Coronavirus Diaries: Fourteen Days of Solitude | The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Coronavirus Diaries: Fourteen Days of Solitude
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Hotel room in New Zealand (Blue Planet Studio/Shutterstock.com)

New Zealand has officially gone two weeks without a new case of COVID-19. There’s one remaining active case at the tail end of symptoms, and after that the country will be officially coronavirus-free. I thought now would be a great time for me to spend the summer months (winter months in the Southern Hemisphere) traveling. 

No doubt being a low-density, high-social-trust island in the middle of the Pacific made the task of curbing the pandemic a fair bit easier for the government. But it’s a miracle that Kiwis managed to vanish the curve entirely at a grand total of only 22 deaths. Besides supposedly causing strokes, blood clots, and heart attacks, coronavirus, we’ve been told, is capable of clinging to surfaces indefinitely, transmitting asymptomatically at a hundred leagues, and somersaulting through the air. 

You’d think that a cloud of the stuff would’ve drifted over from Australia by now. The southeasterly winds must be particularly favorable this year. 

Read more Coronavirus Diaries here!

Credit where credit is due, though: as soon as my international cohort got off the plane, we were efficiently shuttled by masked attendants to a nearby Ministry of Health field office. Symptomatic travelers were taken to a special quarantine facility. As I seemed relatively alive and healthy, I went with the rest of the new arrivals to a hotel for a more relaxed 14-day managed isolation. 

I’d liken the experience to a four-star prison. Sleep at 10 p.m., wake at 6 a.m., three meals a day at regular intervals, left outside our doors with a knock. Supervised yard time if we asked for it. The food was good, but the gym was off-limits (something about infectious perspiration), so overall my stay was perhaps not quite up to prison standards. 

Twice a week, they sent a nurse up with a brief checklist to make sure I hadn’t turned into a zombie. That was the extent of my face-to-face interaction with other human beings. 

Did I learn anything from my 14 days of (sort of) solitude? A lot of yoga postures, mostly. I also came to appreciate how much unnecessary waste food deliveries must be generating during lockdowns. The three meals a day for two weeks, each delivered in a plastic container inside a paper tote, had accumulated into three full jumbo garbage bags by the time of my departure.  

Ultimately, though, I found the government’s handling of the situation considerate and competent. I volunteered a temporary bit of my liberty so that everyone else could be more secure. I don’t think old Benjamin would’ve minded. 

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