Calls for Chorus to offer Covid-19 relief20 Mar, 2020 12:11pm Quick Read
Beehive Diaries: the Covid-19 dance of distance20 Mar, 2020 2:55pm 4 minutes to read
How strange to think a month ago we had never heard the phrase ''social distancing''.
Now we hear it, see it, do it every day.
Learning the lexicon of this pandemic - self-isolation, Covid-19, coronavirus, community spread, contact trace, flatten the curve - is just one way we all have to adjust to these weird and unfamiliar times.
From here, the adjustment will only get steeper.
Yesterday, the Government announced the first case of Covid-19 had been confirmed in our region, specifically in Rotorua.
The patient is a tourist who arrived from France on March 13. According to the Lakes District Health Board, he was tested in Waikato then went straight into self-isolation in accommodation in Rotorua.
So, it's here. We take that information and move into the next stage of our response, as a region.
As I see it, New Zealand is doing a better job than most countries of slowing the spread of this disease and we now have a local role to play in helping.
While I don't think the virus can be stopped in a hurry, I do have high hopes that we will be able to flatten the curve and ensure our medical and support services can keep up.
I have found the public health advice about how to reduce the risk to ourselves and others to be both clear and achievable.
Hygiene and distance. We can do that, and we must.
The curve we going to have more of a struggle manage, however, is the exponential growth in the rumour mill.
It's bonkers out there.
From the internet conspiracy theories to people fanning the fires of panic in every corner of Facebook to the trailing whispers of supermarkets shutdowns and plots to suppress the true spread of the virus.
It's this utter lack of respect for the power of information that presents the biggest threat our ability to get through this.
More than ever, we need to be able to distinguish between the information that can be trusted and acted upon, and that which lacks evidence at best and even a shred of truth at worst.
Stick to trusted sources and apply critical thinking to what you read, and let's keep the tide of false information at bay.