done. Otherwise, people will get through covid only to slowly die from other preventable diseases and whilst sinking the economy. The same healthy dietary patterns will also help save the planet.
Dr Mark Craig, Mt Albert.
Duty of care
We hear much about the rights of New Zealanders to refuse the Covid vaccine. What about duties?
We all have a legal duty of care to avoid foreseeable damage to others. In other common law countries, civil claims for negligently spreading infection are part of the legal landscape. Examples are personal injury claims for food poisoning, hospital-acquired infections and sexually transmitted infections.
In New Zealand, we cannot sue for damages for personal injury because of our unique ACC scheme. The underlying duty of care still exists.
Vaccine refusers evidently think that because they have a free choice they should suffer no consequences. They expect free treatment for themselves and those they infect.
Yet they will have deliberately breached their duty of care by going about in the community unvaccinated, knowing there is a significant risk they will become ill
Every unvaccinated person represents an avoidable threat, especially to children who have no choice whether to be vaccinated.
The Government is very firm about lockdown and could be much firmer with vaccine refusers. People with rights have duties too.
Robert Morfee, Maraetai.
Science and health experts largely agree that vaccinations reduce the risk of hospitalisation and death from Covid-19.
The same experts also agree that vaccination does not prevent people from transmitting Covid-19.
This has become increasingly evident in countries with high vaccination rates. In other words, being vaccinated doesn't prevent someone from being infected, asymptomatic and spreading the virus.
If this is correct then it begs the question: What is the point of a vaccination certificate?
If we achieve a nationwide vaccination rate exceeding 90 per cent then we all know most people are vaccinated. Why then will we need to waste time and effort checking a person's vaccination status?
Why bother having security staff on entrances to bars, restaurants and other venues checking vax certificates?
Imagine the police checking carloads of holidaymakers at the border. Hundreds of thousands of cars leaving Auckland. One car per minute. Sixty cars an hour. Imagine the mayhem. A queue stretching all the way back to the city.
Insisting on a vaccination certificate (other than overseas travel) will be a pointless exercise.
Mark van Praagh, Hobsonville Pt.
I'm wondering why we keep hearing about what all the Opposition MPs would be doing and what we are actually doing.
We have the lowest rate of deaths per million people in the OECD. We have the lowest cumulative deaths. We have the lowest confirmed cases. We sit middle of the table with vaccinations and are ahead of Australia at present.
We're doing really well and the constant sniping from people for political gain threatens to undermine our outstanding response.
Geoff Leckie, Flatbush.
Pfizer vaccine scientists recently announced that, six months after the second dose of the original vaccination, the virus immunity reduces to about 46 per cent of that achieved at the outset. With the first of our people being vaccinated in early May this year, the six months recommended period before the necessity of a "booster" dose of vaccine is fast approaching. Just a month away.
While it is absolutely vital to concentrate on achieving the primary vaccination rate of 90 per cent as a matter of urgency, it is nevertheless important that secondary "booster dose" vaccination begins on time. This in order to maintain the herd immunity already achieved. If this does not happen, there will be a resultant additional spread of the Delta virus with a very sad outcome. Everyone waiting for the six-month booster should therefore implore the Government to authorise the start of booster dose vaccinations from December 1.
Dr Hylton Le Grice, Remuera.
I was alarmed to receive an unsolicited email claiming that the extent of vaccination is unrelated to increases in Covid-19 cases.
The single source of that claim is a letter to a European journal from a Harvard academic and a Canadian school student. Such letters are not peer-reviewed. Critical reading of the letter revealed that the headline claim was not well-supported by the statistical analysis used, nor by academic theory.
The date the publisher received the letter is earlier than that of the data analysed. The analysis plots country by country vaccination percentage against Covid infection rates at one point in time and finds little correlation. Many factors affect both parameters, which differ widely between countries and change with time. So poor correlation between the two bare parameters is to be expected. Deeper reading of the seemingly plausible paper also revealed selective use of data by the authors, who were rewarded by the paper being accessed over a million times.
This example of pseudo-science, which circulates like a virus on the internet, reminds me of the quote from Mark Twain, "there are lies, damned lies and statistics".
Steve Goldthorpe, Warkworth.
Recently some people have called on the Government to isolate the South Island from the North Island to ensure the safety of the south.
I don't agree. We are the people of one country. We should not be divided because of the virus, but should unite against it.
I want to pay tribute to all the whānau in Auckland and other quarantine areas. Thank you for your sacrifices. The people of the whole country owe you gratitude.
Let us unite to overcome this once-in-a-hundred-year disaster.
There is always an end to the darkness, and the dawn is right before you.
Kevin Chin, Christchurch.
The article by Thomas Coughlan (NZ Herald, October 27) on the pending release of the Government decision on Three Waters refers to "New Zealand's broken water services".
New Zealand's water services are not broken. How many people turn on the tap and just get slimy water or none at all?
It is true that some councils have not kept maintenance up to date, and there are funding issues that need to be resolved, but this does not require massive Wellington-based bodies.
