Yesterday was DAY 40 of New Zealand in lock down as we fight the COVID19 pandemic.
One of the many horrible aspects of COVID19 has been to watch countries with much larger populations and significantly more resources than that of New Zealand flailing as they struggle to bring the virus under control. Some of them say that COVID19 was later arriving in their lands than it was elsewhere. As I note later in this article, several factors may have been at work in determining the arrival COVID19.
One cannot watch with anything other than growing alarm at the explosion of cases in Russia and other third world countries. There are many reasons for why they might have only just received COVID19 in the last few weeks:
- Their tourism industry is not as strong and thus one of the most mobile vectors did not distribute it as easily as it has in countries where the tourism industry is more active
- The seasons may have had a role to play. With winter still well in progress when the COVID19 outbreak became a pandemic many northern hemisphere nations populations would have been spending more time indoors, rather than out in places where it might be transmitted
- Not all governments have have been as forthright about what is happening in terms of the situation, their national response, advice and instructions to people – cases might not have been immediately or honestly reported to international organizations in a timely manner
- The simple geography and transportation networks of larger countries means it would take some time to traverse through all regions
In Brazil, active cases have topped 102,000 with 7,000 deaths. Unfortunately for Brazil, although a large percentage of cases appear to have recovered, it is governed by a President who denies that there is a problem and has open disdain for the science of epidemics. Because of that, Brazil may yet have an explosion of cases worse than this in its hinter regions that we do not know about.
A look at various 3rd world countries shows a mixed picture. Some like Turkmenistan are claiming to have no cases at all and are actively suppressing anything about COVID19. Some like Ecuador have tens of thousands of cases and not trying to hide the scale of their emergency. There are only a couple of places around the world it has not spread to and most of those are tiny Pacific nations and territories of larger powers that do not have ready access or a significant tourism industry.
And so whilst I am very pleased that yesterday was the first day with no new cases announced in New Zealand, I am reminded that not all countries have been as fortunate as we have. Many countries face long battles ahead. Whilst there is light at the end of New Zealand’s COVID19 tunnel, for many others including nations we traditionally get on very well with, there are dark, grim days ahead. We need to remember that.