One of the constant refrains of modern sporting life is to shrug your shoulders and say: "It's not a matter of life or death."
It is a coping mechanism for the vanquished, and boy did we need it in the hours that followed the Black Caps excruciating "defeat" in last year's Cricket World Cup final, when they were beaten not on the scorecard, but as a result of a small-print bylaw nobody anticipated would ever be used.
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Kane Williamson was captain that day and won acclaim and admirers across the world for the dignity in which he handled the defeat. We wondered how he did it, but the simple truth was, he was able to keep in perspective what many of us couldn't. After all, nobody died.
Today he sends a message to all those working on the frontlines to combat the perilous threat of Covid-19: "We need you to know you're not alone. We want you to know that there's a whole country behind you."
It represents a heartfelt thanks to all the doctors, nurses, ambulance staff, rest home caregivers and many others who have been and will continue to be called upon to put themselves in harm's way as the country works together to quell the ongoing threat of the pandemic.
As a disseminator of news and information, we at NZME - publisher of the New Zealand Herald and owner of Newstalk ZB among others - have been deemed an essential service and we will do everything in our power to keep you up to date with all the relevant news and information as the country has moved into alert level 4 lockdown mode.
We can also provide another essential service: To let those working among the sick know just how much we appreciate them. We encourage you, our audience and the rest of the public, to write letters of support. We will do our best to ensure they are read by those who need to hear your words.
Editorial: Get behind the Covid-19 coronavirus shutdown
Some of the most haunting images from Italy and other parts of infected Europe have been hospital wards straining at the seams, patrolled by staff in hazmat suits more commonly associated with working in places such as the roof of Chernobyl's Reactor 4.
The after-effects of the pandemic will be felt not just by those who lose loved ones or those who fell sick and survived. Jacqueline Levin, a psychiatrist in New York, had this to say when writing on the Psychiatry of Pandemics: "It is not only the illness that becomes a pandemic, but the same can be inferred about fear, mourning, and despair. Providing psychiatric care to… healthcare workers in the aftermath of a pandemic outbreak is a complicated, but crucial, imperative in the service of reducing the burden of human suffering."
We can help that process by showing how much we care.
Williamson speaks for all of us. Our admiration for the healthcare workers at the frontline of this battle is boundless.
Yes, they are doing their job but, in this case, it really is a matter of life and death.