Concern that Covid is already here
There is a general feeling of nervousness in the Gisborne district as the country goes into its first full week of the new Covid protection system, with the new vaccine passes that allow entry to many of the things that were once basics.
The arrival of Covid in Wairoa, while not an immediate threat because the two people were self-isolating, has raised the anxiety level. Worryingly, the virus might be here already — as suggested by the two positive Gisborne city wastewater tests last week.
Public health officials said they were not aware of any recovered cases in the community who might still be shedding the virus, and that they believe there is a strong possibility there is an undetected case in the community.
Meanwhile, the Omicron variant continues its speedy march across the globe reaching 40 countries, including our neighbour Australia.
There seems to be some doubt in the scientific community whether the highly-mutated variant is more transmissible and better able to evade existing vaccines. The World Health Organisation's chief scientist has issued a statement that the world should prepare for Omicron but should not panic.
Although Auckland has reached its long awaited and well deserved freedom day, there are clear signs that the effect on New Zealand's largest city will remain for a long time. Foodbanks report that demand continues to rise and that staff going into the community find people who are reluctant to come forward for help.
There was not a lot to cheer people up in the rest of last week's news, which included the rare nugget that a blizzard and snow was predicted in Hawaii.
For many one of the saddest items was the statement by former cricketer Chris Cairns that he may never walk again. Cairns suffered a spinal stroke after his treatment for a torn artery in August.
“I don't know if I'll ever walk again and I have made my peace with that,” he told the Daily Telegraph.
Cairns, 51, played 62 tests and 215 one day and T20 internationals for New Zealand and is regarded as one of the country's greatest all-rounders.
But there was fantastic news and viewing for cricket fans when New Zealand spinner Ajaz Patel took all 10 wickets in India's first innings at the weekend — only the third bowler in the history of test cricket to do so. Even better he did it in Mumbai, the Indian city in which he was born, in front of family members who had never seen him play before.