Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The company of strangers

13 Responses

  • Tom Johnson,

    The government has banned dancing

    Don’t forgot the story of Footloose. This kind of law never ends well.

    hamilton • Since Mar 2016 • 99 posts Report

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Speaking of social distancing - back in 1964 Paul McCartney's then girlfriend Jane Asher took time out (along with Vincent Price) to make this prescient docudrama about Trump's presidency and his pandemic response ...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report

  • Thomas Lumley,

    I'm sure a lot of people will feel the same way -- partly because it's natural, but also partly because of the epidemic suppression efforts and accompanying advertising.

    We collectively need to take more care about disease transmission than the current prevalence would warrant for any individual, because each transmission event increases everyone's risk. So, it's optimum from a public health point of view for everyone to overestimate the risk of catching the virus. Well, at least from a physical, rather than mental, public health point of view. And that's still going to be true in the near future.

    But in the longer term, there are disadvantages. Reasonable people will be more than rationally concerned about travel. More importantly, though, the view of rule-breaking as risking contamination fits in with an attitude of fear and disgust towards rule-breakers, which I'm seeing on Twitter among people who didn't seem to have those sorts of attitudes before.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2013 • 50 posts Report

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Thomas Lumley,

    More importantly, though, the view of rule-breaking as risking contamination fits in with an attitude of fear and disgust towards rule-breakers, which I’m seeing on Twitter among people who didn’t seem to have those sorts of attitudes before.

    What I keep thinking (and saying) is that we're seeing people processing their anxiety in various ways. I do hope that eases as the general sense of risk dissipates.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Thomas Lumley,

    Yes, on re-reading, my comment also came out more conspiracy-theorist than was my intention. I do think the setting has meant people needed to be more anxious than the actual risk warrants, and this will carry over, but it should dissipate as things improve .

    Auckland • Since Feb 2013 • 50 posts Report

  • Carol Stewart,

    Thanks for chronicling your travels to see your Mum, Russell, and best wishes to her for a good recovery.
    One way that airlines can mitigate the societal risk of air travel is that they’re easily able to provide contact tracing details via their booking system. So your fellow travellers are not strangers in the sense that they can be tracked down.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 830 posts Report

  • Moz,

    Sorry to hear about your mum.

    One thing I've noticed on Sydney trains is people spacing out more than I expected, to the extent of seeing people walking along the platform to enter via a door to an unoccupied carriage if the train seems empty-ish (which they mostly are). I had a whole carriage to myself on Sunday in the middle of the day.

    Meanwhile the roads here seem as full as they ever were.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1233 posts Report

  • martinb,

    The anxiety is a big thing. I experienced an international airport with no social distancing and at the time was terrified. I wore a mask all flight. There was someone in each seat. I passed a queue for a quarantine line that was squashed in and over-flowed up the stairs around the corner. There was no hand sanitiser and the machine we all used didn’t seem to be sterilised between uses. Our baggage claim shared a carousel with a flight from the USA. No one else seemed that anxious. Outside a large group of people waited to greet family.
    This was late March.
    For my first few weeks I almost didn't leave the house. Now I'm feeling so much more relaxed, but that's an odd feeling as the risk here is not significantly different.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 206 posts Report

  • Trevor Nicholls, in reply to martinb,

    My medically-vulnerable son has decided to travel back from France (requires two transits, in Doha and Melbourne) and I hope things are much better for him than that. He was planning to stay - he gets better medical care there if things are good - but it's starting to look like he will be too exposed if he stays in France, and he'd rather be here if it all turns to shit.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 325 posts Report

  • martinb,

    There’s certainly been an increased awareness since I’ve arrived here. Travel restrictions that were placed a few days later would mean the airport must be very quiet now.

    All of those countries you mentioned seem to have had stronger restrictions than here. My family also were keen for me remain in NZ!

    I hope your son has a good, safe trip.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 206 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace,

    We flew Auckland to Wellington on 22 March. We had gone up for the weekend to see the last of the pop-up Globe, but it closed down as we arrived. It was weird being a tourist while NZ started to withdraw from the world. The hotel was about to be taken over for managed isolation for plane loads of returnees. We heard Jacinda's big announcement of the new Pandemic Levels in the car on the way to have a look at Matakana which was as busy as ever, but with lots of handsanitiser. The first Marist cluster infection was in the news.

    On the plane home there was some worrying coughing down the back. A couple in front of us wearing masks and gloves was travelling home from overseas, but we still had to get close unloading luggage from the overseas locker and queuing. For several days we checked Ministry of Health reports of new infections and the planes they had travelled on and hoped ours wasn't on the list.

    It was the anxiety and fear of that time I will remember. Who would be next to test positive and who might die?

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • sandra,

    I went to my medical centre yesterday and was astounded and appalled at the illogical way they dealt with patients in and out ... after 6 weeks of being able to evolve their systems it was so weird.
    For instance, 2 receptionists (standing side by side) dealing with an older woman beside the perspex screen! Or sending patients right round the building in an internal one-way system that took them through the nurse's station.
    A suburban post office and bookshop today had it much better sorted and without the bossiness of the medical centre.
    Hope your Mum is doing better.

    tauranga • Since Dec 2011 • 72 posts Report

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Went to the doctor today. Had to have a face to mask meeting. The doctor masked up. Text from my car on arrival. All a bit high security.
    I had a brief exchange on the way in as an elderly gentleman reminiscing about the polio lock down in the 40s.
    I hope everyone in this little community are doing OK.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2020 • 24 posts Report

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