Super workers at the checkouts

The management and staff of supermarkets deserve medals.
The stores have stayed amazingly well-organised in the face of panic-buying and customers frustrated at having products rationed or unavailable.
Waiting in the queue in the local Countdown, I watched checkout operators like Emma Coleman (NZ Herald, March 25) doing their job competently, calmly, patiently, politely.
In their situation, I would have given Basil Fawlty a run for his money.
Anne Martin, Helensville.
Covid-19 coronavirus: Supermarkets, food outlets deny price hikes
Covid 19 coronavirus: Shoppers swarm supermarkets, alcohol stores before lockdown
Covid 19 coronavirus: The Warehouse, liquor stores to close during lockdown
Covid-19 coronavirus: Crowds hit packed supermarkets after lockdown


What a lovely and thoughtful opinion piece by Emma Coleman (NZ Herald, March 25), an old head on young and compassionate shoulders.
An insightful look at the reality for the less affluent among us as the more privileged fill their shopping trolleys in greed and selfish panic.
Well said Emma, and shame on those who should know better.
James Archibald, Birkenhead.

Contagion shape

This is not an argument against the shutdown and all that, but I am expressing a concern. Experts have been interviewed and they shared opinions, but, one of my postgraduate degrees is in microbiology and in large part I am as qualified as they are.

I know what the current situation is – but also, I don't know. What is the "actual shape" of this contagion and will it follow the typical "bell shaped curve" of infection and die-back?
The truth is that the Government of NZ, and the governments of many countries, may not have done the assessment.


To the best of my knowledge there has been no indication that they have run randomised tests of the population to determine the current extent of the infection, or its progress, so how can they accurately extrapolate future spread?
This is such basic and easily done work that it is scary that we are where we are today without this information.
We are a country surrounded by water, isolated, coastal, a different culture, unlike China, Italy and so on. Our epidemiology is very different. It is a missed opportunity.
Dr Mike Schmidt, Sunny Hills.

Road travel

I am a medical professional. I completely support border closure and level 4 restrictions to flatten the curve and eventually eliminate Covid spread and existence in New Zealand. However, the proposed road travel restrictions are not supported by science or medicine. It is scientifically and medically safe for a family bubble A or B to travel to a destination, maintain distance from others, and return home.

It is scientifically and medically safe for an individual in that bubble, who might have mental heath issues, such as major depression or bipolar disorder, to travel to their sanctuary destination to preserve their mental health, socially isolate while doing so, and return to that family bubble. There is a disconnect between level 4 restrictions and basic human rights. These draconian measures need to be relaxed and policed with sensitivity or there will be poor mental health outcomes in the next month. It is important that adverse outcomes of the solution don't exceed adverse outcomes of the problem. Relax the roads.
Dr Richard Lloydd, Auckland.

Small retailers

Why on earth would our Government shut down independent greengrocers, and force people who shop at these stores, to overcrowd even more the supermarkets that can't cope as it is? Fruit and vegetables in a flu pandemic, I would have thought, are essential buying.

Independent greengrocers, butchers, bakeries, etc could adhere to the "one in, one out" policy instore a lot more effectively than what a supermarket can. All we've done is put more demand over supply towards our beloved supermarket duopoly who are now laughing all the way to the bank.
Progressive and Foodstuffs won't need to worry about hitting their yearly profit targets for 2020 – they'll be achieving this quite comfortably in the next four weeks, care of five million New Zealanders who are currently being dictated to.
Glenn Forsyth, Taupo.

Coastal towns

The Warehouse group was originally staying open, but were then ordered to close. In Snells Beach, Algies Bay and Sandspit we rely on our local Warehouse for basic household items and food and drink. We will now have to drive into Warkworth - a 25km round trip.
Surely there should have been some thought given to small villages that shop in the Warehouse, and allow them to remain open a few hours each day, because it is the only shop in their area that can provide the necessary food and drink items.
Alan Boniface, Snells Beach

Shopping trollies

No one seems concerned about supermarket trollies spreading the coronavirus infection.
However, they must be prime suspects in the possible infection of half the country.
Prior to Christmas I asked the manager of a supermarket, if their trollies were ever washed.

