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LETTERS: Praise for Cooks’ Covid response

Thursday 31 March 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Opinion

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LETTERS: Praise for Cooks’ Covid response

Dear Editor, in response to the letter to the editor of 28 March calling for an independent Covid watch group: the author claims that there have been three deaths of elderly people this week in the Cook Islands and implies that these may be Covid-related.

But three deaths per week is quite normal in the Cook Islands. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Management’s June 2020 quarter statistical bulletin indicates that there were on average three deaths per week in that period.

In a pandemic it is easy to claim that governments are hiding truths from their citizens about deaths from Covid. Partly, this is due to a growing lack of trust, globally, in authorities, but also to the profusion of misinformation and disinformation that circulates freely though social media.

But in New Zealand, for example, the mortality rate has fallen during Covid. This is because there has been zero flu and pneumonia in 2020 and 2021 (a major contributor to deaths in the elderly), and was due to mask wearing, increased social distancing, better hand hygiene and lockdowns. Other contributing factors to lower death may be less air pollution and fewer cars and major transport accidents.

I have only been in the Cook Islands a short time but have been extremely impressed by the way Te Marae Ora (with limited resources), the government and the public has responded to the epidemic – high vaccination rates, good response to testing calls, mask wearing. The Prime Minister’s video conferences are calm, with a lack of blame or fearmongering.

In my opinion, the Cooks will come out of the Covid epidemic as a success story.

Heather Worth,

Professor Global Health

Director, Cook Islands Centre for Research, University of the South Pacific


Dog problem – time for a ‘humane cull’

Those whose job it is, or should be, to deal with the “dog problem” on Rarotonga, have had two years of no tourists to sort the problem out and notwithstanding tuatua up the backside and a committee and constant reminders, the sad truth is that we’ve accomplished zilch.

This writer had a drive-past at the dog pound at Papua this week. A whole lot of dogs are there.

While we all get the warm and fuzzies when we see pictures in the paper of bored tourists helping to walk the dogs, it must be way past time to face reality. Most of those canines are not going to be ‘adopted’ or ‘homed’ as some are wont to say.

They are, sadly, excess. And those who say it’s the “owners” fault, so don’t punish (cull) the dogs, well, that’s just the problem. There are so many homeless dogs, who have no ‘owner’ but hang around on the perimeters of our villages, that if all homeless dogs were rounded up the pound at Papua would be chocker.

This writer has a family dog. Children and grandchildren have family dogs. We love them as part of our family.

None of that makes the problem go away. We need a humane cull, carried out in a civilised way.

Just because we wasted two years and could have been all set by now is no reason to put off the inevitable any longer.

(Name and address supplied)