I heard Director-General of Health, Ashley Bloomfield, criticise increased testing, "that many people were asymptomatic". Not true.
Even if someone is asymptomatic they can have Covid-19. In fact, they may be immune – which is important information because that means they could go back to work. We need to know such things.
Relying on current testing protocols is foolish. People referred for testing are people who have travelled or have symptoms and therefore a biased sample. People arriving at testing stations are generally not those most at risk e.g. 70-year olds who are not supposed to be out driving – more biased sampling.
Randomised sampling will reveal the true extent of the virus within the population in an unbiased manner. This will help us make decisions e.g. if the general penetration of Covid-19, in the population, is over 10 per cent, then we may as well all go back to work in an ordered manner, so the health system is taxed but not overloaded. We can "strategically isolate" at risk groups. We can track the viral progress, virulence and population resistance in an evidentiary manner and apply that data to the models.
But we haven't, rather we have closed down a whole country based on "models" built from unknowns and without a clearly defined "end-point".
Dr Mike Schmidt, Sunny Hills.
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Testing to be ramped up to 5000 a day – a 35% increase
• Kate Hawkesby: Lack of Covid 19 coronavirus testing is dangerous
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Botany testing tent stolen
• Coronavirus Covid 19: Marist College Auckland father turned away twice before testing positive
A little discomfort
Unless we choke the supply of returning residents from overseas who may be carrying the virus, then we have no chance of stopping the transmission of the virus in NZ and returning to near-normal life. Otherwise this lockdown will go on for months.
The non-transmission of the virus can only be assured if every returning person is put into a controlled quarantine facility for 14 days with exacting supervision. Not with the lax controls we see now. Do not rely on the honesty and best intentions of the public to self-isolate.
A little discomfort for the greater good of New Zealand is required now.
Philip Brown, Papamoa.
In the eye
May I concur with Vaughn Davis's excellent article "Loo offers more than relief in dangerous times" (NZ Herald, April 1).
Almost 50 years ago, I was visiting my uncle in Lancashire's industrial heartland. He was waiting in the doorway of his small terraced house which opened on to the pavement and in the shadows of large industrial warehouses. Over a very large mug of strong tea, I asked how he was getting on. With a beaming smile he pointed to the surrounding buildings, the different designs of windows on each level, subtle architectural changes here and there, nearby houses with fresh paint and newly added indoor loos.
It was then that I began to appreciate it was not only stopping to smell the proverbial roses that could give pleasure.
John Norris, Whangamata.
May I point out that it is not the beneficiaries who will be suffering through this unpleasant time. They have their rent and extras covered by Winz. They have also received a $25 per week increase. Not working means there is no change for them.
The employed who are working from home, and also those who are now at home on 80 per cent of their normal income will be the ones who find themselves with a massive power bill and other extra costs.
Why aren't these tax contributors being given relief?
The Government needs to rethink this decision.
Linda Lang, Henderson.
In three minutes yesterday afternoon, I counted 147 vehicles on the Southern motorway at Ellerslie. That's an average of nearly one per second.
Given that all travel is supposed to be "essential" or "local", this is ridiculous and suggests that many people are flouting the rules.
Come on Aucklanders, get with the programme or we'll all be locked down for even longer.
Tim Maffey, Ellerslie.
On Tuesday, Sir David Skeggs gave evidence to the Covid-19 task force. His evidence is on the button. Every country that has brought in a lockdown has had to revisit and add more controls because, sadly, lockdown alone is not enough.
Friends in China have told me of how later in their lockdown only one person was allowed out every second day for a limited time only to shop for food. European countries have stopped outings for exercise.
Remember the news story showing Chinese doors being welded shut? So desperately did the authorities want to keep the lockdown working. It seemed so draconian. So over the top. What would make them do such a thing? And now the world knows only too well.
I worried then that the West did not have the wherewithal to beat this virus. I hoped we would never have to try.
