A word from Tim Cadogan, Central Otago mayor

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We all knew Omicron was going to get here

This is a time, now more than ever, that we need to act with calmness and sense, as well as sensibility.

The call a week ago to tell me we had a location of interest in Central Otago was as unsurprising as it was unwelcome.

We all knew it was going to come, but still weren’t happy when it did.

I’m writing this column on Monday morning, and it’s guaranteed that things will have changed by the time you are reading this, but sitting here now it seems likely to me we will have Omicron in the district by the time you read this.

The message I have been putting out for a while now is that we need to act as if the virus is already here, and that is obviously even more so the case now.

There is going to be quite an amount of fear and difficult times in our communities over the next few weeks.

The fear will be in large part because for two years, we have been hiding from something that has ravaged the rest of the world.

We are heavily vaccinated and as ready as we will ever be to face this menace, and the variant is weaker than previous types, but there are almost certainly going to be deaths in our district in the next six months from Covid.

We have had dire predictions in the past and no fatalities came from them, and I hope like hell the predictions are wrong again, but you’ve got to be very lucky to dodge a bullet twice, so we need to all prepare ourselves for the worst and be ready to support those who are most directly impacted by such an outcome.

This is a time, now more than ever, that we need to act with calmness and sense, as well as sensibility.

We have already seen the lines drawn over vaccinations and I fear that is going to only get worse as people get sick.

I think it is important that we remember that unvaccinated people in our community are not properly represented by that mob outside Parliament.

Some have made the tough decision not to get vaccinated for medical reasons, religious reasons, or other deep personal reasons.

I don’t agree with their choice, but I respect their right to make it.

They are the ones who are probably going to have the roughest time over the next few weeks, and I hope we can remember that we are all in this together, no matter which path we have chosen to walk.

It’s going to be a rough couple of months, but together we will get through it and can look forward, I hope, to seeing things return to something like what normal used to be.