Nor was it the proliferation of the Covid-19 vaccine. Because New Zealand’s level of Covid-19 infection has been (and remains) low, the government did not start diligently pushing the vaccine until last month. Right now, just over 40% of the country has received two doses of Covid-19 vaccines, and to completely buck Covid-19 pandemic controls, Ardern’s government says that number must go way up.
Rather, it was a show of will and force by some fed-up Kiwis that finally bent Ardern’s ear. It is power, not science, that our Covid rulers respond to.
The pandemic situation in New Zealand is clearly different than in the United States. The media’s use of New Zealand as a model for the United States’ Covid-19 policy early on was ridiculous then as it is now. But, perhaps Ardern was willing to abandon Covid zero more readily because of New Zealand’s parliamentary system. One of the advantages of the parliamentary system is that it makes politicians more keen to respond to public demonstrations in times of crisis. I’m not suggesting the U.S. should consider scrapping the Constitution and adopt a parliamentary system, but the U.S. has had its fair share of anti-lockdown protests in various states with little such effect. Because Ardern could face an ousting at anytime (although that remains highly unlikely right now), she’s constantly concerned about maintaining her position. In the U.S., where if you elect a septuagenarian with failing mental faculties, voters have to wait a full four years to vote him out, or rely on elected representatives to find a clear and extreme reason to impeach and remove them from office.
Neither New Zealand’s Covid-19 policies nor its parliamentary system should serve as a model for the United States. However, what has happened as of late in New Zealand is a lesson for conservatives and right-populists hoping to put the pandemic in the rearview mirror. The pandemic will never be over until we force our leaders to admit it is.
Flashback: Ignoring Them Is the Only Way Out.
We can’t eat enough medium-well steaks to get the CDC to stop recommending that we not eat medium-rare, let alone steak tartare. If you ask epidemiologists whether human conversation is safe, their minds call up computer animations of people projectile-vomiting red and blue blocks of “droplets” on each other. If you asked public-health authorities for permission to be born and live a life, there’s no way they could just, you know, approve of that in an unqualified way. You just have to remember that you’ll never be in less danger to yourself or others until dead.
They’re waiting for us — the people. The people began locking down and shutting in and buying masks last February, when public-health officials were telling you that masks were racist and that you should attend Chinese New Year parades to show you weren’t afraid. The people began traveling out more — based on the Google traffic data — before the lockdowns were eased. When does it end? When we end it.
And it’s ending, despite Biden and Fauci’s dreams of endless lockdowns: “On Saturday in New York City you needed a vaccine passport to eat in a restaurant or grab a drink in a bar, work out in a gym, go to a movie, or attend any sporting event. Just four hours to the west nearly 110,000 maskless Penn State Nittany Lion fans who had to provide no health records to anyone to attend the game reveled in their school’s biggest football game in two years, packed as close together as possible all clad in white in one of the great football cathedrals of this country. Watch this video and tell me which America you want to live in, the one where you have freedom and embrace life or the one where you either bow down to the authoritarian whims of a group of leaders who don’t even follow their own rules or have no ability to do anything.”