He claimed that this was a regular event. When asked when the most recent wash was undertaken, he said it was six weeks ago. I was stunned that he believed this adequate.
Surely it should be mandatory to wash them at least daily, with or without the presence/threat of coronavirus.
All it would need is a small tunnel in which water is sprayed, as the trolleys are pushed through.
It wouldn't take much more than 15 minutes to wash the supermarket's entire collection of trollies. Problem solved.
Wal Warehi Britton, Birkenhead.


Power bills

With lockdown in place and everyone in domestic bubbles 24/7 for an "undetermined" period domestic electricity will escalate until things are under control once more.
Does that mean that power companies will do their bit and send everybody discounted invoices in the foreseeable future ??
Mark Nobilo, Waimauku.

Too close

Today (March 25), I went to a pharmacy to buy more drugs for my heavy cold. I was in a line, where we are meant to be 2m apart.
A woman stood very close to me and I told her, "it's 2m".
Her response was, "Oh, for God's sake".
It is people like her who should be quarantied now. Better still, we should all carry a 2m stick or a tape measure (the stick is not for hitting).
I fail to to understand the arrogance of some people.
Jude Collins, Ellerslie.

Masked man

As a tradesman I don't require instructions on how to wear a mask but, from my observations, many people do.
I was at Bunnings yesterday and a staff member was clearly wearing his mask upside down with the flexible aluminium bit under his chin and obviously a a gaping gap around his nose. He ignored my advice as he knew better.
Memo to mask users: Squeeze the aluminium strip around your nose to make it fit.
Dave Miller, Rotorua.

Lighten up

Winter is approaching and with longer nights ahead and no activity on the streets the neighbourhood could start to feel a little gloomy.
Perhaps this is an appropriate moment for householders to dig out the Christmas lights. After all, such illuminations really do work best when the days are short.
David Duignan, Campbells Bay.

Can-do Kiwis

My mum has dementia and associated health issues and lives in a care suite. I visit her most days but haven't see her since Tuesday last week. The difficulty of not visiting has been mitigated by the exemplary care provided by the wonderful, largely Kiwi Pacifica and Filipino staff.
They are, almost without exception, well trained and kind and able to diffuse often tricky situations with positivity and humour. 
After this crisis is over, I hope we can rethink some of our immigration policies.
New Zealand was founded by ordinary grafters with a can-do attitude something truly exemplified by these workers. 
I can't thank them enough.
Kate McCullagh, Kohimarama.

Short & sweet

On Bloomfield

Dr Ashley Bloomfield has delivered messages across New Zealand in such a reassuring and comforting way. He is truly inspiring and an amazing director general of health, and continues to inform us in such an appropriate manner. Go Ashley Bloomfield. Gianna Lehnert, Torbay.
On protection

The question all medical centres here are asking is: Do they assume people are non-infectious at this stage and save the limited protection for later or use it now and have nothing left for the peak infectious period? Steve Russell, Hillcrest.
On shopping

I was very young during the war, but my impression is the ration system for food and fuel worked quite well. Ken W J Lynch, Northcross.
On television

Please TVNZ, heed Edwina Duff's letter (NZ Herald, March 25). A short, daily exercise-to-music programme could do much to help us get past this present trouble, raise our fitness, alleviate our loneliness, and keep our spirits up. Harold Coop, Remuera.
On wartime

In a war situation, it is the few who give their lives to save the personal and economic welfare of the many, while now it is the many who give up their personal and economic welfare to save the lives of the few. Perhaps this is progress. Bruce Robertson, Westmere.
On isolation

Unless Jacinda orders people to lockdown in separate rooms, it looks as if the next threat to New Zealand will be overpopulation by Christmas. Mac Hine, Whangaparaoa.
On cones

The most appropriate name for the ubiquitous road cones is Trumpettes because they are orange; fat at the bottom and very narrow at the top and there is nothing inside. No doubt, others can suggest a dozen more reasons. Bryan Mockridge, Penrose.