Friday, March 27, 2020

Life in lockdown

New Zealand is under lockdown—literally. That’s not just a buzzword or convenient nickname, it’s the truth for New Zealand. If people don’t stay home and follow the rules, they could face arrest and incarceration by the police, who are out patrolling. If things get out of hand, the military is on alert to help the police. A lockdown doesn’t get much more lockdown-y than that. So far, we're getting through it.

Most New Zealanders are obeying the rules, which simplify down to this: Stay local. It’s okay for people to take a walk in their own neighbourhood, but they shouldn’t drive to a park or the beach, and for the same reason they mustn’t go for a swim, surf, fishing, or hunting: Something could go wrong, and they might need to be rescued, which, among other things, could endanger rescuers.

The government’s advice is simple: Act as if you have COVID-19 and keep your distance from everyone. People contemplating an activity should consider the risk that being rescued might put someone else in. It’s not just about the risk of drowning at the beach or getting into trouble in the bush, but also that a car can breakdown or get into an accident. Any of those would be bad enough, but in a time of national emergency, it could stretch resources needed elsewhere.

So, stuck at home, people are coming up with ways to keep themselves occupied, and many are sharing them on social media. In my street, many people go out for walks once or twice a day, often with their dogs—which means lots of dogs (and their people) that I’ve never seen before. One household seems to go to the supermarket every day, and there are only three adults, a child, and a dog in that household, so they may need to find better ways to occupy their time.

I’ve spent my time working on some small projects, including the one I talked about yesterday, but even those I’m not in a hurry to complete: I want to pace myself so I don’t run out of things in the first few days, because otherwise I really won’t have anything to do but deal with the mountain of boxes in the garage. I’d rather have options.

One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that I’ve developed a certain amount of sloth: I haven’t really tidied up since I finished unpacking my car the other day. That was mainly some tools I’d left the boot, so it’s not a lot of stuff, but still. However, all the lawn equipment’s batteries and their chargers are still out (in my defence for both of those crimes, I don’t have anywhere in the garage to put tools yet).

Today I also recorded a new podcast episode with Jason, though I still need to edit it. I’ll do a new one of my own soon, too. That and, obviously, blogging help fill my time. And TV—probably a little too much of that.

Even so, each day I have a repeated thought when I think about tidying or whatever: “Who cares? It’s not like anyone’s going to see this for at least a month.” But I’ll see it, which is the point, and the reason why I don’t listen to that thought. Today, for example, I cleaned the house more or less like normal (Friday is my cleaning day), though I certainly didn’t rush finish it—it’s not like anyone’s going to see it, right?

Friday evenings I often have family around to my house for dinner—either I cook or we have takeways. Not now, not while we’re under lockdown. So instead I’m making myself a dinner I wouldn’t usually make for myself, a warm marinated chicken salad. Admittedly, part of this is to make sure I use fresh stuff before it goes off, but it’s still more trouble than I’d usually go to for just me (by which I mean that on most days if I can’t do it in about five minutes, I don’t want to bother; I’m actually more or less serious about that, too).

So here we are nearing the end of Day 2 of the lockdown, and so far we’re all surviving. But the first few days, even the first week or so, may be the easy part. What will we—or me—feel like in week two or three? Whatever it is, I’ll no doubt document it here.

Today we have 85 new confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 368. Of them, 20 people were hospitalised (8 are in hospital currently, one individual with underlying health issues is currently in intensive care). 37 people are listed as having recovered.


rogerogreen said...

I KNEW I should not have stopped by...
BTW, maybe it's because you're a small country, but I'm not seeing recovered numbers in the US anywhere yet. If you find any, please let me know.

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

Maybe it's because the "recovered" number is a small percentage of the total cases, and that, in the USA, might freak people out?

rogerogreen said...

The recovered numbers are now coming, but not every state tallies them.