So, we are almost at the end of series 2 of Lockdown and the reviews aren’t quite as positive as series 1. Where the first series created a sense of connection and togetherness against a formidable foe, resulting in a finale of real triumph and shared achievement, series 2 has revealed some cracks appearing in what was once the envy of other countries around the world.
At the end of series 1, New Zealand had practically eliminated Covid-19 as a menace in the community. We had set our sights on elimination of the virus, and through hard work, determination, and with a generation long accumulation of debt, and with too many Kiwis put out of work, we managed to do what few countries on the planet had. We moved through the lockdown levels to arrive at a new normality – with the virus all but gone.
Days passed, months passed, we were 102 days without a single case of Covid-19. We read the news as new outbreaks surfaced in other countries, and the virus ran unchecked through others. Discord and dissension over the right not to wear masks, or stay at home raged in tempo with the virus itself. While the world battled with a pandemic and citizens fought with each other, everything was peachy here in God’s own. We had been called and we had prevailed.
And then – BANG! Series two opened with a total shocker. After warnings of not being complacent, we found out we had cases in the community. Covid was back and it had set its sights on our largest city, Auckland. Where it had it come from? Had it been dormant all along? Was it transferred via surface contamination? It couldn’t have come in through the border, surely? Because, after all, we had chosen elimination as our response of choice, so apart from the odd escapee from quarantine, our borders were as tight as a drum, weren’t they?
Well, wouldn’t you know it. Tragedy ran in tune with comedy. Though we thought our border staff would be tested, it turned out they weren’t. Nobody seemed to know why, and nobody seemed to want to accept responsibility. It was just one of those things and we’d just have to make sure that it didn’t happen again.
Some wondered what may be going on in the halls of power, if such a basic and obvious remedy had not even been followed up on. The heroes of series of 1 found themselves in the middle of a quagmire, entirely of their own making. The new outbreak shattered whatever absolute connection we had established throughout series 1 and the cracks began to appear.
Where before we had all pulled together with a common goal in sight, now trolls, conspiracy theory nuts and online bullies and cowards chipped away at the notion of the goodness and togetherness of Kiwis. Some disgusting villains even stooped so atrociously low as to attack those who had contracted the virus. Series 1 had been a triumph of the sense of what it meant to be a New Zealander. Series 2? Well, in the common parlance, yeah nah.
While reviews are mixed, with many still committed to doing their best, there is a sense that the series still has a ways to go. The election has been postponed and the taste for politicking and campaigning has abated, though it still raises its ugly head, from time to time. Kiwis, from north to south, with all points in between, are tired, and a little apprehensive of what the remaining seasons of Covid-19 will bring. We thought we had accomplished a mission, but in a very Shakespearean way found out we were perhaps just beyond the start. Whatever happens, I do hope that the best of series 1 and the best that we were then, will return in some measure and help us navigate through the remaining series, no matter how many there may be.