How New Zealand crushed Covid

If you read my last post about what paper airplanes can teach us about failure, you’ll know I recently lost a pitch to write scripts for a famous YouTuber. This is the second sample I wrote for them, which I’m posting here in case anyone finds it interesting! As with the other one, it’s not in my usual style because I was told to emulate the YouTuber’s voice as much as I could.

It’s Valentine’s Day 2021. Three people test positive to coronavirus. An entire city of 2 million shuts down for 3 days. Work is suspended, non-essential shops close, transport grinds to a halt. Nobody protests. Covid-19 is eliminated and normal life resumes for the people of New Zealand.

Valentine’s Day in the USA looks a little different. 

63,844 new cases of Covid-19 are confirmed.

1,081 people die from the virus in one day.

The UK is in its third lockdown. 

258 people die from Covid in one day.

In Greece, far-right anti-maskers stage protests against lockdown restrictions. 

Covid kills 23 people there. 

In New Zealand? 

Nobody dies from Covid on Valentine’s Day.

In fact, in the whole year of the pandemic, out of 2.7 million worldwide deaths, only 26 were in New Zealand.

What was their secret?

We already know New Zealand is a pretty cool place. It’s home to the world’s clearest lake, longest place name and tiniest dolphin. It’s packed with natural beauty and amazing wildlife, and they even have their own National Wizard, appointed by the Prime Minister.

A National Wizard.

This is him

But New Zealand’s rapid Covid response had nothing to do with magic. It was thanks to this woman, prime minister Jacinda Ardern, the world’s youngest female head of government.

This is what Ardern did right:

  • She acted fast

Border controls were put in place before there was even a recorded death outside China.

This delayed the pandemic’s arrival and prevented community spread.

  • She made no apologies for enforcing the strictest rules in the world

While other countries aimed for damage limitation, Adern wanted to get rid of the virus completely.

  • She got the nation on her side

While other nations protested, New Zealanders happily complied with lockdown rules. 

You see, in New Zealand there’s something called Whānau, which means one big family. They believe in a whole community and health system, thinking about and looking out for each other.

Whānau means people care about each other, so they wear masks, they keep their distance and they respect the rules because they understand it’s for the greater good. 

87% of Kiwis support the government’s handling of the crisis.

Community spirit, strong female leadership and a science-backed strategy helped New Zealand become the first Covid-free country in the world.

Don’t you think other world leaders could learn a thing or two?

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