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If you’ve been following the news, you’ll have seen that globally there is an increasing number of cases and they’re increasing exponentially. We are seeing increasing lockdown in countries throughout the world. Several European countries have gone into lockdown. The United States has significantly restricted social interaction, in certain states people need to stay within their homes.
We are seeing a significant movement towards increasing social restrictions in countries affected by coronavirus. What are we seeing in New Zealand and Australia? In Australia, two days ago, on Monday, we had about 376 cases that were confirmed with coronavirus. As of today, we’ve got over 500 cases. If you look at where Italy was at a similar time, the growth in Australia is similar. With that extrapolation, we would think that in about two weeks time, if there aren’t significant social measures put up, that Australia would have similar number of cases to Italy. Some people say it’s quite different. In Australia, we are much more geographically diverse. There’s fewer people. That presents both an opportunity to protect, however, it also presents a threat. We’re seeing the most number of cases occurring in New South Wales and in Victoria – in Sydney and Melbourne – where there are large numbers of people, and it’s growing exponentially.
If you can work from home – do. Do what you can to help minimise the spread.
Because of Australia’s size, the remoteness in rural areas is also an increased risk if coronavirus does spread there. There are also more limited resources. From that perspective, there is opportunity to try to slow the spread, but it also increases our vulnerability in some ways.
If we look at what has happened in New Zealand, we had about eight cases on Monday. It’s increased to 28 cases today. Whilst New Zealand has fewer cases, we’re still on that exponential trajectory. What I mean by exponential is we’re seeing a doubling of cases every three to six days. What that means is, while the number of cases in New Zealand currently seems low at 28, the exponential growth is deceptive – 28 today, 56 in three days, 112 in three more days and several more series of cycles, we’ll end up in thousands and thousands of cases.
A few other points that I think are really interesting in coronavirus management:
When you look at the principles of managing an epidemic, speed and aggression wins. You need to move fast. You need to move quickly. If you are waiting for the data to make the right decision, you’ve made the wrong one, because by the time you get the data, people get symptoms. People go to the test laboratories. People then get tested for the coronavirus. You’ve got a significant lag, and we’re seeing a lag in a series of days to weeks.
There are a limited number of tests available. In Australia, at the least, there is a limited number. Tests are being very carefully given for select criteria. What that means is we are not doing enough tests. The problem is that the number of people that likely have coronavirus, or certainly have coronavirus in Australia and New Zealand, is far higher than the confirmed number of cases.
“This means that the problem is moving ahead of us at a much more rapid pace.”
For what we’ve seen in terms of restrictions of travel, we are strongly encouraging you, your loved ones, and people in your community to minimise social contact with other people. If you don’t need to go out, don’t go out. If you are able to work from home, work from home. If you are able and you can care for other people that might be sick, keep them indoors while you can care for them by providing supplies or food. Staying at home in quarantine will help minimise the spread of this condition.
The situation is worsening in most countries around the world. The situation, in terms of numbers of cases, is growing exponentially in Australia and New Zealand. Australia is more progressed than New Zealand. Speed of action is the number one factor of trying to prevent this spread further and slow it down.
My personal opinion is our leaders are not doing that fast enough. If it feels like an overreaction, it is probably the right decision to make. We need to be able to aggressively move and socially distance.
Whether you’re given this guidance or whether you’re not, ask yourself, what can I do to prevent the spread? How do I minimise contact? Can I work from home? Can I socially isolate? Can I socially distance? Within that world though, there are opportunities for emotional connectedness, and by asking yourself the 7 questions below, I hope that you can explore this challenging situation from within with your loved ones, but also do it with some beauty in the world. To wrap up, be informed, be prepared, be smart, be ready. Prevention, we’re seeking, to be cure.
Keep mentally well by asking yourself these 7 questions daily:
- What am I grateful for today?
- Who am I checking in with today and who am I connecting with?
- What expectations of normal am I letting go of today?
- How am I getting outside and getting some sunshine today?
- How am I getting some exercise today?
- What healthy food am I feeding my body and how will I prioritise my sleep?
- How can I create, curate and/or ignite some beauty in the world today?