‘Covid 19 elimination is possible, but that does not mean NZ will necessarily get to zero cases,’ stated  the Director General of Health.

That takes some thinking about. It’s as dense as a poem. Elimination no longer means elimination? Zero will shortly no longer mean zero? Or, elimination still means elimination, that is, zero, but that might not be possible, or necessary, even though that is what we have been pursuing, we might not continue to choose it, because it is not actually possible or practical, in which case there will be cases, but we will still say we have eliminated the virus…or will we say that? Will we say, instead, like the PM, that we have ‘zero tolerance rather than zero cases’, tolerance being an attitude whereas cases are actualities?

These are the head honchos whose words then get translated into regulations which are then administered by lesser honchos, not given the right to think or interpret.

Meanwhile, the MIQ system slowly moves towards the rational, but can’t quite make it, because for some reason, Lotto is the model, or if you want to be old fashioned, spin the bottle.  A ten year old would come up with the solution. Let people enter the queue. Fine to randomly select the order of the queue, then start bringing the queue through MIQ, making it transparent as people are processed, so that others in the queue have some certainty (‘looks like the end of November for us’). As people move through let more join the queue, either in the order they register or in staged repetitions of the initial process. Stress would be eliminated,

We better get rid of that ten year old who worked it out in 5 minutes. She’s embarrassing.

As each country comes up with its covid entry requirements, written by different style systems and bureaucrats, travel is going to become a nightmare. You can already get a sense of this through the International Air Travel Association site. The US is a quagmire of presidential proclamations, the UK, like Boris, is tricky, we must have offended Russia because we’re one of the few countries who can’t go there, there’s a medium range of bureaucratic density which includes Europe, NZ, Australia and some others. A lot of African countries are simple and straightforward, as are Colombia and Mexico and Ireland’s not bad… It would obviously be better if there were a standard process internationally.

Bring back the ten year old. Traveller to provide proof of recognised vaccination, medical insurance(if not a citizen) and negative Covid test 72 hours before departure, saliva test upon arrival, another 3 days later, to supply contact details and update if moving around, for a period of fourteen days, and to pledge to let the health system know if symptomatic. There’ll be some random checking via text.  If you lie or conceal or go AWOL, if a citizen you’ll be fined, if not a citizen you’ll be deported. Copy Ghana in fact.

We definitely better get rid of that ten year old.

So what’s Dr Bloomfield really saying? Something like: We are intending to control Covid to an acceptable level through vaccination, testing, contact tracing and processes of isolation. Previously the acceptable level has been zero cases, but that is changing.

Obviously there have always been complexities in the words ‘acceptable’ and ‘isolation’ and now those complexities are changing. If we drop the zero case model, what level is acceptable politically? And to what extent is that level  determined by the capacity of the health system? Are deaths from covid as acceptable as deaths from pneumonia or diabetes or road accident? And then, what level of isolation is tolerable, and how is it chosen? For it can be chosen individually. X decides not to go to the stadium. Y wears mask away from home. Z chooses not to be vaccinated and knows that he could die if he catches it and that, if there is pressure on ICU, he may miss out. What level of quarantine? For whom? And why? And how provided? Is self isolation increasingly acceptable?

Obviously a mature dialogue is required around these questions and I seriously believe that the eradication policy, even though successful for a period, may have prevented this dialogue occurring and will continue to do so. We are surrounded by campaigns of eradication in all sorts of areas. Ritual and celebration have disappeared.  It’s a puritan time, best stay home and play scrabble with the family and fear the stranger.

And the only opposition is from crazies. There is no analysis from the left, other than a yearning for a harder line or a Victorian charitable impulse toward the deprived. Thinking has degenerated to the level of reciting proverbs.

In the1970s, Deleuze and Guatarri, in their book anti-Oedipus, capitalism and schizophrenia announced a coming age of psychosis. It is a time without the linear, instead is full of ‘swirls of information’,  of ‘desiring machines and bodies without organs’, ‘vast and unbound’, with ‘inscription inflicted on social bodies’. I suspect the age is fast arriving.