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LETTERS: Learning to live with Covid

Thursday 27 January 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion


LETTERS: Learning to live with Covid

Dear Editor, things are getting amped up here on the island, as we prepare for the “Omicron” threat.

We have front page yesterday “Travel Bubble Risky” with Auckland University public health associate professor Dr Collin Tukuitonga calling Cook Islands Government’s decision to keep bubble open as risky. 

Should we just shut the country down again? Should we lose more Cook Islanders to overseas work, see businesses shut down for good, incur millions more debt for our future generations? Wasn’t the point of vaccination to protect people from Covid, to stop the spread? Again, why are we so freaked out when its only vaccinated people coming here?

How about some advice on what people can do to keep themselves healthy, advice on how to strengthen immune systems, advice on early action for faster recovery?

In the public health notice published in Cook Islands News: Response to Covid Case, we see the isolation packs that will be given out comprise oximeter, thermometer, face masks, isolation booklet.

How about some public health notices on what people can do to reduce viral load, what vitamins or supplements they can take, and if not supplements then what nutritional foods they should eat to boost immunity? An excellent resource can be found at How about a public health notice in the paper with its useful chart on Early Action for Faster Recovery?

Surely educating people about reducing viral load through mouth washes/nasal sprays/nasal swabs, which by all accounts is just as important as handwashing, is of more importance than instructing everyone to wear masks. Again, how about a public health notice with the information on reducing viral load when the virus is in your community (also available on the wanakahealthbridge site).

Rather than freaking people out with fearmongering headlines and articles, how about some useful information on what people can do to look after themselves and their families and improve immunity to what is, by all accounts to the vast majority of people a bad cold or flu.


Serena Hunter


It is ironic because on the one hand you have people angry the border is open and accusing the government of putting dollars ahead of the health of the people in the Cook Islands. Then you have most of those same people getting angry at the government for getting loans to cover the costs of running the country because it has been closed so long with little revenue coming in. They suggest the government is corrupt or selling out.

When you close the border, the Government has to get the money to cover things here from somewhere – loans and grants are the usual way. Without money, there is no education, there is no health system, there is no infrastructure maintenance, businesses fail, shops empty, people end up suffering anyway. Government has propped this economy for almost two years ... they simply cannot anymore. They need to open. This virus will not go away quickly.

Government is not putting dollars ahead of people, they are getting dollars so they can look after the people. It is simple.

Nick Carter


It’s a difficult decision (keeping border open), both sides have to be considered. Over here in Australia, the virus is at a high level, deaths are in the double digits daily. High risk are obviously the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. This also includes those who are fully vaxed and have received booster shot.

There is no doubt that if the virus is able to spread in the Cooks, regardless of vaccination status, people that fit the risk profile will experience varying degrees of symptoms or worse. Vaxed or not, it can infect you.

Pre-covid, the majority of people accepted others the way they are, we shouldn’t turn on each other now. We can learn to live with the virus like all the others.

Bakri Taopua


The virus will get back to the Cook Islands even if you stop tourists and keep borders shut. Locals will want to come home and see family, so you propose locking your own people out?

By shutting you are just delaying the inevitable. Rather allow money to come in and better prepare yourselves not just for this virus but others to come in the future by spending a good chunk of that money on hospitals upgrades, etc.

If the hundreds of millions in aid provided to Cook government for Covid relief was spent on the hospital rather than for people to sit at home without work, then you would be so much better prepared.

Money will otherwise run out and Cook Islands government will be taking loans from China (or other countries).

I hope for the sake of Cook Islanders but also for the world that this virus goes away but it won’t be soon. I also hope for the people and businesses who are suffering that things will go back to more of a normal.

At some point you have to consider what is being subsidised for locals by tourists. Think of your internet for instance. 9000 population will not be covering costs for the satellite and fibre internet and the local infrastructure, if it was to remain like that for years to come, your bills will go up or the internet will be cut off for non-payment. Now think of this for other services like water that may soon be charged for, you need the tourists to help subsidise these costs.

Barry Murphy


Just get on with it and open the country permanently. If ever there was a better to version to open up to its Omicron. It has been proven to be the mildest of all strains. Everyone I know here in Oz has had it recovered and now getting on with life. It’s time! Can’t keep borrowing money and teaching a generation to depend on a government that’s not making any money. The consequences of that will far outweigh what the virus will ever do in the long term.

Matty Robinson