The contrast between the United States’ response to Covid-19 and that of New Zealand could not be more stark. While we are still experiencing about 1000 deaths per day, New Zealand lost a total of 26 people to the pandemic.
Much can be and has been written about the differences between our response and theirs. The chief differences of course were that the Ardern government acted swiftly and aggressively while our leaders at the time branded the pandemic as a hoax.
Now it is apparent that New Zealand as a nation benefited even more from their actions during the pandemic than a remarkably low body count.
Two thirds of New Zealanders believed there were ‘silver linings’ to the country’s Alert Level 4 COVID-19 lockdown imposed in March last year, a University of Otago survey has found.
The researchers were able to question New Zealanders while they were at home, giving a unique insight into their lives during the nationwide lockdown between 25 March and 23 April, widely regarded as one of the strictest imposed anywhere in the world.
One year on from lockdown, the results of their study have been published in the international scientific journal, PLOS ONE.
Participants were asked ‘Have you experienced any silver linings, or positive aspects during the COVID-19 Level 4 lockdown’ and were able to answer ‘yes, for me personally’, and/or ‘yes for wider society’, or no. Of the 2,010 participants who completed the online survey, 64 per cent said they could see a silver lining to lockdown.
Lead researcher Dr Matthew Jenkins says New Zealanders talked about a wide range of positive experiences during lockdown, from pride in the country’s response, to having more free time to exercise, take up hobbies, or build relationships with their neighbours.
“Lockdown represented a major flashpoint in people’s lives and created an opportunity to stop, take stock and to reflect and connect with others.
“Many people reported that kindness and helping behaviours became more common over this period. They described an ‘old fashioned sense of community and caring … that was not apparent before lockdown’.”
Perhaps the biggest contrast can be seen in the actions of a government that actually did the job required of it—or of any government anywhere—taking care of and seeing to the survival of its people.
There are those who have—and still do—scream that lockdowns are a violation of their rights. This of course defies logic since the primary right of any human is survival. I’ll take the example set by Jacinda Ardern any day of the week as opposed to the insane claims and abject inaction of the previous administration.