No matter how unpalatable tighter controls are to the Government, it will be judged by the outcome of this situation. Not the method. We won't be saying: "Shame we paid a huge price in terms of life and livelihood but wasn't it nice we could go to the supermarket whenever we wanted?"
In no way am I suggesting we should go to the lengths seemingly available to a Communist country to control its citizens. But it is time to pull on the big-girl pants. Listen to Sir David Skeggs. Now. Nicey-nicey won't cut it. The virus doesn't care.
Sarah Mills, Christchurch.
The Minister of Health says there are plenty of flu vaccine shots in fridges around the country.
Perhaps the minister could get some to my doctor who is furious about the lack of supply. He has just placed an order that will be delivered on April 6, but will only be allocated 60 shots. This is for a practice with 12,000 patients, of whom several hundred have chronic health problems.
The situation is intolerable.
Martin Emery, Orewa.
Flush with success
As a former local authority health inspector, I recommend as a further endeavour to inhibit the transmission of pathogens by bodily airborne spread, especially in light of these traumatic times, that a toilet pan should never be flushed until the seat cover has been lowered, an act almost imperative, in particular while utilising toilets in public places. This simple procedure is just one additional weapon available to us together with thorough hand-washing and other precautionary measures necessary in this war being waged in the battle to combat the threat that is Covid-19.
P J Edmondson, Tauranga.
To alleviate the potential for coming in contact with someone in the supermarket with Covid-19 why don't supermarkets make up standard food packs that you can purchase online and click and collect? That way more people can benefit, and transaction would be quick.
The standard packs could be meat, fruit and vegetables, and dry goods.
They could even be collected at the supermarket back door, as pre-paid.
Alison Feeney, Remuera.
While saving lives must be the Government's main focus, saving jobs must also be a huge consideration.
The more businesses that remain viable, the better.
Dairies, quite rightly, remain open. Surely butchers, fishmongers and bakers could also open, with the same safety protocols as dairies.
This would save businesses and reduce queues at supermarkets with little risk.
Chris Elias, Mission Bay.
Letters: Lockdown activity, elderly, shopping and gratitude
Letters: Elderly, human rights, health system and winter essentials
There are reports supermarkets are out of stock of flour. But I am confident that we are eating no more bread now than last month.
What may have changed is a huge buildup of stock among the factory bakers whose retailing outlets have suddenly shrunk, and a new capability among consumers to bake their own.
Maybe there is plenty of flour in bulk lying about in commercial bakers' stores crying out for return and repackaging for retail?
If so, let's sort it to everyone's benefit.
John O'Neill, Dargaville.
Short & sweet
Published studies by Dr Tom Miller (formerly, Department of Medicine, University of Auckland) have demonstrated that wet or damp hands pick up and transfer more micro-organisms (including viruses) than dry hands. Warren Johns, Remuera.
So IRD sends out 240,000 letters cancelling Working For Families entitlements. Who signed it? Obviously, it was that new kid in accounts. No chocolate biscuit for him at morning tea, when the boss finds out. Rob Elliott, Kohimarama.
Lovely for the Air Force to attend rugby tournaments in Colorado. I hope I'm not paying for it. Isaac Donaldson, Northcote.
It is time to immediately reintroduce "single use" plastic bags in supermarkets. Now is the time for saving the humans, the planet can wait a few months. Alastair Brickell, Whitianga.
Love, love the pullout puzzles, thank you so much for keeping our family ennui at bay. Cherie Smith, Unsworth Heights.
We are so glad of our subscription at this testing time in our lives. The puzzle section each day is a real challenge for us, but we are most grateful for it. Leanne Jenner, Greenlane.
Heartfelt thanks and admiration for the people who make sure we receive the Herald during these difficult times. Well done and take care. Judith Bouwman, Torbay.
Passing on their savings achieved through lower vehicle damage and theft claims; lower household theft claims; lower medical costs related to injury claims etc; will insurers be offering lower premiums for the period of lockdown? John Kothe, Torbay.