There are other options that councils have put to government, but it is not listening.
Eric Millar, Ōrākei.
For dear life
I heartily agree with Vince Ashworth (NZ Herald, October 27) about "bad drivers take toll on roads".
I attended a Defensive Driving Course over 30 years ago and, although it was theory only, it saved my life.
I was driving and fell asleep at the wheel about a kilometre out of Oamaru as I was heading to Dunedin. It was wintertime and, thank God, there was no oncoming traffic.
I clearly remember the odometer read 110km/h and I took my foot off the brake and held on to the steering wheel for dear life.
The car veered across the road and spun 360 degrees. The front wheels were on the road and the back wheels on top of a ditch.
If I had applied the brakes, as it would be an instinctive reaction to do, the car would have overturned and I may have died.
A Defensive Driving course should be included before sitting a car licence, and help prevent some of the unnecessary deaths and injuries on our roads.
Susan Fergusson, Manurewa.
Puzzler is sore
Cryptic crossworders, in wrestling parlance, view dictionary assistance as a form of submission.
When a cryptic crossword requires multiple dives into a dictionary-Google search for its solution, as did today's (NZ Herald, October 26) it has gone well beyond being simply, well ... "cryptic".
If you can (without dictionary assistance) come up with the words "cran" for a lot of herrings, "hecatomb" for a public sacrifice and "espalier" for tree training, I bow to your superior "erudition".
Larry Mitchell, Rothesay Bay.
Short & sweet
Vaccination rates might rise if television stopped showing so many pictures of needles going into arms. Chris Bullen, Whakatane.
Re: complaints that we're locked up like naughty children. Unfortunately some of us do behave like naughty children and don't give a damn if the rest of us have to be punished too. Anne Martin, Helensville.
Could part of the record Fonterra payout be funnelled into research to find how to reduce cows belching methane into the atmosphere? Gary Ferguson, Epsom.
If you choose to drive you must get a licence; if you choose to travel in a vehicle you must wear a seat belt. Do these undermine your civil liberties? No. If you choose to work in a direct-contact job you must get the jab. End of story. Gail Dobbin, Kawerau.
On Dame Cindy
Such a refreshing change to listen to a Māori woman leader who talks about being proudly Māori and British and who claims to be totally comfortable in both worlds - she walks forward with no grudges. Susan Heap, Takapuna.
Has Santa had a Covid vaccination? If so, does he have an appropriate vaccination certificate to produce at the various borders which he crosses? Ray Peel, Kohimarama.
Apologies there will no letter today as I am suffering a hangover after celebrating 10 weeks in lockdown. Reg Dempster, Albany.
The Premium Debate
We are two older, fully vaccinated people, locked out since we arrived in Queensland (mid-July). There have been no cases where we have been living the entire time we have been here. We live alone. In our home in Auckland, the fridge is full of frozen pre-prepared meals; why can't we self-isolate? We are the ones returning to a Covid area, why are we the ones that have to be isolated? We have been unsuccessful in five lotteries so far; what about everyone being home for Christmas as promised? There is no way we will be home in time now. Peter C.
We really need to allow Kiwis who are "stuck" overseas and need to come home, as a priority. Surely, there's actually only a small number of these people. Let them in first. Others that are already here or those overseas that are just planning a visit should be able to understand this. Steve W.
MIQ is downright cruel. To those of you who don't fully empathise or sympathise, I can assure you as someone separated from my two young daughters for the best part of two years, the pain is beyond comprehension. Mark C.
Fed up with so many announcements. I've had a vaccine certificate from the date of my last vaccine while New Zealand is still trying to get them ready. I am a citizen and can come back to New Zealand and self-isolate in a detached cottage and have a car for my use. I would be happy to pay a bond or wear a bracelet. To be made now to still isolate in an MIQ hotel is beyond my comprehension. When will they come to their senses? Anita W.
So much rests on higher vaccination rates. But MIQ bookings are a dead-end for thousands of our own. If they are double-jabbed, pass a test pre-flight, and agree to self-isolate at home, let them come home. Apelu R.
Fully vaccinated travellers under a strict regime of pre- and post-flight testing are so obviously less a risk than the unvaccinated - and infected - now floating around the country ignoring protocols. The lottery system is unimaginably cruel ... Change the lottery system for unvaccinated citizens to allow prioritisation - and allow self-isolation for vaccinated citizens. Angela R.
It's very simple. Double-vaxxed returnees with negative tests arrive and stay at MIQ. Three days later, get re-tested. If negative, isolate at home. If positive, stay at MIQ. Those at home re-tested on day 12. No Covid, free on day 14. If Covid, stay isolated. Mary E.
Fully vaccinated Kiwi families stuck abroad over 12 months deserve the basic right to return home now. I know three families stuck overseas waiting more than 12 months in our broken MIQ queue. All are fully vaccinated for more than six months and are decent Kiwi families with work in NZ that is needed by us too. David L.